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M.Besant E.Walter
Jerusalem, the city of Herod and Saladin

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M.Besant E.Walter
Jerusalem, the city of Herod and Saladin
page 321



on the 10th October, 1169, on the most useless expedition that he had yet undertaken. A bar, formed by au iron chain, ran across the river, •which prevented the Christian fleet from advancing to the town ; they therefore took up their station outside. The troops on land formed the siege in regular form, and, if Amaury had given the word, the town might have been carried by assault ; but he let the moment pass, and reinforcements of Turks poured into the place by thousands. Towers were constructed and sorties made by the besieged, but no advantage on either side was gained. But now began the misfortunes of the Christians. The Greeks had no provisions. They subsisted for a while by eating that portion of the palm which is cut from the top of the trunk at the branching out of the leaves, no bad food provided enough can be obtained, the worst of it being that each palm contains no more than enough for a single salad (as the palmiste is now used), and costs the life of a tree. And when the forest of palms was cut down round Damietta there was no more food of any kind to be had, while the soldiers of Amaury were unable to help their allies, having to consider the probability of being in a few days without food themselves. Then heavy rains fell and swamped the tents, and even a broad ditch round each one did not wholly keep out the water. The Greek fleet, too, was nearly destroyed by a fire boat, which was sent down the river. It set fire to six of the galleys, and would have destroyed all tbe rest but for the king himself, who mounted his horse, half dressed, and rode down to the bank shouting to the sailors. The assaults were continued, but there was no longer any heart in the Christian camp, and Amaury signed a treaty of peace and withdrew his troops to Ascalon, which he reached on the 21st of December, having been engaged for two months in convincing the Saracens of his feebleness even when backed by the Greeks. The fleet was overtaken by a storm, most of the


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