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JOHN LORD DE JOINVILLE Memoirs of Louis IX, King of France

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JOHN LORD DE JOINVILLE
Memoirs of Louis IX, King of France
page 213



for the restoration of Damietta. The army broke up its encampment, and returned to the capital, when the sultana loaded the officers with presents, and her liberalities extended to the meanest soldier. The king of France,* having fortunately escaped from the hands of the Egyptians, resolved to make war against the kingdom of Tunis. He chose a time when a horrible famine ravaged Africa, and sent an ambassador to the pope, whom the Christians consider as the vicar of the Messiah. This pontiff gave him permission to take for the support of this war the wealth of churchesr He also sent ambassadors to all the kings in Christendom, to demand assistance, and to engage them to unite with him in this expedition. The kings of England, of Scotland, and of Arragon, the count of Toulouse, and many other Christian princes, accepted of his invitation* Abouabdoullah-Muhammed-Ehnoustausir-Billah, son to the emir Abizikeria, then reigned at Tunis. The report of this intended expedition came to his ears, and he sent an ambassador to the king of France to sue for peace, offering eighty thousand pieces of gold to obtain it. The king took the money, but did not the less carry his arms into Africa. He landed on the shore of the plains of Carthage, and laid siege to Tunis the last day of the moon Zilkadé, in the 668th year of the Hegira (July 21, A.D. 4 27a). * The Egyptians repented having suffered the king of France to escape from their hands, for it was commonly reported that he was meditating another war against Egypt. Makrisi, in the description of this kingdom, says, that this report was renewed under the reign of Bibars-Albondukdari. This sultan assembled his council, when it was resolved, that, in order to gain access to succour Damietta, which had lately been rebuilt, not far from the site of the ancient town, that had been ruined, a bridge should be constructed from Kiloub to the town. Kiloub was a village two days* march distant from Damietta, and when the Nile is at its height, the road to that village is impassable. The emir Achoub, one of the Mameluke chiefs, had the superintendence of it. Thirty thousand men were employed in building this bridge, and six hundred oxen transported materials and earth. This bridge was finished in a month. It was two days' march in length, and six horsemen could pass it in front. This bridge, however, could not be very high, since it was not built over the NUe, where it would have been impossible to construct one ; and this proves it was erected on the land, and of use only in the time of inundations. It was rather a causeway than a bridge, and sufficiently high to be above the country flooded by the Nile. Similar ones are built at this day, to prevent the land from being overflowed.


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