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ROGER OF WENDOVER Flowers of history. The history of England from the descent of the saxons to A.D. 1235. vol.1

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ROGER OF WENDOVER
Flowers of history. The history of England from the descent of the saxons to A.D. 1235. vol.1
page 506



A. D. 1147.] SIEGE 0Γ DAMASCUS. crossing to Laodicea, they came to a high mountain, difficult to ascend : now it was the custom of the French to choose out some of their bravest soldiers to march before, and others to follow in the rear, to guard the baggage of the unwarlike rabble, and also to arrange with the princes about the manner of the march and the quantity of their provisions. On this day the noble Geoffrey de Rançon was leading the van, and when he reached the top of the mountain, the Turks who were following him with the intention . of taking him by surprise on the flank, rushed unawares upon the French and broke their ranks. On that day, by a lamentable accident, fell the pride and valour of the French, who, involved in the blindness of their sins, had not brought with them their mysterious offerings to the Lord. But the king would not be turned aside from his purpose by this calamity : setting out with his queen Eleanor he at length arrived at Jerusalem, where he was honourably received by the king and people, and condoled with them at the misfortune which had happened to him. How Damascus was besieged by the princes aforesaid, and of the treachery of the eastern princes. When the usual prayers weçe over, the Roman emperor came to a conference with the kings of Jerusalem and France, how they should act to secure the fruits of so great a pilgrimage to the benefit of the Holy Land. It was at last unanimously agreed to besiege Damascus, which had done much mischief to the faithful ; and, according to arrangement, they approached the city, occupied the suburbs, and slew some of the enemy. Thence they advanced to the river, which washes the walls of the city, to obtain a supply of water, and found on its shores so large a multitude of troops, drawn up on the bank, that neither the king of Jerusalem nor of France was able to approach the river. When intelligence of this reached the emperor Conrad, he marched indignantly through the French troops, and coming to the scene of action, smote one of the foremost Turks who stood in his way so violent a blow with his sword that he separated his head with the helmet on, his neck and shoulder covered with mail, his left arm and part of his left side, from the rest of his body; and so terrified the enemy, that they left the river


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