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GEOFFREY VINSAUF Itinerary of Richard I and others to the Holy Land

 
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GEOFFREY VINSAUF
Itinerary of Richard I and others to the Holy Land
page 28

daughter named Sybille, and a son called Baldwin, who on his father’s death, being presented with the crown, although a minor and afflicted with leprosy, miraculously defeated Saladin and sixty thousand Turks, with a small body of soldiers. He, being removed at an early age from the affairs of this world, appointed as his successor his nephew Baldwin, whose mother had married William, the brother of the marquis; but who died while yet a child in his seventh year. But as the boy’s father had been dead some time, Guy, who had come to visit the sepulchre, and was sprung from Poitou, married his mother Sybille, and in her right assumed the insignia of royalty; by her he had four daughters, whose premature death, and that of their mother, caused Guy to be accused, and gave the marquis the hope of reigning. Furthermore, Maria, whom King Almaric had married after divorcing his first wife, was a kinswoman of the Emperor Manuel, and had two daughters: one of them died in infancy, but Enfrid of Tours espoused Elizabeth, the second daughter, before she was of a marriageable age; but forasmuch as she was heiress to the throne, the marquis determined to remove both, and deprive Enfrid of his wife, as well as Guy of his sceptre.

Chapter XLVII. - The wonders which happened during the siege are subjoined.

Meanwhile, according to the various events of war, as has been said, success changing from one side to the other, there occurred manifold incidents not less wonderful than to be wondered at, which seem worthy of our notice.

Chapter XLVIII. - How a certain petraria of the enemy by its strength destroyed all our machines, and how it struck one of our men without hurting him.

One of the enemy’s petrariǽ, of which there were a great number in the city, was of an unusual magnitude and form, and as the engineers intended it, able to cast stones of immense weight, the blows of which nothing could resist: for it cast stones of incredible size to a great distance, and its blow destroyed everything it struck. When the stones met with no obstacle, they were driven into the ground a foot deep. It struck and shivered in pieces some of our petrariǽ, or rendered them useless, and either destroyed our other machines, or knocked off the part it touched. In fact there was nothing so solid or compact, of whatever kind or substance, that would bear its overwhelming blow, so great was the violence with which it acted. This machine struck one of our men from behind with a stone of enormous size, as he was standing with his face turned away, quite unsuspicious of danger, not supposing that a stone could be sent so far, yet it hurt him not in the least, but, rebounding as from a mountain, fell close by, and the man, when he saw it, was more horrified at the sight than injured by the blow. Who does not see by this the wonderful works of the Lord, and that his mercy is ever ready for those who fight for him? To the praise of his mightiness I will subjoin other of his works.

Chapter XLIX. - How a javelin, hurled against one of our men, penetrated his armour, but would not penetrate his breast, where a writing containing the name of God lay.

Furthermore, one of our body-guard, while walking in the ditch outside the city wall, either for the purpose of reconnoitering the weak parts of the wall, or to strike any of the enemy he could see with his sling, stopped at last; he was armed sufficiently like a foot-soldier, with iron headpiece, coat of mail, and a tunic of many folds of linen, difficult of penetration, and artificially worked with the needle, vulgarly called a pourpoint. A Turk from the wall struck him with a dart from a sling with great force on the breast, so that it penetrated all the aforementioned, the iron armour descending from the head, and the coat of mail and pourpoint, but it was stopped by a certain writing banging from his neck on his breast, and fell out blunted and twisted as from an iron plate. Are not the works of God manifest in the dart penetrating many folds of steel, and bounding back blunted from a little scroll? For the man was said to have worn suspended from his breast, the name of God on a scroll, thus proved to be impenetrable to steel. God is a wall of strength to them that hope in him.

Chapter L. - How one of our men. unarmed, having retired to satisfy the calls of nature, struck down with a stone a Turk attacking him with a lance.

Again, as one of our men was stooping down outside the camp, a Turk rode up to attack him unawares, but the soldier on seeing him advance sideways, and scarcely having done what he came for at the aforesaid ditch, rose up hastily, though unarmed, either to avoid him as he came up, or by an impulse from the Lord to receive him in the best way he could, As the Turk struck at him with the point of his lance, he bent down and escaped the blow by the protection of God. "The horse rode by and passed with scatheless blow." The Turk annoyed at his ill success, prepared to repeat the attack, and

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