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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 66

over; whilst the Turks were also mounting with ladders on the other side to defend the breach which had been made in it.

Chapter X. - How Alberic Clements was slain by the Turks whilst scaling the walls.

There happened a wonderful event, not to be passed over in silence. There was a man of renown for his tried valour and excellence, named Alberic Clements, who, when he saw the French toiling to very little purpose, exerted his strength in the vehemence of his ardour, exclaiming, "This day I will perish, or, if it please God, I will enter into the city of Acre." With these words, he boldly mounted the ladder; and as he reached the top of the wall, the Turks fell on him from all sides and killed him. The French were on the point of following him, but were overwhelmed by the pressure of numbers which the ladder could not hold; and some were bruised to death, and others dragged out much injured. The Turks shouted with the greatest joy and applause when they saw the accident, for it was a very severe misfortune. They surrounded and overcame Alberic Clements, who was left alone on the top of the wall, and pierced him with innumerable wounds. He thus verified what he had before said, that he would die a martyr if he was unable to render his friends assistance by entering Acre. The French were much discouraged by his loss, and ceasing the assault, gave themselves up to lamentation and mourning on account of his death, for he was a man of rank and influence and great valour.

Chapter XI. - How the French from without undermine the tower Maledictum, while the Turks from within carry on a countermine.

Not long after, the French miners, by their perseverance, undermined the tower Maledictum, and supported it by placing beams of wood underneath. The Turks also, digging in the same direction, had reached the same part of the foundations; on which they entered into a mutual treaty of peace, that the Turks should depart uninjured; and some of the Christians whom they held captive, were by agreement, in like manner, set at liberty. On discovering this, the Turks were very much chagrined, and stopped up the passages by which they had gone out.

Chapter XII. - How King Richard, though still sick, assaulted the city with his men, slew many by a sling with his own hand, and threw down one of the towers by means of his miners and petrariǽ.

King Richard was not yet fully recovered from his sickness; nevertheless, anxious for action, and strenuously intent upon taking the city, he made arrangements that his men should assault the city, in the hope that under Divine Providence he should succeed. For this purpose, he caused to be made a hurdle, commonly called a circleia, put together firmly with a complication of interweaving, and made with the most subtle workmanship. This the king intended to be used for crossing over the trench outside the city. Under it he placed his most experienced arbalesters, and he caused himself to be carried thither on a silken bed, to honour the Saracens with his presence, and animate his men to fight; and from it, by using his arbalest, in which he was skilled, he slew many with darts and arrows. His sappers also carried a mine under the tower, at which a petraria was directed; and having made a breach, they filled it with logs of wood, and set them on fire; when, by the addition of frequent blows from the petraria, the tower fell suddenly to the ground with a crash.

Chapter XIII. - How the Turks vigorously repelled King Richard’s men who were assaulting the city, and how King Richard slew with his arbalest one who had on the armour of Alberic Clements.

Perceiving, therefore, how difficult success was, that he had a most warlike enemy to contend with, and that there was need of all his strength for the attack, the king thought it best to make the minds of his younger soldiers by rewards, rather than to urge them by severe orders; for whom will not the love of gain draw on? He therefore ordered the herald to proclaim a reward of two aurei, afterwards three, and then four, to whoever should overthrow a petraria from the walls; and for each stone displaced from the wall, be promised a reward of four aurei. Then you might see the young men bound forward, and soldiers of great valour press on emulously to draw stones from the wall, as eager for glory as for gain, and persisting in their efforts amidst the darts of the enemy. Very many of them failed in their undertaking, while others were driven back by fear of death; for the Turks from above vigorously repelled them, and neither shields nor arms availed to protect them. The height of the wall was very great, as well as its thickness; but the men of valour, overcoming all difficulties, extracted very many stones from the solid wall; and when the Turks rushed upon them in a body, and tried to cast them down, they strove to repel them, but,

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