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

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Itinerary of Richard I and others to the Holy Land
page 93

Joppa went on an expedition as far as Mirabel; and carried off a large booty of cattle from the Saracens, thirty of whom they killed, and brought back fifty alive, besides an immense spoil. A moiety of it was given to the count, who was governor of the city, the other moiety was sold for eight thousand Saracenic bezants, of good money. Likewise, on the morrow, which was the Saturday before Palm Sunday, all those at Ascalon who had horses made an expedition, and scoured the whole country, as we were told by those who were present, as far as Egypt, four miles beyond Darum; and having collected a large number of cattle, horses, and mares, also twenty asses, thirty camels, and seventy sheep, and other cattle, they formed in a body and returned with all speed to Ascalon, bringing back also with them 200 Saracens, with their wives and children. On Palm Sunday, King Richard, amid much splendour, girded with the belt of knighthood the son of Saphadin, who had been sent to him for that purpose.

Chapter XIII. - How the duke of Burgundy and the marquis, from envy at the successes of King Richard, recalled the French, who were with him at Ascalon and Joppa.

Meanwhile, the duke of Burgundy and the marquis, inflamed with envy, which is always jealous of the virtues of a superior, sent ambassadors from Tyre to Ascalon, to charge the residue of the French who remained to come to them at Tyre as quickly as possible, and join in their new schemes and designs, and that they should act together in common concert, in accordance with their former oath of allegiance to the king of France. Then the treachery and premeditated faithlessness with which the marquis had, from the first, himself entered into treaty with the king of France, became manifest; which was, that the marquis should join the French to his party, in order to expedite the accomplishment of his own plans. Hence he strove to withdraw the French, as if they were bound to his service, in order that King Richard might be the less able to carry on the war.

Chapter XIV. - How King Richard returned to Ascalon, and how 700 of the French soldiers, in obedience to the commands of the duke of Burgundy and the marquis, left the king and went to Tyre.

On the Tuesday before Easter, King Richard returned to the army at Ascalon, exceedingly sorrowful and disturbed. On the morrow, i. e. Wednesday, the leaders of the French requested of the king to furnish them, according to agreement, with an escort and safe conduct; and the king consenting, assigned to them the Templars, to conduct them on their journey, as well as the Hospitallers, and Count Henry of Champagne, and many others, as their comrades. The king also, anxious to omit no proper mark of attention, escorted them on their way in person; while he entreated them, with tears and soothing words, to stay a little longer with him, and that they should be provided for at his expense if they would succour the Holy Land in its desolation, to the utmost of their power. This, however, they absolutely refused, so he let them go away and returned to Ascalon; whence he sent messengers at full speed to Acre, to charge the garrison not to admit the French within the city to lodge, but yet not to offer them any insult or annoyance, from which offence might be taken, or an occasion of dispute: so when the French arrived there, they stationed themselves outside the city.

Chapter XV. - How Saladin, hearing of the departure of the French, summoned his army together again.

Thus on the day of our Lord’s Supper the army was dejected at the departure of the French, for it lost no small portion of its strength thereby, as 700 French knights had left, men of tried valour and great activity, and the people were in consequence thrown into much tribulation. But the Turks were rejoiced on hearing what had taken place; and Saladin, when he was told of it, sent messengers on horseback to carry letters, addressed to all the admirals and people throughout his dominions, charging them by edict to lay aside every occupation, and come to the land of Jerusalem with all speed. "The French," he said, "have, from ill will, departed, and left the land almost without a defender, and the strength of the war and the power of the Christian army are fallen; wherefore we trust that in a short time we shall gain possession of Acre and Tyre, the chief cities of the land." The Turks returned at the command of the Soldan, but with less readiness, and in smaller bodies than before; for they had not forgotten the past: in comparison, however, with our paucity of numbers, they exceeded us greatly in strength.

Chapter XVI. - How fire from heaven, as usual, lighted the lamp at the Holy Sepulchre, in the sight of Saladin, and how he had it extinguished three times, and how it was three times relighted.

On Easter Eve, Saladin, with his retinue, paid a visit to the Holy Sepulchre of our Lord, to assure himself of the truth of a certain fact,

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