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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 117

that so large an army and so many thousands of the Turks had been defeated by so small an army, and that Joppa had been recovered from them by force of arms. In this manner they murmured to one another at what had taken place, and trembled with confusion.

Chapter XVII. - How the Christians acted in the matter of the swine which the Turks had killed.

Now the execrable Turks, who were surprised in Joppa, had made an immense slaughter of those who were too weak to resist, and in particular had killed a large number of swine, in fact, all they could find; for it is against the law of Mahomet to eat them; wherefore they naturally abominate swine as unclean, because swine are said to have devoured Mahomet. The Turks, therefore, in contempt of the Christians, had collected into one mass the bodies of the swine, together with the bodies of the Christians, whom they had slain. But the corpses of the Christians were now buried in peace, whilst those of the Turks were in their turn cast out to rot with those of the swine.

Chapter XVIII - Of the rebuilding of the walls of Joppa.

On the next day, being Sunday, the king diligently set to work to repair the walls of Joppa, and continued his exertions on Monday and Tuesday, that some protection at least might be furnished by them such as it was, though the repairs were made without either lime or cement - but this could not be avoided, for an immense army of Turks was close at hand.

Chapter XIX. - How certain men called Menelones and Cordivi boasted that they would surprise the king, asleep or otherwise, unawares.

Meanwhile a certain depraved set of men among the Saracens, called Menelones of Aleppo and Cordivi, an active race, met together to consult what should be done in the existing state of things. They spoke of the scandal which lay against them, that so small an army, without horses, had driven them out of Joppa, and they reproached themselves with cowardice and shameful laziness, and arrogantly made a compact among themselves that they would seize King Richard in his tent, and bring him before Saladin, from whom they would receive a most munificent reward.

Chapter XX. - How Count Henry arrived at Joppa from Cǽsarea, and of the number of his soldiers.

In the mean time Count Henry came in a galley with his followers from Cǽsarea, where the rest of our army was detained, on account of the ambuscades of the Turks, who lay in wait at all the roads, bridges, and wells, so that the king could not, on this emergency, bring with him out of all his army more than fifty-five knights, with a strong body of infantry, arbalesters, and retainers; besides, about two thousand Genoese and Pisans and others; whilst of horses he had no more than fifteen, whether good or bad.

Chapter XXI. - How the aforesaid Menelones and Cordivi would have surprised the king in his tent, as they had boasted, if a certain Genoese had not perceived them, and awakened the king.

Meanwhile the Menelones and Cordivi aforesaid prepared themselves in the middle of the night to surprise the king, and sallied forth armed, by the light of the moon, conversing with one another about the object which they had in hand. O hateful race of unbelievers! they are anxiously bent upon seizing Christ’s steadfast soldier, while he is asleep: they rush on in numbers to seize him, unarmed and apprehensive of no danger. They were now not far from his tent, and were preparing to lay hands on him, when, lo! the God of mercy, who never neglects those who trust in Him, and acts in a wonderful manner even towards those who know him not, sent the spirit of discord among the aforesaid Cordivi and Menelones. The Cordivi said, "You shall go in on foot, to take the king and his followers, whilst we will remain on horseback to prevent their escaping into the castle." But the Menelones replied, "Nay, it is your place to go in on foot, because our rank is higher than yours: we are First with the service which is our duty; but this service on foot belongs to you rather than us." Whilst thus the two parties were contending which of them were the greatest, their continued dispute caused much delay, and when at last they came to a decision how their nefarious attempt should be achieved, the dawn of day appeared, viz. the Wednesday next following the feast of St. Peter ad vincula. But now, by the providence of God, who had decreed that his holy champion should not be seized whilst asleep by the infidels, a certain Genoese was led by the divine impulse to go out early in the morning into the fields, where he was alarmed at the noise of men and horses advancing, and returned speedily, but just had time to see helmets reflecting back the light which now fell upon them. He immediately rushed with speed into the camp, calling out "To arms! to arms!" The king was

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