Global Folio Search
uses Google technology and indexes only and selectively internet - libraries having books with free public access



page 3

His army, under the command of his son Conrade, reached Palestine; but was so diminished by fatigue famine, maladies, and the sword, that it scarcely amounted to eight thousand men, and was unable to make any progress against the great power, valor, and conduct of Saladin. These reiterated calamities attending the crusades, had taught the kings of France and England the necessity of trying another road to the Holy Land and they determined to conduct their armies thither by sea, to carry provisions along with them, and by means of their naval power to maintain an open communication with then own states, and with the western parts of Europe. The place of rendezvous was appointed in the plains of Vezelay, on the borders of Burgundy.(*)

1190 Philip and Richard, on their arrival there, found their combined army amount to one hundred thousand men;(**) a mighty force, animated with glory and religion, conducted by two warlike monarchs, provided with every thing which their several dominions couid supply, and not to be overcome but by their own misconduct, or by the unsurmountable obstacles of nature.

[* Hoveden, p. 660.]
[** Vinisnuf, p. 305]

The French prince and the English here reiterated their promises of cordial friendship, pledged their faith not to invade each other's dominions during the crusade, mutually exchanged the oaths of all their barons and prelates to the same effect, and subjected themselves to the penalty of interdicts and excommunications, if they should ever violate this public and solemn engagement. They then separated; Philip took the road to Genoa, Richard that to Marseilles, with a view of meeting their fleets, which were severally appointed to rendezvous in these harbors. They put to sea; and nearly about the same time were obliged, by stress of weather, to take shelter in Messina, where they were detained during the whole winter. This incident laid the foundation of animosities which proved fatal to their enterprise. Richard and Philip were, by the situation and extent of their dominions, rivals in power; by their age and inclinations, competitors for glory; and these causes of emulation, which, had the princes been employed in the field against the common enemy, might have stimulated them to martial enterprises, soon excited, during the present leisure and repose, quarrels between monarchs of such a fiery character. Equally haughty, ambitious, intrepid, and inflexible, they were irritated with the least appearance of injury, and were incapable, by mutual condescensions, to efface those causes of complaint which unavoidably rose between them. Richard, candid, sincere, undesigning, impolitic, violent, laid himself open on every occasion to the designs of his antagonist; who, provident, interested, intriguing, failed not to take all advantages against him: and thus, both the circumstances of their disposition in which they were similar, and those in which they differed, rendered it impossible for them to persevere in that harmony which was so necessary to the success of their undertaking. The last king of Sicily and Naples was William II., who had married Joan, sister to Richard, and who, dying without issue, had bequeathed his dominions to his paternal aunt Constantia, the only legitimate descendant surviving of Roger the first sovereign of those states who had been honored with the royal title. This princess had, in expectation of that rich inheritance, been married to Henry VI., the reigning emperor;(*) but Tancred, her natural brother, had fixed such an interest among the barons, that, taking advantage of Henry's absence, he had acquired possession of the throne, and maintained his claim, by force of arms, against all the efforts of the Germans.(**) The approach of the crusaders naturally gave him apprehensions for his unstable government; and he was uncertain whether he had most reason to dread the presence of the French or of the English monarch. Philip was engaged in a strict alliance with the emperor, his competitor: Richard was disgusted by his rigors towards the queen dowager, whom the Sicilian prince had confined in Palermo because she had opposed with all her interest his succession to the crown. Tancred, therefore, sensible of the present necessity, resolved to pay court to both these formidable princes; and he was not unsuccessful in his endeavors. He persuaded Philip that it was highly improper for him to interrupt his enterprise against the infidels by any attempt against a Christian state: he restored Queen Joan to her liberty; and even found means to make an alliance with Richard, who stipulated by treaty to marry his nephew Arthur; the young duke of Brittany, to one of the daughters of Tancred(.[***)

[* Benedict. Abbas, p. 580.]
[** Hoveden, p. 663]
[*** Hoveden, p. 676, 677. Benedict. Abbas, p.615.]

But before these terms of friendship were settled. Richard, jealous both of Tancred and of the inhabitants of Messina, had taken up his quarters in the suburbs, and had possessed himself of a small fort, which commanded the harbor; and he kept himself extremely on his guard against their enterprises. The citizens took umbrage. Mutual insults and attacks passed between them and the English: Philip, who had quartered his troops in the town, endeavored to accommodate the quarrel, and held a conference with Richard for that purpose. While the two kings, meeting in the open fields, were engaged in discourse on this subject, a body of those Sicilians seemed to be drawing towards them; and Richard pushed forwards in order to inquire into the reason of this extraordinary movement.(*) The English, indolent from their power, and inflamed with former animosities, wanted but a pretence for attacking the Messinese: they soon chased them off the field, drove them into the town, and entered with them at the gates. The king employed his authority to restrain them from pillaging and massacring the defenceless inhabitants; but he gave orders, in token of his victory, that the standard of England should be erected on the walls.

* * *

Back To Section  

© Idea and design by Galina Rossi

All materials from this site are permitted for non commersial use unless otherwise indicated. If you reduplicate documents from here you have to indicate Monsalvat as a source and place link to us.

Global Folio         Cyprus Explorer        Medievalist         Smart Trader   Библиотека Медиевалиста   Ломоносов: жизнь, творчество, эпоха