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Geoffrey de Vinsauf
Itinerary of Richard I and others to the Holy Land
set at liberty as soon as possible. On the same day that this capitulation gave him possession of the city, the sun, as if in sympathy, was eclipsed, and withdrew its light from the city and from the world. The perjured and perfidious tyrant, too, was faithless in the performance of part of his agreement; for the king was carried to Damascus, and was there held in chains until the ensuing mouth of May; nor was he released from his captivity until he had first consented to abjure his crown.
Chapter IX. - Jerusalem is taken and treated with indignity: the people who ransom themselves are expelled, the rest are made slaves.
The fall of Jerusalem was now impending: the victor advancing with speed equal to his hatred, laid siege to the city; and erecting his machines, with sacrilegious irreverence profaned all the holy places. There was a certain cross of stone, which our soldiers formerly, when, after the capture of Antioch, they had gloriously taken this city, had erected on the wall in commemoration of the deed. The ferocious invaders destroyed this cross with a blow from one of their machines, and at the same time struck down a great part of the wall. The citizens interposed such defences as they were able, but all the exertions of our men were ineffectual: bows, balistas, and slings were used to no purpose; both arms and machines visibly declared that the Lord was wroth, and foretold the fall of the city. A large number of people had flocked together to the city from the neighbouring fortresses, trusting rather in the sanctity of the place than in the strength of its defences; but in so great a multitude hardly fourteen knights could be found. The priests and clerks, although it was contrary to their profession, discharged the duties of soldiers, according to the emergency, and fought bravely for the Lord’s house, bearing in mind the maxim, that to repel force by force is allowed by all laws both human and divine. But the populace, alike ignorant and timorous, flocked in numbers round the patriarch and the queen, who were left in charge of the city, bitterly complaining and earnestly entreating that they might treat with the sultan for peace, as soon as possible. Their capitulation, however, was one to be deplored, rather than praised: for each of them had to pay the ransom of his own life; a man was valued at ten bezants, a woman at five, a child at one; and whoever was unable to pay, was made a slave. It thus happened that when many of them, either out of their own property, or by aids gathered from other sources, had paid the price of their safety, there remained 14,000, who could not redeem themselves, and were made slaves for life. To those who purchased their liberty, the choice was given, either to proceed to Antioch, or to be carried under safe conduct to Alexandria, and thence to cross the sea. That day was indeed a bitter day, on which the exiles separated, each
15 on his different road, and left that sacred city, that city which had been the queen of cities, but which was now reduced to slavery; that city which was the inheritance of its children, but was now in the hands of strangers, on account of the wickedness of those who dwelt therein. Glorious was Jerusalem, the city of God, where the Lord suffered, and was buried, and where he displayed the glory of his resurrection; but she is now subject to contamination at the hands of her baseborn foe: nor is there any grief like that grief, that they should possess the sepulchre, who persecuted Him that lies buried in it; and those, who had despised the Crucified, have made themselves masters of his Cross! This most holy city had been, for about ninety-six years, in the hands of our people, ever since the victorious arms of the Christians had taken it, at the same time as Antioch; when it had been forty years before in the possession of the unbelievers. When the city was taken, the crier of the Mahometan law proceeded to the summit of the rock of Calvary, and there published their false law, in the place where Christ had consummated the law of death upon the cross. Another diabolical act was perpetrated by the enemy. They fastened ropes round a certain cross, which stood upon the pinnacle of the church of the Hospitallers, and dragged it to the ground, where they spat upon it, and hacked it, and drew it, in derision of our faith, through all the filth of the city.
Chapter X. - How Saladin besieged Tyre by sea and land. Now the queen, who was the daughter of King Amalric, and was named Sibilla, together with Heraclius the patriarch, the Templars, the Hospitallers, and an immense multitude of fellow-exiles, directed their course towards Antioch. How she had a sad interview at Neapolis with the captive king her husband, and how the marquis violently carried off to Tyre the ship in which she intended to embark, brevity compels us to pass over. But we must not omit to mention how Saladin, burning with desire to
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