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Geoffrey de Vinsauf
Itinerary of Richard I and others to the Holy Land
take the city of Tyre, went against it a second time with all his army, and not First with besieging it by land, he blockaded it from the sea with his galleys, and prepared to attack it on every side. That nothing might be left
untried, he brought forward the marquis’s father, whom he had taken prisoner in the battle before mentioned, trusting that the son, moved by filial affection, would give up the city in exchange for his parent. At one moment he offers him in exchange, at another he threatens him with death, and tries various means of working upon his feelings. All, however, is in vain, for the marquis, inflexible, derides his offers and despises his threats. Whenever, to move his compassion, they show him his father in chains, he immediately seizes a balista, and aims a shaft obliquely towards him, intending indeed that his hand shall err, but feigning to take good aim. And when the sultan’s messengers came to threaten that his father should be slain, he replied that he wished it by all means; that the wicked man, after so many crimes, might at length find a good end, and he might himself have a martyr for his father. Thus the tyrant, failing in his expectation of gaining the city by these means, tried his fortune in another way; and where art failed, determined to see what could be done by arms. Tyre is situated in the heart of the sea, and is surrounded on all sides by walls. A small part of it, where it is not washed by the waves, is fortified by several lines of walls. It was once famous for its kings, and gave birth to the founders of Thebes and Carthage. When Solomon was king of Judea, Tyre had her own sovereign, and though she was then the head of her own dominions, in process of time she became a part of the kingdom of Jerusalem. This city its eager foe now assailed by land and sea; and, whilst it suffered within from hunger, it was exposed to manifold assaults from without. On the morning after Innocent’s day, namely on the feast of the blessed martyr Thomas,(8) the citizens gained an important victory, for at dawn of day they sailed out with a few small vessels, and in a naval engagement obliged the enemy to raise the siege on the side of the sea. They seemed indeed more fitted for flight than fighting; and on the first onset, all the enemy’s fleet, by the power of the Almighty, were so panicstruck, that some of them were carried into the city with their crews: the
(8) Dec. 29, 1187. Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury, was murdered the 29th of December, seventeen years before.
rest in their flight ran aground and there perished. The unbelievers, seeing this engagement by sea, supposed that all the defenders of the city had left it, and thus, confident of victory, they attacked the town with impetuosity. Already their troops had reached the fortifications, and numbers were hasting to mount them, when the marquis ordered the gates to be thrown open, and followed by Hugh of Tiberias, with his brothers and a noble company of men besides, struck down multitudes with his small band. Saladin seeing the fortunes of the day against him, gave orders that his remaining engines and galleys should be burnt, and retreated ingloriously. Afterwards, about the beginning of May, he released the king from captivity, and, having broken his former agreement, imposed, as we have already mentioned, a new and hard condition.
Chapter XI. - Of the meeting of the king and queen.
There is an island called Arados, having a city named Antharados, but commonly called Tortosa. Hither the queen came to meet the king: they kiss and embrace one another, shedding tears of joy, and rejoice at having escaped the calamities which had caused them so much grief. The king remained the following year, partly at Antioch, partly at Tripoli, waiting for the Christians who were preparing to come from beyond the sea to the succour of the Holy Land.
Chapter XII. - Of the money which king Henry formerly deposited with the Templars.
Among other things we think it ought not to be passed over in silence, that Henry, king of England, had formerly deposited a large sum of money with the Templars and Hospitallers, to defend Tyre, and provide for other matters concerning the kingdom. This money that magnificent king, by a provision as pious as necessary, had transmitted to Jerusalem, during a period of many years, to be used in the service of the Holy Land: its total, as is said, amounted to 30,000 marks.
Chapter XIII - How Saladin, retreating from Tyre, took several towns, both in Palestine, and near Antioch.
Now Saladin leaving Tyre, occupied several castles in Palestine, and thence marched with rapidity into the country round Antioch; and took, by assault rather than by siege, Gebeli, Laodicea, and several other fortresses of that province. The city itself was thrown into no small alarm; but the
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