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Geoffrey de Vinsauf
Itinerary of Richard I and others to the Holy Land
did not send them speedy assistance, they would give up the city, on the condition that all the besieged Turks should be permitted to depart in freedom, with their arms and property, and go whithersoever they liked. And on the king of France and nearly all the French giving their assent to this condition at the conference, King Richard absolutely refused his, and said, it was not to be consented to, that after so long and laborious a siege, they should enter a deserted city only. On his pleasure being known, Caracois and Mestoc returned to the city without effecting their object. And Saladin, when he learnt that ambassadors had been sent by the besieged, commanded them to persevere and defend their city with as much courage as that which they had hitherto shewn, promising that most ample assistance should soon come to them without a doubt; for he declared to the ambassadors who waited upon him, that he would certainly persevere, and as he was expecting a large body of soldiers from Babylon, they would soon come in ships and galleys; for he had given orders to Muleina to be with him, without fail, in eight days; and if they did not come according to agreement, he promised, with an oath, to procure for them as honourable a peace as he could from the Christians, and the liberty to depart. On hearing
these things, the ambassadors returned to the city, and, repeating the promises of Saladin, persuaded the townsmen to resist, while they looked forward with anxiety for the promised assistance.
Chapter XVI. - How, while our men were courageously assaulting the city, some of the Turks in despair escaped out of it.
Meanwhile, the petrariǽ of the Christians never ceased, day and night, to shake the walls; and when the Turks saw this, they were smitten with wonder, astonishment, terror, and confusion; and many, yielding to their fears, threw themselves down from the walls by night, and without waiting for the promised aid, very many sought, with supplications, the sacrament of baptism and Christianity. There was little doubt, and with good reason as to their merits, that they presumptuously asked the boon more from the pressure of urgent fear than from any divine inspiration; but there are different steps by which men arrive at salvation. It was now well known to Saladin, by means of messengers, who passed backwards and forwards, that to persevere any longer in defending the city, was dangerous, as it could not be kept from the Christians.
Chapter XVII. - How the besieged entered into treaty with the Christians by the advice of Saladin.
Saladin, perceiving the danger of delay, at length determined to yield to the entreaties of the besieged: he was, moreover, persuaded by his admirals, and satraps, and his influential courtiers, who had many friends and kinsmen amongst the besieged. The latter alleged also, that he was bound to them by his promise made on the Mahometan law, that he would procure for them an honourable capitulation at the last moment, lest, perchance, made prisoners at discretion, they should be exterminated or put to an ignominious death, and thus the law of Mahomet, which had been strictly observed by their ancestors, be effaced by its dependence on him; and nevertheless, very much would be derogated from his name and excellence if the worshippers of Mahomet should fall into the hands of the
Christians. They also begged to remind Saladin of the fact, that they, a chosen race of Turks, in obedience to his commands, had been cooped up in the city, and withstood a siege for so long a time; they reminded him too that they had not seen their wives and children for three years, during which period the siege had lasted; and they said, it would be better to surrender the city, than that people of such merit should be destroyed. The princes persuading the sultan to this effect, that their latter condition might not be worse than their former one; he assented to their making peace on the best terms they could, and they drew up a statement of what appeared to them the most proper terms of treaty. On the messengers bringing back the resolution of Saladin and his satraps, the besieged were filled with great joy; and forthwith, the principal men of the city went to the kings, and through their interpreters, offered to surrender unconditionally the city of Acre, the Cross, and two hundred and fifty noble Christian captives; and when they perceived this did not satisfy them, they offered two thousand noble Christian captives, and five hundred of inferior rank, whom Saladin would bring together from all parts of his kingdom, if they would let the Turks depart from their city, with their shirts only, leaving behind them their arms and property; and, as a ransom for themselves, they would give two hundred thousand Saracenic talents. As security for the performance of these conditions, they offered to deliver up, as hostages, all the men of noble or high rank in the city. After the two kings had considered with the wisest of the chiefs, the opinion of all was for accepting the offer, and consenting to the conditions; that on taking the oath for
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