Previous First Next
Geoffrey de Vinsauf
Itinerary of Richard I and others to the Holy Land
security, and subscribing the terms of peace, they might quit the city, without carrying any thing with them, having first given up the hostages.
Chapter XVIII. - How, on giving hostages for the delivery of the Cross, money, and captives within a month, the Turks marched out of the city and the Christians entered it; and how the two kings divided every thing equally between them.
Thus, on the Friday after the Translation of St. Benedict, the principal and noblest of the admirals were given and received as hostages, and the space of one month fixed for the delivery of the Cross, and the collecting
together of the captives. And when it was rumoured abroad that the city was to be given up, the common people, in their folly, were inflamed with fury, but the wiser portion rejoiced at gaining so profitably, and without danger, what they had been so long a time unable to obtain. Then was it proclaimed and prohibited, by voice of herald, that any one should molest the Turks by word or deed, or provoke them by abuse, or that missiles should any longer be cast for the destruction of the walls or of the Turks who might be seen on the battlements. And when the day came that the Turks, so renowned for their courage and valour, most active in the exercise of war, and famous for their magnificence, appeared on the walls ready to leave the city, the Christians went forth to look at them, and were struck with admiration when they remembered the deeds they had done. They were also astonished at the cheerful countenances of those who were thus driven almost penniless from their city, - their demeanour unchanged by adversity; and those who but now had been compelled by extreme necessity to own themselves conquered, and betake themselves to supplication, bore no marks of care, as they came forth, nor any signs of dejection at the loss of all they possessed - not even in the firmness of their countenances, for they seemed to be conquerors by their courageous bearing; but the form of superstitious idolatry, and the miserable error of sinfulness, throw a stain upon their warlike glories. At last, when all the Turks had departed, the Christians, with the two kings at their head, entered the city without opposition, through the open gates, with dances, and joy, and loud vociferations, glorifying God, and giving Him thanks, because He had magnified His mercy to them, and had visited them, and redeemed His people. Then the banners, and various standards of the two kings, were raised on the walls and towers, and the city was equally divided between them. They also made a proportionate division of the arms and provisions they found; and the whole number of captives, being reckoned, was divided by lot. The noble Caracois, and a large number, fell to the lot of the king of France; and King Richard had for his portion Mestoc and the remainder. Moreover, the king of France had for his share the noble palace of the Templars, with all its appurtenances; and King Richard had the royal palace, to which he sent the queens, with their
damsels and handmaids; thus each obtained his portion in peace. The army was distributed through the city, and after the protracted contest of so long a siege, gave themselves indulgence, and refreshed themselves with the rest they needed. The night following our entrance, Saladin, through fear of us, retired from the place in which he was posted, and occupied a most distant mountain.
Chapter XIX. - How vilely and shamefully the Turks, when in possession of the city, had treated our sacred things.
From the day on which the Saracens first got possession of the city of Acre, to that on which it was restored, was a space of four years. It was restored, as has been said, on the morrow of St. Benedict. The state of the churches within the city was not beheld without horror, and it is not without grief that we relate the unseemly things that had been perpetrated within them. For who could behold, without tears, the countenances of the holy images of the crucifixion of the Son of God, and of many saints, defiled or disfigured in one way or another? Who would not shudder at the horrible sight of altars overthrown, and crucifixes cast to the earth, and beaten in contempt by that insulting and impious nation, the Turks, and their own Mahometan rites exhibited in holy places - all the relics of man’s redemption and the Christian religion effaced, and the corruption of the Mahometan superstition introduced?
Chapter XX. - Of the quarrel between the two kings on account of the Marquis and King Guy, and of their reconciliation.
After this a great discord arose between the two kings, on account of the aforesaid marquis whom the king of France favoured, and to whom he had determined to give his share of all that fell to his lot, present or future, in the Holy Land. But King Richard, who compassionated the distress of King Guy, would not consent to this grant, for he thought that all and every thing belonged to Guy. On this point the kings were at variance for some time; until, by the mediation of the chiefs and leaders of the people,
Previous First Next
* * *