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Geoffrey de Vinsauf
Itinerary of Richard I and others to the Holy Land
page. 72


They therefore returned unsuccessful and empty handed, and excited the king’s anger by telling him the whole matter. At his request the duke of Burgundy, Drogo d’Amiens, and Robert de Quincey, were sent on a second embassy to request the said marquis to come with them to the army, as his presence seemed necessary to the progress of the business, especially as he aspired to the kingdom, the acquisition of which he was preventing; and that he should grant those who were bringing provisions a free passage from Tyre, for (according to his former conduct) he had hitherto hindered them; and on their arrival at Tyre, they set forth their zeal in behalf of King Richard, and urged him to come to their aid in Syria, the dominion of which he aspired to obtain. But he replied arrogantly, protesting that he would not come, but would maintain the government of his own city. When they answered each of his assertions, by contrary arguments, the matter was with difficulty brought to this point,that the messengers should take back with them the Saracen hostages to King Richard; but they could, by no method or persuasion, prevail on the marquis to turn from his obstinate and wicked intentions.

Chapter IV. - How the hostages of Saladin were slain by our men.

When it became clearly evident to King Richard that a longer period had elapsed than had been fixed, and that Saladin was obdurate, and would not give himself trouble to ransom the hostages, he called together a council of the chiefs of the people, by whom it was resolved that the hostages should all be hanged, except a few nobles of the higher class, who might ransom themselves, or be exchanged for some Christian captives. King Richard, aspiring to destroy the Turks root and branch, and to punish their wanton arrogance, as well as to abolish the law of Mahomet, and to vindicate the Christian religion, on the Friday after the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, ordered 2,700 of the Turkish hostages to be led forth from the city., and hanged; his soldiers marched forward with delight to fulfil his commands, and to retaliate, with the assent of the Divine Grace, by taking revenge upon those who had destroyed so many of the Christians with missiles from bows and arbalests.

Chapter V. - How King Richard ordered his army to move by land and by sea towards Askalon.

When evening approached, it was proclaimed by mouth of herald, that the army should march on the morrow, and cross the river of Acre in the name of the Lord, - the dispenser of all good things - in order that they should proceed to Askalon and conquer the maritime districts. It was also ordered that the ships should take on board, for the army, ten days’ provisions, - viz., biscuits, meal, meat, and wine, and whatever else appeared necessary. The sailors were strictly enjoined to keep sailing along shore, with the barges and smacks, which carried the provisions as well as armed men; and thus the forces advanced in two divisions, one by sea the other by land; for otherwise it was not possible to keep possession of the country so completely occupied by the Turks.

Chapter VI. - How many of our chiefs had died in a year and a half at the siege of Acre.

It must be known, that during the two winters and one summer, and up to the middle of the autumn, when the Turks were hanged, as they deserved to be in the sight of God and man, in return for the destruction of our churches and slaughter of our men, many of the Christians who were engaged in the siege of Acre at a great sacrifice had died. The multitude of those who perished in so great an army appears to exceed computation; but the sum total of the chiefs, as a certain writer has estimated it, omitting the others which he says he has no means of reckoning, is as follows: - We lost in the army six archbishops and patriarchs, twelve bishops, forty counts, and five hundred men of noble rank; also a vast number of priests, clergy, and others, which cannot be accurately counted.

Chapter VII. - How King Richard compelled the French to quit Acre and how he fixed his own tent outside the city.

After the Turks were hanged, King Richard, having recovered his health, went out from the city with all his retinue, and ordered his tents to be pitched in the plain outside, and compelled all his soldiers, who were not willing, to quit the city; thus the army took up their quarters on the aforesaid plain, to be ready for setting out on its March; of the French some be allured by soft words, others by entreaties, and many by money, to leave the place, and some be forced out violently. King Richard thereupon appointed a large number of guards to lodge about his pavilion in their tents and awnings, for his protection, as the Turks were making constant irruptions, and all day coming up and rushing out on them unawares, and

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