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Geoffrey de Vinsauf
Itinerary of Richard I and others to the Holy Land
false and scurrilous composition? Moreover, the king’s high honour was so evident in all his actions, that his rivals, who could not equal him, assailed him with foul and gratuitous aspersions. For they were not like the pilgrims of yore who besieged and captured Antioch, and whose famous deeds and victories are still recited in song. Such were Boemund, Tancred, and Godfrey of Bouillon, and other princes of high renown, who gained so many triumphs, and whose exploits are like food in the mouths of their narrators. Men, who because their hearts were true to the service of God, received from the Lord the reward of their labours, who magnified them by giving them an immortal name, which posterity should regard with the deepest veneration.
Chapter IX. - Of the return of the army from Betenoble to Joppa.
The army remained in this state for some days after the capture of the caravan, and were in great sorrow and distress in consequence of the check put on their progress to visit the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem, from which they were only four miles distant. The dejection which their return caused was never before equalled in a people of the like valour. Our men, on setting out on their march, were attacked by the Turks from the mountains, and some of our camp-followers were slain, though they were repulsed by our horsemen, from not having good horses. The army afterwards arrived at a place between Saint George and Ramula, where they spent the night, the French posting themselves on the left, the king and his men on the right. Next day they proceeded on their march in separate divisions, and arrived at night at a castle midway; this was on the 6th of July. Here some in disgust deserted the army, on account of the tediousness and penury to which they were exposed in the expedition: these went to Joppa.
Chapter X. - How Saladin, learning the discord and departure of the Christians, collected an immense army.
When the state and intention of the Christians were made known to Saladin, his hopes revived, and his joy was unbounded. He immediately sent messengers bearing despatches, sealed with his own ring, to the admirals, princes, satraps, and prefects of his dominions, informing them of the internal discord which had broken up the Christian army and forced them to retire; and that whoever wished to serve in his pay, should come forthwith to Jerusalem. So large a number flocked thither in consequence, that the cavalry was estimated at 20,000 strong, besides a countless multitude of foot soldiers.
Chapter XI. - How King Richard, seeing the defection of his men, sought to obtain the truce which had been first offered him, but in vain, and how in consequence he destroyed Darum and fortified Ascalon, and then returned to Acre by way of Joppa.
Meanwhile our men moved off by degrees, and many went to Joppa. The king perceiving his inability to check them on account of the diversity of opinion which prevailed, thought the best line of policy was to send to Saphadin at this juncture, and agree to the truce, which had been before offered between him and Saladin, in the plains of Ramula, for a certain period, in order that he might have time to return from his own country. But Saladin, who knew well the condition of our army, and that it was daily growing weaker and weaker, absolutely refused, unless Ascalon was razed to the ground. The king, learning Saladin’s answer, was not at all discomposed; nay, he gave immediate orders to the Templars, Hospitallers, and others, to the number of three hundred, to mount their horses and proceed to the destruction of Fort Darum; and he set guards to watch over and fortify Ascalon as strongly as possible. They hastened to obey the king’s orders, and levelled Darum with the ground. The army then returned in dejected mood as far as Joppa, and thence the king and the rest proceeded in all haste to Acre, but many remained from ill health and weakness at Joppa. Thus the army returned to Acre, broken up, with a
heavy heart, for God did not as yet judge them worthy of the higher bounties of his grace.
Chapter XII. - Of the great army with which Saladin came to Joppa.
When Saladin heard that the men of Joppa were without the presence of King Richard to protect them, he ordered his army should proceed thither, in the hope that he would easily take the city during the king’s absence. He therefore led an immense army having 20,000 horse in that direction; and he had with him the powerful admiral of Bala, and the son of Arcisus, together with about one hundred and six admirals, and an immense multitude of infantry from the mountains, who covered the face of the earth like locusts. The army, leaving Jerusalem, descended into the plains of Ramula, rushing on in troops and squadrons as if impelled by the furies to the utter destruction of the Christians.
Chapter XIII. - How Saladin assaulted Joppa so vigorously, that he would have taken it, if the townsmen had not asked for a cessation of arms until the next day.
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