The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 5

Part 6 out of 8

furnish an indication of the amount of religious instruction. By some
most extraordinary exaggeration, the number of these churches has been
stated to be above forty-five thousand. In _Domesday_ the number
enumerated is a little above seventeen hundred. No doubt this
enumeration is extremely imperfect. Very nearly half of all the churches
put down are found in Lincolnshire, Norfolk, and Suffolk. The
_Register_, in some cases, gives the amount of land with which the
church was endowed. Bosham, in Sussex, the estate of Harold, had, in the
time of King Edward, a hundred and twelve hides of land. At the date of
the survey it had sixty-five hides. This was an enormous endowment. Some
churches had five acres only; some fifty; some a hundred. Some are
without land altogether. But, whether the endowment be large or small,
here is the evidence of a church planted upon the same foundation as the
monarchy, that of territorial possessions.

The politic ruler of England had, in the completion of _Domesday Book_,
possessed himself of the most perfect instrument for the profitable
administration of his government. He was no longer working in the dark,
whether he called out soldiers or levied taxes. He had carried through a
great measure, rapidly, and with a minuteness which puts to shame some
of our clumsy modern statistics. But the Conqueror did not want his
books for the gratification of official curiosity. He went to work when
he knew how many tenants-in-chief he could command, and how many men
they could bring into the field. He instituted the great feudal
principle of knight-service. His ordinance is in these words: "We
command that all earls, barons, knights, sergeants, and freemen be
always provided with horses and arms as they ought, and that they be
always ready to perform to us their whole service, in manner as they owe
it to us of right for their fees and tenements, and as we have appointed
to them by the common council of our whole kingdom, and as we have
granted to them in fee with right of inheritance."

These words, "in fee, with right of inheritance," leave no doubt that
the great vassals of the crown were absolute proprietors, and that all
their subvassals had the same right of holding in perpetuity. The
estate, however, reverted to the crown if the race of the original
feoffee became extinct, and in cases, also, of felony and treason. When
Alain of Bretagne, who commanded the rear of the army at the battle of
Hastings, and who had received four hundred and forty-two manors, bowed
before the King at Salisbury, at the great council in 1085, and swore to
be true to him against all manner of men, he also brought with him his
principal _land-sittende_ men (land-owners), who also bowed before the
King and became his men. They had previously taken the oath of fealty to
Alain of Bretagne, and engaged to perform all the customs and services
due to him for their lands and tenements. Alain, and his men, were
proprietors, but with very unequal rights. Alain, by his tenure, was
bound to provide for the King as many armed horsemen as the vast extent
of his estates demanded. But all those whom he had enfeoffed, or made
proprietors, upon his four hundred and forty-two manors, were each bound
to contribute a proportionate number. When the free service of forty
days was to be enforced, the great earl had only to send round to his
vassals, and the men were at his command.

By this organization, which was universal throughout the kingdom, sixty
thousand cavalry could, with little delay, be called into the field.
Those who held by this military service had their allotments divided
into so many knights' fees, and each knight's fee was to furnish one
mounted and armed soldier. The great vassals retained a portion of their
land as their demesnes, having tenants who paid rents and performed
services not military. But, under any circumstances, the vassal of the
crown was bound to perform his whole free service with men and horses
and arms. It is perfectly clear that this wonderful organization
rendered the whole system of government one great confederacy, in which
the small proprietors, tenants, and villeins had not a chance of
independence; and that their condition could only be ameliorated by
those gradual changes which result from a long intercourse between the
strong and the weak, in which power relaxes its severity and becomes

In the ordinance in which the King commanded "free service" he also
says, "we will that all the freemen of the kingdom possess their lands
in peace, free from all tallage and unjust exaction." This, unhappily
for the freemen, was little more than a theory under the Norman kings.
There were various modes of making legal exaction the source of the
grossest injustice. When the heir of an estate entered into possession
he had to pay a "relief," or _heriot_, to the lord. This soon became a
source of oppression in the crown; and enormous sums were exacted from
the great vassals. The lord was not more sparing of his men. He had
another mode of extortion. He demanded "aid" on many occasions, such as
the marriage of his eldest daughter, or when he made his eldest son a
knight. The estate of inheritance, which looks so generous and equitable
an arrangement, was a perpetual grievance; for the possessor could
neither transmit his property by will nor transfer it by sale. The heir,
however remote in blood, was the only legitimate successor.

The feudal obligation to the lord was, in many other ways, a fruitful
source of tyranny, which lasted up to the time of the Stuarts. If the
heir were a minor, the lord entered into possession of the estate
without any accountability. If it descended to a female, the lord could
compel her to marry according to his will, or could prevent her
marrying. During a long period all these harassing obligations connected
with property were upheld. The crown and the nobles were equally
interested in their enforcement; and there can be little doubt that,
though the great vassals sometimes suffered under these feudal
obligations to the king, the inferior tenants had a much greater amount
of oppression to endure at the hands of their immediate lords. But if
the freemen were oppressed in the tenure of their property, we can
scarcely expect that the landless man had not much more to suffer. If he
committed an offence in the Saxon time, he paid a "mulct"; if in the
Norman, he was subjected to an _amerciament_. His whole personal estate
was at the mercy of the lord.

Having thus obtained a general notion of the system of society
established in less than twenty years after the Conquest, we see that
there was nothing wanting to complete the most entire subjection of the
great body of the nation. What had been wanting was accomplished in the
practical working out of the theory that the entire land of the country
belonged to the King. It was now established that every tenant-in-chief
should do homage to the king; that every superior tenant should do
homage to his lord; that every villein should be the bondman of the
free; and that every slave should, without any property however limited
and insecure, be the absolute chattel of some master. The whole system
was connected with military service. This was the feudal system. There
was some resemblance to it in parts of the Saxon organization; but under
that organization there was so much of freedom in the allodial or free
tenure of land that a great deal of other freedom went with it. The
casting-off of the chains of feudality was the labor of six centuries.



A.D. 1086-1214


(During the early part of the eleventh century the western caliphate,
which with its splendid capital of Cordova had flourished for almost
three hundred years, entered upon a decline that was the beginning of
its final dissolution. By A.D. 1020 the local governors openly asserted
their independence of Cordova and assumed the title of kings.
Conspicuous among them was Mahomet ben Ismail ben Abid, the _wali_ of

While these petty rulers were determined to renounce allegiance to
Cordova, it was resolved at that capital to elect a sovereign to subdue
them and restore the ancient splendor of the empire. The choice fell
upon Gehwar ben Mahomet, who soon established a degree of tranquillity
and commercial prosperity unknown for many years. But he failed to
reestablish the supremacy of Cordova, which capital Mahomet of Seville
was preparing to invade when he died. His son, Mahomet Almoateded,
having subdued Southern Andalusia, became the ally of Mahomet, son and
successor of Gehwar on the throne of Cordova; but he betrayed the latter
under pretence of aiding him against his enemies, and usurped the

On the death of Mahomet Almoateded, his son Mahomet succeeded him at
Cordova. He was already King of Seville, and as he soon occupied many
other cities he became the most independent and powerful sovereign of
Mahometan Spain. His chief rival, Yahia Alkadia, King of Toledo, was so
contemptible to his people that they expelled him. He appealed for aid
to Alfonso VI, King of Leon [Alfonso of Castile]; but that Christian
soldier was persuaded by Mahomet to oppose, instead of assisting, Yahia.
The latter was restored to his throne by the King of Badajoz, but
Alfonso invested Toledo and, after a three-years' siege, reduced the
city, in A.D. 1085. In the history of the events directly following the
capitulation it is shown how costly to himself was the alliance of
Mahomet with Alfonso, and how it played its part in the coming of his
coreligionists from Africa to his assistance, and finally, as it proved,
to his own undoing and the supplanting of the power he represented in
the Mahometan government of Spain.)

The fall of Toledo, however it might have been foreseen by the
Mahometans, filled them with equal dismay and indignation. As Mahomet
was too formidable to be openly assailed, they turned their
vociferations of anger against his _hagib_, whom they accused of
betraying the faith of Islam. Alarmed at the universal outcry, Mahomet
was not sorry that he could devolve the heavy load of responsibility on
the shoulders of his minister. The latter fled; but though he procured a
temporary asylum from several princes, he was at length seized by the
emissaries of his offended master; was brought, first to Cordova, next
to Seville; confined within the walls of a dungeon; and soon beheaded by
the royal hand of Mahomet. Thus was a servant of the King sacrificed for
no other reason than that he had served that King too well.

The conquest of Toledo was far from satisfying the ambition of Alfonso:
he rapidly seized on the fortresses of Madrid, Maqueda, Guadalaxara, and
established his dominion on both banks of the Tagus. Mahomet now began
seriously to repent his treaty with the Christian, and to tremble even
for his own possessions. He vainly endeavored to divert his ally from
the projects of aggrandizement which that ally had evidently formed. The
kings of Badajoz and Saragossa became tributaries to the latter; nay, if
any reliance is to be placed on either Christian or Arabic
historians,[29] the King of Seville himself was subjected to the same
humiliation. However this may have been, Mahomet saw that unless he
leagued himself with those whose subjugation had hitherto been his
constant object--the princes of his faith--his and their destruction was
inevitable. The magnitude of the danger compelled him to solicit their

[Footnote 29: Conde gives the translation of two letters--one from
Alfonso to Mahomet, distinguished for a tone of superiority and even of
arrogance, which could arise only from the confidence felt by the writer
in his own strength; the other from Mahomet to Alfonso, containing a
defiance. The latter begins:

"To the proud enemy of Allah, Alfonso ben Sancho, who calls himself lord
of both nations and both laws. May God confound his arrogance, and
prosper those who walk in the right way!"

One passage of the same letter says: "Fatigued with war, we were willing
to offer thee an annual tribute; but this does not satisfy thee: thou
wishest us to deliver into thine hands our towns and fortresses; but are
we thy subjects, that thou makest such demands, or hast thou ever
subdued us? Thine injustice has roused us from our lethargy," etc.]

As the King of Saragossa was too much in fear of the Christians to enter
into any league against them, and as the one of Valencia (Yahia) reigned
only at the pleasure of Alfonso, the sovereigns of Badajoz, Almeria, and
Granada were the only powers on whose cooeperation he could calculate (he
had annihilated the authority of several petty kings). He invited those
princes to send their representatives to Seville, to consult as to the
measures necessary to protect their threatened independence. The
invitation was readily accepted. On the day appointed, Mahomet, with his
son Al Raxid and a considerable number of his _wazirs_ and _cadis_, was
present at the deliberations. The danger was so imminent--the force of
the Christians was so augmented, and that of the Moslems so weakened--
that such resistance as Mahometan Spain alone could offer seemed
hopeless. With this conviction in their hearts, two of the most
influential cadis proposed an appeal to the celebrated African
conqueror, Yussef ben Taxfin, whose arm alone seemed able to preserve
the faith of Islam in the Peninsula.

The proposal was received with general applause by all present: they did
not make the very obvious reflection that when a nation admits into its
bosom an ally more powerful than itself, it admits at the same time a
conqueror. The wali of Malaga alone, Abdallah ben Zagut, had courage to
oppose the dangerous embassy under consideration: "You mean to call in
the aid of the Almoravides! Are you ignorant that these fierce
inhabitants of the desert resemble their own native tigers? Suffer them
not, I beseech you, to enter the fertile plains of Andulasia and
Granada! Doubtless they would break the iron sceptre which Alfonso
intends for us; but you would still be doomed to wear the chains of
slavery. Do you not know that Yussef has taken all the cities of
Almagreb; that he has subdued the powerful tribes of the east and west;
that he has everywhere substituted despotism for liberty and
independence?" The aged Zagut spoke in vain: he was even accused of
being a secret partisan of the Christian; and the embassy was decreed.

But Zagut was not the only one who foresaw the catastrophe to which that
embassy must inevitably lead: Al Raxid shared the same prophetic
feeling. In reply to his father, who, after the separation of the
assembly, expatiated on the absolute necessity of soliciting the
alliance of Aben Taxfin as the only measure capable of saving the rest
of Mahometan Spain from the yoke of Alfonso, he said: "This Aben Taxfin,
who has subdued all that he pleased, will serve us as he has already
served the people of Almagreb and Mauritania--he will expel us from our

"Anything," rejoined the father, "rather than Andalusia should become
the prey of the Christians! Dost thou wish the Mussulmans to curse me? I
would rather become an humble shepherd, a driver of Yussef's camels,
than reign dependent on these Christian dogs! But my trust is in Allah."

"May Allah protect both thee and thy people!" replied Al Raxid,
mournfully, who saw that the die of fate was cast.

The course of this history must be interrupted for a moment, while the
origin and exploits of this formidable African are recorded.

Beyond the chain of Mount Atlas, in the deserts of ancient Getulia,
dwelt two tribes of Arabian descent--both, probably, of the greater one
of Zanhaga, so illustrious in Arabian history. At what time they had
been expelled, or had voluntarily exiled themselves, from their native
Yemen, they knew not; but tradition taught them that they had been
located in the African deserts from ages immemorial. Their life was
passed under the tent; their only possessions were their camels and
their freedom. Yahia ben Ibrahim, belonging to one of these tribes--that
of Gudala--made the pilgrimage of Mecca. On his return through the
province of Cairwan he became acquainted with Abu-Amram, a famous
_alfaqui_, originally of Fez. Being questioned by his new friend as to
the religion and manners of his countrymen, he replied that they were
sunk in ignorance, both from their isolated situation in the desert and
from their want of teachers; he added, however, that they were strangers
to cruelty, and that they would be willing enough to receive instruction
from any quarter. He even entreated the alfaqui to allow some one of his
disciples to accompany him into his native country; but none of those
disciples was willing to undertake so long and perilous a journey, and
it was not without considerable difficulty that Abdallah ben Yassim, the
disciple of another alfaqui, was persuaded to accompany the patriotic

Abdallah was one of those ruling minds which, fortunately for the peace
of society, nature so seldom produces. Seeing his enthusiastic reception
by the tribe of Gudala, and the influence he was sure of maintaining
over it, he formed the design of founding a sovereignty in the heart of
these vast regions. Under the pretext that to diffuse a holy religion
and useful knowledge was among the most imperative of duties, he
prevailed on his obedient disciples to make war on the kindred tribe of
Lamtuna. That tribe submitted, acknowledging his spiritual authority,
and zealously assisted him in his great purpose of gaining proselytes by
the sword. His ambition naturally increased with his success: in a short
time he had reduced, in a similar manner, the isolated tribes around
him. To his valiant followers of Lamtuna he now gave the name of
_Muraditins_, or _Almoravides_,[30] which signifies men consecrated to
the service of God.

[Footnote 30: This Moslem dynasty, founded about 1050, ruled in Africa,
and afterward in Spain, until 1147, when it was overthrown and succeeded
by that of the Almohades.]

The whole country of Darah was gradually subdued by this new apostle,
and his authority was acknowledged over a region extensive enough to
form a respectable kingdom. But though he exercised all the rights of
sovereignty, he prudently abstained from assuming the title: he left to
the emir of Lamtuna the ostensible exercise of temporal power; and when,
in A.D. 1058, that emir fell in battle, he nominated Abu-Bekr ben Omar
to the vacant dignity. His own death, which was that of a warrior, left
Abu-Bekr in possession of an undivided sovereignty. The power and
consequently the reputation of the emir, spread far and wide, and
numbers flocked from distant provinces to share in the advantages of
religion and plunder. His native plains were now too narrow for the
ambition of Abu-Bekr, who crossed the chain of Mount Atlas, and fixed
his residence in the city of Agmat, between those mountains and the sea.

But even this place was soon too confined for his increased subjects,
and he looked round for a site on which he might lay the foundations of
a great city, the destined metropolis of a great empire. One was at
length found; and the city of Morocco began to rear its head from the
valley of Eylana. Before, however, his great work was half completed, he
received intelligence that the tribe of Gudala had declared a deadly war
against that of Lamtuna; and that the ruin of one at least of the
hostile people was to be apprehended. As he belonged to the latter, he
naturally trembled for the fate of his kindred; and at the head of his
cavalry he departed for his native deserts, leaving the superintendence
of the buildings and the command of the army, during his absence, to his
cousin, Yussef ben Taxfin.

The person and character of Yussef are drawn in the most favorable
colors by the Arabian writers. We are told that his stature was tall and
noble, his countenance prepossessing, his eye dark and piercing, his
beard long, his tone of voice harmonious, his whole frame, which no
sickness ever assailed, strong, robust, and familiar with fatigue; that
his mind corresponded with his outward appearance, his generosity, his
care of the poor, his sobriety, his justice, his religious zeal, yet
freedom from intolerance, rendering him the admiration of foreigners and
the love of his own people. But whatever were his other virtues, it will
be seen that gratitude, honor, and good faith were not among the number.
Scarcely had his kinsman left the city, than, in pursuance of the design
he had formed of usurping the supreme authority, he began to win the
affection of the troops, partly by his gifts and partly by that winning
affability of manner which he could easily assume. How well he succeeded
will soon appear. Nor was his success in war less agreeable to so fierce
and martial a people as the Almoravides. The Berbers who inhabited the
defiles of Mount Atlas, and who, animated by the spirit of independence
so characteristic of mountaineers, endeavored to vindicate their natural
liberty, were quickly subdued by him.

But his policy was still superior. He had long loved, or at least long
aspired to the hope of marrying, the beautiful Zainab, sister of
Abu-Bekr; but the fear of a repulse from the proud chief of his family
had caused him to smother his inclination. He now disdained to
supplicate for that chief's consent: he married the lady, and from that
moment proceeded boldly in his projects of ambition. Having put the
finishing touch to his magnificent city of Morocco, he transferred
thither the seat of his empire; and by the encouragement he afforded to
individuals of all nations who chose to settle there, he soon filled it
with a prosperous and numerous population. The augmentation of his army
was his next great object; and so well did he succeed in it that on his
departure, in a hostile expedition against Fez, he found his troops
exceeded one hundred thousand. With so formidable a force, he had little
difficulty in rapidly extending his conquests.

Yussef had just completed the subjugation of Fez when Abu-Bekr returned
from the desert and encamped in the vicinity of Agmat. He was soon made
acquainted--probably common report had acquainted him long before--with
the usurpation of his kinsman. With a force so far inferior to his
rival's, and still more with the conviction that the hearts of the
people were weaned from him, he might well hesitate as to the course he
should adopt. His greatest mortification was to hear his own horsemen,
whom curiosity drew into Morocco, loud in the praises of Yussef, whose
liberality to the army was the theme of universal admiration, and whose
service for that reason many avowed their intention of embracing. He now
feared that his power was at an end, yet he resolved to have an
interview with his cousin.

The two chiefs met about half-way between Morocco and Agmat,[31] and
after a formal salutation took their seats on the same carpet. The
appearance of Yussef's formidable guard, the alacrity with which he was
obeyed, and the grandeur which surrounded him convinced Abu-Bekr that
the throne of the usurper was too firmly established to be shaken. The
poor emir, so far from demanding the restitution of his rights, durst
not even utter one word of complaint; on the contrary, he pretended that
he had long renounced empire, and that his only wish was to pass the
remainder of his days in the retirement of the desert. With equal
hypocrisy Yussef humbly thanked him for his abdication; the sheiks and
walis were summoned to witness the renewed declaration of the emir,
after which the two princes separated. The following day, however,
Abu-Bekr received a magnificent present from Yussef,[32] who, indeed,
continued to send him one every year to the period of his death.

[Footnote 31: The distance is about ten or twelve leagues.]

[Footnote 32: This present is made to consist of twenty-five thousand
crowns of gold, seventy horses of the best breed, all splendidly
accoutred, one hundred and fifty mules, one hundred magnificent turbans
with as many costly habits, four hundred common turbans, two hundred
white mantles, one thousand pieces of rich stuffs, two hundred pieces of
fine linen, one hundred and fifty black slaves, twenty beautiful young
maidens, with a considerable quantity of perfumes, corn, and cattle.
Such a gift was worthy of royalty. In a similar situation a modern
English sovereign would probably have sent--one hundred pounds.]

Yussef, who, though he had refused to receive the title of _almumenin_,
which he considered as properly belonging to the Caliph of the East, had
just exchanged his humble one of emir for those of _almuzlemin_, or
prince of the believers, and of _nazaradin_, or defender of the faith,
when the letters of Mahomet reached him. A similar application from
Omar, King of Badajoz, he had disregarded, not because he was
indifferent to the glory of serving his religion, still less to the
advantage of extending his conquests, but because he had not then
sufficiently consolidated his power. Now, however, he was in peaceful
possession of an extended empire, and he assembled his chiefs to hear
their sentiments on an expedition which he had resolved to undertake.
All immediately exclaimed that war should be undertaken in defence of
the tottering throne of Islam. Before, however, he returned a final
answer to the King of Seville, he insisted that the fortress of
Algeziras should be placed in his hands, on the pretence that if fortune
were unpropitious he should have some place to which he might retreat.
That Mahomet should have been so blind as to not perceive the designs
involved in the insidious proposal is almost enough to make one agree
with the Arabic historians that destiny had decreed he should fall by
his own measures. The place was not only surrendered to the artful Moor,
but Mahomet himself went to Morocco to hasten the departure of Yussef.
He was assured of speedy succor and induced to return. He was soon
followed by the ambitious African, at the head of a mighty armament.

Alfonso was besieging Saragossa, which he had every expectation of
reducing, when intelligence reached him of Yussef's disembarkation. He
resolved to meet the approaching storm. At the head of all the forces he
could muster he advanced toward Andalusia, and encountered Yussef on the
plains of Zalaca, between Badajoz and Merida. As the latter was a strict
observer of the outward forms of his religion, he summoned the Christian
King by letter to embrace the faith of the Prophet or consent to pay an
annual tribute or prepare for immediate battle. "I am told," added the
writer, "that thou wishest for vessels to carry the war into my kingdom;
I spare thee the trouble of the voyage. Allah brings thee into my
presence that I may punish thy presumption and pride!" The indignant
Christian trampled the letter under foot, and at the same time said to
the messenger: "Tell thy master what thou hast seen! Tell him also not
to hide himself during the action: let him meet me face to face!" The
two armies engaged the 13th day of the moon Regeb, A.H. 479.[33]

[Footnote 33: October 23, A.D. 1086.]

The onset of Alfonso at the head of the Christian cavalry was so fierce
that the ranks of the Almoravides were thrown into confusion; not less
successful was Sancho, King of Navarre, against the Andalusians, who
retreated toward Badajoz. But the troops of Seville kept the field, and
fought with desperate valor: they would, however, have given way, had
not Yussef at this critical moment advanced with his reserve and his own
guard, consisting of his bravest troops, and assailed the Christians in
the rear and flanks. This unexpected movement decided the fortune of the
day. Alfonso was severely wounded and compelled to retreat, but not
until nightfall, nor until he had displayed a valor worthy of the
greatest heroes. Though his own loss was severe, amounting, according to
the Arabians, to twenty-four thousand men, that of the enemy could
scarcely be inferior, when we consider that this victory had no result;
Yussef was evidently too much weakened to profit by it.

Not long after the battle, Yussef being called to Africa by the death of
a son, the command of the Almoravides devolved on Syr ben Abu-Bekr, the
ablest of his generals. That general advanced northward, and seized some
insignificant fortresses; but the advantage was but temporary, and was
more than counterbalanced by the disasters of the following year. The
King of Saragossa, Abu-Giafar, had hoped that the defeat of Zalaca would
prevent the Christians from attacking him; but that of his allies, the
Mahometan princes, in the neighborhood, and the taking of Huesca by the
King of Navarre, convinced him how fallacious was his fancied security.
Seeing that no advantage whatever had accrued from his former
expedition, Yussef now proclaimed the Alhiged, or holy war, and invited
all the Andalusian princes to join him. In A.D. 1088, he again
disembarked at Algeziras and joined the confederates. But this present
demonstration of force proved as useless as the preceding: it ended in
nothing; owing partly to the dissensions of Mahometans, and partly to
the activity of the Christians, who not only rendered abortive the
measures of the enemy, but gained some signal advantages over them.
Yussef was forced to retreat on Almeida. Whether through the distrust of
the Mahometan princes, who appear to have penetrated his intention of
subjecting them to his empire, or through his apprehension of Alfonso,
he again returned to Africa, to procure new and more considerable
levies. In A.D. 1091 he landed a third time at Algeziras, not so much
with the view of humbling the Christian King as of executing the
perfidious design he had so long harbored. For form's sake, indeed, he
invested Toledo, but he could have entertained no expectation of
reducing it; and when he perceived that the Andalusian princes refused
to join him, he eagerly left that city, and proceeded to secure far
dearer and easier interests: he openly threw off the mask, and commenced
his career of spoliation.

The King of Granada, Abdallah ben Balkin, was the first victim to
African perfidy. In the conviction that he must be overwhelmed if
resistance were offered, he left his city to welcome Yussef. His
submission was vain: he was instantly loaded with chains, and with his
family sent to Agmat. Timur ben Balkin, brother of Abdallah, was in the
same violent manner despoiled of Malaga. Mahomet now perceived the
grievous error which he had committed, and the prudent foresight of his
son Al Raxid. "Did not I tell thee," said the latter, mournfully, "what
the consequences would be; that we should be driven from our palace and

"Thou wert indeed a true prophet," replied the self-accused father; "but
what power could avert the decrees of fate?"

It seemed as if fate had indeed resolved that this well-meaning but
misguided prince should fall by his own obstinacy; for though his son
advised him to seek the alliance of Alfonso, he refused to do so until
that alliance could no longer avail him. He himself seemed to think that
the knell of his departing greatness was about to sound; and the most
melancholy images were present to his fancy, even in sleep. "One night,"
says an Arabic historian, "he heard in a dream his ruin predicted by one
of his sons: he awoke, and the same verses were repeated:

"'Once, Fortune carried thee in her car of triumph and thy name was by
renown spread to the ends of the earth. Now, the same renown conveys
only thy sighs. Days and nights pass away, and like them the enjoyments
of the world; thy greatness has vanished like a dream!'"

But if Mahomet was superstitious--if he felt that fate had doomed him,
and that resistance would be useless--he resolved not to fall ignobly.
His defence was indeed heroic; but it was vain, even though Alfonso sent
him an aid of twenty thousand men: his cities fell one by one; Seville
was constrained to capitulate: he and his family were thrown into prison
until a ship was prepared to convey them into Africa, whither their
perfidious ally had retired some weeks before. His conduct in this
melancholy reverse of fortune is represented as truly great. Not a sigh
escaped him, except for the innocent companions of his misfortune,
especially for his son, Al Raxid, whose virtues and talents deserved a
better destiny. Surrounded by the best beloved of his wives, by his
daughters, and his four surviving sons, he endeavored to console them as
they wept on seeing his royal hands oppressed with fetters, and still
more when the ship conveyed all from the shores of Spain. "My children
and friends," said the suffering monarch, "let us learn to support our
lot with resignation! In this state of being our enjoyments are but lent
us, to be resumed when heaven sees fit. Joy and sorrow, pleasure and
pain, closely follow each other; but the noble heart is above the
inconstancy of fortune!"

The royal party disembarked at Ceuta, and were conveyed to Agmat, to be
confined in a fortress. We are told that on their journey a
compassionate poet presented the fallen King with a copy of verses
deploring his misfortunes, and that he rewarded the poet with thirty-six
pieces of gold--the only money he had left, from his once exhaustless
riches. He had little apprehension of what was to follow--that Yussef
would leave him without support; that his future life was to be passed
in penury; nay, that his daughters would be compelled to earn his
subsistence and their own by the labor of their hands. Yet even in that
indigent condition, says Aben Lebuna, and through the sadness which
covered their countenances, there was something about them which
revealed their high origin. The unfortunate monarch outlived the loss of
his crown and liberty about four years.

After the fall of Mahomet, the general of Yussef had little difficulty
in subduing the princes of Andalusia. Valencia next received the African
yoke. The King of Saragossa was more fortunate. He sent ambassadors to
Yussef, bearing rich presents, and proposing an alliance with a common
league against the Christians. "My dominions," said Abu-Giafar, "are the
only barrier between thee and the Christian princes. Hitherto my
predecessors and myself have withstood all their efforts; with thy
succor I shall fear them still less." Yussef accepted the proposal; a
treaty of alliance was made; and the army of Abu-Giafar was reinforced
by a considerable body of Amoravides, A.H. 486, with whom he repelled an
invasion of Sancho, King of Aragon. A third division of the Africans,
which marched to destroy the sovereignty of Algarve and Badajoz, was no
less successful. Badajoz capitulated; but, in violation of the treaty,
the dethroned Omar, with two of his sons, was surrounded and
assassinated by a body of cavalry, as he was unsuspiciously journeying
from the scene of his past prosperity in search of another asylum. A
third son was placed in close confinement.

Thus ended the petty kingdoms of Andalusia, after a stormy existence of
about sixty years.

For some years after the usurpation of Yussef, peace appears to have
existed in Spain between the Mahometans and the Christians. Fearing a
new irruption of Africans, Alfonso contented himself with fortifying
Toledo; and Yussef felt little inclination to renew the war with one
whose prowess he had so fatally experienced. But Christian Spain was, at
one moment, near the brink of ruin. The passion for the crusades was no
less ardently felt by the Spaniards than by other nations of Europe;
thousands of the best warriors were preparing to depart for the Holy
Land, as if there were more merit in contending with the infidels, in a
remote region, for a barren sepulchre, than at home for the dearest
interests of man--for honor, patriotism, and religion. Fortunately for
Spain, Pope Pascal II, in answer to the representations of Alfonso,
declared that the proper post of every Spaniard was at home, and there
were his true enemies. Soon afterward Yussef returned to Morocco, where
he died on the 3d day of the moon Muharram, A.H. 500, after living one
hundred Arabian or about ninety-seven Christian years.

In A.H. 514 the empire of the Almoravides was tottering to its fall. It
had never been agreeable to the Mahometans of Spain, whose manners, from
their intercourse with a civilized people, were comparatively refined.
The sheiks of Lamtuna were so many insupportable tyrants; the Jews, the
universal agents for the collection of the revenues, were here, as in
Poland, the most pitiless extortioners; every savage from the desert
looked with contempt on the milder inhabitant of the Peninsula. The
domination of these strangers was indeed so odious that, except for the
divisions between Alfonso and his ambitious queen Donna Urraca, who was
sovereign in her own right, all Andalusia might speedily have been
subjected to Christian rule. Alfonso, the King of Aragon, fell at the
siege of Fraga about A.D. 1109, but the Almoravides met an equally
valiant foe in his son and successor, Alfonso Raymond, King of Leon and

After a period of about forty years, during which the Christians were
steadily increasing their dominions, Coria and Mora and other Mahometan
strongholds were acquired by Alfonso, now styled the "Emperor"; and
almost every contest between the two natural enemies had turned to the
advantage of the Christians. So long, indeed, as the walis were eager
only to preserve or to extend their authority, independent of each other
and of every superior, this success need not surprise us--we may rather
be surprised that the Mahometans were allowed to retain any footing in
the Peninsula. Probably they would at this time have been driven from it
but for the seasonable arrival of the victorious Almohades. Both
Christians and Africans now contended for the superiority. While the
troops of Alfonso reduced Baeza, and, with a Mahometan ally, even
Cordova, Malaga, and Seville acknowledged Abu Amram; Calatrava and
Almeria next fell to the Christian Emperor, about the same time that
Lisbon and the neighboring towns received Don Enrique, the new sovereign
of Portugal. Most of these conquests, however, were subsequently
recovered by the Almohades. Being reinforced by a new army from Africa,
the latter pursued their successes with greater vigor. They reduced
Cordova, which was held by an ally of Alfonso; defeated, and forever
paralyzed, the expiring efforts of the Almoravides; and proclaimed their
Emperor Abdelmumen as sovereign of all Mahometan Spain.

Notwithstanding the destructive wars which had prevailed for nearly a
century, neither Moors nor Christians had acquired much advantage by
them. From the reduction of Saragossa to the present time, the victory,
indeed, had generally declared for the Christians; but their conquests,
with the exception of Lisbon and a few fortresses in Central Spain, were
lost almost as soon as gained; and the same fate attended the equally
transient successes of the Mahometans. The reasons why the former did
not permanently extend their territories, were their internal
dissensions; while Leon was at war with Castile, or Castile with Leon,
or either with Aragon, we need not wonder that the united Almoravides,
or their successors the Almohades, should sometimes triumph; but those
triumphs were sure to be followed by reverses whenever not all, but any
one, of the Christian states was at liberty to assail its natural enemy.
The Christians, when at peace among themselves, were always too many for
their Mahometan neighbors, even when the latter were aided by the whole
power of Western Africa.

In A.H. 572 (about A.D. 1179) the King of Castile reduced Caenza, and
the Moors were defeated before Toledo. The following year the Portuguese
were no less successful before Abrantes, which the Africans had
besieged. These disasters roused the wrath of Yussef abu Yagur (son and
successor of Abdulmumen who died A.H. 558 = A.D. 1165); but as an
obscure rebellion required his presence at that time in Mauritania, he
did not land in Spain until A.H. 580. He marched without delay against
Santarem, which his soldiers had vainly besieged some years before.
Wishing to divide the Portuguese force, he one night sent an order to
his son Cid Abu Ishac, who lay encamped near him, to march with the
Andalusian cavalry on Lisbon. The officer who carried the order instead
of Lisbon named Seville; the whole Moslem army were sure that some
disaster was impending, and that the siege was to be raised; before
morning the camp was deserted, the guard alone of Yussef remaining.
While he despatched orders to recall the alarmed fugitives, the
Christians, who were soon aware of the retreat, issued from the walls,
surrounded and massacred the guard. Yussef defended himself like a hero:
six of the advancing assailants he laid low, before the same fate was
inflicted on himself. The merciless carnage of the Christians spared not
even his female attendants. At this moment two companies of cavalry
arrived, and, finding their monarch dying, furiously charged the
Christians, whom they soon put to flight. In a few hours the whole army
returned, and, inspired with the same hope of vengeance, they stormed
and took the place, and put every living creature to the sword.

Yacub ben Yussef, from his victories afterward named Almansor, who was
then in Spain, was immediately declared successor to his father. For
some years he was not personally opposed to the Christians, though his
walis carried on a desultory indecisive war; he was long detained in
Africa, first in quelling some domestic commotions, and afterward by
severe illness. He was scarcely recovered, when the intelligence that
the Christians were making insulting irruptions to the very outworks of
Algeziras made him resolve on punishing their audacity. His preparations
were of the most formidable description. In A.H. 591 he landed in
Andalusia, and proceeded toward Valencia, where the Christian army then
lay. There Alfonso VIII, King of Castile, was awaiting the expected
reinforcements from his allies, the kings of Leon and Navarre. Both
armies pitched their tents on the plains of Alarcon. The following day
the Christians commenced the attack, and with so much impetuosity that
the centre was soon broken. But an Andalusian chief conducted a strong
body of his men against Alfonso, who with the reserve occupied the hill
above the plain. While the struggle was in all its fury, Yacub and his
division took the Christians in flank. The result was fatal to the
Castilian army, which, discouraged at what it considered a new enemy,
gave way in every direction. Alfonso, preferring an honorable death to
the shame of defeat, prepared to plunge into the heart of the Mahometan
squadrons, when his nobles surrounded him and forced him from the field.
His loss must have been immense, amounting probably to twenty thousand
men. With a generosity very rare in a Mahometan, and still more in an
African, Yacub restored his prisoners to liberty--an action for which,
we are informed, he received few thanks from his followers. Alfonso
retreated to Toledo just as the King of Leon arrived with the promised

After this signal victory Yacub rapidly reduced Calatrava, Guadalaxara,
Madrid and Esalona, Salamanca, etc. Toledo, too, he invested, but in
vain. He returned to Africa, caused his son Mahomet to be declared _wali
alhadi_, and died, the 22d day of the moon Regeb, A.H. 595.[34] He left
behind him the character of an able, a valiant, a liberal, a just, and
even magnanimous prince--of one who labored more for the real welfare of
his people than any other potentate of his age. He was, beyond doubt,
the greatest and best of the Almohades.

[Footnote 34: May 19, 1199.]

The character of Mahomet Abu Abdallah, surnamed Alnassir, was very
different from that of his great father. Absorbed in effeminate
pleasures, he paid little attention to the internal administration of
his empire or to the welfare of his people. Yet he was not insensible to
martial fame; and he accordingly showed no indisposition to forsake his
harem for the field. After quelling two inconsiderable rebellions, he
prepared to punish the audacity of Alfonso of Castile, who made
destructive inroads into Andalusia. Much as the world had been astounded
at the preparations of his grandfather Yussef, they were not surpassed
by his own, if, as we are credibly informed, one alone of the five
divisions of his army amounted to one hundred and sixty thousand men. It
is certain that a year was required for the assembling of this vast
armament, that two months were necessary to convey it across the
straits, and that all Christian Europe was filled with alarm at its
disembarkation. Innocent III proclaimed a crusade to Spain; and Rodrigo
of Toledo, the celebrated historian, accompanied by several prelates,
went from one court to another, to rouse the Christian princes. While
the kings of Aragon and Navarre[35] promised to unite their forces with
their brother of Castile to repel the common danger, great numbers of
volunteers from Portugal[36] and Southern France hastened to the general
rendezvous at Toledo, the Pope ordered fasting, prayers, and processions
to be made, to propitiate the favor of heaven, and to avert from
Christendom the greatest danger that had threatened it since the days of
the emir Abderahman.

[Footnote 35: Sancho, King of Navarre, is justly accused of backwardness
at least in joining the Christian alliance. He even sought that of Yacub
and Mahomet, on condition that his own states should be spared, or
perhaps amplified at the expense of his neighbors. If the Arabian
writers are correct, he privately waited on Mahomet in Seville; but the
result of the interview is unknown.]

[Footnote 36: The King of Portugal was not present in this campaign,
confidently as the contrary has been asserted by most historians.--_La
Clede: Histoire Generale de Portugal_, ii.]

Mahomet opened the campaign of A.H. 608 by the siege of Salvatierra, a
strong but not important fortress of Estremadura, defended by the
knights of Calatrava. That he should waste his forces on objects so
incommensurate with their extent proves how little he was qualified to
wield them. The place stood out for several months, and did not
surrender until the Emperor had sustained a heavy loss, nor until the
season was too far advanced to permit any advantage to be derived from
this partial success. By suspending the execution of his great design
until the following season, he allowed Alfonso time to prepare for the
contest. The following June, the kings of Leon and Castile having
assembled at Toledo, and been joined by a considerable number of foreign
volunteers, the Christian army advanced toward the south. That of the
infidels lay in the neighborhood of Baeza, and extended to the Sierra

On July 12th, A.H. 608, the crusaders reached the mountainous chain
which divides New Castile from Andalusia. They found not only the
passes, but the summits of the mountains, occupied by the Almohades. To
force a passage was impossible; and they even deliberated on retreating,
so as to draw out, if possible, the enemy from positions so formidable,
when a shepherd entered the camp of Alfonso and proposed to conduct the
Christian army, by a path unknown to both armies, to the summit of this
elevated chain--by a path, too, which would be invisible to the enemy's
outposts. A few companies having accompanied the man and found him
equally faithful and well informed, the whole army silently ascended and
intrenched themselves on the summit, the level of which was extensive
enough to contain them all. Below appeared the wide-spread tents of the
Moslems, whose surprise was great on perceiving the heights thus
occupied by the crusaders. For two days the latter, whose fatigues had
been harassing, kept their position; but on the third day they descended
into the plains of Tolosa, which were about to be immortalized by their
valor. Their right wing was led by the King of Navarre, their left by
the King of Aragon, while Alfonso took his station in the centre.
Mahomet had drawn up his army in a similar manner; but, with a strong
body of reserve, he occupied an elevation well defended besides by vast
iron chains, which surrounded his impenetrable guard.[37] In one hand he
held a useless scimitar, in the other the _Koran_. The attack was made
by the Christian centre against that of the Mahometans; and immediately
the two wings moved against those of the enemy. The African centre,
which consisted of the one hundred and sixty thousand volunteers, made a
determined stand; and though it was broken, it soon rallied, on being
reinforced from the reserve. At one time, indeed, the superiority of
numbers was so great on the part of the Moslems that the troops of
Alfonso appeared about to give way. At this moment that King, addressing
the archbishop Rodrigo, who was with him, said, "Let us die here,
prelate!" and he prepared to rush amid the dense ranks of the enemy. The
prelate, however, and a Castilian general, retained him by the bridle of
his horse, representing the rashness of his purpose, and advising him to
reinforce his weak points by new succors. Accordingly those succors,
among which were the vassals with the pennon of the archbishop, advanced
to support the sinking Castilians. This manoeuvre decided the fortune of
the day.[38] The Mahometan centre, after a sharp conflict, was again
broken, this time irretrievably, and a way opened to the intrenchments
of the Emperor. Seeing the success of their allies, the two wings
charged their opponents with double fury and triumphed likewise. But the
Africans[39] rallied round Mahomet, and presented a mass deep and
formidable to the conquerors. Rodrigo, with his brother prelate, the
Archbishop of Narbonne, now incited the Christians to overcome this last
obstacle: both intrepidly accompanied the van of the centre. The
struggle was terrific, but short; myriads of the barbarians fell; the
boundary was first broken down by the King of Navarre; the Castilians
and Aragonese followed; all opponents were massacred or fled; and the
victors began to ascend the eminence on which Mahomet still remained.
Seeing the total destruction or flight of his vast host, the Emperor
sorrowfully exclaimed, "Allah alone is just and powerful; the devil is
false and wicked!" Scarcely had he uttered the truism, when an Alarab
approached, leading by the hand a strong but nimble mule. "Prince of the
faithful!" said the African, "how long wilt thou remain here? Dost thou
not perceive that thy Moslems flee? The will of Allah be done! Mount
this mule, which is fleeter than the bird of heaven, or even the arrow
which strikes it; never yet did she fail her rider; away! for on thy
safety depends that of us all!" Mahomet mounted the beast, while the
Alarab ascended the Emperor's horse, and both soon outstripped not only
the pursuers but the fugitives. The carnage of the latter was dreadful
until darkness put an end to it. The victors now occupied the tents of
the Mahometans, while the two martial prelates sounded the _Te Deum_ for
the most splendid success which had shone on the banners of the
Christians since the time of Charles Martel. The loss of the Africans,
even according to the Arabian writers, who admit that the centre was
wholly destroyed, could not fall short of one hundred and sixty thousand

[Footnote 37: These chains are not mentioned by the Arabs; but what can
be expected from their brevity?]

[Footnote 38: The standard-bearer of Rodrigo, don Domingo Pasquel, canon
of Toledo, showed that he was well fitted to serve the church militant;
he twice carried his banner through the heart of the Mahometan forces.]

[Footnote 39: The Arabian account says that the Andalusians were the
first to flee.]

[Footnote 40: Of this great battle we have an account by four
eye-witnesses: 1, By King Alfonso, in a letter to the Pope; 2, by the
historian Rodrigo of Toledo; 3, by Arnaud, Archbishop of Narbonne; 4, by
the author of the _Annals of Toledo_.

The reduction of several towns, from Tolosa to Baeza, immediately
followed this glorious victory--a victory in which Don Alfonso nobly
redeemed his failure in the field of Zalaca--and which, in its immediate
consequences, involved the ruin of the Mahometan empire in Spain. After
an unsuccessful attempt on Ubeda, as the hot season was raging, the
allies returned to Toledo, satisfied that the power of Mahomet was
forever broken. That Emperor, indeed, did not long survive his disaster.
Having precipitately fled to Morocco, he abandoned himself to licentious
pleasures, left the cares of government to his son, or rather his
ministers, and died on the 10th day of the moon Shaffan, A.H. 610 (A.D.
1214), not without suspicion of poison.

By recent writers of Spain the number of slain on the part of the
Africans was two hundred thousand; on that of the Christians,
twenty-five individuals only. Of course the whole campaign is
represented as miraculous; and, indeed, actual miracles are
recorded--which we have neither space nor inclination to notice.]


A.D. 1096-1099


(Religious feeling in the eleventh century rose to a great pitch of
enthusiasm, and led men of various nations, with still more various
motives and aims in worldly affairs, to pursue one common end with their
whole heart. Between the years 1096 and 1270 these attempts of Christian
nations to rescue the Holy Land from the "Infidels," as the Mahometans
were called, added a wholly new character of human enterprise to the
world's history.

At the time--in the middle of the eleventh century--when the Seljuks, a
Turkish tribe of Western Asia, had overrun Syria and Asia Minor,
throwing the East into a state of anarchy, Europe was beginning to adopt
modes of settled order. Through the Byzantine empire great numbers of
pilgrims for centuries had passed to visit Palestine. With the improved
condition of the western nations, which led to an extension of commerce
in the East, the pilgrimage to that part of the world acquired a new
importance. As early as 1064 a caravan of seven thousand pilgrims made
their way to the neighborhood of Jerusalem, where they narrowly escaped
destruction by the Bedouins, their rescue being effected by a Saracen

In 1070 the Seljuks took possession of Jerusalem, inflicting hardships
on the pilgrims by intolerable exactions, insult, and plunder. Besides
outraging Christian sentiment, they ruined the commerce of the western
nations. Throughout Europe arose the cry for vengeance, and men's minds
were fully prepared for an attempt to conquer Palestine when their
leaders began to preach the sacred duty of delivering the Holy Sepulchre
from the hands of the infidels.

At the Council of Clermont, in 1094, Pope Urban II depicted the miseries
of Christians in Palestine, and, with a power of eloquence unsurpassed
in his day, called upon those who heard him to wipe off from the face of
the earth the impurities which caused them, and to lift their oppressed
fellow-Christians from the depths into which they had been trampled. He
urged them to take up arms in the service of the Cross, at the same time
setting before them the temporal, no less than the spiritual, advantages
that would accrue from the conquest of a land "flowing with milk and
honey," and which, he said, should be divided among them. He likewise
offered them full pardon for all their sins.

The enthusiasm of his hearers burst all bounds, and with one voice they
cried: "God wills it! God wills it!" To all parts of Europe the fervor
spread. The Pope was powerfully aided by an earnest and eloquent--if
ignorant--monk, Peter the Hermit, of Amiens, who declared that he would
rouse the martial spirit of Europe in the cause, and he himself was the
first--with whatsoever of misguided zeal--to lead the way to the Holy

The crusades are so called from the simple circumstance that the badge
chosen for the movement was the cross, which Pope Urban bade the
Christian warriors wear on their breasts or on their shoulders, as the
sign of Him who died for the salvation of their souls, and as the pledge
of a vow that could never be recalled.)

In the enterprise to which Latin Christendom stood committed, the
several nations or countries of Europe took equal parts; or, rather, no
_nation_, as such, took any part in it at all; and in this fact we have
the explanation of that want of coherent action, and even decent or
average generalship, which is commonly seen in national undertakings.
For the crusade there was no attempt at a commissariat, no care for a
base of supplies; and the crusading hosts were a collection of
individual adventurers who either went without making any provisions for
their journey or provided for their own needs and those of their
followers from their own resources. The number of these adventurers was
naturally determined by the political conditions of the country from
which they came. In Italy the struggle between the pope and the antipope
went far toward chilling enthusiasm; and the recruits for the crusading
army came chiefly from the Normans who had followed Robert Guiscard to
the sunny southern lands. The Spaniards were busied with a crusade
nearer home, and were already pushing back to the south the Mahometan
dominion which had once threatened to pass the barriers of the Pyrenees
and carry the Crescent to the shores of the Baltic Sea. About ten years
before the council of Clermont the Moslem dynasty of Toledo had been
expelled by Alfonso, King of Galicia: the kingdom of Cordova had fallen
twenty years earlier (1065), and while Peter the Hermit was hurrying
hither and thither through the countries of Northern Europe, the
Christians of Spain were winning victories in Murcia, and the land was
ringing with the exploits of the dauntless Cid, Ruy Diaz de Bivar. By
the Germans the summons to the rescue of the Holy Sepulchre was received
with comparative coldness; the partisans of emperors, who had been
humbled to the dust by the predecessors of Urban, if not by himself,
were not vehemently eager to obey it. The bishops of Salzburg, Passau,
and Strasburg, the aged duke Guelph of Bavaria, had undertaken the
toilsome and perilous journey: not one of them saw their homes again,
and their death in the distant East was not regarded by their countrymen
as an encouragement to follow their example. In England the English were
too much weighed down by the miseries of the Conquest, the Normans too
much occupied in strengthening their position, and the King, William the
Red, more ready to take advantage of the needs of his brother Robert
than to incur any risks of his own. The great movement came from the
lands extending from the Scheldt to the Pyrenees. Franks and Normans
alike made ready with impetuous haste for the great adventure; and tens
of thousands, who could not wait for the formation of something like a
regular army, hurried away, under leaders as frantic as themselves, to
their inevitable doom.

Little more than half the time allowed for the gathering of the
crusaders had passed away, when a crowd of some sixty thousand men and
women, neither caring nor thinking about the means by which their ends
could be attained, insisted that the hermit Peter should lead them at
once to the Holy City. Mere charity may justify the belief that some
even among these may have been folk of decent lives moved by the earnest
conviction that their going to Jerusalem would do some good; that the
vast majority looked upon their vow as a license for the commission of
any sin, there can be no moral doubt; that they exhibited not a single
quality needed for the successful prosecution of their enterprise is
absolutely certain. With a foolhardiness equal to his ignorance Peter
undertook the task, in which he was aided by Walter the Penniless, a man
with some pretensions to the soldier-like character. But the utter
disorder of this motley host made it impossible for them to journey long
together. At Cologne they parted company; and fifteen thousand under the
penniless Walter made their way to the frontiers of Hungary, while Peter
led onward a host which swelled gradually on the march to about forty

Another army or horde of perhaps twenty thousand marched under the
guidance of Emico, Count of Leiningen, a third under that of the monk
Gottschalk, a man not notorious for the purity or disinterestedness of
his motives. Behind these came a rabble, it is said, of two hundred
thousand men, women, and children, preceded by a goose and a goat, or,
as some have supposed, by banners on which, as symbols of the mysterious
faith of Gnostics and Paulicians, the likeness of these animals was
painted. In this vile horde no pretence was kept up of order or of
decency. Sinning freely, it would seem, that grace might abound, they
plundered and harried the lands through which they marched, while three
thousand horsemen, headed by some counts and gentlemen, were not too
dignified to act as their attendants and to share their spoil.

But if they had no scruple in robbing Christians, their delight was to
prove the reality of their mission as soldiers of the cross by
plundering, torturing, and slaying Jews. The crusade against the Turk
was interpreted as a crusade directed not less explicitly against the
descendants of those who had crucified the Redeemer. The streets of
Verdun and Treves and of the great cities on the Rhine ran red with the
blood of their victims; and if some saved their lives by pretended
conversions, many more cheated their persecutors by throwing their
property and their persons either into the rivers or into the consuming

A space of six hundred miles lay between the Austrian frontier and
Constantinople; and across the dreary waste the followers of Walter the
Penniless struggled on, destitute of money, and rousing the hostility of
the inhabitants whom they robbed and ill-used. In Bulgaria their
misdeeds provoked reprisals which threatened their destruction; and none
perhaps would have reached Constantinople if the imperial commander at
Naissos had not rescued them from their enemies, supplied them with
food, and guarded them through the remainder of their journey. These
succors involved some costs; and the costs were paid by the sale of
unarmed men among the pilgrims, and especially of the women and
children, who were seized to provide the necessary funds. Of those who
formed the train of the hermit Peter, seven thousand only, it is said,
reached Constantinople.

Of such a rabble rout the emperor Alexius[41] needed not to be afraid.
He had already seen and encountered far larger armies of Normans, Turks,
and Romans; and he now extended to this vanguard of the hosts of Latin
Christendom a hospitality which was almost immediately abused. They had
refused to comply with his request that they should quietly await the
arrival of their fellow-crusaders; and consulting the safety of his
people not less than his own, he induced them to cross the Bosporus, and
pitch their camp on Asiatic soil, the land which they had come to wrest
from the unbelievers.

[Footnote 41: Head of the Byzantine empire.]

Alexius wished simply to be rid of their presence: they had to deal with
an enemy still more crafty and formidable in the Seljukian sultan David.
The vagrants whom Peter and Walter had brought thus far on the road to
Jerusalem were scattered about the land in search of food; and it was no
hard task for David to cheat the main body with the false tidings that
their companions had carried the walls of Nice, and were revelling in
the pleasures and spoils of his capital. The doomed horde rushed into
the plain which fronts the city; and a vast heap of bones alone remained
to tell the story of the great catastrophe, when the forces which might
more legitimately claim the name of an army passed the spot where the
Seljukian had entrapped and crushed his victims. In this wild expedition
not less, it is said, than three hundred thousand human beings had
already paid the penalty of their lives.

Still the First Crusade was destined to accomplish more than any of the
seven or eight crusades which followed it; and this measure of success
it achieved probably because none of the great European sovereigns took
part in it. The task of setting up a Latin kingdom in Palestine was to
be achieved by princes of the second order.

Of these the foremost and the most deservedly illustrious was Godfrey,
of Bouillon in the Ardennes, a kinsman of the counts of Boulogne, and
Duke of Lotharingen (Lorraine). In the service of the emperor Henry IV,
the enemy or the victim of Hildebrand, he had been the first to mount
the walls of Rome and cleave his way into the city; he might now hope
that his crusading vow would be accepted as an atonement for his
sacrilege. Speaking the Frank and Teutonic dialects with equal ease, he
exercised by his bravery, his wisdom, and the uprightness of his life an
influence which brought to his standard, it is said, not less than
eighty thousand infantry and ten thousand horsemen, together with his
brothers Baldwin and Eustace, Count of Boulogne.

Among the most conspicuous of Godfrey's colleagues was Hugh, Count of
Vermandois. With him may be placed the Norman duke Robert, whose
carelessness had lost him the crown of England, and who had now pawned
his duchy for a pittance scarcely less paltry than that for which Esau
bartered away his birthright. The number of the great chiefs who led the
pilgrims from Northern Europe is completed with the names of Robert,
Count of Flanders, and of Stephen, Count of Chartres, Troyes, and Blois.

Foremost, by virtue of his title and office, among the leaders of the
southern bands was the papal legate Adhemar (Aymer) Bishop of Puy--a
leader rather as guiding the counsels of the army than as gathering
soldiers under his banner.

A hundred thousand horse and foot attested, we are told, the greatness,
the wealth, and the zeal of Raymond, Count of Toulouse, lord of Auvergne
and Languedoc, who had grown old in warfare.

Less tinged with the fanatical enthusiasm of his comrades, and certainly
more cool and deliberate in his ambition, Bohemond, son of Robert
Guiscard, looked to the crusade as a means by which he might regain the
vast regions extending from the Dalmatian coast to the northern shores
of the Aegean. Nay, if we are to believe William of Malmesbury, he urged
Urban to set forward the enterprise for the very purpose, partly, of
thus recovering what he was pleased to regard as his inheritance, and in
part of enabling the Pontiff to suppress all opposition in Rome.
Guiscard had left his Apulian domains to a younger son, and Bohemond was
resolved, it would seem, to add to his principality of Tarentum a
kingdom which would make him a formidable rival of the Eastern Emperor.

Far above Bohemond rises his cousin Tancred, the son of the marquis Odo,
surnamed the Good, and of Emma, the sister of Robert Guiscard.

In Tancred was seen the embodiment of those peculiar sentiments and
modes of thought which gave birth to the crusades, and to which the
crusades in their turn imparted marvellous strength and splendor.

The miserable remnant of three thousand men who escaped from the field
of blood before the city of the Seljukian sultan found a refuge in
Byzantine territory about the time when the better appointed armies of
the crusaders were setting off on their eastward journey. The most
disciplined of these troops set out with a vast following from the banks
of the Meuse and the Moselle under Godfrey of Bouillon, who led them
safely and without opposition to the Hungarian border. Here the armies
of Hungary barred the way against the advance of a host at whose hands
they dreaded a repetition of the havoc wrought by the lawless bands of
Peter the Hermit and his self-chosen colleagues. Three weeks passed away
in vain attempts to get over the difficulty. The Hungarian King demanded
as a hostage Baldwin, the brother of the general: the demand was
refused, and Godfrey put him to shame by surrendering himself. He asked
only for a free passage and a free market; but although these were
granted, it was not in his power to prevent some disorder and some
depredations as his army or horde passed through the country. The
mischief might have been much worse, had not the Hungarian cavalry,
acting professedly as a friendly escort, but really as cautious warders,
kept close to the crusading hosts.

At length they reached the gates of Philippopolis, and here Godfrey
learned that Hugh of Vermandois, whose coming had been announced to the
Greek emperor Alexius by four-and-twenty knights in golden armor, and
who styled himself the brother of the king of kings and lord of all the
Frankish hosts, was a prisoner within the walls of Constantinople. With
Robert of Normandy and Robert of Flanders, with Stephen of Chartres and
some lesser chiefs, Hugh had chosen to make his way through Italy; and
the charms of that voluptuous land had a greater effect, it seems, in
breaking up and corrupting their forces than the delights of Capua had
in weakening the soldiers of Hannibal.

With little regard to order, the chiefs determined to cross the sea as
best they might. Hugh embarked at Bari; and if we may believe Anna
Comnena, the historian and the worshipper of her father Alexius, his
fleet was broken by a tempest which shattered his own ship on the coast
between Palos and Dyrrhachium (Durazzo), of which John Comnenus, the
nephew of the Emperor, was at this time the governor. The Frank chief
was here detained until the good pleasure of Alexius should be known.
That wary and cunning prince saw at once how much might be made of his
prisoner, who was by his orders conducted with careful respect and
ceremony to the capital. Kept here really as a hostage, but welcomed to
outward seeming as a friend, Hugh was so completely won by the charm of
manner which Alexius well knew how and when to put on, that, paying him
homage and declaring himself his man, he promised to do what he could to
induce others to follow his example.

From Philippopolis Godfrey sent ambassadors to Alexius, demanding the
immediate surrender of Hugh. The request was refused, and Godfrey
resumed his march, treating the land through which he passed as an
enemy's country, until by way of Adrianople he at length appeared before
the walls of the capital at Christmastide, 1096. The fears of Alexius
were aroused by the sight of a host so vast and so formidable: they
quickened into terror as he thought of the armies which were still on
their way under the command of Bohemond and Tancred. Of Godfrey, beyond
the fact of his mission as a crusader, he knew little or nothing; but in
Bohemond he saw one who claimed as his inheritance no small portion of
his empire. This gathering of myriads, whom a false step on his part
might convert into open enemies, was the result of his own entreaties
urged through his envoys before Urban II in the Council of Piacenza; and
his mind was divided between a feverish anxiety to hurry them on to
their destination and so to rid himself of their hateful presence, and
the desire to retain a hold not only on the crusading chiefs but on any
conquests which they might make in Syria.

Hugh was sent back to Godfrey's camp; but the quarrel was patched up,
rather than ended. It was easier to rouse suspicion and jealousy than to
restore friendship. But it was of the first importance for Alexius that
he should secure the homage of the princes already gathered round his
capital before the arrival of his ancient enemy Bohemond. In this he
succeeded, and a compact was made by which Alexius pledged them his word
that he would supply them with food and aid them in their eastward
march, and would protect all pilgrims passing through his dominions. On
the other hand the crusading chiefs, as already subjects of other
sovereigns, gave their fealty to the Emperor as their liege lord only
for the time during which they might remain within his borders, and
undertook to restore to him such of their conquests as had been recently
wrested from the empire.

The policy and the bribes of Alexius had overcome the opposition of
Bohemond. He was to experience a stouter resistance from Raymond of
Toulouse, who, though he had been the first to enlist, was the last to
set out on his crusade.

The Count of Toulouse scarcely regarded himself as the vassal even of
the French King. He was ready, he said, to be the friend of Alexius on
equal terms; but he would not declare himself to be his man. On this
point he was immovable, although Bohemond tried the effect of a threat
(which was never forgiven), that if the quarrel came to blows, he should
be found on the side of the Emperor. But Alexius soon saw that in
Raymond he had to deal with an enthusiast as sincere and persistent as
Godfrey. He took his measures accordingly, winning the heart of the old
warrior, although he failed to compel his obedience.

While Alexius was busied in dealing with Godfrey and Raymond, Bohemond
and Tancred, he was not less anxiously occupied with the task of sending
across the Bosporus the swarms which might soon become an army of
devouring locusts round his own capital. It was easier to give them a
welcome than to get rid of them: and more than two months had passed
since Christmas, when the followers of Godfrey found themselves on the
soil of Asia.

Godfrey's men had no sooner been landed on the eastern side of the
Bosporus than all the vessels which had transported them were brought
back to the western shore. With great astuteness, and at the cost of
large gifts, Alexius in like manner freed the neighborhood of his
capital from the invading multitudes. As fast as they came they were
hurried across, and the Emperor breathed more freely when, on the Feast
of Pentecost, not a single Latin pilgrim remained on the European shore.

The danger of conflict had throughout been imminent; and the danger
arose, not so much from the fact that the crusaders were armed men,
marching through the country of professed allies, but from the thorough
antagonism between Greeks and Latins in modes of thought and habits of
life. Nor must we forget the vast gulf which separated the Eastern from
the Western clergy. The clergy of the West despised their brethren of
the East for their cowardly submission to the secular arm. These, in
their turn, shrunk with horror from the sight of bishops, priests, and
monks riding with blood-stained weapons over fields of battle, and
exhibiting at other times an ignorance equal to their ferocity.

The strength and valor of the crusaders were soon to be tested. They
were now face to face with the Turks, on whose cowardice Urban II had
enlarged with so much complacency before the Council of Clermont. The
sultan David, or Kilidje Arslan, placed his family and treasures in his
capital city of Nice and retreated with fifty thousand horsemen to the
mountains, whence he swooped down from time to time on the outposts of
the Christians. By these his city was formally invested; and for seven
weeks it was assailed to little purpose by the old instruments of Roman
warfare, while some of the besiegers shot their weapons from the hill on
which were mouldering the bones of the fanatic followers of Peter. It
was protected to the west by the Askanian lake, and so long as the Turks
had command of this lake they felt themselves safe. But Alexius sent
thither on sledges a large number of boats, and the city, subjected to a
double blockade, submitted to the Emperor, who was in no way anxious to
see the crusaders masters of the place. The crusaders were making ready
for the last assault, when they saw the imperial banner floating on the
walls. Their disappointment at the escape of the miscreants, or
unbelievers, for so they delighted to speak of them, was vented in
threats which seemed to bode a renewal of the old troubles; but Alexius,
with gifts, which added force to his words, professed that his only
desire now, as it had been, was to forward them safely on their journey.
Nor had they to go many stages before they found themselves again
confronted with their adversary.

The conflict took place near the Phrygian Dorylaion, and seemed at first
to portend dire defeat to the crusaders. More than once the issue of the
day seemed to be turned by the indomitable personal bravery of the
Norman Robert, of Tancred, and of Bohemond; and when even those seemed
likely to be borne down, they received timely succors from Godfrey, and
Hugh of Vermandois, from Bishop Adhemar of Puy and from Raymond, Count
of Toulouse. Still the Turks held out, and it seemed likely that they
would long hold out, when the appearance of the last division of
Raymond's army filled them with the fear that a new host was upon them.

The crusaders had won a considerable victory. Three thousand knights
belonging to the enemy had been slain, and Kilidje Arslan was hurrying
away to enlist the services of his kinsmen. Meanwhile the Latin hosts
were sweeping onward. Hundreds died from the heat, and dogs or goats
took the place of the baggage-horses which had perished. At length
Tancred with his troop found himself before Tarsus, the birthplace and
the home of that single-hearted apostle who long ago had preached a
gospel strangely unlike the creed of the crusaders. Following rapidly
behind him, Baldwin saw with keen jealousy the banner of the Italian
chief floating on its towers, and insisted on taking the precedence.
Tancred pleaded the choice of the people and his own promise to protect
them; but the intrigues of Baldwin changed their humor, and the
rejection of Tancred by the men of Tarsus was followed by an attempt at
private war between Tancred and Baldwin, in which the troops of Tancred
were overborne. So early was the first harvest of murderous discord
reaped among the holy warriors of the Cross. It was ruin, however, to
stay where they were; and the main army again began its march, to
undergo once more the old monotony of hardship and peril.

A very small force would have sufficed to disorganize and rout them as
they clambered over the defiles of Mount Taurus; nor could Raymond,
recovering from a terrible illness, or Godfrey, suffering from wounds
inflicted by a bear, have done much to help them. But for the present
their enemies were dismayed; and Baldwin, brother of Godfrey, hastened
with eagerness to obey a summons which besought him to aid the Greek or
Armenian tyrant of Edessa. As Alexius had done to his brother, so this
chief welcomed Baldwin as his son; but Baldwin, having once entered into
the city, cared nothing for the means which had brought him thither, and
the death of his adoptive father was followed by the establishment at
Edessa of a Latin principality which lasted for fifty-four, or, as some
have thought, forty-seven years. Baldwin had anticipated the
unconditional surrender of Samosata; but the Turkish governor had some
of the Edessenes in his power, and he refused to give up the city except
on the payment of ten thousand gold pieces. The Turk shortly afterward
fell into Baldwin's hands, and was put to death.

Meanwhile the main army of the crusaders was advancing toward the Syrian
capital (Antioch), that ancient and luxurious city whose fame had gone
over the whole Roman world for its magnificence, its unbounded wealth,
its soft delights, and its unholy pleasures. The days of its greatest
splendor had passed away. Its walls were partially in ruins; its
buildings were in some parts crumbling away or had already fallen; but
against assailants utterly ignorant and awkward in all that relates to
the blockade of cities it was still a formidable position. Nor could
they invest it until they had passed the iron bridge--so called from its
iron-plated gates--of nine stone arches, which spanned the stream of the
Ifrin at a distance of nine miles from the city. This bridge was carried
by the impetuous charge of Robert of Normandy, aided by the more steady
efforts of Godfrey; and in the language of an age which delighted in
round numbers, a hundred thousand warriors hurried across to seize the
splendid prize which now seemed almost within their grasp.

But the city was in the hands of men who had been long accustomed to
despise the Greeks, and who had not yet learned to respect the valor of
the Latins. Preparing himself for a resolute defence, the Seljukian
governor Baghasian had sent away as useless, if not mischievous, most of
the Christians within the town; and the crusading chiefs had begun to
discuss the prudence of postponing all operations till the spring, when
Raymond of Toulouse with some other chiefs insisted that delay would
imply fear, and that the imputation of cowardice would insure the
paralysis of their enterprise. The city was therefore at once invested,
so far as the forces of the crusaders could suffice to encircle it; and
a siege began which in the eyes of the military historian must be
absolutely without interest, and of which the issue was decided by
paroxysms of fanatical vehemence on the one side, and by lack, not of
bravery, but of generalship on the other. Of the eastern and northern
walls the blockade was complete; of the west it was partial; and the
failure to invest a portion of the western wall, with two out of the
five gates of the city, left the movements of the Turks in this
direction free.

But the besiegers were in no hurry to begin the work of death. The
wealth of the harvest and the vintage spread before them its
irresistible temptations, and the herds feeding in the rich pastures
seemed to promise an endless feast. The cattle, the corn, and the wine
were alike wasted with besotted folly, while the Turks within the walls
received tidings, it is said, of all that passed in the crusading camp
from some Greek and Armenian Christians to whom they allowed free egress
and ingress. Of this knowledge they availed themselves in planning the
sallies by which they caused great distress to the besiegers, whose
clumsy engines and devices seemed to produce no result beyond the waste
of time, and who felt perhaps that they had done something when they
blocked up the gate of the bridge with huge stones dug from the
neighboring quarries.

Three months passed away, and the crusaders found themselves not
conquerors, but in desperate straits from famine. The winter rains had
turned the land round their camp into a swamp, and lack of food left
them more and more unable to resist the pestilential diseases which were
rapidly thinning their numbers. A foraging expedition under Bohemond and
Tancred filled the camp with food; it was again recklessly wasted. The
second famine scared away Tatikios, the lieutenant of the Greek emperor
Alexius; but the crusading chiefs were perhaps still more disgusted by
the desertion of William of Melun, called "the Carpenter," from the
sledgehammer blows which he dealt out in battle. Hunger obtained a
victory even over the hermit Peter, who was stealing away with William
of Melun, when he with his companion was caught by Tancred and brought
back to the tent of Bohemond.

For a moment the look of things was changed by the arrival of
ambassadors from Egypt. To the Fatimite caliph of that country the
progress of the crusading arms had thus far brought with it but little
dissatisfaction. The humiliation of the Seljukian Turks could not fail
to bring gain to himself, if the flood of Latin conquests could be
checked and turned back in time. His generals besieged Jerusalem and
Tyre; and when the Fatimite once more ruled in Palestine, his envoys
hastened to the crusaders' camp to announce the deliverance of the Holy
Land from its oppressors, to assure to all unarmed and peaceable
pilgrims a month's unmolested sojourn in Jerusalem, and to promise them
his aid during their march, on condition that they should acknowledge
his supremacy within the limits of his Syrian empire.

The arguments and threats of the Caliph were alike thrown away. The
Latin chiefs disclaimed all interest in the feuds and quarrels of rival
sultans and in the fortunes of Mahometan sects. God himself had destined
Jerusalem for the Christians, and if any held it who were not
Christians, these were usurpers whose resistance must be punished by
their expulsion or their death. The envoys departed not encouraged by
this answer, and still more perplexed by the appearance of plenty and by
the magnificence of a camp in which they had expected to see a terrible
spectacle of disorder and misery.

The resolute persistence of the besiegers convinced Baghasian of the
need of reinforcements. These were hastening to him from Caesarea,
Aleppo, and other places, when they were cut off by Bohemond and
Raymond, who sent a multitude of heads to the envoys of the Fatimite
Caliph, and discharged many hundreds from their engines into the city of
Antioch. The Turks had their opportunity for reprisals when the arrival
of some Pisan and Genoese ships at the mouth of the Orontes drew off the
greater part of the besieging army. The crusaders were returning with
provisions and arms, when their enemies started upon them from an
ambuscade. The battle was fierce; but the defeat of Raymond, which
threatened dire disaster, was changed into victory on the arrival of
Godfrey and the Norman Robert, whose exploits equalled or surpassed, if
we are to believe the story, even those of Arthur, Lancelot, or
Tristram. Hundreds, if not thousands, of Turks fell. Their bodies were
buried by their comrades in the cemetery without the walls: the
Christians dug them up, severed the heads from the trunks, and paraded
the ghastly trophies on their pikes, not forgetting to send a goodly
number to the Egyptian Caliph, by way of showing how his Seljukian
friends or enemies had fared. The picture is disgusting; but if we shut
our eyes to these loathsome details, the truth of the history is gone.
We are dealing with the wars of savages, and it is right that we should
know this.

The next scene exhibits Godfrey and Bohemond in fierce quarrel about a
splendid tent, which, being intended as a gift for the former, had been
seized by an Armenian chief and sent to the latter. But there was now
more serious business on hand. Rumor spoke of the near approach of a
Persian army, and the besieged, under the plea of wishing to arrange
terms of capitulation, obtained a truce which they sought probably only
for the sake of gaining time. The days passed by, but no offers were
made; and their disposition was shown by seizing a crusading knight in
the groves near the city and tearing his body in pieces. The Latins
returned with increased fury to the siege: but the defence, although
more feeble, was still protracted, and Bohemond began to feel not only
that fraud might succeed where force had failed, but that from fraud he
might reap, not safety merely, but wealth and greatness. His plans were
laid with a renegade Christian named Phirouz, high in the favor of the
governor, with whom he had come into contact either during the truce or
in some other way. By splendid promises he insured the zealous aid of
his new ally, and then came forward in the council with the assurance
that he could place the city in their hands, but that he could do this
only on condition that he should rule in Antioch as Baldwin ruled in
Edessa. His claim was angrily opposed by the Provencal Raymond; but this
opposition was overruled, and it was resolved that the plan should be
carried out at once.

There was need for so doing. Rumors spread within the city that some
attempt was to be made to betray the place to the besiegers, and hints
or open accusations pointed out Phirouz as the traitor. Like other
traitors, the renegade thought it best to anticipate the charge by
urging that the guards of the towers should on the very next day be
changed. His proposal was received as indubitable proof of his innocence
and his faithfulness; but he had made up his mind that Antioch should
fall that night, and that night by means of a rope ladder Bohemond with
about sixty followers (the ropes broke before more could ascend) climbed
up the wall. Seizing ten towers, of which all the guards were killed,
they opened a gate, and the Christian host rushed in. The banner of
Bohemond rose on one of the towers; the trumpets sounded for the onset,
and a carnage began in which at first the assailants took no heed to
distinguish between the Christian and the Turk. In the awful confusion
of the moment some of the besieged made their way to the citadel, and
there shut themselves in, ready to resist to the death. Of the rest few
escaped; ten thousand, it is said, were massacred. Baghasian with some
friends passed out beyond the besiegers' lines, but, fainting from loss
of blood, he fell from his horse, and his companions hurried on. A
Syrian Christian heard his groans, and striking off his head carried the
prize to the camp of the conquerors. Phirouz lived to be a second time a
renegade, and to close his career as a thief.

The victory was for the crusaders a change from famine to abundance; and
their feasting was accompanied by the wildest riot and the most filthy
debauchery. But if heedless waste may have been one of the most venial
of their sins, it was the greatest of their blunders. The reports which
spoke of the approach of the Persians were not false. The Turks within
the citadel suddenly found that they were rather besiegers than
besieged, and that the Christians' were hemmed in by the myriads of
Kerboga, Prince of Mosul, and the warriors of Kilidje Arslan. The old
horrors of famine were now repeated, but in greater intensity; and the
doom of the Latin host seemed now to be sealed.

Stephen, Count of Chartres, had deserted his companions before the fall
of the city; others now followed his example, and with him set out on
their return to Europe. In Phrygia, Stephen encountered the emperor
Alexius, who was marching to the aid of the crusaders, not only with a
Greek army, but with a force of well-appointed pilgrims who had reached
Constantinople after the departure of Godfrey and his fellows. The story
told by Stephen drove out of his head every thought except that of his
own safety. The order for retreat was given; and the pilgrim warriors,
not less than the Greeks, were compelled to turn their faces westward.

In Antioch the crusading soldiers were fast sinking into utter despair.
Discipline had well-nigh come to an end, and so obstinate was their
refusal to bear arms any longer that Bohemond resolved to burn them out
of their quarters. These were consumed by the flames, which spread so
rapidly as to fill him with fear that he had destroyed, not only their
dwellings, but his whole principality. His experiment brought the men
back to their duty; but so despondingly was their work done that but for
some signal succor the end, it was manifest, must soon come. In a
credulous age such succor at the darkest hour, if obtained at all, will
generally be obtained through miracle. A Lombard priest came forward, to
whom St. Ambrose of Milan had declared in a vision that the third year
of the crusade should see the conquest of Jerusalem; another had seen
the Saviour himself, attended by his Virgin Mother and the Prince of the
Apostles, had heard from his lips a stern rebuke of the crusaders for
yielding to the seductions of pagan women--as if the profession of
Christianity altered the color and the guilt of a vice--and lastly had
received the distinct assurance that in five days they should have the
help which they needed.

The hopes of the crusaders were roused; with hope came a return of
vigorous energy; and Peter Barthelemy, chaplain to Raymond of Toulouse,
seized the opportunity for recounting a vision which was to be something
more than a dream. To him St. Andrew had revealed the fact that in the
Church of St. Peter lay hidden the steel head of the spear which had
pierced the side of the Redeemer as he hung upon the cross; and that
Holy Lance should win them victory over all their enemies as surely as
the spear which imparted irresistible power to the Knight of the
Sangreal. After two days of special devotion they were to search for the
long-lost weapon; on the third day the workmen began to dig, but until
the sun had set they toiled in vain. The darkness of night made it
easier for the chaplain to play the part which Sir Walter Scott, in the
_Antiquary_, assigns to Herman Dousterswivel in the ruins of St. Ruth.
Barefooted and with a single garment the priest went down into the pit.
For a time the strokes of his spade were heard, and then the sacred
relic was found, carefully wrapped in a veil of silk and gold. The
priest proclaimed his discovery; the people rushed into the church; and
from the church throughout the city spread the flame of a fierce

Nine or ten months later Peter Barthelemy paid the penalty of his life
for his fraud or his superstition. A bribe taken by his master Raymond
brought that chief into ill odor with his comrades, and let loose
against his chaplain the tongue of Arnold, the chaplain of Bohemond.
Raymond had traded on fresh visions of his clerk; and Arnold boldly
attacked him in his citadel by denying the genuineness of the Holy
Lance. Peter appealed to the ordeal of fire. He passed through the
flames, as it seemed, unhurt. The bystanders pressed to feel his flesh,
and were vehement in their rejoicings at the result which vindicated his
integrity. He had really received fatal injuries. Twelve days afterward
he died, and Raymond suffered greatly in his dignity and his influence.

The infidel was doomed; but the crusaders resolved to give him one
chance of escape. Peter the Hermit was sent as their envoy to Kerboga to
offer the alternative of departure from a land which St. Peter had
bestowed on the faithful, or of baptism which should leave him master of
the city and territory of Antioch. The reply was short and decisive. The
Turk would not embrace an idolatry which he hated and despised, nor
would he give up soil which belonged to him by right of conquest. The
report of the hermit raised the spirit of the crusaders to fever heat;
and on the feast of St. Peter and St. Paul they marched out in twelve
divisions, in remembrance of the mission of the Twelve Apostles, while
Raymond of Toulouse remained to prevent the escape of the Turks shut up
in the citadel. The Holy Lance was borne by the papal legate, Adhemar,
Bishop of Puy; and the morning air laden with the perfume of roses was
now regarded as a sign assuring them of the divine favor. They were
prepared to see good omens in everything; and they went in full
confidence that departed saints would, as they had been told, take part
in the battle and smite down the infidel. The fight--one of brute force
on the Christian side, of some little skill as well as strength on the
other--had gone on for some time when such help seemed to become
needful. Tancred had hurried to the aid of Bohemond, who was grievously
pressed by Kilidje Arslan; and Kerboga was bearing heavily on Godfrey
and Hugh of Vermandois, when, clothed in white armor and riding on white
horses, some human forms were seen on the neighboring heights. "The
saints are coming to your aid," shouted the Bishop of Puy, and the
people saw in these radiant strangers the martyrs St. George, St.
Maurice, and St. Theodore.

Without awaiting their nearer approach the crusaders turned on the enemy
with a force and fury which were now irresistible. Their cavalry could
do little. Two hundred horses only remained of the sixty thousand which
had filled the plain a few months before. But the hedge of spears
advanced like a wall of iron, and the Turks gave way, broke, and fled.
It was rout, not retreat; and with the crusaders victory was followed by
the massacre of men, women, and children. The garrison in the citadel at
once surrendered. Some declared themselves Christians and were baptized;
those who refused to abandon Islam were taken to the nearest Mohametan
territory. The city was the prize of Bohemond; and in his keeping it
remained, although Raymond of Toulouse had made an effort to seize it by
hoisting his banner on the walls. The work of pillage being ended, the
churches were cleansed and repaired, and their altars blazed with golden
spoils taken from the infidel. The Greek Patriarch was again seated on
his throne; but he held his office at the good pleasure of the Latins,
and two years later he was made to give place to Bernard, a chaplain of
the Bishop of Puy.

Ten months had passed away after the conquest of Antioch when the main
body of the crusading army set out on its march to Jerusalem. They had
wished to depart at once, but their chiefs dreaded to encounter
waterless wastes at the end of a Syrian summer, and for the present they
were content to send Hugh of Vermandois and Baldwin of Hainault as
envoys to the Greek Emperor, to reproach him with his remissness or his
want of faith. But the miseries endured by Christians and Turks were the
pleasantest tidings in the ears of Alexius, for in the weakening of both
lay his own strength; and he saw with satisfaction the departure of
Hugh, not for Antioch, but for Europe, whither Stephen of Chartres had
preceded him.

Winter came, but the chiefs still lingered at Antioch. Some were
occupied in expeditions against neighboring cities; but a more pressing
care was the plague which punished the foulness and disorder of the
pilgrims. A band of fifteen hundred Germans, recently landed in strong
health and full equipments, were all, it is said, cut off; and among the
victims the most lamented perhaps was the papal legate Adhemar. A
feeling of discouragement was again spreading through the army
generally. The chiefs vainly entreated the Pope to visit the city where
the disciples of St. Peter first received the Christian name; the people
were disheartened by the animosities and the selfish or crooked policy
of their chiefs. Raymond still hankered after the principality of
Antioch, and insisted that Bohemond and his people should share in the
last great enterprise of the crusade. More disgraceful than these feuds
were the scenes witnessed during the siege and after the conquest of
Marra. Heedlessness and waste soon brought the assailants to devour the
flesh of dogs and of human beings. The bodies of Turks were torn from
their sepulchres, ripped up for the gold which they were supposed to
have swallowed, and the fragments cooked and eaten. Of the besieged many
slew themselves to avoid falling into the hands of the Christians; to
some Bohemond, tempted by a large bribe, gave an assurance of safety.
When the massacre had begun he ordered these to be brought forward. The
weak and old he slaughtered; the rest he sent to the slave markets of

A weak attempt made by Alexius to detain the crusaders only spurred them
to more vigorous efforts. They had already left Antioch, and Laodicea
was in their hands, when he desired them to await his coming in June.
The chiefs, remembering the departure of Tatikios with his Byzantine
troops for Cyprus, retorted that he had broken his compact, and had
therefore no further claims on their obedience. Hastening on their way,
they crossed the plain of Berytos (Beyrout), overlooked by the eternal
snows of Lebanon, along the narrow strip of land whence the great
Phoenician cities had sent their seamen and their colonists, with all
the wealth of the East, to the shores of the Adriatic and the gates of
the Mediterranean. Having reached Jaffa, they turned inland to Ramlah, a
town sixteen miles only from Jerusalem.

Two days later the crusaders came in sight of the Holy City, the object
of their long pilgrimage, the cause of wretchedness and death to
millions. As their eyes rested on the scene hallowed to them through all
the associations of their faith, the crusaders passed in an instant from
fierce enthusiasm to a humiliation which showed itself in sighs and
tears. All fell on their knees, to kiss the sacred earth and to pour
forth thanksgivings that they had been suffered to look upon the desire
of their eyes. Putting aside their armor and their weapons, they
advanced in pilgrim's garb and with bare feet toward the spot which the
Saviour had trodden in the hours of his agony and his passion.

But before their feelings of devotion could be indulged, there was other
work to be done. The chiefs took up their posts on those sides from
which the nature of the ground gave most hope of a successful assault.
On the northern side were Godfrey and Tancred, Robert of Flanders, and
Robert of Normandy; on the west Raymond with his Provencals. On the
fifth day, without siege instruments, with only one ladder, and trusting
to mere weight, the crusaders made a desperate assault upon the walls.
Some succeeded in reaching the summit, and the very rashness of their
attack struck terror for a moment into their enemies. But the garrison
soon rallied, and the invaders were all driven back or hurled from the
ramparts. The task, it was manifest, must be undertaken in a more formal
manner. Siege engines must be made, and the palm and olive of the
immediate neighborhood would not supply fit materials for their

These were obtained from the woods of Shechem, a distance of thirty
miles; and the work of preparation was carried on under the guidance of
Gaston of Beam by the crews of some Genoese vessels which had recently
anchored at Jaffa. So passed away more than thirty days, days of intense
suffering to the besiegers. At Antioch they had been distressed chiefly
by famine: in place of this wretchedness they had here the greater
miseries of thirst. The enemy had carefully destroyed every place which
might serve as a receptacle of water; and in seeking for it over miles
of desolate country they were exposed to the harassing attacks of Moslem
horsemen. Nor had visions and miracles improved the morals or discipline
of the camp; and the ghost of Adhemar of Puy appeared to rebuke the
horrible sins which were drawing down upon them the judgments of the
Almighty. Better service was done by the generosity of Tancred, who made
up his quarrel with Raymond: and the enthusiasm of the crusaders was
again roused by the preaching of Arnold and the hermit Peter. The
narrative of the siege of Jericho in the book of Joshua suggested
probably the procession in which the clergy singing hymns preceded the
laity round the walls of the city.

The Saracens on the ramparts mocked their devotions by throwing dirt
upon crucifixes; but they paid a terrible price for these insults. On
the next day the final assault began, and was carried on through the day
with the same monotony of brute force and carnage which marked all the
operations of this merciless war. The darkness of night brought no rest.
The actual combat was suspended, but the besieged were incessantly
occupied in repairing the breaches made by the assailants, while these
were busied in making their dispositions for the last mortal conflict.
In the midst of that deadly struggle, when it seemed that the Cross must
after all go down before the Crescent, a knight was seen on Mount
Olivet, waving his glistening shield to rouse the champions of the Holy
Sepulchre to the supreme effort. "It is St. George the Martyr who has
come again to help us," cried Godfrey, and at his words the crusaders
started up without a feeling of fatigue and carried everything before

The day, we are told, was Friday, the hour was three in the afternoon--
the moment at which the last cry from the cross announced the
accomplishment of the Saviour's passion--when Letold of Tournay stood,
the first victorious champion of the Cross, on the walls of Jerusalem.
Next to him came, we are told, his brother Engelbert; the third was
Godfrey. Tancred with the two Roberts stormed the gate of St. Stephen;
the Provencals climbed the ramparts by ladders, and the conquest of
Jerusalem was achieved. The insults offered a little while ago to the
crucifixes were avenged by Godfrey's orders in the massacre of hundreds;
the carnage in the Mosque of Omar swept away the bodies of thousands in
a deluge of human blood. The Jews were all burnt alive in their
synagogues. The horses of the crusaders, who rode up to the porch of the
Temple, were--so the story goes--up to the knees in the loathsome
stream; and the forms of Christian knights hacking and hewing the bodies
of the living and the dead furnished a pleasant commentary on the sermon
of Urban at Clermont.

From the duties of slaughter these disciples of the Lamb of God passed
to those of devotion. Bareheaded and barefooted, clad in a robe of pure
white linen, in an ecstasy of joy and thankfulness mingled with profound
contrition, Godfrey entered the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and knelt
at the tomb of his Lord. With groans and tears his followers came, each
in his turn, to offer his praises for the divine mercy which had
vouchsafed this triumph to the armies of Christendom. With feverish
earnestness they poured forth the vows which bound them to sin no more,
and the excitement of prayer and slaughter, perhaps of both combined,
led them to see everything which might be needed to give effect to the
closing scene of this appalling tragedy. As the saints had arisen from
their graves when the Son of Man gave up the ghost on Calvary, so the
spirits of the pilgrims who had died on the terrible journey came to
take part in the great thanksgiving. Foremost among them was Adhemar of
Puy, rejoicing in the prayers for forgiveness and the resolutions of
repentance which promised a new era of peace upon earth and of good-will
toward all men.

With departed saints were mingled living men who deserved all the honor
which might be paid to them. The backsliding of the hermit Peter was
blotted out of the memory of those who remembered only the fiery
eloquence which had first called them to their now triumphant
pilgrimage, and the zeal which had stirred the heart of Christendom to
cut short the tyranny of the Unbeliever in the birthland of
Christianity. The assembled throng fell down at his feet, and gave
thanks to God, who had vouchsafed to them such a teacher. His task was
done, and in the annals of the time Peter is heard of no more.

On this dreadful day Tancred had spared three hundred captives to whom
he had given a standard as a pledge of his protection and a guarantee of
their safety. Such misplaced mercy was a crime in the eyes of the
crusaders. The massacre of the first day may have been aggravated by the
ungovernable excitement of victory; but it was resolved that on the next
day there should be offered up a more solemn and deliberate sacrifice.
The men whom Tancred had spared were all murdered; and the wrath of
Tancred was roused, not by their fate, but by an act which called his
honor into question. The butchery went on with impartial completeness,
old and young, decrepit men and women, mothers with their infants, boys
and girls, young men and maidens in the bloom of their vigor, all were
mowed down, and their bodies mangled until heads and limbs were tossed
together in awful chaos. A few were hidden away by Raymond of Toulouse;
his motive, however, was not mercy, but the prospects of gain in the
slave market. After this great act of faith and devotion the streets of
the Holy City were washed by Saracen prisoners; but whether these were
butchered when their work was ended we are not told.

Four centuries and a half had passed away, when these things were done,
since Omar had entered Jerusalem as a conqueror and knelt outside the
Church of Constantine, that his followers might not trespass within it
on the privileges of the Christians. The contrast is at the least marked
between the Caliph of the Prophet and the children of the Holy Catholic

When, the business of the slaughter being ended, the chiefs met to
choose a king for the realm which they had won with their swords, one
man only appeared to whom the crown could fitly be offered. Baldwin was
lord of Edessa; Bohemond ruled at Antioch; Hugh of Vermandois and
Stephen of Chartres had returned to Europe; Robert of Flanders cared not
to stay; the Norman Robert had no mind to forfeit the duchy which he had
mortgaged; and Raymond was discredited by his avarice, and in part also
by his traffic in the visions of Peter Barthelemy. But in the city where
his Lord had worn the thorny crown, the veteran leader who had looked on
ruthless slaughter without blanching and had borne his share in swelling
the stream of blood would wear no earthly diadem nor take the title of
king. He would watch over his Master's grave and the interests of his
worshippers under the humble guise of Baron and Defender of the Holy
Sepulchre; and as such, a fortnight after his election, Godfrey departed
to do battle with the hosts of the Fatimite Caliph of Egypt, who now
felt that the loss of Jerusalem was too high a price for the humiliation
of his rivals. The conflict took place at Ascalon, and the Fatimite army
was miserably routed. Godfrey returned to Jerusalem, to hang the sword
and standard of the Sultan before the Holy Sepulchre and to bid farewell
to the pilgrims who were now to set out on their homeward journey. He
retained, with three hundred knights under Tancred, only two thousand
foot soldiers for the defence of his kingdom; and so ended the first act
in the great drama of the crusades.


A.D. 1118


(Among the military orders of past ages, that of the Knights Templars,
founded for the defence of the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem, with its
lofty motive, its superb organization and discipline, and its history
extending over nearly two centuries, is justly accounted one of the most
illustrious. At the period when this extraordinary and romantic order
came into existence, the contrasting spirits of warlike enterprise and
monastic retirement were drawing men, some from the field to the
cloister, others from the life of ascetic piety to the scenes of strife.
There appeared a strange blending of these two tendencies, which indeed
was the leading characteristic of the time. This union of the religious
with the militant spirit had been promoted by the enthusiasm of the
crusades which had already been undertaken, and among the crusaders
themselves the blended spiritual and military ideal of the holy war had
its complete development. Let us recall the reasons and the beginnings
of the crusades themselves.

Upon the legendary discovery of the Holy Sepulchre by Helena, the mother
of Constantine, about three hundred years after the death of Christ, and
the consequent erection, as it is said, by her great son--the first
Christian emperor of Rome--of the magnificent Church of the Holy
Sepulchre over the sacred spot, a tide of pilgrimage set in toward
Jerusalem which increased in strength as Christianity gradually spread
throughout Europe. When in A.D. 637 the Holy City was surrendered to the
Saracens, the caliph Omar gave guarantees for the security of the
Christian population. Under this safeguard the pilgrimages to Jerusalem
continued to increase, until in 1064 the Holy Sepulchre was visited by
seven thousand pilgrims, led by an archbishop and three bishops. But in
1065 Jerusalem was taken by the Turcomans, who massacred three thousand
citizens, and placed the command of the city in savage hands. Terrible
oppression of the Christians there followed; the Patriarch of Jerusalem
was dragged by the hair of his head over the sacred pavement of the
Church of the Holy Sepulchre and cast into a dungeon for ransom;
extortion, imprisonment, and massacre were indiscriminately visited upon
the people.

Such were the conditions that aroused the indignant spirit of
Christendom and prepared it for the cry of Peter the Hermit, which awoke
the wild enthusiasm of the crusades. When Jerusalem was captured by the
crusaders under Godfrey of Bouillon in 1099, the zeal of pilgrimage
burst forth anew. But although Jerusalem was delivered, Palestine was
still infested with the infidels, who made it as hazardous as before for
the pilgrims entering there. Some means for their protection must be
found, and out of this necessity grew the great military order of which
the following pages treat.)

To alleviate the dangers and distresses to which the pilgrim enthusiasts
were exposed; to guard the honor of the saintly virgins and matrons, and
to protect the gray hairs of the venerable palmers, nine noble knights
formed a holy brotherhood-in-arms, and entered into a solemn compact to
aid one another in clearing the highways of infidels and robbers, and in
protecting the pilgrims through the passes and defiles of the mountains
to the Holy City. Warmed with the religious and military fervor of the
day, and animated by the sacredness of the cause to which they had
devoted their swords, they called themselves the "Poor Fellow-soldiers
of Jesus Christ."

They renounced the world and its pleasures, and in the Holy Church of
the Resurrection, in the presence of the Patriarch of Jerusalem, they
embraced vows of perpetual chastity, obedience, and poverty, after the
manner of monks. Uniting in themselves the two most popular qualities of
the age, devotion and valor, and exercising them in the most popular of
all enterprises, the protection of the pilgrims and of the road to the
Holy Sepulchre, they speedily acquired a vast reputation and a splendid

At first, we are told, they had no church and no particular place of
abode, but in the year of our Lord 1118--nineteen years after the
conquest of Jerusalem by the crusaders--they had rendered such good and
acceptable service to the Christians that Baldwin II, King of Jerusalem,
granted them a place of habitation within the sacred enclosure of the
Temple on Mount Moriah, amid those holy and magnificent structures,
partly erected by the Christian emperor Justinian and partly built by
the caliph Omar, which were then exhibited by the monks and priests of
Jerusalem, whose restless zeal led them to practise on the credulity of
the pilgrims, and to multiply relics and all objects likely to be sacred
in their eyes, as the Temple of Solomon, whence the "Poor
Fellow-soldiers of Jesus Christ" came thenceforth to be known by the
name of "the Knighthood of the Temple of Solomon."

A few remarks in elucidation of the name "Templars," or "Knights of the
Temple," may not be unacceptable.

By the Mussulmans the site of the great Jewish Temple on Mount Moriah
has always been regarded with peculiar veneration. Mahomet, in the first
year of the publication of the _Koran_, directed his followers, when at
prayer, to turn their faces toward it, and pilgrimages have constantly
been made to the holy spot by devout Moslems. On the conquest of
Jerusalem by the Arabians, it was the first care of the caliph Omar to
rebuild "the Temple of the Lord." Assisted by the principal chieftains
of his army, the Commander of the Faithful undertook the pious office of
clearing the ground with his own hands, and of tracing out the
foundations of the magnificent mosque which now crowns with its dark and
swelling dome the elevated summit of Mount Moriah.

This great house of prayer, the most holy Mussulman temple in the world
after that of Mecca, is erected over the spot where "Solomon began to
build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem in Mount Moriah, where the Lord
appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in
the threshing-floor of Oman the Jebusite."

It remains to this day in a state of perfect preservation, and is one of
the finest specimens of Saracenic architecture in existence. It is
entered by four spacious doorways, each door facing one of the cardinal
points: the _Bab el D'Jannat_ (or "Gate of the Garden"), on the north;
the _Bab el Kebla_, (or "Gate of Prayer"), on the south; the _Bab ibn el
Daoud_ (or "Gate of the Son of David"), on the east; and the _Bab el
Garbi_, on the west. By the Arabian geographers it is called _Beit
Allah_ ("the House of God"), also _Beit Almokaddas_ or _Beit Almacdes_
("the Holy House"). From it Jerusalem derives its Arabic name, _El Kods_
("the Holy"), _El Schereef_ ("the Noble"), and _El Mobarek_ ("the
Blessed"); while the governors of the city, instead of the customary
high-sounding titles of sovereignty and dominion, take the simple title
of _Hami_ (or "Protectors").

On the conquest of Jerusalem by the crusaders, the crescent was torn
down from the summit of this famous Mussulman temple, and was replaced
by an immense golden cross, and the edifice was then consecrated to the
services of the Christian religion, but retained its simple appellation
of "the Temple of the Lord." William, Archbishop of Tyre and Chancellor
of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, gives an interesting account of this famous
edifice as it existed in his time, during the Latin dominion. He speaks
of the splendid mosaic work, of the Arabic characters setting forth the
name of the founder and the cost of the undertaking, and of the famous
rock under the centre of the dome, which is to this day shown by the
Moslems as the spot whereon the destroying angel stood, "with his drawn
sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem." This rock, he informs
us, was left exposed and uncovered for the space of fifteen years after
the conquest of the Holy City by the crusaders, but was, after that
period, cased with a handsome altar of white marble, upon which the
priests daily said mass.

To the south of this holy Mussulman temple, on the extreme edge of the
summit of Mount Moriah, and resting against the modern walls of the town
of Jerusalem, stands the venerable Church of the Virgin, erected by the
emperor Justinian, whose stupendous foundations, remaining to this day,
fully justify the astonishing description given of the building by
Procopius. That writer informs us that in order to get a level surface
for the erection of the edifice, it was necessary, on the east and south
sides of the hill, to raise up a wall of masonry from the valley below,
and to construct a vast foundation, partly composed of solid stone and
partly of arches and pillars. The stones were of such magnitude that
each block required to be transported in a truck drawn by forty of the
Emperor's strongest oxen; and to admit of the passage of these trucks it
was necessary to widen the roads leading to Jerusalem. The forests of
Lebanon yielded their choicest cedars for the timbers of the roof; and a
quarry of variegated marble, seasonably discovered in the adjoining
mountains, furnished the edifice with superb marble columns.

The interior of this interesting structure, which still remains at
Jerusalem, after a lapse of more than thirteen centuries, in an
excellent state of preservation, is adorned with six rows of columns,
from whence spring arches supporting the cedar beams and timbers of the
roof; and at the end of the building is a round tower, surmounted by a
dome. The vast stones, the walls of masonry, and the subterranean
colonnade raised to support the southeast angle of the platform whereon
the church is erected are truly wonderful, and may still be seen by
penetrating through a small door and descending several flights of steps
at the southeast corner of the enclosure. Adjoining the sacred edifice
the Emperor erected hospitals, or houses of refuge, for travellers, sick
people, and mendicants of all nations; the foundations whereof, composed
of handsome Roman masonry, are still visible on either side of the
southern end of the building.

On the conquest of Jerusalem by the Moslems this venerable church was
converted into a mosque, and was called D'Jame al Acsa; it was enclosed,
together with the great Mussulman "Temple of the Lord" erected by the
caliph Omar, within a large area by a high stone wall, which runs around
the edge of the summit of Mount Moriah and guards from the profane tread
of the unbeliever the whole of that sacred ground whereon once stood the
gorgeous Temple of the wisest of kings.

When the Holy City was taken by the crusaders, the D'Jame al Acsa, with
the various buildings constructed around it, became the property of the
kings of Jerusalem, and is denominated by William of Tyre "the Palace,"
or "Royal House to the south of the Temple of the Lord, vulgarly called
the 'Temple of Solomon.'" It was this edifice or temple on Mount Moriah
which was appropriated to the use of the "Poor Fellow-soldiers of Jesus
Christ," as they had no church and no particular place of abode, and
from it they derived their name of "Knights Templars."

James of Vitry, Bishop of Acre, who gives an interesting account of the
holy places, thus speaks of the temple of the Knights Templars: "There
is, moreover, at Jerusalem another temple of immense spaciousness and
extent, from which the brethren of the Knighthood of the Temple derive
their name of 'Templars,' which is called the 'Temple of Solomon,'
perhaps to distinguish it from the one above described, which is
specially called the 'Temple of the Lord.'" He moreover informs us in
his oriental history that "in the 'Temple of the Lord' there is an abbot
and canons regular; and be it known that the one is the 'Temple of the
_Lord_,' and the other the 'Temple of the _Chivalry_.' These are
_clerks_; the others are _knights_."

The canons of the "Temple of the Lord" conceded to the "Poor
Fellow-soldiers of Jesus Christ" the large court extending between that
building and the Temple of Solomon; the King, the Patriarch, and the
prelates of Jerusalem, and the barons of the Latin kingdom assigned them
various gifts and revenues for their maintenance and support, and, the
order being now settled in a regular place of abode, the knights soon
began to entertain more extended views and to seek a larger theatre for
the exercise of their holy profession.

Their first aim and object had been, as before mentioned, simply to
protect the poor pilgrims on their journey backward and forward from the
sea-coast to Jerusalem; but as the hostile tribes of Mussulmans, which
everywhere surrounded the Latin kingdom, were gradually recovering from
the stupefying terror into which they had been plunged by the successful
and exterminating warfare of the first crusaders, and were assuming an
aggressive and threatening attitude, it was determined that the holy
warriors of the temple should, in addition to the protection of
pilgrims, make the defence of the Christian kingdom of Jerusalem, of the
Eastern Church, and of all the holy places a part of their particular

The two most distinguished members of the fraternity were Hugh de Payens
and Geoffrey de St. Aldemar, or St. Omer, two valiant soldiers of the


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