The betrayal and capture of Antioch during the First Crusade
According to tradition, Richard the Pilgrim, an eye-witness to the siege of Antioch in 1097, produced a poem on the event, which was reworked years later by Graindour de Douai; in his attempt to reinforce the authority of the old chanson, Graindour borrowed from chronicles, primarily from Robert the Monk and Albert of Aix, to modernize the themes (Duparc-Quioc, II. p. 119). At least one of the poem's more recent readers has argued that the results of these efforts are more reliable and more veracious than any of the chronicles (Sumberg as described by Duparc-Quioc, II. 146), and the poem's most recent editor praises the poem (in spite of the fact that the poet's attempts to reconcile conflicting versions of events, while keeping a narrative coherence, occasionally are at the expense of historical accuracy) for giving us the impression of touching reality through the centuries, and giving us the feeling of lived experience (DuP, II.146). In any event, the poem offers a broader, more complex representation if not of reality, then of imagined experience(1), than chanson de geste characteristically does. The latest edition is La Chanson d'Antioche, publiee par Suzanne Duparc-Quioc. Paris 1977; two useful books on the poem are: Sumberg, Lewis A. M., La Chanson d'Antioche, etude historique et litteraire, Paris 1968; Cook, Robert Francis, "Chanson d'Antioche," chanson de geste: le cycle de la croisade est-il epique? Amsterdam 1980 PQ1425.A483 C6. To get some sense of the intertextual rivalry that had already taken place among the Latin historians of the First Crusade who treated the capture of Antioch see R. Levine, "The Pious Traitor: the Man who Betrayed Antioch," Mittellateinisches Jahrbuch XXXIII (1998), pp. 59-80.
Love for his child made the father very unhappy. Very quickly he took a translator and a large dromedary loaded with silver cloth, called "samite" in our language. He sent them to our fine, brave men, that they might protect his child, for the love of the mighty Lord -- he said that he would give whatever ransom they demanded and would honor the French all the days of his life. He sent sixty of the best Oriental horses, together with a large pied pack-horse, loaded with besants of shining gold, as a peace offering to the French, that they might take good care of his child, for the sake of God the redeemer, who was born in Bethlehem of the holy Virgin. When our nobles saw him, they were very happy -- they greeted the messenger and called him forward, and he quickly gave them the letter. Count Hugh read it and began to smile, and Baldwin of Bors who did a fine thing then, performed a noble act: he took off his cloak and gave it to the unbeliever, and grey-haired Hugh of Saint Pol had the Turk dressed in vermilion buckram. Then he had him mounted on a mule, and led him happily through the army, keeping at some distance from our poor people, for they aren aked, dejected, nearly dead of hunger. Our nobles are meeting in a green field where the messenger was, watching everything. See Hugh of Saint Pol riding, with the Turk's child in front of him -- when our nobles see him, they rush to embrace him.
Our nobles have richly outfitted the child, dressing him in the French style, with the smallest armor that could be found in the army. He had a hauberk and a green helmet and a shield bordered with gold, and a painted lance, trimmed with a flag. Then they gave him a dappled horse, beautiful, swift, and smoothly gaited. They handed over the child equipped in this fashion to the messenger -- and he took leave of the French, and led the child away. They entered the city of Antioch by the bridge -- the pagans watched very closely, saying to each other: "Where has this Turk been? He is carrying the arms of a Frenchman who has been killed. "The others replied: "You speak the truth." The messenger and the child passed by -- they arrived at the palace, where they stopped. The father came to meet them, disarmed his son, kissed him and embraced him -- he held him close. He asked what the French were like. "By my faith, sir, it will not be hidden from you. No one has ever been so noble or so generous -- they serve a God who does their will, which you may know from the fact that he gives them wine and wheat, but Mahomet, our god, has no power -- I value his power no more than a dead dog, but wish to believe in Jesus who gives light." "Are you speaking the truth, dear son?" "Yes, for the love of God." "Dear son," the father said, "speak quietly about this, since if the Turks hear, you will lose your head."
"Dear son," the father said, "hide nothing from me. Do you believe entirely in Jesus?" "Yes," the child said, "I'm telling you the truth. If I am not baptized I shall not live much longer." "Dear son," said the father, "speak quietly about this, for if the pagans hear, they will do you great harm. I shall ask, if God permits me -- now let us stop talking, before someone hears --> -- us." "Sir," said the child, "entirely as you wish." That night the Turk --> -- goes directly to the army of God, speaks to Bohemund, and soon tells him that the army of their nobles was coming from the East, intending to bring relief and salvation for the pagans. He said no more to him, but leaves, after asking permission.
Bohemund could not sleep -- the next day he mounted a Syrian mule -- he called all his nobles to a meeting.
All of the nobles in God's army speak with each other; Bohemund carefully told them what was in his mind, what the Turk had told him in his tent about the fine, large army that was only a two-day journey from their tents. When our nobles heard this, they said nothing, until the bishop of Puy said what was in his mind: "Noblemen, decide whom to send to scout the army of the race of Mahomet." The others replied: "Count Stephen." He replied to them: "Bless God!"
He and his companions quickly mounted their horses -- there were 30 knights --> -- and only one servant. Sir Stephen went off, spurring his horse, and came --> -- to the Black Mountain at a gallop. On his left he kept the vale of Corbon --> -- -- He saw the kitchens of the infidel race -- their armies had set up --> -- quarters in more than 14 places in all directions. The count stopped, --> -- leaned on his saddle, heard the noise and sound of the Saracens, of their --> -- brass trumpets, brass bells and bugles which sounded the battle cry. The count was frightened and bowed his head, and God's army retreated in confusion. Sad and weary, they all held their heads. Men of great renown surrounded him -- they ask how large is the
Turkish army, but he said not a word. Godfrey of Boulogne is the first to understand: "Noblemen, let him be, he has no need to talk -- I believe that he --> -- is wounded in the liver or in the lungs -- from here he is going to Alexandrette,
towards mount Orion."
The duke of Boulogne said: "Noblemen, let him be, for the count is ill, I see that his color is changing. Let him go to Lisardete, if he can be brought there. It is a strong castle, where he may rest easily, and then return to us, if he is able to recover peacefully. Count Stephen said: "Now I hear you speak well, sir, duke of Boulogne, thank you." A litter was brought for count Stephen, who had himself carried by 12 of the poorest members of the army, and he gave each of them 12 deniers of Luccan gold. They carry him on their shoulders until sunset, and they can no longer see Antioch. The count leaps from the litter, unwilling to wait, for he was not ill, the scoundrel -- he --> -- began to move at a great rate, making all of the 12 poor men come with him, --> -- since he did not want them to return and tell. Our nobles are in the army, --> -- my God honor them! Count Raymond watched over them that night, and the --> -- praiseworthy count of Flanders was with him, with all the troops they had prepared in arms. They stayed awake all night until the day broke.
Bohemund of Sicily lay within his tent, much worried, eager to sleep. The day broke over the gate of Saint Simeon. He dreamt a dream which troubled him: he saw the sky open and the earth tremble -- a circle of gold appeared in his tent,
surrounding the walls of Antioch -- the city shone with the light. The Saracens told him that Mahomet was dead -- the sun and the moon drew him up-- he covered the earth with the sides of his hauberk -- the largest palace bowed down before
him -- he hung above the wall. One of the leaders of the army climbed up the wall, and all the others followed him --they were almost in the palace when the ladder broke; those who had remained below were frightened. Bohemund, who
had slept a long time, now awoke he attributed his dream to God, who had granted him the honor, and then he looked at Antioch, whose walls were steep. "Certainly," he said, "you will be lost if the damned Turks get you. May the Lord God and his sacred body and the blessed saints grant that I live to serve him as long as he may be served.
The walls before Antioch were high and strong -- there were 50 marble --> -- towers, made of white stone -- 12 worthy emirs guarded them, each with four --> -- towers under his command, and one of them had six more to guard -- Garsion --> -- had given him all the power. One morning all 12 princes woke up -- Garsion led them to the temple of the adversary, and he began to speak to each of the emirs. "Noblemen, what shall we do? We need help, Sansadonius and our messengers delay -- I am afraid that help will come too late -- the Sultan has gone to Nubia to fight. Let us offer a truce to the French for a month, with hostages on both sides. In the meantime the army will arrive -- our enemies will pay dearly for it -- we should make every effort to deceive the French." And Garsion replies: "I willingly grant it." He had the plan delivered by two translators -- one was named Grius and the other Hermines -- he sent them to the French to present his plan. The messengers went directly to Bohemund's tent, they greet him
courteously, and speak words like these: "Bohemund of Sicily, hear us patiently, -- king Garsion asks you for a truce for 40 days, guaranteed by hostages. May whoever breaks it be cut in pieces -- inside the city you will be able to buy food and drink. We promise, if you grant this, that we shall surrender the city without putting up a fight. "Noblemen," said Bohemund, "let me take counsel." Our nobles, whom God loves and holds dear, assembled -- he told them about the truce that had been offered. Both the weak and the strong begin to cry out: "Sir, grant them the truce, for God's sake, without delay."
When Bohemund heard that our people, both the weak and the strong, were trusting, and willing to grant a truce for 40 days, he returned to the messengers, and took their pledge. The messengers then depart, having no more to do. They returned to tell Garsion of Antioch that they had made, pledged, and confirmed the truce -- Garsion thanked Mahomet. The Christian army, may God protect them, is overjoyed at the truce, but they will pay dearly for it, for the Persian army is formidable, and no one in the world had ever seen so large an army assembled before. Had the Turks of Antioch known how to take care of themselves, our people would have suffered terribly. The Saracens and Esclers were in Antioch, together with 12 praiseworthy emirs, each of them guarding 12 towers -- one of them, more powerful, without his peer in the army, guarded six towers and the main gate. He dreamed all night -- (in his dream) God made him get up and baptize himself in water, regenerate himself in a fountain, and surrender Antioch peacefully to the French. He wants to hide his thoughts from his kinsmen, and from his wife, whom he was supposed to love. The Turk lay in his bed and began to think how he might gently convert his wife to Jesus and his law.
The valiant Turk lies in his bed -- he was the same whose child had been --> -- restored. A messenger from the great God came to him: "Friend, are you --> -- asleep or awake?" When the Turk heard him, he sat up: "Sir, who are you --> -- who have come to speak to me?" "Friend, I am the messenger of Jesus of Bethlehem, God the eternal father, whom the unbelieving Jews punished on the cross, sends me to you, so that you may let the Christians in, who are outside in the rain and rough wind. The messenger of God departed, and returned to Him, while the Turk remained deep in thought. After thinking a long time, he fell asleep again. The messenger of God returned: "Friend, are you sleeping or awake? You are making things difficult for me. Our Lord commands that you delay no longer -- surrender the city to the Christian race. Make a ladder of leather, strong and durable, with which they can climb the steep wall. Now I am going -- don't delay." The angel left -- the Turk remained, weeping -- all night long he did not sleep until dawn.
At dawn the Turk arose -- he dressed in his pagan clothing -- he went into --> -- a hollow tree and found within it more than 100 deer skins. The pagan shut --> -- himself up in the tree, bringing with him 2 good steel knives, pots and --> -- chisels -- he was well prepared. He cut the skins into long strips, tore --> -- out all the bellies of the deer, and sewed together all their backs. Each --> -- of the backs was joined with 18 strips, then they were cut into rungs. --> -- Each was set two feet from the other -- each of the rungs was attached --> -- strongly enough to bear the weight of 4 armed knights easily. But the Turk --> -- did not tie them correctly in the middle, where the leather was a bit weak --> -- and worn. Gods! because of this so many of our men will be lost, many a --> -- sword-hilt bent, and many horses lost! When the ladder was finished, it was --> -- long and thick, 114 feet in length. The Turk got up, crossed himself, and --> -- left the vault. He climbed the wall, looked at the French -- secretly in --> -- his heart he called out to them: "Ah French knights, if you only knew my feelings towards you -- I intend to surrender the city to you, entirely at your will." When it was night, the Turk climbed down the wall -- secretly he went to our nobles in the army, came to Bohemund, who loved him. When the noble saw him, he was embraced warmly. "Bohemund of Sicily," said the Turk, "listen, tomorrow evening you will have the city -- in the morning see to it that you get ready." "Sir," said Bohemund, "(we shall do) as you ordered -- if you believe in our God and worship him, know for a certainty that you will be saved."
"Bohemund," said the Turk, "by your faith, say what the reward will be for the man who surrenders the city to you?" The duke replies: "Truly you will hold your land and all your wealth without feudal obligation, and 1000 besants yearly for what you have done -- never as long as I live will anyone do you harm."
The Turk swore an oath to Bohemund that he would surrender the city to him the next day. That night he gave his son as hostage, and Bohemund ratified the agreement. Then the Turk secretly returned to the city -- our nobles who see him had no idea that he had come or gone to surrender the city. Instead, they think that he had come to confirm the treaty. But Bohemund was full of great shrewdness -- he convoked a meeting of the nobles of the army. "Noblemen," said
Bohemund, "hear my thoughts. If Antioch, where we have labored so long, surrenders to me, I ask you, for the love of God, if it be your wish, that each of you grant me the city, in the name of God's love. Most of them replied: "You
will not be denied." The count of saint Gilles said: "That will never be my will! I have suffered such great discomfort, famine, thirst, and weariness, that if I do not get my share, it will be bought dearly!" Because of his words, they delayed two whole days, and they were much distraught -- for they were too tired to resist him, and they did not yet know of the great storm of the pagan army, such as no Christian man had ever seen, approaching with great eagerness. Corbarin of Oliferne summoned a messenger, sent him to Garsion to tell him that help would arrive from the Persian empire before 3 days had passed. The messenger set off, taking the shortest path, spurring his camel with such force that he arrived in Antioch by evening, dismounting before the steps of the palace.
The Persian messenger dismounted at the steps, quickly went up into the main palace -- he told his news to powerful king Garsion, saying him that --> -- Corbaron was coming with Turks and Slavs, bringing 30 kings and the Red --> -- Lion. When the emir heard this, he prayed to Mahomet, then had the truce --> -- with Bohemund broken the next day. When our French heard this, they were --> -- upset, and the barons blame the count of saint Gille for it: "Sir, little --> -- good will come of your strength; had it not been for your pride we would have held the city. Now before capturing it, we shall pay dearly." Garsion of Antioch was in the main tower, and he sent for the 12 famous emirs. When they arrived, he told them his plans: "Noblemen, protect the city, remain on guard, for help greater than any man has ever seen is on the way."
"Noblemen," said Garsion, "remain strongly on guard -- I have broken the truce with the French -- if anyone keeps the truce, he will be delivered to torment." The 12 peers returned in obedience to their leader's command -- each one dismounted from his horse at his own palace. The blessed Turk who had made a pledge to Bohemund did not delay. He remained awake all night, but ordered his men to sleep. The son of Robert Guiscard sent a messenger secretly, and the noble quietly and respectfully came to him. "Bohemund," said the Turk, "you are waiting too long -- I rightly hold you to your promise now -- either take the city or return my hostage. If you wait until daylight tomorrow, you will be dead and wiped out without hope of deliverance, for tomorrow the huge army will be here.
"Bohemund," said the Turk, "keep your word, or you will never in all your life capture the city, for tomorrow you will find the powerful Corbaran and the Red Lion, together with 30 proud and powerful kings. They are bringing an army larger than any man has ever seen -- if you don't take the city by nightfall, tomorrow you will be sorry. Bohemund replied: "Noble sir, be assured that now that you are ready, I shall delay no longer -- I shall get our nobles quickly." The Turk agreed and went off in haste -- both men went off. Bohemund went directly to his army, spurring his horse, and the pagan came to his palace deep in thought --he met his wife and they spoke.
"Sir," said the pagan woman, "where are you coming from? By Mahomet, I see much of what you are doing -- why are you speaking so much with the French -- --> -- now tell me what you are looking for. You speak often with them, morning --> -- and evening-- you are planning some great treason with them. I swear by --> -- Mahomet and by my life that if I am alive when the sun rises I shall tell --> -- my father and my elder brothers. Your head will be cutoff in Garsion's --> -- palace." Datien said: "Lady, you will be very wrong -- I shall never be cut --> -- in pieces. Climb to the battlements with me and I shall show you the --> -- French, their bivouacs, their tents, and their large number of knights. You --> -- will see how your son has been dubbed a knight, and how the French love --> -- him. "Sir," the lady said, "as you wish."They climbed the stairs high up --> -- the wall -- they reach the top floor, which was joined to the wall -- they --> -- leaned out one of the windows. "Lady," said Datien, "listen to me a moment --> -- -- believe in Jesus who suffered on the cross and in the Holy Virgin who --> -- carried him in her womb." When the pagan woman hears him, she is very --> -- disturbed. "Ah," she said, "I knew it well myself -- now your evil heart --> -- can no longer remain hidden -- you will be cut to pieces." When Datien --> -- heard this, he turned towards her, took her by the arms, and in a rage --> -- threw her from the wall -- her neck was broken, her body torn in 20 places --> -- and shattered. Devils carried off her soul -- her body perished. Then the Turk went to the hollow tree -- he took the ladder, gathered it up, brought the two hidden ends to the wall -- the front end was tied to the wall, and the other was thrown to the ground -- it lay there, 4 feet long. Bohemund officially was still uncertain -- in fear he comes to the tent of Godfrey of Boulogne. "Sir," said Bohemund, "hurry, or the town will never be surrendered to us." The duke said to him: "Ah, God, may You be blessed."
When the duke of Boulogne heard him speak, he stretched out his hands towards God -- he gently thanked Him. Quickly he armed himself and his men, then goes restlessly among the tents -- he has the barons and their knights arm themselves and the sturdy troops, may God help them! There were one hundred and forty worthy men, but they knew nothing of where the duke was leading them. They thought that they were going to fight the Turks -- may they be damned, by God's body! The Persian army was proceeding towards them. Bohemund and the duke had prepared their way -- the foot soldiers, who endure great anguish, move out -- their shoes are falling apart, the path is rough -- under the calm moon they move in close ranks -- and they weep quietly, without a voice being heard, and they call upon Jesus, the son of saint Mary. "Men," said Godfrey, "do not be troubled. Why are you upset, noble Frenchmen? If the despised Turks attack us, each of us will defend himself with the sword he has brought." And the Christians replied: "Have no fear, we shall never fail you as long as we live." The good duke of Boulogne quietly thanked them. He stopped in a valley, in a field, and sent Robert of Normandy ahead, together with powerful count Robert of Flanders, and Tancred and Bohemund, whose confidence was growing, and the other nobles who were in charge of the army.
The good duke of Boulogne stopped in a valley, and with him many a noble vassal, armed with hauberk, and helmet inlaid with gold. And the other nobles did the same. Hugh the Great, whose heart was true, was there, as well as Robert of Flanders, armed on his horse, as were the men of Normandy, with their silken standards, Bohemund of Sicily held the royal standard -- with him --> -- were many noblemen, may God protect them from harm! The arrived at the --> -- city, their flags at their sides -- may God the spiritual father lead them!
Our nobles rode at great speed -- they arrived at the city quietly and in secret -- when they arrived at the wall they found the ladder, and the pagan's wife who had been hurled down. On the wall, the Turk holds the lantern in his arms, so that those in the city could not see it, but it lit the ladder clearly. When he sees our nobles, he was very happy, and he spoke in haste to Bohemund: "Noble duke of Sicily, you have delayed too long; midnight is past and the break of dawn is near. If the pagans see me, my head will be cut off, and your army will be suffer tomorrow. Take this city, when I have given it to you, or give me back my son, if you are a reasonable man -- the French are wretched and easily frightened." Robert of Flanders heard him, changed color, and said to Bohemund: "See the ladder is ready -- be the first to climb -- the city has been granted to you." Bohemund said: "Sir, these are wasted words -- by God, I would not climb here for the tower of gold, since I would see myself fall through the air."
The Turk was on the wall, holding the burning lantern, and said to Bohemund: "Keep your word -- either take the city or give me back my child. By --> -- the God of glory the French are cowards -- they are as strong and brave as --> -- long as the battle goes their way. Bohemund," said the Turk, "why do you delay? It is past midnight and dawn is about to appear. If I am seen, you can be sure that tomorrow I shall lose my head in the emir's palace. See to it that you do not betray me, by that God who was born of a virgin in Bethlehem -- I would not do this at the cost of my life." When the nobles hear this, they are disturbed, but no one is brave, strong, or valiant enough to offer to climb the wall.
Count Robert of Flanders sees that the French are cowardly, that there is no one brave enough to climb the wall -- he began to weep with grief. He went --> -- back to the good duke of Boulogne, whom he had left in the valley to guard --> -- the others. The duke sees him coming, and calls out to him: "Indeed, sir --> -- cousin, you are delaying too long -- it is past midnight, nearly day -- --> -- whom have you left to guard the city? Must the city be given to Bohemund? --> -- We must enter quickly, for if the Turks see us, they will do us much harm, --> -- kill our people who are ill in their tents, and the army of Persia will --> -- rage without end. We must make haste to enter the city.: "Sir," the count --> -- said to him, "for God's sake. let us stand still, for our knights are much --> -- to be blamed: they are at the foot of the ladder, but they are afraid to --> -- climb up." When the duke heard this, he was angry -- he said to count --> -- Robert: "Let me go." "You shall not do it, dear cousin," he said, "for you --> -- must remain here, so that the pagans may not escape to do harm to our --> -- army." When the good duke heard this, he began to pray to God: "Glorious --> -- father who permitted yourself to suffer on the holy cross to save your --> -- people, God, since it is true, and I have no doubts about it, grant that we --> -- conquer the city tonight." He said to count Robert: "You have done much --> -- that should be praised -- either you climb first or I shall." Count Robert --> -- heard him, and returned.
Count Robert of Flanders hurried to the city, spurring his horse furiously -- he came to the foot of the ladder where he found our nobles grieving and distraught, for each was frightened. The Turk was on the wall, in great fear, calling out to Bohemund; he shook the ladder. "Ah noble duke! come, you can climb up here -- whoever of you comes up here will have command of the whole city." The French were all silent, but each one looked at him. Count Robert of Flanders called to our nobles: "Noblemen," the count said," do not be afraid -- I have left all of Flanders and its honor, and my wife Clemence who loves me very much, and my 2 little sons -- and the honor of the Lord God who is proclaimed by all the world, I shall be the first who climbs up there." Then he seized the ladder with his two hands, hung his shield behind his back, on the rear strap, and prepared to climb the ladder, when Fulker the orphan grasped his sides -- he was born in Flanders, and was a fine knight there. He said to count Robert: "Sir, listen to me: you are the son of saint George, whose name you bear -- but if I die, dear sir, no one will weep for me -- I shall make the climb, dear sir, and Jesus will help me." Count Robert heard him, raised his hand, pushed Fulker away, made the sign of the cross, and climbed the first two rungs of the ladder.
Count Robert of Flanders was very angry -- he climbed the first two rungs --> -- readily, but Fulker the orphan held him in his arms -- "Sir Robert of --> -- Flanders, good man, do not do something foolish -- a greater count than you --> -- never wore arms -- if you happen to die it will be a great loss. For you have much land, dear sir, to protect, and you have a wife and children, may God let you see them again! If I happen to die, it is no great matter. Let me climb first, in the name of the Holy Spirit! If I die, it matters only to me! it will be to serve God -- in the army there are 1000 men better and worthier than I. "Sir," said the barons, "please permit Fulker to climb first, if you are willing to consent."
"Sir Robert of Flanders," the barons said, "permit Fulker to climb first, for the love of God, we beg you for God's sake." "Sir," the count said to him, "we permit you to do this. Now climb! I commend him to the body of Saint Simeon, who carried the Lord God on the right side of his tunic (?)And Datien the Turk called to them in a low voice: "For God's sake! Hurry, see the light of dawn." Fulker was prepared -- he took the shield with the lion, placed the coat of arms behind his shoulders, and prayed as he mounted the ladder: "Lord God, Father, by the sacred name of him towhom the holy Virgin gave birth, and who saved saint Jonah in the belly of the fish, you who revived the body of saint Lazarus, who pardoned Mary Magdelene when she wept at your feet in the house of Simon, with the tears of her heart made such a conversion that she washed your feet thoroughly, and then, out of love, annointed them with myrrh. God, who endured his passion on the holy cross, whom Longinus struck painfully with the lance -- he had never seen him, that he might know him -- the blood flowed freely down the lance and onto his hands --"Sir, mercy," he cried, earnestly -- you granted him pardon and remission. And you were buried and trapped like a thief-- you went to hell-- you removed your loved ones from hell -- then you climbed to heaven on the day of Ascension -- the apostles, deprived by your death, sang the holy gospel to us throughout the world -- watching them you returned to your home -- up there in your holy place where there are no evil-doers -- God! since you are the true God, and we believe in you, let me climb to my salvation and thou release the French from death and prison, that we may conquer the city and the tower." Then he raised his hand, made the sign of blessing, took hold of the ladder, and climbed up -- Tancred and Bohemund followed him, and after these three, Raimbaux Creton followed, as well as count Rotols of Perce -- then Yvon climbed up, Gunther of Aire, squire al Frison, Tumas de le Fere and Droon de Monci, Evrars del Pusas, with Hugh the Great, Enguerrand de Saint Pol, and Fulker of AlenŽon, Robert of Normandy, who never loved a vilain, count Robert of Flanders -- may God pardon him! Then Witasses, Godfrey of Boulogne's brother, mounted the ladder -- they all climbed in haste, striving with one another.
The French quickly climbed until 35 men were on the ladder. Ah God! what great harm was done when the ladder broke! Two knights were killed, for whom the French mourned greatly. Those who already were on the wall looked down -- they saw the torn ladder -- their courage returned -- they were unafraid.
When the ladder broke there was great unhappiness -- two knights of Our Lord's army were killed -- their souls appeared before the Creator. Those who were on top of the wall were very frightened -- they hesitated, but God sent them courage and strength. "Sir," said Datiens, "remain strong -- fight well -- now let each remember his ancestry! I give you my palace and my tower as support -- I have believed in Christ the saviour for a long time -- I shall put out the lantern -- now you shall see the light of day."
"Sir," said Datien," do not be afraid, for I truly believe in the son of saint Mary -- I shall never fail you, as long as I live." Count Robert of Flanders quietly thanked him: "French noblemen," said this noble to him, "how many of us
are there in this company?" "Thirty-five," said Robert, the count of Normandy. "Indeed," said Tancred," that is a small group." "Noblemen," said Datien, "courage! the God in whom you believe will help you. Half of them are going to the ancient tower, while the other half are going up to the lower gate. Wedges of steel will entirely destroy it, if our nobles can enter successfully. Then we shall go to the gate of Mahomet -- each man who meets a pagan will strike well with his sword, making sure to kill him." Our nobles replied: "Damn him who
does otherwise!" Now they set out -- and the Turk gave each one a wedge, for he had prepared for this very well. Now the Christians moved with great rage, and the blessed Turk guided them from above.
Now our Christians were separated from each other -- 20 of them had gone to the lower gate -- the flails had been removed from the wedges that they carried -- Datien had given them sticks of oak. And the blessed Turk called to the French -- very quietly he begged them for a favor: "Noblemen, I have a brother whom I very much love, in the ancient palace up there. Come with me, so that we may hear his thoughts. If he wishes to believe in God, he may be saved, and if he does not agree to speak the truth, his head will be cut off. If he escapes, it will be bad for us -- we shall all be killed and dismembered -- better that he die than you lose the city." Count Robert of Flanders embraced the Turk -- he brought him with him up to the palace, together with Bohmund and Tancred -- nor did he forget Robert of Normandy -- all four of these nobles went to the palace -- they reached the gate of the main hall. When the Turk saw them, he let out a cry: "Whoever brought you in here has treason in mind -- Ah, Garsion, today you will lose your city!" When the nobles heard this, they were very worried -- they ran up to him, seized him, and blindfolded him -- they returned to his brother, who was waiting on the step. When they reached him, they removed the blindfold, and his brother spoke to him.
Datien saw his brother -- he spoke to him gently: "Friend, place your faith --> -- in God, the son of saint Mary, and put aside Mahomet and his magic, for his --> -- power is not worth a rotten apple -- when you serve and worship him, you --> -- are doing something very foolish." And the pagan replied: "Ah, what great --> -- trickery! Not for all of Arabia would I give himup -- you have destroyed --> -- yourself! Ah, Garsion, your city has been betrayed." When Datien heard him, --> -- he shouted to our nobles: "What are you doing, noblemen? Do not let him --> -- live a moment longer." Count Robert of Flanders drew his sword, cut his --> -- head from behind his ear, through his helmet. Now they were established in --> -- the powerful city. The good duke of Boulogne was in the field, in the --> -- valley where he watched over the great desert, so that the Christians might --> -- not be taken by surprise. When he heard nothing about our knights, no noise --> -- or shouting, no pennant displayed, he and his men quickly mounted their --> -- horses, afraid that our French had lost their lives. At full speed he --> -- arrived at the walls of the ancient city -- he found our people there, sad --> -- and worn out -- before them lay the ladder, broken in pieces -- one half --> -- hung along the well-built wall. When the good duke saw it, he was --> -- distraught: "For God's sake! noblemen, where is Robert of Normandy, and my --> -- cousin Robert, who holds Flanders in his power, Tancred and Bohemund and --> -- the other barons?" "Noble duke," they have gone up into the powerful city, --> -- at least 30 of them, may God help them! So many of our men climbed onto the ladder that it broke -- at the top a Turk of Arabia was waiting for them -- he led our people, then there was no sound." "Ah God," said the duke, "they have been destroyed-- why, alas, am I not among them? I had such faith in God that they would not die, -- first he would have deprived 20,000 Turks of their lives." The duke wept and lamented --he felt no need to laugh.
Godfrey of Boulogne was insane with grief -- he quickly sent a messenger to the army, telling each of them to arm quickly -- he had lost many men. The messenger went to the army of Our Lord, told them what had happened -- they were disturbed. Each armed for battle as well as he could. Now hear of the nobles, whom God loved very much, who were in the city whose walls were made of stone -- they destroyed the gate with blows of steel. Datien the good Turk was at the top of the wall -- he called out: "Noblemen, make haste! Go quickly to the gate, enter directly. Your companions are alive and well." "May God bless you," said the duke. He brought all of his companions to the gate, and the Turk came down from the wall. Enguerrand de Saint Pol went to the palace -- he was the fourteenth of the high-born barons. Datien led them in --they found 100 Turks asleep and decapitated all of them. A standard was raised on a pommel, displaying the arms of Bohemund, striped with a golden cross, to indicate that the city was taken. And the other nobles, each had made great efforts, destroying drawbridges. When dawn appeared, all the bolts of the main gate had been destroyed, and the entrance was open and pushed back. The good duke of Boulogne was the first to enter -- then came his companions and the other nobles. By the time the sun rose, 10,000 had entered. The Turks were still securely asleep -- Datien had placed many guards on the six towers.
When the sun rose and began to shine there were more than 13,000 French inside the city. First they garrisoned the six pagan towers -- they fixed their silken standards at the top -- they sounded their horns, and the barons armed themselves and prepared for battle. The army marched forward in battle order, with Sir Raymond of St.-Gilles guarding the rear --he had the sick carried -- they were in great need. They went directly into the city -- God keep them from being harmed! There you might have heard them cry "Monjoie." They attacked the Saracens -- they woke them up: "To arms, to arms," they shouted, Mahomet! what trouble! Ah, Garsion, sir, you are too slow, your city is conquered without a lance thrown or a blow struck." The turmoil and the shouting were great. Our barons moved through Antioch, killing these pagans and dismembering them, piling their bodies high! Their blades were all covered with blood and brains -- the paths were filled with the blood that flowed from their bodies. You would have seen many pagans disturbed, wringing their hands and beating their heads, calling upon and praying to Mahomet and Apollo to curse the French who had made their people angry: "It is painful that these enemies are in our lands!" Saracens and pagans began to rally --there were easily 30,000 when the battle began -- there you might have seen a very fine battle -- so many long spears breaking and shields pierced, many breast-plates broken, the mail of many hauberks split, many Saracens dragged from the saddles of their horses, struck with javelins and with arrows, and men throwing missiles, striking and piercing with leaden maces. The earth was covered with dead and wounded men. The battle lasted the whole day -- evening and next morning until the next night -- you might well say and believe that the destruction there was very great.
The battle was a great one -- it did not end for two days and two nights. Garsion came down from the main castle -- he brought 10,000 Turks with him to the battle: each carried a Turkish bow and arrows. Garsion stopped on the main street, where the French were fighting fiercely -- each Turk struggled to fight well, driving our French back to one end of the street -- the Turks on the towers wounded some of them. Godfrey of Boulogne shouted to them: "Barons, brave Christians, drive forward, for their numbers are increasing." There Robert of Flanders came down from the wall -- with him were count Hugh, who had no love for pagans, and Enguerrand his son, who was very brave, Tancred and Bohemund, as fast as they could -- they quickly captured four of the main streets -- none escaped. When they saw the fight, each Frenchman angrily shouted: "Holy Sepulchre! barons, clearly he will never have honor who does not perform here -- let us grant to each what he will win -- things will go well for those barons who fight well." Enguerrand of Saint Pol spurred his horse vigorously -- he passed beyond all of our people and struck the strongest division of Turks -- he used the sword that he held very well -- he killed Garsion's nephew before his very eyes. Before he broke his spear he killed five Turks, then he drew his sword from the scabbard -- he pursued Bredalant and cut off his head. Garsion of Antioch threw a falchion at him, pursued his horse, pierced its sides -- the horse fell dead -- he drew his sword and held his shield -- he was afraid of none of them --but if Jesus who made the world does not look after him, heis among too many pagans -- he never will return. When our nobles saw him, you know that they were troubled: "Holy Sepulchre," they cried out, and each went forward -- if they do not rescue Enguerrand he will greatly harmed.
The battle to rescue Enguerrand was great -- there many a spear was broken and many a shield shattered, many a hauberk destroyed and many a cuirass loosened, many Saracens killed, cut up, destroyed -- 1100 of them died in this battle. Hongier the German brandished his sword, went to strike Corabel, the father of Lutis -- he cut him right down to the neck. When Garsion saw him, he was very troubled -- he preferred to be back in his vaulted palace -- he turned his horse and retreated, as did the other pagans -- they were beaten. There pagan women lost husbands and lovers, without time to say goodbye -- the French violently took control. The pagans retreated -- the Turks fired arrows from the vaulted tops of the towers, doing damage to our people, both those up front and those in the rear -- as a result, you might have seen our people angry and disturbed. There was the Tafur king, inflamed with anger, and sir Peter the Hermit, with the flowing beard, and he had more than 10,000 brave beggars. The Tafur king shouted so that he could be easily heard: "Bohemond of Sicily, brave knight, and the other knights whom God has blessed, see to it that the Turks whom you are attacking do not escape -- those who are shooting at you from the vaulted palace I shall bring to you dead or alive." Then you might have seen the beggars attack defiantly, as catapults hurled huge stones, and the gates were struck with well-made hammers, and they climbed the ladders under a protective covering -- in more than thirty places they penetrated the palace. All of the pagans knocked down were either wounded or dead. The beggars took the towers, the walls and the palaces -- 1500 pagans in the city were killed. The took their pleasure of the lovely Saracen women -- Jesus the king of Paradise was troubled by this. The Turks who escaped fled by a gate towards the main castle, which was built on rock.
The people of the Tafur king did much that deserves praise, as they took eight of the main towers. Our other nobles were not slow to respond -- they struck the Turks forcefully, sparing no one. The duke of Boulogne said: "We have nothing to be proud of as long as these false wretches stand up against us. Better to lose one's life in this encounter than not to drive them out of this place. "Holy Sepulchre!" he shouted, rallying the French -- he rushed at the pagans, holding his steel sword, and struck king Bricebalt on his helmet's crest -- the golden circle was no stronger than an olive branch -- he cut right through him, down to his horse. When the pagans saw him, they were discomfited, and none dared to face the French after that -- they turned in flight-- each had to leave behind him, out of fear of death, his beloved, his sister or wife. The Christians, whom God loves and holds dear, pursued them --they covered the earth with the dead and wounded -- they pursued them right up to the main castle. There you might have seen many lovely pagan women suffering, wringing their hands and tearing their hair, calling loudly to Mahomet and Apollo: "Ah, Mahomet, sir, come and help us!" Garsion fled, to prolong his life, to the high castle on the lofty rock --there he was struck by an arrow from a cross-bow -- at the Eskinant gate that the devils had made -- the devils had it built and constructed. They had the tower made by one of their workers -- he guards the gate of hell -- that is his task. The Turks fell in there, discomfited -- whoever falls into the sand has nothing to complain about -- he goes straight to hell.
The rock of the castle of Garsion was very high -- it was at least as high --> -- as the flight of a foot-soldier's arrow -- the dark rock jutted out of the --> -- ground. At the gate of Eskinant, which Noiron of hell made, the desert --> -- loomed large. From there the stone out of which the castle was made was --> -- taken. The Turks fell in, out of control because of the crush and --> -- confusion. Afraid of death, they sought protection, but anyone who fell in --> -- had no need of drink, for never in this world will he hear a sound. --> -- Garsion was above, in the main house -- with him are 10,000 Turks and --> -- Sclavonians. The castle was fully manned - those within have a great supply --> -- of every kind of weapon -- they are no more afraid of an attack than of a --> -- child -- they were sure that they would be successful, both in the field --> -- and in the town. Now may God watch over the French! They have some --> -- protection. The nobles conquer the city of Antioch, but they find there --> -- very little food, for the Turks had destroyed it during the --> -- siege. "Gentlemen, for the love of God!" said the duke of Boulogne, "let us --> -- now send our men to our camp-site, where many fine tents have been pitched, and we still have many men who are ill. Our equipment is there-- for the love of God, we should take care of what we have there. "Sir, you speak well," said duke Bohemund, let us choose Robert of Normandy to go there -- the count of Flanders and his companions will also go, and the bishop of Puy who gives us sermons, and Hugh of Saint Pol, who has the heart of a lion." The nobles replied: "May God be blessed."
Now the barons go off, unwilling to stop before they reached their tents. They had all the sick they could find among their people carried carefully to Antioch. Then they had all their equipment gathered and tied up, and whatever food they could get, and they had arms and tents brought inside the city, and they buried the dead Christians in churchyards. The bishop goes to obtain God's blessing for their souls. When the Turks of the castle saw them moving, they would have left willingly, had they dared to do so -- they let them come and go in peace. "Gentlemen," said Garsion, "I might grow very angry about the aid which has taken too long to get here." "Sir," said Crucados, "do not fear, for towards the mountain I see a large cloud rising -- I tell you that that is the army which has made many men afraid --tomorrow, before noon, you will see them make camp." He spoke the truth -- may God crush them. The Turks were in the vale of Escoler -- thirty times a hundred thousand of them-- and our French Christians, may Jesus save them! -- emptied all Antioch of dead Turks. They went to throw the dead bodies out, because of the stench made by the pile of corpses. They had many a pagan baptized and raised, who wanted to believe in and adore in his heart the Lord God. And Datien the Turk does not want to forget --to the bishop he entrusts himself and his son, whom he loved very much, to be reborn in the holy fountain. The French have the service sung in the churches, and the body of the lord God blessed and honored, but they had little peace, for they were hard-pressed -- the pagans attacked them and they often had to take up their arms.