When the vast army drawn from nearly all the Western lands approached Apulia, word of the arrival of that multitude reached Bohemund, son of Robert who was called Guiscard, a man of remarkable greatness. At that time he was engaged in besieging Amalfi. After the messenger had made his way through the crowd of people, he told Bohemund the reasons for the journey: they were hastening to free Jerusalem, the Lord's tomb, and the sacred places which were being abused there, from the power of the Gentiles. He also told him of the kind of people, of how many fine men, as I might say, left their honorable positions and were striving with unheard-of eagerness to join this expedition. He asked if they were carrying arms, packs, what insignia of this new pilgrimage they were wearing, and finally, what war-cries they called out in battle. He replied that the Franks were carrying their usual arms, and that they had sewn the sign of the cross on their shoulders or elsewhere, out of any material or rag they had at hand; they had renounced individual battle-cries as arrogant, and instead they all humbly and faithfully shouted in battle, "God wishes it." His heart was deeply stirred by these words, and, inspired by God, he was stung by conscience; he ordered that his most precious mantle be brought to him, and he had it cut up into little crosses; he put one on himself, and gave out the other crosses to be worn by those of his men who subscribed to the cause to which he had dedicated himself. The knights who had followed him to this siege also experienced a sudden change of heart, and set out on the same journey that their leader had chosen. Such a crowd of knights made this choice at that moment that Bohemund's brother, count Roger of Sicily, grieved deeply that he was robbed of nearly all of his retainers at this siege.
But I should say a few words about Bohemund's parentage, and about the steps by which he proceeded to this position of honor. Robert, whose surname we have given as Guiscard, was from Normandy, and was born to a family of no great distinction. He went from there to Apulia, but whether he left his native land voluntarily or was driven from it I don't know. There, by some means or other, he earned horses and arms to become a knight. He assembled, from various places, a group of thieves to help him in his endeavours, took over certain castles, with the aid of disgraceful treachery, occupied some other castles after wearing them down with frequent attacks, laid sieges to wealthy cities, and compelled them to surrender. To finish in a few words, this "new man" extended his power, conquering at will to such an extent that the verses on his epitaph read, "he drove him out whom the Ligurians, Rome, and Lake Leman recognized as king,"that is, Henry Augustus, a man favored by fortune with innumerable, almost continual victories.
Parthia, Arabia, the phalanx of Macedonians did not protect Alexis,
the prince of the Greeks, who has often been our concern. Having defeated him often, Robert, they say, would have worn the crown in the city of Constantinople in a few days, had draught of poison not suddenly snatched his life from him. Anyone who wishes today may see the power of his son Bohemund who, obliterating the low origin of his family, married the daughter of Philip, king of France, and tried to take by violence the empire of the above mentioned king Alexis. While his brother Roger returned to Sicily, unhappy that he had lost so many men of all ranks, that it seemed that the whole people was about to go off to Jerusalem, Bohemund collected the troops and supplies that were necessary for such an expedition, embarked with his army, and with a favoring wind easily reached the Bulgarian shore. His retinue was filled with many wise knights and great princes, among whom was Tancred, who was, if I am not mistaken, the son of a certain marquis and Bohemund's sister. Tancred's brother, whose name was William, had set out before him with Hugh the Great. In addition there was Richard of the First City, a remarkably good-looking man, whom we saw perform the office of delegate to the king of the Franks, to ask for the hand of Constantia as wife for Bohemund. Then, when he and his men entered the land of Bulgaria, they found a great supply of every kind of food. When they arrived in the valley of Andropolitanus, they remained there waiting for the rest of the fleet to finish the journey. When everyone had arrived, the leaders met, and Bohemund told his plan to his men, ordering everyone alike who was about to pass through territory inhabited by Christians to behave peacefully, to do no harm, and not to depopulate the land of those whose rights they had come to protect; they should take, as peacefully as possible, and after having paid for it, only the food that they needed. They went forward, and as they passed from city to city, from field to field, from camp to camp, they found abundant trade everywhere, until they arrived in the province called Castoria, and there they solemnly celebrated Christmas, remaining for several days. They asked the people of the province for permission to trade, but they refused to grant permission, fearing that our men, whom they considered warriors, not pilgims, wanted to destroy their land and crush them. Angered, their restraint now turned to fury, and they seized horses, cows, asses, and whatever else was useful. Then they left Castoria and entered Pelagonia, where they came upon a fortified town of heretics, which they attacked on every side, compelling them to surrender. They then burned it to the ground, together with its inhabitants. From there they went to the river called the Baudarus. Bohemund moved forward with part of his knights and left the rest in the hands of a certain one of his counts. When the emperor's army, which was not far off, learned of this, it attacked the count, who was now without the aid of Bohemund, who had gone on ahead of him, and the count's men were thrown into confusion by the attack of the enemy. When brave Tancred heard of this, he swiftly turned back, leaped into the river mentioned above, and swam back to those who were being attacked. He then assembled the nearly two thousand men who swam behind him, found the enemy, who were fighting fiercely against his own men, and attacked them with equal fierceness, quickly overcoming them. Many of them were captured and brought before Bohemund in chains. To them the prince said, "Why do you pursue my people, the people of Christ? I am not trying to overthrow your emperor." They replied, "We do nothing by our own deliberation. We are soldiers who earn money by carrying out the orders of the emperor; whatever he tells us to do we do." When the splendid man heard this, he let them go, without punishment and without ransom. This battle took place on the fourth day of the week, which among Christians is called the beginning of the fast
The emperor Alexis, when he heard of Bohemund's exemplary action, then sent for the councilor upon whom he most relied, and told him to lead the magnanimous duke, together with his army, through his own land, and into his own presence at Constantinople. While the army was passing through all the towns and cities of the empire, an imperial edict commanded all the inhabitants of these regions to see to it that Bohemund and his men had a supply of everything that could be bought. However, although the army was allowed to proceed through the provinces, none of Bohemund's men were permitted to enter the walls of any city. The knights were about to invade a certain fort that seemed abundant with supplies, but the illustrious man forbade it, partly out of respect for the laws of the land, partly to avoid offending the emperor, or rather, he did not want to break the pact he had just made with him through intermediaries. Angry at their foolish attempt, and particularly at Tancred, he forbade them to go on. This happened in the evening. The next morning the inhabitants of the fort came out, bearing the banners of the Cross before them, demonstrating their humility and religious belief to Bohemund. He greeted them affably and courteously, thanked them, and sent the contented people back to the town. Then they reached a city called Serra, where they pitched their tents, and successfully traded in the marketplace. Here Bohemund was reconciled with his two courtly prefects. In keeping with the recent treaty and with the law of the land, he ordered that everything which had been taken from the inhabitants be restored to them. Then they proceeded to the outskirts of city called Rusa, where a crowd of Greeks, both aristocrats and commoners, rushed to greet the noble man, offering all kinds of merchandise. They made camp there three days before the feast of the Lord. Bohemund then left his retinue behind and set out for Constantinople, together with a few of his knights, to confer with the emperor. In the meanwhile Tancred was in charge of the army, and when he saw that food was difficult to purchase with empty purses, he decided to leave the major routes and move along the less frequented ones, where a greater supply of necessary items for everyone might be found. Therefore he lead them from the public way, out of consideration for the poor, and entered a valley abundantly supplied with different kinds of food. There the people piously celebrated Easter (April 5, 1097). When Alexis heard that Bohemund was coming to meet with him, he ordered that he be given the most respectful welcome, and that he be given quarters just outside the city wall. When he arrived, he was invited to speak with the emperor; he went and was received in secret.
Meanwhile Duke Godfrey, together with his brother Baldwin and the count of Saint-Gilles, each leading a strong group of men, reached the outskirts of Constantinople. The perfidious Alexis, who once was thought to be eager for support against the Turks, gnashed his teeth in the bitterness of his anger, and pondered on a means to bring about the total destruction of the large army that was, as he thought, about to attack him. But God, whose force drove this pious army, watched over them so well that no occasion presented itself for the scoundrel to harm them; furthermore, cut off from all possibility of doing harm, the wretch was stricken with great fear. The people of Constantinople were disturbed at the sight of so many battalions assembling, and they held a meeting to determine what to do. Fearful that the city would be crushed by the great number of men who were arriving, and that the provinces would be taken over and devastated, they decided, after considering several alternatives, that their tyrant should demand an oath from the Franks that they would never harm him or his people. When our leaders learned of this, they showed great contempt and scorn. They understood clearly that if the initial army happened to deviate from this pact, it would be necessary for such a large army, stripped of all resources by poverty, to wage war against the perfidious prince, contrary to the oaths they had taken. "And certainly," they said, "Even if no fear of what might happen in the future weighed upon us, the fact that we had been compelled by the puny Greeks, laziest of all people, to swear an oath would be to our eternal shame. We cannot doubt that they would say that we, willy-nilly, had submitted to their rule." The emperor came to mighty Bohemund about this matter, and was ready to entice him whom he greatly feared with gifts, for Bohemund had often defeated him in battle; Alexis concentrated particularly on Bohemund, because he regarded him as his greatest rival. Therefore he offered him land the other side of Antioch, whose length would take fifteen days to cross, and whose width would take no less than eight days to cross. The great man's firmness was broken by this offer, and what Hugh the Great had promised, compelled by necessity and the enticement of money, Bohemund agreed to swear to on condition that if Alexis reneged on what he had agreed to, he himself would not have to carry out what he had sworn to. If anyone asks why he and the others relaxed their firmness by swearing oaths to the tyrant, he should understand that the leaders were helping their fellow soldiers in God out of necessity, for they would have been in dire poverty if they had been denied their pay. Alexis swore oaths also, stating, "that he would come with them, at the head of his own army, aid them on land and on the sea, and he would order that food be brought from everywhere for them to purchase; if they suffered any losses, he would indemnify them fully; finally, he would not wish or allow anyone on this expedition, to the extent that he had the ability, to be harassed, harmed, or killed."
The Count of Saint-Gilles had established camp in the outskirts of Byzantium before the entire army had arrived, and the tyrant sent a messenger to ask the count to do what the others had done, that is, offer him homage. The cleverness of the insolent tyrant demanded this, but the wisdom of the glorious count set about devising a way to take vengeance against the envy of the scoundrel. But the leaders, that is, Godfrey, Hugh the Great, and Robert of Flanders, and the others, said that they would never take up arms against someone who was considered to be a Christian. Bohemund added that if Raymond waged war against the Emperor, and thereby broke the oath he had given the Emperor, he himself would take the emperor's part. And so the count, after consulting with his closest advisors, swore to protect the life and honor of the impious Alexis, and that he would not for his own sake or to aid others work to destroy him. When they considered the clause about hommage, he said that he would rather undergo mortal danger than submit to such a proposition. Meanwhile Bohemund's army drew near to the towers of Constantinople. Having learned what oaths the emperor had exacted, Tancred, together with the men he was leading (almost the entire forces of Bohemund), quickly crossed the Arm of Saint George. The army of the Count of Saint-Gilles had scattered, setting up its tents at the edge of the city. Bohemund remained with the Emperor, so that he might more easily supervise the carrying out of the imperial edict which ordered the people beyond Nicaea to bring food from everywhere to his army. Duke Godfrey had gone ahead, together with Tancred, to Nicomedia, a city founded by Nicomedes, who, according to a poem, won a battle against Caesar, but did not triumph. Each of them remained there with his troops for three days. The duke, considering that the roads were filled with obstacles, and that an army as large as theirs could not make its way along them, since the road that Peter the Hermit's men had used could not accommodate so many men, sent three thousand men ahead of him, with axes and hoes to widen the roads and make them passable as far as Nicea. The road was incredibly difficult, filled with sharp stones, and moving over steep mountains. Those who were in the lead widened the road by cutting up the rocks, and they placed crosses of iron and wood on tall stakes, so that our men, when they saw these signs aloft, would not wander from the road. Finally they came to Nicea, the central city of Armenia, and the chief city of Bythinia, famous for the synod of 318 fathers, but even more famous for the declaration of Omousion, and the condemnation of Arius. The next day was the sixth of May, and they pitched their camps in the area around the city, on the third day after they had left Nicomedia. Before the army of Bohemund arrived, they say that there was such shortage of bread that one loaf of bread cost twenty or thirty pennies. But when Bohemund appeared, he brought great quantity of food by land and by sea, and suddenly plentiful supply of everything necessary flowed.
On the day of the Ascension of Our Lord, they began to attack the city from all sides, to draw up machines, to erect ladders, prepare fire-bombs, and to fire at the ramparts of the walls and towers with their crossbows. The siege of the city was undertaken with such sharp fervor that within two days they had undermined the walls. The Turks, who held the city, sent messengers to other cities, asking for them to bring help, and to enter without fear by the southern gate, since that part was not under siege, and presented no obstacle to those wishing to bring help. On that very day, however, the sabbath after the Ascension of Our Lord, the entrance of that gate was being guarded by the Count of Saint-Gilles and the Bishop of Puy. An event occurred there that was truly noteworthy. This same noble count, faithful to God, strong and competent in arms, surrounded by a no less competent army, found in front of him enemy reinforcements hurrying towards the town. Relying in his spirit upon divine assistance, he attacked and conquered the Turks, compelling them to flee, and slicing most of them to pieces. Hideously defeated, the Turks went about finding new forces with which they enthusiastically decided to go to battle again, carrying ropes with which they proposed to tie up our men and bring them back to Khorasan. Encouraged by this empty hope, they began, in single file and step by step, to descend from the top of the mountain that towered over the city. They were welcomed with pleasure by our men, as was fitting, and they left their severed heads as proof of our victory. After the Turks fled, our catapults and slings fired the severed heads into the city to terrify the Gentiles. However, the bishop of Puy of blessed memory and Count Raymond of Saint-Gilles, pressing forward to weaken the city, attacked a tower near their own camp by digging tunnels to undermine its foundations. After the miners were in place to carry this out, they were given protection by men with bows and crossbows, by men swinging balearic ropes, and by others defending the sappers. Thus the tower was undermined to the depths of its foundation, while the collapsing wall was held only with beams and poles; when the base of the foundation had been entirely demolished, they set fire to the beams:
When cloudy night brought quiet to both sides, the weakened tower fell in ruins, but because night is less appropriate for fighting, the Franks stopped, refusing to harm the Turks at night.
The Turks, however, worried about their safety, very wisely got up, and, in the same place, rebuilt the wall so quickly and of such strength that the next day our men could find no way of doing them any harm. Meanwhile, two men arrived, the most celebrated for deeds of arms and the wealthiest counts, whom we have already mentioned, accompanied by many knights, whose arrival filled the whole army of the Lord with joy: Robert, Count of Normandy, and Count Stephen of Chartres.
Thus Bohemund besieged the city from the front, Tancred from the side, Duke Godfrey from a third position, the count of Flanders from a fourth, the count of Normandy from fifth, and the count of Saint-Gilles and the bishop of Puy from a sixth. They set about besieging it, so that none of the besieged could get in or out. There one could see gathered the flower of the armed force, or the wisdom, the nobility, of the fame of all of France, dressed in the breastplates and helmets of knights; those who were skilled at counting the number of people in an army thought that there were about 100,000 men. I do not think that anyone could count the whole crowd of foot-soldiers, or of those who attended knights. The latter group not only performed the tasks that servants and slaves normally perform for soldiers, but they took part in the siege, and in the battles themselves, like lions, with bravery like that of their betters, as though they were accustomed to wielding now arms, now tools of any sort, whether for war, or for any other task necessary.
No speech will be able to tell how much the integrity of those powerful warriors shone forth at that time. No land on earth will ever see soldiers of such nobility fighting together. If you wish, I shall relate the story of every kingdom, speak of battles done everywhere; none of these will be able to equal either the nobility or the force of these men. They left their paternal lands, abandoned conjugal bonds, their children were unattractive to them, remaining at home was punishment for them; in every knight the desire for martyrdom burns. When the mob is carried away by the promise of bloodshed, who can find anyone who is unmoved? Everyone is lion-hearted, pleased to see the walls of Nicea surrounded. The field shone with the reins of horses, and the shape and sound of their trappings gives pleasure to everyone. Their armor burns more brightly once it has drunk the sun's rays. Their helmets, shields with yellow bronze, and belts blaze. You would have seen them, like a storm, beating the walls down with their battering rams. The Frankish spears penetrated their hard limbs, and their sharp swords broke many of their bones. The wooden tower strove to drive the Turks from the lofty walls. The battle rages hand-to-hand, and spears were hurled on both sides; hardly any of them missed. Unexpected death laid some men low. Heavenly glory then made our men strong; they exposed their bodies to what was fated. They rejoiced in seeking rewards through death. Every weary man became bold and aggressive, driven by hope for a better life. The crimes of souls greedy of praise are far distant. Every man believed that, if war granted him a breath of fame, Christ was the one who gave it. No one who performed noble act took credit for it. We will not be able to compare the Scythian triumphs over Darius with these, nor could the great, manly efforts of Cyrus be known, which Tomyris had finished off with a bag of gore. You would have mourned the outcome, good Pyrrus, looking upon Tarentum; you babble uselessly of taking on new wars with elephants. Once, twice, three times Hanibal's men cut down the Quirites like wheat, but they were at last defeated and left the city. Although under Caesar there was ten-year fight without loss, let it be clear that the sojourn in the fields of Gaul was harmful. The task took very little time, and was entirely successful. Since God was involved, everything turned out well in the end. Those who died as martyrs had a glorious fate, and those who did not judged that the suffering mitigated their sins.
Part of the city was bordered by a long, broad, stagnant lake, upon which the enemy was seen launching boats, freely going in and out, carrying wood and fodder and other necessary items. Our leaders held a meeting about this activity, and they agreed to send a delegation to the prince of Constantinople, to urge him to send as many ships as possible to the city of Civitot, where there was a port, and to collect a great number of bulls to carry the ships over 1 - the mountains and through the forests until they reached the above-mentioned lake. The plan was discussed and carried out quickly, urged on by the prince; those who are called the Turkopoles, that is, the knights of his court, were sent on the expedition. When the boats were brought, in accordance with the emperor's orders, they remained still on the day that they were brought. That night, however, they put the boats on the lake, and the Turkopoles, very well equipped with weapons, got into them. In the morning the fleet assembled, and proceeded slowly towards the city, as though they were bringing tribute. The Turks, who were amazed at the sight of the ships, could not decide whether they were their own, or the emperor's. After they understood that what they were seeing was an enemy force, they grew weak with a fear of death, but the more they groaned and wept the more our own men were pleased and gave thanks to the Lord. This misfortune severely enfeebled the enemy, who now lost faith in themselves and their allies, and sent legation to the emperor, offering to surrender the city, if he could get permission from the Franks for them to leave with their wives, sons, and adequate provisions. The tyrant graciously favored their request, and not only granted it without punishing them, but, to bind them even closer to himself, brought them to Constantinople. He had one principal object in doing this: in case of a disagreement with the Franks, he would advantageously have men with whom to oppose them. The siege had lasted seven weeks and three days, and many of our men received the gift of martyrdom in that place. It is undoubtedly true that those who went to their death in defense of the true faith certainly may be numbered among those who are with God; having paid with their blood, they have earned celestial rewards. Those who died of starvation are certainly their equals, and a great number died there in that way. For if, according to the Prophet, speaking historically, "it was better for those killed by the sword than for those killed by hunger," since the latter undoubtedly were tortured to death by daily pain, they will not, it is right to believe, be deprived of the more noble crown of martyrdom.
After the city had surrendered, and the Turks had been brought to Constantinople, the tyrannical prince was extremely pleased to have regained the city, and he gave our leaders countless gifts; he also made substantial charitable contributions to all the poorest people. As a result, those who were neither powerful nor poor, whom his generosity had overlooked. grew envious and hostile towards the leaders. And, in a way, it was not unjust. They had fought the battles; they were the ones who had carried out the entire siege, hauled the engines of war, fired the catapults; to conclude briefly, I say that they carried, "the burden and heat of the day." On the day that they left the captured city they reached a bridge in whose vicinity they remained for two days. On the third day, at the first feeble glimmerings of dawn, they arose, moved about blindly in what little light there was, and went down two separate roads, forming two groups. For two days they marched in two separate divisions. One contained Bohemund, Robert of Normandy, and Tancred, together with a large contingent of knights; the Count of Saint-Gilles, Duke Godfrey, the bishop of Puy, Hugh the Great, and the count of Flanders were leading the other group through pathless territory. On the third day, an innumerable, terrible, and nearly overwhelming mass of Turks suddenly rushed upon Bohemund and his men. You would have seen them speaking melodramatically about the fear that they expected our men, frightened at their unexpected attack, to feel as they shouted their war-like battle-cry in the horrible tones of their language. Under attack by an immense force, the extraordinary man was not frightened into acting unwisely, but immediately ordered everyone to halt, unroll the tents, and establish camp quickly. Before his orders had been carried out, he addressed his own knights: "If you keep in mind the expedition that you joined, having considered why it was necessary, then go forward; attack them like men, defend your honor and your life, and you, foot soldiers, pitch the tents carefully." When he had finished, the Turks attacked suddenly and swiftly, hurling javelins, and fighting in their usual fashion by fleeing as they fired arrows into the breasts of their pursuers. Aware of what they had promised, mindful of their vaunted strength, the Franks clearly understood that they were numerically overmatched, but they fought with energetic bravery against their furious enemies. The count of Normandy, properly mindful of his father's military valor and noble ancestry, performed mighty deeds of arms, fighting off the enemy, and offering a fine example of resistance to our momentarily frightened army. God was also present, so that the women who had accompanied them stood by their men, constantly bringing water to refresh the knights. Indeed, their encouragement and advice did more to make the men more tireless and inventive than the water did to refresh them. But when Bohemund became troubled by the extreme inequality of the contest, he sent a messenger to those who had gone off separately, Raymond the Count of Saint-Gilles, Duke Godfrey, Hugh the Great, the bishop of Puy, and others of their retinues, telling them to come very quickly, because battle was imminent. Thus they say:
If they would like to see the beginnings of battle with the Turks, what they want is now here: come quickly.
And so Godfrey, worthy of the title of duke, a model warrior, accompanied by Hugh the Great, who took after his father in military ardor, courageous as befitted one descended from kings, like a leopard, I might say, together with his retinue, raced to the battle as eagerly as to feast. Then the Bishop of Puy,
strengthened the army not only with his shining arms, but with his counsel and sacred prayers; if they had been hesitant, he ignited the army.
Then the Count of Saint-Gilles, older and wiser with experience and very reliable in council, surrounded by his Provencal soldiers, burst forth. When our men saw the enemy army face-to-face, they wondered where in the world such an infinite number of people had come from. Turks, Arabs, and Saracens stood out among the others, both in number and in nobility; there was a smaller number of auxiliaries and people from less illustrious nations. There you would have seen the heights of the mountains and the slopes of the hills grow dense with this profane mass, and all the plains were covered with countless throngs. And so our leaders exhorted their men, "If you have devoted to God the army in which you now serve, if you have given up your countries, homes, wives, children, and your bodies, and if these bodies have only survived to be offered for the glories of martyrdom, how, I ask, can you be terrified at this sight? The wisdom of one of you, derived from faith in God, is more powerful than the superstitions of this entire heap of rabble. If death is to be your lot, the heavenly kingdom and a joyful death await you; if you remain alive, and persevere in your faith, certain victory awaits you, and after victory, glory, and after glory, greater courage, and then great opulence from the enemy's treasures. Whatever happens, you will be secure, you have nothing to fear; no delay or doubt should stand in your way. Therefore surrender your minds and bodies to the faith of the Lord of the Cross, and take up arms against this pile of husks, these little creatures who are hardly men at all." Then they drew up their battle lines in an orderly fashion, with great-hearted Bohemund on the left flank, together with the count of Normandy, valiant knight, Tancred, and Richard who was called "of the first city." The Bishop of Puy, however, moving through the mountains from enemy territory, was surrounding the Turks; count Raymond rode on the left flank. On the right flank, Duke Godfrey, Robert of Flanders, Hugh the Great, and the other warriors, powerful because they took up their positions on behalf of Christ. Oh good God, who knows men's thoughts, how many tears were shed for you during these preparations! How much pious remorse and how many pious confessions rose up out of the minds of all of these men! Who could judge adequately how much sensitivity was in the hearts of all these men whose hopes were placed only in You? O Christ, with what grief did holiness and sinfulness cry out to you. They wept, and called upon pious Christ with their pious sighs, when, lo, all the soldiers crossed themselves; I do not say that they were as brave as lions, but, what is more fitting, brave as martyrs, bearing the banners against the enemy throng.
The Arabs, Persians, and ferocious Turks soon fled; the savage people showed their backs to the Christians. It was a rout, and the wretched army ran in all directions; the Arabs ran like rabbits. Prodigious was the slaughter of the fleeing army; we hardly had enough swords to do all the killing. Swords became dull with cutting so many limbs; they cut men down the way reapers cut wheat with scythe. Here they cut a head, here a nose, here throat, here a pair of ears; a belly is sliced open; everyone in their path dies. Hands become stupefied, arms grow stiff with gore. No one resists them and remains alive; lassitude overcomes the infidels. Their breasts blindly receive the baneful assault.
The number of enemy defeated is said to have been 460,000, not counting the Arabs, whose number was too great to be counted. At first, indeed, crying out in despair of their lives,
they ran in fear to their tents,
where they seized what they could with their hands and fled. For a whole day our men pursued them very closely, piling up the spoils they took from the fleeing enemy; and so, after drawing considerable amounts of blood, they took comfort in the copious sums of money, in the precious garments, and in the herds of cattle which they took from the fleeing men. From the third until the ninth hour the destruction, or rather Arabian slaughter, of this battle raged. Two leaders of distinguished name, Geoffrey of Mont Scabieuse, and William, brother of Tancred, and many others whose names are entrusted to the notice of God alone, died there. Here we can clearly see the signs of Christian power; and if we marvel at the inequality of a battle between so few men and so many, we must attribute the results entirely to the aid of Christ. For if in the ancient text it is said of the Jews who had not yet separated from God, "one will pursue thousand, and two will put to flight ten thousand," then it seems to me no less true of this victory, since human understanding cannot hope to fathom how so many men could be defeated by so few. But perhaps someone may object, arguing that the enemy forces were merely peasants, scum herded together from everywhere. Certainly the Franks themselves, who had undergone such great danger, testified that they could have known of no race comparable to the Turks, either in the liveliness of spirit, or energy in battle. When the Turks initiated a battle, our men were almost reduced to despair by the novelty of their tactics in battle; they were not accustomed to their speed on horseback, nor to their ability to avoid our frontal assaults. We had particular difficulty with the fact that they fired their arrows only when fleeing from the battle. It was the Turk's opinion, however, that they shared an ancestry with the Franks, and that the highest military prowess belonged particularly to the Turks and Franks, above all other people.
While they were being defeated in this manner, and were fleeing day and night from the face of the Franks, the prince who ruled Nicaea, frightened out of his mind, after the siege had ended, happened to meet a group of ten thousand Arabs, who said to him, "O least of men, why are you fleeing in miserable fright?" He replied, "I thought that I had destroyed and killed every last Frank, and I thought that I would deliver them to eternal captivity; I assumed that I would conquer them as they moved forward in small groups, and I would bind them and lead them away to distant lands. But a large army appeared, and the fields and mountains were covered with great numbers of them, and they seemed to occupy every inch of our entire land." The capture which he mentioned referred to the army of Peter the Hermit, and the multitude that followed to those who lately had subjugated Nicaea. "There, when we had seen an army of so many people, with divisions growing like wheat, against whom we judged correctly that we stood no chance of defending ourselves (for there was no safe place), we thought it best to escape imminent death by fleeing swiftly. Although we are now at some distance, nevertheless we are shaken by the terrible memory of those men whom we saw, and the momentary encounter has left us frightened of their ferocity. If you have any faith in my report of what happened, you will retreat from this place because, if their forces find you here, you will undoubtedly pay for your folly many times over." They decided that what they heard was credible,
quickly reversed direction,
and scattered all over Romania.
Meanwhile our men were intent on pursuing the fleeing Turks, who, when they passed through cities and forts, boastfully proclaimed that they had conquered the Franks, thus deluding the inhabitants of the lands through which they traveled with lying words. "We have defeated the Christian armies," they said, "and deprived them of all desire for combat. Therefore let us into your cities, and welcome gratefully those who go to such lengths to protect you." Then they entered the cities, stripped the churches of their ornaments, carried off the wealth of public buildings, and set about carrying off gold and silver, various kinds of animals, and whatever else might be of use to them. For this purpose, they abducted the sons of Christians as slaves, and consigned to the flames other things that were less useful, constantly in fear of our coming up behind them. Afterward, in searching for the infidels through pathless solitudes, our men entered a deserted, pathless, waterless land, from which the pitiful men emerged scarcely alive. They suffered from hunger and thirst; nothing edible could be found, but the cruel deprivation seemed sometimes to be relieved by rubbing their hands with the spikes. Certainly many noble knights died there, and the desert, to which they were unaccustomed, took the lives of many horses. The feeble succumbed to the relentless hardship. The great lack of horses and carts compelled them to use cattle, goats, rams, and what is more amazing, dogs, to carry whatever supplies were appropriate to their size. From there they moved on to a province rich in what they needed, and they reached the city of Iconia,famous for its tolerance of Paul and his writings. Meanwhile, the inhabitants of this province urged our men to provide themselves with supplies, and to bring water in bags with them, because they would not be able to find any water on the entire next day's journey. They did so, and moved on until they reached the bank of a river, where they rested for two days. And so those who made up the vanguard reached Trachias, where a large Turkish phalanx had assembled for the sole purpose of finding a way to trouble the army of Christ. When our men came upon them, they attacked them with their usual boldness. The enemy swiftly took flight,
like an arrow launched from a cross-bow.
Thus our men, now that the gate was open, entered the city and they remained there for four days. There Tancred, Bohemund's nephew, and Baldwin, Duke Godfrey's brother, left the encampment of the army, not out of a desire to avoid fighting, but because of the ardor of their spirits, and they entered a certain valley, which they call in that language Bothrentot. And so Tancred, uncomfortable with partner, separated from the duke's brother, and, together with his men, attacked Tarsus, renowned for the precious birth of the special apostle. Turks from the city rushed out to battle our men as they approached, but, as they were about to join battle, they sought refuge in the city from which they had come. Tancred gave rein to his horse in pursuit of the enemy, and set up his camp in position that blockaded the gate of the city. Baldwin soon arrived to besiege the city, set up camp on the other side, and asked Tancred if he and his army might share in the taking of the city. Tancred angrily refused, since he wanted control of the city and the trophies of victory for himself alone. And so night fell, and the crowd of Turks, uncomfortable with the siege, and well aware of the strength and persistent nature of the besieger, fled in haste. When they had been forced out, those who remained in the city, the Gentiles of that land, which is to say those who were Christians, came out to our men during the night, and cried out, "Franks, hurry, enter the city, since the alien race has fled, so great was their fear of your strength." At dawn, the leaders surrendered the city, and when they learned that there was a fight about who should control the city, they said, "We choose to rule over us the man whom we saw yesterday battling so fiercely with the Turks." Baldwin instantly urged Tancred that they enter the city together, so that each might set about taking the spoils with all his might. Tancred wisely replied, "Our plan was to fight the Turks, not to rob Christians, particularly since they have voluntarily chosen me, and do not want anyone else." Although he had said this, Tancred took into account the fact that Baldwin's army was larger and better supplied, and yielded to him, willingly or unwillingly, for the moment. During his retreat two very fine cities, Athena and Manustra, yielded themselves to him, together with many castles.
Since no chance to talk about Baldwin may offer itself later on, I wish to insert a few details about how well things turned out for him. Near Edessa, a city in Mesopotamia, as we understand from reports of people who have been there, a certain man became leader and ruled over the Christian province as a duke, protecting it from the incursions of Gentiles not by arms, but by paying protection-money. Worn out with age and illness, with a wife as old as he, and without children, when he heard that the Franks were at the borders of Mesopotamia, he very much wanted to find someone from among the Frankish nobility to adopt, who, in exchange, would defend with arms and strength the land that he had defended only with money. One of the knights of his household, aware of his desire, happened to be speaking with Baldwin. When he aroused the hope of obtaining the dukedom if he permitted himself to be adopted by the above mentioned old man, the count believed him and, accompanied by the knight, he went to Edessa. Welcomed even more warmly than he had hoped, he was adopted as a son by both. The method of adoption, in accordance with the customs of this nation, is said to have been like this: the old man directs him to strip himself naked and put on linen inner garment, which we call a chemise, and he embraces him, and confirms the entire transaction with kiss; both the old man and the old woman do this. When this was finished, the citizens perceived that the old man had been stripped of the high honor, and they made a secret pact immediately to besiege the court in which he and Baldwin were staying. They remembered whatever harmful things the old man had done to them. And so during the siege, when his newly adopted son wanted to fight back with Frankish boldness, the old man, admirably faithful, prevented him, saying that he knew for certain that he could by no means be delivered from the hands of the mob, while Baldwin would be in great danger if he took up his defense. Thus after many imprecations he persuaded him not to fight back, and when tearful Baldwin said that he would prefer to die with him, the old man pushed him away, and pleaded with the besiegers to kill him if they wished, but to spare the new prince. And they did in fact kill him, but in the meantime Baldwin, with great effort, managed to hold on to the power he had gained by adoption and, mindful of the recent treachery, brought in Frankish knights and servants for his own protection. little later, at Christmas, another conspiracy was formed, to kill the new duke on that holy day. The attempt did not remain hidden from Baldwin, who told the members of his retinue who were Franks to appear in church wearing their cuirasses and helmets, as though prepared for battle; foot-soldiers were to bring their lances, swords, and battle-axes, and to move about everywhere in their gear. When this had been done, the inhabitants of the city understood that the ruler had been alerted, and he himself proceeded to the church with a large contingent of armed men, participated in the divine service, yet said nothing that day. But the next day he called the citizens of Edessa together and charged them with treason, compelled them by law to confess, and did not permit them to deny what they had proposed to do. And so, after the leaders of the entire city had been convicted, some had their feet cut off, some their hands, others their ears and noses, others their tongues and lips, and all of them were castrated and sent into exile in various distant places. Finally, when no one remained who might incite the crowd against him, Baldwin experienced the rewards and happiness of such a dukedom. Thereafter he led a prosperous and rich life, ruled several cities, among which Seleucia stood out as the best known since antiquity. After the death of his brother Godfrey, who had ruled at Jerusalem, Baldwin moved from this dukedom to that of Jerusalem, but from this he derived no increase in earthly felicity, but only more blessed labor in the service of God -- that is, continual battle against the Gentiles.
The Third Book of the Deeds of God by the Franks Ends.
I think that no one can justifiably ridicule me for undertaking this task. For although I did not go to Jerusalem, and to this day am unacquainted with many of the people and places, I think that these conditions in no way hinder the general usefulness of what I do, if the things which I have written or shall have written have been taken from men whose testimony is endowed with truth. If anyone objects that I did not see, he cannot object on the grounds that I did not hear, because I believe that, in a way, hearing is almost as good as seeing. For although, "What has been thrust into the ears stirs the mind more slowly than those things which have appeared before reliable eyes," nevertheless, who doubts those historians who wrote the lives of the saints, who wrote down not only what they saw with their own eyes, but what they drunk up from what others have understood and told them? For if the narrator is reliable and, as one reads, "testifies to what he saw and heard," then stories told by those who speak the truth about events no one has seen are clearly acceptable as true. If there is anyone who objects, and who despises this undertaking, he has the option, if he wishes, of offering corrections. Whoever is displeased with what we have done may write his own version.
Thus the Lord's army, led by Raymond, Count of Saint-Gilles, Bohemund, Godfrey, and many others, entered Armenia, rejoicing at the possibility of Turkish attacks. On their way they took a fort which was difficult to approach, so that any attempt to attack it seemed futile. A pagan of that district, a certain Symeon, well known for having Christian surname, asked our leaders for control of that area, so that he could guard it against Turkish attacks. They did not refuse the favor he requested, and he remained there, intending to guard the land. Then our men moved on and reached Cappadocian Caesarea.After they left the province of Caesarea, they reached a very lovely, wealthy city, which the Turkish army had been besieging for three weeks before the arrival of our army. But their siege produced no results. When our men approached, the citizens voluntarily surrendered the city. A certain knight called Peter of the Alps asked that the leaders grant him the right to protect the region in the name of the emperor of the Greeks and of our own leaders. His request was willingly granted, since the meritorious fidelity of the petitioner was well known. As the day then drew to a close, Bohemund heard that a large but insignificant group of the enemies who had earlier besieged this city was moving ahead of our men. And so, taking with him only his immediate retinue, he set out in pursuit, but did not find those whom he sought. Now the army reached a town called Coxon, where they found great abundance of useful supplies. The inhabitants of this place happily opened their gates to our men, and for three days fed them properly and well.
After the count of Saint-Gilles heard that the Turks, who usually supplied the garrison for the city of Antioch, had left the stronghold, he sent part of his army ahead to take possession of the city and to maintain control of it. He chose four men from among the leaders of his army, of whom three had the same name, that is, Peter, and the fourth was called William of Montpellier, a man well know among us for his feats of arms, and he gave them 500 knights to lead. And so, not far from the above-mentioned city, they entered valley and in that valley found an fort, and there they heard that the Turks, with a large army, were in control of the city of Antioch, and in addition they learned that the Turks were making great preparations of men and arms, to defend themselves against the French, in case they attacked. Therefore one of those Peters we named above, whose surname had been derived from a place called Roaix, separating himself from his companions, entered a valley of a town named Rugia, where he found Turks and Saracens, with whom he fought. After killing many of them, he pursued the others. The Armenians took notice of this and, pleased with the man's bravery, and impressed by his unusual boldness against the Turks, surrendered voluntarily to his command. Quickly thereafter he was given control of a city named Rusa when its inhabitants capitulated, and several other forts surrendered to him. The rest of the army departed from Coxon, the city we mentioned, and marched through high mountains along incredibly rocky paths so narrow that no one could pass the man in front of him, but each man had to proceed one step at a time, stepping carefully, in single file. A deep gulley lay beneath the narrow, rough path, so that if a horse happened to push up against another horse, he would fall to instant death. There you would have seen armed men, who, having just been converted by the hardship and starvation of the journey from knights into foot-soldiers, were suffering wretchedly, smashing their fists, tearing their hair, begging for the relief of death, selling their shields, helmets, and all of their arms, regardless of their true worth, for three or four, perhaps five cents. When they could find no buyer, they threw their shields and other fine equipment into the gulley, to disencumber their weakened, endangered bodies. When they finally emerged from these rocks and precipices, after unbearable suffering, they entered a town called Marasim, whose inhabitants came forth joyfully to meet them, bring abundant supplies to sell to the soldiers. The rich earth replenished the exhausted men, until the presence of their leader Bohemund, who was following those who were waiting for him there, was restored to them.
Finally they arrived in the plains where the renowned city of Antioch was situated, whose particular glories, beyond those by means of which she flourished in this world, are those which grew out of her Christian fame. Pharphar was the name of the river on which she was located. When our men had reached a place near the bridge over that river, some of them, who had been assigned the task of forming the vanguard of the army, met up with a large force of Turks, who were well supplied with provisions, and were hurrying to bring aid to the besieged. When our men saw them, they charged with Frankish ferocity, and almost instantly defeated them and scattered them in all directions. Like charging rams, they tore them to pieces, and the Turks threw away the arms that only moments before had been able to inspire terror. The mass of foot-soldiers fled through their own lines, in their haste and confusion wounding and crushing their own allies. The madness of pride now felt humiliation, and the man who anticipated taking pleasure in heaping up destruction upon us was now happy if he could get himself out alive, even though dishonored. Those who had come to bring aid to the besieged were turned into instant, filthy piles of cadavers. The Almighty mercifully converted what they had brought to aid the besieged into gifts for the besiegers. Thus after they had been destroyed, like grain crushed by hail, great quantities of grain and wine fell into our hands, and the foot-soldiers acquired the valuable horses, camels, mules, and asses that remained. And so our men built camps on the shore of the above-mentioned river. Bohemund, together with 4000 of his best men, undertook blockade of the city's gate, and remained on guard all that night to prevent anyone from getting in or out. The next day, the twelfth calends of November, the fourth day of the week, in the middle of the day, the army arrived, set up camp, and began a blockade of three of the city's gates; the fourth gate was left free, since it was inaccessible to the besiegers because of the great height of the surrounding mountains, and the narrowness of its paths. However, not only the inhabitants, but the Turks themselves who were inside the city were so frightened by us that none of them came out to fight us. No one put up any resistance, but instead they behaved as though we had come to the market, and this pretence of peace continued, as though a truce had been declared, for fifteen days. The city was surrounded by signs that augured well for beginning this siege; fresh abundance of everything necessary to sustain life was vividly present; I am surprised that at that time the crusaders found abundant grapes hanging on the vines everywhere, wheat shut up not in granaries, but in ditches and underground pits. The trees had plenty of apples, and whatever made their lives more comfortable was supplied by an extremely fertile soil. The Armenians and the Syrians, who formed the entire population of the city (except for the Turks, who, as I mentioned earlier, were not permanent residents), since they inhabited the city itself, and were titular Christians, visited us in great numbers, and told them whatever they had learned among us. They enticed the Franks with their deceptive, repeated lies, and, whispering in their ears, using the most flattering terms, they claimed that they shunned the Turks, although they did not allow their own wives to go beyond the city limits; when they left the Franks, and were back in the city, they reported to the Turks whatever news they had been able to gather about the weaknesses of the Christian side. Thus, informed by the Syrians about our plans, the Turks from time to time rushed out from the city to sneak up upon our men and attack them as they were searching for food, and they covered over the most used paths and made unexpected attacks upon them as they sought the mountains and the sea, never permitting them to rest from ambush or open attack. Not far off was a fort named Harenc in which they had placed a garrison of the fiercest Turkish warriors, who made frequent raids upon the Franks when they were unprepared. Our leaders, unwilling to suffer such affronts, sent a large force of cavalry and infantry to find out where those who were doing so much harm to their men were concealing themselves. When they found their hiding place, they at first attacked them, but then, cleverly simulating flight, they permitted themselves to be brought to a position where they knew that Bohemund was waiting in ambush. At that point, two of our men died in pursuit of the Turks. Coming out of his hiding-place, Bohemund fell upon the enemy, leading the group who appeared to have turned their backs, delivering the punishment they deserved by attacking the Turks with all his forces. He killed many of them, made others prisoners, and brought those he had captured back to the gate of the city, where, to terrify the citizens who were watching, he ordered that they be decapitated. Some of the citizens, however, climbed to the top of this gate and wore out our men by discharging so many arrows that a cloud of missiles flowed in the midst of Bohemund's camp, and one woman died when struck by one of the arrows. Finally the leaders consulted with each other, and decided to set up a fort at the top of a mountain which they called Malregard, and which, as a formidable stronghold, might serve to drive away the Turks. Thus the fort was being constructed, and there you would have seen the greatest princes laboring at carrying rocks. There no poor man might complain that he had to endure hardships inflicted upon him by the power of great men, since those who were in charge would permit themselves no rest in bringing the work to completion. For they knew by the instinct of pious nature, even if they had not read it, what Marius, according to Sallust, said, "If you behave gently, but rule the army firmly, you will be a master, not an general." And when the fort was built, the leaders took turns guarding it. Christmas was near, and the grain and other food for the body began to diminish severely, and throughout the army everything that was for sale was expensive. There was no energy to go even a moderate distance to seek food; within the territory held by those who called themselves Christians almost nothing to eat could be found; no one could go into the Saracen region without large military force. Therefore, compelled by hunger, the leaders held a meeting to discuss how to deal with the danger of such a large group of men starving unless something were done for them. Finally they decided to send part of the army to search everywhere for supplies, while the others maintained the siege they had undertaken. Bohemund then said, "If, O powerful soldiers, it seems prudent to you, I, with the support of the army of the count of Flanders, shall devote myself to the effort of procuring food." The offer was accepted gratefully by the younger men, since they were worn out by greater thirst and more urgent need for food. The day after the Lord's Nativity, which was the second day of the week, had been celebrated, with what emotion and energy they could muster, the two princes just mentioned, together with 20,000 foot-soldiers and cavalry, set out as swiftly and as energetically as they could to attack the Saracen provinces. Meanwhile the Turks, Arabs, Saracens, and other Gentiles, who had assembled from Jerusalem, Damascus, Aleph, and other places, with one purpose in mind, to bring aid, hastened to Antioch in large numbers. They had heard that the Christians were coming into their own lands, to gather food and other supplies; as dusk fell, they moved in formation towards the place where they had learned our men were, with an eagerness that would soon be turned to grief. They divided themselves into two lines of battle, setting the first in front of us, and moving to position the other behind us. But the count of Flanders, trusting in divine power, with the sign of the Cross fixed to his heart and body, relying confidently on the excellent count Bohemund, attacked the enemy with the courage to be expected of such men. The battle began, but from the first moment of contact, the enemy turned in flight. The battle turned into victory, and many a sharp spear shattered in the bodies of those who had turned their backs to flee. The enemy's shields were battered by long ashwood lances that were struck with such force that they dwindled into slivers. No helmet prevented a head struck by the edges of the Crusaders' swords from being wounded; and they found the stitching of their so-called impenetrable cuirasses too fragile. Armor protected no part of the body; whatever the barbarians thought firm was weak; whatever the Franks touched shattered. The field was covered with innumerable corpses, and the thick pile of dead men disturbed the evenness of the grassy field. Everywhere the earth, sprinkled with the hateful blood of Gentiles, grew dark. Those who survived the carnage we inflicted saved their lives by their speed afoot, and were pleased to unburden themselves of their spoils, not out of generosity towards us, but to increase their speed. Our state of mind changed utterly: fear changed into courage, battle into victory, mourning into joy, hunger into plenty. He who was naked now had clothing, those who were on foot now had chariots, the poor man had money, the man who had been cast out now danced with gratitude and joy. While these things were going on, the fact that Bohemund and the count of Flanders were not present at the siege was not hidden from the Turks who were in control of Antioch. Made more confident by their absence, they came out, though cautiously, to challenge us in battle more often, trying to find out where the besiegers were weakest. Finally, seeing day, the third day of the week, that seemed apt for trying their courage, they made a sudden assault, and killed many of our foot-soldiers and knights, who were caught unaware. The magnificent bishop of Puy lost a mainstay of his court, the man who was his standard-bearer, who was among those who perished. Had not the the river upon whose banks their camp was pitched separated them, the carnage among the Christians would have been very great. Meanwhile, Bohemund was on his way back, having pillaged the Saracen provinces; he was traveling through the mountainous area in which Tancred was staying, thinking that there he might be able to find something to help the men besieging Antioch. Although some of our men had carried off whatever they could see, many found nothing at all, and returned empty-handed, that is, without anything that could be eaten. Bohemund, however, never without a plan, when he saw them wandering about unsuccessfully, spoke these words, "If you are looking for material with which to sustain life, if you want to provide adequately for the bodily needs dictated by hunger, then while you search for food do not risk your lives. Stop scurrying through the pathless mountains, since you know that your enemies are preparing hidden traps for you in these horrible, desolate places. Let the army move forward united, for each is made stronger by the presence of the other, so that if one part is attacked violently, the other may offer assistance. For even as a sheep, if it escapes from the shepherd's grasp, is exposed to the wolf's jaws, so the knight, if he wanders forth alone from the tents of his companions, invariably becomes a plaything for plunderers. Therefore remain together with each other and with your men, and rather eat very little food than feed upon rare delicacies in permanent captivity. To go out and come back together, to take pleasure in being together, to do nothing rash, these are the things that sensible men do; anyone who wanders away wishes to die." He spoke, and returned to his companions, without enriching the besiegers in no way by his return. But the clever Armenians and Syrians, when they saw 4 that the army's food was running out, and there was nothing left to buy, traveled about among all the places that they knew, bought grain, and brought it back to the army that was suffering from a lack of supplies. They sold the grain at inordinate prices, so that the amount of grain a single ass could carry brought eight of their besants, which they called "purpled," approximately 120 sous. Clearly those who could not possibly pay such a price were in great danger of succumbing to a terrible crisis of hunger. And if the leaders were already becoming hard pressed to pay such price, what could he do who, for all his previous wealth, was now all but a pauper?
Great torture had come upon them lack of food was crushing them; the madness of hunger laid low the highest by exhausting their strength. Bread was far off, and they had neither the meat of cattle nor of pig: the hands of the indigent had torn up the grass far and wide. Whatever food they had finally had disappeared. Their limbs were weak, and they had lost heart. The skin of those who had nothing to eat was stretched with dreadful swelling. Without nourishment their strength ebbed, and they died. A brief torment delivered those who were killed in battle, but those who were hungry were tortured at length; therefore protracted death brought them a greater reward. Clearly angelic bread fed those who rejoiced in the finest reward for their sufferings, the more they bore the burden of agonies. Others fought, struggling to endure various misfortunes, and scarcely anything went in their favor; they preferred unhappiness to joy. Now they struggled to follow Christ, bearing a double cross, rejoicing that they had surpassed His commands, who had imposed upon them only one cross. Hideous hunger gnawed at their weak hearts, and their dried-up stomachs cracked open; suffering racked their bowels, and destroyed their thinking. Disease ate away at their minds, already attacked by the ferocity of battle, and both day and troubling night threatened slaughter. Their minds were sharp although their strength was slight; their illness refreshed the energy of the soul, and they did not fear to go forth to shed blood.
Meanwhile, William, who was called the Carpenter, not because he was a craftsman in wood, but because he prevailed in battle like a carpenter, by cutting men down, and who was from beyond the Seine, powerful in words, but less so in action, magni nominis umbra, "the shade of a great name," a man who set out to do things too great for him, but finished nothing, who when he set out for Jerusalem took from his poor neighbors the little that they had to provide himself shamefully with provisions for the journey, this man, I say, unwilling to suffer hunger, while he could see others much needier than he remaining faithful, silently fled. His reputation in war was for boasting only, and not for deeds done. In Spain, when a Frankish expedition took place against pagans who had come from Africa, he, whose boldness was entirely confined to words, retreated like wretch, leaving countless men stranded by his flight. This probably took place by the will of God, so that divine judgment may show that those men whom public repute has made famous are worse than everyone else, and less capable of bearing difficulties. Nor is this evident in his case alone, but it is very clearly the case among others, whose names I shall pass over, that those whose reputation for martial ferocity among us had been pre-eminent became weaker than rabbits when they took their place in the Lord's army. The more their conduct deviated from the true path, the more contemptible it should be held. While they were here in France, fighting unjustly, making beggars with their criminal looting, they clearly should have been afraid that their souls would undergo certain damnation; but there, where they had every chance of eternal life, their sinful cowardice was evident.
Then, like the stars that, according to the Apocalypse (VI.13; VIII.10; IX.1) were seen to fall from the sky, Peter, the celebrated Hermit about whom we spoke previously, also foolishly fled.
Why do you follow this plan, Peter? Why do you forget the meaning of your name? If Peter is originally "stone," which designates something solid, what do you mean by thinking of flight? Stone cannot easily be moved. Stay your steps and recollect your old hermitage, your earlier fasting. You should have joined your bones to your skin, you should have stretched your stomach with the least roots, fed it with the grass eaten by cattle. Why do you remember immoderate eating? That is not the monastic rule, nor what you learned from the woman who gave you birth; or let your own teachings drive you. Even as you compelled people to go on this journey, and have made them into paupers, so you should go before them, carrying out the commandments that you have taught them. Once he abstained from grain, eating only fish and wine. For a monk, more pious food would be leeks, cress, turnips, cardamum, nuts, filberts, barley, lentils, and herbs, without fish or wine, but with crumbs of bread.
And so the refugees from the pious siege and from the holy suffering were pursued by Tancred, a man steady in the pursuit of Christ's business, who followed and caught them; and, as was right, heaping abuse on them, he brought them back. He placed no faith in their promises to return until each had sworn on his faith to return to the sacred army and to submit to whatever judgment the leaders might make about their desertion. Therefore William, willing or unwilling, was compelled to return, and he was brought to the court of the magnificent Bohemund, outside of which he remained awake all night. The next day, at dawn's early light, he was led into the presence of this fine prince. To Peter, covered with the shame he had earned for himself, the leader said, "Although the name of the Frankish race, stands forth with regal majesty everywhere, and although France, the mother of virtue and resolve in accordance with God's will has sent forth men who until now have been the most morally unblemished, she bore you, you, useless babbler and most impure of all men, to her own disgrace and infamy, as though you were some kind of monster. O good Father of all things, what kind of Carpenter did we have, who, like construction-worker with a pick-axe, hacked away, with lances and swords, at the backs of the Gentiles? See how the craftsman has worn out a thousand swords with the strength of his blows, and single-handedly slain the pagan people while we merely rested. Where is that haughty firmness, that quickness with words that was nourished at the Loire and at the Seine, which has resulted in so little action, but in so much steady, thundering speech? Alone,
he had been able to aid the laboring moon,
yet, foully sluggish, he has done nothing useful whatever. Certainly it is in accord with your great strength that the man who had betrayed the people of the Lord in Spain exert himself in Syria to achieve the full measure of honor. Let it be so. Certainly it suits you to do nothing else; in this way you will receive the most generous reward for behavior that has been so wretched." Now his derisory speech began to make the Franks who were standing there feel shame, and with difficulty they restrained the angry man from speaking. Tempering his severity, the illustrious man spared the wretch, and was content to exact from him the oath to continue the journey to Jerusalem, whether prosperity or penury attended them. And William promised that Tancred, who had prevented him from escaping, would henceforth be his friend, if he decided to behave in a manly fashion. After these words were spoken, they came to mutual agreement. A short time later, that remarkable Carpenter, who, when he was out of harm's way, once threatened to be executioner to the Turks, forgot his oath, and that profligate of fidelity did not hesitate to flee furtively again. However, let no one be surprised that the army, although pious, had suffered such want, since it is clear that, with the great crimes they had committed, they struggled against receiving the divine gifts which would have been theirs had they behaved properly. Such need afflicted them, and they were so horribly overcome by lack of food, that if any of our men happened to move any distance from the army, anyone else from the army who found him alone would kill him, even for the slightest gain. Such utter devastation raged among our men that scarcely thousand horses could be found in so great an army; everyone was in beastly agony from a lack of food, which did not prevent, but rather inspired some men to criminal actions. Tortured by divine punishment, many of them were brought to remember their true selves by repenting; despairing of their own strength, they were driven by hope for something better to rely on God alone, the only true support in such tribulation. Under these circumstances they learned increasingly that the more they watched their supplies diminish and their strength ebb away, the more they were taught to submit with appropriate humility to God, for whom they believed all things possible.
Moreover, one of the delegates of the tyrannical emperor, whose name, unless I am mistaken, was Tetigus, and who was present at this siege, was a man heavy with age; his nose had been cut on some occasion or other, and for this reason he had a golden nose. A skilled liar, compelled by fear of the Turks as well as driven by the danger of starvation, he addressed the leaders: "Necessity compels your excellency, O finest of leaders, to recognize how hard pressed we are by 5 internal suffering, and how much we are goaded on by external fears. Since battle threatens us outwardly, while hunger insistently gnaws at us inwardly, there seems to be no refuge for us anywhere, no solace that would permit us to catch our breath. If in your wisdom it seems appropriate, grant me permission to go back to Byzantium, and I shall see to it that grain, wine, wheat, meat, cereal, cheese, and various other necessary items be brought here by a large fleet. I shall also see to it that constant commercial traffic in these items will be established by imperial decree. By land, all of Greece will send to you horses and whatever other animals and supplies may be useful. The emperor himself, who has not known of your great need until now, as soon as he hears of your distress, will provide aid to you in your great need. And I myself swear to carry out faithfully what I have promised; and when I have finished these tasks I shall certainly not be afraid to present myself here again to undertake the labors of this siege. If you fear that I am leaving your camp because of hunger, lo, my tents and my men shall remain here with you. Although I am leaving them for a while, I shall not be able finally to value them lightly." He spoke, and charmed the ears of the leaders with his smooth, elaborate speech. Then he left, not at all fearing what punishment his perjury might incur. Having fabricated a complete lie, he never afterwards gave thought to what he had promised.
The presence and strength of the enemy began to constrain us so greatly that none of our men presumed to leave his tents or the encampment for any business whatever. In addition, within the camp, famine, like a madness, plagued them. For if, as they say, "nothing does more harm than hunger wrung from the unwilling," what suffering do you think they endured, to what crosses were they constantly condemned, without a single, even false, consoling hope, as they laid siege each day to the impenetrable walls? The ordinary people, eaten away by poverty, wandered through various provinces; driven by the lack of food, some began to wander towards Cyprus, others to Romania, while others made their way to the mountains. But the frequent forays of the Turks had closed off the road to the sea. In short, there was no exit for our men.
When Bohemund heard that a very large army of Turks was approaching the Crusaders' camp, he called the other leaders together and said, "Since the very small part of our army that remains seems insufficient and too weak to fight single battle, nor can it be split into two parts to carry on two battles, we should consider, if we are going to fight the attacking Turks with whatever kind of army we can muster, which soldiers to leave to continue the siege of the city, and which to defend our tents. Therefore, if it seems reasonable to you, let us assign the best part of the finest infantrymen to guard the besieged city; in our judgment, the 5 strongest knights should be put up against the madness of the Turks." He spoke, and none of the leaders spoke against his plan.
The enemy army now set up camp near the fort called Areg, which was close to the city, across the river Pharphar. The day was ending, and Bohemund, having summoned the entire army, came out of the camp and quickly set up camp between the river and the lake next to it. In the morning he swiftly instructed sentinels to determine the size of the Turkish forces, as well as what they were doing and where they were located, and then to report to him as quickly as possible. They had advanced a short distance and begun to search out the enemy, whose advance could be clearly heard, when they saw an infinite number of soldiers, divided into legions of two battalions, appear before them. They were followed by very large group of foot-soldiers. As soon as they saw them the sentinels returned: "The enemy," they said, "is at hand; see to it that they find you strong and prepared." Then, to stir up his brothers in Christ and fellow-soldiers, Bohemund said, "O finest knights, your frequent victories provide an explanation for your great boldness. Thus far you have fought for the faith against the infidel, and have emerged triumphant from every danger. Having already felt the abundant evidence of Christ's strength should give you pleasure, and should convince you beyond all doubt that in the most severe battles it is not you, but Christ, who has fought. In the face of any attack, what desperate folly can enter the mind of you who have thus far, with God's assistance, escaped harm greater than any men have ever encountered, and who have achieved triumphs impossible for mere human beings? I ask only that you place your trust in your own experience, so that at last no human force may now resist us. Fortify your minds, proceed carefully, and strive mightily to emulate Christ, who carries your banners, as he usually does, and call upon him." They responded by shouting that they would behave faithfully, energetically, and prudently, and they entrusted to him, because he was the most experienced in battle, the task of dividing up the army; Bohemund ordered each leader to collect his liege men and to draw them up into individual battle lines. Six lines were drawn up, as he had directed, each to attack the enemy in separate formations, and five of them cautiously marched forward. Bohemund followed behind with his own group, to offer help if needed. Drawn up in this manner, closely packed and filled with courage, our troops went forth to fight, each man encouraging the other by his close presence, so that no one, to the extent that it depended upon each individual, would allow the conflict to falter.
Swiftly the enemy came forth with curved spears; as their courage grew warm, they pricked their horses with their spurs, and the air was shaken with wild clamor on both sides. The battle-lines clashed, the Turks threw their javelins, the Franks thrust their weapons through the breasts of their enemies. Swords grew dull from striking blows, the collision of steel made a splitting noise. The swift right hand, thirsting for the filthy blood, inflicted sword-wounds. Like a line of flying crows, like a countless flock of thrushes, thus the arrows blocked the celestial light, crowding and darkening the air with the hail of spears. Arms resounded, horses were caught up in the charge, bronze echoed. They grieved for the losses and rejoiced in the successes, making for wild discord.
When the entire force of the army behind the vanguard poured into the hideous strife, the sharpness of our men began to grow dull under the fierce assault of the enemy; as their numbers grew, our men began to lose some of their previous ardor. When Bohemund, who was waiting in the rear with reinforcements, saw this, he gnashed his teeth in rage. He sent for his constable, Robert, the son of Girardus, and gave him the following directions, "Go, and make use of the courage which you should now show, and which is right for such a great task; keep in mind the purpose of this effort, and understand that our motive is to aid all of Christianity by redeeming Jerusalem for God and liberating his tomb. It is clear to you that to carry out this task divine rather than human aid is necessary. Go then, and offer your bravery for the suffering Christ, and do not let such an opportunity find you slow to act, for God may be preparing to give you great glory." Inflamed by these words, relying on God with his whole soul,
He sprung forward, and tore at the thick crowd of enemies with his sword, holding aloft the standards of the duke, which inspired such awe that wherever they appeared the spirits of our men were uplifted, and he raged like a lioness who, bereft of her cubs, kills anyone in her way. The sword carved a path, cut through the dense battalions, smashing everyone who got in the way, pointing the way for the soldiers who followed.
When our men saw that the familiar standard of Bohemund was not faltering in the least, and the constable was raging with such eagerness against the Turks, they all took heart and attacked with such force that flight was the only protection the enemy could hope for. Our men fell upon the fleeing Turks, who were running at great speed, helter-skelter, and we did not cease cutting them down and decapitating their bodies all the way to the narrow bridges of the Pharphar, After such slaughter, the Turks entered the fort of Areg, which I mentioned above, looted it entirely, set it afire, and then fled, never to return to it. However, the perfidious Armenians and Syrians, who had awaited the outcome of the battle without taking sides, so that they could join the side to whom victory was granted, when they saw the Turks vanquished, moved forward and blocked the roads, killing the Turks as they tried to go by. The painful indigence of our men was somewhat alleviated with what was taken from the conquered enemy; horses and money provided relief, and even more so, our growing triumphs vitiated the Turkish reputation for fierceness. After the victory, they cut off the heads of one hundred of those who had fallen in battle, and hung them before the walls of Antioch for the besieged Turks to look at. It is, of course, the custom of the Gentiles to keep the decapitated heads and to display them as a sign of victory. While these things were going on, the Babylonian emperor sent ambassadors to the leaders of our army, congratulating them for what they had done to the Turks; in addition, he promised, although falsely, that he would become Christian, if our people would grant and restore to him what the Turks had taken from his kingdom. We had said earlier that the Babylonian empire was far more powerful than the other eastern kingdoms, but that the Turks, more ferocious in arms and in spirits, had usurped much of their territory. Those who had remained to maintain the siege of the city had fought bitterly with the inhabitants, not merely at one point, but at every gate of the city. This triumph occurred on the fifth day before the Ides of February, the day before the beginning of the fast. It was right that on the day before Christians were to fast they grew fat on what they most desired, the blood of their evil enemies. The Franks, in their fervent victory celebrations, thanked God for granting them so many of their prayers, and went back to their camps, loaded with booty. The Turks, on the other hand, ashamed to be seen, would have made their way, if they could, through secret passages, back to their native lands.
Then the leaders of the army, considering the many humiliations they were suffering from the attacks of the besieged people, held a meeting and decided, to prevent the chance of any diminution of their forces, to build, at the gate of the city, where the pagan temple was located, a fort by means of which they could restrain, to some extent, the enemy's forays. All the junior officers assented to this plan. Then the count of Saint-Gilles was the first to speak: "I shall provide for and protect the fort; you must help build it only." Bohemund said, "If it please you, I promise to go with this count who has offered his services, to the Gate of Saint Simeon, where we shall both supervise those who do the work. Let the others continue the siege, and prevent the enemy from getting out of the city." And so the Count and Bohemund then proceeded to the Gate, as they had proposed. Those who had remained to build the castle began to work, but the Turks made a sudden, violent attack on the beginnings of the structure. With their sudden attack they compelled our men to flee, killing many of them, bringing a day of grief to the Franks. The next day the Turks learned that some of our leaders had left the siege and gone to the Gate of Saint Simeon. They prepared a large force and quickly moved to encounter those who were returning from the Gate. When they saw the count and Bohemund, together with a large military force, coming towards them, they began to shout and utter hideous noises. They surrounded our men on all sides, inflicting terrible wounds on them, hurling spears, firing arrows, and savagely killing them. Their attack was so severe that our men scarcely were able to escape into the nearby mountains, or wherever else escape seemed possible. Those who were, in manner of speaking, swifter than winged horses, escaped; anyone whom the swift pagans found slower, however, died. In this disaster, as it was considered, a thousand of our men perished; those who were found, because of their proven faith, to be acceptable, received glorious rewards after death for their sufferings. For those who needed to expiate their sins, the outpouring of blood alone was the most potent way to purge their guilt. In great anguish because of such a misfortune, and separated from his companions because he had taken a shorter road, Bohemund, with a few of his knights, whom he found banded together, returned to the siege. Driven to distraction by the death of so many of their own men, sobbing bitterly, crying out to Christ, they moved out against those who had inflicted such pain upon them, and reached the field of battle. Confident because of their recent victory, the cohorts of the enemy stood firm, expecting to perform exactly as they boasted they had performed against Bohemund and the count. Against these proponents of evil the loving God in his mercy arranged proper remedy for his suffering people. Therefore these famous men, moved by grief and compassion for their dead brothers, with the sign of the Lord's cross fixed on their foreheads and in their hearts, hurled themselves with all their strength against the enemy. As soon as they saw this, the enemy fled towards the Pharphar river, intending to cross the strait. In their hasty flight the mass of men was jammed together in the attempt to cross, and as the wedge of knights and infantry piled up in a very small space, struggling to pass each other, men knocked each other down. Our men watched all this very carefully, and when the crowd of fugitives seemed to thicken, a fall was more effective than a wound. If any man fell into the water and tried to get out either by hanging on to the columns of the bridge, or by swimming to dry land, our men located on the shore forced him back into the water to drown. The signs of carnage were so great that the Pharphar seemed to flow with blood, not with water. The sounds made there by the vanquished and the victors, by the dying and by those who were forcing them to die, were so terrible that the highest vault of the heavens seemed to resound with their shrieks. The air became clouded with arrows and other kinds of missiles, and the brightness of the solar globe was covered by a shower of flying spears. The women of the city who were Christian stood on the ramparts of the wall, feeding upon the sight; as they watched the Turks perish and submit to calamity they groaned openly, but then turned their faces away and secretly applauded the fortunate course events had taken for the Franks. The Armenians and Syrians, although they were Christian, were compelled to fire arrows at us; some even did so willingly. Twelve of the principal enemy leaders, called "satraps" in the Chaldean language, and "emirs" in the barbaric tongue, fell in battle on this occasion, as well as many others, amounting to perhaps 1500 of the wealthiest and most important people, upon whom the entire defense of the city rested. Those who survived the carnage no longer hurled their customary insults at our men; their boisterous, scurrilous chattering ceased. On that day their daily joy was turned into grief.
Then oncoming night separated the enemies; strength and arms dropped from their agitated minds.
This victory for us resulted in an apparent dimunition of their strength and force, and their derisory remarks entirely ceased. Moreover, the short supply of many things whose lack pressed our men was amply replenished, thanks to God's benevolence. At daylight the next day, some of the Turks came forth from the city to collect the bodies of their dead; they found some, but others had disappeared, carried off in the bed of the river. They buried those they found in the temple called the Mahometry, on the other side of the Pharphar, near the gate of Antioch. In these tombs they buried cloaks, gold besants, bows and arrows, and many other utensils that I shall refrain from describing. When they heard about these funeral ceremonies, our men armed themselves and entered the cemetery, broke open the tombs, took out the bodies, heaped them up and dropped them into deep pit. Then they decapitated them and had the heads brought to their own tents, in order to calculate accurately the number they had killed, with the exception of the bodies that the ambassadors of the Babylonian emperor transported on the backs of four horses, as evidence of the victory won over the Turks. When the Turks saw this, they suffered more bitterly from the uncovering of the bodies than from the killings themselves. Now they did not restrain their grief with a few modest tears, but, putting aside all shame, they screamed in public agony. Three days later they began building the fort mentioned above, with the very stones they had taken from the tombs of the Gentiles that they had broken open. When the fort was finished, the besieged town began to suffer exceedingly, and their discomfort became even greater. Our own men were now free to go where they wished, and even the mountain paths, which previously had been treacherous, were now favorable for searching for food. With all the roads shut off to the Turks, one section near where the fort and the temple next to the fort were located, seemed to offer the possibility of entering and leaving the river. If we properly equipped this fort, which belonged to us, none of the enemy could have hoped to have found a way out. A meeting was held, and the leaders decided that they would choose one of our men to guard the fort, to fortify it carefully, and to defend it faithfully, so that the pagans might be kept from wandering through the mountains and fields, and might be cut off from entering or leaving the city. When they were looking for someone fit for such task, Tancred, who earned and still deserves the title of wise young man in the Lord's wars, unable to restrain himself, broke in at this point, saying:, "If I were to know what future advantages for me might result from the present hard task, then I might undertake, carefully and with the aid of my retinue, to strengthen this fort, and I shall try to block our enemies from moving along the roads they are accustomed to use." Pleased with his generous offer, the leaders immediately promised to give him 400 silver marks. Displeased with the offer, which seemed not to match the magnitude of the task, Tancred nevertheless agreed; and so, lest he be considered cowardly if he refused, he gathered his knights and clients quickly and resolutely, took charge of the fort, and cut the enemy off from the possibility of getting out through the city's gates. By this means he inflicted upon them the greatest scarcity of food for their horses, as well as a great dearth of wood and other necessary items. This outstanding man chose to remain there resolutely, cutting off all traffic, and he set about surrounding the city and setting up a vigilant blockade. On the very day on which he entered the fort, a large group of Armenians and Syrians came through the mountains, bringing supplies of all sorts to the besieged city. This superb knight, to ensure that the task he had begun would have positive outcome, intercepted them, compelled by God more than by his own boldness, and seized a great amount of grain, wine, oil, and other no less necessary supplies. The good man could no longer complain, that while he was carrying out such a holy task God was forgetful of him, but he had learned, for the first time, from this remarkable good fortune that he would never again lack bodily necessities, and that he would not lack eternal reward from God, after His earthly assistance. The Turks were entirely prevented from leaving the city or moving around outside the walls, but were compelled to make do with what they could find within the city walls, until Antioch was under siege.
In the course of this siege the strength of Christian law flourished greatly, and, if anyone was convicted of a crime, he submitted to the severe judgment of the leaders of the army. Moreover, sexual crimes were punished with particular severity, and this was just. Those who were surrounded by atrocious deprivations, who seemed to be exposed to the swords of the enemy every day, if God were not protecting them, should not have been at the mercy of lustful thoughts. And how could pleasure enter where the fear of death was ceaselessly present? So it happened that merely speaking of a prostitute or of a brothel was considered intolerable, and they feared dying beneath the swords of the pagans if they committed such a crime. If any of the unmarried women was found to be pregnant, she and her pimp were submitted to hideous punishments. A certain monk of the most prestigious monastery, who had fled from the cloister to go on the expedition to Jerusalem, moved not by piety but by whim, was caught with a certain woman, and convicted, if I am not mistaken, by a trial by fire. Then they were stripped naked and led, by order of the bishop of Puy and others, through all the nearby camps, and beaten in the cruellest fashion with whips, to the terror of the onlookers.
The above-mentioned bishop of Puy assiduously exhorted men to be more patient in their sufferings and more careful about their vices; he let no Sunday or holiday go by without preaching the authority of holy writ through every corner of the camp. He enjoined every priest, bishop, abbot, and cleric whom he met and who seemed educated, to do the same.
It seems to me worthwhile, since the word "abbot" has made its way into my work, to tell about a certain abbot who, when this journey was first proposed among our people, finding himself without sufficient funds for the pilgrimage, cut into his forehead by I know not what means the sign of the cross, which ordinarily was made out of some kind of material and affixed to clothing. It did not look as though it had been painted on, but as though it had been inflicted, like stigmata received in battle. After he had done this, to make the trick look authentic, he claimed that an angel had appeared to him in a vision and placed it there. His hopes were not disappointed; when the restless crowd, always avid for novelty, heard this story, the man was innundated with gifts, both from people in and from people outside of his own region. Such a trick, however, could not be hidden from the eyes of those who looked at him carefully, because a slimy liquid seemed very clearly to ooze from the forcefully inscribed lines that formed the cross itself. Finally he set out on the crusade, was present at the siege of Antioch, displayed what he had fabricated, although others had seen through it for some time, and did not hide his intention to gain money. He behaved well there, and was very useful in instructing the Lord's army. He wished to emulate God, but he did not do this the way a wise man would. He was so outstanding that after the capture of Jerusalem he was made abbot of the church of the blessed Mary in the vale of Josaphat, and later was made archbishop of Caesarea, metropolis of Palestine. It is an indubitable fact that had the solace of the divine Word not been administered with great frequency to them, their patient perseverance would never have survived the hunger and hardships of war. Therefore we may say that those among them who were circumspect in their lives and endowed with wisdom were not less but more valuable than those who fought the enemy in hand-to-hand combat. He who provides encouragement that strengthens a wavering mind certainly is greater than the person to whom his exhortation provides strength, especially when the advisers and the advisees share the same suffering.
What shall I say finally about those who, on this same expedition, were sanctified in various places by becoming martyrs? They were not only priests, learned men, but warriors, and ordinary people, who had had no hope of confession, but were called to this glorious fate. We have heard of many who, captured by the pagans and ordered to deny the sacraments of faith, preferred to expose their heads to the sword than to betray the Christian faith in which they had once been instructed. Among them I shall select one, a knight and an aristocrat, but more illustrious for his character than all others of his family or social class I have ever known. From the time he was a child I knew him, and I watched his fine disposition develop. Moreover, he and I came from the same region, and his parents held benefices from my parents, and owed them homage, and we grew up together, and his whole life and development were an open book to me. Although he was already an outstanding knight, he was a singularly expert warrior, but entirely free from sexual vice. He was well-known at the court of Alexis, the emperor of Constantinople, for he often traveled in his service. To consider his manner of living: although he had been blessed with wealth by fortune, he was considered to be unusually generous in giving alms; he attended divine services so regularly that he seemed to lead a life more like that of a bishop than a knight. When I recall his steadfast prayer, his pious words, and his generosity in giving gifts, I am extremely pleased with his holy purpose, but also with my own good fortune in having known him. I witnessed him perform acts that entitled him to nothing less than a martyr's death. I certainly take pride, as all those who were able to know him may take pride, in having known him, since I do not presume to say that I was his friend. Whoever saw him knew without a doubt that he had seen martyr. Captured by the pagans, who demanded that he renounce the Christian faith, he asked these unbelievers to delay until the sixth day of the week. They readily agreed, thinking that his stubbornness would be altered, and when the day arrived, and the Gentiles in their madness pressed him to agree to their demand, he is reported to have said, "If you think that I have put off the sword hanging above my head because I wanted to enjoy a few more days alive, and not because I wanted to die on the day on which my Lord Jesus Christ was crucified, then it is fitting that I give evidence of how a Christian mind thinks. Get up, then, and kill me for the example that you want, so that I may restore my soul to him for whom I die, who on this day gave his own life for mankind." Having said this, he stretched his neck out to the sword that hung over him, and when his head was cut off, he was carried to God, whose death he had longed to imitate. His name was Matthew, as his name indicates, "given to God."
books 5 and 6