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Jean de Joinville (1224-1317): Memoirs / Life of St Louis (1309)


The Memoirs of the Lord of Joinville, trans Ethel Wedgwood (London: John Murray, 1906)








Six hundred years ago, when the histories of Europe still lay buried among the Latin Charter Rolls of great abbeys, before Piers Plowman had yet voiced the English conscience in the English tongue, and when Dante was just turning to look back on half his life's journey, John, Lord of Joinville, full of days and honours, began to write for his liege lady his recollections of her husband's grandfather, St. Louis.

Like many others of that line of great French memoir−writers which he heads, such, for instance, as Commines, Sully, and Marbot, Joinville was first of all a man of action, and only in the second place a man of letters; and for this very reason his book has that directness and simplicity which appeals to the common humanity of all ages. He is no skilled chronicler, like his compatriot the warrior and statesman Villehardouin; he is no born story−teller, like Villani or Froissart; but a hardheaded, plain−minded man to whom penmanship is no art, and who writes simply because he loved his friend and believes that he has a duty to his posterity.

John, Lord of Joinville, was hereditary Seneschal of Champagne and head of a family already illustrious for its Crusaders. By blood and old family friendship he was closely united with the great house of Brienne, and could claim cousinship with its famous cadet, John, King of Jerusalem, father−in−law to two emperors, and himself an emperor.' Born in 1225, Joinville was only twenty−three when he joined King Louis in the disastrous Seventh Crusade; and before he was thirty he was settled again on his estates, having escaped every conceivable peril by land and sea, to which nineteen out of every twenty men had succumbed. For the rest of his life he stayed at home, managing his estate and taking such part in public affairs as his position required. When, at nearly eighty years old, he began his Memoirs, he had lived beyond the reigns of three kings, and saw France, through the selfishness of her rulers, well advanced on that downward road that led to the coarse vice and brutality of the Hundred Years War, and to the corruption and luxurious bestiality of the last Valois kings. But Joinville, old, still keeps untainted the spirit of his youth. He writes in the mood of that golden age, the reign of the "Holy King," when still ' from Courts men Courtesy did call "; and his book is a lasting witness to the influence of that master who thought it "a vile thing for a gentleman to get drunk," and who punished foul words as a crime.

His book brings us into some of the best company in the world. Joinville himself, as he appears through his narrative, is a fine sample of the great baron of feudal times. True to his word, firm in his justice, shrewd in business, intellectually limited, he approaches closely to the modern popular idea of an English squire. He is pious, not with the exalted visionary piety of the King, but with the practical morality that recognizes his duty to God in his duty to his own subjects. The King, seen through Joinville's record, is a far nobler character than he is represented by his extravagant monkish eulogists, Geoffrey de Beaulieu, Guillaume de Nangis, and the rest; and that he was a hero to his own commonplace intimates is a much greater testimony to his personality than any enumeration of his qualifications for saintship.

And of the rest of that circle of gallant and pious gentlemen of whom Joinville was the friend and comrade, there are many who deserve a lasting fame. Peter of Brittany, gashed and retreating, yet pausing to scoff at the disorderly rabble that jostle past him in panic; Walter of Brienne, like a second Regulus tortured and helpless, exhorting his friends to resistance; Erard of Syverey, wounded to death, pausing to weigh the honour of his family against the chance of safety; Walter of Chatillon, crying his war−cry in the deserted street and turning single−handed to sweep away a horde of infidels; the good Bishop of Soissons, who, rather than turn his back on Jerusalem, " hastened his journey to God "; these are fit heroes for song and story through all time.

Historians laboriously bridge over the gulf that divides us from the past, and their bricks and mortar make but a long and dreary road; but in a narrative such as Joinville is, the spirit of the writer speaks direct to the spirit of the reader; their points of difference vanish away, leaving only what is common to both; and for a while the man of the thirteenth century joins hands with the man of the twentieth, and they stand side by side in the midst of that vast twilight of the unrecorded ages, compared with whose depths a thousand years are but as yesterday.

With regard to this English version of Joinville's book, the translation is based on Francisque Michel's edition of the fourteenth−century manuscript known as Supplement 20 I 6, Bibliothfque royale. Very rarely other readings have been adopted. In some parts of the book, notably in Parts III and IV, the anecdotes in the original are very disconnected, possibly from the author having been frequently interrupted in his dictation. A few of these have been transposed in the translation, so as to bring them into better sequence. One or two repetitions have also been omitted; and a few passages tedious or repugnant to modern taste have been curtailed or suppressed. The book hereby loses some of its value for antiquarians, but for the general reader it gains. The original is not divided into chapters nor parts. In all other respects the translation is as faithful as the translator knew how to make it.

Details about Joinville's life and pedigree are mostly taken from Delaborde's book, " Jean de Joinville." For his English descendants, the Genevilles, the "Genealogist" of 1904 should be consulted.

The notes are based on contemporary writers, e.g. Matthew Paris, Guillaume de Nangis, Geoffrey de Beaulieu, "Annales Monastici," etc. They are not intended to give general historical information, but merely to fill in the gaps of the narrative with the less well−known details of contemporaries.

The map of Mansoora and the adjoining rivers is based on one in the Intelligence Department.



To his good lord Louis, son of the King of France, by the grace of God King of Navarre, Count Palatine of Champagne and Brie, greeting, love honour and ready service from John, Lord of Joinville, his Seneschal of Champagne.

Dear Lord, I give you to know that your Lady Mother the Queen, who loved me well, May God have mercy on her! desired of me right earnestly, that I would make her a book of the holy words and good deeds of our king Saint Louis; and I did promise her the same; and by God's aid the book is completed in two parts.

The first part tells how he ordered his time according to God and the Church and to the profit of his realm. The second part of the book treats of his knightly prowess and great feats of arms.

Sir, in that it is written: "Do first that which pertains to God, and He will direct all the rest for thee," have I caused to be written such matters as pertain to the three things aforesaid: to wit, to soul, body, and the government of the people.1

These other things, moreover, have I caused to be written to the honour of his true and holy relics, that by them it may be plainly seen, that never a layman of our times lived so holily as he did all his days, from the beginning of his reign unto the end of his life. Not that I was present at his life's end, but his son, Count Peter of Alencon, was there, who loved me well and related to me the fair ending * Here and elsewhere Joinville's Biblical quotations are translated as they stand. He knew no "Authorized Version," and the French words are probably his own rendering from memory of the Latin Vulgate, that he made, as you will find it written at the end of this book.

Whereby methinks they fell short of his due, in not ranking him among the martyrs, seeing the great hardships that he underwent in the pilgrimage of the Cross for the space of six years that I was in his company; and specially in that he followed our Lord in the matter of the Cross. For if God died by the Cross, even so did he; for he was crossed when he was at Tunis.

The second book will tell us of his deeds of knightly prowess and great daring; which were such, that four times I beheld him put his person in jeopardy of death, as you shall hear, to save his followers from harm.

The first occasion, was when we touched land before Damietta; when all his council urged him, so I heard, to tarry until he should see how his knights should fare at their landing; and for this reason: that if he went ashore with them, and were slain along with his followers, the cause would be lost; whereas, if he tarried in his ship, he in himself might make good the loss and win back the land of Egypt. And he would hearken to none of them but leaped all armed into the sea, his shield about his neck and his spear in his hand, and was one of the first ashore.

The second occasion, was when we left Mansourah to go to Damietta and his council urged him, as I was given to understand, to travel to Damietta in the galleys; and he would hearken to never a one, saying rather: that he would never desert his followers, but that their fate should be his.

The third occasion, was when we had dwelt a year in the Holy Land, after his brothers had left it. In great peril of death were we at that time; since, whilst the king was sojourning in Acre, for one man−of−arms that he had in his company the inhabitants had full thirty, when the town was seized. Indeed, I know no other reason wherefor the Turks did not come and take us in the town, save for the love God bore the king, who put fear into the hearts of our enemies, so that they did not dare attack us.

The fourth occasion when he jeopardized his person, was when we returned from over seas and came before the Isle of Cyprus, where our ship ran so heavily aground, that three spans−length of the keel whereon she was built was torn away. Whereupon the king sent for fourteen master mariners to advise him what he should do; and they all advised him, as you will hear, to go into another ship. But to all their arguments the king replied: "Sirs, I see, that if I go out of this ship, she will be abandoned, and no one will remain in her, but they will choose to remain in Cyprus; wherefore please God, I will never cause the ruin of so great a number of men as are here, rather will I stay here to safeguard them." Thus the king warded off the mischief of eight hundred persons that were in his ship.

In the last part of this book we will speak of his end and in what a holy fashion he passed away.

Now to you, my lord king of Navarre, I say, that I promised your lady mother the Queen, God rest her soul! that I would make this book; and to acquit me of my promise I have made it. And since I see none that has so good a right to it as you who are her heir, to you I send it, to the end that you and your brothers and all others who shall hear it may take good example thereby, and show forth the example in their works, that God may be well pleased with them.


IN the name of Almighty God, I, John, Lord of Joinville, Seneschal of Champagne, do cause to be written the life of our Saint Louis, that which I saw and heard during the space of six years that I was in his company on the pilgrimage over seas and after we returned. And before I tell you of his great deeds and knightliness, I will tell you what I saw and heard of his holy words and good teachings, so that they may be found in sequence, to the edification of those that shall hear them.

The love he bore his people appeared in what he said to his son during a sore sickness he had at Fountainebleau; "Fair son," quoth he, "I pray thee, win the love of the people of thy kingdom. For truly, I would rather that a Scot should come out of Scotland and rule the people of the kingdom well and justly, than that thou shouldst govern them ill−advisedly."

The holy man so loved truth that he would not play even the Saracens false, as hereafter you shall hear.

Touching his mouth he was sober, for never in my life did I hear him discourse of dishes, as many rich men do; but contentedly he ate whatever his cooks set before him. In words he was temperate, for never did I hear him speak ill of others, nor ever hear him name the Devil; the which is not common throughout the kingdom, and thereat, I bow, God is ill pleased. His wine he tempered moderately, according as he saw that the wine could bear it. He asked me in Cyprus: why I put no water to my wine? and I told him; It was the physicians' doing, who told me, that I had a thick head and a cold belly, and that it was not in me to get drunk. And he said: They deceived me; for unless I used myself whilst young to drink it watered, if, when old, I desired to do so, I should then be seized with gouts and stomach complaints and never have my health: whereas, if in old age I were to take my wine neat, I should be drunk every evening, and that it was a passing foul thing for a gallant gentleman to get drunk. He asked me: Whether I wished to be honoured in this world and win Heaven at my death? "Yea!" said I, "Then," said he, "See that you be not wittingly guilty of any word or deed whereof if all the world knew it you could not acknowledge: So I said; So I did."

He bade me avoid contradicting or disagreeing with anything that anyone said before me, provided there would be no blame nor harm to myself in letting it pass; for that hard words provoke quarrels that are the death of thousands.

He used to say: That we ought so to clothe and care for our bodies that sober men of the world might not deem us over−nice, nor young men deem us slovens. And this reminds me of the father of the present king and the embroidered coats−of−arms that they make nowadays. For I told him, that never in my travels over seas did I see embroidered coats, neither belonging to the king nor to anyone else. And he told me, that he had garments embroidered with his arms such as had cost him eight hundred pounds parisis. And I told him that he would have employed them better, had he given them to God, and had made his clothes of good taffety as his father was wont to do.l

He called me once, and said to me: "You are of such subtile perception in all matters touching religion, that I am afraid to talk to you, and for that reason I have called in these friars here, for I wish to ask you a question." The question was, "Seneschal, what sort of thing is God?" I answered: "Such a good thing, sir, that there is none better." "Well answered indeed," said he "for the very same answer is written in this book that I hold. Next I ask you," said he, "Which would you rather: Be a leper, or have committed a deadly sin?" And I, who never lied to him, replied: That I would rather have committed thirty deadly sins than be a leper. And when the friars were

* I livre parisis=25 solid) or sous; 1 livre tournois=20 solidi or sous; I sol= 12 deniers tournois (see Littrf). Money was more rapidly debased in France than in England. Hence the livre, sou, and denier (cf. English £ s. d.) dropped later on in value far below their nominal English equivalents; till the sou has left its old companion the shilling and ended with the value of the modern halfpenny. The denier, originally the French penny, has dwindled to extinction; whilst the livre in its descent changed names and became the franc. In the thirteenth century, however, the French livre and the English pound were comparable in all respects. They both still approximated to their weight in silver, livre=liber (lb.)=pound.

gone, he called me all alone, and made me sit at his feet, and said to me: "What was that you said to me yesterday?" And I replied: That I still said the same. "You talk like a hasty rattlepate," said he, "For there is no leprosy so foul as deadly sin, seeing that a soul in deadly sin is in the image of the Devil. And truly when a man dies, he is healed of the leprosy of the body, but when a man dies that has committed deadly sin, great fear must he needs have lest such leprosy should endure so long as God shall be in Heaven."

He asked me: Whether I washed the feet of the poor on Maundy Thursday? " Sorrow take it, Sir!" said I " The feet of those wretches will I never wash! " ' Truly," quoth he '` That was ill said; for you should not despise that which God did for our instruction. Wherefor I pray you, for the love of God and of me, that henceforth you will accustom yourself to wash them."

He so loved all manner of God−fearing men, that he bestowed the Constableship of France on my lord Giles le Brun, who was not of the realm of France, because he had a great reputation as a God−fearing man. And truly so I think he was. There was Master Robert of Sorbonne,1 whom, because of his high reputation for honour and virtue, the King would have to dine at his table.

It chanced one day, that he and I were next one another at table, and the king reproved us, and said: "Speak aloud," said he, " For your fellows here fancy that you are backbiting them. If your discourse at table be of pleasant matters, then speak aloud, or, if not, then keep silence."

When the King was merry, he would say to me: "Come, seneschal, tell me the reasons why a gallant man is better than a Begouin? " Then would begin the argument between Master Robert and me; and when we had disputed a good while, he would give judgment thus; " Master Robert, I would wish to have the name of a gallant man, provided that I were one, and give you all the rest. For a gallant man is such a great thing and such a fine thing, that the very sound of it fills one's mouth."

He used to say, on the contrary, that it was a bad business to borrow from anyone, for that the restoring was so disagreeable that the very

* The founder of the Sorbonne College.

"R's" in it flayed one's throat, and betokened the Devil's rakes, always dragging back the man who set about restoring his neighbour's property. And the Devil is so cunning about it, that in the case of great usurers and robbers, he wiles them into giving to God that which they ought to restore to its owners. He bade me tell King Tibald from him, that he should beware of the house of Preachers of Provence which he was building, lest all the money he was putting into it should be a clog to his soul; for that wise men during their lifetime should deal with their possessions as executors: to wit, that good executors first of all redress any wrongs done by the dead man, and restore whatever was not his, and the remainder of his wealth they spend in alms.

The holy King was at Corbeuil one Pentecost, where there were four−score knights. After dinner, he came down into a meadow by the chapel, and stood in the gateway, talking to the Count of Brittany, the father of the present Duke, whom God preserve! Thither came Master Robert of Sorbonne, seeking me, and took me by the flap of my cloak, and led me to the King, all the other knights following us. "Master Robert, what do you want with me? " asked I. "I ask you," said he, " If the King were sitting in this meadow, and you went and sat above him on the bench, would you not be to blame?" I answered: Yes. " Then," said he, "You are just as much to blame in being more richly clad than the King; for you clothe yourself in green and minnever,which the King does not." Said I to him: "Master Robert, I am in no wise to blame, though I do dress in green and minnever; for this dress was handed down to me from my father and mother. But you are to blame, for you are the son of villein parents, and have laid aside their dress, and attired yourself in finer cloth than the King." Then I took hold of the lappet of his surcoat and that of the King's, and said: " Look and see if what I say is true." Thereupon the King set to work to defend Master Robert by words with all his might.

Afterwards, my lord the King called my lord Philip his son, (father to the present King,) and King Tibald, and sat down by the door of his oratory, and put his hand on the ground, and said: " Sit down here close beside me, that we may not be overheard." "Oh, Sir!" said they, "We should not venture to sit so close to you!" "Seneschal," said he, " Sit you here." which I did, so close to him, that my gown touched his. He made them sit down beyond me, and said to them: It was great ill breeding in you, that are my sons, not to do at once what I bade you, and take care that it never happens again." and they said it should not. Then he told me, that he had called us in order to confess to me, that he had been wrong in defending Master Robert against me. "But," said he, "When I saw him in such confusion, I was obliged to come to his assistance. But all the same do not hold by anything I said in Master Robert's defence; for, as the seneschal says, you should dress well and neatly, so that your wives may love you the better, and your followers esteem you the more."

The holy King strove with all his might, by his conversation, to make me believe firmly in the Christian law. He told me once, that some Albigenses' had come to the Count of Montfort, (who at that time was holding the Albigenses' country for the King) and told him they had come to see the body of our Lord which had turned to flesh and blood in the priest's hands. "Go and see it, you that disbelieve it," said he, "For as for me, I firmly believe it, according to the teaching of Holy Church. And know, that it is I that shall be the winner," said the Count, "because in this mortal life I believe it; wherefor I shall have a crown in Heaven above the angels, for they see it face to face, and so cannot choose but believe it."

He told me that there was a great conference of clergy and Jews in the monastery of Clugny, and there was a knight, to whom the abbot had given bread out of charity, and he desired the abbot to let him have the first word, and with some difficulty he got permission. Then the knight rose, and leaned upon his crutch, and bade them bring forth the greatest scholar and master among the Jews, and they did so. And he put a question to him as follows: " Master," said he, " I ask you, whether you believe that the Virgin Mary, who carried God in her womb and in her arms, brought forth as a maid, and that she is the Mother of God? " And the Jew replied: That he did not believe a word of it. The knight replied: That he was a great fool to trust himself inside her monastery and house, when he neither believed in nor loved her; " And truly you shall pay for it" quoth he. And thereupon he lifted up his staff, and smote the Jew behind the ear, and stretched him on the ground. And the Jews took to their heels, carrying their master off with them, all wounded. And that was the end of the conference. Then the abbot came to the knight, and said: That he had acted very foolishly; and the knight replied: That he himself had acted still more foolishly, in calling such a conference; for that there were numbers of Christians there, who by the close of the conference would have gone away infidels, through not seeing through the fallacies of the Jews. " And so I tell you," said the King, " That no one ought to argue with them unless he be a very good scholar; but a layman, if he hear the Christian law defamed, should undertake its defence with the sword alone, and that he should use to run them straight through the body as far in as it will go!"

He governed his dominions on this wise: Every day, he heard his Hours by note, and a Requiem mass without note and afterwards the mass for the day, or for the saint, (if it fell on a saint's day) by note. Every day he used to rest in his bed after dinner; and when he had slept and rested, then the office for the Dead used to be said in his chamber by himself and one of his chaplains before he heard Vespers. In the evening he heard Complines.

He had arranged his business in such a fashion, that my lord of Nesle and the good Count of Soissons, and we others who were about his person after hearing mass used to go and listen to the Pleas of the Gate (which they call now "Petitions"). And when he came back from the minster, he used to send for us, and would sit down at the foot of his bed and make us sit all round him, and would ask us, whether there were any cases to be despatched that could not be despatched without him, and we named them, and he would send for the parties, and ask them: "Why do you not accept what our officers offer you?" and they would say: " It is very little, Sir." And he would talk to them as follows: " You ought really to take what people are ready to concede." And in this way the holy man laboured with all his might to bring them into the right and reasonable course.

Many a time it chanced in summer, that he would go and sit in the forest of Vincennes, after mass, and all who had business would come and talk with him, without hindrance from ushers or anyone. Then he would ask them with his own lips: " Is there anyone here, that has a suit?" and those that had suits stood up. Then he would say: " Keep silence, all of you; and you shall be dealt with in order." Then he would call up my lord Peter of Fontaines and my lord Geoffrey of Villette, and say to one of them: " Despatch me this suit! " and if, in the speech of those who were speaking on behalf of others, he saw that a point might be better put, he himself would put it for them with his own lips. I have seen him sometimes in summer, when to hear his people's suits, he would come into the gardens of Paris, clad in a camel's−hair coat, with a sleeveless surcoat of tiretaine, a cloak of black taffety round his neck, his hair well combed and without a quoif, and a white swansdown hat upon his head. He would cause a carpet to be spread, that we might sit round him; and all the people who had business before him stood round about, and then he caused their suits to be despatched, just as I told you before about the forest of Vincennes.

The King's loyalty may be seen in the affair of my lord of Trie, who sent the saint some letters, which stated, that the King had granted the county of Danmartin in Govelle to the heirs of the Countess of Boulogne, who had died recently. The seal of the letter was broken, so that there was nothing left of the King's seal but half the legs of the figure and the stool on which the King had his feet, and he showed it to all us who were of his council, and asked us to assist him with our counsel. We all declared with one accord, that he was in no wise bound to carry out the terms of the letter. Then he bade John Saracen, his chamberlain, bring him the letter which he had given into his keeping. When he had the letter in his hand, he said to us: " Sirs, look at this seal which I used before I went over seas: it is plain to see, that the impress of the broken seal is exactly like the perfect seal, so that I could not venture in all conscience to withhold the county in question." And thereupon he called my lord Reynold of Trie, and said to him: "I deliver the county to you."



IN the name of Almighty God, having heretofore written part of the good words and teachings of Saint Louis, our King, we will next begin upon his deeds, in the name of God and of himself.

He was born, as I have heard him say, on the day of Saint Mark the Evangelist, after Easter. On that day, in many places they carry the Cross in procession, and in France it is called " Black Cross Day," and this was, as it were, a foreshadowing of the great host of people who died on those two crusades: to wit, on the Egyptian crusade, and on that other, where he died at Carthage; for very great sorrowing there was in this world, and very great rejoicing there is in Heaven over those, who on those two pilgrimages died true crusaders.

He was crowned on the first Sunday in Advent. The mass for that Sunday begins: " To Thee have I lifted up my soul" and what follows after. In God he trusted firmly till his death; for at the point of death, with his last words he called on God and His Saints, especially upon my lord Saint James and my lady Saint Genevieve.

Great need had he in childhood that God should guard him; as by the good teachings of his mother, who taught him to love and believe in God, and set men of religion about him. Child as he was, she used to make him repeat his Hours and hear the lessons on Feast−days, and often told him as he recorded later, that she were rather he were dead than that he should commit a deadly sin.

Great need had he in his youth of God's aid; for his mother was from Spain, and had neither kindred nor friends in all the realm of France; and the barons of France, seeing the King but a child, and his mother a foreign woman, made the Count of Boulogne the King's uncle their leader, and looked upon him as actually their liege lord.

After the King was crowned, there were some of the barons who requested the Queen to grant them certain large territories; and because she would do none of it, they gathered themselves together, all the barons, at Corbeuil. And the holy King told me, that he and his mother, who were at Montl'hery, durst not return to Paris until the men of Paris came under arms to fetch them. And he told me, how, all the way from Montl'hery to Paris, the road was thronged with people, armed and unarmed, all loudly praying Christ to give him health and long life, and to defend and keep him from his enemies.

At this parliament of the barons at Corbeuil, so it is said, those of them that were present decided, that the good knight Count Peter of Brittany should rebel against the King, and further, that when the king should summon them to march against the Count, they should attend in person and each bring only two knights with him; and this to see whether the Count of Brittany would be able to crush the Queen, she being but a foreign woman, as you have heard. And many people say, that the Count would have crushed the Queen and King too, if God had not come to the King's aid in this strait. But by God's grace, Count Tibald of Champagne, (the same who later became King of Navarre) came to serve the King with three hundred knights, and by his aid, the Count of Brittany was brought to the King's mercy, so that, to make peace, he was obliged to relinquish to the King the county of Anjou (so it is said), and the county of Le Perche.

Now I must leave my subject for a while, in order to rehearse certain matters that you shall now learn. We will say therefor, that the good Count, Henry the Generous (of Champagne) had two sons by the Countess Mary, sister to the King of France and to Richard of England, of whom the eldest was named Henry, and the younger Tibald. This elder one, Henry, took the cross and went on pilgrimage to the Holy Land, what time King Philip and King Richard besieged Acre and took it. So soon as Acre was taken, King Philip returned to France, for which he was much blamed; but King Richard stayed in the Holy Land, and did many great deeds, so that the Saracens feared him mightily: for it is written in the book of the Holy Land that when the Saracen children cried, the women would scold them, saying: " Hush! King Richard is coming! " to quiet them. And when the horses of the Saracens or Bedouins shied at a bush, their riders would say: " Do you fancy that it is King Richard? "

This King Richard used his influence to give to Count Henry of Champagne, who had remained with him, the Queen of Jerusalem, who was direct heir to the kingdom. By the said Queen, Count Henry had two daughters, of whom the first was Queen of Cyprus, and the other was given to Lord Erard of Brienne, from whom has sprung a great lineage, as may be seen in France and Champagne. It is not of Lord Erard of Brienne's wife that I wish to speak now, but about the Queen of Cyprus.

After the King had crushed Count Peter of Brittany, all the barons of France were so stirred up against Count Tibald of Champagne, that they resolved to send for the Queen of Cyprus, she being daughter to the eldest son of the house of Champagne, in order to disinherit Count Tibal, he being son to the second son.

Some amongst them intervened to make peace between Count Peter and the said Count Tibald and the upshot of the negotiations was, that Count Tibald promised to take Count Peter's daughter to wife. A day was fixed for the Count of Champagne to espouse the damsel; and they were to bring her for the wedding to a certain abbey at Premoutre which is close to Chateau Thierry, and is called, I believe, Val Secret. The barons of France, who were nearly all of kin to Count Peter, took much trouble in escorting the damsel to Val Secret for the wedding, and sent word to the Count of Champagne who was at Chateau Thierry. But whilst the Count of Champagne was on his way to get married, there came to him my lord Geoffrey de la Chapelle from the King with a letter of credentials, and said as follows: "Sir Count, the King has heard, that you have covenanted with Count Peter of Brittany to take his daughter in marriage. Wherefor the King sends you word, that, unless you wish to lose whatever possessions you have in the realm of France, you will not do this thing; for you know that the Count of Brittany has used the King worse than any man alive." And the Count of Champagne, by the advice of those that were with him, turned back again to Chateau Thierry.


Louis was crowned a month after his accession by the Bishop of Soissons (the see of Rheims being vacant). His mother had the sole wardship of him, which roused the jealousy of the principal barons. Peter Mauclerc (Count of Brittany) and Hugh le Brun (Count of La Marche) were obliged to submit, after Tibald of Champagne had deserted them. When they marched the next year into Champagne to revenge themselves on Tibald, Matthew Paris says that their pretext was that Tibald had been guilty of high treason in being Queen Blanche's paramour, and conspiring with her to poison her husband, Louis VIII. (He certainly seems to have quarrelled with Louis VIII, for he left him and went home without leave just before Louis' death, during his crusade against the Albigenses.) Joinville gives no hint of this. Throughout his book he avoids scandal, and in any case could hardly have mentioned this in a book intended for the great−grandson of both Queen Blanche and Count Tibald.

Tibald IV was a posthumous child, and during the regency of his mother, Countess Blanche, the above−mentioned Erard of Brienne claimed the county in right of his wife Philippa, and waged war on Champagne, aided and abetted by Simon de Joinville, the father of the author. Tibald succeeded to the kingdom of Navarre on the death of his mother's brother, Sancho VI.


WHEN Count Peter and the barons of France, who were waiting for him at Val Secret, heard what had happened, they were all as it were beside themselves at the slight he had put upon them; and now they sent for the Queen of Cyprus; and so soon as ever she was come, they agreed with common accord to muster all the men−at−arms they could, and to march into Brie and Champagne from the French side; and the Duke of Burgundy, who had Count Robert of Dreux' daughter to wife, was to enter the county of Champagne on the Burgundian side, and take the city of Troyes if possible.

The Duke summoned as many men as he could muster, and the barons likewise. The barons came through, burning and destroying on one side, the Duke on another, and the King of France on another, seeking to come to battle with them. The Count of Champagne finding himself thus beset, began himself to fire his own towns before the approach of the barons, so that they might not find supplies in them. Amongst the other towns which the Count of Champagne burnt were Epernay, and Vertus, and Sezanne.

The burghers of Troyes, seeing themselves abandoned by their own lord, sent to Simon, lord of Joinville, (the father of the present lord) to come to their rescue. He, having summoned all his men−at−arms, set out from Joinville at nightfall, so soon as ever the tidings reached him, and came to Troyes before daybreak; and so the barons were disappointed in their hopes of taking Troyes, and passed by that city, and went and camped in the open, close to where the Duke of Burgundy lay.

The King of France, learning that they were there, marched straight to the place to give battle to them; and the barons sent to him begging that he would withdraw his person, and they would go and do battle with the Count of Champagne and the Duke of Lorraine and all the rest of his men, with three hundred knights less than the Count or the Duke should have. And the King sent them word, that he would never fight against his own liegemen save in person. And they came again to him, and said: that they would willingly incline the Queen of Cyprus to peace, if so he pleased. And the King sent them word that he would hear of no peace, neither suffer the Count of Champagne to hear of any, until they should have evacuated the county of Champagne. And they did withdraw in so far as to leave Ylles where they were, and go and camp below Juylli; and the King lodged at Ylles whence he had driven them. And when they knew that the King was gone thither, they went and camped at Chaorse, and durst not abide the King's coming, but went and camped at Langres, which belonged to the Count of Nevers, who was of their party.

Thus the King accorded the Count of Champagne with the Queen of Cyprus, and peace was made after this wise: that the said Count gave to the Queen land worth about two thousand pounds a year, besides forty thousand pounds that the King paid for the Count of Champagne. And the Count sold to the King, in exchange for the forty thousand pounds, the fiefs hereafter named: to wit, the fief of the county of Blois, the fief of the county of Chartres, the fief of the county of Sancerre, the fief of the vicounty of Chateaudun. There were people, indeed, who said that the King only held these aforesaid fiefs in pawn; but there is no truth in it, for I asked our holy King Louis about it whilst we were over seas.

The land which Count Tibald gave to the Queen of Cyprus is held by the present Count of Brienne and the Count of Joigny, because the Count of Brienne's grandmother was daughter to the Queen of Cyprus and wife to the great Count Walter of Brienne.

That you may know, how the Lord of Champagne came by those fiefs that he sold to the King, I must tell you, that the great Count Tibald, who sleeps at Lagny, had three sons: the first was named Henry; the second Tibald; the third Stephen. This same Henry was Count of Champagne and Brie, and was called, " Henry the Generous"; and rightly was he so called, for he was generous both towards God and the world: generous towards God, as appears by the church of Saint Stephen of Troyes and by the other churches which he founded in Champagne; generous towards the world, as appeared in the case of Artauld of Nogent and on many other occasions which I would relate to you, if I were not afraid of hindering the course of my story.

Artauld of Nogent was the burgher whom the King most trusted, and he was so rich, that he built the castle of Nogent l'Artauld with his own money. Now it chanced that Count Henry came down out of his hall at Troyes to go and hear mass at Saint Stephen on the day of Pentecost; and at the foot of the steps there knelt a poor knight, who thus accosted him: " Sir, I beseech you for the love of God, to give me out of your wealth the wherewithal to marry my two daughters whom you see here." Artauld, who was walking behind him, said to the poor knight, " Sir Knight, it is not courteous in you to beg from my lord; for he has given away so much, that he has nothing left to give." The generous Count turned round to Artauld, and said to him: "Sir Villein, you speak untruly when you say, that I have nothing left to give, why, I have you yourself! Here, take him, Sir Knight! for I give him to you, and will warrant him to you." The knight was in no wise abashed, but took him by the cape, and told him: That he would not let him go until he had come to terms with him; and before he could get away, Artauld had made fine with him for five hundred pounds.

Count Henry's second brother was named Tibald, and was Count of Blois; his third brother, named Stephen, was Count of Sancerre; and these two brothers held all their heritage with the two counties and their appurtenances in fee of Count Henry; and afterwards they held them of Count Henry's heirs who held Champagne, until the time when Count Tibald sold them to the King of France, as I told you above.


LET US return to our story, and say as follows: that after these events, the King held a great court at Saumur in Anjou. I was there, and can bear you witness that it was the finest that ever I saw. For there ate at the King's table, beside him, the Count of Poitiers, whom he had newly knighted on a Saint John's Day; and next him sat Count John of Dreux, whom likewise he had newly knighted. Next to the Count of Dreux, sat the Count of La Marche, and next him, the good Count Peter of Brittany; and in front of the King's table, in a line with the Count of Dreux, sat my lord the King of Navarre, in a coat and mantle of samite, richly adorned with belt and clasp and circlet of gold; and I carved before him. Before the King, his brother the Count of Artois was trencher bearer, and the good Count, John of Soissons, carved. To guard the table, there was my Lord Humbert of Beaujeu, (who afterwards became Constable of France), and my Lord Enguerrand of Coucy, and my Lord Archibald of Bourbon. Forming a bodyguard behind these three barons were a good thirty of their knights, in coats of cloth of silk, and behind the knights a great crowd of serjeants clad in taffety stamped with the Count of Poitier's arms. The King had donned a coat of sky−blue satin, and a surcoat and mantle of scarlet satin lined with ermine, and on his head a cotton bonnet, which became him very ill, he being in those days a young man.

The King held this feast in the halls of Saumur, which were built, they say, by the great King Henry of England, to hold his great feasts. The halls are built after the fashion of the cloisters of the White Monks; but I trow there are no others so large by far. I will tell you, why: for along the wall of the cloister where the King was dining, and he was surrounded by knights and serjeants who took up a great deal of room, there was a table at which were seated thirty other persons, bishops and archbishops; and again, beyond the bishops and at the same table, was seated Blanche the Queen Mother, at the opposite end of the cloister to where the King sat. The Count of Boulogne, (who afterwards was King of Portugal) waited on the Queen, together with the good Count of St. Pol, and a German lad, eighteen years of age, who was said to be the son of Saint Elizabeth of Thuringia. It was said of him, that Queen Blanche used to kiss his forehead out of piety, because she heard that his mother had often kissed him there. At the end of the cloister, on the other side, were the kitchens, the butteries, the pantries, and the storerooms; and from this cloister they set bread and wine and meat before the King and Queen. And in all the other wings, and in the centre plot there feasted a vast number of knights, more than I can tell. Many people say, that they never saw before at any feast so many surcoats and other garments of cloth−of−gold as were there; and that there must have been full three thousand knights in the place.

After this feast, the King brought the Count of Poitiers to Poitiers, that he might take seizin of his fiefs, but when the King was come to Poitiers, he would gladly have been back again in Paris; for he found that the Count of La Marche, who had eaten at his table on Saint John's day, had got together a number of men−at−arms at Lusignan by Poitiers. The King remained at Poitiers close on a fortnight, not daring to depart until he should be reconciled with the Count of La Marche. I know not how it came about, but I several times saw the Count of La Marche on his way from Lusignan to confer with the King at Poitiers; and he always brought with him his wife, the Queen of England, who was mother to the English king. And many people said, that the peace which the King and the Count of Poitiers made with the Count of La Marche was an unsound one.

No long while after the King had got back from Poitiers, the King of England came into Gascony to make war on the King of France. Our holy King, with as many men as he could raise, rode forth to give him battle. Thither came the King of England and the Count of La Marche to do battle before a castle called Taillebourg, which lies on a dangerous river named the Charente, where there is no crossing save by a very narrow stone bridge. No sooner had the King reached Taillebourg, and the armies were face to face, than our men, (who had the castle on their side,) pushed on at great cost, and crossed over most hazardously by means of boats and the bridge, and rushed upon the English; and there began a general hand−to−hand engagement stiffly contested. The King perceiving this adventured himself into the thick of it along with the rest, for the English had four men for every one that the King had after he had crossed. Howsoever it so happened by God's will, that when the English saw the King cross over, they lost heart, and retired into the city of Saintes; and some of our men entered the city mixed up with them, and were taken prisoners.

Those of our people who were captured at Saintes related, that they heard a great quarrel arise between the King of England and the Count of La Marche, the King of England saying: That the Count of La Marche had sent for him to come over, and had assured him, that he would find plenty of support in France. That very evening, the King of England left Saintes, and drew off into Gascony. The Count of La Marche, seeing that there was no help for it, yielded himself prisoner to the King, together with his wife and children; and so, when peace came to be made, the King got a great slice of the Count's lands; but I do not know how much, for I was not present at this affair, not having yet donned a hauberk; but I heard say, that, besides the land, the King carried off ten thousand pounds parisis that he had in his coffers, and every year as much again.

Whilst we were at Poitiers, I saw a knight, named Lord Geoffrey of Rancon, who, by reason, it was said, of a great outrage that the Count of La Marche had done him, had sworn by the holy relics, that he would never have his hair clipped in the fashion of knights, but would wear it long and parted as women do, until such time as he should see himself avenged on the Count, by his own hand, or by another. And when Lord Geoffrey saw the Count, his wife and his children, kneeling before the King, and suing for pardon, he there and then bade them bring him a stool, and had his long locks shorn off in the presence of the King and the Count of La Marche and the company. Out of this campaign against the King of England and against the barons, the King made many handsome presents, as I learnt from people who had come from it. And for no gifts nor expenses that he was put to in this campaign, nor in any others on either side of the water, did the King ever request nor take from his barons, nor from his knights, nor from his liegemen, nor from his good towns any aids that could be complained of. And no wonder, for he acted by the advice of his good mother who was with him, whose precepts he carried out, and those that were handed on to him by the wise men of his father's and grandfather's times.


St. Louis' three brothers were

  1. Robert, whom he knighted in 1238, giving him the province of Artois, and Matilda of Brabant as wife.

  1. Alphonso, whom he knighted this year (1241), giving him Auvergne and Poitou and the lands belonging to the Albigenses, with Joanna, daughter of the Count of Toulouse, as wife.

  1. Charles, made knight and Count of Anjou and Maine in 1246. The year before he had married Beatrix of Provence, younger sister to Queen Margaret of France and to Eleonor, Queen to Henry III of England.

See the tables at the end.


AFTER the events above narrated, it happened, by God's will, that a great sickness overtook the King at Paris; whereby he was brought so low, as he used to relate, that one of the ladies who were nursing him declared him to be dead, and was about to draw the sheet up over his face; but another lady, who was on the opposite side of the bed, would not permit it, but said that his soul was still in his body. When he heard the two ladies disputing, Our Lord worked in him, and presently sent him health, for he had been voiceless and could not speak. He desired, that they would give him the cross, and they did so.

When the Queen, his mother, heard that his speech had returned to him, nothing could surpass her rejoicings; but when, as himself used to relate, she learnt, that he had taken the cross, she made as great mourning as though he lay dead before her eyes. After he had taken the cross, Robert, Count of Artois took it, and Alphonso, Count of Poitiers, and Charles, Count of Anjou, (who afterwards was King of Sicily) all three the King's brothers; and Hugh, Duke of Burgundy crossed himself, and William, Count of Flanders, brother to Count Guy of Flanders, who was newly dead; and Hugh, the good Count of St. Pol, and his nephew, my Lord Walter, who bore himself right well over seas, and would have been a man of great worth, if he had but lived. And the Count of La Marche was one of them, and my Lord Hugh le Brun, his son, and the Count of SarrebrŸck, and his son, my Lord Gilbert of Apremont, in whose company I, Lord of Joinville, crossed the sea in a ship which we hired, for we were cousins; and we crossed over twenty knights in all, of whom half were his, and half mine.

At Easter, in the year of Grace which was just striking 1248, I summoned my liegemen and my vassals to Joinville; and on the same Easter Eve, when all whom I had summoned were come, was born my son, John, Lord of Acerville, the child of my first wife, who was sister to the Count of Grandpre.

All that week we feasted and danced; for my brother, the Lord of Vaucouleurs, and the other rich men who were there entertained the company in turn, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

On the Friday I said to them: " Sirs, I am going away over seas, and I know not whether I shall return. Now therefore, come forward; and if I have done any of you a wrong, I will right it, and will as my custom is redress in turn any grievances you may have against me or my servants." I put everything right with them as regards the public business of my estates, and in order that I might have no undue advantage, I left my seat on the council, and abode without dispute by their decisions.

Being unwilling to take any ill−gotten money with me, I went to Metz in Lorraine, and left a great quantity of my land there in pawn; and know, that on the day I left our country to go to the Holy Land, I was not possessed of one thousand pounds of rent in land, for my Lady Mother was still alive. And so I set out, with nine other knights, myself the tenth, three of us being bannerets. And so you see, that if God had not been ever at my side, I could assuredly not have held out through those long six years that I spent in the Holy Land.

Whilst I was getting ready to start, John Lord of Apremont and Count of SarrebrŸck by right of his wife, sent me word, that he had made arrangements for going over seas at the head of ten knights, and that if I liked, we would hire a ship between us; and I consented; and his people and mine hired a ship at Marseilles.

The King summoned his barons to Paris, and made them take an oath, that they would keep faith and loyalty towards his children if anything should happen to him on the way. He desired me to do so; but I would take no oath, because I was not his man.

Whilst I was on the road, I came across three men, lying dead on a cart, whom a clerk had slain; and I was told, that they were being taken to the King. Thereupon I sent one of my squires after them to learn what happened. The squire reported that the King, on leaving his chapel, went onto the steps to see the bodies, and asked the Provost of Paris: How it had occurred? And the Provost told him, that the dead men were three of his serjeants from the Chatelet, and that they used to go about robbing people on the high−roads; "and," said he to the King, "they fell in with this clerk, whom you see here, and stripped him of all his clothes. The clerk went off in his shirt to his house, and took his cross−bow, and made a child carry his falchion. Directly he saw the robbers, he shouted to them, and told them they should die on the spot. The clerk wound his cross−bow, and let fly a bolt, and pierced one of them through the heart; and the two others took to their heels. The clerk took the falchion that the child was holding, and followed them by the light of the moon, which was bright and clear. One of them thought to escape through a hedge into a garden; but the clerk struck him with the falchion, and clean cut off his leg so that it hung only by the boot, as you can see," said the Provost. "The clerk set off again in pursuit of the third, who thought to take refuge in a strange house, where the folks were not yet abed; but the clerk with his falchion struck him full on the head, so that he clove it to the teeth, as you may see, Sir" quoth the Provost to the King, "And, Sir, the clerk showed what he had done to the provost who lives hard−by the street, and then came and gave himself up in your gaol; and, Sir, I bring him to you, and here he is, that you may deal with him according to your pleasure." " Sir Clerk," said the King, " your prowess has lost you your priesthood; and for your prowess I retain you in my pay, and you shall accompany me over seas. I deal thus with you, in order that my followers may see that I will not uphold them in any of their wickedness." When the people that were assembled there heard this, they cried on Our Lord, beseeching God might grant the King a safe life and a long one, and bring him home in health and happiness.

After this, I returned into our country, and we arranged, the Count of SarrebrŸck and I, that we should send our baggage by carts to Auxonne, and thence by the river Sa™ne as far as the Rhone. On the day that I left Joinville, I sent for the Abbot of Cheminon, who was reputed the best man in the White Order. I heard one testimony borne him at Clairvaux, on the feast of Our Lady, when the holy King was there; for a monk pointed him out to me, and asked, whether I knew him? "Why do you ask?" said I; and he replied: " Because I believe that he is the best man of all the White Order. Know too," said he, " that I heard from a worthy man who used to lie in the same dormitory as the Abbot of Cheminon, that once the Abbot had bared his chest, because of the heat, and this good man, Lying in the same room where the Abbot was asleep, saw the Mother of God come to his bedside, and draw his gown across his chest lest the draught should hurt him."

So this Abbot of Cheminon gave me my scrip and staff, and thereupon, I departed from Joinville, and would not enter my castle any more, until I should come home again; and I set out on foot, barefooted, and in pilgrim's weeds, and visited Blechicourt and St. Urbans and other holy relics there; and all the while that I was on my wayto Blechicourt and St. Urbans, I durst not cast my eyes back to Joinville, lest my heart should fail me for the fair castle and the two children that I was leaving behind me.

I and my companions dined at Fontaine l'Archeveque, hard by Donjeux. And there Abbot Adam of St. Urbans God rest his soul! gave me and my knights a great quantity of fine jewels. Thence we came to Auxonne, and went on with all our baggage, (which we had had placed in boats) down the Sa™ne, from Auxonne to Lyons; and they led our big chargers alongside the boats. At Lyons, we entered the Rhone, on our way to Arles le Blanc; and in the Rhone we came upon a castle called the Rock of Gluy, which the King had caused to be pulled down, because the hue and cry was out against Roger, the lord of the castle, for robbing pilgrims and merchants.


Matthew Paris, " Chron. Maj, "

The Queen Mother and the Bishop of Paris (William of Auvergne), as well as many of the nobles, tried hard to persuade Louis to give up his proposed Crusade and apply to the Pope for a dispensation. The Bishop was most insistent, urging that when Louis took the Cross he was still weak from sickness and not in possession of his faculties; he urged as political dangers the power of Emperor Frederick and the "deceitful coin " of the King of England, the treachery of the Poitevins, the heresies of the Albigenses: "Germany is disturbed; Italy is not at rest; in front the road to the Holy Land is blocked; behind is the inexorable hate of Frederick and the Pope; implacable feuds: to all this you leave us."

Said the Queen Mother: " Remember, my son, that God loves obedient children. Stay till thou canst go with a larger army; God is no caviller; thy excuse is that thy senses were dazed and thy wits wandering."

To this the King replied, " You say that weakness of wit was the cause of my taking the Cross; lo, then, since you desire it, here I lay down the Cross, I resign it to you," and putting his hand to his shoulder he tore off the badge and presented it to the Archbishop. At this there was a buzz of applause and congratulation from all who sat round. Then said the King, and his voice and face changed, " My friends, you agree now, do you not, that I am in full possession of my senses? that now at any rate I am sane in mind and body? Give me back then my Cross. For He who knows all things knows that no food shall pass my lips until my Cross is restored to me."

And when they that stood round heard this, they declared: " This was the finger of God."

On their way south, the King and his brothers went to Lyons to see Pope Innocent IV. King Louis strongly urged the Pope to put an end to the scandalous quarrel between him and Emperor Frederick. He was, however, unsuccessful in his attempted mediation; and after commending France to the Pope's protection, and using some very plain speech: " Yours will be the blame if we are hindered in our mission," he came away directly he had received the Pope's blessing. It was on the way from Lyons that the King seized Roger's castle of the Rock of Gluy, and caused it to be partly pulled down, but restored it again to him on promise of good behaviour.

The King's stay at Marseilles was marked by a fight between his troops and the people of Avignon, who resented being called " Albigenses, traitors, and heretics." The barons urged Louis to take this opportunity of avenging his father's death; but the King said, "I am not leaving France in order to avenge my father, nor my mother, nor myself, but to avenge my Lord Jesus Christ."

He and the Counts of Artois and Anjou took ship at Aigues Mortes on 25 August; the Count of Poitiers stayed behind to collect the second army. The King's detachment reached Cyprus about the end of August, and spent the winter there, during which time King Henry of Cyprus caught the crusading fever and crossed himself, together with many of his nobles. King Louis lost about 240 men at Cyprus, or on the road thither, including John, Earl of Montfort, the son of that Amaury who was captured at Gaza. (His uncle, the great Simon, had also crossed himself, but did not go, being busy in Gascony.) . . ; During their stay at Cyprus, the King and Legate employed themselves in reconciliug the quarrel between the Templars and Hospitallers and other disputes, both lay and clerical.


IN the month of August, we entered into our ship at the Rock of Marseilles. On the same day that we went aboard, they opened the door of the ship, and all the horses that we were to take over seas with us were put inside, and they closed the door up again, and caulked it up well, just as in sinking a barrel, because when the ship is at sea the whole of the door is under water.

When the horses were inside, our master mariner shouted to his sailors who were in the prow of the ship; "Is all ready? then, Sir, let the clergy and the priests come forwards! " and when they were all assembled, " Strike up a chant, in God's name!" cried he. And they all sang aloud in unison: Veni Creator Spiritus.. And he shouted to his sailors: "Spread sail, in God's name! " and they did so. And in a little while, the wind had caught the sail, and carried us beyond sight of land, and we saw nothing but water and sky; and every day, the wind carried us further away from the land where we were born. And hereby I would show you how foolhardy is he who adventures himself in such peril, if he be in debt to any man, or in deadly sin; for one goes to sleep at night never knowing whether one will awake at the bottom of the sea.

There befell us at sea a most wondrous thing. We sighted a mountain, perfectly round, which lies off Barbary. It was about the hour of Vespers when we sighted it; and we sailed all night, and thought to have made more than fifty leagues, but the next day we found ourselves off the very same mountain; and the same thing befell us twice or thrice. When the sailors saw this, they were all dismayed, and told us: that our ships were in great danger, for that we were off the territory belonging to the Saracens of Barbary.

Then a worthy priest, called the Dean of Malrut, told us: that they were never afflicted in his parish, either with want of water or with too much rain, or any other affliction, but that, so soon as he had made three processions, three Saturdays running, God and His Mother delivered them from it.

This was a Saturday, and we made the first procession round the two masts of the ship. I myself was carried round by the arms, being grievous sick.

Thereafter we saw the mountain no more, and came to Cyprus on the third Saturday.

When we reached Cyprus, the King was already there; and we found a great plenty of the King's stores: to wit, store of wine and money and grain. The wine was stored in this manner: The King's people had heaped, right in the open by the sea shore, great mounds of wine−casks, that they had bought two years before the King's arrival; these were piled one on top of the other, so that, seen from the front, they looked just like barns. The wheat and barley they had stacked in heaps in the open fields, and to look at, they seemed to be hills; for the rain beating on the corn for a long time, had caused it to sprout, so that only the green blades were visible. And so it was, that when they wanted to remove it to Egypt, they pulled down the crust of green corn on the top, and found the wheat and barley grain underneath as fresh as though it were newly threshed.

The King would gladly have pressed on into Egypt without stopping, so I heard him say, if it had not been for his barons, who urged him to stay and wait for the rest of his followers who had not yet all arrived.

Whilst the King was tarrying in Cyprus, the great King of the Tartars sent messengers to him, greeting him courteously, and bearing word, amongst other things, that he was ready to help him conquer the Holy Land and deliver Jerusalem out of the hand of the Saracens. The King received them most graciously, and sent in reply messengers of his own, who remained away two years, before they returned to him. Moreover the King sent to the King of the Tartars by the messengers a tent made in the style of a chapel, which cost a great deal, for it was made wholly of good fine scarlet cloth. And to entice them if possible into our faith, the King caused pictures to be inlaid in the said chapel, pourtraying the annunciation of Our Lady, and all the other points of the Creed. These things he sent them by two Preaching Friars, who knew Arabic, in order to show and teach them what they ought to believe. The two friars got back to the King just when the King's brothers returned to France, and found the King at the time when he had left Acre (where his brothers parted from him,) and was at Cesarea, fortifying it, there being no peace nor truce with the Saracens.

How the King of France's messengers were received, I shall tell you, just as they told it them−selves to the King; and in their story you will hear many strange things, which I will not relate now, for it would break too much into the subject in hand, which is as follows:

I, who had not a thousand pounds' worth of rents, burdened myself, when I went over seas with nine other knights, of whom two were bannerets. And it so befell me, that when I landed at Cyprus, after paying for my ship, I had only twelve score pounds tournois left; whereupon, some of my knights sent me word, that, if I could not procure money, they should leave me. And God, who never failed me, supplied me in this way, that the King, who was at Nicosia, sent for me and retained me, and put eight hundred pounds into my coffers; and then I had more money than I needed.

Whilst we were tarrying at Cyprus, the Empress of Constantinople sent me word that she had landed at Paphos, a city of Cyprus, and that I was to come and fetch her with Lord Erard of Brienne.

When we got there, we found, that a gale had snapped the ropes of her ship's anchors, and carried the ship to Acre; and she had nothing left of all her baggage, but the cloak that she was wearing and a pinafore. We brought her home, where the King and Queen and all the barons received her with great honours. On the morrow, I sent her some cloth and taffety to trim her dress. My Lord Philip of Nanteuil, that good knight, who was of the King's household, met my squire on his way to the Empress. When the gallant man saw what he was carrying, he went to the King, and told him: That I had put him and the other barons to shame with the dresses that I had sent her, for not having thought of it themselves before.

The Empress came to seek the King's help for her lord, who had stayed behind in Constantinople, and so far succeeded as to carry away with her a couple of hundred letters or more, some from me, and some from her other friends there; in which letters we bound ourselves by oath, that, if the King or Legate would send three hundred knights to Constantinople, after the King should have left the Holy Land, we swore to go with them. And I, to acquit me of my oath, desired of the King, when we came away, in the presence of the Count (of Eu), whose testimony I have in writing, that if he was minded to send three hundred knights, that I might go, as I was sworn. The King answered: that he had not the means to do it; for that he must have touched the bottom of his wealth, however great it was.

After we had landed in Egypt, the Empress went on to France, taking with her my Lord John of Acre, her brother, whom she married to the Countess of Montfort.

At the time when we came to Cyprus, the Sultan of Iconium was the richest king in all pagandom. He had made a marvel; for he had caused a great part of his gold to be melted in earthenware jars, and then had the jars broken; and the shapes of solid gold stood exposed to full view in one of his castles, so that everyone who came in could see and touch them. There must have been about six or seven of them. His great wealth might be seen by a pavilion that the King of Armenia sent to the King of France, which was worth full five hundred pounds; and the King of Armenia gave him to know, that it was a present from one of the ferashes of the Sultan of Iconium. A ferash is one who looks after the Sultan's pavilions, and cleans his houses.

The King of Armenia, hoping to shake off the yoke of the Sultan of Iconium, betook him to the King of the Tartars, and made himself their vassal, in order to have their assistance; and he brought away such a vast number of warriors that he was strong enough to give battle to the Sultan of Iconium. The battle lasted a great while, and the Tartars slew so many of the Sultan's men, that nothing more was heard of him.

There was great talk in Cyprus of the approaching battle; and at the rumour of it, many of our serjeants crossed over into Armenia, for the sake of the fighting and the booty Ð−but none of them ever came back again. The Sultan of Grand Cairo, who was expecting the King to come into Egypt with the beginning of spring, bethought him that he would go and confound the Sultan of Homs, who was his enemy, and he went and sat down before the city of Homs to besiege him. The Sultan of Homs was at his wits' end to rid himself of the Sultan of Grand Cairo, for he saw plainly that he would be his ruin, if he lived long enough. And he began to treat with the Sultan of Cairo's ferashes, and bargained with them to poison him. And this was the way he was poisoned:

The ferash noticed, that the Sultan, every day, on rising from table, used to go and play chess on the mats at the foot of his bed; and the mat on which he knew the Sultan always sat, that one he took and poisoned. So it chanced, that the Sultan, whose legs were bare, rubbed on a sore place that was on his leg, and forthwith the poison pierced him to the quick, and took from him all power of motion in that side of the body nearest the heart. He was full two days, and neither drank, nor ate, nor spoke. So they left the Sultan of Homs in peace, and his followers brought him back to Egypt.


According to Guillaume de Nangis, the Tartar messengers purported to bring a message from Iltchiktai, the great Khan's lieutenant in Asia Minor, in which he proposed that King Louis should land in Egypt, whilst he attacked Bagdad, so as to prevent the Saracens of Egypt and those of Syria from joining forces. King Louis, later on, much repented the distinction with which he had treated these emissaries; but at the time, they were made much of as interesting neophytes. On Christmas Day they went to Mass with the King, and afterwards dined at his table, where they showed that they knew how to "behave like Christians."

When they went away, the King gave them, besides the tent−chapel, a bit of the wood of the true Cross, and the Legate gave them a letter, receiving the Tartar nation into the family of the Church.


Now that March had set in, by the King's orders, he and the barons and the other pilgrims ordered their ships to be reloaded with wines and victuals, that they might start whenever the King should give the word. So when all was duly in order, the King and Queen went aboard their ship, ["La Monnaie,"] on the Friday before Pentecost; and the King bade his barons follow him in their ships, straight for Egypt. On the Saturday the King set sail, and all the other vessels likewise; which was a very fine sight to behold; for the whole sea, so far as the eye could reach, seemed to be covered with canvas from the sails of the ships, which were reckoned at eighteen hundred vessels, both large and small.

The King put in at a spit of land which is called the Point of Limasol, and all the rest of the fleet lay round. On the day of Pentecost, the King went ashore, and after we had heard mass there arose a terrible strong wind, blowing from off Egypt; and it blew so hard, that of two thousand and eight hundred knights whom the King led into Egypt there were only seven hundred left him that were not scattered from the King's company and carried to Acre and other foreign places; whence they only rejoined the King long after.

By the next day the wind had dropped; and the King and we, who by God's will had kept with him, set sail forthwith, and fell in with the Prince of the Morea and the Duke of Burgundy, who had been sojourning in the Morea.

On the Thursday after Pentecost the King arrived off Damietta, and there found all the forces of the Sultan on the sea shore, very fine men to look at; for the Sultan's arms are of gold, and they glittered as they caught the sun. The noise that they made with their kettledrums and their Arabian horns was dreadful to hear.

The King summoned his barons to council, to advise what he should do. Many advised him to wait until his followers should get back, seeing that he had not one third left; but he would not listen to them. The reason he gave was, that it would put heart into his enemies, and also, that there is no harbour, in the sea at Damietta, where he might await his followers, but that any strong wind might take and carry them on to other shores, as had happened to the rest at Pentecost.

It was agreed, that the King should land on the Friday before Trinity, and go and attack the Saracens, if he would not remain on the defensive.

The King ordered my Lord John of Beaumont to provide a galley for Lord Erard of Brienne and myself, to land us and our knights, because the big ships could not come close in along shore. But it pleased God, that when I got back to my ship, I found a small ship that my Lady of Beyrut had given me, (who was first cousin to the Count of Montbeliart and to ourselves) in which eight of my horses were. When the Friday came I and Lord Erard together went ready armed to the King to demand the galley; to which Lord John of Beaumont made answer that we should not have one.

When our men saw there was no getting a galley, they let themselves drop from the big ship into the dinghy, helter−skelter each man for himself. The sailors, seeing the dinghy sinking lower and lower in the water, took refuge in the big ship, leaving my knights in the dinghy. I asked the master: how many there were more than her load; and then I asked, whether he could undertake to bring our men ashore, provided I unloaded so many at a time? He replied "Yes"; and I so arranged the loads, that he took them ashore in three trips in the ship in which my horses were.

Whilst I was disembarking his men, a knight belonging to Lord Erard of Brienne, named Plonquet, attempted to get down from the big ship into the dinghy, but the dinghy sheering off, he fell into the sea and was drowned.

On returning to my ship, I put into my small boat a squire whom I knighted, named Lord Hugh of Vaucouleurs, together with two very valiant bachelors, one of whom was named Lord Villain of Versey, and the other Lord William of Danmartin. These two had a fierce feud together, and no one was able to make peace between them, for in the Morea they had seized one another by the hair. But I made them forgo their ill−will, and kiss each other, for I swore to them by all that was holy that we should not land while they were still at enmity.

Then we started to go ashore, and came up with the dinghy astern of the King's big ship; and his men began to shout to me, since I was getting ahead of them, to land alongside of the Banner of Saint Denis, which was going in front of the King in another vessel. But I paid no heed to them, but caused us to be landed opposite a big battalion of Turks, where there were about six thousand men on horseback.

So soon as they saw us touch they came spurring toward us. When we saw them coming, we stuck the points of our shields in the sand, and the staves of our lances in the sand with the points towards them; and when they saw that they could come no further without being run through the belly, they faced about and fled away.

My Lord Baldwin of Rheims, one of the paladins who had landed, sent his squire to bid me wait for him; and I returned word that I would gladly do so, for that a man such as he, was well worth waiting for at a pinch; which he remembered in my favour all his life. With him there joined us a thousand knights; and I assure you, that when I landed I had no squire nor knight nor varlet whom I had brought with me out of my own country, and yet God did not fail to aid me.

The Count of Jaffa came ashore upon our left, who was cousin−german to the Count of Montbeliart, and of the lineage of Joinville. He it was who made the most noble show at landing; for his galley came up all painted above and below water with his escutcheons, the arms of which are "or with a cross gules patee." He had about three hundred oarsmen in his galley, and each oarsman bore a target with his arms, and to each target was attached a streamer with his arms embossed in gold. And their galley seemed to be flying, as they sped along, urged forwards by the oars of the sailors; and it was like thunder falling from the skies, to hear the noise of the streamers, and the din of the kettledrums and drums and Arabian horns that were in his galley. So soon as the galley was beached as high up as they could bring her, he and his knights leaped out, finely armed and accoutred, and came and formed up alongside us.

I was forgetting to say, that when the Count I of Jaffa had landed, he caused his tents to be pitched; and so soon as the Saracens saw them pitched, they all collected together in front of us, and returned, spurring on as though to charge us; but when they saw that we gave no sign of flight, they promptly retired again.

On our right, full a good cross−bow's range away, came up the galley which carried the Banner of Saint Denis; and there was a Saracen who, so soon as they landed, dashed into the midst of them, either because he could not hold his horse, or imagining that the rest would follow him; but he was cut all to pieces.

When the King heard say that the Banner of Saint Denis was ashore he came hurrying across his vessel at a great pace, and despite the Legate who was with him, he would not be stayed, but sprang into the sea, up to his armpits in water, and waded, with his shield round his neck, and his helmet on his head, and his spear in his hand, to join his followers on the beach. When he got to land and discerned the Saracens, he asked: What people those were? and they told him:

They were Saracens; and he tucked his spear under his arm, put his shield In front of him, and would have rushed upon them, if his paladins who were about him would have allowed it.

The Saracens thrice sent word to the Sultan by carrier−pigeons that the King had landed, without getting any answer, for the Sultan was in his sickness; so they concluded that the Sultan must be dead, and abandoned Damietta. The King sent on a knight as scout to learn the truth; this knight came back to the King, I and said that he had been inside the Sultan's I houses, and that it was quite true. Thereupon the King sent for the Legate and all the prelates of the army, and they solemnly sang the " Te Deum."

Then the King and we all got on horseback, and went and camped by Damietta.

The Turks made a blunder in leaving Damietta, without cutting the bridge of boats, which would have put us to great inconvenience. They did us much harm, however, when they went away, by setting fire to the bazaar, where all the merchandise and raw goods were; the result of which was much the same as though some one to−day should set fire which God forbid! to the Little Bridge at Paris. Let us say then, that Almighty God showed us great favour in defending us from death and danger at our landing; we landing on foot, and attacking mounted foes.


King Louis had considerable difficulty in procuring vessels to carry his forces from Cyprus to Egypt. The three shipbuilding communities who supplied transport for crusades the Genoese, Pisans, and Venetians had each quarrelled with somebody. A quarrel had been "stirred up by the devil " between the Viscount of Beaumont and his Genoese crew, which so upset the Viscourt, that he was scarcely prevented from breaking up the camp and betaking himself with his friends and followers to Acre. The Genoese and Pisans were squabbling with each other, and demanded exorbitant prices for ship hire; and the Venetians had quarrelled with the King of Cyprus' bailiff. King Louis was obliged to send twice over to Acre, and the second time such important persons as the Patriarch, the Constable, and the Bishop of Soissons, in order to pacify these quarrels and procure ships. For landing and river transport he had lighters built in Cyprus itself.

Moreover, some of the stores amassed in Cyprus ran short, and Louis was obliged to apply to the Venetians for provisions; and gratefully received a consignment which the Emperor Frederick sent him.

Of the landing at Damietta there is a very interesting

* See G. de Nangis, "Vie de St. Louis"; Mat. Paris, "Chron. Ma;." and " Addita ";"Letter from J. Pierre Sarrazin to Nicholas Arrode." and well−written account from a certain Guy (a knight in the household of the Viscount of Melun) to a student brother in Paris; part of which much abbreviated runs as follows:

" The Saracens heard from their spies that we intended to attack Alexandria. They therefore drew off their men from Cairo and Damietta, and waited for us at Alexandria, thinking to fall upon us when we arrived weary, and put us to the sword. Now one morning the wind and waves went down, and our scattered vessels drew together. We sent a pilot up into the rigging to discover our whereabouts. After careful study he exclaimed, 'God help us! We are off Damietta!' The look−out on the other ships confirmed this. We all collected together, and the King standing up m the midst powerfully exhorted us. 'Friends and followers,' said he, 'we are unconquerable if we are undivided. The divine will has brought us hither; let us land, be the enemy's forces what it may. It is not I that am King of France, not I that am Holy Church: it is you yourselves, united, that are Church and King. In us Christ shall triumph, giving glory, honour, and blessing not to us, but to His own Holy Name.'

" Meanwhile those that dwelt in the town and along the shore could see our fleet approaching, fifteen hundred ships. They wondered and were astounded, and sent four of their best galleys, as scouts, to inquire who we were and what we wanted; who when they approached and saw our flags, hesitated, and slackened speed, and made as if to go back. We shot fiery darts at them, and stones from the mangonels, and flasks of quick−lime which broke and blinded them. Three of the galleys sank at once; the fourth got off. We saved some of the crews from drowning, and put them to well−devised tortures, to extract the truth; and learnt, that we were expected at Alexandria and that Damietta was empty. Those that escaped (carried the tidings to those on shore) and the whole host of them dashed towards us furious, ready and burning to fight on land or water....

" After the fight some of the slaves and captive Christians in Damietta burst their chains, and came running forth to meet us with shouting and rejoicings, crying, ' Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord! "

As soon as the Crusaders were assured of the town, the basilica which already in the ebb and flow of the Crusades had undergone several similar transmutations was repurified and rededicated to the Virgin; and the King and army, entering in procession barefoot, heard Mass, and took possession of the place. The Queen and other ladies were quartered in the Sultan's palace and other principal houses; but the King with the Legate and the bulk of the army camped in the fields outside the town, in the same island of the Delta on which they had landed, which is called Maalot, and is separated by a branch of the river from Damietta. This arrangement led to some inconvenience; for the army suffered greatly from heat and flies and the fleas that came out of the sand, and was continually harassed by the pilferings and nightly murders committed by the Bedouin Arabs of the neighbourhood, who even dug up buried corpses, in order to get the Sultan's reward of six besants for every Christian's head. The Prince of the Morea mentioned in this chapter was William of Villehardouin, great−nephew to that Geoffrey who chronicled the fourth Crusade.


GREAT favour the Lord showed us, in delivering Damietta into our hands; for we could never have taken it without much toil and trouble, as we can plainly see, from the trouble King John [of Brienne] had to take it in the time of our fathers. Our Lord may say of us, as He did of the children of Israel: " Et pro nihilo habuerunt terram desiderabilem." And what says He after? He says, that they forgot God, who had saved them. And how we forgot Him, I will tell you presently.

I will deal first with the King, who summoned his barons both clerics and laymen, and begged, that they would help him to consider, how the booty should be divided which had been found in the town.

The Patriarch was the first to speak, and said thus: " Sir, it seems to me, that you will do well to keep the wheat and barley and rice, and all the necessaries of life, to stock the town; and let it be cried throughout the camp, that all the rest of the spoil must be brought to the Legate's dwelling, on pain of excommunication." All the other barons were of the same opinion. Now as it turned out, all the spoil that was brought to the Legate's house only amounted to six thousand pounds.

When this was done, the King and barons sent for my Lord John of Valery the paladin, and spoke to him as follows: " My lord of Valery," said the King, "we have agreed that the Legate shall deliver these six thousand pounds to you, to distribute as you shall think best." "Sir," said the paladin, "you do me great honour, and I thank you; but this honour and this offer that you make me, please God, I shall not accept; for I should be breaking the good customs of the Holy Land, which are these: that when any of the enemies' cities is taken, the King should have one third, and the pilgrims two thirds of the goods that may be found in it. Now King John kept this custom when he took Damietta, and so the ancients say the Kings of Jerusalem before King John kept it; and if it please you to hand over to me two thirds of the wheat and barley and rice, I will willingly undertake to distribute them among the pilgrims."

The King was not minded to do this; and so the matter stayed as it was; whence many people thought themselves aggrieved, in that the King had broken the good old customs.

The King's followers, who should have had the good grace to hold back, hired booths and sold their wares as dear, it was said, as they could; and this was noised about in foreign countries, so that many merchants desisted from coming to the camp.

The barons, who should have kept theirs against a time and place when they might spend it to good purpose, took to giving great feasts with extravagant dishes.

The common people took up with lewd women; on which account the King dismissed a whole quantity of his followers when we got back from prison. I asked him, why he had done so; and he told me that he had found out for certain that those he had dismissed were carrying on their orgies within a short stone's throw of his own pavilion, and that at the time when matters were at their worst with the army. Now let us return to our subject, and tell how, shortly after we had taken Damietta, all the chivalry of the Sultan assembled before the camp, and besieged us on the land side. The King and all his knights armed themselves; and I went ready armed to the King, and found him armed and sitting on a bench, and with him certain paladins of his battalion, all armed. I desired of him, that I and my followers might draw off just outside the camp, in order that the Saracens might not set upon us in our quarters. When Lord John of Beaumont heard my request, he stormed at me, and ordered me, in the King's name, not to stir out of my quarters, until such time as the King should order me to do so. I have mentioned the knights−paladins who were with the King, because there were eight of them, all good men, who had carried off prizes of arms both at home and abroad, and such knights they used to

call "paladins." The names of those who were knights of the King's household were: Lord Geoffrey of Sargines; Lord Matthew of Marly; Lord Philip of Nanteuil; and Lord Humbert of Beaujeu, Constable of France, who was not there at that time, for he was outside the camp, between the camp and the captain of the cross−bowmen, with most of the King's serjeants−at−arms, keeping watch, lest the Turks should do the camp a mischief.

Now it happened that Lord Walter of Autreche had himself armed at all points within his pavilion; and when he was mounted on his horse, with his shield about his neck and his helmet on his head, he bade lift up the tent−flaps, and pricked out against the Turks; and as he started off alone from his pavilion his servants all set up a cry of "Chatillon! " Now it so chanced, that before ever he reached the Turks, he fell; and his stallion passed on over his body, and rushed, laden with his arms, into the ranks of the enemy, (for most of the Saracens were mounted on mares, which attracted the horse.)

And those who saw it told us, that four Saracens came by Lord Walter while he was lying on the ground; and as they passed by him, they struck him heavily with their clubs as he lay there. Then the Constable of France came to his rescue with some of the King's serjeants, and carried him back by the arms to his pavilion. When he got there he could not speak. Several of the army surgeons and doctors went to him, and, judging that there was no danger of death, they bled him in both arms. Quite late in the evening, Lord Albert of Narcy proposed to me, that we should go and visit him; for we had not seen him, and he was a man of great renown and velour. We came into his tent, and his chamberlain met us, and bade us tread softly and not waken his master. We found him lying on rugs of minnever, and went very quietly up to him, and found him dead. When it was told to the King, he replied, that he should be sorry to have a thousand like him, since they would disobey orders as he had done.

Every night, the Saracens used to steal on foot into the camp, and kill people wherever they found them asleep. Thus it befell, that they slew my Lord of Courtenay's sentry, and left him Lying on a table, and cut off his head, and carried it away with them; and this they did because the Sultan used to give a golden besant for every Christian's head. This came from the battalions keeping guard in the camp night and night about on horseback. For when the Saracens wished to enter the camp, they used to wait until the jingling of the bridles and armour had gone by, and then slip into the camp in the rear of the horses, and get out again before daybreak. Wherefor the King gave orders that the battalions who used to patrol on horseback should patrol on foot; so that the whole army rested secure in the guards, they being spread out in such a way that each was in touch with the next.

When this was done, the King decided not to leave Damietta until his brother, the Count of Poitiers, should arrive, who was bringing up the second detachment from France; and in order that the Saracens might not break into the camp on horseback, the King caused the whole of it to be surrounded with deep trenches; and cross−bowmen and serjeants used to keep guard over the trenches every night and at the entrances to the camp as well.

When the feast of Saint Remy had gone by, and there were still no tidings of the Count of Poitiers, the King and all in the camp were very uneasy, for they feared that some mishap had befallen him. Then I mentioned to the Legate how the Dean of Malrut had made three processions for us at sea, three Saturdays running, and how, before the third Saturday, we had reached Cyprus. The Legate listened to me, and made proclamation through the camp of three processions on three Saturdays. The first procession started from the Legate's house, and proceeded to the minster of Our Lady in the town; which minster had been built by the Saracens for the worship of Mahound, and the Legate had consecrated it to the Mother of God. The Legate preached the sermon on two Saturdays; and the King and rich men of the army were present, to whom the Legate dispensed a general pardon.

Within the third Saturday the Count of Poitiers arrived; and it was just as well that he had not come sooner; for between the first and third Saturday there was such a storm in the sea off Damietta, that full twelve score vessels big and little were wrecked and cast away, with all the people on board them drowned and lost. So that, if the Count of Poitiers had come sooner, he and his followers would all have perished.


This storm raged all along the coast about the third week of October. The Count of Poitiers and his fleet escaped it by being in the harbour of Lymasol at the time. He brought with him the Countess of Artois, who, being with child, had been left behind when her husband sailed in the spring.


WHEN the Count of Poitiers had arrived, the King summoned all the barons of the army to know, which road he should take, whether to Alexandria, or to Grand Cairo. And it so happened that the good Count, Peter of Brittany, and most of the barons agreed that the King ought to go and lay siege to Alexandria; for there was a good harbour by the town, where the ships put in that bring provisions for the army. The Count of Artois opposed this, and said, that he would never consent to go anywhere except to Grand Cairo, because that was the capital of all Egypt; saying, that if you wished to kill a snake, you must begin by crushing its head. The King neglected the opinion of all the rest of his barons, and followed his brother's advice. At the beginning of Advent, the King and the army bestirred themselves to march on Grand Cairo, as the Count of Artois advised. Quite close to Damietta, we came to a stream which runs out of the main river; and it was decided to halt the army for a day, in order to build a dam across this arm of the river, so as to cross over. It was easily enough accomplished, for they dammed this arm along the line of the main river.

The Sultan sent five hundred knights, the best mounted to be found in his army, to harass the King's army at the passage, and so delay our march.

On Saint Nicholas' day, the King ordered us to make ready to ride, and forbade that any man should venture to sally from the ranks to fight with the Saracens that were gathered there.

Now, it came to pass, that when the army began their march, and the Saracens saw that we would not leave our ranks to fight with them, and learnt through their spies that the King had forbidden it, that they grew bolder, and engaged with the Templars, who formed the van. And one of the Turks bore down a Knight Templar, right under the feet of Brother Reynold of Bichier's horse, (he being at that time Marshall of the Temple,) whereupon he cried to his brother Templars, "Now, have at them, in God's name! for I can endure no longer. "

He spurred forwards, and the whole army after him. Our men's horses were fresh, and the Saracens' horses were foundered; so that as I was informed, not one escaped, but all perished, and some of them fled into the river and were drowned.

Before going further, we must speak of that river which flows out of the Earthly Paradise and through Egypt; which things I must mention, in order that you may understand other matters connected with my story.

This river differs from all others; for the farther down other rivers go, the more little streams and brooks flow into them; but into this river there flows none; but it moves along in a single channel until it reaches Egypt, and then it throws out those branches which spread over Egypt. And after Saint Remy's day, the seven streams spread themselves out over the country, and cover all the flat lands. And when the waters have retired, the husbandmen come forth each to till his land, using ploughs without wheels, with which they turn into the soil wheat and barley and cummin and rice and these thrive so well that they could not be bettered; and nobody knows how such a crop comes, unless by the will of God. But for this, there would be no crops in the country at all, by reason of the great heat of the sun which burns up everything, for in that country it never rains.

The river is always muddy; and so the natives, when they want it for drinking, draw it in the evening, and squeeze into it four almonds or four beans; and the next day, it is as good to drink as could be wished.

Before the river reaches Egypt, men who are practiced in it cast their nets loose into the stream at nightfall, and when morning comes, they find In their nets such raw goods as are imported into this country; to wit, ginger, rhubarb, aloes and cinnamon. And it is said, that these things are washed down from the Earthly Paradise; that the wind blows down the trees of Eden just as the wind in this country blows down the dry wood; and that what the merchants sell to us in this country, is the dry wood that falls into the river there. The nature of this river's water is such, that when we hung it up from our tent−ropes in white earthenware jars, such as are made there, the water, in the heat of the day, used to become as cold as though it were drawn from a spring.

The people of the country said that the Sultan had often attempted to find the source of the river, and sent men to search for it. They took with them a kind of bread−rolls, which are called "biscuits" because they are twice baked, and on this bread they lived until they got back to the Sultan. They reported, that they had explored the river until they came to a great pile of hewn rocks which it was impossible for any man to climb. Over this wall of rock the river fell, and it seemed to them that there was a great quantity of trees growing up above on the mountain. They said also that they had found marvellous strange wild beasts of divers kinds, lions and serpents and elephants, that came and gazed at them from the water below, as they went climbing upwards along the river bank.

Now we must go back to what we were first speaking about, and say, that when the river reaches Egypt, it spreads out its branches, (as indeed I said before). One of its branches goes to Damietta, the other to Alexandria, the third to Tanis, the fourth to Raxi; and to that branch which goes to Raxi came the King of France with all his host, and camped between the streams of Damietta and of Raxi. And all the forces of the Sultan camped over against us, on the farther side of the stream of Raxi, to defend the passage; which was an easy matter for them, for nobody could cross over the water to their side, unless indeed we had swum it.


THE King decided to build a causeway across the stream, by which to pass over to the Saracens. And in order to protect those who were working at the causeway, he caused two turrets to be built, called " tortoise−towers," for there were two towers in front of the tortoises, and two outworks behind the towers, to shelter those on guard from the shots from the Turkish engines; for they had sixteen engines, all fixed.

So soon as we arrived, the King had eighteen engines constructed, of which Jocelyn of Cornaut was the chief engineer.

Our engines used to fling at theirs, and theirs used to fling back at ours; but I never heard it said, that ours did much damage.

The King's brothers kept guard by day, and we other knights used to watch the tortoises by night; so we reached the week before Christmas.

Now that the tortoises were made, they set to work to build the causeway; for the King would not have it begun sooner, lest the Saracens should injure those who were carrying the earth; for they could pick us off by sight as we worked in the river. The King and barons were blind when they attempted to make this causeway, imagining, because they had dammed one arm of the river, (which was easy to do, because they made the dam where it separates off from the main bed) that therefor they would be able to dam the stream of Raxi a good elf−league below where it leaves the main river.

I Moreover, in order to spoil the dam that the King was making, the Saracens used to scoop hollows in the ground, on the side of their camp; and as fast as the stream found its way into the hollows it spread itself out in them, and made a broad new channel. So it would come to pass, that what we had taken three weeks to do, they would undo in a single day; for as fast as we dammed up the stream on our side, they would enlarge it on theirs, by means of these hollows that they dug. The Sultan having died from the sickness that he took before the city of Homs, they had chosen as captain a Saracen whose name was Scecedin, the son of Seik. He was said to have been knighted by the Emperor Frederick.

This man sent orders to a number of his followers to come and attack us on the Damietta side, which they did, for they crossed over at a town on the stream of Raxi called Sormesac. On Christmas Day, I and my knights were dining with Lord Peter of Avalon, and whilst we were at table, they came spurring right up to the camp, and killed several poor people, who had gone afoot into the fields. We went to arm ourselves, but for all the haste we made we had not got back before Lord Peter, our host, whose quarters were outside the camp, was off in pursuit of the Saracens. We galloped after him, and rescued him from the Turks, who had got him down onto the ground; and we brought him and his brother, the Lord of Le Val, back into the camp. The Templars, who had hastened up at our shouts, defended our rear well and bravely; but the Turks hung on us and worried us right back into camp.

After this, the King ordered the camp to be surrounded with trenches on the Damietta side, as far as the stream of Raxi.

Scecedin, which as I told you before was the name of the Turkish captain, had distinguished himself above all the rest of pagandom. He bore on his banners the arms of the Emperor who had knighted him. His banner was "bendy," and on one of the bends was the Emperor's arms; on another were the arms of the Sultan of Harapha, and on the other, those of the Sultan of Grand Cairo. His name was Scecedin the son of Seik, which is as much as to say: "The Ancient Son of the Ancient," which means a great deal in pagandom, for they are the people of all others who most honour the ancient, since God has preserved them from shame unto old age.

Scecedin, this vile Turk, boasted that on Saint Sebastian's day he would eat in the King's pavilions.

The King, knowing all this, arranged his camp in such wise that the Count of Artois, his brother, should keep guard over the tortoises and engines; the King and the Count of Anjou (who afterwards was King of Sicily) were appointed to guard the camp on the side towards Grand Cairo; whilst the Count of Poitiers and we of Champagne were to guard it on the Damietta side.

Now it came to pass, that the aforesaid Prince of the Turks crossed his men over into the island which lies between the streams of Damietta and Raxi, where our camp lay, and drew up his ranks reaching from one stream to the other.

The King of Sicily engaged with this party and routed them. Numbers were drowned in both rivers, but still there remained a great number, with whom they dared not engage, because of the Saracen engines, whose shot ranged over both rivers.

In the engagement between the King of Sicily and the Turks, Count Guy of Forez cut his way on horseback through the ranks of the Turks, and he and his knights engaged a troop of Turkish serjeants, who pulled him down off his horse, and he got his leg broken, and two of his knights carried him back by the arms. With great exertions they extricated the King of Sicily from the danger he was in; and this day's work was much praised.

The Turks came to the Count of Poitiers and us, and we charged them, and drove them before us a good way. A few of their men were slain, and we returned without loss.

It happened one night, whilst we were keeping night−watch over the tortoise−towers, that they brought up against us an engine called a perronel, (which they had not done before) and filled the sling of the engine with Greek fire. When that good knight, Lord Walter of Cureil, who was with me, saw this, he spoke to us as follows: "Sirs, we are in the greatest peril that we have ever yet been in. For, if they set fire to our turrets and shelters, we are lost and burnt; and if, again, we desert our defences which have been entrusted to us, we are disgraced; so none can deliver us from this peril save God alone. My opinion and advice therefor is: that every time they hurl the fire at us, we go down on our elbows and knees, and beseech Our Lord to save us from this danger."

So soon as they flung the first shot, we went down on our elbows and knees, as he had instructed us; and their first shot passed between the two turrets, and lodged just in front of us, where they had been raising the dam. Our firemen were all ready to put out the fire; and the Saracens, not being able to aim straight at them, on account of the two pent−house wings which the King had made, shot straight up into the clouds, so that the fire−darts fell right on top of them.

This was the fashion of the Greek fire: it came on as broad in front as a vinegar cask, and the tail of fire that trailed behind it was as big as a great spear; and it made such a noise as it came, that it sounded like the thunder of heaven. It looked like a dragon flying through the air. Such a bright light did it cast, that one could see all over the camp as though it were day, by reason of the great mass of fire, and the brilliance of the light that it shed.

Thrice that night they hurled the Greek fire at us, and four times shot it from the tourniquet cross−bow.

Every time that our holy King heard that they were throwing Greek fire at us, he draped his sheet round him, and stretched out his hands to our Lord, and said weeping: " Oh! fair Lord God, protect my people! " And truly, I think his prayers did us good service in our need. At night, every time after the fire had fallen, he used to send one of his chamberlains to us, to ask us how we did, and whether the fire had not done us any harm.

Once when they flung it at us, it fell close beside the tortoise−tower that my Lord of Courtenay's men were guarding, and buried itself in the river bank. And presently comes a knight, named " the Albigensis," and: "Sir," says he to me, "unless you help us, we are all burnt; for the Saracens have let fly so many of their fire−darts, that it is just like a great hedge all ablaze bearing down on our turret." We jumped up, and hurried to the spot, and found that he had spoken the truth. We put out the fire, and before we had got it under, we were covered from head to foot with the fire−darts that the Saracens shot across the river.

The King's brothers used to keep guard up in the turrets of the tortoises, so that they might shoot quarrels from the cross−bows right into the Saracen camp. Now the King had arranged, that when the King of Sicily watched the tortoise−towers in the day−time, we were to watch them by night. When the day came that the King had day watch and it was to be our turn at night, we were very uneasy, for our tortoise−towers had been quite shattered by the Saracens. On that day they brought up their perronel in broad daylight, which so far they had only done at night, and flung the Greek fire into our tortoise−towers; and their engines had got the range so accurately onto the finished part of the causeway that no one durst go to the tortoise−towers because of the huge stones that the engines threw, which were falling all over the road. So it came to pass that our two turrets were burnt, whereat the King of Sicily was so beside himself, that he wanted to rush into the flames to put them out. But if he was furious, I and my knights praised God, for had we kept watch that night, we should all have been burnt up.

When the King saw this, he sent for all the barons, and begged them each to give him some timber from their ships to make a tortoise to dam the river; and he pointed out, that, as they could see for themselves, there was no wood to make it with, unless it were the timber of the ships that had brought our baggage up the stream. They gave him as much as each chose; and when this tortoise was finished, the timber was valued at over ten thousand pounds. The King saw too, that the tortoise should not be pushed along the causeway, until it came to the King of Sicily's day for being on guard, so that he might wipe out the disaster of the other turrets, that were burnt during his watch. And it was done just as had been planned, for no sooner did the King of Sicily's turn on guard come round, than he had the tortoise pushed forward to the same spot where the other tortoise−towers had been burnt. When the Saracens saw this, they directed the shots from all their sixteen engines onto the causeway along which the tortoise had come; and when they saw that our men were afraid to go to the tortoise, because of the falling stones, they brought up the perronel, and flung Greek fire at the tortoise, and burnt it to the ground.

This great favour did God show to me and my knights; for our watch that night would have been as dangerous as it would have been on that other occasion of which I spoke before.

The King, seeing how things were, summoned all his barons to ask their advice. And they all agreed that they would never be able to build a causeway to cross over to the Saracens, since our men could not possibly dam up this side as fast as they dug out the other.

Then the Constable, my Lord Humbert of Beaujeu, said to the King that there was a Bedouin come, who told him that he would show a good ford, but that they must give him five hundred besants.

The King said: he would consent to pay him, provided he honestly performed what he promised. The Constable spoke with the Bedouin, and he said that he would never show a ford, unless they gave him the money beforehand. It was agreed to give him the money, and he received it.

The King arranged that the Duke of Burgundy and the rich men of the country who were in the camp should stay and guard the camp, so that no harm might come to it; whilst the King and his three brothers should ford the river at the spot the Bedouin was to show them.

The first day of Lent was appointed for this undertaking, and on that day we came to the Bedouin's ford.


AT the first peep of day, we accoutred ourselves at all points; and so soon as we were ready, we went down into the river, and our horses swam in. When we had got half−way across stream we touched bottom, and our horses found their feet. On the bank of the river we found full three hundred Turks, all mounted on horseback. Then I said to my followers: "Sirs, look out on the left! Every one is making for that side, the banks are all spongy, and their horses are rolling over onto them and drowning them." (And true it is that there were men drowned in the crossing, and among others my Lord John of Orleans, who bore a banner "wavey.")

With one accord we all turned our horses' heads up stream and found the foothold washed away, and got over somehow, thank God! without any of us falling. And now that we were across, the Turks fled.

It had been arranged, that the Templars should form the advance−guard, and that the Count of Artois should lead the second detachment, next to the Templars. Now, as it happened, the Count of Artois had no sooner crossed the river, than he and all his followers made a dash at the Turks, who were fleeing before them. The Templars sent him a message, that he was insulting them shamefully by going on ahead, when he ought to be following behind them; and they begged that he would allow them to lead, as the King had given them leave.

Now it so happened that the Count of Artois durst not answer, because of Lord Foucault of Le Merle, who was holding his rein, and this Foucault of Le Merle, who was a very good knight, heard never a word that the Templars said to the Count, because he was deaf; and he kept shouting: " At them! At them! " Thereupon the Templars thought that they would be disgraced if they let the Count of Artois go in front of them; so they spurred on, helter−skelter, each trying to outdo the other, and driving the Turks, who fled before them, right through the town of Mansoora and out into the fields on the side towards Grand Cairo. But when they tried to return, the Turks flung logs and timber in their way across the streets, which were narrow.

There died the Count of Artois, and the Lord of Coucy whom they called Ralph, and as many as three hundred other knights at a guess, the Templars, so I was told, lost fourteen score men there, all armed and mounted.

I and my knights agreed that we would attack some Turks who were loading up their baggage to the left of their camp, and we charged upon them. Whilst we were hunting them through the camp, I saw a Saracen who was getting on his horse, while one of his knights held the bridle for him. Just as he had got his two hands on the saddle to mount, I drove at him with my spear below the armpits, and flung him dead. His knight seeing this, left his lord and the horse, and, as I passed on, he pinned me down with his spear between the shoulder−blades, and stretched me along my horse's neck, and held me so tightly pressed down that I could not draw the sword round my waist; so I had to draw the sword that was hung to my horse, and when he saw that I had got my sword out, he drew back his spear, and left me.

When I and my knights had got through the Saracens' camp, we found some six thousand Turks, (at a guess) who had abandoned their quarters and drawn off into the fields. When they saw us, they came charging down on us, and slew Lord Hugh of Trichatel, Lord of Conflans, who carried his banner with me.

I and my knights clapped spurs to the rescue of Lord Ralph of Wanon, who was with me, whom they had pulled to earth; and whilst I was on my way back, the Turks pinned me down with their spears. My horse, feeling the weight, fell on his knees, and I passed on between his ears, and picked myself up with my shield round my neck and my sword in my hand. Lord Erard of Syverey, God rest his soul! who was of my company, came up to me, and said, that we had best draw off to a ruined house, and wait there until the King should come. And as we were going along on foot and horseback, a great horde of Turks broke upon us, and bore me down, and passed over me, and snatched my shield from my neck; and when they were gone by, Lord Erard of Syverey came back to me, and led me along, till we reached the walls of the ruined house; and there Lord Hugh of Scots rejoined us, with Lord Frederick of Loupey, and Lord Reynold of Menoncourt.

There the Turks attacked us on all sides. Part of them got into the ruins, and thrust at us with their spears from above. Then my knights desired me to take hold of their horses' bridles, which I did, to prevent the horses from stampeding; and they warded off the Turks so vigorously, that they were praised by all the champions of the army, both by those who saw the deed, and those who only heard it told.

There Lord Hugh of Scots was wounded with three spear−wounds in his face, and Lord Ralph too; and Lord Frederick of Loupey was wounded with a spear between his shoulders, and the gash was so wide, that the blood spurted out of his body as through the tap of a cask. Lord Erard of Syverey got such a sword−cut across his face that his nose hung down onto his lip. Then I bethought me of Our Lord Saint James: "Fair Lord Saint James," I prayed, " Help and save me in this need! " No sooner had I made my prayer, than Lord Erard said to me: " Sir, if you thought it would be no reproach to me and my heirs, I would go and fetch you help from the Count of Anjou, whom I see yonder in the fields." And I said to him: "Sir Erard, methinks it would be greatly to your honour, if you were to fetch us aid to save our lives, for truly your own life is in danger." (And indeed I spoke the truth, for he died of that wound.) He asked the opinion of all my knights who were there, and they took the same view as I did; and thereupon he asked me to let go his horse whom I was holding by the bridle along with the rest, and I did so. He came to the Count of Anjou, and begged him to come to the assistance of me and my knights. A rich man who was with him would have dissuaded him, but the Count of Anjou said he should do what my knight asked him; and he turned rein to come and help us, and several of his serjeants spurred on ahead; and when the Saracens saw them coming they let us be. In front of these serjeants rode Lord Peter of Alberive, sword in hand, and when he saw that the Saracens had left us, he charged a whole heap of Saracens who had got hold of Lord Ralph of Wanon, and rescued him, sorely wounded.

As I stood there on foot among my knights, all wounded as you have heard, the King came up with his whole battalion, with a great noise and din of trumpets and kettledrums, and halted on a raised path. Never did I see him so finely accoutred, for he towered head and shoulders above his followers, with a gilded helmet on his head, and a German sword in his hand. He came to a halt in this place; and those champion knights of his battalion, whose names I told you, hurled themselves among the Turks, together with several brave knights of the King's battalion. And I would have you know, that it was a very fine feat of arms; for there was no shooting with bows or cross−bows, but the striking on both sides was all with clubs and swords, the Turks and our men being all mixed up together. One of my squires, who had fled with my banner, but had come back, brought me a pony of mine, which I mounted, and riding up to the King placed myself at his side. Whilst we were so stationed, Lord John of Valery, the paladin, came to the King, and said he advised him to draw off to the right, down to the river, in order to have the support of the Duke of Burgundy and of the others whom we had left guarding the camp, and also that his serjeants might get something to drink, for the heat was at its height. The King bade his serjeants go and fetch those champion knights of his council who were attached to his person, naming them by name. The serjeants went to seek them in the ranks, where the fight was raging between them and the Turks. They came to the King, who asked their opinion, and they said that Lord John of Valery's advice was good. Thereupon, the King commanded the standard of Saint Denis and his own banners to draw off to the right towards the river; and as his army began to move, there was again a great noise of trumpets and Arabian horns. He had hardly gone any distance, when he got several messengers from his brother, the Count of Poitiers, and from the Count of Flanders, and other rich men whose detachments were in that place, begging him not to stir, for they were so hard−pressed by the Turks that they could not follow him. The King recalled all the paladins of his council, and they all advised him to wait; but shortly afterwards Lord John of Valery came back again and blamed the King and his council for delaying; and his council advised him after all to draw off to the river, as Lord John of Valery advised. Now came the Constable, Lord Humbert of Beaujeu, to him, and told him that his brother, the Count of Artois, was defending himself in a house in Mansoora, and that he must go to his assistance. The King replied: " Constable, go you on in front, and I will follow you."

I told the Constable, I would be his knight, and he thanked me much, and we took the road to Mansoora.

Then there came a mace−serjeant, all scared, to the Constable, and told him, that the King had halted, and that the Turks had got between him and us. We turned round, and saw that there were a good thousand and more between him and us, and we were only six. Then said I to the Constable: "Sir, it is impossible for us to get to the King through these fellows; let us rather go on up stream, and put this ditch, that you see before you, betwixt us and them; and in this way we shall be able to rejoin the King. The Constable followed my advice; and know, that if they had observed us, we should all have been dead men; but their attention was fixed on the King, and on the other big detachments, and so they took us for some of their own people.

Whilst we were coming back down stream along the river bank, between the brook and the river, we saw that the King had reached the river and that the Saracens were driving back the rest of the King's battalions, striking and hitting with clubs and swords, and crowding the other detachments with the King's battalions back onto the river.

There the rout was so great, that some of our people took into their heads to try and swim across the river to the Duke of Burgundy; which they could not achieve, for the horses were tired, and the day had grown sultry; and we could see whilst we were coming down that the river was covered with lances and shields and horses and men, drowning and perishing.

We came to a little bridge over the brook, and I proposed to the Constable, that we should stay and guard this bridge: " For, if we leave it, they will come down on the King from this quarter; and if our people are attacked on both sides, they are likely to lose heavily." Accordingly we did so. And people say, that that day's work would have been the end of us all, if the King had not been there in person. For the Lord of Courtenay, and my Lord John of Saillenay told me, that six Turks had seized the King's bridle and were leading him away prisoner; and he, single−handed, delivered himself from them with great blows of his sword. And when his followers saw the King showing fight, they took heart, and left off trying to cross the river, and gathered round the King to help him.

Count Peter of Brittany came straight towards us, coming straight from the direction of Mansoora. He had a sword−gash across his face so that the blood was trickling into his mouth. He was seated on a little horse smartly harnessed. He had thrown his reins onto his saddle−bow, and was holding on with both hands, so that his followers behind, who were crowding on him, might not jostle him off the path. He seemed to set small store by them, for spitting the blood from his mouth he said: "Just look! God's head! did you ever see such a rabble?"

At the tail of his detachment came the Count of Soissons and my Lord Peter of Noville, whom they use to call "Cater," who had suffered many hard knocks that day. After they had passed over and the Turks found that we were guarding the bridge, they left them alone, directly they saw us face round.

I went up to the Count of Soissons, whose first cousin I had married, and said to him: " Sir, I think you would do well to stop behind and guard this bridge; for if we leave the bridge, these Turks here in front will certainly rush across it, and thus the King will be attacked both before and behind." He asked, whether, if he stayed, I would stay? and I answered: " Yes, right willingly." Thereupon the Constable bade me not stir thence until he should return, and he would go and fetch help.

So there I stayed, mounted on my pony; and the Count of Soissons stayed beside me on my right, and Lord Peter of Noville on my left. And lo and behold! a Turk, who was coming from the side where the King's troops were, and was behind us; and he struck Lord Peter of Noville from behind with a club, and with the blow stretched him along his horse's neck, and then dashed on over the bridge and rushed in among his own people.

When the Turks saw that we had no intention of leaving the bridge they crossed over the brook and placed themselves between the brook and the river, just as we had done coming down, and we spread ourselves out between them, in such a fashion that we were all ready to charge them, whether they tried to pass us from the King's side, or whether they tried to cross the bridge.

In front of us were two of the King's serjeants, one of whom was named William of Boon, and the other John of Gamaches. Those Turks who were between the brook and the river brought up peasants on foot, who pelted these two serjeants with clods of earth; but they could never get them to attack us ourselves. Finally, they brought up a peasant, who threw Greek fire at them thrice. Once William of Boon caught the vessel of Greek fire on his buckler, for if it had set light to anything on him, he would have been burnt. We were all covered with the fire−darts that missed the serjeants. By good luck, I found a Saracen's oakum tunic; and I turned the split side towards me, and made a shield of the tunic, which served me in good stead, for their fire−darts only wounded me in five places and my pony in fifteen. It chanced too, that one of my burghers from Joinville brought me a banner with an iron spear−head; and every time that we saw them crowding on the serjeants, we charged them, and they fled. By this time the good Count of Soissons was beginning to joke with me and to say: "Seneschal, let these hounds yelp; for, by God's head cloth! (which was his favourite oath) we shall yet talk over this day in the ladies' bowers."

In the evening, just as the sun was setting, the Constable brought us the King's cross−bowmen on foot, and they ranged themselves in front of us; and when the Saracens saw our feet in the stirrups of the cross−bows, they fled.

Then said the Constable to me: "Well done! Seneschal. Now get you hence to the King, and leave him no more, until he shall have alighted in his own pavilion."

I had just joined the King, when Lord John of Valery came to him and said: "Sir, my Lord of Chatillon begs you to grant him the rearguard," which the King did very gladly, and then started on the road. As we were going along, I made him take off his helmet, and presented him my iron cap that he might get the air. And then there came to him Brother Henry of Ronnay, who had crossed the river, and kissed his mailed hand, and asked him, if he had no tidings of the Count of Artois his brother? And the King replied: That indeed he had tidings of him, for he knew for certain that his brother, the Count of Artois, was in Paradise. "Ah, Sir, you have much to console you; for never did such great honour kill to any King of France as has fallen to you; for to fight your enemies you have swum a river, and have discomfited and driven them from the field; and have got possession of their engines and their quarters, and shall lie in them yourself this very night."

The King replied, that: God be praised for all is mercies! and then great tears began to fall from his eyes.

When we reached our lodging we found that some Saracens on foot had struck a tent, and were tugging at it on one side whilst our camp−followers were tugging it on the other. We charged them, the Master of the Temple and I, and they ran away, leaving the tent in the hands of our people.

In this battle, there were many people who made a very fine show, but ran away most disgracefully from the fight, and fled in a panic over the little bridge of which I spoke; and not one of them could we persuade to make a stand beside us. I could very well tell you some of their names; but I shall refrain, because they are dead.

However, I need not refrain from mentioning Lord Guy Malvoisin, for he came away from Mansoora in all honour; and indeed he came down the very way that the Constable and I went up. And just as the Turks hung upon Count Peter of Brittany and his troop, so they hung upon Lord Guy of Malvoisin and his men; and they lost heavily, he and his followers, in that day's work. And it was no wonder if he and his men acquitted themselves nobly on that day, for people, who knew his affairs well, told me, that all his battalion, with scarcely any exception, were knights of his lineage, or knights who were his liege−men.


So far as can be gathered from contemporary Christian accounts, the events of this famous Shrove Tuesday were as follows:

On quitting the camp on the north side of the river (in which was left all the baggage under the guard of the Duke of Burgundy and a sufficiency of mounted and foot soldiers) the King had put his forces into regular formation, and given strict orders that the lines were to be kept; and that each detachment after crossing the ford was to draw up and wait for the others. The ford proved much worse than was expected and threw the troops into disorder.

The Count of Artois and the others who were first across, disregarding orders, turned to the right and rode up stream long the bank of the river of Raxi (or of Tanis, as most narrators call it), until they came opposite their own old camp, and into that of the Saracens. There, taking the Saracens by surprise while most of them were still asleep, they fell upon them, and cut to pieces every living thing in the camp, giving no quarter to man, woman, or child.

* See Letters in Mat. Paris; Letter of JeanPierre Sarrasin; Anglo−Norman Poem.

The butchery even made an impression on Jean Pierre Sarrasin, who, after describing it, says, " A very piteous thing it was to see such a quantity of dead bodies, and such an outpouring of blood that is, if they had not been enemies of the Christian faith."

After this, a great dispute arose between William of Sonnac, Master of the Temple, and Robert of Artois. There was always very bad feeling and considerable jealousy between the men " from home " and the " colonial " barons, which the Count of Artois seems to have exasperated on every possible occasion. The Master of the Temple was for staying and securing their position and guarding the Saracen engines which were left in their hands. The Count of Artois and his followers were for pushing on and attacking the stronghold of Mansoora, which lay a little further up, at the dividing of the Nile and the stream of Tanis. One of them actually accused the Templars and Hospitallers of treachery, saying that but for them the country would have been conquered long ago; and the Count of Artois told the Master to " stay behind if he were afraid," to which the Master replied, " Sir, I and my brethren are not afraid. We will go with you; but doubt whether either of us will return." The whole arty then galloped forward, disregarding another special message from the King desiring his brother to go no further; drove the Saracens before them through the town f Mansoora; and then tried to return, but found the beets barricaded and themselves in a trap. Almost the hole of the Templars were cut to pieces in the hand−hand fighting that followed. Robert of Artois tried to scape by swimming the river and was drowned, with many others. William Longsword, Earl of Salisbury, the famous grandson of King Henry and Fair Rosamund, refused to fly, and was literally cut to pieces, after performing wonders of velour equal to those of the ancient paladins. His defence and death raised him to a national hero almost a saint. His mother Ela, in her English nunnery, on the night after his death, saw him in a vision ascending to heaven in full armour, and on learning of his fate received the news with such joy and resignation that all were astonished. His virtue is made manifest even to the Saracens by the light that proceeds from his bones; and a future Sultan offers to give them to King Louis as a valuable Christian relic.

Whilst the Count of Artois and the rest of the advance guard were pursuing the Turks into Mansoora, the rest of the army and the King finished crossing the river and arched on towards the Saracen camp in good order. recently they were met by the Saracens, coming from Mansooraa flushed with their victory and slaughter of the Christians. The King's troops were forced back onto the river of Tanis, just opposite their old camp on the other bank; and despite the King's personal bravery they would eve been destroyed, had not the Duke of Burgundy and he men in the old camp hastily constructed a floating bridge of timber, on which they got over to their assistnce. The King was at a disadvantage from want of cross−bowmen, most of whom had perished with the advance guard.

It is difficult quite to understand the lie of the land in Joinville's scene of action. The annexed map gives a plausible idea of it. Longsword's death became an epic subject for chroniclers and ballad−makers. Matthew Paris gives a moving prose account 1 of it:

" Said Robert of Artois: 'Oh William! God fights against us we can no longer hold out I advise you, save yourself alive, if you can, by flight, whilst your horse has strength to carry you, lest when you wish to "you no longer can.'

To whom William replied curtly, as the tumult permitted.

'Please God, the son of my father shall never fly for any Saracen. I would rather die a good death than live a base life.'

Then the Count of Artois fled to the river and was drowned, and the French were scattered and slain.

When William, on whom the Saracens turned their attack, saw this, he knew that his life was forfeit. Manfully he bore up against all assailants, and cutting in pieces many, sent their souls to Hell. Yet though his horse had succumbed and his own feet were cut off still he continued to lop off the hands, heads, and feet, of such as attacked him.

And then, after sustaining many blows and wounds, with blood gushing out, and overwhelmed by the stones of his assailants, he, a most glorious martyr, breathed out his soul, that sped forth to assume its crown. And with him (died) his Standard Bearer, Robert de Vere, an excellent knight, and many other English, who had followed in his tracks, guided by the trail he left behind him."

* Mat. Paris, " Chron. Ma;.," Vol. V, pp. 150−3.

There was between William Longsword and Robert of Artois an old−standing quarrel. While the army was at Damietta, the Earl had actually retired with his followers to Acre in consequence of the insults he had received from the King's brothers; and it was only by King Louis' efforts that they were reconciled. It is said that Robert of Artois' only remark when he heard of Longsword's defection, was: " Thank God, we are rid of those tailed monkeys!"

The author of a Norman−English poem 1 on the battle of Mansoora (who seems to have cordially entered into the feud, and sends the souls of French and Saracen alike unhesitatingly to hell) gives a detailed account of the fight in the streets and Longsword's death; which may be pure fiction, or may be genuine details gathered from an eyewitness, or tradition. It is sufficiently interesting for a few stanzas to be quoted.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

" The Master of the Temple urges on his horse, "Longsword the Earl unfurls his banner, "They were the foremost, right valiant were they. "Thus they rode into Mansoora as into their own stables.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

"In the midst of Mansoora runs a great road, "From the gate to the river gradually descending. "There fought those gallant knights, "There were many bloody heads among the Saracens that "day.

* Anglo−Norman Poem, H.S. Brit. Mus., Cott. Lib., Julius, A−V. "The Count of Artois on his great charger

"Had neither heart nor stomach to tarry longer,

"The first man he encountered he threw to the ground, "Then he turned towards the river and betook him to drown;

"His soul is in hell, in great torment "The Master of the Temple was named William

"A felon heathen came up, "Pierced him with the sword through the body below the "arm, "And his soul St. Michael bore away singing.

"Earl Longsword "Sold himself dear before he died, "He broke through another squadron, he and five others "with him, "And before vespers yielded his soul a martyr."

Here follow the exploits of his five followers: Wymond of Ascalon, Robert of Widel, Ralph of Henfield, Alexander Giffard, and John of Bretain.

Longsword begs Giffard if he escapes to execute his will and take charge of his possessions. A Norman knight urges him to escape by the river: Longsword replies "'Never shall it be a reproach to an English knight "That I fled for fear of any accursed Saracen. "I came hither to serve God, . . . "'and will die for Him; "'But before I die I will sell myself dear.'

"Their horses were slain, and they stood upon their feet "And stoutly they fought for the love of God.

"Longsword leaned on the shoulders of the friar" ((Richard of Ascalon) "His sharp sword in his hand he had but one foot left."

A Saracen Emir tries to persuade him to surrender, but in vain, and he goes on fighting furiously.

"Then was his fair body sorely maimed, "His left foot missing, and his right hand cut off.

He prays to Christ that he may he avenged on this hatefu! race, and goes on fighting with his left hand.

"Then fell to earth the gallant Longsword, "Who could no longer stand upon one foot "The Saracens rushed up joyful and exulting, "And utterly devoured him with their sharp swords."

The Alexander Giffard mentioned in the poem as Longsword's confidant did escape, wounded in five places. In the next generation his family is found intermarried with the Longswords.


AFTER we had routed the Turks and driven them from their quarters, and during the time that the Saracens' camp was left empty by our people, the Bedouins, who were a very numerous race, broke into it. Not a single thing did they leave in the camp, but carried off everything that the Saracens had left behind. Yet I never heard it said, that the Bedouins, who were subject to the Saracens, suffered any discredit for anything they had taken or stolen from them; for such is their custom and practice, ever to attack the losing side.

Since it has to do with the subject, I will tell you, what manner of people the Bedouins are.

The Bedouins do not believe in Mahomet, but they follow the law of Ali, who was Mahomet's uncle, and so obey the Old Man of the Mountain, the same who maintains the Assassins. They believe, that when a man dies for his lord, or for any good purpose, that his body passes into a better way of life and a happier than before. And this is why the Assassins offer no resistance if they are slain while carrying out the orders of the Old Man of the Mountain. Of the Old Man of the Mountain we will say no more at present, but will speak about the Bedouins.

The Bedouins dwell neither in towns nor cities nor castles, but lie always in the open fields; and in the evening their servants, wives and children creep for the night, or by day when the weather is bad into a sort of shelter that they make out of the hoops of casks lashed to poles; just like the [Sedan] chairs of these ladies here; and over these hoops they throw sheepskins, called "Damascus hides," cured with alum. The Bedouins themselves have great pelisses of these skins, which cover their whole body, legs and feet and all. When the evening is rainy or the weather bad at night, they wrap themselves up inside their pelisses, and take off their horses' bridles and let them graze beside them; and when morning comes, they spread out their pelisses again in the sun, and dress them, and there is not a trace to be seen of their night's wetting.

The Bedouins' creed is this: That no man can die, save on his appointed day; and for this reason they will not wear armour; and when they curse their children they say: " Mayst thou be accurst, even as the Frank who arms himself for fear of Death!" In battle they carry nothing but sword and spear. Nearly all of them are clad in surplices, like priests. They wear napkins twisted round their heads and passing under their chins, so that they are loathly people and hideous to behold, for the hair of their heads and beards is all black. They live on the milk of their flocks and herds, and purchase from the wealthy men the grazing of the prairies, which feeds their beasts.

Their number is past reckoning, for one finds them in the realm of Egypt, and in the realm of Jerusalem, and in all other countries that belong to the Saracens and Infidels, to whom they pay heavy tributes every year.

I have seen in our own country, since I returned from beyond seas, certain disloyal Christians, who held the faith of the Bedouins, and said that no man could die, save at his appointed hour. Their belief is so disloyal, that it is as much as saying, that God has no power to help us. For we should be mad, who serve God, if we did not believe that He has power to prolong our lives and to keep us from harm and mishap; and in Him we ought to believe, that He has power to do all things.


LET US now proceed with our tale. At nightfall we returned, the King and we, from the perilous battle above narrated, and lodged in the place whence we had driven our enemies. My people, who had remained behind in the camp we had quitted, brought me a tent that the Templars had given me, and pitched it for me in front of the engines that we had won from the Saracens; and the King had serjeants appointed to guard the engines.

I lay down in my bed, where I had great need to rest on account of the wounds I had gotten during the day, but chance served me otherwise; for, before it was quite light, the cry arose in our camp: " To arms! to arms! " I roused my chamberlain, who was sleeping at my feet, and bade him go and see what was the matter. He−came back to me in great alarm, and said to me: " Up, Sir! Up! for here are the Saracens, come on foot and horseback, and they have routed the King's serjeants that were guarding the engines, and have driven them in among our lines." I got up, and slipped a tunic over my shoulders, and clapped an iron cap on my head, and cried to our serjeants: " By Saint Nicholas! they shall not stay here!"

My knights joined me, all wounded as they were; and we drove the Saracen serjeants out from among the engines, and back onto a large squadron of mounted Turks, who were close to the engines we had captured. I sent to the King asking for help, for neither I nor my knights were able to put on hauberks, because of the wounds we had received; and the King sent us my Lord Walter of Chatillon, who placed himself in front, between us and the Turks.

When the Lord of Chatillon had repulsed the Saracen foot−serjeants, they fell back on a large squadron of Turks on horseback who were drawn up in front of our camp, to prevent us surprising the Saracen camp, which lay behind them. Out of this company of mounted Turks, eight of their captains had alighted, all remarkably well armed, and had made a barricade of hewn stones, so that our cross−bowmen might not wound them; and these eight Saracens kept shooting flights of arrows into our camp, and wounded several of our men and horses. I and my knights laid our heads together, and agreed, that when night came, we would carry away the stones with which they were barricaded. A priest of mine, whose name was Lord John of Voyssey, had made up his own mind and was less patient. He set off from the camp all by himself in the direction of the Saracens, clad in his tunic, with his iron cap on his head, and his spear trailing under his arm, point downwards, so that the Saracens might not catch sight of it. When he got close to the Saracens, who, seeing him all alone, never troubled their heads about him, he caught his spear up under his arm, and charged on them. Not one of the eight made any attempt at defence, but they all turned and fled. When those on horseback saw their leaders running away, they spurred out to their rescue; whilst on our side about fifty serjeants sprang out. The horsemen came spurring on and durst not engage with our footmen, but swerved aside. When they had repeated this two or three times, one of our serjeants took his spear by the middle, and hurled it at one of the mounted Turks, and let him have it between the ribs. After this, the Turks durst not stir again, and our serjeants carried away the stones. From that time forth, my priest was a noted man throughout the army, and they used to point him out one to another, and say, "there goes my Lord of Joinville's priest, who routed the eight Saracens."

These things took place on the first day of Lent. On that same day, a valiant Saracen whom the enemy had made captain instead of Scecedin the son of Seic, whom they had lost in the battle of Shrove Tuesday, took the coat belonging to the Count of Artois, who had died in that battle, and showed it to all the host of the Saracens, and told them: It was the King's coat−of−arms and that he was dead. " And this I show you " said he, " because a body without a head is in no wise to be feared, neither a people without a King. Therefor, if so please you, we will attack them on Friday; and you should agree to this methinks, since we cannot fail to capture them all, now that they have lost their leader." And they all agreed that they would come and attack us on Friday.

The King's spies that were in the Saracen camp, brought tidings of this to the King; and thereupon the King commanded all the leaders of battalions to have their followers under arms by midnight and draw off from the tents to the barriers, which were made with long palings to prevent the Saracens from breaking into the camp, and were fixed in the ground in such a manner that a man on foot could pass between them. And it was done as the King commanded.

At sunrise, this Saracen whom they had made their leader, brought up without delay four thousand mounted Turks, and spread them out all round, with our camp and himself in the centre, from the river which comes from Grand Cairo, to the stream which flowed from our camp to a town called Risil. [Raxi?] When this was done, they further led up such a vast number of Saracens on foot as to make a second ring of them all round our camp, as had been done with the horsemen. Behind these two lines of battle that I am telling you about, they drew up all the forces of the Sultan of Cairo, as a reserve, if it should be needed.

When this was done, the captain rode out on a pony to survey the disposition of our camp, and according as he saw that our divisions were more massed in one part than in another, he went back, and fetched up more men to strengthen the ranks opposed to ours.

Next, he sent the Bedouins, about three thousand of them, across the two rivers, thinking that the King would send some of his men to the Duke to reinforce him against the Bedouins, and so weaken his own camp. It took him till noon to make all his dispositions, and then he bade sound his drums, which they call " nacara," and they fell upon us, horse and foot. First of all I will tell you about the King of Sicily, for he came first on the side towards Grand Cairo. They moved against him just as one opens in chess, for they attacked him first with their footmen, the footmen pelting him with Greek fire. And both horse and foot pressed him so hard that they routed the King of Sicily, who was on foot among his knights. Someone came to the King and told him of the evil plight his brother was in, and thereupon he spurred in among his brother's ranks, sword in hand, and pushed his way so far in among the Turks that their Greek fire set light to his horse's crupper. And by this sally the King saved the King of Sicily and his men, and they drove the Turks out of their camp.

Next to the King of Sicily's battalion came the battalion of the Oversea Barons, led by Sir Guy of Ibelin and Sir Baldwin his brother. Next to theirs came the battalion of my Lord Walter of Chatillon, full of champion knights and good fighters. These two battalions defended themselves so fiercely that the Turks were never able to break through them nor drive them back.

Next to my Lord Walter of Chatillon's battalion came Brother William of Sonnac, Master of the Temple, with the handful of brethren who were left him from the Tuesday's battle. He had fortified aposition hard by the engines which we had taken from the Saracens. The Saracens in attacking them threw Greek fire into the barricade which they had erected, and it caught easily, for the Templars had built great planks of pitch pine into it; and know, that the Turks did not even wait for the fire to have burnt out, but charged at the Templars through the flames. In this fight, Brother William lost one of his eyes; the other he had lost on Shrove Tuesday; and he died of it, did that lord, God rest his soul! And know, that there was a patch of ground behind the Templars, the size of a day's work, so covered with the darts that the Saracens had thrown, that the soil could not be seen for the density of them.

Next to the Templars, came the battalion of Lord Guy Malvoisin, which battalion the Turks were never able to overcome. However, they succeeded by chance in covering Lord Guy with Greek fire, which his followers had great difficulty in putting out.

From Lord Guy Malvoisin's division, the barrier turned in a good stone's throw towards the river, and thence it bent straight again along Count William's camp, and ran down to the river on the side towards the sea. Close to the river, on the up−stream side from Lord Guy Malvoisin, was our detachment; and because they had Count William of Flanders' division facing them, they did not dare approach us; wherein God showed us great kindness, for neither I nor my knights had hauberks nor shields, being all wounded from the battle of Shrove Tuesday.

The Count of Flanders they attacked savagely and vigorously with horse and foot. Seeing which, I ordered our cross−bowmen to shoot at those on horseback. When the horsemen saw that they were being wounded from our quarter, they fled, those of them that were mounted; and thereupon the Count's men left their camp, and scrambled over the barrier, and charged the Saracen footmen, and routed them. Many of them were slain and many had their bucklers taken. In this affair, Walter of the Horgne acquitted himself manfully; he it was who was standard−bearer to the Lord of Apremont.

Next to the Count of Flanders' battalion, came that of the Count of Poitiers, the King's brother; which battalion was on foot; only the Count himself being mounted. This detachment, the Turks utterly routed, and were leading the Count away prisoner; but when the butchers and the other camp followers, and the pedlar women got wind of it, they raised the hue and cry through the camp, and, by God's aid, rescued the Count, and drove the Turks out of his camp.

Next to the Count of Poitier's detachment, came that of Lord Jocerand of Brancon, who had accompanied the Count into Egypt and was one of the best knights in the army. He had so arrayed his men that all his knights were on foot. He himself was on horseback with his son Lord Henry and the son of my Lord Jocerand of Nantum, and these he kept mounted because they were children. Several times the Turks got the best of his men, but every time that he saw them worsted, he galloped down on the Turks and took them in the rear, so that time after time the Turks left his followers to attack himself. Still, it would have availed them nothing, and they would all have been slain on the spot by the Turks, had it not been for my Lord Henry of Coonne, who was in the Duke of Burgundy's camp a wise knight, gallant and full of forethought. Every time that he saw the Turks about to attack my Lord of Brancon, he made the King's cross−bowmen shoot at the Turks from across the river. Nevertheless the Lord of Brancon escaped from that day's mishaps with the loss of twelve knights out of the twenty that formed his company, not counting the other men−at−arms, and he himself was so roughly handled that he never after stood upon his feet, and died of that wound in the service of God.

I will tell you about the Lord of Brancon. He had been, when he died, in thirty−six battles and hand−to−hand fights in which he had carried off the prize of arms. I saw him once in an expedition of the Count of Chalons, whose cousin he was. He came to me and my brother, it was a Good Friday, and said to us: " Nephews, come and help me, you and your men; for the Germans are destroying the abbey." We went with him, and charged them with drawn swords, and with great difficulty and a violent scuffle we drove them out of the abbey. This done, the gallant gentleman knelt down before the altar, and cried aloud to Our Lord, "Lord, I beseech Thee, have pity on me, and take from these wars between Christians, wherein I have lived so long; and vouchsafe me to die in Thy service, and so win Thy kingdom of Heaven!"

These things I have recorded, because I believe that God granted his request, as you have seen.


AFTER the battle, which was on the first Friday of Lent, the King summoned all his barons before him, and spoke as follows: " Great thanksgiving," said he, "do we owe Our Lord, in that He hath conferred on us two such favours in this week, that on Shrove Tuesday we drove them from these quarters where we are now lodged, and on this Friday just past, we have repelled them, we on foot and they on horseback." And many other fine words did he speak to put heart into them.

In order to pursue our story we must first digress from it a little, to explain the system and footing on which the Sultans maintained their followers. Truly the greater part of their chivalry was composed of foreigners, whom the merchants procured in foreign lands for sale, and the Sultans bought them eagerly and at high prices. These people whom they brought into Egypt were procured in the East; for whenever one of the kings of the East had subdued another, he used to take the poor people whom he had conquered, and sell them to the merchants, and the merchants returned into Egypt to sell them. The system was as follows: the Sultan used to bring up the children in his own house, until such time as their beards began to grow. And according to their capacity, the Sultan had bows made to fit them; and as they grew stronger, they laid their bows aside in the Sultan's arsenal, and his Master of Ordnance provided them with bows as stiff as they could draw. The Sultan's arms were of gold, and these youths bore the same arms as he did, and they were called Baharis. When their beards began to grow, the Sultan knighted them, and they used to bear the Sultan's arms with some slight difference: such as crimson devices, roses, or crimson bends, or birds, or some other device according to their fancy, on arms of gold. And these men of whom I am speaking were said to be "of the Halka" [Bodyguard], for the Baharis lay in the Sultan's tents.

Whenever the Sultan was in the camp, the men of the Halka were quartered all round his lodging, and appointed to guard his person. At the door of the Sultan's lodging there was a little tent for the Sultan's door−keepers, and for his musicians, who had Arabian horns and drums and kettledrums; and they used to make such a din at daybreak and at nightfall that people near them could not hear one another speak, and that they could be heard plainly all through the camp. The musicians never dared sound their instruments in the daytime unless by the order of the Chief of the Halka. Thus it was, that whenever the Sultan had a proclamation to make he used to send for the Chief of the Halka, and give him the order; and then the Chief would cause all the Sultan's instruments to be sounded; and thereupon all the host would come to hear the Sultan's commands. The Chief of the Halka uttered them, and all the host obeyed them.

When the Sultan went to war he would make the Knights of the Halka Emirs, according to their achievements in battle, and would give them two or three hundred knights for their company, and the better they did the more the Sultan gave them.

This price indeed they pay for their honours: that when they attain to such wealth and distinction as to be independent, and the Sultan begins to be afraid they may kill or depose him, he then has them taken and thrown into prison to die, and strips their wives of all they have. This the Sultan did to those who captured the Counts of Montfort and of Bar. Even so Bondocdar dealt with those who had overthrown the King of Armenia; for they, thinking to be well received, alighted, and went on foot to greet him where he was hunting wild beasts. But he answered them: "I give you no greeting!" because they had interrupted his chase; and he caused their heads to be struck off.

Let us now return to our subject. The Sultan who was dead had a son, twenty−five years of age, wise and quick and cunning; and the Sultan, fearing lest he should dethrone him, gave him a kingdom that he owned in the East. Now that the Sultan was dead, the Emirs sent for him; and no sooner was he come to Egypt, than he dismissed his father's Seneschal, his Constable and his Mar shall, and deprived them of their golden rods, and gave them to those who had come with him from the East.

At this they were very indignant, as well as all the rest of his father's council, because of the slight he had put upon them. Moreover they feared, that he would deal with them as his grandfather had dealt with those who had captured the Count of Montfort and the Count of Bar; and they made interest with the men of the Halka, whose duty it was, as I told you, to guard the Sultan's person, so far as to make a bargain with them to put the Sultan to death whenever they requested.

After the two battles already narrated the army's troubles began in earnest. For, at the end of nine days, the bodies of our men whom they had slain rose to the surface of the water (they say it was because their galls had rotted) and came floating down as far as the bridge that joined the two camps, and could not get by, because the bridge was flush with the water. A great mass of them there was, so that the stream was choked with corpses from one bank to the other, and they reached a short stone's throw up the river. The King had hired a hundred common labourers, who were busied at it for quite a week. The bodies of the Saracens, which were circumcised, they flung over to the other side of the bridge, and let them drift down the river. The Christians were laid all together in great trenches. I saw the Count of Artois' chamberlains there, and many others, seeking their friends among the dead; but I never heard of any one being recognised.

We ate no fish in the camp all Lent, save mudeels; and the eels, being greedy fish, used to feed on the dead bodies. And from this misfortune, together with the unhealthiness of the country, where there never falls a drop of rain, we were stricken with the " camp−sickness," which was such that the flesh of our limbs all shrivelled up, and the skin of our legs became all blotched with black, mouldy patches, like an old jack−boot, and proud flesh came upon the gums of those of us who had the sickness, and none escaped from this sickness save through the jaws of death. The signal was this: when the nose began to bleed, then death was at hand.

A fortnight later, the Turks, intending to starve us out, to the great astonishment of many people, took several of their galleys that were above the camp, and had them dragged over land to the river, a good league below our camp, on the way from Damietta. And these galleys caused a famine; for none of our side dared come from Damietta to bring us provisions up stream, because of their galleys. We never got any news of these things, until one day when a little vessel belonging to the Count of Flanders, which had forced its way through them, told us about it, and that the Sultan's galleys had captured about eighty of our galleys on their way up from Damietta, and killed the men in them.

From this cause there arose such a dearth in the camp, that by the time Easter had come an ox was worth in the camp eighty pounds, a sheep thirty pounds, a pig thirty pounds, an egg twelve pence, and a hogshead of wine ten pounds.

Seeing these things, the King and the barons decided that he should remove his camp on the Cairo side across to the Duke of Burgundy's camp, which was on the river leading to Damietta. In order to withdraw his men with greater security, the King had a barbican constructed in front of the bridge that joined the two camps, and so made, that one could enter the barbican from either side on horseback. When the barbican was ready, the King put all the camp under arms, and the Turks made a general onslaught on the King's camp. Nevertheless, neither camp nor men budged, until all the baggage had been carried over; and then the King went across and his battalion after him, and afterwards all the rest of the barons, except my Lord Walter of Chatillon, who formed the rearguard. At the entrance to the barbican, my Lord Erard of Valery rescued Lord John his brother, whom the Turks were leading away prisoner.

When all the army had crossed through, those who remained in the barbican were in an evil plight; for the barbican was not high and the Turks could see to aim at them from horseback, while the Turks on foot threw clods of earth in their faces. They were all lost men, had it not been for the Count of Anjou (afterwards King of Sicily), who went to their rescue, and brought them off safe. My Lord Geoffrey of Mussanburg carried off the prize of that day, the prize of all those who were in the barbican.

On the eve of Shrove Tuesday I witnessed a marvel that I will relate to you. For on that same day, we laid in the earth Lord Hugh of Landricourt, who carried his banner in my company. There as he lay upon the bier in my chapel, there were six of my knights lolling upon some sacks of barley. And because they were talking noisily in my chapel and disturbing the priest, I went up to them and bade them be quiet, telling them that it was a disgraceful thing for knights and gentlemen to talk whilst mass was being sung. Thereupon they began to laugh in my face, and told me laughing, that they would have the remarrying of his wife; and I rated them and told them that such words were neither right nor seemly, and that they had quickly forgotten their comrade. And thus did God take vengeance on them: that on the morrow was the great battle of Shrove Tuesday, wherein they were either slain or wounded to death, so that their wives had to be remarried, all six of them.

Owing to the wounds that I got on Shrove Tuesday, the camp−sickness seized me in my mouth and legs, together with a double tertian fever, and such a violent rheum in my head, that the rheum streamed out of my head through my nostrils; and by reason of these maladies, I took to my bed in mid−Lent.

Now it so chanced, that my priest was singing mass by my bedside in my pavilion, and he had the same malady that I had. And it came to pass, that in the midst of performing the Sacrament he fainted. When I saw him tottering, I leapt from my bed, with my coat on, but all barefoot, and clasped him in my arms, and bade him finish his Sacrament fairly and forthwith; telling him, I would not leave go of him until he should have completed it. He pulled himself together, and performed the Sacrament, and sang his mass all through, and never sang service again.

After these events the King's council and the Sultan's council fixed a day to make terms; and the terms of the agreement were these: that Damietta was to be restored to the Sultan, and that the Sultan was to restore to the King the kingdom of Jerusalem. Moreover, the Sultan was to take care of all the sick that were in Damietta, and of the salted meat (since they ate no pork), and of the King's engines, until such time as the King should be able to send and fetch all these things.

They asked the King's council what surety they would give, that they should recover Damietta. The King's council offered them one of the King's brothers, to be detained until they should receive Damietta, either the Count of Anjou, or the Count of Poitiers. The Saracens refused to have anything to do with it, unless the King's own person were left in pawn; whereupon the good knight, my Lord Geoffrey of Sargines, said, that he would rather the Saracens had them all dead or prisoners, than that they should incur the reproach of having left the King in pawn.

The sickness began to increase at such a rate in the camp, and so much dead flesh came upon the gums of our people, that the barbers were obliged to remove it, to enable them to chew their food and to swallow. A most piteous thing it was to hear through the camp the screams of the people from whom they were cutting the dead flesh, for they screamed just like women labouring with child.


Jean Pierre Sarrasin, the King's Chamberlain, gives a vivid account of the sufferings in the camp. He says, that twenty or thirty men died every day of pestilence or hunger; and that throughout the camp there was not a man but was mourning for some friend, and himself in hourly expectation of death. Those that were whole went about wearing white badges to warn off the infected.

Food and fodder were alike exhausted. The horses perished with the men. The carcass of a mule or horse when it was to be got was a dainty; and soon a chance dog or cat was the occasion for a feast. The greatest men would go anywhere, uninvited, to get a meal.

The camp was full of grumbling and suspicion. Even those who kept their health were sick of the business, and put no heart into their work. It was murmured: that numbers of Christians were deserting to the Saracen camp; that the King was going bankrupt; and that the flower of the army had perished with the Count of Artois.

All the while, the Saracens never ceased harassing the unfortunate soldiers of the Cross, and they lived in terror of an assault which should carry their defences and put them all to the sword.


WHEN the King saw that he should die, he and his people, if they stayed in that place any longer, he gave his orders, and made all ready for removing thence at nightfall on the evening of Tuesday after the octave of Easter, and returning to Damietta

The King ordered Jocelin of Cornaut with his brothers and the other engineers to cut the ropes that held the bridge between us and the Saracens; but they never did it.

On the Tuesday we went on board on rising from dinner, with two knights whom I had left of my household; and when the time came that it began to grow dark, I told my sailors to weigh anchor and let us drift down stream. They replied, that they durst not do so, for that the Sultan's galleys, which were between us and Damietta would kill us. The sailors had made great fires to receive the sick into their galleys, and the sick men had crawled down to the river bank. While I was imploring my sailors to loose−off, the Saracens entered the camp; and I saw by the light of the fire, that they were slaughtering the sick men on the bank.

Whilst my sailors were hauling at their anchor, the sailors whose duty it was to bring off the sick, cut their anchor−ropes and the painters of their galleys, and came dashing in among our small craft, and so jammed us on all sides that we narrowly missed being swamped. When we had got free from this danger, and were going on down stream, the King who had the camp−sickness and dysentery very badly could quite well have found a safe refuge in the galleys, had he been so minded. But he said, that; "Please God, he would never desert his people." That evening he fainted several times. They called out to us who were drifting on the water, to wait for the King; and when we were unwilling to wait for him, they shot quarrels at us, so that we were obliged to stay until they should give us leave to go on.

Now I will tell you how the King was taken prisoner just as he told it me himself. He told me, that he had quitted his own battalion, and placed himself with my Lord Geoffrey of Sargines in the battalion of Lord Walter of Chatillon which was forming the rearguard. And the King told me, that he was mounted on a little pony with silken trappings, and that behind him of all the knights and serjeants there only remained my Lord Geoffrey of Sargines, who escorted the King as far as the hamlet where the King was taken prisoner. And truly, so the King told me, Lord Geoffrey protected him from the Saracens just as a good servant protects his master's cup from flies; for whenever the Saracens tried to get near him, Lord Geoffrey would take his sword, which he had placed between himself and the saddle−bow, and put it under his arm, and turn round and make a dash at them, and drive them away from the King. And so he brought the King to the hamlet, and they got him off his horse and into a house, and laid him for dead in the lap of a woman of Paris, and thought that he would never see the evening.

Thither came my Lord Philip of Montfort, and told the King, that he saw the Emir with whom he had negotiated the truce; and that with his leave, he would go to him, and have the truce patched up on the Saracen's terms. The King gave him leave and begged him to go. Lord Philip went to the Saracen, and the Saracen had taken the turban from his head and the ring from his finger, to certify that he would keep the truce, when in the middle, a terrible mishap befel1 our people; for a traitor serjeant, named Marcel, began to shout to our men: " Surrender, Sir Knights! An order has come from the King. Surrender! Or else the King will be killed! " Everyone thought that the order came from the King, and they yielded up their swords to the Saracens. The Emir, seeing the Saracens leading away our people prisoners, told Lord Philip, that there was no question of a truce with our people, for it was plain they were prisoners. And so it chanced that Lord Philip had the luck not to be made prisoner, when all the rest of our people were taken, because he was a messenger. There is, by the way, an evil custom in pagan countries, that when the King sends his messengers to the Sultan, or the Sultan to the King, and the King or Sultan dies before the messengers return, those messengers become captives and slaves, to whichever side they belong, whether Christians or Saracens.

At the same time that our men on land were captured, we suffered the same disaster, for we were taken on the water, as you shall hear presently. For the wind blew against us from Damietta, so that we lost the benefit of the current. Moreover the knights, whom the King had put into his cruisers to defend our sick, fled.

Our sailors missed the course of the stream and got into a backwater, so that we had to turn round again towards the Saracens. When they had brought us back out of that arm of the river into which they had run us, we met with the King's cruisers, the same that he had told off to defend our sick, coming fleeing towards Damietta. Then there arose a wind which blew so hard up stream that it took the current from us. Travelling thus by water, we came a little before daybreak to the strait where lay the Sultan's galleys, which had intercepted our supplies from Damietta. At this place there was a fierce struggle, for they shot at us and at those of our men who were riding along the bank such a quantity of arrows with Greek fire, that it looked as though the stars were falling from heaven. On either bank of the river there were ever so many of our people's vessels, which had been unable to proceed down stream, and which the Saracens had captured and made fast. They were killing the men and tossing them into the water, and dragging out the chests and baggage from the ships.

The mounted Saracens on the bank shot arrows at us because we would not come to them. My people had dressed me in a jousting hauberk, which I had put on so that the arrows which fell into our vessel should not wound me. At this point, those of my people who were in the prow of the boat facing down stream, cried out to me: " Sir! Sir! Your sailors are trying to run you ashore, because the Saracens are threatening them." All feeble as I was, I made them raise me by the arms, and drew my sword on the sailors, and told them I would murder them if they ran me ashore. They answered, that I might choose which I liked either they would run me ashore, or they would anchor me in mid−stream until such time as the wind should drop. And I told them I would rather they should anchor me in the middle of the stream, than take me ashore, where I saw death awaiting us. So they anchored.

It was no long while before we saw four of the Sultan's galleys approaching, with full a thousand men in them. Thereupon I called my knights and my men, and asked them what they wished us to do whether to surrender to the Sultan's galleys, or to surrender to those on land. We all agreed, that we would rather surrender to the Sultan's galleys, because they would keep us together, than surrender to those on land, who would scatter us and sell us to the Bedouins. Then said a cellarer of mine, a native of Doulevent: " Sir, I am not of this opinion." I asked him what his opinion was, and he said to me: " My opinion is, that we should all let ourselves be killed, and then we shall all go to heaven." However, we did not listen to him.

When I saw that we were bound to be taken, I took my cash−box and my jewels, and threw them into the river, and my relics as well. Then said one of my sailors to me: " Sir, unless you let me say that you are the King's cousin, they will kill you and us along with you." I told him that for my part he might say what he liked. The first galley was bearing down on us to ram us on the beam; but when they heard what he said they cast anchor alongside our vessel.

Then God sent a Saracen from the Emperor's country, and he came swimming up to our vessel, and threw his arms round my waist, and said: "Sir, you are lost, unless you keep your wits about you. You must jump from your vessel onto the cutwater of the galley. You may jump without their noticing you, for they are intent on looting your vessel." They threw me a rope from the galley, and I sprang, by God's grace, onto the beak of the cutwater. And know, that I tottered, and should have fallen into the water, had he not leapt after me to hold me up.

They placed me in the galley, where there were about four score of their people, and he kept his arms all the time about me. After that they bore me down, and leapt upon my body to cut my throat, for each would have prided himself on being the one to kill me. And this Saracen held his arms round me all the time, and kept calling out: " The King's cousin! " In this way they got me down twice, and once onto my knees and that time I felt the knife at my throat. Out of this press God saved me by means of the Saracen, who brought me through to the round−house where the Saracen knights were. When I came amongst them, they took my hauberk off me, and for the compassion they bore me, they cast round me one of my coverlets of scarlet cloth lined with minnever, which my lady mother had given me. And another brought me a white leather belt, and I strapped it over my coverlet, in which I had made a hole and put it on; and another brought me a cap which I placed on my head. And then by reason of the fear I was in, and the sickness as well, I began to tremble very violently. Then I asked for something to drink, and they brought me water in a jar, but I had no sooner taken it into my mouth to swallow it, than it poured out again through my nostrils. When I saw this, I sent for my people, and told them I was as good as dead, for that I had the tumour in my throat. They asked me, how I knew it; and presently they saw that the water poured from my throat and nostrils, and they began to weep. When the Saracen knights who were there, saw my followers weeping, they asked the Saracen who had saved us: Why they wept? He replied that he understood me to have the tumour in my throat, so that there was no hope for me. Thereupon one of the Saracen knights told him who had protected us, to bid us be of good cheer, for that he would give me something to drink which would cure me within two days; and so he did.

Lord Ralph of Wanon, who was of my house−hold, had been hamstrung in the great battle of Shrove Tuesday, and could not stand upright upon his feet; and know, that an old Saracen knight who was in the galley used to carry him about pick−a−back.

The chief Emir of the galleys sent for me, and asked me, if I were the King's cousin? adding, that I had acted very prudently. I told him, No; and related how and why the sailor had said that I was the King's cousin; for otherwise we should all have been dead men. And he asked me, whether I were not connected in some way with the Emperor Frederic of Germany, who was then living. I replied, that I understood my lady mother to be his first cousin; and he told me that he liked me all the better for it.

Whilst we were at table, he sent for a burgher of Paris to come before us. The burgher being come said to me: " Sir, what are you doing?" "Why, what am I doing? " quoth I. " In God's name! " quoth he, "you are eating flesh on a Friday! " When I heard this, I pushed my plate away. The Emir asked my Saracen why I had done so; and he told him; and the Emir replied, that God would surely never be displeased with me, seeing that I had done it unwittingly. And know, that the Legate made me this very answer, after we came out of prison; but for all that, I did not fail to fast on bread and water every Friday in Lent afterwards; and this made the Legate very angry with me, because there were no other rich men left with the King, except me.

On the following Sunday, the Emir made me and all the other prisoners who had been taken on the water land on the river bank.

Whilst they were dragging my good priest, Lord John, out of the hold of the galley he fainted; and they killed him, and threw him into the river. As for his clerk, who likewise fainted from the camp−sickness, they flung a mortar onto his head, and cast him into the river. All the time they were bringing ashore the rest of the sick from the galleys where they had been imprisoned, there were men of the Saracens standing ready with drawn swords, and all those who fell they slew, and cast into the river. I told them through my Saracen, that methought it was ill done; inasmuch as it was contrary to the teaching of Saladin, who said that one ought not to slay any man who has once tasted our bread and salt. He replied, that they were not to be accounted men, who were good for nothing, being disabled by disease. He had my sailors led up before me, and told me, that they had all abjured their faith; and I bade him put no trust in them, for that just as they had deserted us, so they would desert them, as soon as they found a good time and place. The Emir replied to the effect: that he agreed with me; for that Saladin used to say that one never met with a good Saracen Christian, nor a good Christian Saracen.

After these things, he made me mount a palfrey and led me along beside him; and we crossed over a bridge of boats and went to Mansourah, where the King and his followers were confined. And we came to the entrance of a great pavilion, where were the Sultan's scribes, and there they had my name to be written down. Then said my Saracen to me: " Sir, I shall follow you no further, for I am not able; but, for this child, Sir, that you have with you, I beg that you will always keep fast hold of him by the wrist, that the Saracens may not steal him from you." Now this child was named Bertlemin, and was a bastard son of the Lord of Montfaucon.

When my name had been put in writing, the Emir led me into the pavilion in which were the barons and more than ten thousand persons besides. When I entered the place, the barons all made such rejoicing, that it was impossible to hear a thing, and praised our Lord for it, and said that they thought they had lost me.

We had scarcely been there any time, when they made one of the principal men there rise, and led us into another pavilion. Many knights and other people were kept shut up by the Saracens in a yard surrounded by a mud wall. From this enclosure where they had put them, they led them out one by one, and asked them " Will you abjure?" Those who would not abjure were placed on one side and had their heads cut off, and those who abjured on another side.

Here the Sultan sent his councillors to speak with us. They asked to whom they should deliver the Sultan's message, and we bade them deliver it to the good Count Peter of Brittany.

There were some people there who knew both Arabic and French, whom they call "dragomans," and they translated the Arabic into the Romance tongue for Count Peter. And this was the purport of the words: " Sir, the Sultan sends us to you to learn whether you would like to be set free? " The Count answered: " Yes! " "And what you would give to the Sultan for your freedom? " " Whatever we may do and bear in reason," said the Count. "And would not you give for your liberty," said they, "some one or other of the castles belonging to the Oversea Barons? " The Count replied: That it was not in his power to do so; for that they were held of the Emperor of Germany (who was then living). They asked: Whether we would not surrender, for our freedom, some one or other of the castles belonging to the Temple, or the Hospital? And the Count replied: That it could not be; for that, when the chatelains were placed in them, they were made to swear on the holy relics, not to surrender any of the castles for the deliverance of any man's person. They answered us, that it seemed we had no great desire to be set free, and that they would go away, and send those to us who would show us some sword−play, as they had done to the rest. And they went off.

When they were gone, there rushed presently into our pavilion a great swarm of young Saracens, girt with swords, bringing with them a man of great age, all hoary, who bade ask us: If it was true that we believed in a God who for our sakes was wounded and died for us, and the third day rose again? And we answered " Yes." Thereupon he told us that we ought not to lose heart though we had suffered these persecutions for His sake: " For, as yet," said he, " you have not died for Him, as He died for you; and if He had power to raise Himself from the dead, be assured that He will deliver you, when it shall please Him." Then he went away, and all the other young men after him, whereat I was very glad, for I thought for certain that they had come to cut off our heads. And it was not long before the Sultan's people came, and told us that the King had procured our deliverance.

After the departure of the old man, who had put heart into us, the Sultan's councillors returned, and told us that the King had procured our deliverance, and that we were to send four of our party to him, to learn what he had done.

We sent thither my Lord John of Valery, the Paladin, my Lord Philip of Montfort, my Lord Baldwin of Ibelin, the Seneschal of Cyprus, and my Lord Guy of Ibelin, the Constable of Cyprus, who had the greatest reputation of any knight I ever met, and was the most friendly to the people of this country.

These four brought us back word how the King had purchased our liberty, which was as follows.

The Sultan's councillors tested the King in the same way they had tested us, to see whether he would not promise to surrender some of the castles held by the Temple or the Hospital, or some of those belonging to the barons of the country. And, by God's will, the King gave the very same answer that we had given them. Then they threatened him, and said, that since he would not do it, they would have him put in the barnacles. The barnacles are the worst torture that one can undergo. They are two pliable pieces of wood, notched at the apex with corresponding teeth fitting into one another, and firmly bound together with thongs of ox−hide. When they want to put anyone into them, they lay them on their side, and put their legs in across the ankles then they make a man sit on the wooden planks; till there is not half a foot of bone left whole that is not all smashed to pieces. And to do their very worst, at the end of three days, when the legs are inflamed, they put them into the barnacles once more and crush them all over again. To these threats the King replied: That he was their prisoner and they could do what they pleased with him.

When they saw that they could not overcome the good King by threats, they came back again to him, and asked: How much money he would be willing to give the Sultan, besides surrendering Damietta? The King replied: That if the Sultan would accept a reasonable sum of money from him, he would desire the Queen to pay it for their ransom. " How! " said they, " will you not give us your word to do this? " And the King replied, that he did not know whether the Queen would be willing to do it, for that she was his lady.

Then the councillors withdrew again to talk to the Sultan, and brought back answer to the King: That if the Queen would pay a million gold besants (which were worth five hundred thousand pounds), that they would set the King free.

The King asked them on their oath; whether the Sultan would set them free for that sum, provided the Queen would pay it? And they went away again to speak to the Sultan, and on their return, took an oath to the King, that they would set him free on these terms.

And now that they had sworn, the King said and promised the Emirs, that he would gladly pay the five hundred thousand pounds as ransom for his followers and Damietta for his own ransom; for it was not fitting that he should barter himself for money.

When the Sultan heard this: " By my faith," said he, " this Frank is an open−handed man, since I he does not haggle over such a large sum of money. Go, now, and tell him" quoth he "that I give him one hundred thousand pounds towards payment of the ransom."


During these months of disaster the most extraordinary lies on most authentic information were being circulated In Europe as to the Crusaders' successes. In May a letter was going about from the Order of St. John, giving a detailed account of how Cairo had been betrayed into the hands of King Louis, and how he had utterly defeated the Sultan in a great battle; even numbers and dates being specified. This must have made the shock still greater, when the news of the final disaster arrived.


THEN the Sultan placed the rich men in four galleys, in order to conduct them to Damietta. In the galley into which I was put were placed the good Count Peter of Brittany, Count William of Flanders, the good Count John of Soissons, my Lord Humbert of Beaujeu, Constable of France, and the good knight Lord John of Ibelin, with Lord Guy, his brother.

Those who escorted us in the galley brought us to, in front of a rest−house which the Sultan had had erected on the river, in the fashion you shall hear. In the front there was a tower made of fir−trunks covered round with dyed cloth, and this was the gateway of the rest−house. Inside this gateway there was pitched a pavilion, where the Emirs left their swords and armour when they went to speak with the Sultan. Beyond this pavilion again there was another gateway like the first, and through this one passed into a big pavilion which was the Sultan's hall. Beyond the hall there was just such another tower, through which one entered the Sultan's bed−chamber. Beyond the Sultan's bed−chamber there was a meadow; and in the midst of the meadow was a tower higher than all the rest, where the Sultan used to go to survey all the country and the camp. From the meadow a covered pathway ran down to the river, where the Sultan had caused a pavilion to be pitched in the water, for bathing. The whole place was fenced in with a wooden trellis−work, and the trellis−work was covered on the outside with blue cloth, so that those who were without might not see in. Moreover, all four towers were covered with cloth.

On the Thursday before Ascension−day we came to the place where this rest−house was pitched. The four galleys amongst which we prisoners were distributed, were anchored in front of the Sultan's rest−house; and they brought the King ashore into a pavilion near it. The Sultan had arranged, that on the Saturday before Ascension, Damietta should be delivered up to him, and he should deliver up the King.

Those Emirs whom the Sultan had dismissed from his council, in order to fill their places with his own followers whom he had brought from foreign parts, took council together; and a certain wise old Saracen spoke as follows: " Sirs! you see the shame and disgrace which the Sultan has put upon us, in removing us from the dignity to which his father had raised us. Hence we may be sure that, if once he finds himself inside the stronghold of Damietta, he will have us seized and thrown into his prison to die, even as his grandfather did to those Emirs who captured the Count of Bar and the Count of Montfort. Now therefore it is better, methinks, that we should have him put to death before he slips through our hands."

They went to the men of the Halka, and desired them that they would slay the Sultan at the end of a feast to which the Sultan had invited them.

Now it befell, that when they had feasted, and the Sultan was on his way to his bed−chamber, and had taken leave of his Emirs, one of the knights of the Halka the same who carried the Sultan's sword, smote the Sultan with that very sword through the hand between the four fingers and clove the hand right to the arm. Thereupon the Sultan went back to his Emirs who were the cause of it all, and said to them: "Sirs, I appeal to you against the men of the Halka, who have tried to kill me, as you can see." Then the knights of the Halka with one voice made answer to the Sultan, saying: " Since thou sayest that we wish to slay thee; it is better for us that we should slay thee than that thou shouldst slay us."

Then they caused the instruments to be sounded, and all the army came to inquire what the Sultan wanted. And they told them, that Damietta had been taken, and that the Sultan was on his way thither, and had left word that they were to follow him. Everyone armed, and galloped off in the direction of Damietta; and when we saw that they were taking the Damietta road, we were in great grief of heart, for we deemed that the city had fallen.

The Sultan, who was young and nimble, took refuge in the tower that he had built, together with three of his bishops, who had been dining with him. The tower was behind his bed−chamber, as you have already heard. The men of the Halka five hundred on horseback tore down the Sultan's pavilions, and besieged him all round about within his tower, together with those three bishops: and they shouted to him to come down.

To this he replied that he would do so, but that they must first promise that he should be safe. And they replied; that they would bring him down by force: and that he was not inside Damietta. They hurled Greek fire at him and set light to the tower which was made of fir−planks and cotton−cloth. The tower kindled rapidly, indeed I never saw such a splendid fire nor such a pillar of flame. Seeing this, the Sultan hastily descended, and came fleeing towards the river, all along the path of which I told you. The men of the Halka had hacked the passage through with their swords; and as the Sultan rushed through on his way to the river, one of them thrust him with a spear between the ribs, and the Sultan fled into the river, trailing the spear, and they swam right in after him, and caught him up, and killed him in the stream, not far from our galley, where we were One of the knights named Faracataye ripped him open with his sword and tore the heart out of his body; and then went straight to the King with his hand all bloody, and said to him: "What wilt thou give me? for I have slain shine enemy, who would have been the death of thee, had he lived." And the King answered him never a word.

There came full thirty of them to our galley, with their naked swords in their hands and their Danish axes.

I asked Lord Baldwin of Ibelin, who knew Arabic well, what these fellows were saying, and he answered: That they were saying, they had come to cut off our heads. There were a whole lot of people confessing themselves to a Brother of the Trinity who belonged to Count William of Flanders. But for my part I could recall never a sin that I had committed; only I reflected that the more I resisted and the more I tried to avoid the stroke, the worse it would be for me; so I crossed myself, and knelt down at the feet of a fellow who was carrying a Danish axe like a carpenter's, and said: " So died St. Agnes! " Sir Guy of I belie, the Constable of Cyprus, knelt down beside me and confessed himself to me, and I said to him: " I absolve you, in so far as God gives me power." But when I rose up thence, I recollected not a thing that he had said nor told me.

They made us leave the place where we were, and shut us up in the hold of the galley; and many of our people thought that they had done so, because they were unwilling to attack us in a body, and preferred to despatch us one by one. There we lay all that night in this sorry plight, and so closely packed, that my feet were touching the good Count Peter of Brittany's face, and his were touching mine.

On the morrow, the Emirs had us drawn forth from our prison; and−their messengers told us, that we were to go and speak with the Emirs, for the renewing of the treaty that had been made between us and the Sultan. Moreover they told us: that we might be certain, if the Sultan had lived, that he would have had the King's head cut off, and all our heads besides.

So those who were able to walk went to them; and the Count of Brittany, and the Constable and I, who were grievous sick, stayed behind. The Count of Flanders, Count John of Soissons, the two brothers of Ibelin, and any others who could shift for themselves, went to them.

They made terms with the Emirs as follows: That as soon as Damietta should have been handed over to them, they should hand over the King and the other rich men there. As for the common people, they had been all carried away to Babylon by the Sultan's orders; such of them that is as had not been killed. And this he had done contrary to his covenant with the King; for which reason it seems very probable that he would have put us also to death, when once he had got Damietta. Moreover the King must swear to make them a present of two hundred thousand pounds before he left the river and of two hundred thousand pounds at Acre.

The Saracens, according to their compact with the King, were to preserve the sick who were in Damietta, as well as the workshops of cross−bow−makers and armourers, and the stores of salted meat; until such time as the King should send to fetch them away.

The oaths were devised that the Emirs were to make to the King, and were as follows: If they did not keep faith with the King, might they be put to shame even as he who for his sin goes bareheaded on pilgrimage to Mahomet at Mecca; and as he who should abandon his wife and afterwards take her back again. And the third oath was this: If they did not keep faith with the King, might they be put to shame even as a Turk who eats swine's flesh.

The King accepted the aforesaid oaths from the Emirs, because Master Nicholas of Acre, who knew Arabic, told him that their creed forbade them to take stronger ones.

After the Emirs had sworn, they had the oath written down which they wished the King to take, and devised it as follows by the advice of those renegade priests who had joined them. The writing ran thus: If the King did not keep faith with the Emirs, might he be put to shame even as the Christian who abjures God and His Mother and the company of His twelve apostles, and all the saints, male and female. To this the King was quite agreeable. The last clause of the oath was as follows: If he did not keep faith with the Emirs, might he be put to shame even as the Christian who should deny God and His law, and in contempt of God should spit and trample on the Cross.

When the King heard this, he said that: Please God, he would never take that oath. The Emirs sent Master Nicholas, who knew Arabic, to the King, who spoke to the King thus: " Sir, the Emirs are very indignant, inasmuch as they took whatever oath you required of them, but that you will not take the oath they require of you; and you may be sure, that unless you take it, they will have you beheaded you and all your followers."

The King replied, that they might do as they pleased in the matter, for that he preferred to die as a good Christian, rather than live under the wrath of God and His Mother.

The Patriarch of Jerusalem, an aged man, eighty years old, had procured a safe−conduct from the Saracens, and had come to the King, to assist him in obtaining his liberty.

Now it is the custom between the Christians and Saracens, that when the King or the Sultan dies, those who are on an embassy (whether in pagandom or Christendom) become prisoners and slaves; and since the Sultan who had given him the passport was dead, the Patriarch was a prisoner like the rest of us.

When the King had given his answer, one of the Emirs said, that it was the Patriarch who had given him this advice, and he said to the pagans: "If you will be guided by me, I will make the King take the oath, for I will send the Patriarch's head flying into his lap."

They would not do as he said; but they seized the Patriarch, where he was sitting with the King, and brought him away, and tied him to a tent−pole, with his hands behind his back, so tightly, that his hands swelled up as big as his head and the blood spurted out from them. The Patriarch cried to the King: " Sir, swear with a good conscience, for I take on my own soul the guilt of the oath you shall swear, since you honestly mean to keep it."

I do not know how the oath was settled, but the Emirs were quite satisfied with the oaths of the King and the other rich men who were there.

Directly the Sultan was dead, they had his musical instruments brought in front of the King's tent; and it was told the King that the Emirs had had a great debate about making him Sultan of Egypt. He asked me, whether I thought that he would have accepted the kingdom of Egypt, had It been offered. I told him that it would have been very foolish of him to do so, seeing that they had murdered their lord; and he told me, that he would most certainly not have refused it. And know, that there was only one thing that hindered it, and that was, that they said the King was the most determined Christian to be found anywhere. And they cited this as an instance: that whenever he quitted his quarters, he stretched himself crosswise on the ground, and made the sign all over his body. And they said, that if Mahomet had allowed such disasters to befall them, they would never have believed in him. They said, too, that if this nation were to make him their Sultan, they would either have to turn Christians or he would put them all to death.


The Patriarch gives an interesting account of his own experiences during the eventful week of April 4th−11th, In a letter written to the College of Cardinals from Acre in May. He and the Legate were in the van of the retreating land−forces, and appear to have got separated from the rest in the confusion. After riding all night along the river bank, they found themselves on Wednesday morning alone without any attendants, and exhausted with the journey and the weight of their armour. Providentially (as the Patriarch says) they came upon a little boat moored to the bank, and rowed, or drifted, on all day down stream, thinking (he says) that the King had outstripped them, and that they would pick up the camp with their attendants and baggage near Damietta. In the evening they were joined by some other fugitives in boats who had escaped the general massacre; and who reported that the King and rest of the land−army were in a walled village called Sarensa, holding out against a vast horde of Turks.

Presently they saw the river ablaze behind them with the burning galleys, and concluded to push on to Damietta, which they reached about sunset on Thursday evening. All that night those in Damietta waited without any tidings, and on Friday by the Queen's and Legate's orders ten galleys with a flotilla of small boats carrying armed men were despatched up stream to the King's assistance.

They reached the stronghold of Sarensa, but could learn no tidings. Thereupon some of the men landed to explore, and pushing on beyond the walls came on a spot strewn like a shambles with the bodies of slaughtered men, headless and stripped, together with a quantity of butchered horses.

The flotilla then turned back to tell the tale at Damietta.

On the following day (Sunday) news arrived that the Turks had defeated the Christian land−army in a great battle on the Wednesday; that the King and his brothers, with all the leading men, were prisoners and shut up in Mansoora; and that every single man of the land−army was dead or taken. Envoys arrived presently from the King to the Queen and Legate informing them of his treaty with the Sultan and requesting the Legate and Patriarch to come to him to assist with their advice.

The Patriarch confesses that they were very much afraid to go; and that it was only under a sense of duty that they set off, escorted by a certain Emir. They rejoined the King on May 1st presumably in his pavilion by the rest−house. The whole of that day was spent in discussing the terms of the treaty; and on the following morning the Sultan was murdered.

Seeing the detail with which the Patriarch narrates his flight to Damietta, and the stress he lays on his fatigues and the loss of his baggage, it is curious that he says little about subsequent events, and makes no special mention of his personal ill−usage by the Turks. See "Annals of Burton." (Annales Monastici.)

The Christians' chief fear was lest the king should be poisoned in prison. For two days he refused all food Later, his own servants were allowed to wait on him, and his devoted attendant Isembard cooked foodfoad. He owed his life, however, to the treatment of the Saracen doctors, who cured his disorder.

The captives' fear lest Damietta should fall, while the treaty was still pending, was not groundless. A force of Saracens had already tried to enter the city, disguised in Christian arms. Their irregular marching order discovered them to the garrison just in time.


AFTER the terms had been agreed and sworn to by the King and the Emirs, it was agreed that they should set us free on Ascension day, and that directly Damietta should have been made over to the Emirs, they should deliver the person of the King and the rich men with him, as said before.

On the Thursday evening, the escorts of our four galleys brought them to anchor in mid−stream opposite the bridge of Damietta; and they caused a pavilion to be pitched by the bridge, to receive the King on landing.

At sunrise, my lord Geoffrey of Sargines went into the town, and delivered it over to the Emirs. They hoisted the Sultan's ensigns on the towers.

The Saracen knights took possession of the town, and began to drink the wines; and soon they were all drunk: so much so, that one of them came to our galley, and drew out his sword all bloody, and said that, for his part, he had killed six of our people.

Before Damietta was yielded up, the Queen had been received on board our ships, together with all our people who were in the town, except those that ere sick, who were left behind. The Saracens ere bound by their oaths to take care of them, and they killed them all.

The King's engines, which they were also to eve taken care of, these they chopped in pieces. and the salted pork, which they were to have kept, because they eat no pork, instead of taking care of it, they made one pile of bacon, and another pile of dead bodies, and set fire to them; and they made such a huge bonfire that it lasted through the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

As for the King and us, whom they ought to have set free at sunrise, they kept us until sunset; and we had nothing to eat the whole time, nor the Emirs neither, for they were disputing among themselves the whole day. One Emir, speaking on behalf of his party, said: "Sirs, if you will listen to me and those of my party here, we shall kill the King, and these rich men here, and then, for forty years to come we shall be free from anxiety; for their children are young, and we have Damietta on our side, so that we can do it with all the more security." Another Saracen, named Sebreci' who was a native of Morocco, opposed this, and said as follows: " If we kill the King, after having killed the Sultan, it will be said that the Egyptians are the wickedest and most treacherous race on earth." And he who was for putting us to death, made answer, " It is only too true that we have rid ourselves of our Sultan by murder, in a very evil way; for we have broken the commandment of Mahomet, who commands us to guard our lord as the apple of our eye. See here, in this book is the commandment written. Now hearken," said he, "to the other commandment of Mahomet, which follows after." (He turned over a page of the book that he was holding, and showed them the next commandment which was like this) "In the assurance of the faith, slay the enemy of the law." See, therefore, how we have sinned against the commandments of Mahomet, in that we have killed our lord; and now we shall do still worse, if we do not kill the King, notwithstanding any assurance we may have given him; for he is the most powerful enemy that the pagan religion has."

Our death was almost agreed upon; so much so, that an Emir who was hostile to us, thinking that we were all to be put to death, came down to the river−bank, and began shouting in Arabic to those In charge of the galleys, and took off his turban and signalled to them with it. Thereupon they weighed anchor again, and brought us back a good league In the direction of Cairo. Then we gave ourselves all up for lost, and many tears were shed.

However, as it pleased God, who does not forget His own, it was decided, about the time of sunset, that we were to be set free; so they brought us back, and ran our four galleys ashore. We besought them to let us depart. They replied, that they would not do so until we should have eaten; " For it would be a disgrace to the Emirs, if you were to leave our prisons fasting." Then we desired that they would give us the food, and we would eat; and they told us that it was being fetched from the camp.

The food that they gave us, was cheese fritters, cooked in the sun, to prevent maggots getting into them; and eggs hard−boiled for four or five days; and, in our honour, they had been painted outside with various colours.

We were put ashore, and went to meet the King, whom they were bringing down from the pavilion on the bank where they had kept him; and about twenty thousand Saracens, girt with swords, were following him on foot.

In front of the King, in the river, there was a galley full of Genoese, though only one man was visible above board. As soon as he saw the King at the water's edge, he blew a whistle; and at the sound of the whistle, there leaped up from the bilge of the galley a good four score crossbowmen ready−equipped, their cross−bows wound up, and in a twinkling each quarrel was notched; and the moment the Saracens caught sight of them, they turned tail like a flock of sheep; and none of them all save two or three were left beside the King. A plank was run ashore to bring aboard the King, with his brother the Count of Anjou, Lord Geoffrey of Sargines, Lord Philip of Annemos [Nemours], the Marshall of France whom they called Du Meis, and the Master of the Trinity and myself.

The Count of Poitiers they kept in prison, until such time as the King should have paid them the two hundred thousand pounds, that he was bound to pay them as ransom before he quitted the river.

On the Saturday before Ascension day (which Saturday is the morrow of the day on which we were set free), the Count of Flanders, and the Count of Soissons, came to take leave of the King, together with many of the other rich men who had been imprisoned in the galleys.

The King spoke to them to this effect: that it seemed to him they would do well to wait until his brother, the Count of Poitiers, should be released. And they said: that it was out of their power, for the galleys were all ready and fitted out. Into their galleys they got, and tried them away to France, taking along with them the good Count Peter of Brittany, who was so ill that he only lived three weeks longer, and died at sea.

They began to make the payment on Saturday morning, and took all Saturday over it and all day Sunday until dusk; for they paid by weight, and weighed out ten thousand pounds at a time.

When it came to Vespers on the Sunday, the King's men who were making the payment, sent word to the King that they were about thirty thousand pounds short.

Now there were with the King only the King of Sicily and the Marshall of France, the Master of the Trinity and myself; all the rest were watching the weighing. So I said to the King, that it would be well to send for the Commander and Marshall of the Temple (for the Master was dead), and to desire them to lend him thirty thousand pounds to ransom his brother.

The King sent for them, and told me to speak to them. When I had had my say, Brother Stephen of Otricourt, who was Commander of the Temple, answered me thus: " Sir de Joinville, this advice of yours is neither good nor reasonable; for you know that we receive our trusts in such a way, that we cannot by our oaths resign them to anyone except to those from whom we have received them." Plenty of strong language and hard names passed between him and me; and then Brother Reynold of Vichiers, who was Marshall of the Temple, took up the word and said, " Sir, have done with the squabble between the Lord of Joinville and our Commander; for, as our Commander says, we can give you nothing, without perjuring ourselves. And since the Seneschal is urging you to take it, if we will not lend it well, there is nothing very monstrous in that; and you can do as you like about it. If you do take some of our money, we have surely enough of yours at Acre to make good the loss."

I told the King, that I would go, if he wished and he ordered me to do so. I went off in one of the Templars' galleys to their chief galley; and when I was about to go down into the hold of the galley, where the treasure was, I requested the Commander of the Temple to come and see what I took; but he would not condescend to come.

The Marshall said, he would come and see what force I would use. As soon as I got down below where the treasure was, I desired the Treasurer of the Temple, who was there, to hand over to me the keys of a locker which was in front of me. And he seeing me lean and wasted with the sickness, and in the dress that I had been wearing in prison said, that he should do nothing of the sort. I caught sight of a hatchet that was Iying there; and picking it up, said it should serve as the King's key. The Marshall seeing this, caught me by the wrist, and said, " Sir, it is quite clear that you are using force on us, and we will let you have the keys."

Then he ordered the Treasurer to let me have them. And when the Marshall told the Treasurer who I was, he was very much astounded.

I found that this coffer which I opened, belonged to Nicholas of Choisy one of the King's sergeants. I threw out what money I found in it; and then they left me on the prow of the boat that had brought us. I took the Marshall of France and left him beside the money, and on the deck of the galley I put the Master of the Trinity. The Marshall passed up the money to the Master, and the Master handed it across to me in the vessel where I was. When we drew near the King's galley I began to shout to the King, " Sir! Sir! look what I have got! " and the holy man was right glad and joyful to see me.

We handed over what I had brought to those who were weighing the ransom.

When the weighing was ended, the King's council, who had been employed on it, came to him, and told him that the Saracens refused to set free his brother, until they should have the money actually before them.

There were some among the council who would have dissuaded the King from paying over the money until he should have his brother back. But the King replied, that he should pay it over, for it was in his agreement; and let them in return keep their part of the bargain, if they were honestly minded.

Then Lord Philip of Annemoes told the King, that they had done the Saracens out of a ten thousand pounds' weight; whereupon the King became violently angry, and said that he insisted on the ten thousand pounds being restored to them, since he had agreed to pay them two hundred thousand pounds before leaving the river. Then I trod on Lord Philip's foot, and told the King not to pay any heed to him, for he was not speaking the truth, for that the Saracens would out−cheat anybody in the world. And Lord Philip said, that what I said was true, for he had only said it in jest. And the King said that: That kind of jest came to grief. "And I command you," said the King to Lord Philip, " by the faith you owe me, and as my vassal that you are, that if those ten thousand pounds have not been paid, you will have them paid."

Many people had urged the King to withdraw into his ship that was awaiting him at sea, in order to put him beyond the Saracens' reach. But the King would listen to never a one of them, saying on the contrary that, according to his agreement, he should not leave the river until he had paid them two hundred thousand pounds. Directly the payment was made, the King, without anyone urging him, told us that henceforth his oath was fulfilled, and that we were to quit that place and go on board the ship which lay out at sea. Thereupon, our galley started, and we journeyed fully a good league, before any of us spoke to another, so uneasy were we about the Count of Poitiers. Then came Lord Philip of Montfort in a galleon, and cried to the King, " Sir, sir, speak to your brother, the Count of Poitiers, who is in this other boat." Then the King cried, " Show a light! Show a light! " and they did so. Then was there great joy amongst us, such as could not be surpassed.


I MUST not forget certain matters that occurred in Egypt whilst we were there.

First of all I will tell you about my Lord Walter of Chatillon: how a knight named Lord John of Monson, told me that he saw my lord of Chatillon in the walled village where the King was taken. A street ran straight through the village, so that one could see the fields on either side. In this street was my Lord Walter of Chatillon with his naked sword in his hand. As often as he saw the Turks entering this street, he charged upon them, sword in hand, and hustled them out of the place; and whilst the Turks were fleeing before him, they (who shoot as well backwards as forwards) would cover him with darts. When he had driven them out of the village, he would pick out the darts that were sticking all over him; and put on his coat−of−arms again; stand up in his stirrups, and brandishing his sword at arm's length cry, "Chatillon! knights! where are my paladins? " Then, turning round, and seeing that the Turks had come in at the other end of the street, he would charge them again, sword in hand, and drive them out. And this he did about three times in the manner I have described.

After the Emir of the Galleys had brought me to those who were captured on land, I made inquiries of such as belonged to Lord Walter's household, but I never found anyone who could tell me how he was taken. Only Lord John Frumons, that good knight, told me that, when they were leading him away prisoner to Mansoora, he met a Turk who was riding Lord Walter of Chatillon's horse, and the horse's crupper was all bloody. And he asked the Turk what he had done with him whose horse it was; and the Turk answered, that he had cut his throat on horseback, as might be seen from the crupper that was all covered with the blood.

There was a very brave man in the army, named Lord James of Chatel, the Bishop of Soissons. When he saw our men in retreat to Damietta, he, who had a great longing to be with God, would not return to the land where he was born, but chose rather to hasten his journey to God. So he clapped spurs to his horse, and engaged single−handed with the Turks, who with their swords slew him, and sent him into God's presence, among the ranks of the martyrs.

Whilst the King was waiting for his servants to finish paying the Turks in order that his brother might be set free, a Saracen, very well dressed, and a very honest fellow by his looks, came to the King, and offered him milk in jars and flowers of divers kinds, on the part of the children of the Nasac, the whilom Sultan of Egypt; and he made the offering in French. The King asked him: where he had learnt French? and he replied, that he had once been a Christian. And the King said to him: "Get you hence; for I have no more to say to you."

I drew the man aside and questioned him about his affairs; and he told me, that he was born in Provence, and had come to Egypt with King John, and that he was married in Egypt and a rich and powerful man.

I said to him: " Surely you know very well, that if you were to die in this state, you would go to hell? " " Yes," said he (for he was sure there was no religion so good as the Christian), " but I dread the poverty in which I should find myself, were I to go over to your side, and the shame. Not a day would pass, but I should hear them say: 'There goes the renegade'; and so I prefer to live rich and comfortable, rather than put myself in such a position as I foresee."

And I told him: that on the day of judgment, when his sin would be seen of all men, the shame would be much greater than what he was describing. Many good words I said to him, with very little effect. So he left me, and I never saw him again. You have already heard the great tribulations which the King and we suffered. The Queen, too, did not escape them, as you shall hear presently. For, three days before she was brought to bed, she got the news that the King was a prisoner.

This news terrified her so much, that every time she fell asleep in her bed, she fancied that her room was all filled with Saracens, and she would scream out, "Help! help!" And for fear lest it should kill the child she was carrying, she made an aged knight eighty years old sleep beside her bed, who held her hand; and whenever the Queen cried out, he would say, " Lady, do not be afraid, for I am here."

Before she was brought to bed, she turned every one out of her room, except this knight; and she knelt down before him, and begged him to grant her a boon. The knight promised it on his oath; and she said: " I desire you " said she " by the troth you have pledged me, that if the Saracens take this town, you will cut off my head before they take me." The knight answered, " Rest assured I will readily do so. For I always meant to kill you, before we should fall into their hands."

The Queen was delivered of a son, who was named John, and whom they called Tristan, because of the great sorrow in which he was born.

On the same day that she was brought to bed, she was told that the settlers from Pisa, Genoa, and the other republics, were bent upon leaving the town. The next day she summoned them all to her bedside, so that the whole room was packed: "Sirs," said she, " for God's sake do not abandon this town. For, look you, my lord the King would be lost, and all those who are prisoners, if this town were lost. And if you must go yet take pity on this poor woman lying here, and wait at least until I am recovered."

And they answered: " Lady, how can we do so? for we shall die of hunger in this town."

Then she told them, that they should not go for fear of famine, at least. " For I will have all the victuals in the town bought up, and retain you all henceforth at the King's expense."

They consulted together, and came back to her, and consented to remain. And the Queen God rest her soul! caused all the food in the town to be bought in, which cost her three hundred and sixty thousand pounds and more.

She was obliged to get up before her time, on account of surrendering the city to the Saracens. To Acre went the Queen, to await the King.

Whilst the King was waiting for his brother to be set free, he sent Brother Ralph, the preaching friar, to an Emir named Faracataye, one of the most upright Saracens that I ever met, with this message: That he marvelled much how he and the other Emirs could permit their treaty with him to be so disgracefully broken; for they had killed his sick men, whom they were specially bound to protect; and had used the timber of his engines to burn their bodies and the salted pork which they had also promised to keep.

Faracataye answered Brother Ralph: " Brother Ralph " said he " tell the King, that, by my faith, I cannot help it, and it grieves me; and tell him, from me, that he must show no signs of annoyance so long as he is in our hands, or he is a dead man." And he advised him to remember it as soon as he should be in Acre.

When the King reached his ship, he found that his people had got nothing ready for him neither bedding, nor clothes; and so, until we came to Acre, he was obliged to lie on the mattresses with which the Sultan had supplied him. And he wore the clothes which the Sultan had supplied and had made for him, which were of black samite trimmed with beaver and squirrels' fur, with a mass of tassels, all of gold. During our six days' voyage, I, being ill, sat always at the King's side; and he then told me how he had been taken prisoner, and how he had obtained his ransom and ours, by God's assistance; and he−made me relate how I had been taken on the water. And afterwards he said to me: that I ought to be very grateful to our Lord, since he had delivered me out of such great dangers.

Much did he lament the death of his brother the Count of Artois; and said that he would hardly have been withheld from visiting him, like the Count of Poitiers, but that he would have come to see him in the galleys.

Of the Count of Anjou, too, who was in his ship, he used to complain to me, that he never kept him company. One day he asked, what the Count of Anjou was doing, and was told, that he was playing at tables with my Lord Walter of Annemoes. And he walked up to them, staggering with weakness from his malady, and took the dice and the tables and flung them into the sea; and was very wroth with his brother for so soon taking to dice−playing. But my Lord Walter got the best of it, for the King flung all the money that was on the cloth (of which there was a great quantity) into his lap, and he carried it off.

Hereafter you shall hear of divers trials and tribulations that befell me in Acre; from which God in whom I trusted and still trust delivered me. And these matters I shall have written, so that they who hear them may put their trust in God in their sufferings, and He will aid them as He did me.


With regard to the Bishop of Soissons, whose death is here narrated; at the time of the retreat, when the men in the galleys were refusing to wait for the Ring, and the Legate and Patriarch were thinking only of their own safety, the Bishop of Soissons refused to leave the King's side, and remained with him all through the night's disasters.



A Journey

To continue my story. When the King arrived at Acre, all the processions of Acre came down to the beach to meet and welcome him with great rejoicings.

They brought me a palfrey. No sooner was I mounted, than my heart failed me, and I told the man who had brought me the palfrey that he must hold me, or I should fall off. With great difficulty they got me up the steps of the King's hall. I sat down in a window, and beside me a child of about ten years old, who was named Berthlemin, and was the bastard son of Lord Amy of Montbeliart, the Lord of Montfaucon. As I was sitting there, where no one paid any attention to me, there came up to me a valet, wearing a crimson coat with two yellow stripes, and saluted me, and asked me: whether I knew him? And I told him: No. And he told me that he came from Oiselair, my uncle's castle. I asked him: who was his master? and he said that: He had no master; and that he would stay with me, if I pleased; and I told him that I should be very glad.

He went forthwith, and fetched white coifs, and combed my hair very nicely. Then the King sent for me to come and dine with him; and I went to him just as I was, in the corslet that had been made for me in prison out of the snippings from my coverlet. The coverlet I left to the child Berthlemin, with four ells of camlin cloth, that had been given me out of charity in the prison.

Willikins, my new servant, came and carved before me; and procured some food for the child whilst we were at table.

My new valet told me that he had secured me a house quite close to the baths; so that I might wash off the filth and sweat that clung to me from the prison. When the evening came and I was in the bath, my heart failed me, and I fainted; and it was with great difficulty that they got me out of the bath and as far as my bed.

On the morrow, an old knight, named Lord Peter of Bourbonne, came to see me, and I retained him in my service. He raised on credit in the town as much as was needed to clothe and fit me out.

Directly I had my outfit, about four days after our arrival, I went to see the King; and he upbraided me, and told me that I had not done well in delaying so long to visit him; and he charged me, as I valued his love, that I should henceforth eat with him both morning and evening, until such time as he should have settled what we were to do whether to go to France, or to stay where we were.

I told the King that my Lord Peter of Courtenay owed me four hundred pounds of my wages, which he would not pay me. And the King answered that: He would see that the Lord of Courtenay paid me the money that he owed me; and so he did.

By Lord Peter of Bourbonne's advice we set aside forty pounds for our expenses; and the remainder we entrusted to the keeping of the Commender of the Palace of the Temple. When I had come to the end of the forty pounds, I sent Father John Caym of St. Menehould (whom I had retained over−seas) to fetch me another forty. The Commander in reply told him, that he had no money of mine, and did not know me. I went to Brother Reynold of Vichiers (who, through the King's influence, had been made Master of the Temple thanks to the favour he had done him in prison, of which I told you), and I complained to him of the Commander of the Palace, who would not restore me the money that I had entrusted to him On hearing this, he was very much alarmed; and said to me, " Sir de Joinville; I love you well; but rest assured, that, if you will not forego this claim of yours, I shall cease to be your friend; for you want to make people believe, that our brethren are thieves! " I told him that, please God, I would never forego my claim. In this distress of mind I remained for four days, like a man who has not a penny left to spend. At the end of the four days, the Master came up to me laughing, and told me, he had found my money. And how it was found was, that he had changed the first Commander of the Palace, and sent him to a hamlet called Saffran; and this man gave me back my money.

The Bishop of Acre (that was then), who was native of Provence, procured me the loan of the house belonging to the curate of St. Michael; and I had retained Caym of St. Menehould, who served me very well for two years better than any man I ever had about me.

Now as it happened there was a closet by the head of my bed, through which one entered the church. Now it so happened that a persistent fever seized me, by reason of which I took to my bed, and all my household as well. There was one day, for a whole day long, when I had never a creature to wait on me or help me to rise; and I looked for naught but death, from a token that was in my very ears; for there was not a day but they carried full twenty dead bodies or more to the church; and from my bed, every time that one was carried in, I could hear them chanting "Libera me Domine."

Then I wept, and gave thanks to God, and thus addressed him: "Lord, praised be thou for this destitution whereto thou hast brought me! for many lacqueys have I had to wait on my down−lying and up−rising. And I beseech Thee, Lord, that Thou wouldst aid and deliver me from this sickness, me and my people."

After these things, I demanded [my account] from Willikins, my new squire, and he brought it me; and I found that he had made away with over ten pounds tournois; and he told me, when I questioned him, that he would repay them to me when he could. I dismissed him, and told him that I would make him a present of what he owed me, for he had well earned it. I learnt from the knights of Burgundy when they came back from prison, that they had brought him out in their company, and that he was themost obliging thief that ever was; for when any knight was in want of a knife, or a strap, or gloves, or spurs, or anything, Willikins would go and steal it and give it to him.

During this time that the King was in Acre, the King's brothers took to playing dice; and the Count of Poitiers was so generous in his play, that, whenever he had won, he used to have the hall thrown open, and call in whatever gentlemen and ladies were there and would distribute money in handfuls, not only what he had won, but out of his own purse as well. And when he lost, he would buy up all the ready money on account from those he had been playing against his brother the Count of Anjou and the rest; and give the whole away, both his own money and the other people's.


The King's two eldest brothers were favourably regarded by the priestly chroniclers, and held up with himself as examples of his mother's excellent education. Geoffrey of Beaulieu hazards a quotation from their brother of Sicily that neither Robert nor Alphonso was ever accused of a deadly sin! On the subject of the King of Sicily he is more reticent, possibly because his history was so well known that nobody would have believed him. Even while he was only Count of Anjou the King had several times to interfere in his jurisdiction in the interests of justice as in a case where Charles tries to force a man to sell him a piece of land; and on another occasion, when the uncle of the Count of Vend™me appeals against a civil decision of his court, and subsequent arbitrary imprisonment.


WHILST we were staying thus in Acre, the King sent for his brothers and the Count of Flanders and the other rich men one Sunday, and spoke to them as follows: " Sirs, my lady mother the Queen has sent to me and used her utmost entreaties, that I should go back to France; for my kingdom is in great danger, because I have no peace nor truce with the King of England. The men of this country, with whom I have talked, tell me, that, if I go, this country is lost; for all those that are in Acre will come away after me, for that no one will dare to remain in it with so few men. Therefore I beg you" said he "to think it over; and since the matter is a weighty one, I grant you a respite of a week from now, before you give your answer as to what you think best." [The Legate] said to me: that he did not see how the King could possibly remain; and entreated me very particularly to share his ship.

I answered him, that: It was out of my power to do so, for that I possessed nothing, as he knew, having lost everything in the water when I was captured. And this answer I gave, not because I should not have very much liked to go with him, but because of something that my first cousin the Lord of Boulaincourt God rest his soul! said to me when I went over−seas. "You are going away over−seas" said he " Now, take care how you come back; for there is no knight, be he poor or rich, but will be dishonoured, if he return and leave in the Saracens' hands those poor servants of Our Lord in whose company he set out."

The Legate was angry with me, and told me, I ought not to have refused.

On the next Sunday we came again before the King; and then the King asked his brothers and the other barons and the Count of Flanders, what advice they meant to give him? to go? or to stay? They all replied: that they had charged my Lord Guy Malvoisin with the advice that they wished to give the King.

The King ordered him to speak as they had charged him; and he said as follows: " Sir, your brothers and the rich men that are here, have considered the state of your affairs, and perceive, that it is impossible for you to remain in this country, with credit to yourself or to your kingdom. For, of all the knights who started in your company, of whom you led two thousand eight hundred to Cyprus, there are not in this town one hundred left. Wherefore they urge you, Sir, to get you gone to France, there to procure men and money, that you may return again speedily to this country, and avenge you on the enemies of God, who have kept you in their prison."

The King would not rest content with what Lord Guy Malvoisin had said, but asked the Count of Anjou, and the Count of Poitiers, and the Count of Flanders, and several other rich men who sat near them, and they all agreed with Lord Guy Malvoisin.

The Legate asked Count John of Jaffa, who was sitting among them, what was his opinion on the matter. The Count of Jaffa begged him to refrain from asking: "For this reason " said he "that my castles are at stake; and if I urge the King to stay, it will be thought that I do so for my own ends." Then the King desired him in the most definite manner, to say what he thought; and he replied: That if the King could manage to hold his ground for the space of a year, he would gain great honour by remaining. Then the Legate asked those who sat beyond the Count of Jaffa; and they all agreed with Lord Guy Malvoisin. I was seated about the fourteenth off from the Legate. He asked me, what I thought about it, and I answered him, that I quite agreed with the Count of Jaffa. And the Legate said to me angrily: How was it possible for the King to hold the field with so few men as he had? I too replied in anger (for it seemed to me that his words were meant as a home thrust): "Well, Sir, I will tell you how, since you wish it. It is said, Sir whether truly or not, I do not know that the King has not yet spent any of his own money, only the money of the clergy. Now let the King bring some of his own money into use, and let him send and raise knights in the Morea and beyond the seas; and when they hear the news that the King is giving handsome pay, then knights will flock in to him from all quarters, so that he will be able to hold the field for a year, please God. And, through his staying, those poor prisoners will be delivered, who have been captured in the service of God and himself, who will never get out again, if the King goes away. "

There was not a man present but had some of his nearest and dearest in prison, so that no one took up my words; but instead, they all began to weep.

After me, the Legate put the question to my Lord William of Beaumont, who, at that time, was Marshall of France, and he said, that I had spoken very well. " And I will tell you why . . ." he began. But the good knight, Lord John of Beaumont, who was his uncle, and had a great desire to go back to France, shouted him down very rudely; and said to him: " What do you mean? you filthy fellow! Sit down again, and hold your tongue! " The King said to him: " Sir John, you do ill; let him speak." "Sir, I shall certainly not!" He was obliged to be silent; and after that nobody else agreed with me, except the Lord of Chatenay.

Then the King said to us: " Sirs, I have heard you attentively; and I will give you my answer this day week, as to what I think fit to do."

No sooner had we left the place than I was attacked on all sides: " Well, Sir de Joinville, the King must be mad, if he listens to you, contrary to the whole council of the kingdom of France! " As soon as the tables were laid, I seated myself beside the King at the board, in the place where he always made me sit, when his brothers were not there. Not a word did he speak to me all the time that the meal lasted; which was not his wont, for he always took some notice of me at table. And truly I thought that he was angry with me, because I had said, that he had not yet spent any of his own money, whereas he spent it generously. Whilst the King was hearing his grace, I walked up to an iron−barred window, that was in a recess by the head of the King's bed, and stood with my arms thrust through the window−bars, thinking, that if the King went away to France, I would go and join the Prince of Antioch (who considered me a kinsman, and had sent for me) until another expedition should come out to the country, by which the prisoners might be delivered, according to the advice that the Lord of Boulaincourt had given me.

As I was standing there, the King came and leant over my shoulder and placed both his hands upon my head. And I thought that it was Lord Philip of Annemoes, who had plagued me enough that day, because of the advice I had given the King; and I said: " Leave me in peace, Lord Philip! " By mishap, as I jerked my head, the King's hand slipped down over my face, and I recognised the King by an emerald that he wore on his finger. And he said to me: " Keep still; for I wish to ask you, how you could make so bold a young man like you as to venture to advise me to stay here, in opposition to all the great men and wise men of France, who advise me to go away."

" Sir," said I, "if I had such wickedness in my own heart, nothing should induce me to advise you to commit it." " Do you mean," said he, "that I should be doing a wrong thing if I went away?"

" So help me God; yes, Sir," quoth I. And he said: " If I stay, will you stay? " And I told him: "Yes, by some means; either at my own charge or that of someone else." " Now you may be quite easy" said he "for I am very much obliged to you for the advice you have given me. But do not tell anybody, all this week." I was the easier for this conversation, and defended myself the more boldly against my assailants. They call the natives of that country "colts "; 1 so Lord Peter of Avalon sent me word that I must defend myself against those who called me a '`colt"; and I told them: I would rather be a colt than a turn−tail hack such as they were.

The next Sunday, we all came again before the King, and when the King saw that we were all arrived, he crossed his lips, and spoke to us as follows: (having first invoked the aid of the Holy Spirit as I suppose; for my lady mother told me that whenever I had anything I wanted to say, I must invoke the aid of the Holy Ghost, and cross my lips.)

The King's speech was on this wise: "Sirs," quoth he, " I thank you very much, all those of

* "Poullains"; possibly from the Apulian settlers.

you who have counselled my going to France; and I likewise give thanks to those who have counselled my staying; but I have reflected, that if I stay I see no risk of my kingdom coming to grief, for my lady the Queen has plenty of people to defend it. Moreover, I have considered what the barons of this country say: that, if I go away, the kingdom of Jerusalem is lost, since no one will dare to remain behind in it. And I have considered that on no account whatever should I permit the kingdom of Jerusalem to be lost, which I came hither to preserve and to conquer. And so my decision is, that here I am, and here I stay. Therefore I bid you you rich men that are here, and all other knights who are willing to stay with me, come and speak freely to me; and I will give you so much, that the fault shall be yours, not mine, if you will not remain."

Many who heard this speech were confounded; and there were many who wept.


IT is said that the King ordered his brothers to return to France. I do not know whether it was by their own request, or by the King's will.

This announcement that the King made of remaining was about the feast of St. John. Now it so happened that on the feast of St. James, whose pilgrim I was, and who had shown me many favours, the King, having returned to his chamber after mass, sent for such of his council as had remained with him: to wit, Lord Peter, the Chamberlain, who was the most loyal man and the most upright that ever I saw in a king's court; that good knight and paladin my Lord Geoffrey of Sergines; and Lord Giles le Brun, both a good knight and a paladin, whom the King had made Constable of France after the death of the paladin Lord Humbert of Beaujeu.

With these the King conversed as follows loudly, as though in anger: " Sirs, it is already a month since my staying here was made known; and as yet I have no tidings that you have retained me any knights."

" Sir," said they, " we cannot help it, for everyone sets such a high price on himself, because they want to go home, that we should not dare give them what they ask."

"And who," said the King "is the cheapest you can get? "

" Why, Sir," said they, " the Seneschal of Champagne; but we should not dare give him what he asks." I was in the King's room, and heard these words.

Then said the King: " Call the Seneschal hither." I went to him, and kneeled down before him; and he made me sit down, and spoke thus to me: " Seneschal, you know that I have loved you well; and now my people tell me that they find you a hard bargainer. How is this? " " Sir " said I " I cannot help it; for as you know I was taken prisoner on the water; and not a single thing was left me, but I lost all that I had."

He asked me: How much I was asking.' and I said, that I was asking two thousand pounds till Easter, for the two−thirds of the year.

"Now, tell me," said he "have you come to terms with any knights? " And I said " Yes; with Lord Peter of Pontmoulain, he and two other knights−bannerets, who cost each four hundred pounds to Easter."

He reckoned it up on his fingers: " That makes " said he " twelve hundred pounds that your new knights will cost."

" Well then, consider, Sir " said I " whether I shall not want quite eight hundred pounds to mount and arm myself and to feed my knights, for you do not want us to eat in your house."

Then said he to his followers: "Really," said he "I do not see anything excessive in this; and I retain you," he said to me.

After these things, the King's brothers made ready their fleet, together with the other rich men who were in Acre. On their departure, the Count of Poitiers borrowed jewels from those who were going to France, and bestowed them well and liberally on us who were staying behind. Much did both brothers beseech me to have a care of the King; and told me that there was no one remaining behind on whom they so much relied.

When the Count of Anjou saw that he must go aboard his ship, he made such mourning that everybody was astonished; but all the same he went off to France.

No great while after the King's brothers had left Acre, messengers from the Emperor Frederick came to the King bringing a letter of credentials, and told the King, that the Emperor had sent them for our deliverance. They showed the King letters which the Emperor was sending to the Sultan who was dead (which the Emperor did not know), and the Emperor bade him pay heed to his messengers in the matter of the King's deliverance. Many people said, that it was just as well for us that the messengers did not find us in prison; for it was thought that the Emperor had sent his messengers to hinder, rather than to help us. Finding us released, the messengers went away. Whilst the King was at Acre, the Sultan of Damascus sent his messengers to the King, complaining greatly of the Emirs of Egypt, who had killed his cousin the Sultan, and promising the King, that, if he would help him, he would yield up to him the kingdom of Jerusalem, which was in his hands. The King decided that he would reply through his own messengers, whom he despatched to the Sultan of Damascus.

With them, there went also Brother Ives the Breton, of the Order of the Preaching Friars, who knew Arabic.

On the way from their dwelling to the Sultan's palace, Brother Ives saw an old woman crossing the street, who carried in her right hand a pannikin full of fire, and in the left a flask full of water. "What are you going to do with this?" Brother Ives asked her. She answered: That, with the fire she was going to burn up Heaven; and with the water she was going to quench Hell, that there might be no such things any more. And he asked her: " Why do you want to do that? " " Because I want no one ever to do right for the sake of the reward of Heaven, nor for fear of Hell, but simply to win the love of God, which is worth all the rest, and in which consisteth all our good."

John the Armenian, who was the King's master of artillery, went about that time to Damascus to buy horn and glue to make cross−bows, and saw an old man far advanced in years sitting in the booths of Damascus. This old man called him and asked him: whether he were a Christian? And he told him: Yes. And he said to him: " You Christians must hate one another: for I have seen the time when King Baldwin of Jerusalem, who was a leper, routed Saladin, though he had but three hundred men−at−arms, and Saladin three millions; and now your sins have brought you to such a pass, that we capture you in the open like beasts." Thereupon John the Armenian told him, that he might hold his peace about the sins of the Christians, seeing the sins the Saracens commit which are much greater. And the Saracen replied: That was a foolish answer. " Why? " asked John. He said he would tell him; but that first he would ask him a question. And he asked him, whether he had not a child? "Yes," replied John, "a son." "And would you," asked he, "be more angry with me, or with your son, if either of us were to strike you? " He answered: With his son. "Then," said the Saracen, " thus do I answer you. You Christians are sons of God, called after His name, Christ; and to you He has shown grace in giving you teachers, whereby you may know good from evil; wherefore God is more wroth with you for a little sin, than with us for a big, who know no better, and are blinded. For we deem ourself free of all sin, if we may but wash in water before we die; since Mahomet hath said: in death, by water shall we be saved."

John the Armenian was in my company, after I returned from over−seas and was on my way to Paris; and as we were at meat in the pavilion, a swarm of poor people kept begging in God's name and made a great disturbance. One of our followers who was there ordered one of the valets to " Up and drive out those beggars!" "Ah! " said John the Armenian, " that is ill spoken; for if the King of France were to send to each of us presently by his messengers a hundred marks of silver, we should not drive them out. Yet you are for driving away those envoys who offer all that you can ask; for they ask in God's name, meaning that you should give of your wealth, and they will give you God. The saints too say, that, as water quenches fire, so alms quench sin."


About this period, the regular "King's wages" for a knight on crusade were eight shillings a day with his board, or ten without. He was expected to bring at least two attendants with him. A banneret got higher pay_ about three hundred pounds a year, and was expected to bring at least five attendants.

The pious anecdotes in this chapter have been shortened in the translation.


WHILST the King was dwelling in Acre, there came to him messengers from the Old Man of the Mountain. When the King returned from mass, he made them come before him. The King made them be seated in the following order. In front was an Emir, well dressed and well equipped; and behind his Emir was a youth well equipped, grasping three knives in his hand; so that if the Emir had been rejected, he might have offered these three knives to the King, in token of defiance. Behind him who held the three knives, there was another that carried a sheet wound around his arm, which he too would have presented to the King for a shroud to wrap him in, had he refused the request of the Old Man of the Mountain.

The King bade the Emir say his pleasure; and the Emir delivered to him letters of credentials, and spoke as follows: " My lord sends to ask you, whether you know him? " The King replied: that he did not know him, for he had never seen him; although he had heard talk of him. " Then since you have heard of my lord, I marvel greatly, that out of your possessions you have not sent him such gifts as would have secured him for your friend; even as the Emperor of Germany, the King of Hungary, the Sultan of Egypt, and the rest do every year; because they know for certain, that they can only live as long as it shall please my lord. And if you do not choose to do this, then let him receive quittance of the tribute that he owes to the Hospital and the Temple, and he will consider your score cancelled."

At that time he used to pay tribute to the Temple and the Hospital; for they feared the Assassins not at all, seeing that the Old Man of the Mountain had nothing to gain by having the Master of the Temple or Hospital put to death; for he knew very well, that if he had one of them killed, he was immediately replaced by another just as good; and for that reason he did not want to waste his Assassins in a quarter where he had nothing to gain by it.

The King in reply told the Emir to come to the afternoon levee.

When the Emir came again, he found the King seated thus: the Master of the Hospital on one side, and the Master of the Temple on the other. Then the King bade him repeat what he had said to him in the morning; and he replied that he had no mind to repeat it, save before those who had been with the King in the morning.

Then the two Masters said to him: " We command you to speak it." And he said, that, since they commanded him, he would repeat it to them.

Then the two Masters caused him to be told in Arabic, that he was to come and speak with them the next day at the Hospital; which he did.

Then the two Masters said to him (through the interpreters) that his lord was a very bold man, to dare to send such harsh language to the King; and they told him that were it not for love of the unbelievers; and similarly all Mahomet's disciples call all the disciples of Ali unbelievers.

One of the points of the law of Ali, is that when a man dies in executing his lord's commands, his soul passes into a happier body than she was in before; and for this reason the Assassins make no difficulty about losing their lives when their lord commands them, because they believe that they will be happier by far after death, than they were before.

The other point is this; that they think that no man can die, save on the appointed day; which is a thing no one ought to believe, for God has power to prolong our lives and to shorten them. And this the Bedouins believe, and this is why they will not wear armour when they go into battle.

Brother Ives found a book at the head of the Old Man's bed, in which were written several sayings of Our Lord to St. Peter, when he walked on earth. And Brother Ives said to him, "Ha! for God's sake, Sir, read this book often; for these are passing good sayings." The Old Man told him that he often did so: " For I hold my lord St. Peter very dear; for in the beginning of the world, the soul of Abel, when he was slain, passed, into the body of Noah; and when Noah died, it returned in the body of Abraham; and from the body of Abraham when he died, it passed into the body of Saint Peter, when God came upon earth."

When Brother Ives heard this, he showed him that his belief was not a right one, and taught him many good sayings; but the Old Man would not heed him. All these things Brother Ives told to the King, after he returned to us.

When the Old Man went riding, a crier went before him, carrying a Danish axe with a long handle all covered with silver, and stuck full of knives, who kept crying out: " Make way before him who bears the death of kings in his hands! "

I had forgotten to tell you the answer that the King made to the Sultan of Damascus; which was: that he was not minded to join him, until he should know whether the Emirs of Egypt would carry out the truce they had broken; that he would send to them; and that, if they would not make good the broken truce, he would willingly help him to avenge his cousin, the Sultan of Egypt, whom they had slain. Whilst the King was at Acre, he sent my lord John of Valenciennes into Egypt, who demanded of the Emirs that they should make amends for the wrongs and injuries that they had done the King. They told him, that they would readily do so, provided the King would ally himself with them against the Sultan of Damascus. My lord John of Valenciennes blamed them much for the great wrongs they had done the King, which have been already mentioned; and advised them to soften the King's heart towards them, by sending him all the knights whom they were keeping in prison. They did so; and sent him into the bargain all the bones of Count Walter of Brienne, to lay in consecrated ground.

When Lord John of Valenciennes returned to Acre, with two hundred knights whom he brought back out of prison, (not counting other folk), my Lady of Sajetta, who was cousin to Count Walter of Brienne and sister to Lord Walter the Lord of Rinel, whose daughter John lord of Joinville took to wife later on, after he returned from over−seas, this same Lady of Sajetta took the bones of Count Walter and had them buried in the Hospital at Acre. And she arranged the service thus: every knight offered a candle and a silver penny, and the King offered a candle and a besant; all at the expense of my Lady of Sajetta. People were much surprised at the King's doing this, for he had never been known to offer anything save at his own expense, but he did it out of politeness.

Amongst the knights whom Lord John of Valenciennes brought back, I found full forty of the Court of Champagne.

I had coats and surcoats of miniver made for them, and led them before the King, and begged him to enable them to remain with him. The King heard what they were asking, and was silent; and a knight of his council, said that I did not do well to bring such additions to the King, when he had already seven thousand liveries too many. And I said to him: that, more was the pity he could say so, and that, for our part, we of Champagne had lost no less than thirty−five knights, all bannerets, of the Court of Champagne; and, said I, "The King will not do well, if he listens to you, when he is in such need of knights." After this speech I fell to weeping violently; and the King told me. to be silent and he would give them all that I had asked. The King received them just as I wished, and placed them in my battalion.

The King replied to the messengers from Egypt, that he would make no truce with them, unless they sent him all the heads of Christians that hung round the walls of Cairo, since the time when the Count of Bar and the Count of Montfort were taken; and unless they sent him all the children who had been taken young and become renegades; and unless they quitted him of the two hundred thousand pounds that he still owed them.

With the messengers of the Egyptian Emirs, the King sent my Lord John of Valenciennes, a valiant man and wise.

At the beginning of Lent, the King made ready, with all the followers he had, to go and fortify Cesarea, which the Saracens had rased and which was ten leagues distant on the road to Jerusalem.

Lord Ralph of Soissons, who had remained at Acre sick, went with the King to fortify Cesarea. I know not how it was, save by the will of God that they did us no mischief all that year.


THE Count of Brienne's way of life is worthy of record. For several years he was Count of Jaffa, and by his vigour defended that fortress for a long time, and lived chiefly on what he won from the Saracens and other enemies of the faith. Once it happened that he discomfited a great number of Saracens, who were convoying a great quantity of cloth of gold and of silk, all of which fell into his hands; and when he had got it, he divided it all among his knights at Jaffa, so that nothing whatever was left over for himself.

It was his custom, when he had taken leave of his knights, to shut himself up in his chapel, and remain a long while in prayer, before going to bed

* This episode is inserted here from its original place in chapter VIII, where it confuses the narrative. at night with his wife; who was a very good lady and a wise, and sister to the King of Cyprus.

The Emperor of Persia, whose name was Barbacan, who had been driven out by one of the Tartar princes, came with his army into the kingdom of Jerusalem, and took the castle of Tiberias, which Lord Eudes of Montbeliart the Constable had fortified, who was Lord of Tiberias by right of his wife. Very great harm he did to our people; for he destroyed everything that he came across, except Castle Pilgrim, and Acre, and Sefed, and except Jaffa. And when he had done all this mischief, he drew off to Gaza to meet the Sultan of Egypt, who was coming there to oppress and harass our people. The barons of the country and the Patriarch decided to march against him, before the Sultan of Egypt should arrive. And to help them, they sent for the Sultan of Emessa, one of the best knights in all pagandom, to whom they showed such honour in Acre, that they spread cloth of gold and silk along the way by which he was to pass. They came on as far as Jaffa, our people and the Sultan with them.

The Patriarch kept Count Walter under sentence of excommunication because he would not give up to him a tower that he had in Jaffa, which they called "the Patriarch's Tower." Our people besought Count Walter to go with them to fight the Emperor of Persia; and he said that he would do so gladly, but that the Patriarch must absolve him until their return. The Patriarch would do nothing of the sort; however Count Walter got ready and went out with them. Our people formed themselves into three divisions, of which Count Walter had one, the Sultan of Emessa another, and the Patriarch and those belonging to the country another. In the Count of Brienne's division were the Hospitallers.

They rode on until the enemy came in sight, As soon as our people saw them, they halted, and the enemy formed up also in three divisions. Whilst the Kharismins were marshalling their ranks, Count Walter came to our people and cried to them, "Sirs, in God's name, let us charge them! we are giving them time by halting here!" But not one could he get to listen to him. Thereupon Count Walter came to the Patriarch and asked for absolution in the manner aforesaid, but the Patriarch would not yield a jot. With the Count of Brienne there was a gallant clerk that was Bishop of Ramah, who had performed many fair and knightly deeds in the Count's company. And he said to the Count: `'Vex not your conscience if the Patriarch will not absolve you; for he is wrong, and you are right, and I absolve you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Let us charge them!"

Then they clapped spurs to their horses and engaged with the division of the Persian Emperor, which was the furthest away.

In this fight, enormous numbers were slain on both sides, and there Count Walter was taken prisoner; for all our people fled away so basely, that some of them in despair drowned themselves in the sea.

What made them so despairing, was, that one of the Emperor of Persia's divisions engaged with the Sultan of Emessa, and he stood his ground so resolutely that, of two thousand Turks, whom he led thither, only fourteen score were left when he quitted the field.

The Emperor and his advisers decided to go and besiege the Sultan in the castle of Emessa, for they supposed that he could scarcely hold out long, seeing the number of followers that he had lost. Perceiving this, the Sultan went to his followers, and told them, that he should go out and fight them, for, if he stayed to be besieged, he would be undone. He laid his plans in this wise. All those of his followers who were ill armed he sent into a valley where there was some little cover, and directly they heard the Sultan's drums beat, they broke into the Sultan's camp from the rear, and fell to killing the women and children. The Emperor, who had marched out into the open to fight the Sultan in front of him, directly he heard the cries of his people, turned back into the camp to succour their wives and children; and then the Sultan charged them, he and his men; and the result was so excellent, that of twenty−five thousand that they were to begin with, not a man nor woman was left.

Before the Emperor of Persia went against Emessa, he led Count Walter in front of Jaffa, and they hanged him by the arms to a gibbet and told him they would not take him down, until they should be in possession of the castle of Jaffa. Whilst he was hanging by the arms, he shouted to those in the castle, that, whatever was done to him, they were not to surrender the town; and that, if they did surrender it, he would kill them with his own hands.

Thereupon the Emperor sent Count Walter to Cairo, as a present to the Sultan, together with the Master of the Hospital, and several prisoners whom he had taken. Those who escorted the Count to Cairo were about three hundred, and were not slain when the Emperor perished before Emessa. And these [three hundred] Khorasmins engaged us on the Friday when they came and attacked us on foot. Their banners were vermilion, and forked right up to the lance, and on the ends of the lances they had carved horse−heads, which looked like the heads of devils.

Some of the merchants of Cairo pursued the Sultan with clamours for justice on Count Walter, in return for all the mischief he had done them; so the Sultan made him over to them that they might wreak their vengeance on him. And they went and slew him in prison and put him to a martyr's death; wherefore we may well believe that he is in heaven and numbered among the martyrs.


WHILST the King was fortifying Cesarea, the messengers from the Tartars returned; and we will tell you what news they brought. I told you before, how whilst the King was tarrying in Cyprus, there came to him messengers from the Tartars, and gave him to understand, that they would help him to conquer the kingdom of Jerusalem from the Saracens. The King sent them in return messengers of his own, and by these messengers he sent them a chapel, which he had caused to be made for them of scarlet cloth; and to lure them to our faith, he caused to be figured in the chapel all our creed, the Annunciation of the Angel, the Nativity, the Baptism wherewith God was baptised, and all the Passion, and Ascension, and the coming of the Holy Ghost; together with chalices, books, and all that is needful for singing mass; and two preaching friars to sing masses before them.

The King's messengers put in at the port of Antioch, and from Antioch to the great Tartar King they found it a full year's journey, riding ten leagues each day. They found all the land subject to the Tartars, and many cities which they had destroyed, and great piles of dead men's bones. They inquired, how they had arrived at such a height of power, whereby so many men were dead and overthrown; and the manner of it was as they related to the King.

The Tartars, they said, had their origin in a great sandy plain, where nothing good grew. This plain began at certain marvellous great rocks, that lie at the end of the world towards the East; which rocks no man has ever crossed, as the Tartars testify; and they said that it was there that the race of Gog and Magog were confined, who are to come at the end of the world, when Antichrist shall come to destroy it.

In this plain dwelt the race of the Tartars, and were subject to Prester John, and to the Emperor of the Persians, whose land adjoined his, and to several other infidel kings to whom they paid tribute and service each year for the pasturage of their flocks; for they lived by these alone.

This Prester John, and the Emperor of Persia, and the other kings held the Tartars in such contempt, that when they brought them their rents, they would not admit them to their faces, but used to turn their backs on them.

Amongst them was a certain wise man, who travelled all through the plains, and talked to the wise men of the plains and the camps, and showed them in what slavery they were living, and begged them all to take counsel together, how they might escape from the bondage in which they were held. Finally he persuaded them to meet together one and all, at the end of the plain, close to Prester John's land, and explained the matter to them; and they replied that, if he would plan, they would act. Then he told them, that they would be unable to carry out any enterprise, unless they had a king and lord over them. And he taught them in what wise they must get them a king, and they obeyed him. And it was in this wise: There were fifty−two tribes and each tribe was to bring him an arrow inscribed with their names; and by the consent of the whole people, it was agreed that these fifty−two arrows should be laid before a child of five years old, and the one which the child should pick up first, out of that tribe they should take a king.

When the child had lifted one of the arrows, the wise man made all the other tribes withdraw, and it was so arranged, that the tribe from whom a king was to be chosen, should choose from amongst themselves fifty−two of the wisest and best men they had.

When they were chosen, each of them brought to the place an arrow marked with his name, and it was agreed that he whose arrow the child should pick up, the same should be king. And as chance had it, the child picked up the arrow of that very same wise man who had taught them. The people were so delighted, that everyone rejoiced exceedingly.

He made them be silent, and said to them: "Sirs, if you wish me to be your king, you must swear to me by Him who made heaven and earth that you will keep my commandments." And they swore it. The ordinances he gave them were designed to keep the people at peace; and were on this wise: that no man should steal his neighbour's goods, neither should any man strike another, unless he wished to lose his hand; neither should any man consort with his neighbour's wife nor daughter, unless he would lose his hand or his life. Many other good ordinances he gave them with a view to peace.

After he had ordered and marshalled them, he said to them: "Sirs, the most powerful enemy that we have, is Prester John; and I command you that to−morrow you be all prepared and ready to attack him, and if so be that he defeat us, which God forfend, let each one shift for himself. And if we defeat him, my orders are, that the slaughter continue for three days and three nights; and let no man be so bold as to lay his hand on any booty, neither withhold it from slaying. For when we shall have secured the victory, I will divide the spoil amongst you so well and fairly, that every man shall be well content." To this they all agreed.

The next day, they attacked their enemies, and by God's will, defeated them. All those whom they found armed for defence, they slew, every one, and those whom they found in a religious dress, priests and other orders, these they did not slay.

The rest of the people in Prester John's land, who were not in the fight, all made submission to them.

One of the princes of one of these tribes was lost for three months, during which time they had no tidings of him, and when he returned, he was neither hungry nor thirsty, and fancied that he had only been absent an evening at most. This story that he brought back was as follows: that he had come to a very high hill, and on the top had met with the most beautiful people that he had ever seen, the best clad, the best adorned. On the summit of the hill, he saw a King sitting, fairer than all the rest, better clad and better adorned upon a throne of gold. On his right sat six crowned kings, richly adorned with precious stones: and as many more on his left.

Close behind him at his right hand there knelt a Queen, who was telling and imploring him to consider his people. To his left was a very handsome man who had two wings that shone like the sun, and all about the King was a throng of beautiful folk with wings. The King called this Prince and said to him: "Thou art come from the Tartar camp." And he replied, "Sir, that is so." "Thou shalt go hence to them, and shalt tell them that thou hast seen me, who am Lord of heaven and earth; and shalt bid them give thanks to me for the victory that I gave them over Prester John and his people. Tell them, moreover, from me, that I give them power to put all the earth in subjection under them."

" Sir," said the Prince "how shall they believe me? " "Thou shalt bid them believe thee by this token; that thou shalt give battle to the Emperor of Persia, who shall fight against thee with three hundred thousand men−at−arms and more. Before thou go to fight with him, thou shalt desire of thy King to give thee the priests and men of religion, whom he took in the battle; and that which these shall testify to thee, do thou firmly believe, thou and thy people." "Sir," said he, " I cannot find my way, unless thou give me a guide." Then the King turned to a great host of knights, so well armed that they were a wonder to behold, and he called, and said, "Come hither, George," and the one he called came and knelt down. And the King said to him, "Arise, and guide me this man to his dwelling in safety. " And he did so in a twinkling.

So soon as his people saw him, they made great rejoicings, and all the army likewise, past telling. He asked the great King for the priests, and he gave them to him; and this Prince and all his people received their teachings with such a good grace that they were all baptized. After these things, he picked three hundred men−at−arms, and had them confessed and equipped, and went forth to fight the Emperor of Persia, and overthrew him and drove him from his kingdom; and he came fleeing as far as the kingdom of Jerusalem; and this was the Emperor who overthrew our people and took prisoner Count Walter of Brienne.

The people of this Christian Prince were so numerous, that the King's messengers told us, that they had in their camp eight hundred tented waggons. Their food was as follows: they ate no bread, but lived on meat and milk. Horseflesh is their best meat, and they put it to steep in sauces and then to dry, until it can be cut like black bread. The best and strongest drink they have is mare's milk fermented with herbs. The great King of the Tartars received the present of a horse laden with flour that had come from a distance of three months' journey, and he gave it to the King's messengers.

There are many Christian peoples among them, who profess the Greek faith, both those of whom we have spoken and others. These they send against the Saracens when they wish to make war on them; and when they have to do with Christians, they send Saracens against them. Women of all sorts that are childless go into battle with them; and they give soldier's pay to the women too, just the same as to the men, according to their strength. Moreover the King's messengers said that the soldiers, male and female, used to eat together in the houses of the rich men to whom they belonged; and the men durst not meddle in any way with the women, because of the law that their first King gave them. They brought all sorts of meats into the camp. They eat everything. Those women that have children, carry them from place to place, tend them, and prepare the food for them that go to battle. The raw meat they put between their saddles and their horse cloths, and when the blood is well out of it, they eat it quite raw.

What they cannot eat, they throw into a leathern bag; and when they are hungry, they just open the bag, and eat the stalest first. Thus, I saw a Khorasmin, one of the Persian Emperor's followers, who used to keep guard over us in prison, and whenever he opened his bag, we used to hold our noses, for we could not endure the stench that came out of the bag.

Now let us return to our subject and tell, how, when the great King of the Tartars had received the messengers and the gifts, he sent to fetch several kings, under safe−conduct, who had not yet come to his mercy; and had the chapel pitched for them to see, and said to them as follows: " Sirs, the King of France has submitted himself to us, and behold! here is the tribute that he sends us, and unless you come to our mercy, we will send for him to destroy you." Many there were, who, for fear of the King of France, came to that King's mercy.

They gave the King's messengers letters from their great King to the King of France, which ran as follows: " A good thing is Peace; for in a land of peace, those that go on four feet, eat the grass of the field in peace; and they that go on two, till the earth whence all good things in peace proceed. This is for a warning unto thee, for thou canst not obtain peace save from us, and King such−an−one and such−an−one (naming many), all of them have we put to the sword. Therefore we bid thee send us so much of thy gold and of thy silver each year, that thou mayst keep our friendship. And if thou cost not, then will we destroy thee and thy people, even as we have done to those whom we have named."

And know that the King was very sorry that he had ever sent to them.


Now let us return to our subject, and tell, how, whilst the King was fortifying Cesarea, there came to the camp Lord Alenard of Semingham, who told us that he had built his ship in the realm of Norway, which lies at the end of the world towards the West; and in coming to join the King, he went all round Spain, and was obliged to pass through the Straits of Morocco. He passed through great perils before he reached us. The King retained him, with nine other knights besides. And he told us, that in Norway the summer nights are so short, that there is no night when one does not see both the brightness of the departing and of the dawning day.

He and his followers took to hunting lions, and attacked several in a most dangerous fashion; for they rode full gallop and shot at the lion as they went by; and when they had shot, the lion came after them, and would have caught them up and devoured them, but in the nick of time they let fall a piece of old cloth; and the lion would check at the cloth and rend it and devour it, thinking that he had got hold of a man. And whilst he was tearing the cloth, another would turn back and shoot at him; and the lion would drop the cloth and rush at him; and as soon as he let fall another piece of cloth, the lion would turn his attention again to the rag, and so it went on until the lions perished by their arrows.

Whilst the King was fortifying Cesarea he was joined by Lord Narjot of Toucy. The King used to say that he was his cousin, for he was descended from one of the sisters of King Philip, whom the Emperor himself had to wife. The King retained him with nine other knights for a year; and then he departed, and went away back to Constantinople, whence he had come. He told the King, that the Emperor of Constantinople with the other rich men in that city, were leagued at that time with a race called Comninians, that they might have their help against Vataces, who at that time was Emperor of the Greeks. And in order that the alliance might be faithfully observed, the Emperor and the rich men with him had to bleed themselves and put some of their blood into a great silver goblet. And the King of the Comninians and the rich men with him did the same, and mingled their blood with the blood of our people, and tempered it with wine and water, and drank of it, and our people likewise, and then they said that they were " blood−brothers."

Further, they drove a dog between our people and theirs, and they, and our people too, hacked the dog in pieces with their swords; and said, so might they be cut in pieces if they failed one another.

Further, he related to us a most wonderful thing that took place whilst he was in the camp of the Comninians how a rich knight had died, and they had dug a deep, wide grave for him in the ground, and had seated him with great pomp and richly dressed in a chair, and put in with him the best horse that he had, and the best serjeant all alive. Before the serjeant was placed in the grave with his lord, he came before the King of the Comninians and the other rich lords, and as he took leave of them, they placed in his sash a great quantity of gold and silver, and said each to him: "When I come into the other world thou shalt give back to me that which I now deposit with thee! " And he said: " That will I readily do." The great King of the Comninians entrusted to him some letters addressed to their first King, telling him that he had lived like a good and gallant man, and bidding him reward him for his services. When this was done, they placed him alive in the grave with his master and the living horse, and then they threw across the grave planks firmly secured, and all the host came running with earth and stones. And before they slept, they had raised above the grave a great mound, in memory of those whom they had buried there.

Whilst the King was fortifying Cesarea, I went to his lodging to visit him. Directly he saw me enter his chamber, where he was talking to the Legate, he rose and drew me aside, and, " You know," said the King to me, I' that I have only retained you until Easter; now I beg you to tell me what I must give you for a year from Easter." And I told him: that I did not want him to give me any more of his money; but that I would like to make another bargain with him. "Because," I said, "you always get angry when anyone asks you for anything; therefore I want you to make a compact with me, that if I ask you for anything in the course of this year, you will not be angry; and that if you refuse me, I will not be angry." When he heard this, he burst out laughing heartily, and told me that he retained me on that understanding. And he accepted me on those terms and led me up to the Legate and the Council, and related the bargain that we had made; and they were very glad, because I was the richest man in the army.

And here I will tell you, how I ordered and managed my affairs during the four years that I spent abroad, after the King's brothers went away. I had two chaplains with me, who said my hours before me; one of them sang me my mass at daybreak, and the other waited until my knights and the knights of my troop were risen. When I had heard my mass I went off to the King. When the King wished to go riding I accompanied him. Sometimes it would happen that messengers would arrive for him, so that we had to transact business all the morning. My bed was so arranged in my tent, that no one could enter without seeing me lying in it; and this I did to avoid all scandal about women. When the feast of St. Remy [Oct. 1] drew near, I had my pig−yard stocked with porkers, and my sheep−run with wethers, and bought in a supply of flour and wine, to serve the household through the winter; this I did, because the price of goods went up in winter, because of the sea which is more treacherous in winter than in summer. I used to buy about a hundred casks of wine, and always had the best drunk first; and the servants' wine I always had mixed with water, and less water with the wine for the squires. At my own table they used to serve up to my knights a large jug of wine and a large jug of water, and they mixed them as they chose.

The King had given me fifty knights in my troop. At every meal, I used to have ten knights at my table with my own ten; and they used to eat opposite one another, according to the custom of the country, sitting on mats on the ground. Every time that they cried "to arms" I used to send fifty−four knights, who were called "decant" because they each headed ten men whenever we rode out under arms. The whole fifty knights used to eat in my house on their return. At all the yearly festivals, I used to invite all the rich men in the camp, so that the King had several times to borrow some of my guests.

And now you shall hear the punishments and sentences that I saw awarded in Cesarea, whilst the King was staying there. First of all, I will tell you of a knight who was caught in a house of ill fame. He was offered according to the custom of the country an alternative: either to be led by a rope through the camp, stripped to his shirt; or to forfeit his horse and armour, and be turned out of the army. He left his horse and armour to the King, and quitted the camp; and I went and begged the King to grant me the horse for a poor gentleman that was in the army. The King replied that it was an unreasonable request, for that the horse was still worth from eighty to a hundred pounds, which was no small sum. Said I: " See how you have broken our bargain, by being angry at what I asked you!" And he said to me, laughing: "Say whatever you please, I will not be angry." But, all the same, I did not get the horse for the poor gentleman. The second sentence was as follows: The knights of our troop were hunting a wild animal, called a gazelle (which is just like a roebuck). The Brethren of the Hospital dashed in amongst them, and hustled and drove away our knights. I complained to the Master of the Hospital; and he said he would do me justice according to the custom of the Holy Land; which was this; that he would make the brothers who had insulted us, eat on the ground, with only their cloaks under them, until those whom they had insulted should raise them up. The Master kept his word by them. And when we saw that they had been eating in this manner for a good while, I went to the Master, and found him sitting at table, with the brothers eating on their cloaks in front of him; and I begged him to allow them to be properly seated. The knights also to whom the insult had been shown, entreated him. He replied, that he would do nothing of the sort, for that he would not have the brethren ill−use those who came on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Thereupon I sat down with the brothers, and began to eat with them, telling him I would rise when they rose. And he told me, that I left him no choice, and granted my request; and he made me and the knights with me sit at meat with him, and the brothers went and ate with the rest at a raised table.

The third judgment that I saw delivered at Cesarea was as follows: One of the King's serjeants, called "the Glutton," laid hands on a knight of my troop. I went and complained to the King. The King told me: That it seemed to him I might let the matter rest, for he had done no more than give him a push.−And I told him, that I would never let it rest, and that if he would not see justice done me, I should quit his service, since his serjeants were to be allowed to strike knights. I got justice from him, and the punishment was according to the custom of the country: namely, the serjeant came to my quarters, barefoot and in his breeches, nothing more, with a naked sword in his hand, and kneeled down before the knight, and said to him: " Sir, I come to make amends for laying my hand on you; and I bring you this sword, that you may cut off my hand, if so please you." I begged the knight to lay aside his grudge, and forgive him; which he did. The fourth punishment was as follows: Brother Hugh of Joy, who was Marshall of the Temple, was sent to the Sultan of Damascus from the Master of the Temple, to come to some agreement with the Sultan about a large piece of land which the Templars used to hold, and which the Sultan wanted to share with them. The agreement was concluded on the condition, that the King approved, and Brother Hugh brought an Emir to represent the Sultan of Damascus, and brought the contract in a document called a Power of Attorney. The Master told the King all about it; whereupon the King fell into a great passion, and told him, that he was very presumptuous to have had any dealings or negotiations with the Sultan, without telling him. And the King insisted that he should do penance to him. And the penance was this: the King had the skirts of three of his pavilions removed; and all the rank and file of the camp that chose to come, assembled there; and thither came the Master of the Temple with all his convent, all barefooted through the camp, for their quarters were outside the camp. The King made the Master of the Temple and the Sultan's messenger sit down in front of him; and the King said in a loud voice to the Master: "Master, you will tell the Sultan's messenger, that you repent having made any treaty with him, without telling me; and that because you had not consulted me, you acquit him of his part of the bargain, and return him all his contracts." The Master took the contracts and handed them to the Emir. And then the King told the Master to stand up and make all his brethren stand up; and, when he had done so: "Now kneel down" said the King "and make me amends for having opposed my will." The Master knelt down, and held out the end of his cloak to the King, and offered to the King whatever was his due by way of amends, whatever he might please to dictate. " I order," said the King, " first of all, that Brother Hugh, who made the contract, be banished out of all the kingdom of Jerusalem." Neither the Master, nor the fact that Brother Hugh was gossip to the King through the Count of Alencon (that was born at Castle Pilgrim) nor even the Queen nor anyone, could avail him, but he must quit the Holy Land and the kingdom of Jerusalem.


The King had already, while in Cyprus, fallen foul of the Master of the Temple for venturing to listen to overtures of peace from the Sultan of Egypt.

Joinville's remarks are needed to show that the King had a temper behind his meek exterior; for the priestly chroniclers harp upon his patience. It seems plain that the discipline of his household suffered from his piety. He " ate patiently whatever the cooks sent up "; and after his captivity, when he reaches his own ship after terrible trials and half dead with sickness, it is to find that his people have " got no bed ready for him," and no wardrobe. His wife's confessor, besides some revolting particulars of his insistence on kissing lepers and eating off beggars' plates, tells how, returning from a morning's work hearing "cases," of all the sixteen chamberlains whose duty it is to wait on him, not one was to be found anywhere. Even they seem to have been somewhat surprised at the mildness of his rebuke. The same day they send him off to Vincennes without his dinner−coat, the chamberlain whose business it was to pack having locked it up in the wrong box and kept the key. Another day one of them, flushed from supper, insults him as he sits talking to some knights over the fire, with a freedom to which even old family servants rarely attained. Nangis speaks of the open contempt of his nobles after the Egyptian disaster; Matthew Paris talks of his wonted submissiveness, and gives (Thucydidean wise) the meek speech with which he replied to William Longsword's complaints against Robert of Artois and to the latter's insolence, after which William Longsword left the camp, remarking: " I will no longer serve a King who is no King."


WHILST the King was fortifying the city of Cesarea, the messengers from Egypt returned to him, and brought him the truce, drawn up on the King's terms as aforesaid. And according to the agreement between the King and them, the King was to proceed on an appointed day to Jaffa; and on the day that the King was due at Jaffa, the Egyptian Emirs were bound by oath to be at Gaza, to deliver to him the kingdom of Jerusalem. The truce, just as the messengers had brought it, was sworn to by the King and rich men of the army, and by our oaths we were to help them against the Sultan of Damascus.

When the Sultan of Damascus knew that we had made an alliance with the Egyptians, he sent about three thousand Turks, well equipped, to Gaza, whither the Egyptians were to come; for he knew very well that if they succeeded in joining us, he might get the worst of it. All the same, the King did not desist from setting out for Jaffa. When the Count of Jaffa saw that the King was coming, he dressed up his castle in such a way that it had all the look of a defensible town. For on each battlement, of which there must have been quite five hundred, he put a target with his arms and a pennon; which made a very fine show, for his arms were " or " with a " cross gules patee."

We camped all about the castle in the fields, and surrounded the castle, which lies on the coast, from sea to sea. Presently the King started fortifying a new suburb, all round the castle, from sea to sea; I saw the King himself, many a time, carry the hod to the trenches, to gain the pardon.

The Egyptian Emirs failed us with regard to the promised agreement; for they dared not come to Gaza, because of the Sultan of Damascus' men that were there. However they kept their word, so far as to send the King all the heads of Christians that they had hung round the walls of Cairo Castle, since the time when the Counts of Bar and Montfort were taken; which heads the King caused to be laid in consecrated soil. They also sent him those children who had been taken when the King was taken; which went much against the grain, for they had become Mohammedans. And along with these things they sent the King an elephant, which the King sent into France.

Whilst we were awaiting the day which the King had appointed for the Egyptian Emirs, the Count of Eu, who had been knighted, came to the camp, and brought with him the good knight Lord Ernulf of Guimenee and his two brothers, ten in all. He stayed on in the King's service, and the King knighted him.

About this time the Prince of Antioch came to the camp again, with the Princess, his mother. The King treated him with great distinction, and knighted him with all honours. In years he was not more that sixteen, but such a sensible child I never saw. He asked the King to hear what he had to say, in his mother's presence, and the King consented. This was what he said to the King, his mother being present: "Sir, it is quite true that my mother will have me in her ward for another four years; but that is no reason why she should let my land go to rack and ruin. I say this, Sir, because the city of Antioch is going to ruin in her hands. I beseech you, Sir, ask her to give me some money, so that I may go to the relief of my people there and assist them. Truly, Sir, she ought to do so; for if I live in the city of Tripolis with her, it can only be at great expense, and what I spend there will be all to no purpose."

The King willingly listened to him, and did all in his power to persuade his mother to give him some money as much as the King could drag from her.

Directly he left the King, he went to Antioch. With the Prince there came three musicians from Greater Armenia, brothers; who were on their way to Jerusalem on pilgrimage; and they had three horns, that curved round in front of their faces. When they began to play on their horns, you would have thought it the voice of swans leaving their pool, and they played the sweetest airs and so exquisite that it was a marvel to hear them. They did three wonderful tumbling−feats: for one could put a cloth under their feet, and they would turn a somersault standing, so that they came up again with their feet on the cloth. Two of them used to turn head backwards, and the eldest used to do so too; but if one made him turn head foremost, he used to cross himself, for he was afraid that he would break his neck in going over.

Whilst we were staying at Jaffa an Emir belonging to the Sultan of Damascus' party came to cut corn at a village three good leagues from the camp. It was agreed that we should attack him. When he heard us coming, he fled. A young valet of gentle birth set off in pursuit of them as they were fleeing, and bore down two of their knights to earth, without breaking his lance, and he wounded the Emir so that the spear snapped off in his body.

Whilst the King was encamped by Jaffa, the Master of St. Lazar had got wind at Ramah, three good leagues from the camp, of some cattle and other things, where he thought he might make a fine haul. He kept no discipline in the camp, but did just as he liked, so he went off to the place without telling the King. When he had collected his booty, the Saracens fell upon him, and routed him so utterly, that of all the men whom he had in his troop with him, only four escaped. Directly he entered the camp, he began to call to arms. I went to arm myself, and begged the King to allow me to go to the place, and he gave me leave, and ordered me to take with me the Temple and the Hospital. When we reached the place, we found that some other fresh Saracens had come down into the valley where the Master of St. Lazar had suffered his disaster. While these new Saracens were examining the dead bodies, the Master of the King's cross−bowmen attacked them, and before we could come up, our people had routed them, and slain several.

A serjeant of the King's, and a serjeant of the Saracens bore one another to earth with their lances. One of the King's serjeants, seeing this, took the two horses, and led them off, meaning to steal them; and, to avoid being seen, he went in between the walls of the town of Ramah. As he was leading them along, an old cistern over which he passed gave way beneath him, and the three horses and he himself went to the bottom. I was told of it, and went to see, and found the cistern still crumbling in beneath them, so that in a very little while they would have been completely covered over. So we came back without any losses, except what the Master of St. Lazar had lost there.

The Sultan of Damascus took his men that were at Gaza, and entered Egypt. The Emirs came out to fight him. The Sultan's division routed the Emirs with whom they engaged, while the other division of the Egyptian Emirs routed the rearguard of the Sultan. So the Sultan of Damascus went away back to Gaza, wounded in his head and in his hand; but before they left Gaza, the Egyptian Emirs sent messengers, and made peace with him ;and failed us of all our agreements. And from that time on we had no truce nor peace, neither with the men of Damascus, nor with the men of Egypt. And know, that when we were at our most, we never mustered at any time more than fourteen hundred men−at−arms.



As soon as the Sultan of Damascus had made peace with the people of Egypt, he sent word to his followers in Gaza to return and join him. In doing so, they passed in front of our camp, within less than two leagues' distance; but they never dared attack us, though they were at least twenty thousand Saracens and ten thousand Bedouins. Before they drew near our camp, the Master of the King's cross−bowmen and his troop kept watch on them for three days and three nights, lest they should fall upon our camp unawares.

On St. John's day, after Easter, the King heard his sermon. Whilst the sermon was going on, a serjeant belonging to the Master of the Crossbow men came all armed into the King's chapel, and told him that the Saracens had surrounded the Master of the Cross−bowmen. I requested the King to let me go thither, and he consented, and told me to take with me four hundred or five hundred men−at−arms, and named those that he wished me to take. We had no sooner left the camp than the Saracens, who had got between the Master of the Cross−bowmen and the camp, joined an Emir who was stationed on a little hill facing the Master of the Cross−bowmen, with about a thousand men−at−arms. Then the struggle began between the Saracens and the Master of the Cross−bowmen's serjeants, of whom there were about fourteen score; for, each time that the Emir saw his followers worsted, he sent them help and enough men to drive our serjeants back among the Master's troops, and when the Master saw his people worsted, he would send them a hundred or six score men−at−arms, who would drive them back up to the Emir's ranks.

Whilst we were there, the Legate and barons of the country, who had remained with the King, said to the King that it was great folly to put me in jeopardy, and by their advice the King sent to fetch me back, and the Master of the Cross−bowmen as well. The Turks departed, and we returned to the camp.

Many people were astonished that they did not come and fight us; and some said, that they only desisted, because they and their horses had all been starved at Gaza, where they had been staying for nearly a year.

When the Saracens had departed from before Jaffa, they came before Acre, and sent word to the Lord of Ashur, who was Constable of the kingdom of Jerusalem, that they would destroy the gardens of the town, unless he sent them fifty besants. He returned answer, that he would not send them a penny. Then they marshalled their troops, and came all along the sands of Acre, so close to the town, that they could easily have shot right into it from a cross−bow tourniquet. The Lord of Ashur sallied from the town and posted himself on the Holy Mount, there where St Nicholas' cemetery is, to defend the gardens. Our foot−serjeants sallied out from Acre and began to harass them with bows and cross−bows. The Lord of Ashur called a knight, named Lord John the Tall, and bade him go and fetch in the common people who had gone outside the town, lest they should run into danger. Whilst he was bringing them back, a Saracen began to shout to him in Arabic, that he would tilt with him if he liked; and he answered that he would do so willingly. Now, whilst Lord John was on his way to the Saracen to tilt with him, he cast his eyes to the left, and saw a group of Turks, about eight of them together, who had stood still to watch the tilting match. He abandoned his match with the Saracen, and rode up to the group of Turks who were standing quite quietly watching, ran one of them through the body with his lance, and flung him dead. When the others saw this, they set upon him, as he was retreating towards our men, and one struck him a great blow on his iron cap with a club and, as he passed on, Lord John gave him a sword−cut across the turban in which his head was wrapped, and sent the turban flying. (At that time they used to wear their turbans when they went to fight, because they will stop a heavy sword−cut.) One of the other Turks spurred up to him, and tried to catch him with his spear between the shoulders; but my Lord John saw it coming and swerved aside; and as the Saracen passed on, my Lord John gave him a back−handed cut with his sword across the arm, and sent his spear flying. And so he came back, and brought back the people on foot; and these three fine strokes he made in the sight of the Lord of Ashur and the rich men in Acre, and in the sight of all the women who had come on to the walls to see the Saracens.

All this vast horde, who came right up to Acre without daring to attack either us or the men of Acre, when they heard a rumour and a true one that the King was having the city of Sajetta fortified, and with but few good men, they drew off into those parts. When Lord Simon of Montceliart (who was Master of the King's cross−bowmen and Captain of the King's men at Sajetta) heard that these people were approaching, he retired into the castle of Sajetta, which is very strong and surrounded by the sea in all directions. And this he did, because he plainly saw that he was powerless against them. He received into the castle with him as many people as he could, and that was but few, for the castle was too small. The Saracens broke into the town at a point where they met with no obstacle, for it was not completely walled in. More than two thousand of our people did they slay, and with the whole of the booty that they got there they moved on to Damascus.

When the King heard these tidings, he was all on fire to redress the disaster; and it just suited the barons of the country; for the King had been wishing to go and fortify a hill where there had been formerly an old castle in the time of the Maccabees. This castle lies on the way from Jaffa to Jerusalem. The Oversea Barons disapproved of fortifying this castle, because it was five leagues from the sea, so that no meat could come to us by sea without being waylaid by the Saracens, who were in greater force than we. When, therefore, the tidings reached the camp, that the town was destroyed, the barons of the country came to the King, and said to him, that it would be far more to his honour to fortify the town of Sajetta, which the Saracens had rased, than to build a new fortress; and the King agreed with them.

Whilst the King was at Jaffa, he was told that the Sultan of Damascus would be quite willing to allow him a safe−conduct to go to Jerusalem. The King held a general council about it, and the upshot of the council was, that no one approved of the King's going, since he must allow the city to remain in the hands of the Saracens.

The following precedent was quoted to him. When the great King Philip left the camp before Acre to go to France, he left all his people behind with Duke Hugh of Burgundy (the grandfather of the Duke who died lately). Whilst the Duke was sojourning at Acre, with King Richard of England, news came to them, that they might take Jerusalem the very next day, if they chose, because all the chivalry of the Sultan of Damascus had left the city and gone in full force to assist him in a war that he was waging against another Sultan.

They made ready their men, and the King of England formed the first division, and the Duke of Burgundy the one next to it, with all the followers of the King of France. Whilst they were all counting the town as good as taken, a message came from the Duke's army not to proceed, for the Duke of Burgundy was going back; and for this reason neither more nor less, that it might not be said that the English had taken Jerusalem. Whilst they were thus parleying, one of King Richard's knights cried to him: " Sir, Sir, only come here, and I will show you Jerusalem! " And when he heard this, he drew his coat of mail over his eyes, weeping, and said to Our Lord, " Fair Lord God, I beseech thee, suffer me not to behold Thy Holy City, since I may not deliver her from the hands of Thine enemies!"

This example they instanced, to show the King, that if he, who was the greatest King among Christians, were to make his pilgrimage without delivering the city from God's enemies, all the other kings and pilgrims that might come after him would be content to make their pilgrimage as the King of France had done, and would make no effort to deliver Jerusalem.

This Duke of Burgundy of whom I have spoken was a very good knight, but he was not accounted over wise whether as regards God or the world; as well appeared in the incident above related. And therefore the great King Philip said, when he was told that Count John of Chalons had a son, and that he was named Hugh after the Duke of Burgundy: said he, " God make him as goodly a man as his namesake Duke Hugh." Someone asked him, why he had not said "as good a man." " Because" said he "there is a great difference between a good−ly man and a good man; for there is many a good−ly knight in Christian land and Saracen land, who never served God and his mother. And therefore I say to you" quoth he " that God shows special grace, to any Christian knight, to whom he gives bodily velour and keeps him withal from mortal sin; such an one may be truly called 'a good knight,' since his goodliness comes from God."

It were in vain to speak of the vast sums which the King spent on fortifying Jaffa, for they are beyond reckoning; for he fortified the town from sea to sea. There were at least four−and−twenty towers; and the fosses were puddled with clay outside and in. There were three gates, of which the Legate built one and one bay of wall; and to show you to what expense the King went, I may tell you, that I asked the Legate, how much this gateway and the bay of wall had cost him? And he asked me: How much I thought? And I guessed the gateway to have cost him about five hundred pounds, and the bay of wall three hundred pounds. And he told me, that, so help him God, the gateway with the wall had cost him a good thirty thousand pounds.


WHEN the King had completed the fortifications of the town of Jaffa, he took counsel to go and rebuild the defences of the city of Sajetta, which the Saracens had levelled. He started on the day of the feast of St. Peter and St. Paul, Apostles; and camped with his army by the castle of Ashur, which was a very strong place. That evening, the King called together his followers, and told them, that if they approved, he would go and take a city of the Saracens called Nabulus, which the ancient scriptures call Samaria. The Temple and Hospital answered with one accord, that it would be well to try and take the city, but that they would never consent to his going thither in person, seeing that if anything should happen to him, the whole country would be lost. And he said, that he would never let them go, unless he went with them. And so this undertaking came to a standstill; for the lords of the country would not consent to his going.

In the course of our march we came to the desert of Acre; and here we camped, the King and the army.

At that place there came to me a crowd of folk from Greater Armenia, going on pilgrimage to Jerusalem, under payment of a heavy tribute to the Saracens who conducted them; and with them an interpreter, who knew both their tongue and ours. They begged me, through him, to show them the " sainted King."

I went to the King, where he was sitting in a pavilion, leaning against the tent−pole, seated on the sand, without a carpet or anything else under him, and I said to him, " Sir, outside there, is a crowd of people from Greater Armenia on their way to Jerusalem; and they are begging me, Sir, to give them a sight of the 'sainted King' but I have no desire to kiss your bones yet awhile! " And he laughed right merrily, and bade me go and fetch them, which I did. And when they had seen the King, they commended him to God, and he them.

The next day the army camped in a place which they call the Colt's Crossing, where there are many beautiful streams, with which they water the plant the sugar comes from. As we were camping there, one of my knights said to me: "Sir" said he "I have chosen you a prettier camping−ground than you had yesterday." The other knight, who had chosen the previous site, jumped up in a fury, and said to him loudly: "How dare you criticise my doings! " and he sprang at him, and caught hold of his hair. I jumped up and struck him with my fist between the shoulder−blades, and he let go of him. And I said to him, "Now, be off, out of my place! for, by God! you shall stay with me no longer!"

The knight went off, making great lamentations, and brought me Lord Giles le Brun, the Constable of France, who begged me earnestly, seeing how deeply the knight repented his folly, that I would take him back. I answered that I should not take him back, unless the Legate would absolve me of my oath. Off they went to the Legate, and related the affair to him; and the Legate answered them, that he was unable to give absolution, because the oath was a reasonable one, seeing the knight had richly deserved it. And this I tell you, that you may beware how you make an oath, that you ought not in reason to make, for as the saw says Readily sworn is readily forsworn.

The next day the King went and camped by the city of Ashur, which in the Bible is called Tyr. There the King called a council of the rich men of the army, and asked them whether it would be well for him to go and take the city of Cesarea Philippi before proceeding to Sajetta. We all advised that it would be well for the King to send some of his followers, but all disapproved of his going in person; with great difficulty he was dissuaded from it; and it was decided, that the Count of Eu should go, with Lord Philip of Montfort, the Lord of Tyr, Lord Giles le Brun (the Constable of France), my Lord Peter the Chamberlain, the Master of the Temple and his convent, the Master of the Hospital and his convent, and also his brother.

We got under arms at nightfall, and a little after daybreak reached a plain which lies before the city, which they now call "Belinas" and ancient Scripture calls "Cesarea Philippi." In this city rises a spring called "Jor," and amid the plains round the city rises another beautiful spring called Dan. Now it comes to pass that when the two streams from these two springs meet together, they make the river called Jor−Dan, in the which God was baptised.

By the mutual consent of the Temple and of the Count of Eu, of the Hospital and barons of the country who were there, it was agreed that the King's battalion, (in which battalion I then was because the King had retained the forty knights of my troop in his own service), together with Lord Geoffrey of Sergines the paladin, should get in between the castle and the city; that the barons of the country should enter the city from the left, the Hospital from the right, and that the Temple should enter by the direct road along which we had come.

We set out and proceeded till we drew near the city, and found that the Saracens inside had defeated the King's serjeants and driven them out of the town. On seeing this, I went to the paladins who were with the Count of Eu, and said to them: " Sirs, if you do not go where we have been ordered, between the town and the castle, we shall have the Saracens killing our people who have entered the town." The approach was very dangerous, for the place to which we had been sent was the post of danger. There were three double lines of dry walls to pass, and the slope was so steep that horses could hardly keep their footing on it; and the hill for which we were bound was covered with Turks on horseback. As I was speaking, I saw that our foot−serjeants were tearing down the walls. Thereupon, I said to those with whom I was talking, that the plan was, for the King's battalion to advance to where those Turks were, and that since those were the orders, I should go. I and my two knights made for the place where they were pulling down the walls, and I saw that a mounted serjeant, thinking to get over the wall, fell with his horse on top of him. Seeing this, I dismounted, and led my horse by the bridle. When the Turks saw us coming, by God's grace they abandoned the position to us. From this spot, a rock descended sheer into the city. When we had reached the place, and the Turks had left it, the Saracens in the city lost heart, and abandoned the town to our people without a contest. Whilst I was there, the Marshall of the Temple heard a rumour that I was in danger; so he climbed up to me. Whilst I was perched up there the Teutons who were in the Count of Eu's battalion came after me; and when they saw the mounted Turks in flight towards the castle, they started off after them; and I said to them: " Sirs, you are not doing right, for we are where we were ordered to be, and you are going beyond your orders."

The castle, which lies above the city, is named "Subeiba"; and lies full half a league up among the mountains of Lebanon; and the slope leading up to it is strewn with big stones just like chests. When the Teutons saw that they were on a wild goose−chase, they turned back; and the Saracens seeing this charged them on foot, and hammered them with their clubs from the tops of the stones, and tore the trappings off the horses. The serjeants that were with us, seeing the disaster, began to get frightened. I told them that if they left the place, I would have them struck off the King's list for good and all, and they said to me: "Sir, it is not fair play, for you are on horseback, and so you will make your escape; whereas we are on foot, and so the Saracens will kill us." And I said to them: "Sirs, I assure you that I shall not make my escape; for I will remain on foot here with you." I dismounted and sent my horse among the Templars, who were a good cross−bowshot to the rear.

In the retreat of the Teutons, the Saracens wounded a knight of mine, named Lord John of Bussy, with a quarrel through the throat; and he fell right in front of me.

Lord Hugh of Scots, whose nephew he was, who had acquitted himself excellently in the Holy Land, said to me: "Sir, come and help us carry my nephew down." "Ill−luck take him that helps you do so " said I " for you went up there without my orders; and if you have come to grief, it serves you right. Slide him down the drain, for I shall not leave this place until I am sent for."

When Lord John of Valenciennes heard of the difficulties in which we were, he came to Lord Oliver of Termes, and those other captains of the Langue d'Oc, and said to them: " Sirs, I beg and command you in the King's name, that you help me fetch down the Seneschal." Whilst he was thus urging them, my Lord William of Beaumont came to him and said: "You are troubling yourself to no purpose, for the Seneschal is dead." But said he, "Alive or dead, I will have some account of him to give to the King." Thereupon Lord Oliver started off towards us, where we stood upon the mountain−side; and as soon as he reached us, he sent for me; and when I came he said to me, that we were in great danger there; for, if we went down by the way we had come up, we could not do it without great risk, for the slope was very awkward, and the Saracens would come down on top of us. " But, if you will be guided by me," said he, " I will bring you off without loss." I told him that I would carry out whatever plan he chose to make. " I will tell you" said he "how we can escape. We will go " said he " all the time, just as though we meant to go to Damascus; and the Saracens there will think that we intend to take them in the rear. And as soon as we are on those flats, we will clap spurs and gallop round the city, and shall be across the stream before they can get near us; and we will do them a lot of damage too, for we will set fire to that threshed wheat, which is lying in the fields."

We did as he had planned, and he made them take reeds, such as flutes are made of here, and put live coals in them and stick them into the threshed corn.

And so God brought us back safe and sound, through the advice of Oliver of Termes. And know that when we reached the place where our followers were lodged, we found them all disarmed, for there was no one looking after them.

So the next day we returned to Sajetta, where the King was.

We found that the King in person had seen to the burial of the bodies of the Christians whom the Saracens had killed, as you heard; and he himself with his own hands carried the decayed and stinking bodies to lay them in the graves, and yet never held his nose, though the others held theirs. He had workmen fetched from all parts, and set to work again to fortify the city with high walls and great towers. And when we reached camp, we found that he had marked out the sites in person, where our quarters were to be. My quarters he had chosen alongside those of the Count of Eu, because he knew that the Count of Eu liked my company.

I will tell you of the tricks the Count of Eu used to play on us.

I had built a hut, where I used to take my meals, I and my knights lighted through the doorway. Now the doorway gave onto the Count of Eu's quarters; and he, who was very ingenious, made a little machine to throw into it, and used to watch when we went to table, and set up his machine in a line with our table and break our jugs and glasses.

I had laid in a stock of hens and capons, and somebody or other had given him a young she−bear, which he let in among my fowls, and it killed a dozen of them, before anyone could get to the spot, while the woman in charge of them was flapping her skirts at the bear.


WHILST the King was fortifying the city of Sajetta, there came merchants to the camp, who told us and related how the King of the Tartars had taken the city of Bagdad with the Saracen Pope, who was lord of the town, and whom they called "the Caliph of Bagdad." The manner in which they captured the city of Bagdad and the Caliph was related to us by the merchants, and it was as follows.

When they had laid siege to the Caliph's city, the Tartar King sent him word that he was ready to make a marriage between their children, and the Caliph's councillors advised him to agree to the marriage. Then the Tartar King sent him word, that he must send him as many as forty persons from among his councillors and the chief men, to swear to the marriage; which the Caliph did. Again the Tartar King desired him to send forty of the richest and best men that he had; and the Caliph did so. A third time he sent word to him to send forty of the very best he had; and he did so. When the Tartar King saw that he had got into his possession all the leading men of the town, he thought within himself, that the common people in the town would not be able to defend themselves without a leader. He had all the six score men beheaded; and then stormed the town, and took it and the Caliph with it.

In order to cloak his treachery, and throw on the Caliph the blame of the town's capture, he had the Caliph seized and put into an iron cage; and had him starved, as far as one can starve a man without killing him; and then sent to ask him, whether he were hungry. The Caliph said: Yes, and no wonder. Then the Tartar King caused a great charger of gold to be brought to him, laden with jewels and precious stones, and said to him, " Dost thou know these jewels?" And the Caliph said yes, "they were mine." Then he asked him if he were very fond of them. He answered: Yes. " Since thou cost like them so well," said the Tartar King, " Come, take whichever thou wouldest, and eat." The Caliph answered that it was impossible, inasmuch as they were not food for eating. Then said the King of the Tartars to him, " Now mayst thou see in this bowl wherein thy defence lay. For hadst thou parted with some of thy golden treasure, it would have been thy defence against us, if thou hadst but spent it; whereas now it fails thee at thy greatest need."

Whilst the King was fortifying Cesarea, I was going once to mass at daybreak, and he bade me wait for him, for he wished to take a ride. I did so; and as we rode through the fields we came upon a little chapel, and saw from on horseback a priest singing mass. The King told me that this chapel had been built in honour of the miracle which God performed when he cast out the devil from the body of the widow's daughter; and said that, if I were willing, he would stay there, and hear the mass which the priest had begun; and I replied that I thought we might as well do so. When it came to the kiss of Peace, I noticed that the clerk who was helping to sing mass, was tall and dark and lean and unkempt, and a suspicion seized me, that if he came near the King he might perhaps be an Assassin, a wicked man, and might kill the King; and I went and took the kiss of Peace from him and brought it to the King. When mass was over, and we had mounted our horses, we met the Legate in the fields, and the King drew near to him, and called me and said to the Legate: " I have a complaint to make to you against the Seneschal; he brought me the kiss of Peace, and would not allow the poor clerk to bring it."

I told the Legate the reason why I had done so; and the Legate said, I had done quite right. The King replied: "Indeed he did not!" and they had a great argument; but I held my peace. This story I have told you, that you may see his great humility.

As for that miracle which God performed on the woman's daughter, the Gospel says that God, when he performed it, was "in parte Tyri et Sidonis," for at that time the city of Sur was called Tyr, and the city of Sajetta (which I have mentioned) Sidon.

Whilst the King was fortifying Sajetta, there came to him messengers from a great lord of Farther Greece, who styled himself "The Great Comnenus and Lord of Trebizond." He brought the King various precious things as a gift; amongst others, bows made of the wood of the service tree, whose arrow−notches screwed into the bow, and when they were released, one saw that they were very sharp and well made.

They brought a request from their lord that the King would send him a damsel of his palace, and he would take her to wife. And the King replied, that he had brought none with him from across the sea; and advised them to go to Constantinople to the Emperor, who was the King's cousin, and desire him to give them a wife for their lord, one who should be of the King's lineage and of his own. This he did, that the Emperor might have the alliance of this powerful, rich man against Vataces, who at that time was Emperor of the Greeks.

The Queen, who was but newly recovered of Lady Blanche, of whom she had been brought to bed at Jaffa, landed at Sajetta, for she had come by sea. When I heard that she had arrived, I rose from the King's presence and went to meet her, and escorted her as far as the castle; and when I got back to the King, who was in his chapel, he asked me, if the Queen and the children were in good health? I told him: Yes; and he said to me: " I knew very well when you rose and left me, that you were going to meet the Queen, and so I made them wait the sermon for you."

I have recorded this, because I had been already five years about his person, and he had never yet mentioned the Queen nor his children to me, nor to anyone else, in my hearing; and it was not a good fashion, it seems to me, to be so reserved about his wife and children.

On All Saints' Day, I invited all the rich men of the army to my house which was by the sea; and while they were there, a poor knight came ashore in a barge, with his wife and his four sons. I made them come and dine in my house; and when we had dined, I called together the rich men who were there and said to them: " Let us do a deed of great charity, and disburden this poor man of his children; let us each take one of them, and I will take one." Each chose one and fought for him. The poor knight seeing this, began to weep for joy, and his wife too. Now it happened that when the Count of Eu returned from dining at the King's house, he came to visit the rich men who were with me, and he took my child from me, he being about twelve years old. And the boy served the Count so well and faithfully, that when he returned to France, the Count married him, and made him a knight; and whenever I was in the same place as the Count, the boy would hardly leave my side, and used to say to me, " God repay you, Sir! for it is you that have raised me to this honour." As to the other three brothers, I know not what became of them.

I begged the King to let me go on pilgrimage to Our Lady of Tortosa, to which many pilgrims used to resort, because it is the first altar that ever was raised in honour of the Mother of God upon earth; and Our Lady was wont to perform very great miracles there. Amongst others, there was a man out of his mind and possessed with the devil. There, whilst his friends who had brought him thither were beseeching the Mother of God to grant him health, the Enemy, who was inside him, answered them: " Our Lady is not here; for she is gone to Egypt, to help the King of France and the Christians who will land to−day, and will be on foot against the pagans on horseback." The day was written down and brought to the Legate, and his lordship told it me with his own lips. And you may be sure that she did help us, and would have helped us still more, if we had not angered her and her son, as I said before.

The King gave me leave to go; and bade me, in full council, buy him a hundred pieces of hair−cloth of divers colours to give to the Franciscans when we should come to France. Then my heart was eased, for I thought that he could not mean to stay long.

When we reached Tripoli, my knights asked me what I was going to do with the stuffs; and I said to them: " May be" said I " I have stolen them to trade with."

The Prince God rest him! welcomed us gladly, and showed us all the honour in his power; and would have given great gifts to me and my knights, if we would have accepted them. We would take nothing, except some of his relics, which I brought to the King with the stuffs I had bought for him.

I sent four of the pieces of stuff at once to the Queen. The knight who took them, carried them wrapped up in a white cloth. When the Queen saw him enter the chamber where she was, she knelt down before him, and the knight on his side knelt down before her; and the Queen said to him: " Rise, Sir knight, you who carry relics ought not to kneel." But the knight said: " Lady, these are not relics; they are some pieces of hair−cloth that my lord sends you." When the Queen and her ladies heard this, they burst out laughing, and the Queen said to my knight: " Tell your lord, that woe betide him the day that he made me kneel to his haircloth! "

Whilst the King was at Sajetta, they brought him a stone which was formed in layers, the most wonderful in the world; for when one lifted off a layer, one found between the two stones, the figure of a sea−fish. The fish was in stone, but nothing was wanting to its shape, neither eyes, nor bones, nor colour, nor anything; but it was exactly the same as though it were alive. The King sent me a stone, and I found a tench inside it, brown in colour, and just as a tench ought to be.


AT Sajetta the King got the news that his mother was dead. He made such mourning over it, that for two days one could not get a word with him. At the end of that time, he sent a groom of his chamber to fetch me. When I came before him in his chamber where he was quite alone, as soon as he saw me, he stretched out his arms, and said to me: " Oh! Seneschal! I have lost my mother! " " Sir," said I, " I am not surprised at that; for she was bound to die; but I am surprised that a wise man like you, should make such great mourning. For you know, the sage says: that whatever trouble a man may have at heart, it should not show in his face; for thereby he rejoices his foes and grieves his friends."

Many fine masses he had performed for her over−seas; and afterwards he sent into France a pack−horse laden with letters to the churches, begging them to pray for her.

Lady Mary of Vertus, a very good lady, and a very holy woman, came and told me that the Queen was making great mourning, and begged that I would go to her and comfort her. When I got there, I found her in tears; and I said to her, that he spoke truly, who said, that one should never trust a woman. " For she was the woman you hated above all others, and now you are making this mourning for her." And she said to me, that it was not for her that she was weeping, but for the King's distress at losing her, and for her daughter, (afterwards Queen of Navarre) who was left in the keeping of men.

The harshness that Queen Blanche showed to Queen Margaret was such, that Queen Blanche would never, if she could help it, suffer her son to be in his wife's company, unless at night, when he went to bed with her. The apartments which she liked best to occupy were at Pontoise, between the King and the Queen, for the King's rooms were above hers, and the Queen's below. But they had so arranged it that they could talk together on a spiral staircase which led down from one floor to the other; and had so laid their plans, that when the door−keepers saw the Queen coming to the apartments of her son, the King, they would rap on the doors with their rods; and the King would come running into his rooms, so that his mother might not catch him; and the ushers of Queen Margaret's apartments did the same when Queen Blanche was on her way thither, so that she might find Queen Margaret in them.

Once the King was beside the Queen his wife, and she was in passing great danger of death, for she was injured by a child that she had had. Thither came Queen Blanche, and took her son by the hand, and said to him: " Come away, you have no business here!" When Margaret saw his mother leading the King away she cried out: "Alas! neither dead nor alive will you let me see my lord!" There−upon she fainted, and they thought that she was dead; and the King, who thought that she was dying, came back; and with great difficulty they brought her round.

Now that the city of Sajetta was all but completely fortified, the King caused several processions to be made in the army; and at the close of the processions, he made the Legate offer prayers that God would order the King's affairs according to His will; so that the King might do whichever was most pleasing to God, either by returning to France, or by remaining there.

After the processions were over, the King called me, where I was sitting among the rich men of the country, away into a meadow, and made me turn my back on them. Then the Legate said to me: "Seneschal, the King is much pleased with your services; and would gladly advance your interests and your credit; and to set your heart, he says, at ease, he bids me tell you that he has made his plans to go to France this coming Easter." And I replied: " God grant that he may accomplish his purpose! " Then the Legate bade me escort him to his lodging; and then he shut himself up in his closet he and I alone together and took both my hands between his, and began to weep very bitterly; and when he could speak, he said to me: " Seneschal, I am very glad, and truly give thanks to God, that the King and all you other pilgrims are escaping from the great peril in which you have been in this country. But I am grieved at heart, that I must leave your holy companionship, and go to the Court of Rome, among those ungodly people there; but I will tell you what I think of doing: I mean to stay on for another year after you, and I intend to spend all my money in fortifying the town of Acre; so that I may show them plainly that I am bringing away no money, and then they will not fawn upon me."

I once related to the Legate two sins of which a priest of mine had told me; and he made me the following reply: ' No one knows, so well as I, how many heathenish sins are committed in Acre. Whence it must needs be that God will take vengeance for them, in such wise that the city of Acre shall be washed with the blood of its inhabitants, and that another race shall come after that shall inhabit it." The excellent man's prophecy is in part come true; for the city has truly been washed with the blood of its inhabitants; but as yet those have not come that are to inhabit it; and may God send them fitted to His will.

After these events, the King sent me word, that I must go and arm myself and my knights. I asked him: What for? and he replied: In order to escort the Queen and his children to Tyr, a distance of seven leagues. I never disputed the order, and yet the consign was very dangerous, inasmuch as we had at that time no truce nor peace, neither with the men of Egypt nor with those of Damascus. By God's grace, we reached Tyr in peace, without any obstacle, at nightfall; though we were obliged to alight twice in the enemy's country, to light a fire and cook food, in order to feed and suckle the children.

When the King left the city of Sajetta which he had secured with high walls and great towers, and with great moats puddled inside and out the Patriarch and the barons of the country came to him and addressed him as follows: " Sir, you have fortified the cities of Sajetta and of Cesarea, and the town of Jaffa, very greatly to the benefit of the Holy Land; moreover you have greatly strengthened the city of Acre by the walls and the towers that you have built there. Sir, we have considered among ourselves, and perceive that your longer stay can be of no benefit to the kingdom of Jerusalem; wherefore we approve and advise that you go to Acre, this coming Lent, and make ready for your voyage, so that you may cross over to France after this Easter next."

Following the advice of the Patriarch and the barons, the King left Sajetta, and came to Tyr, where the Queen was; and thence we came on to Acre, at the beginning of Lent.


Queen Margaret had some reason for jealousy if the King said, as is reported, on hearing of his mother's death, " I have lost the person whom I loved best of all the world." G. de Nangis and the King's confessor, unlike Joinville, regard the King's behaviour on the occasion as much tending to edification, and report the scene at full length.

The Legate had the first news of Queen Blanche's death, and took with him the Archbishop of Tyr (the Chancellor) and the King's confessor (Geoffrey of Beaulieu) to tell the King. The King, seeing from their faces that something serious had occurred, led the way into the chapel (which opened out of his bedroom) and sat down on the altar steps while the Legate broke the news to him. He spent the rest of the day in his oratory alone with the confessor; and ever after, the mass for the dead was daily celebrated before him.

Queen Blanche died on December Ist, 1252, and was buried at Maubuisson (near Pontoise), where she had founded a nunnery of Cistercians. She had assumed their habit about a week before.

G. de Nangis says, that the King, on his departure, left a considerable number of knights behind, at his own expense, to assist the Legate, and also the "Paladin" Geoffrey of Sergines, as Captain of Acre.


ALL Lent, the King busied himself fitting out his ships to return to France. There were thirteen of them some ships, some galleys. They were all made ready by the Vigil of St. Mark, after Easter, on which day the King and Queen went aboard their ship; and we had a favourable wind for our departure. On St. Mark's day, the King told me that he was born on that day; and I replied, that he might truly add that he was born again, seeing from what a land of danger he was escaping.

On Saturday we sighted the island of and a mountain in Cyprus which is called " the Mountain of the Cross." That same Saturday a mist arose, and swept down from the land over the sea, whereby the sailors imagined that we were further from the island than we really were, because they saw the mountain through the mist. For this reason they went full speed ahead; and hence it came to pass that our ship struck on a spit of sand that jutted out into the sea. Now it so happened, that if we had not met with this piece of sand on which we struck, we should have run full on the rocks, which were under water, where our ship would have gone all to pieces, and we ourselves should have been in great danger of drowning

Then a great cry went up throughout the ship, everyone crying " Alas! alas! " And the sailors and the rest beat their palms together, for every man feared to drown. Hearing it, I rose from the bed where I was Lying, and went to the round−house among the sailors.

When I came there, Brother Hamon, who was a Templar and master over the sailors, said to one of his servants: "Heave the lead!" which he did. And no sooner had he heaved it than he cried out, saying: " Alas! we are aground! "

When Brother Hamon heard this, he tore his clothes to the waistbelt, and began to pluck out his beard, and to cry "Oh me! Oh me! " At this moment, one of my knights, named Lord John of Monson (father of Abbot William of St. Michael), showed me great kindness, for without a word he brought me one of my furred surcoats, and threw it round my shoulders, for I had only got my coat on. I exclaimed at him and said, " What do I want with your surcoat? What is the good of bringing it me when we are going to be drowned? " And he said to me, " Upon my soul, Sir! I had rather we were all drowned, than that you should take a chill and die of it! "

The sailors shouted: " Galley ahoy! " that it might take off the King; but of four galleys that the King had there, not one would come near us; which was very wise of them; for there were about eight hundred persons in the ship, who would all have jumped into the galleys to save themselves, and in so doing would have sunk them.

The man who had the lead, cast it a second time, and came back to Brother Hamon, and told him that the ship was no longer aground; and thereupon Brother Hamon went to tell the King, who was stretched out crosswise on the bridge, barefooted, in nothing but his coat, and all dishevelled, before the body of Our Lord which was in the ship, like a man who thinks himself as good as drowned.1

So soon as it was day, we saw ahead of us the rock on which we should have struck, if the ship had not first encountered the spit of sand.

On the morrow, the King sent for the master seamen of the ships, and they sent four divers down, who dived into the sea; and when they came up, the King and the master seamen heard them separately, one by one, so that one diver did not know what the other had said. However from all four divers they learnt that the scraping of our ship on the sand had torn off about four fathoms of the keel on which the ship rested. Then the King summoned the master seamen before us, and asked what their advice would be as regards the shock the vessel had received.

They consulted together, and advised the King to leave the ship he was in and go aboard another. " We give you this advice, because we are sure that all the planks of your ship are thoroughly loosened.

* The Queen, when the alarm arose, was asked by her children's nurses, whether they should wake the children and dress them? " No," said she, " you shall not wake them, nor dress them. Let them go to God sleeping! "

Wherefore we doubt that when your ship gets into the open sea, she will not be able to withstand the shock of the waves, without going to pieces; for a similar thing occurred on your journey out from France: a ship struck like this, and when she came into the open sea, she could not withstand the force of the waves, but broke up, and as many as were in her were all lost, except one woman and her child who escaped on a piece of the wreck."

(I can bear witness to the truth of what they said; for in the Count of Joigny's house at Paphos I saw the woman and the child, whom the Count was supporting. )

Then the King asked Lord Peter the Chamberlain, and Lord Giles le Brun, the Constable of France, and Lord Gervaise Desoraines, the King's chief cook, and the Archdeacon of Nicocea, who carried his seal (who afterwards became Cardinal), and me, what we advised him to do under the circumstances. We replied, that in all worldly matters one ought to be guided by those who know most about the subject. " Therefore we advise you to follow the seamen's advice." Then the King said to the seamen, " I ask you, by your fealty, supposing the ship were your own, and were laden with your merchandise, would you abandon her?" With one voice they answered, No! for they would rather risk drowning than spend four thousand pounds and more in buying a ship.

"Then why do you advise me to leave her?" "Because" said they "the two things are not on a par: for your person, and the persons of your wife and children who are in her, cannot be priced in gold and silver; and therefore we would not advise you to risk yourself nor them."

Then said the King: "Sirs, I have heard your opinion, and the opinion of my followers, and now in return I will tell you mine which is this: If I leave this ship, there are in her five hundred persons and more, who will remain in Cyprus for dread of the danger they may run; for there is no one whose life is not of as much value to him as mine to me; and maybe they will never get home at all. And so, I prefer to trust my life and my wife and children in God's hands, rather than cause such injury to such a vast number of people as are here on board."

Oliver of Termes is an example of what great injury the King would have done to those in his ship. He was in the King's ship, and was one of the bravest men that ever I saw, and that best acquitted himself in the Holy Land. He durst not remain with us for fear of drowning; but chose to stay behind in Cyprus; and it was a year and a half before he rejoined the King. And yet he was a powerful man and a rich man, and could well pay for his transport. Now consider what lesser folks would have done, who could not have afforded to pay, when a man like him found such difficulties.

Out of this peril, from which God had delivered us, we ran into another; for the wind which had driven us into Cyprus, when we were so nearly drowned, sprang up most strong and dreadful, beating us back upon the island; and though the mariners cast their anchors against the wind, yet they could not hold the ship a whit, until they had brought five anchors to bear on her.

The sides of the King's cabin were nearly blown down, and no one durst stay near it for fear of being blown overboard. At the time, Lord Giles le Brun (the Constable of France) and I were lying in the King's cabin; and just then, the Queen opened the door of the cabin, thinking, as it was the King's, to find him in it. I asked her, what she had come for? and she said that she had come to speak to the King and ask him to vow some pilgrimage to God, or to his saints, whereby God might deliver us from the danger we were in; for the sailors had said that we were in danger of drowning. I said to her: " Lady, vow the journey to my Lord St. Nicholas of Warangeville and I will be his warranty that God will bring you home to France, with the King and your children" "Seneschal" said she "indeed I would gladly do so; but the King is so odd, that if he knew that I had made the promise without him, he would never let me go." " One thing you can do; you can promise him, if God brings you back to France, a ship of silver of five marks weight, for the King, and yourself, and your children; and I will be your warranty that God will bring us back to France; for I vowed to St. Nicholas that if he saved us from the danger we were in that night, I would go and seek him from Joinville on foot and unshod."

And she told me, that, as for the silver ship of five marks weight, she vowed it to St. Nicholas, and that I must stand warranty for it; and I said I would right gladly do so. She went away, and it was only a little while before she came back to us, and said to me: "St. Nicholas has preserved us from this peril; for the wind has dropped."

When the Queen God rest her soul! was back in France, she caused the silver ship to be made at Paris. And in the ship were the King and Queen and the three children, all of silver: the sailors, the mast, the rudder and the cordage, all of silver, and a silver sail. And the Queen told me that the workmanship of it had cost an hundred pounds When the ship was finished, the Queen sent it to me at Joinville, that I might have it brought to St.

Nicholas; and so I did; and 1 saw it still at St. Nicholas' when we brought the [present] King's sister to Hagenau, to the German king.

Now to return to our subject: After we had escaped these perils, the King seated himself on the bulwark of the ship, and made me sit at his feet, and spoke to me as follows: " Seneschal, God has indeed shown us His great power; for not the chief of the four winds, but one of His little nameless winds, came near drowning the King of France, his wife, his children, and all his company. Now ought we to render Him love and thanks for the peril from which He has delivered us."

We left Cyprus, after we had shipped fresh water from the island and other things that we needed; and we came to an island called Lampedousa, where we shipped as many rabbits as we could carry. There we discovered an ancient hermitage in the rocks, and we found the gardens that had been made in old days by the hermits who slept there; olives and figs, vine−stocks, and other trees were there. The streamlet from the spring flowed through the garden. The King and we walked to the end of the garden, and found, in the first cave, a whitewashed oratory and a cross of red clay. We went into the second cave, and found the bodies of two dead men from which the flesh was all rotted away; the ribs still hung together complete, and the bones of their hands were folded on their breasts, and they were laid out towards the East, in the way in which one lays bodies in the ground.

On going aboard our ship again, one of our sailors was found to be missing, and the skipper thought that he had remained behind to become a hermit. So Nicholas of Soisy, the King's chief serjeant, left three bags of biscuit on the beach, so that he might find them and live on them.

So we sailed away, and next sighted a great island in the sea, named Pantelaria, which was peopled by Saracens who were subject to the King of Sicily and the King of Tunis. The Queen begged the King to send three galleys ashore, to get some fruit for her children; and the King consented, and ordered the galleys to be all ready to come off and rejoin the King's ship directly she passed in front of the island. The galleys put into a port that was in the island; but it came to pass that when the King's ship passed before the harbour mouth, there were no signs of our galleys. Thereupon the sailors began to mutter among themselves; and the King sent for them, and asked them, what they thought had happened? and the sailors answered that the Saracens must have seized his men and the galleys. "But we beg and advise you, Sir, not wait for them; for you are between the kingdom of Sicily and the kingdom of Tunis, who bear you little love, either of them; and if you let us sail on, we can bring you out of danger this very night, for we have got you past these straits." "Truly" said the King "you shall never persuade me leave my followers in the hands of Saracens, without at least doing all in my power deliver them; and I order you put about, and let us bear down on them." When the Queen heard this, she began lament loudly, saying, "Alack! It is all my doing!" Whilst they were busy tacking the King's ship and the rest, we saw the galleys put off from the island. As soon as they came up, the King asked the sailors: Why had they acted thus? And they answered: That they could not help it; that it was the fault of the burghers' sons of Paris, of whom there were six, who stayed eating the fruit in the gardens, so that they could not get them away, and they did not like leave them behind. Then the King ordered that the six burghers' sons should be put into the dinghy; whereupon they began scream and cry, "Sir, for God's sake, put us ransom for all we are worth, but do not put us in there, where they put murderers and thieves, for it would be an everlasting reproach us." The Queen and we all did our utmost to persuade the King to let them off; but he would not hear a word from anyone; so they were put into the dinghy and stayed there until we came to land. They were indeed in a sorry plight; for when the sea ran high, the waves flew over their heads, and they were forced to keep their seats for fear the wind should carry them overboard. And it served them right, for their greed injured us so much as to delay us for full a week, because the King had made the ships put about.

Yet another adventure befell us at sea, before we reached land; which was as follows. One of the Queen's bedeswomen, after she had put the Queen to bed, carelessly threw the kerchief which she wore round her head onto the top of the iron stand in which the Queen's night light was burning; and after she had gone down to bed in the cabin below the Queen's, where her ladies slept, the candle burnt so low that it set fire to the headdress, and from the head−dressspread to some sheets which covered the Queen's clothes. The Queen waking up, saw the cabin all alight with fire, and jumped up out of bed with nothing on, and seized the head−dress, and flung it out to sea, and took hold of the sheets and extinguished them. The men who were in the dinghy shouted, "Look out! fire! fire!" I raised my head, and saw the head−dress still blazing brightly on the sea, which was quite calm. I donned my coat as quickly as I could, and went and sat among the sailors. Whilst I was sitting there,my squire, who used to sleep at my feet, came to me, and told me, that the King was awake, and had asked where I was. " And I told him that you were down below; and the King said: 'That's a lie! "' Whilst we were talking, up comes Master Geoffrey, the Queen's clerk, who said to me, " Do not alarm yourself,for it is all over! " And I said to him, "Master Geoffrey, go and tell the Queen that the King is awake, andthat she should go to him and set his mind at rest."

On the morrow, the Constable of France, and my Lord Peter the Chamberlain, and my Lord Gervaise said to the King: "What happened last night? for we heard some talk of fire." I said not a word. Then said the King: "It must have been a certain accident about which the Seneschal is more reticent than I am; and I will tell you about it" said the King "for we might have been all burnt alive last night." He told them how it happened, and said to me: " Seneschal, I order you for the future never to go to bed, until you have put out all the lights on board, all except the big fire in the poop; and know, that I shall not go to bed until you come back to me." And so I did for as long as we were at sea, and when I came back to him, then the King went to bed.

Still another adventure befell us at sea; for my Lord Dragonfs, a rich man of Provence, was sleeping one morning in his ship, which was about a league ahead of ours; and he called one of his squires, and said to him: "Go and stop up that opening, for the sun is in my eyes." The squire saw that he could not stop up the opening without getting outside the ship, so he got outside; but as he was about to block up the opening, his foot slipped, and he fell into the water. Now this ship, being a small one, had no dinghy attached, and soon she was far away. We in the King's ship thought it was a bundle or a jar, for the man did not keep his wits about him when he fell into the water. One of the King's galleys picked him up, and brought him to our ship, where he told us how it had happened. I asked him, how it was that he did not use his wits and try to save himself, by swimming, or by some means or other? He replied: There was no need nor call forhim to trouble his wits about it, for that as soon as ever he began to fall, he commended himself to Our Lady, and she bore him up by the shoulders, from the moment he fell, until the King's galley picked him up. In honour of this miracle, I have had it painted in my chapel at Joinville, and also in the glass window at Blechicourt.


After the Queen Mother's death on I December, 1253, the King's brothers, Alfonso of Poitiers and Charles of Anjou, became the Regents of the kingdom. The nobles, ontheir own account, tried to make Simon de Montfort third Regent; but he refused.

The internal state of France under this administration became most unsatisfactory. Moreover, Henry III of England was in Gascony with an army, intriguing with the King of Castile. Manfred, the bastard son of the great Emperor Frederick, in his war with the Pope had the whole of Italy in flames. And, on the north−east frontier, Charles of Anjou was taking an active part in the civil war in Flanders.

The whole peaceful foreign policy of Louis was in danger; and his return was now urgently needed.


AFTER we had been ten weeks at sea, we touched at a port which is two leagues distant from the castle called Hyfres, which belonged to the Count of Provence (who afterwards was King of Sicily). The Queen and all the council were of one opinion, that the King should land there, because it was his brother's territory.

The King answered us, that he should certainly not leave his ship until he reached Aigues Mortes, which was in his own territory. To this the King held all Wednesday and Thursday, and we could not get our way with him. These ships of Marseilles have two rudders so cunningly connected with two tillers, that one can turn the ship. about right or left, as readily as one could guide a horse. On one of these steering−tillers the King was sitting on the Friday, and he called me and said, "Seneschal, what do you think about this business?" I said to him, "Sir, it would serve you right, if the same thinghappened to you as it did my Lady of Bourbon. She would not land at this port, but put out to sea again for Aigues Mortes, and at sea she remained for seven weeks afterwards." Then the King called hiscouncil, and repeated to them what I had said; and asked, what they advised doing? and they all advised himto land; for it would be most unwise of him to risk himself, his wife and children at sea again, now that he was out of it.

The King yielded our advice, whereat the Queen was greatly delighted.

At the castle of Hyfres the King to landed from off the sea, with the Queen and his children. Whilst the King was tarrying at Hyfres, procuring horses totake him to France, the Abbot of Cluny (who afterwards was Bishop of Olenus) made him a present of two palfreys, which nowadays would be worth about five hundred pounds, one for himself, and the other for the Queen. After he had presented them, he then saidto the King: " Sir, I shall come−morrow and talk over my business with you." When the next day came, the Abbot returned, and the King heard him very attentively for a long while. When the Abbot wasgone, I came to the King, and said: " I want to ask you, if you please, whether you heard the Abbot of Cluny any the more favourably for his having given you those two palfreys yesterday? " The King reflected for some time, and said, "Well, yes, I did." "Sir," said I, " do you know why I asked you this question? " " Why? " said he. " Because, Sir, I would advise you, after you be come intoFrance, to forbid all your sworn councillors to accept anything from those who have any business to transact with you; for you may be sure that, if they do, they will give a more ready and attentive ear to those who give them gifts; just as you did to the Abbot of Cluny." The King summoned a full council; and told them by the way what I had said to him; and they said, that I had given him very good advice.

The King heard talk of a barefoot friar named Brother Hugh; and because of his great reputation, the King sent for this friar, that he might hear him speak. On the day that we reached Hyfres, we looked along the road by which he was coming, and saw an immense crowd of people, both men and women, following him. TheKing had him to preach. The first part of the sermon was about men of religion, and ran as follows: " Sirs" said he " I see many men of religion in the King's Court and about his person. It isof these" said he "that I will speak first. They are not in a state to work out their salvation: or else the Holy Scriptures lie; and that cannot be. For the Holy Scriptures tell us, that a monk cannot live out of his cloister without deadly sin, any more than a fish can live out of water.

Those religious men who are with the King, may say, that this is their cloister; in that case I say to them that it is the biggest cloister that ever I saw, for it stretches to both sides of the sea. And if they say, that in this cloister one can live a strict life for the salvation of one's soul, there I do not believe them; for when I have dined with them, it was off divers sorts of flesh, and good strong wines; wherefor I am quite sure that had they been in their cloister, they would not have been so well off as they are with the King."

He instructed the King in his sermon, how he should behave himself for his people's happiness; and at the end of his sermon, he said, that he had read the Bible and those books that compare with the Bible, but that in no book, whether of believers or infidels, did he ever find that any kingdom or lordship was ever overthrown nor changed hands, save from lack of justice. " Therefor," said he, " let the King, now that he is going to France,see to it, that he deal so justly with his people, as to keep the love of God; so that God may not take the kingdom of France away from him so long as he lives."

I said to the King, that he should keep him amongst us as long as he could; but the Friar would do nothing for him. Then the King took me by the hand; and said: " Let us go and entreat him again." We went to him, and I said to him: "Sir, do what my lord asks you, and stay with him as long as he is in Provence." But he answered me very wrathfully, " Certainly, Sir, I shall not do so. I will rather betake me to some place where I shall be more pleasing to God than in the King's company." He stayed one day with us, and the next day went away again; and now, as I have since heard, he lies in the city of Marseilles, where he performs many fine miracles.

On the day that the King left Hyfres, he walked down on foot from the castle, because the slope was very steep; and walked on some distance, until, not beingable to get his own palfrey, he was obliged to mount mine. And when his palfreys came up, he rounded on Poynce, the squire, very tartly. When he had rated him thoroughly, I said to him, " Sir, you ought to put up with a good deal from Poynce, for he served your father and your grandfather before you." " Seneschal," said he, " it is not he that has served us, but we that have served him, by tolerating him about us, with his bad faults. King Philip my grandfather told me, that one should reward one's servants, one more and another less, according as to how they perform their service; and he used to say, moreover, that no one could be a good ruler of a land, if he did not know how to refuse as boldly asto grant. And I teach you this," said the King, " because the world is so greedy in asking, that there are but few who regard their soul's salvation nor their worldly honour, so long as they can transfer theirneighbour's goods to themselves, by fair means or by foul."

The King travelled through the county of Provence to a city called Aix−in−Provence, where it was said that the body of Magdalen was laid. And we went into a very lofty cave in a rock, where they said that the Magdalen had dwelt as a hermit for seventeen years.

When the King reached Beaucaire, and I saw him in his own territory and dominion, I took leave of him, and travelled home by way of my niece the Dauphine of Viennois, and my uncle the Count of Chalons, and his son the Count of Burgundy; and when I had stayed for a while at Joinville, and put my affairs in order, I set out to join the King, whom I found at Soissons; and he welcomed me so heartily that all who were there were astonished. There I found Count John of Brittany and his wife (the daughter of King Tibald) who offered her homage to the Kingfor such rights as she laid claim to in Champagne; and the King appointed a day for her and King Tibald II, who was there, to come to the Parliament at Paris; that the case might be heard, and justice done between the parties. To the Parliament came the King of Navarre and his council, and likewise the Count of Brittany.

At this Parliament, King Tibald asked for my Lady Isabel, the King's daughter, to have to wife. There was a good deal of talk among our people of Champagne because of the affection which they had seen the King show me at Soissons; so I did not hesitate to go tothe King of France to speak about this marriage. "Go," said he, "first make peace with the Count of Brittany, and then we will see about your marriage." And I told him, that he ought not to allow that to interfere. And he replied, that nothing should induce him to conclude the marriage, until peace should have been made; for he would not have it said that he married his children to the disheritage of his barons.

I reported these words to Queen Margaret of Navarre and the King her son and the rest of their council; and thereupon they hastened to make peace. And after peace was concluded, the King of France gave his daughter to King Tibald; and the wedding was celebrated at Melun, with great pomp and solemnity; and thence King Tibald took her to Provence, where they were met and welcomed by a great number of barons.



AFTER the King returned from over−seas, he behaved himself so devoutly, that thenceforth he never wore neither beaver, nor squirrel's fur, nor scarlet, nor gilded stirrups and spurs; his garments were of hair−cloth, or of dark−blue woollen. The trimmings of his coverlets and robes were of hares' feet or lamb's wool.

When the rich men's minstrels came to his house after dinner, and brought their viols, he would wait to hear grace until the minstrel had ended his lay; then he would rise, and before him stood the priests who said his grace. When we were in private, he would sit at the foot of his bed; and when the preachers or friars who were there put him in mind of some good book, to which he liked to listen, he would say to them, "You shall not read to me; for after meals there is no book so good as a 'quolibet,' and that means ' let each say what he pleases."

When any rich men dined with him they found him very good company.

I will tell you about his wisdom. On various occasions he showed himself to be the wisest man in his Council; as for instance when, apart from his Council and on the spur of the moment, he replied to a petition from all the prelates of the kingdom of France. It was as follows:

Bishop Guy of Auxerre addressed him for them all: " Sir " said he " these archbishops and bishops here present, have charged me to tell you that Christendom is falling to pieces and melting away in your hands, and will fall away still further, unless you study to remedy It; inasmuch as no one, nowadays, has any dread of excommunication. Wherefor we desire you, Sir, to order your serjeants and bailiffs to use compulsion on such as have been excommunicated a year and a day, that they may give satisfaction to the Church." And the King, without taking counsel at all, made answer, that he would willingly order his bailiffs and serjeants to use compulsion on those that were excommunicated as they demanded; but that he must be allowed to have cognisance whether the sentence were legal or no. They consulted together and replied to the King; that they would not give him cognisance of what pertained to religion; and the King in his turn replied; that he would never give them cognisance of what pertained to him; nor would he ever order his serjeants to force those who were excommunicated to procure absolution whether right or wrong. "For if I did so, I should be flying in the face of God and of justice; and I will give you this as an instance: The bishops of Brittany kept the Count of Brittany no less than seven years under sentence of excommunication, and in the end the Court of Rome absolved him. Now, if I had put compulsion on him after the first year, I should have done so wrongly."

It happened after our return from over−seas, that the monks of St. Urban elected two abbots. Bishop Peter of Chalons God rest his soul! turned them both out, and consecrated as abbot my Lord John of Mymery, and gave him the crozier. I would not acknowledge him, because he had wronged Abbot Geoffrey, who had appealed against him and gone to Rome. I kept the abbey in my own hands until the said Geoffrey carried off the crozier, and the bishop's man lost it. While the dispute was going on, the bishop had excommunicated me. In consequence of this, there was a great fuss made, in a parliament held at Paris, about me and Bishop Peter, and Countess Margaret of Flanders, and the Archbishop of Rheims to whom she gave the lie.

At the next parliament, all the prelates begged the King that he would come and speak with them alone. On his return from talking with the bishops, he came to us who were awaiting him in the Chamber of Pleas, and told us laughing how the bishops had baited him. It began with the Archbishop of Rheims saying to the King, "Sir, what are you going to do about thewardship of St. Remy of Rheims, of which you are robbing me? I would not have such a sin as yours on my conscience for the kingdom of France." " By the holy relics of this place," said the King, "you would, though, for Compiegne, such is your greed. So some one is perjured!,"

"The Bishop of Chartres," said the King, "desired me to restore him on credit what I held of his; and I told him that I should not do so until my castle were paid for. And I told him that he was my sworn liegeman, and that he was behaving neither well nor loyally towards me, in trying to rob me of my heritage."

"The Bishop of Chalons said to me," said the King, " 'What are you going to do about the Lord of Joinville, who is robbing that poor monk of the abbey of St. Urban's?' Sir Bishop," quoth the King, " you have settled amongst your own selves that no excommunicated person shall be heard in a lay court. Now I have seen in letters sealed with thirty−two seals, that you are excommunicated; so I shall not hear you until you be absolved."

I tell you these things to show you how by his own unaided wits he despatched whatever business he had to do.

Abbot Geoffrey of St. Urban's, though I had done his business for him, rendered me evil for good after wards, and appealed against me. He gave our holy King to understand that he was in his ward.

I begged the King to have the truth declared, whether the wardship were his or mine. " Sir," said the Abbot, "you shall never do that, please God rather admit us to a formal suit between us and the Lord of Joinville; seeing that we, to whom the property belongs, would rather have our abbey in your ward than in his."

Then said the King to me: " Is it true what they say, that the wardship of the abbey is mine " Certainly not, Sir," said I, " on the contrary, it is mine. "

Then the King said to them, " The property is very possibly yours; but with the wardship of your abbey you have nothing to do; so, by your leave, it must needs belong, according to what you say and to what the Seneschal says, either to me or to him. Neither will anything you say ever dissuade me from having the truth declared. For if I were to involve him in a formal suit, I should be acting disloyally towards him, who is my liegeman, by putting his rights to a trial when he offers to have them plainly declared." He caused the truth to be declared, and when it was declared, he delivered me the wardship of the abbey, and gave me his letters.

It came about, through the exertions of the holy King, that the King of England, with his wife and children, came to France to treat of the peace between him and them. His Council was strongly opposed to the said peace, and addressed him thus: " Sir, we are greatly astonished at your purpose, that you intend to give the King of England so large a portion of your territory, which you and your forbears have conquered from him and by their own fault. It appears to us, that if you believe yourself to have no right to it, you are making but poor restitution to the King of England, unless you give him back the whole of what you and your forbears have conquered; whereas if you think that you have a right to it, it seems to us, that whatever you give him is so much lost."

To this the holy King replied as follows. " Sirs, I am quite sure that the King of England's forbears rightly and justly lost the conquered lands that I hold, and what I give him, I give him not because I am in any wise beholden to him nor to his heirs, but to put bonds of love betwixt my children and his who are first cousins. And methinks that what I give him is well spent; for whereas he was not my liege−man, now he comes into homage to me."

Indeed, he was the man of all the world who worked hardest for peace among his subjects, particularly among the rich men on his borders, and the princes of the realm; as for instance, between the Count of Chalons (the Lord of Joinville's uncle) and his son the Count of Burgundy, between whom there was great strife, when we returned from overseas. And to make peace between father and son he sent some of his Council into Burgundy at his own expense, and through his exertions peace was made between them.

Again, there was great strife between King Tibald II of Champagne, and Count John of Chalons, and his son the Count of Burgundy, over the abbey of Luxeuil; to pacify which my Lord the King sent thither Lord Gervaise Desoraines, who at that time was Chief Cook of France, and by his exertions he made peace. After the King had pacified this war, a fresh war sprang up, between Count Tibald of Bar, and Count Henry of Luxemburg, who had his sister to wife; and it fell out that they fought with each other below Pigney, and Count Tibald of Bar took Count Henry of Luxemburg prisoner, and also captured the castle of Liney, which belonged to the Count of Luxemburg by right of his wife. To end this war the King despatched my Lord Peter the Chamberlain, the man of all the world whom he most trusted all at the King's expense; and finally the King succeeded in pacifying them.

As for these foreigners whose quarrels the King had settled, some of his Council told him that he would have done better to have let them go on fighting, for, that if he let them thoroughly ruin themselves, they would not be so ready to turn against himself as if they were wealthy. To this the King replied, that they argued ill: For if the neighbouring princes became aware that I encouraged their quarrelling, they might lay their heads together and say, "The King out of his malice encourages our fighting"; and so it would come to pass that out of the hatred they would conceive against me, they would turn on me; and then I should be much worse off; besides incurring the hatred of God, who says, " Blessed are the peacemakers."

The result was, that the Burgundians and the Lorrainers whom he had pacified, loved and obeyed him so well that I have seen them come to the King's court to plead in their private quarrels before him, at Rheims, at Paris, and at Orleans.


THE King loved God and His sweet Mother so well that if anybody within his reach used any foul language or lewd oath about God or His Mother, the King caused them to be very severely punished. For this I saw him cause a goldsmith at Cesarea to be put on a ladder in his shirt and breeches, with the entrails of a pig hung round his neck, right up to his ears. I heard say, after I returned from over−seas that he had a burgher of Paris seared through the nose and lips for the same offence, but I did not see it. And the holy King said, " I would gladly be branded with a hot iron, on condition that all lewd oaths were done away with out of my kingdom."

I was about twenty−two years in his company; and never heard him swear by God, nor by His Mother nor by His Saints; but whenever he wanted 357 to affirm anything, he used to say, " Truly it was thus," or " Truly it shall be thus."

Never did I hear him name the devil, unless it were in some book where the name came in, or in the life of the Saints of whom the book was speaking. And a great disgrace it is to the realm of France, and to the King who allows it, that a man can hardly open his lips without saying " Deuce take it!" and a great abuse it is of language to devote to the devil a man or woman who was given to God at baptism. In the household of Joinville, whoever uses such an expression, pays for it with a buffet or a slap, and such bad language has been almost entirely put down.

Before he went to bed, he used to send for his children, and would tell them stories of the deeds of good kings and emperors; and he used to tell them that they must take example by people such as these. He would tell them too, about the deeds of wicked rich men, who by their lechery and their rapine and their avarice, had lost their kingdoms. "And these things," he used to say, " I tell you as a warning to avoid them, lest you incur the anger of God." He had them taught the Hours of Our Lady, and caused the Hours for the Day to be repeated to them, in order to give them the habit of hearing their Hours when they should come into their estates.

The King was so liberal an almsgiver, that wherever he went throughout his kingdom, he made gifts to poor churches, to lazar−houses, to alms houses, to asylums, and to poor gentlemen and gentlewomen.

From his childhood up, he was compassionate towards the poor and the suffering; and it was the custom that, wherever he went, six score poor should always be replenished in his house with bread and wine, and meat or fish every day. In Lent and Advent, the number was increased, and many a time the King would wait on them, and place their meat before them, and would carve their meat before them, and with his own hand would give them money when they went away.

Likewise on the high vigils of solemn feasts, he would serve the poor with all these things, before he either ate or drank.

Besides all this, he had every day old broken−down men to dine and sup with him, and had them served with the same food that he himself was eating. And when they had feasted, they took away with them a certain sum of silver.

Over and above all these things, the King used every day to give large and liberal alms to poor men of religion, to poor asylums, to the sick poor, and all sorts of poor colleges, to poor gentlemen and married women and spinsters, to fallen women, to poor widows, and to women in child−bed, and to such poor as by reason of old age or sickness were unable to labour or pursue their trade in number past all telling. So that we may say that he was herein more fortunate than Titus, Emperor of Rome, of whom old writers tell us, that he was passing sorrowful and downcast, because of one day in which he had conferred no benefit.

He asked me whether I washed the feet of the poor on Shrove Thursday; and I replied No, that I thought it unseemly. And he told me that I ought not to contemn it, for God had done it. "For you would find it very hard to do what the King of England does, who washes the feet of lepers and kisses them."

When any of the benefices of Holy Church escheated to the King, before bestowing it, he would first take counsel with good persons of religion and others; and after consultation he would bestow the benefices in good faith, honourably and according to God. Nor would he give any benefice to any cleric, unless he resigned all the other Church benefices that he might hold.

In all the towns of his realm where he had never been before, he would seek out the Preachers and Grey Friars, if there were any, and desire their prayers.

From the very first, when he came into his kingdom and to years of discretion, he began building monasteries and various religious houses, amongst which the Abbey of Royaumont bears the palm for eminence and renown.

He founded the Abbey of St. Anthony near Paris; and the Abbey of St. Matthew of Rouen, into which he put women of the order of Preaching Friars; and that of Longchamp for women of the Minorite order; and endowed them highly. He allowed his mother to found the Abbey of Liz by Melun−sur−Seine, and that of Pontoise, which is called Maubuisson.

He founded several almshouses: the Almshouse of Paris, that of Pontoise, and that of Compiegne and of Vernon, and endowed them highly; besides the Grey Friars Nunnery of St. Cloud, which his sister, my Lady Isabel, founded by his leave.

Also he founded the Blind Asylum near Paris to receive the blind of the city of Paris, and had a chapel built for them to hear divine service. And the good King built the Charterhouse outside Paris, and assigned sufficient revenues to the monks who dwelt there for the service of Our Lord. Shortly afterwards he had another house built outside Paris, which was called the House of the Daughters of God, and caused a great number of women to be boarded there, who by reason of poverty had fallen into the sin of wantonness, and granted them four hundred pounds' worth of revenue to support them. Also in many places of his kingdom he founded houses of female Begouins, and gave them revenues to live upon, and gave orders to admit such as gave promise of a chaste life.

Some of his kindred used to grumble at his liberal almsgiving, and because he spent so much on this kind of thing; but he used to say: " I would much rather be extravagant in alms, for the love of God, than in the pomp and vainglories of this world."

Yet, though the King spent so much in charity, his daily household expenses were none the less very great. He lived in a free and open−handed style at the parliaments and assemblies of barons and knights; and the hospitality at his Court was so courteous, generous, and plentiful that nothing like it had been known for a long time past at the courts of his predecessors.

The King loved all people who devoted themselves to the service of God and wore the religious habit, and all such as came to him were secure of a livelihood. He made provision for the Brethren of Carmel, and bought them a site on the banks of the Seine in the direction of Charenton; and he built a house for them, and bought them vestments and chalices and all the things needful for performing divine service.

Next, he provided for the Austin Friars, and bought them a grange belonging to a burgher of Paris, with all its appurtenances, outside the gate of Montmartre, and had it turned into a monastery for them. He provided for the Brethren of the Bag, and granted them a site on the Seine, over against St. Germain des Pres, where they took up their quarters; but they did not stay long there, for they were soon suppressed.

When the Brethren of the Bag were provided for, another sort of Brotherhood sprang up, called the " Order of White Mantles," and demanded that the King should help them to settle in Paris; and to harbour them he bought them a house and several old sites round about, close to the old Temple Gate at Paris, not far from the Weavers' quarter. These White Monks were put down by the Council of Lyons, that Gregory X held.

Again there came a new sort of Friars, who entitled themselves " Brethren of the Holy Cross," and wore the cross on their breasts; and they begged the King to help them. The King did so readily, and lodged them in a street called Temple Crossing, which nowadays is called the street of the Holy Cross.

Thus did the good King fence about the city of Paris with men of religion.


AFTER King Louis returned to France from overseas, he bore himself meekly towards Our Lord, and uprightly towards his subjects. And he perceived and bethought him that it would be a fine work to reform the realm of France.

First of all, he made a general ordinance for his subjects throughout all the realm of France in the following manner.

Edict I

The King's officers shall administer justice and maintain the customs, without fear or favour, and shall be held responsible in their persons and properties.

"We, Louis, by the grace of God King of France, do ordain that all our Bailiffs, Sheriffs, Provosts, Mayors and t all others, be they who they may, and be the matter what it may, do take IS oath that so long as they shall hold office or bailly, they will do justice to every man without exception of persons, to poor and rich alike, to stranger and friend alike, and will maintain such usages and customs as are good and tried. And if any matter occur in which the bailiffs or sheriffs or others such as serjeants or foresters act contrary to their oaths and be attainted of so doing, it is our will that they be punished in their goods and in their persons, according as the offence demands, and the bailiffs shall be punished by us, and the rest by the bailiffs.


They shall make oath to maintain the King's privileges.

Henceforth the provosts, bailiffs, serjeants and the rest shall swear to well and truly maintain our revenues and rights, and that they will not suffer our rights to be withheld nor done away with, nor diminished.


They shall accept no bribe directly nor indirectly.

Henceforth they shall swear that they will not take nor receive, neither in person nor through others, gold, nor silver, nor perquisites, nor anything else, unless it be fruit or bread or wine or other gift not exceeding the value of ten shillings (a week). Moreover they shall swear not to accept any gift whatever for their wives or children or brothers or sisters or any other person in any wise connected with them; neither permit them to accept such gifts, and directly they shall find that such gifts have been received they shall cause them to be returned as soon as possible. Henceforth they shall swear not to keep any gift whatever from any man of their bailly.


They shalt not give bribes directly nor indirectly.

Henceforth they shall swear not to give nor send any gift to any man who may be on our council, nor to their wives nor children nor to any soul belonging to them; nor to those who shall audit their accounts on our behalf; nor to any inquisitors whom we may send into their baillies or provosties to make inquiry into their acts. And moreover they shall swear that they will take no commission from any sale of our revenues or coinage or anything else pertaining to us.


They shall maintain discipline among their subordinates; and not corrupt their chiefs.

Moreover, they shall swear that if they know any official, serjeant or provost, under them to be dishonest, addicted to rapine, usury or other vices, whereby he ought to forfeit our service, that they will not support him by reason of gift or promise or friendship, or any other thing, but will punish and judge him in good faith. Henceforth our provosts, sheriffs, mayors, foresters, and other serjeants of foot or horse, shall swear not to give any gifts to their superiors, nor to their wives and children.


These oaths shall be taken publicly.

And because it is our will that these oaths be firmly established, we will that they be sworn in full assize, in the face of all men, both clerics and laymen, knights and serjeants, notwithstanding that they may have already taken the oath to ourselves; so that they may shun the sin of perjury, not only for fear of God and us, but from worldly shame.


Against swearing, gambling and prostitution.

We will and ordain that all our provosts and bailiffs abstain from any oath savouring of blasphemy towards God, Our Lady, and all the Saints; and keep themselves from games of dice, and from the tavern. 1

It is our will that the manufacture of dice be forbidden throughout our kingdom, and that all lewd women be put out of their houses; and whosoever shall lease a house to a lewd woman, he shall make over the rent of the house for one year to the provost or bailiff.

* G. de Nangis adds here a "bona fide traveller" clause. VIII

Government officials over the rank of a provost shall not acquire property in their own jurisdiction; nor make a profit out of the wardships of minors; nor form any ties nor party outside the King's interests.

Further, we utterly forbid our bailiffs to buy, or cause to be bought, by themselves or others, any land or property in their own bailly or any other, so long as they are in our employ. And we forbid them to marry any son or daughter of theirs, or any person connected with them, to anybody in their bailly, without our special leave: Also, they shall not place them in any religious house of theirs, nor procure them any benefice of Holy Church nor any property whatever. Also they shall not take any office nor appointment in any religious house, nor about themselves, to the detriment of the religious.

We do not intend the aforesaid prohibition to marry or acquire property to apply to provosts or mayors nor others holding minor posts.


Minor officials to be limited in number, beadles publicly appointed, and serjeants accredited by letter.

We command our bailiffs, provosts, and others not to keep over many serjeants and beadles, to be a burthen on the people. The beadles shall be called in full assize, otherwise they shall not be accounted beadles. When our serjeants shall be sent into any distant place, or foreign country, it is our will that they be not credited without a letter from their superior.


About debts and fines.

We order every bailiff and provost holding office under us not to burden honest folk with his justice beyond what is lawful; and that no one under our jurisdiction be put in prison for any debt that he may owe saving only what he may owe to ourselves.

We ordain that none of our bailiffs levy a fine for any debt that our subjects owe us, nor for any crime; save it be tried and assessed in full court. And if it chance that the accused be not willing to await the judgment of the court which is open to him, but rather offers a certain sum of money as a fine, as has been commonly accepted, we will that the court accept the sum, if it is reasonable and adequate; and if not, then that the fine be judged according as is said above, notwithstanding the accused submits himself to the pleasure of the court.

We forbid the bailiff, mayor or provost, to constrain our subjects by fear or threats or intrigue, to pay a fine secretly or openly.


Office not to be bartered nor shared; nor used for private purposes.

Moreover we ordain that those who hold the provosties, shrievalties, and other baillies cannot sell them to anyone else without our leave, and if several persons combine to buy the aforesaid offices, it is our will that one of the buyers shall perform the duties for all the rest, and exercise the liberties pertaining to remounts, tallages and public charges, as the custom is. And we forbid them, after they have bought the said offices from us, to resell them to brothers, nephews, or cousins: nor shall they through their own office require any debt that may be owed them, except debts due to their office.

But their personal debts they shall require through the authority of the bailiff, just as though they were not in our employ.


Deals with various vexatious abuses of justice.

We forbid that bailiffs and provosts should harass our subjects in any cases which they have brought before them by changing from place to place: but let them hear such matters as are before them in the place where they have been wont to give a hearing; so that people may not abstain from seeking justice because of trouble or expense.

Henceforth we command that no man be disseized of any seisin that he holds, without cognisance of cause, or special order from ourselves; and that our people be not oppressed with new exactions of tallages and fresh customs; nor shall a muster be ordered in order to get the people's money, nor shall they be called out for military service without sufficient cause. And those who wish to serve in person shall not be forced to buy themselves off for money.

Further we forbid bailiffs and provosts to prohibit the export of corn, wine, and other merchandise out of our realm without due cause. And when it must needs be prohibited we will that it be done by common consent in a council of good and true men without suspicion of fraud or deceit.

Item: It is our will that all ex−bailiffs, sheriffs, provosts, and mayors shall, after they have quitted office, continue for the space of forty days in the district where they held office, in their own persons or by deputy, that any whom they have wronged may lodge a complaint against them. By this edict he greatly amended the realm.

The provosty of Paris used at that time to be sold to the burghers of Paris, or to some of them; and whenever any of them had bought it, then they used to uphold their children and nephews in their lawlessness; for the young men relied on their kinsmen and friends who held the provosty. For this cause the common people were over much trodden down, and could get no justice on the rich men, because of the great gifts and donations that these made to the provosts. At that time, whoever spoke truth before the provost, or attempted to keep his oath, and not perjure himself, about a debt or any other matter about which he was called in question, the provost would levy a fine on him, and he would be punished. By reason of the great deeds of injustice and violence which were done in the provosty, the common people durst not live on the King's land, but rather went and dwelt under other provosts and other lords. And the King's land was so empty, that when he held his Court of Pleas, not more than ten or twelve persons used to come to it. There were moreover so many malefactors and robbers in Paris and round about, that the whole country was overrun with them. The King, who was very zealous for the protection of the common people, found out the whole truth; so he would no longer allow the provosty of Paris to be sold, but gave secure and high wages to those who for the future should hold it. And he put down all the evil customs whereby the people might be oppressed; and made inquiry throughout the whole kingdom and country where a man might be found who would administer sound and strict justice, and spare the rich no more than the poor. And then Stephen Boileau was pointed out to him; and he upheld and kept the provosty so well that no malefactor, nor robber, nor murderer, durst abide in Paris but he was presently hanged or ruined: neither kith nor kin, gold nor silver could protect him. The King's territory began to improve; people came thither for the sake of the good justice that was done there. It so multiplied and improved that the sales, seisins, purchases, and other things were worth double what the King got from them formerly.

" In all these things that we have ordered for the advancement of our subjects and our kingdom we have reserved to ourselves the power of expounding, amending, adding, and restricting, according as we shall be advised."

By this act he greatly benefited the kingdom of France, as many wise and aged men testify.


AFTER the events above narrated, it came to pass one Lent, that the King summoned all his barons to Paris. I excused myself, on account of a quartan fever, from which I was suffering at the time, and begged him to allow me to stay away. But he sent me word that he was absolutely determined I should come, for he had good doctors there who well understood the cure of quartan fever. So to Paris I went. When I arrived, on the evening of the Vigil of Our Lady in March, I found neither the King, nor anyone who could tell me why the King had sent for me. Now it so happened by God's will that I fell asleep at Matins; and in my sleep methought I saw the King on his knees before an altar, and methought several prelates in their vestments were clothing him with a crimson chasuble of Rheims serge. After this vision, I called my priest, Lord William, who was a very clever man, and told him the vision; and this is what he said to me: " Sir, you will see that the King will take the Cross to−morrow." I asked him, why he thought so? and he told me that he thought so because of the dream that I had dreamed, for the chasuble of crimson serge betokened the Cross which was crimsoned with the blood that God had shed from his side and hands and feet; " As for the chasuble being of serge of Rheims, that signifies that the Crusade will be one of small note as you will see if God grants you life."

When I had heard mass at the Magdalen at Paris I went into the King's chapel, and found the King, who had gone up into the gallery of relics and was having the true Cross brought down. Whilst the King was on his way down, two knights of his Council began talking together; and one of them said, " Never trust me again, if the King does not take the Cross while he is here." And the other replied " If the King takes the Cross, it will be one of the saddest days in France that ever were. For if we do not take the Cross, we shall lose the King, and if we do take the Cross we shall lose God, for it will not be for His sake that we take it." Now it came to pass, that the King took the Cross on the morrow and his three sons besides; and afterwards it came to pass that the Crusade was of little note, just as my priest had foretold. I was much urged by the King of France and by the King of Navarre to take the Cross. To this I replied, that all the while that I had been serving God and the King over−seas, and also after my return, the serjeants of the King of France and the King of Navarre had destroyed and impoverished my people; so that I and they should be the worse for it for all time to come. And I told them this: that if I wished to work God's will, I should stay where I was to help and protect my people; for that if I risked my life on the chances of this pilgrimage, seeing as I did quite plainly that it would be to the harm and injury of my people, I should anger God, who gave His life to save His people.

To my mind they committed a deadly sin who encouraged his going; for France had reached a condition when all the kingdom was at peace within itself and with its neighbours; and never again has it been so since he left it; but the state of the kingdom has steadily gone from bad to worse. A very great sin it was in those who encouraged him to go, seeing how weak he was in health at the time; for he could endure neither to drive nor ride. His weakness was so great that he let me carry him in my arms from the Count of Auxerre's house, where I took leave of him, as far as the Greyfriars. And yet, weak as he was, if he had stayed in France, he might still have lived a good while and done a great deal of good.

I shall not say anything about his journey to Tunis, nor give any account of it, because I was not there thank God! And I do not wish to say or put anything in my book of which I am not quite sure. So we will speak only of our holy King, and say, that after he landed at Tunis, before the castle of Carthage, he fell sick of a catarrh of the stomach, by reason of which he took to his bed, and felt that the time was come for him to pass from this world to the next. Thereupon he called for my Lord Philip his son, and bade him to observe, as though it were his testament, all the instructions that he left him; which instructions are written below in the common tongue;1 and the King wrote them so they say with his own blessed hand.

When the good King had given his instructions to my Lord Philip, his infirmity began to increase greatly upon him, and he asked for the sacraments of Holy Church. And he received them with a sound mind and right understanding, as was plain; for, whilst they were anointing him and repeating the seven psalms, he repeated the verses in response. And I heard my lord theCount of Alencon, his son, relate, that when death drew near, he cried on the saints to aid and succour him; and likewise on my Lord St. James, repeating his prayer the while, which begins: "Esto Domine," which means " May the Lord sanctify and watch over our people." Next he called upon my Lord St. Denis to help him, saying his prayer, which means "Lord God, grant that we may so despise the ruggedness of this world that we may fear no adversity." And then I heard my Lord of Alencon say that his father called upon St. Genevieve.

After that, the holy King made them lay him on bed strewn with ashes, and laid his hands upon

[*] See Appendix. his breast, and looking up to heaven, yielded up his spirit to our Creator, in the very same hour when the Son of God died upon the Cross.

A precious matter and worthy of tears is the death of this holy Prince, who so righteously and faithfully watched over his kingdom; who did so many fair works of charity, and founded so many fine institutions. And just as a writer when he has ended his book illuminates it with gold and azure, so did this King illuminate his kingdom with the fair abbeys that he built, and with the almshouses, and convents of Preachers, Greyfriars and other orders aforetold.

On the morrow of the feast of St. Bartholomew the Apostle, passed away from this world Louis, a good King, in the year of the Incarnation of Our Lord, the year of grace, MCCLXX; and his bones were preserved in a casket and buried at St. Denis in France, where he had chosen his burying−place. In this same place was he buried; and there God has wrought many a fair miracle for his sake and by his merits.

Afterwards, at the instance of the King of France [Philip III], and by the Pope's orders, the Archbishop of Rouen came, and Brother John of Samoys, who afterwards became bishop. They came to St. Denis in France, and stayed there a long while, inquiring into his life and works and miracles; and I got word to go to them, and they kept me for two days. And after they had made inquiry of me and others, what they had learnt was taken to the Court of Rome, and the Pope and Cardinals diligently perused it. And in accordance with what they had read, they did him justice, and placed him among the number of Martyr Confessors; which was, and always should be, a great joy to the kingdom of France, and a great honour to all of his descendants who will copy him in well doing; and a great honour to all of his race who by good works seek to follow in his footsteps; but a great dishonour to those of his race who seek to work evil, for men will point at them, and will say, that the holy King from whom they sprang would never have done such wickedness.

After this good news had arrived from Rome, the King [Philip IV] appointed a day, the morrow of St. Bartholomew, on which day the holy body was lifted. When it was lifted, the Archbishop of Rheims, that then was God rest his soul! and Lord Henry of Villars, my nephew, who at that time was Archbishop of Lyons, bore it in front, with many others, archbishops and bishops, whose names I cannot tell; and it was carried to the stage that had been erected.

There, Brother John of Samoys preached the sermon; and among the other great deeds of our holy King, he recorded one to which I had borne witness on my oath, and which I had seen; saying as follows: "In order that you may see that he was the most faith−abiding man that ever lived in his day, I must tell you that he was so faithful, that even when dealing with the Saracens he wanted to keep his promise, though he had only given them his bare word; and though, had it been kept, he would have lost ten thousand pounds and more." And he related all that had happened as it is written further back. And at the end, he said, " Do not imagine that I am deceiving you, for I see a man here who told me this and bore witness to it under oath."

When the sermon was over, the King and his brothers, assisted by their kindred, carried the holy body back into the church; for it behoved them to do him honour; for great honour has been done to them, if, as I said before, they do not thwart it. Let us beseech him that he will pray God to grant us all we need both for soul and body. Amen.

* * * * * * * *

There is still something that I want to tell you about our holy King, which is to his honour. It is this. In a dream methought I saw him in front of my chapel at Joinville; and methought he was wondrous joyous and light−hearted. And I myself was very happy at seeing him in my castle; and I said to him: " Sir, when you leave this place, I will lodge you in a house of mine, which stands in one of my towns called Chevillon." And he answered me laughing, and said, " By my faith, Sir de Joinville, I am in no such hurry to leave this place."

When I awoke, I thought it over, and it seemed to me that it was God's pleasure and his that I should give him a dwelling in my chapel; and so I have done. For I have built an altar in honour of God and of himself; and there is a revenue appointed in perpetuity for the service of it. I have reminded my Lord King Louis of these things, who inherits his name; and methinks he would please God and our holy King Louis, if he were to procure some relics of the true holy body, and send them to the said chapel of St. Lawrence at Joinville; so that those who come to his altar may be moved to greater devotion.

I give all men to know that I have herein set down a great part of the deeds of this our holy King, by me seen and heard, and a great part of his deeds that I have come across in a narrative, which I have caused to be written in this book. This I mention, in order that those who shall hear this book may believe firmly in what the book says, which I have truly seen and heard.

This was written in the year of grace MCCCIX, in the month of October.


Guillaume de Nangis supplies a full account of the King's second and last crusade, of which the following is an extract:

The King set out in March, 1270, leaving Simon de Nesle and the Abbot of St. Denis as regents, and was joined at Aigues Mortes by a crowd so vast that it was impossible to lodge them all in the vicinity.

In the beginning of July the King set sail, having on board with him his three sons, Philip (afterwards King Philip the Bold), Peter, Count of Alencon, and John, Count of Nevers (the same who was born at Damietta and surnamed "Tristan").

On the voyage they met with severe storms, and the fresh water went bad, causing the death of many men and horses. Instead of four days, they took eight days to reach Cagliari in Sardinia.

Arrived at Cagliari, they were very inhospitably received by the inhabitants, who were afraid of them, and removed their goods at the Crusaders' approach. It was with difficulty that Louis procured accommodation ashore for his sick, or bread, water, and vegetables; and at prices more than fifty per cent above the usual value.

When the rest of the fleet arrived, a council was held to decide where first to go.

King Louis had for some time past been corresponding with the King of Tunis, and was assured that the King of Tunis was only waiting for a good opportunity to become a Christian. This inclined him personally to go first to Tunis. His councillors also urged that, in case the King of Tunis proved obstinately heathen, the town was full of riches and easy to take; and that it was in the habit of furnishing supplies to the Sultan of Egypt in his wars with the Christians.

Hence it was decided to go to Tunis first, on the way to the Holy Land; and the fleet left Cagliari on July 18th, and came off Tunis on the 20th. The admiral of the fleet being sent to reconnoitre for a landing, captured some merchant ships, and landed. Having thus exceeded his instructions, he sent a request to the King for a force to support him. He was fetched back, but the next morning a large army of Saracens on foot and horseback surrounded the harbour; whereupon the King landed in full force, and the Saracens retreated. The Christians camped at a distance of about three arbalest−shots, on a sort of island, where, however, there was no fresh water. Two or three days later, they marched on, and pitched their tents under the walls of Carthage in a well−watered valley.

The sailors volunteered with the help of the cross−bowmen to take the fortress of Carthage. They carried it by assault, assisted by five hundred cross−bowmen and four battalions of foreign knights, but found few supplies inside except barley. The fortress was garrisoned, and the women, the sick, and the wounded were placed in it.

Beyond skirmishing and entrenching the camp nothing was done, as King Louis was awaiting the arrival of his brother Charles of Anjou (now King of Sicily). Whilst they were waiting encamped, John Tristan fell sick, and died on board one of the ships on August 3rd. A few days later the Legate also died and many other persons, some of fever, some of dysentery. Philip, the King's eldest son, fell sick with fever; and the King was taken with dysentery (the complaint to which he nearly succumbed in his first Crusade) and died on August 25th.

Charles of Sicily arrived before the body of his brother was cold, and pitched his tents within a mile or two of the French camp.

The King of Tunis then led up his army against the Christians, and there was a pitched battle, which the Crusaders won; but soon afterwards, plague broke out in the camp; and King Philip himself left the camp for fear of it and took refuge in caves.

Hereupon the King of Tunis made overtures of peace, and a ten years' truce was made, after much discussion.

This treaty concluded, the Crusaders determined to return home, for they were hopeless of accomplishing anything in the Holy Land, with their principal leaders dead, and their troops sick and demoralized. On the way home they met with a terrible storm, in which eighteen large ships were wrecked and four thousand persons perished.

Edward of England (afterwards Edward I) arrived at Tunis after the French had concluded peace, and sailed thence to Acre, followed by many French knights. With his return, the last Crusade ended.

See G. de Nangis, "Vie de St. L.," end, and "Vie de Phil. III," beginning. APPENDIX LETTER GIVEN BY ST. LOUIS ON HIS DEATH−BED TO PHILIP THE BOLD

IN the original this letter occurs in the text of the narrative.

" Fair son, my first injunction to thee, is that thou set thy heart to love God, for without this no man can be saved. Avoid doing aught which is displeasing to God to wit deadly sin. Rather shouldst thou suffer all manner of humiliations and torments, than fall into deadly sin.

If God send thee adversity, receive it in patience, and give thanks to Our Lord, and think that thou hast deserved it, and that He will turn it all to good. If He give thee prosperity, thank heaven with humility; that through pride or otherwise thou mayest not be the worse for that which should make thee better. For one should not war against God with His own gifts.

Confess thyself often, and choose as confessor a worthy man, able to teach thee what thou shouldst do and what avoid; and bear and conduct thyself in such a fashion that thy confessor and thy friends may be bold to reprove thy faults.

Hear divine service devoutly, with thy heart and with thy lips, especially at the mass when the Sacrament is performed.

Let thy heart be gentle and compassionate towards the poor and mean and unhappy; and comfort and aid ¨ them in so far as thou art able.

Uphold the good customs of thy kingdom, and put down the bad. Be not covetous towards thy people, nor take upon thee to levy imposts and tallages.

If thou hast any trouble at heart, tell it forthwith to thy confessor, or to some tried and worthy man, who is not full of idle words; so shalt thou carry it more lightly.

Look that thou have in thy company good and true men, such as are not full of covetousness, be they men of religion or laymen, and talk often with them, and fly and shun the company of the wicked. Hearken gladly to the word of God, and treasure it in thy heart, and be zealous to procure prayers and pardons. Love shine own interest and good, and hate everything evil, wherever thou cost find it.

Let none be so bold in thy presence, as to speak any word that may induce or stir up sin, nor defame others by back−bitings. Neither suffer any lewd talk of God in thy presence. Give thanks to God often, for all the benefits He has done thee, so that thou mayest be ready to receive more. Be faithful and strict to maintain law and justice, and true towards thy subjects, turning neither to right nor to left. Assist the right, and uphold the quarrel of the poor until the truth be made known. And if any man hath a suit against thee, do not prejudge it before knowing the truth; for thus shall thy councillors be more bold to judge according to truth, whether for or against thee.

If thou cost hold anything that is another's, either from thyself or from thy predecessors, if the fact is certain, give it back without delay; and if the fact is doubtful, let it be inquired into diligently by wise men.

Study how thy people and thy subjects may live in peace and in honesty under thee. Thy good towns likewise, and the customs of thy realm, preserve them in the same estate and in the same liberties in which they were maintained by thy predecessors. And if there be anything to amend, then amend and right it, and bind them to thee in favour and in love; for it is by the strength and wealth of the big towns that thou shalt awe and hold in check both friends and strangers, and particularly thy nobles and barons.1

Honour and love all men of Holy Church, and see that the gifts and alms which thy forbears gave them be not taken from them nor diminished. It is told of a certain King, my grandfather Philip, that one of his councillors once said to him, that the men of Holy Church did him great wrong, by robbing him of his privileges and

* Guillaume de Nangis significantly omits this passage. weakening his jurisdiction, and that it was very astonishing that he permitted it. The good King replied that he quite believed it; but that he considered all the mercies and loving kindness that God had shown him, and there fore preferred rather to waive some of his rights than to enter into dispute with Holy Church.

Honour and revere thy father and thy mother, and keep their commandment.

Bestow the benefices of Holy Church on persons of good and pure life, and according to the advice of true and honest men.

Beware of going to war with Christians save after great deliberation; but if thou must needs do so, then protect Holy Church and those who have no part in the quarrel. If wars and disputes arise among thy subjects, make peace between them as soon as thou canst.

Be diligent to have good provosts and good bailiffs, and frequently inquire into their behaviour, and into the behaviour of thy household, whether there be in them any vice, or over−great covetousness, or falsehood, or trickery.

Labour to banish all lewd sins from thy land; and specially put down, as far as in thee lies, all lewd oaths and heresy.

Take care that the expenditure of thy household be moderate.1

* Guillaume de Nangis omits this sentence, and in the Latin version inserts an injunction to obey the Roman Church and the Pope. And finally, my very sweet son, I charge thee to have masses sung for my soul, and prayers said throughout my kingdom, and allot me a full and special share in all thy good works.

Fair and dear son, I give thee all the blessings that a good father may give his son; and may the blessed Trinity and all the Saints guard and preserve thee from all evil, and God give thee grace to do His will alway, so that He may be honoured through thee, and that thou and we after this mortal life may dwell together with Him, and praise Him without end. Amen."


Source: The Memoirs of the Lord of Joinville, trans Ethel Wedgwood (London: John Murray, 1906) Internet Archive version here

This text is part of the Internet Medieval Sourcebook. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

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