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William of Newburgh:  Book Three

Book One | Book Two | Book Three | Book Four | Book Five | Introduction


  • Chapter 1:  Of the Council of London, and the contention of the archbishops, and the inundation of Holland
  • Chapter 2:  Of the reconciliation of the lord pope and emperor
  • Chapter 3:  The decrees of the Lateran Council
  • Chapter 4:  Of the death of the king of France, and of the events which occurred at Constantinople
  • Chapter 5:  Of the alteration of the public money, and death of the archbishop of York
  • Chapter 6:  Of Sverre, king of Norway
  • Chapter 7:  Of the death of king Henry III, and of his brother Geoffrey
  • Chapter 8:  Of the death of the archbishop of Canterbury, and institution of the bishop of Lincoln
  • Chapter 9:  Of the expedition against Roland, and certain occurrences in Ireland
  • Chapter 10:  Of the arrival of the patriarch in England; the death of the king of Jerusalem -- the reign of his son -- and of Saladin
  • Chapter 11:  How Saladin was overcome, and how afterwards prevailed
  • Chapter 12:  Of the cause of the arrival of patriarch in England
  • Chapter 13:  In what manner the patriarch returned unsuccessful
  • Chapter 14:  Of the disagreement of the kings, and their subsequent treaty
  • Chapter 15:  Of the prerogative of the land of Jerusalem, on account of which it so frequently devours its inhabitants
  • Chapter 16:  Of Guy, king of Jerusalem
  • Chapter 17:  Of the battle in which the Christian army perished, and the king was taken, along with the Holy Cross
  • Chapter 18:  In what manner Saladin occupied the Land of Promise, with the Holy City
  • Chapter 19:  How Conrad the marquis fortified Tyre, and of the death of the count of Tripoli
  • Chapter 20:  Of the siege of Tyre, and the return of the king from captivity
  • Chapter 21:  Of the death of pope Urban, and the appointment of Gregory
  • Chapter 22:  Of the death of pope Gregory
  • Chapter 23:  How the kings and many nobles assumed the cross
  • Chapter 24:  Of the exaction of tithes; and how the emperor and his peoples assumed the cross
  • Chapter 25:  How the treaty was broken by the king of France, and of the death of the king of England which followed
  • Chapter 26:  Of the character of king Henry
  • Chapter 27:  Of the toilsome and protracted siege of Acre
  • Chapter 28:  Of the death of William, king of Sicily, and of the evils that happened thereupon

Chapter 1:  Of the Council of London, and the contention of the archbishops, and the inundation of Holland    <to index>

[1] In the one thousand one hundred and seventy-fifth year from the fullness of time in which the Truth was born upon earth, which was the twenty-second year of the reign of King Henry II, a provincial council was celebrated in London by Richard, archbishop of Canterbury, legate of the holy see, sitting in full assembly with his suffragans and other ecclesiastical persons. In the following year, however, cardinal Hugh, legate of the apostolic see, came into England, though I know not for what object. Being about to hold a general council for the whole of England, by the sanction of the royal favor, he summoned to London the ecclesiastics of both the provinces of Canterbury and York. On the day fixed for holding the council, when he was about to proceed in the ensigns of his office, a vehement contention arose between the two archbishops about the chief seat in the council for verily that apostolical rule "in honor preferring one another" [Rom. 12:10], is so disregarded by the bishops of our time, that they, laying aside pastoral solicitude, contend with one another as obstinately as vainly for dignity; and almost all episcopal controversy entirely relates to precedence in honors. In a word, the archbishop of York having arrived the earlier, took possession of the chief seat, claiming the same as his own in accordance with the ancient decree of St. Gregory, by whom it was appointed that he who should be first consecrated should be esteemed the chief metropolitan of England. The archbishop of Canterbury, however, like a man who had sustained an injury, refused to take the lower room, and solemnly proclaimed his grievance in the matter of the seat which had been preoccupied; but his attendants, being more fiercely jealous of his dignity, proceeded from a simple strife of words to a brawl. The archbishop of York, the adverse party being the stronger, was driven with contumely from the place which he had so prematurely occupied, and exhibited to the legate his torn cope as a mark of the violence which had been used towards him; and he declared his intention to summon the archbishop of Canterbury with his followers before the holy see. Thus, while the metropolitans were contending, all business was thrown into confusion, and the council was not celebrated, but dispersed; and all those who had been summoned and had come together to hold a council, returned to their homes.

[2] In the same year in which the above-mentioned cardinal came to England, the ocean, as if irritated at the sons of men, rose higher than usual, broke through the dykes of Holland, which had of old been raised against the tempestuous force of the waves, and broke into that low and flat country on the seventh of the ides of January [7th Jan.], drowning almost all the cattle, as well as a multitude of men; the rest were with difficulty saved by climbing trees, or getting on the tops of houses, After about two days, when the fury of the waves was satiated, the sea returned to its bounds; but this irruption was fatal beyond measure to men and beasts, because, coming like a destroying thief in the night, it could not be seen and guarded against.

Chapter 2:  Of the reconciliation of the lord pope and emperor    <to index>

[1] In the one thousand one hundred and seventy-seventh year from the delivery of the Virgin, and in the eighteenth year of the pontificate of the lord pope Alexander, the inveterate rage of the emperor Frederick against that venerable pontiff became pacified. Cursed be his anger, for it was fierce, and his wrath for it was cruel. Blessed also be the Lord, who touches the mountains and they smoke; for he tames the angry, and mollifies the cruel. The principal schismatics had been swallowed up by the judgment of God -- that is to say, Octavianus, who had first invaded the papacy, and Guido of Crema, the successor of his rashness; and when John, abbot of Strumae, was the third to continue the error, the emperor at length, touched with compunction, began to treat of peace, by the instrumentality of wise and noble men.

[2] Thus these two great princes, the sacerdotal and the imperial, solemnly met together by the favor of God, and became as father and son, on the ninth of the kalends of August [24th July], and so the church was united after all the authors and favorers of schism were either touched with compunction or dead. For the person who, after the decease of Octavianus and Guido, had been the continuer of the schismatic fury, now that the favor by which the emperor had surrounded him had expired, was at last confused and dejected, and in a languishing condition. These events having happily come to pass, our lord the pope, as though he wished solemnly to celebrate the joys of a restored unity, after the scandals of so long a period, appointed a general council to be held at the Lateran, on the fifth of the ides of March [11th March], in the twentieth year of his pontificate, and in the one thousand one hundred and seventy-ninth year from the delivery of the Virgin. To this council he summoned the bishops of the whole Latin world, and the abbots of the principal monasteries. His intention, however, in convoking the council, was not very sincere, as was disclosed by an artful provision suggested by Roman avarice -- for many of those who were summoned, and to whom the journey to the council appeared difficult or intolerable, obtained a relaxation upon the payment of money, which was very insolently and basely exacted, rather than offered. We think that the decrees of this council ought to be inserted in our history.

Chapter 3:  The decrees of the Lateran Council    <to index>

Although injunctions sufficiently clear have been issued by our predecessors, for the avoiding of discord in the election of the Roman pontiff; because it has often happened, after such election the church has suffered a serious schism through the audacity of wicked ambition, we also, to avoid this evil, by the advice of our brethren and the approbation of the sacred council, have determined that something shall be added to these previous constitutions. We have, therefore, appointed that if perchance an enemy shall sow discord among the cardinals and there shall not be entire concord among them as to who shall be elected pontiff, and two parts of them agree, while the third part refuses to concur, or presumes to nominate another for itself; then the bishop who has been elected and acknowledged by the two parts shall be received by the universal church. But if any one, confiding in the nomination of the third part, shall usurp unto himself the name of bishop, though he cannot claim the reality, let him, as well as those who have received him, lie under sentence of excommunication, and let them be punished by the privation of every sacred ordinance, and even the communion of the viaticum shall be denied to them, excepting only in their last extremity: and unless they return to the paths of wisdom, let them receive their portion with Dathan and Abiram, whom the earth swallowed up alive. Moreover, if any should be elected to the apostolic office by fewer than by two parts, unless a greater assent and concord should follow, let him by no means be chosen, and let him be subject to the penalty aforesaid, if he should not be willing humbly to withdraw. >From this, however, let no prejudice arise to the canonical institutions, and to other churches in which the sentence of the larger and wiser party ought to prevail. For whatever doubt may occur among them, it may be finally settled by the judgment of the superior, but in the Roman court and church a special case exists, since recourse cannot be had to any superior.

Renewing that which was done by our predecessor Innocent, of happy memory, we do hereby declare those ordinations to be void which were made by Octavianus and Guido, the heresiarchs, and also those by John of Strumae, who succeeded them, and by those persons who were ordained by them -- we also declare that those who have received ecclesiastical dignities or benefices through the aforesaid schismatics, are hereby deprived of what they obtained. Alienations or invasions of ecclesiastical matters which have been made by the same schismatics, or by laymen, are likewise void of all force, and revert to the church without any claim upon it. If any presume to oppose this, be it known to him that he lies under sentence of excommunication: and we hereby decree that those persons shall be suspended from holy orders and dignities who have voluntarily taken an oath to continue in schism.

Forasmuch as maturity of age, gravity of manners, and knowledge of literature ought to be expected and sought for in all holy orders and ministries of the church, much more ought these qualities to be looked for in a bishop, who, having charge of others, ought to show in himself how it behooves them to conduct themselves in the house of the Lord. Wherefore, lest that which has been done with regard to some persons, through the necessity of the times, should be drawn into a precedent by posterity, we appoint by the present decree that no one shall be elected as a bishop unless he shall have already completed the thirtieth year of his age, and was born in lawful matrimony, and can be shown to be praiseworthy both in life and knowledge. When he who has been elected and received confirmation of his election, and has obtained administration of the goods of the church -- after the time appointed by the canon for the consecration of bishops has elapsed, let him, to whom the benefices may pertain, which he holds, possess the free power of disposing of them. As to the inferior ministries, to wit, deaneries and archdeaconries, and others having the cure of souls annexed to them, let no man whatsoever undertake them, nor even the government of parish churches, unless he have already attained the twenty-fifth year of his age, and is commendable for his knowledge and morals; but when he who has been appointed, either as an archdeacon or as a dean, and those who are nominated, and have not been ordained priests at the time fixed by the canon, let them be removed from such office, and let it be conferred upon another person who is both able and willing to fill it suitably. Nor shall the shelter of an appeal avail him, if perchance he should wish thereby to protect himself in the transgression of this decree.  We further command that this shall be observed, not only with regard to those who shall be promoted in future, but (if the canons do not oppose it) to those who have been already promoted. Also be it known to clerks, that if they elect any one contrary to this form, they shall be both deprived of the power of election and also suspended from ecclesiastical benefices for the space of three years. For it is meet that the severity of ecclesiastical discipline should coerce those whom the fear of God does not restrain from evil. Also, if the bishop shall have acted contrary hereto, in conferring the offices aforesaid, or shall have known it to be done, let him lose his power by the chapter, or by the metropolitan if the chapter be unwilling to agree.

Although the discipline of the church, which is content with the judgment of priests -- so says the blessed pope Leo -- avoids punishments stained with blood, yet it may so be assisted by the laws of Catholic princes, that men may often seek a salutary remedy, when they fear that a corporal punishment is impending over them, or apprehend that punishment may overtake them. Wherefore, since in Gascony, the country of the Albigenses, and the territories around Toulouse, and other places, the damnable perverseness of the heretics (whom some call Cathari, some Publicani, some Paterini, and others by other names), has gained strength, so that now they practice their wickedness, not in secret like other people, but manifest their error in public, and draw simple and weak people to consort with them -- we decree that they and those who defend them, and those who receive them, are under an anathema; and we prohibit any one under an anathema from maintaining them in a house, or sheltering them on their land, or from presuming to transact any business with them; and if they should die in their sin, neither under pretence of any privileges granted by us to any persons whatsoever, nor upon any occasion whatsoever, shall an oblation be made for them, nor shall they receive burial among Christians.

Concerning the men of Brabant and Aragon, of Navarre, of Basque and Coterell, who practice such wickedness towards Christians, showing no deference to churches nor monasteries, and indifferent to age and sex alike, sparing neither widows and orphans, nor children and old men, but like pagans destroying and wasting all things -- we, in like mariner, decree that they and those who take them into their service, or keep them or support them, shall be excommunicated, and publicly denounced on Sundays and other festival days in all churches throughout those regions thus infested by them; and that they shall be as firmly involved in the same sentence and penalty as these heretics themselves, nor shall they be received into the communion of the church, unless they abjure that pestiferous society and heresy. Let them know, moreover, that they are released from the bond of fealty, or homage, or obedience of every kind, as long as they continue in such iniquity, to whomsoever they may be bound and held by any compact whatsoever. We also enjoin all the faithful, for the remission of their sins, to oppose such calamities, and with arms protect Christian people against them. Let also their goods be confiscated, and let princes freely sell such pestilent men into slavery; but as for those persons who die there in true repentance, let them not doubt that they will have the indulgence granted to sinners, and the fruits of an eternal reward. Confiding also in the mercy of God, and in the authority of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul, we relax two years of enjoined penance in favor of those faithful Christians who may have taken up arms against these heretics, and by the advice of bishops or other prelates, have fought against them to destroy them; or if they should have a longer period [of penance], we entrust it to the discretion of the bishops, to whom the care of this subject shall be consigned, that by their decision in the amount of the labor, the greater indulgence may be shown them; but those who at the admonition of their bishops disdain to reader obedience on this point, we decree that they be alienated from partaking of the body and blood of Christ. In the meantime, those who, in the ardor of faith, have undertaken that labor of attacking these persons, we take them, like those who visit the sepulchre of the Lord, under the protection of the church, and we ordain that they remain secure as well in property as in person; and if in the meantime any one shall presume to molest them, let him be punished with the sentence of excommunication by the bishop of the district. Let this sentence be observed by all men, until both the plundered goods be restored, and suitable satisfaction be made for the injuries inflicted; but let bishops and priests, who do not strongly resist such persons, be punished by suspension from their office, until they can obtain the mercy of the holy see.

A great evil having been observed (not less to the sin of those who do it than to the detriment of those who suffer it), in the rulers and counselors of states in divers parts of the world, and also in those who have power in frequently imposing so many burdens on churches, and pressing them down with such heavy and frequent exactions, so that the priestly office seems to be placed in a worse position than it could have been under Pharaoh, who had not the knowledge of the divine law. He, indeed, when all others were reduced to slavery, restored the priests and their possessions to their pristine liberty, and supplied a maintenance to them out of the public fund; but these men now impose almost all their burdens upon the churches, and afflict them with so many troubles that what Jeremiah deplores seems to apply to them -- the "princess among the provinces, how is she become tributary! " [Lam. 1:1] Whenever either fortifications, or expeditions, or any other things whatsoever are thought fit to be undertaken by them, they wish all to be completed out of the goods devoted to the uses of churches, and the poor clerks of Christ. The jurisdiction and authority of bishops and other prelates they also make void, so that no power seems to have remained to them over their own men; which things are not less grievous to the churches than pitiable for those who seem to have utterly cast away the fear of God, and reverence for ecclesiastical order. Wherefore we most strictly prohibit them from presuming to attempt any such acts for the future, under the penalty of an anathema, unless the bishop or clergy have acknowledged the existence of such necessity and utility, so that the aid may be considered to have been conferred by the churches without constraint, the means of the laity not being sufficient to relieve the general wants. But if counselors or others shall afterwards commit such acts, and being admonished shall refuse to desist, let them, as well as their abettors, know that they lie under excommunication, nor can they be restored to the unity of the faithful, unless they be penitent and make competent satisfaction.

Moreover because the audacity of certain laymen has proceeded so far, that they, neglecting the authority of bishops, institute clerks in churches, and also remove them when they please, and likewise distribute the possessions and other goods of the church, for the most part according to their own will, and presume to burden with baillages and exactions the churches themselves as well as their men; we decree, therefore, that those persons who have already committed these acts shall be smitten by an anathema. The priest, however, or clerk, who may have received a church through laymen, without the authority of his own bishop, let him be deprived of communion; and if he continue obstinate, let him be deposed from the ministry, and forfeit his orders.

Inasmuch as certain laymen compel ecclesiastics, and even bishops themselves, to abide by their judgment, we decree that they who henceforth shall presume to do this shall be separated from the communion of the faithful. We, moreover, forbid those laymen who now detain tithes to the peril of their souls, to transfer them in any way to other laymen; but if they have received them, and will not restore them to the church, let them be deprived of Christian sepulture.

Forasmuch as in certain places the founders of churches or their heirs abuse the power in which the church has until now supported them; though in God's church there ought to be one who presides, yet they attempt to elect many without regard to subjection, and while one church ought to belong to one rector, in order to extend their patronage they present many; with regard to this, we appoint by the present decree that if perchance the wishes of the founders are divided among several parties, he shall be appointed to the church who is aided by his greater merits, and who is elected and approved by the assent of the majority. But if this cannot be done without scandal, let the bishop present to the church, in such manner as it may best appear to him to be ordered by the will of God. Let him also do this if a question shall arise among several patrons concerning the right of patronage, if it shall not be settled among themselves within three months as to who is competent.

Whereas such fierce cupidity has seized upon the minds of some men, that while they boast of the name of Christians, they convey arms, iron and timber for galleys to the Saracens; and they become equal to them (or even above them) in malice by supplying them with arms and necessaries to fight against Christians; and whereas there are also persons who for their own advantage command and govern the galleys and piratical ships of the Saracens; now such persons we adjudge to be cut off from the communion of the church, and we subject them to excommunication for their iniquity, and to be punished with deprivation of their goods by the Catholic princes of the time, and the rulers of states, and taken for slaves, if they can be caught. We command also that a frequent and solemn excommunication be declared against them by the churches of maritime cities. Let them be further subject to the punishment of excommunication who presume to capture or despoil of their goods those Romans or other Christians, who, for business or other honorable causes, are employed in navigation. Those also who through damnable covetousness presume to despoil of their goods Christians who suffer shipwreck, to whom they are bound to give assistance according to the rule of faith -- let such as these know that, unless they restore what they have taken, they lie under excommunication.

Monks cannot be received into a monastery for money, nor shall they be permitted to hold private property. They shall not be appointed alone in villages and towns, or to any parish churches whatsoever: but let them remain in the greater convents, or with others of the brethren, that they await not the conflict of their spiritual enemies among secular men; for Solomon says, "Woe to him that is alone when he falleth, for he hath not another to help him up" [Eccles. 4:10]. But if any one shall pay anything for his reception, on demand made, let him not be promoted to holy orders, and he who received him punished by deprivation of his office; he also who has held private property, unless it was entrusted to him by the abbot for the execution of some business entrusted to him, let him be excluded from the communion of the altar; and he who at the point of death shall be found possessed of property, let no oblation be made for him, nor shall he receive sepulture among the brotherhood. We also command this to be observed with regard to divers religious orders; but let the abbot who cares not for these things know that he incurs the loss of his office. Nor shall priories or dependent cells be given to any one who pays a price for them. Moreover, let givers and receivers be alienated from the ministry of the church. But priors who have been appointed in conventual churches shall not be changed, unless for a manifest and reasonable cause, that is to say, if they have been dilapidators, or if they live incontinently, or do anything for which they may deservedly be removed; except, indeed, they be translated by the advice of the brethren, for the necessity of filling a greater office.

Although the apostle Paul says, that more abundant honor should be shown to the weaker vessels, yet, on the contrary, some persons seeking things which are their own, but not those of Christ, do not permit leprous persons, who are not allowed to live with those who are in good health, to be aided by the ministry of their own priest, this must, indeed, be considered as far removed from Christian charity. We, therefore, in our apostolic benignity, direct that wherever a sufficient number are congregated together in a community, and are able to establish a church with a cemetery for themselves, and to enjoy the ministrations of a priest of their own, they shall be permitted to have one without any opposition, Let them, however, take care that they be not in any way injurious to the parochial rights of old churches; for this is conceded to them through pity, and we are unwilling that it should redound to the injury of others. We also appoint that they be not compelled to pay tithes for their gardens and the pasturage of their animals.

No Jews or Saracens shall be permitted to have Christian servants in their houses, either under the pretence of educating their children, or as slaves, or for any other purpose whatsoever. Moreover, let those be excommunicated who presume to live with them. We further declare that the testimony of Christians against Jews is to be received in all causes, when Jews produce their own witnesses against Christians; and we decree, that all persons whomsoever who shall presume to prefer Jews to Christians in this respect shall be placed under an anathema, because Jews ought to be subject to Christians, and to be supported by them, simply for the sake of humanity. If any Jews, however, by the inspiration of God, shall turn to the Christian faith, they shall not by any means be shut out from their possessions, since they ought to enjoy a better condition when converted to the faith than they had before they embraced it; but if the contrary shall have been done, we enjoin the princes or rulers of those places, under the penalty of excommunication, to cause their hereditary portions and goods to be restored to them to the full value.

Inasmuch as some persons, putting no limit to their avarice, strive to obtain several ecclesiastical dignities and many parish churches, contrary to the institutes of the sacred canons, so that, though they be scarcely able to fulfil one office, yet they grasp the stipends of many, we most strictly enjoin that this shall not be done for the future. Therefore, when a church, or the ministry of churches, is about to be committed to any one, such a person should be sought for as may be able to reside on the spot, and perform the duty of it himself: but if it has been done otherwise, let him who has received lose that which he has received contrary to the sacred canons; and let him who gave be deprived of the power of giving. And, because the ambition of some persons has proceeded so far (so it is reported) as to hold, not two or three, but six or more, while they are not able to make due provision for two, we command that this be amended by our brethren our fellow bishops; and out of the multitude of those acting in opposition to the canons, which induces dissolute living and departure from duty, and also produces sure peril to souls, relief shall be afforded to the indigence of those who are able to serve in the churches.

Inasmuch as in almost all places the crime of usury has gained such strength, that men lay aside many other kinds of business, and practice usury as if it were lawful, and give no heed whatever to their condemnation written in the pages of both the Testaments, we direct that manifest usurers be neither admitted to the communion at the altar, nor have Christian burial if they die in this sin: nor shall any one receive their offering. And he who shall have received it, or given them Christian burial, shall not only be compelled to restore what he has received, but shall remain suspended from the execution of his office until he has rendered satisfaction at the will of his bishop.

Although in offices of charity we are beholden, in the first place, to those from whom we are conscious that we have received a benefit, yet, on the contrary, certain clerks, although they have received many advantages from their churches, presume to transfer to other persons the goods which they have acquired through such churches: now, although it is certain that this is forbidden in the ancient canons, yet we likewise also forbid it. Willing also to provide for the integrity of the churches, when either persons have died intestate or wished to confer property on others, we command that those goods remain in the power of the church.

Moreover, since certain persons are appointed for money, in different places, who are called deans, and for a certain amount of money exercise episcopal jurisdiction, by the present decree we direct that those who in future shall presume to do this, shall be deprived of the office, and the bishop shall lose the power of conferring such office.

Since in all churches that which seems good to the elder and more numerous part of the brethren ought to be observed without hesitation, it is a grave evil, and one most worthy of reprehension, that in certain churches a few men impede the decrees of the many, not so much from reason as from self-will, and do not permit ecclesiastical arrangements to go on; wherefore we appoint by the present decree, that, unless it shall be shown to be reasonable by the less numerous and inferior party, that which shall be determined by the counsel of the greater and wiser party shall always prevail, and be carried into effect without appeal. Nor shall it impede this regulation if any one, to preserve the custom of his church, should perchance say that he has been bound by an oath; for those are not to be called oaths, but rather perjuries, which are introduced without any advantage to the church, and without being appointed by the holy fathers. But if any one shall presume to swear to customs of this kind, which are not sanctioned by reason nor consistent with holy institutions, let him be alienated from participation in the Body of the Lord until he has performed suitable penance.

Moreover, in like manner we direct that priests, clerks, monks, strangers, converts, merchants, and husbandmen, going and returning, and employed in agriculture, and the cattle which they rise in ploughing, or on which they carry their seeds to the field, shall enjoy continual security; nor shall any one presume anywhere to enact new statutes or exactions of tolls, or in any way to increase old ones. If any one shall act contrary to this decree, and shall not desist when admonished, let him be deprived of Christian communion until he shall have done satisfaction.

Since the apostle determined that he and his should be supported by the labor of their own hands, that he might deprive false apostles of the opportunity of preaching, and yet should not be burdensome to those to whom he preached, it is considered very lamentable, and proper subject for amendment, that certain of our brethren and fellow bishops are so oppressive to their subordinates in the procurations, as to compel them sometimes to sell the ecclesiastical ornaments, and consume in a short time the provision of a long period. Wherefore we decree, that archbishops visiting their dioceses, (adopting a scale suited to the differences of their provinces and the income of their churches) shall not by any means exceed the number of forty or fifty horses; bishops, thirty or twenty; cardinals, nine or fifteen; archdeacons, five or seven and the deans appointed under them shall be content with two horses.   Nor shall they go on their visitations with dogs or birds for hunting; but let them proceed as if they never seem to seek the things which pertain to themselves, but those which are of Jesus Christ. We forbid also bishops from presuming to oppress those under them with taillages and exactions; but we uphold them, provided manifest and reasonable cause should exist; as, for example, when, among the many necessities which at divers times occur, they demand moderate aid from them out of charity. For, since the apostle says that the children ought not to lay up treasure for the parents, but the parents for the children, it seems very far from their paternal duty if the heads of the church are oppressive to those who are placed under them, and whom they ought in all cases of necessity to cherish like a shepherd.  Archdeacons, however, or deans, shall not presume to claim any exactions or taillages from priests or clerks. Moreover, let what has been decided with regard to moderation in the number of horses aforesaid be observed in those places where rents and ecclesiastical means are very ample; in poorer places, however, we will that such measure be observed that the lower people may not be oppressed by the arrival of the greater, and that those who are accustomed to make use of fewer horses may not, under such indulgence, think that greater power is bestowed upon them.

Also, no ecclesiastical benefice, or ministry, or church shall be given or promised to any one before it is vacant, lest such person should appear to desire the death of his neighbor, in whose place and office he may expect to succeed, since this is even found to be forbidden by the laws of the Gentiles themselves; for it is base and blameworthy, by divine judgment, if we hold a place in the church of God through the expectation of future succession, which even men who are Gentiles condemn. Therefore, when it happens that the churches aforesaid, or any ecclesiastical offices whatever, be vacant, or even if now vacant, let them not remain long in suspense but let them be conferred within six months on persons who may be able worthily to fulfill the ministry. But if the bishop, when it rests with him, delays, without reasonable cause, to appoint, let the ordination be made by the chapter. But if the ordination appertains to the chapter, and in like manner it has not done this within the time prescribed, let the bishop perform this office, for God's sake, and with the counsel of religious men. Or if perchance all have neglected it, let the metropolitan, without contradiction, dispose of them according to the will of God.

Moreover, if a bishop shall have ordained either deacon or priest without a definite title whereby he may procure the necessaries of life, he shall provide him with a subsistence until he appoint him some competent office in a church, unless the person ordained be in such circumstances as to have a sufficiency either from family inheritance or some other honest means.

As all things ought to be conducted with charity in the ecclesiastical body, and that which is freely given ought to be as freely imparted, it is most abominable that venality is said to exist in certain places of the church, to such a degree that a demand is made for instituting bishops or abbots, or other ecclesiastical persons, to their offices, and for inducting priests into the church, and for burial and services for the departed, and for nuptial benedictions, and other ecclesiastical rites; in consequence of which, the person standing in need of such offices cannot succeed unless he can satisfy the demand of him who has it in his power to bestow them. Many persons suppose they have a right to do this, because they imagine such a law has grown out of custom, not being sufficiently aware, from their being blinded by avarice, that crimes assume their degree of guilt from the length of time during which they have ensnared the captive soul. Lest this should take place in future, we forbid any demand to be made either for installing ecclesiastical persons, or instituting priests, or burying the dead, or giving the blessing in marriage, or performing any other sacred rite. And should any person presume to contravene this injunction, let him be aware that he shall have his portion with Gehazi, whose extortion was punished by leprosy.

We prohibit the imposition of any new tax on churches, either by bishops, or abbots, or other prelates; neither shall the old ones be increased, nor shall they presume to apply a portion of such revenues to their own use; but the same freedom which superiors require to be allowed to themselves shall be granted with a good will to their inferiors. If any shall have acted otherwise, such act shall be void.

Clerks in holy orders who retain in their houses such females as labor under the reproach of incontinence shall cast them out and live chastely, or be deprived of their ecclesiastical benefice.

Whosoever shall be found guilty of that incontinence which is against nature, on account of which the anger of God came upon the children of disobedience, and destroyed five cities by fire; if they be of the clergy, they shall be expelled from the church, or confined in a monastery to do penance; if laymen, they shall be excommunicated, and separated from the society of the faithful.

Moreover, if any clerk, without a manifest and necessary cause, shall presume to frequent nunneries, he shall be forbidden by the bishop; and if he do not desist, he shall become incompetent to occupy any ecclesiastical benefice.

Since the church of God, like an affectionate mother, is bound to provide for the poor, as well in matters which concern the body as in those which redound to the profit of the soul; therefore, lest the opportunity of reading and improving be denied to poor persons, who cannot be assisted from the resources of their parents, we command that in each cathedral church some competent benefice be assigned to a master, who may gratuitously teach as well the clerks of the same church as indigent scholars, so that the necessities of the teacher may be supplied, and the path to knowledge laid open to the learner. In other churches too, if any such provision shall have been made in former times, let it be restored. Let no one make any demand whatsoever for license to teach, or require anything from those who teach, under pretext of any custom, nor interdict any competent person requesting such license. Moreover, he who shall presume to run counter to this statute shall forfeit all ecclesiastical benefice; for it seems fitting, in the church of God, that the man should have no reward for his labor, who, through the covetousness of his mind, by selling the liberty of teaching, endeavors to impede ecclesiastical improvement.

Clerks in subdeacons' or higher orders, as well as in minor orders, shall not presume to act as advocates in secular matters before a secular judge, unless prosecuting their own cause, or that of their church, and unless, perchance, for such wretched people as are not able to undertake their own causes. Neither shall any clerk presume to manage the concerns of vills, or any secular jurisdiction, under any noble or secular personages, so as to become their judges. Should any one attempt to oppose this, since he acts in a secular manner against the doctrine of the apostle, who says, "No man that warreth [for God] entangleth himself with the affairs of this life" [2 Tim. 2:4], he shall be removed from the service of the church, by reason of having abandoned and neglected his clerical office, and plunged himself in the tumults of the world, to find favor with men of rank. Moreover, we adjudge a severer punishment if any monk shall attempt any of the aforesaid acts.

Treading in the steps of our predecessors, popes Innocent and Eugenius, of blessed memory, we forbid those abominable sports or meetings commonly called tournaments, wherein knights, at appointed seasons, proudly exhibit their strength, and engage in rash conflict, whence frequently ensue the deaths of men and the peril of their souls. If any one shall die upon the spot, although penance shall not be denied him if he ask it, still he shall be refused ecclesiastical sepulture.

We command that the truce be inviolably observed by all from the fifth day of the week after sunset unto the second day of the week after sunrise, from our Lord's Advent until the Octaves of the Epiphany, and from Septuagesima until the Octaves of Easter; and if any shall attempt to break this truce, if he make not satisfaction after the third admonition, his bishop shall pass sentence of excommunication on him, and acquaint the neighboring bishops of it by writing. No bishop shall receive the excommunicated person into communion; nay, he shall confirm the sentence, when he has received it, by his own signature. Should, however, any one violate these commands, it shall be at the peril of his orders. And since a threefold cord is not quickly broken, we command that the bishops, having regard to God alone, and the salvation of the people, laying aside all covetousness, do afford each other mutual counsel and assistance in firmly maintaining peace, and omit such matters neither through love or hatred. And if any one shall be found lukewarm in this business, he shall incur the loss of his own dignity.

A very reprehensible custom has obtained in certain parts, that when our brethren, the bishops or archdeacons, suppose that certain persons will lodge an appeal in their causes, they hurl the sentence of suspension or excommunication against them, without any previous notification. Others also, while in dread of the sentence and discipline of a superior, without having suffered any grievance, interpose their appeal ere the cause is gone into, and thus pervert for the defense of their iniquity that privilege which was confessedly designed for the security of the innocent. Wherefore, that these same prelates may not without cause aggrieve their subordinates, nor the subordinates, out of mere caprice, under pretext of appeal elude the correction of the prelates, we, by the present decree, declare that neither shall the prelates, without previous canonical admonition, hurl the sentence of suspension or excommunication against their subordinates, unless their crime be of that nature which necessarily calls for the punishment of suspension or excommunication; nor shall their subordinates prematurely appeal, ere their cause is examined, in defiance of ecclesiastical discipline. But if any one, from the urgency of his case, shall think fit to appeal, let a sufficient time be fixed for prosecuting such appeal; within which period, if he shall omit to prosecute his appeal, the bishop shall in such case, freely exercise his authority. But if any person in any matter shall have appealed, and he against whom he has appealed shall appear, while the appellant neglects so to do, if he possess any property he shall make a suitable compensation to him for his expenses; so that, awed at least by such an apprehension, no one may lightly appeal to the injury of another. More especially in religious houses we command this to be observed, lest monks or other religious persons, when about to be corrected for any excess by the regular discipline of their prelate and chapter, presume to appeal; but let them humbly and devoutly undergo that which is enjoined them for their advantage.

Since we ought to cherish our holy religion when planted, and plant it so that it be nurtured by every means, we never better perform this duty than when, by the authority of God committed to us, we endeavor to cherish in it what is right, and check what may impede the progress of virtue. We find, however, from the heavy complaint of our brethren and fellow-bishops, that the Templars and Hospitallers, and others also of the monastic profession, exceeding the privileges allowed them by the apostolical see, presume upon many things contrary to episcopal authority, which become a stumbling block to the people of God, and produce serious danger to souls. For they have laid down as a rule, that they may receive churches from the hand of the laity, admit excommunicated and interdicted persons to ecclesiastical rites and allow them sepulture, institute and remove priests from their churches without legal authority, and in defiance of their better knowledge. And since it is granted to their fraternity, when going out to seek alms, that on their arrival the churches should be opened once a year and divine services be performed in them, very many of them frequently assembling at an interdicted place, from one or more houses, abuse this indulgence of our privileges in administering offices and burying the dead; and then at interdicted churches presume to bury the dead; and likewise, on the ground of fraternities which they form in many places, they weaken the strength of episcopal authority; while, in opposition to the sentence of the bishops, under pretext of certain privileges, they determine to support all persons who are willing to become members of their fraternity.

Wherefore, in all such matters wherein they are guilty of excess, not so much by the sense and determination of their chiefs, as for the judgment of certain inferior persons, we have resolved to remove those things wherein they offend, and also to determine matters that are doubtful. We forbid them, as well as all other monastic persons, to receive churches or tithes from the hand of the laity without the consent of the bishops, giving up even those which they have received in recent time contrary to this appointment; and we command that all excommunicated persons, and such as are interdicted by name, shall be shunned by them and all others, according to the sentence of the bishops: they shall present to the bishops priests to be instituted to such churches which do not wholly in full right belong to them, to whom they shall be accountable for the care of the people, and shall render to the Templars a strict account in temporal matters; nor shall they dare to remove priests when instituted without consulting the bishops. But if the Templars or Hospitallers come to an interdicted church, they shall be admitted to ecclesiastical service only once in the year; nor shall they bury there any dead bodies. Moreover, we make this appointment concerning fraternities, that if they do not reside with their brethren aforesaid, but choose to remain on their own possessions, they shall not at all on this account be exempted from the sentence of the bishops, who shall exercise power over them as they do over their subordinates, where it may be necessary to correct them for their excesses. We make the same appointment, as concerns the brethren aforesaid, for all other religious persons who presumptuously seize on the right of the bishops, and oppose their canonical sentences and the tenor of our privileges; but if they shall contravene these institutions, the churches wherein they presume thus to act shall be subject to an interdict, and all their acts be deemed null and void.

Chapter 4:  Of the death of the king of France, and of the events which occurred at Constantinople     <to index>

[1] In the one thousand one hundred and eightieth year from the delivery of the Virgin, which was the twenty-seventh of the reign of Henry, king of England, and the forty-fourth of Louis, king of France, the same king of France departed this life. He was a man of fervent devotion towards God, and of singular lenity towards his subjects, and likewise one who highly venerated men in holy orders. He was, however, more easily led away than became a prince; for in certain of his actions he fully verified the truth of the apostle's words, that "evil communications corrupt good manners" [1 Cor. 15:33]; for, yielding too much to the advice of certain nobles who were little mindful of what was right and honorable, he frequently brought no small stain on his character, which was fair in other respects. An instance of this occurred in this, that he espoused the cause of an abandoned son against his pious father, and supported this violator of nature with all the resources of his kingdom. He was succeeded by his son Philip, his issue by the daughter of the most illustrious count Theobald, who had become his third wife. For after Eleanor (who, as it has been fully related in its place, left him two daughters, and after the divorce between them had been espoused to the king of England), he took a consort of the royal blood of Spain, who, in like manner, leaving him two daughters, yielded to the common lot of all. The eldest of these is well known to have become the wife of Henry the younger, king of, England, but without issue. His third queen, in like manner, had brought him a daughter of exquisite beauty, whose fortunes it may be permitted us briefly to mention.

[2] The emperor of Constantinople dying, left, as successor to the throne, a son of tender age, who was entrusted to the care of his uncle. This prince was brought up in all the delicacy suited to his age; while, in the meantime, his guardian Andronicus managed the kingdom. It seemed advisable to the Greek nobility that the daughter of the king of France should be sought in marriage for this distinguished youth, and this was done accordingly. Ambassadors of rank were sent into France, who, on receiving the princess, not yet marriageable, from the hand of her father, conducted her with much pomp to Constantinople; but when he had arrived in manhood and she had become of marriageable age, and the imperial union was in preparation, that abandoned and powerful man Andronicus, as regent of the kingdom, enticing and corrupting the servants of the palace, murdered the youthful emperor, who was his own nephew, after clandestinely conveying him from the palace, without the knowledge of the people, into a certain island (as it is said) to be secretly put to death by some of his accomplices. Immediately afterwards, assuming the imperial purple, he took possession of the empire; and in order that nothing might be wanting to complete his most impious designs, he took to wife the destined bride of his nephew, being captivated by her beauty. After he had most insolently abused the power he had usurped, he excited a conspiracy against himself of such persons as execrated his wickedness or disdained his control. This conspiracy, at length, gained such a height that a vast number of the party suddenly burst furiously into the palace, and, hurling the fierce usurper from the throne, loaded him most justly with chains; and that the empire might not suffer from the vacancy, they forthwith elected a new prince, at whose command the abandoned Andronicus was tortured to death. By these means the daughter of the king of France was defrauded of her wished-for and expected marriage in Greece, and defiled by a connection with an infamous wretch; neither did she obtain her expected dignity.

Chapter 5:  Of the alteration of the public money, and death of the archbishop of York     <to index>

[1] In the twenty-seventh year of the reign of king Henry II the form of public money was changed, on account of its being deteriorated by forgers; this was a measure at that time highly necessary for public advantage, though extremely oppressive to the poor and the husbandmen.

[2] In the following year, which was the one thousand one hundred and eighty-first from the delivery of the Virgin, and the twenty-third of the pontificate of pope Alexander, this venerable pontiff paid the debt of nature, and was succeeded by Lucius.

[3] In the same year also died Roger, archbishop of York, a learned and eloquent man, and in temporal matters careful even to singularity. In his episcopal office, indeed, that is in the care of souls, little solicitous; but he was most diligently careful in preserving and advancing such things as God had not attached to his function, but which the world for God's sake had united to it. For in temporal advantages he had so benefited the archbishopric of York as to leave his successors hardly any concern, either for the augmentation of their revenues or the grandeur of their edifices. He so managed his opportunities of aggrandizement in money matters, and so much did he excel in the management of them, that he scarcely ever let any chance pass by or failed to improve it. Instead of selecting persons of eminence, with whom (as though with jewels) the church of York ]had formerly glittered, he conferred benefices on striplings, or even boys still under discipline of their masters, better calculated from their age to build up childish houses, to yoke mice in little wagons, to play together indiscriminately, and to ride on it long reed, than to sustain the character of dignitaries in the church. And this he did to the end, that, until they came of age he might undertake the guardianship of the persons beneficed, and so might appropriate to himself the whole profits of their preferment. Christian philosophers, that is, men of religious orders, he abhorred to such a degree, that he is reported to have said that Thurstan, of blessed memory, formerly archbishop of York, had never been guilty of a greater crime than when he built that singular mirror of Christian philosophy, Fountains Abbey; and when he perceived that the bystanders were offended at this expression, "You are laymen," he said, "and cannot comprehend the meaning of the expression." He used to say also that clerical benefits ought to be conferred on self-indulgent persons rather than on monks; a rule which he plainly observed scrupulously all his life, and made the condition of the monks worse in almost everything than that of the secular canons. Moreover, in this singular delusion -- for he was in other respects extremely acute -- he thought he rendered service to God, which is proved by the following incident.

[4] There came to him, when he was lying on his bed in his last sickness, and on the eve of his dissolution, the superior of a certain religious house with whom I was well acquainted, a man of worth and sincerity, humbly entreating that he would deign to confirm, with the attestation of his own seal, the pious gift of holy men which his reverend predecessors had, through respect to the love of God, confirmed to that house by authentic instruments. To this request he replied, "Behold, I am dying, and as I fear God, I presume not to do what you desire;" and so firmly did he persevere in his resolution, that a grant of this nature could be made to any rather than philosophers of this kind. But that his design was, during life, rather to shear, than feed the sheep of God, was evidenced at his departure; for when lying at the point of death, this aged prelate retained in his treasures many thousand marks of silver, while so many of Christ's poor were suffering from want. When he could no longer brood over his riches, this tardy dispenser bequeathed part of them among the poor, part to the churches, part to his friends and relatives. But after his death, the king, by his officers, seized what was found, and extorted what was not forthcoming from those to whom it had been given; saying, that treasures hoarded by any person until death were the sole property of the king. This truly took place by God's appointment that others might be terrified by his example, and learn to lay up their treasures in heaven, where neither the thief creeps in secretly, nor the plunderer breaks through.

[5] The like judgment of God was also evident immediately after in the case of John the archdeacon, a crafty and avaricious man, who had been the adviser and assistant of the archbishop in all things; for he, following his master the day after, left his wealth for the king. In such manner these two persons, inseparable in life, were in death divided by the shortest possible interval. The archbishop in question died in the twenty-eighth year of his consecration; and immediately, the archbishopric being taken into the king's hands, the see of York remained vacant for ten years.

Chapter 6:  Of Sverre, king of Norway    <to index>

[1] In these times that very notorious priest, Sverre, surnamed Birckebain, seized the government in that part of Germany which is called Norway; and raging under the title of king for a considerable time, at length, on the decease of the sovereign of that country, obtained the government, as if legitimately; haply, perchance by the appointment of God, hereafter to experience an exit similar to other kings of that land. For, as it is said, for more than a century back, although the succession of kings there had been rapid, yet none of them had ended his days by age or sickness, but all had perished by the sword, leaving the dignity of empire to their assassins as their lawful successors; so that, indeed, the expression, "Hast thou killed, and also taken possession?" [cf. 1 Kings 21:19] may seem to apply to all who reigned there for so long a space of time. The nobility of that country, a little before the usurpation of this priest, being actuated by pious zeal to apply a remedy to this disgraceful evil -- which had obtained, as it were, by long custom, the sanction of law -- decreed that the new king should be solemnly consecrated with holy unction, and crowned, so that in future none might dare to lift his hand against the Lord's anointed. For until that time no one in that country had ever been consecrated king by an ecclesiastical ceremony; but whosoever had cruelly killed the king, from that moment assumed the regal character and power, shortly after about to leave the same fortune to his murderer by the law of art inveterate custom. This, truly, by a certain sort of Christian simplicity, was supposed by many persons to take place because none of the former kings had been careful to have himself initiated with the solemnities of royal unction.

[2] Wherefore, on the death of Haco, who had succeeded king Inga (whom he had murdered when the succession appeared to pertain to a certain youth called Magnus, nephew of the same Inga), the wiser and more noble part of the kingdom, by common assent, caused this same youth to be solemnly consecrated as the Lord's anointed, and to be dignified with the diadem. This being done, they thought that the prince was made sacred to them and the disgrace of the former usage was removed. But when the same Magnus, who now arrived at man's estate, had reigned for several years with equal energy and success, and all supposed that they had made sufficient provision against the storms of usurpation, the malice of the devil stirred up the priest aforesaid, as his proper engine, to disquiet the peace of this Christian people.

[3] After having for a time ministered in the sacred order which he had received in the church, this truly daring and crafty man, through extreme confidence in himself, began to aspire to the kingdom. Soon after, he surveyed the whole district, and diligently advanced the business of his meditated project by artfully assembling around him a band of bold and desperate men, hired by the hope of plunder; and availing himself of trackless deserts as fortresses, he annoyed the king by perpetual irruptions; and when the sovereign pursued him with his army in array, he, artfully feigning flight, halted in some well-known narrow passes, and there so destroyed the royal forces, thus unfortunately surrounded and entangled in the defiles, that the king himself, hiding among the slaughtered bodies, with difficulty made his escape on the departure of the enemy. Elated at this success, and daily gaining strength, he obtained a fleet also, which afforded him an opportunity of overrunning several provinces of the same kingdom. The king, however, recruiting, his forces and manning his fleet, proceeded against the enemy. Sverre was aware of this; and then, once more, he craftily feigned flight, and retreated far out to sea. When this was known to the king, he believed that the departure of this marauder was real, and returned with his fleet into a certain port. Here, when the army, through joy at a vanquished enemy, were giving loose to banqueting in fatal security, the execrable priest entering the harbor on the following night with his adherents, attacked the king's troops, who were overpowered with wine and sleep, and with little difficulty destroyed nearly the whole army, with the king's father and others of the nobility. The king, however, escaping while others fell, lay concealed (as it is said) for several days in a nunnery near at hand, and, vainly sought after by the enemy, eluded them by the will of God.

[4] The tyrant, elated by this disaster, and the havoc which he had inflicted upon his enemy, with equal cruelty and insolence proceeded on every side in triumph, exhibiting himself as a merciless master to the oppressed inhabitants -- but the king, after his concealment, being restored to safety and to his friends, began by degrees to recruit his strength, and to collect auxiliaries on all sides. He was now cautiously on his guard against the stratagems of his enemy, and at last, with a mighty array, proceeded against him. Presently on learning this, when he saw that the youth acted more warily and guardedly on account of his former mischances, and that he had the advantage in the number of ships and extent of forces, Sverre then had recourse to witchcraft. He had in his retinue a certain daughter of the devil, powerful in witchcraft, and deservedly to be compared to her of former times, of whom the noble poet observes, that
    The witch pretends that by her potent verse
    Some souls are freed, while others feel the curse,
    Just as she pleases; that her art has force
    To stop the stars or rivers in their course --
    To conjure nightly phantoms; when she wills,
    Earth roars beneath, and trees descend the hills. [Virgil, Aeneid, 4:487ff]

[5] At length this witch (as it is reported), with astonishing confidence in her destructive art, asked of her protecting usurper in what manner he would wish the enemies, which were before him, should perish. On his making choice that she should drown them, immediately, by the operation of the devil (who, indeed, by the power of his angelic nature has most influence over earthly elements when permitted by a superior power), the calm sea opened her mouth, and, in the sight of the enemy, swallowed up the greater portion of the royal fleet. On seeing this, the abandoned priest said, "Behold, my companions, how effectually the elements fight for us; be careful lest, perchance, those escape whose certain destruction the sea has left for your valor, that she may not seem to have done all." Wherefore the residue of the royal army, confounded at the sudden destruction of their associates, was easily overpowered, and the king himself killed.

[6] On his death the affrighted kingdom submitted to tyrannical usurpation. Sverre abjuring his sacred order and marrying the daughter of the king of the Goths, was anxious to be solemnly crowned by the archbishop of that country; but he, being a man of distinguished character, and neither to be prevailed upon by entreaties or threats to bedew that execrable head with holy unction, was by him expelled the country. After some years there arose from the race of former kings a very spirited youth, named John, whom vast numbers resorted to and supported. Though his first attempts were so prosperous that he had already become formidable to the tyrant, yet at length, through youthful ardor, rushing too into battle, he unfortunately and prematurely perished. After him sprang forth another youth from the royal stock, of great expectation, supported by many adherents; but even he, before many years had passed, was vanquished in battle by the tyrant on Holy Palm Sunday, and with his partisans totally destroyed. Thus, by the rod of God's fury, nearly the whole of the royal seed, as well as every native enemy, being all dispatched or banished, the great and terrific man at last, by the hand of a certain bishop, intimidated thereto by the threat of death, obtained the diadem of the kingdom with sacred unction, from the uncertain issue of a long-favored tyranny, secure, as it were, by repeated successes. The motto of his seal is said to have been as follows:
    "Sverre, the great king, fierce as a lion, mild as a lamb;"
for he manifested clemency to his subjects, and paid respect to churches and monasteries.

Chapter 7:  Of the death of king Henry III, and of his brother Geoffrey     <to index>

[1] In the one thousand one hundred and eighty-third year from the delivery of the Virgin, which was the thirtieth of the reign of Henry II, king Of England, Henry III, the younger king of England, died prematurely prematurely as to age, but far advanced if his actions be considered -- for he had blemished his earlier years by an indelible stain, in imitation of the most abandoned Absalom, as has been before related -- when he approached manhood he determined that this state of life should resemble his boyish days; and, not only an apostate to nature, but even to solemn covenants, he rebelled a second time against his father.

[2] The cause of his rebellion was as follows: His father had committed the government of the duchy of Aquitaine to his son Richard, and had also surrendered to his son Geoffrey, now approaching manhood, the whole of his wife's domain, which was Brittany; while Henry, his eldest son, under the expectation of legitimate succession, was either watching or proceeding towards the empire of his father. But on the occasion of some quarrel arising between the brothers, Henry was indignant that his father had advanced his brother Richard to the government of Aquitaine and attacked him, as if he had been an enemy, having entered into a compact with his brother Geoffrey, earl of Brittany, and other nobles of Aquitaine Their father, having in vain attempted to soothe his rebellious sons with offers of peace, entered the confines of Aquitaine with an army, purposing to combat their wicked designs. Shortly after, Henry the younger, by the judgment of God, was attacked by a fever (the avenger of both his faithless acts), and the spirits of all who had conspired with him in like manner grew languid. When, from the severity of the malady he was despaired of by his physicians, being seized with compunction, he sent to his father, humbly confessing his offence, and requesting, as the last favor of parental affection, that he would condescend to visit his expiring son. On hearing this message, the bowels of the father yearned; but on his friends reminding him that it was not safe to trust himself to those iniquitous conspirators who were about his son, however affectionate it might be to visit his afflicted child, from excess of apprehension he did not go, but, as a token of regard and forgiveness, sent him a well-known ring as a pledge of his fatherly affection. He kissed the ring on receiving it, and expired as the archbishop of Bordeaux stood by.

[3] His body was conveyed to his father with much pomp of attendance, who affectionately came to meet it, and commanded it to be carried to Normandy for interment at Rouen. Such an end had this turbulent youth, born for the destruction of numbers, but yet so beloved and amiable to his dependants (as it is written, "the number of the unwise is endless" [Eccles 1:13]), that even when he was dead many extraordinary things were related of him. Finally, after his decease, some persons, induced by the love of falsehood and the most unblushing vanity, widely disseminated a report that cures of diseased people took place at his tomb, insomuch that he was believed either to have had good ground of offence against his father, or to have highly pleased the Almighty by his last repentance.

[4] Henry, however, tempering the grief be felt for his son, by the consideration that he was quit of an enemy, and spiritedly pressing upon the conspirators confounded at the misfortune of their chief, in a short time subdued them all, and received his son Geoffrey into favor. But Geoffrey, making no return for all the proofs he received of parental love, did not lay aside his hostile intentions, as it appeared afterwards. For shortly after, wavering and dubious with respect to his father, but courting by every possible means the friendship of the French, whom he knew to be jealous of his parent's glory, when he could not obtain from his father the district of Anjou because Richard, his eldest brother, would by no means give it up to him (though the king of France busied himself in the matter to no purpose), Geoffrey betook himself to the French party, as if by their power he could extort from his father and brother what was not to be obtained by soothing entreaties. Thus, when he was actively serving under the king of France, he made many exertions to annoy his father; in the midst of which he was overtaken by the severe vengeance of God, and ended his projects and his life, together at Paris, where he was buried; leaving but a small share of regret to his parent, to whom he had been so undutiful, but more grief to the French, to whom he had been highly acceptable. He had a posthumous son by the only daughter of the earl of Brittany; and when the king, his grandfather, had ordered his own name to be given to the child, it was opposed by the Bretons and by solemn acclamation he received in holy baptism the name of Arthur. In such manner the Bretons, who are said long to have expected a fabulous Arthur, now with high hope nurture a real one, according to the opinion of certain prophets expressed in their grand and famous legends of Arthur.

Chapter 8:  Of the death of the archbishop of Canterbury, and institution of the bishop of Lincoln     <to index>

In the same year in which Henry III yielded to fate, Richard, archbishop of Canterbury, the successor of the venerable Thomas, also departed this life. He was a man only moderately learned indeed, but laudably inoffensive; and that he might not engage in matters too high for him, he prudently kept within his own sphere. He was succeeded by Baldwin, a religious and learned man, who, from being abbot of Ford, became bishop of Worcester. Moreover, in the same year, Walter of Coutances was made bishop of Lincoln, after the see had been vacant for nearly seventeen years; by which means was nullified the prophecy, or rather the divination of a certain lay brother of Thame, who had predicted by his own spirit, rather than that of God, that the church of Lincoln would never more possess a bishop. This divination, on account of the long-continued vacancy of that church, had such an effect upon many people, that the aforesaid Walter, having undergone the office of consecration, proceeded to his see with considerable apprehension. His continuance here, however, was but of short duration; for, being soon after elected to the archbishopric of Rouen, he bade adieu to his newly-espoused bride for the attractive blandishments of a fairer form. Here may be contemplated the vast influence of ambition, and how greatly it overbalances the love of money, even in the most avaricious man; indeed, it is sufficiently notorious, that just so much as the church of Rouen surpasses that of Lincoln in rank, so much does it fall short of it in temporal profit. Nevertheless, the man who so greatly affected the bishopric of Lincoln, on account of its ample revenues, preferred to quit it and take a higher place with smaller profits, than by retaining it to sit lower but with a greater revenue. He is, indeed, reported to have hesitated for a long time, anxiously deliberating whether he would prefer to be more exalted or more wealthy; but at last the lust of a higher throne triumphed over the love of greater gain. On his translation the church of Lincoln again remained vacant for several years.

Chapter 9:  Of the expedition against Roland, and certain occurrences in Ireland     <to index>

[1] Henry II, the illustrious king of England, after the death of Henry II, proceeding into England, marched with his army into the distant confines of his kingdom against Roland, prince of Galloway. For this Roland, on the death of Gilbert, who (as it has been before related), after having basely murdered his brother Uctred, and by chance of war prevailed against his sons (at the time when the king of Scotland had been made captive by our forces), had appropriated to himself the whole province of Galloway. The king of England, being appealed to by the sons of Uctred, commanded Roland to restore their paternal inheritance to his cousins; and as he set at nought this command, the king, being indignant thereat, marched towards the province with a vast army both of horse and foot. Here, on his receiving some very agreeable intelligence from Ireland, elated with the news, he became more easy to be appeased. Wherefore, receiving satisfaction from Roland he shortly after withdrew his army.

[2] But in order that the nature of this intelligence may be better explained, and as the occasion here presents itself, it may be necessary to mention a few circumstances relative to the state of Ireland. It has been recorded above how earl Richard was compelled to relinquish his Irish acquisitions to the king, which the latter, by a seasonable arrival in Ireland, settled according to his own pleasure: but on his return into England, the military commanders left there by him for the government of this subjugated province, desirous either of booty or fame, by degrees extended the boundaries allotted to them. One of these, namely John de Curci, together with a strong force of foot and horse, thought proper to make a hostile incursion on that province of Ireland called Ulster, which is separated from the kingdom of Scotland only by a narrow strait. It happened that there had arrived at this place from Scotland a most eloquent man named Vivian, legate of the holy see; and being honorably received by the king and bishops of that province, he had taken up his residence for a time in the maritime city of Down. The approach of the enemy, however, being known, the Irish consulted the legate what ought to be done in such an emergency, he replied, that they ought to fight for their country; and he gave them his benediction with solemn prayers on the eve of the conflict. Thus inspired, they rushed with ardor to the battle; but being easily overpowered by men clad in mail, and by the archers, they fled before them. The city of Down was consequently taken. The Roman legate, with his party, took refuge in a church distinguished for the relics of its saints. For this prudent person had provided for himself, and had in readiness letters from the king of England addressed to his Irish commanders, in order that, being protected by their assistance, he might fulfil the object of his legation among their uncivilized people. Obtaining peace and security by this authority, he proceeded to Dublin, and acting with confidence, either under the name of the sovereign pope or of the king of England, he assembled the prelates and abbots of Ireland, and there celebrated a general council. Wishing however to play the Roman over churches of uncivilized habits, and the king's officers announcing to him that he must either leave the country or act in concert with them, he returned into Scotland, not heavily laden with that Irish gold for which he had so much thirsted.

[3] John de Curci, with his followers, who had taken Down and its environs, was afterwards fruitlessly attacked by the kings of Ireland. Subduing Armagh, which, in honor of St. Patrick and of other native saints, whose sacred relics repose in that place, is said to be the chief see of Ireland, he reduced to subjection the whole of that province. The men of this district are said to have been, till that time, superstitious in the celebration of Easter beyond all other people of Ireland. For, as I have learnt from the relation of a certain venerable bishop of that nation, they supposed they did God service by amassing during the revolution of the year, by theft and rapine, what they might lavish at the solemnity of Easter upon the most expensive banquetings, as if in honor of our Lord's resurrection; and there was among them great rivalry, lest one should be outdone by the other in the most extravagant preparation and display of their dishes. The conquest of Ireland, however, put an end to this most superstitious custom, as well as to their state of national liberty.

[4] Among the nobles of the king of England who were in Ireland, Hugh de Lasci was esteemed the chiefest and most powerful. After the decease of the most energetic earl Richard, the king had conferred upon him very extensive possessions in that country, and had committed to him the management of his dominions; but this Hugh, in a short time, so extended his boundaries, and prospered and increased so much in magnitude of wealth and power, that he now became formidable, not only to his enemies, but even to his associates, that is, the other royalists and nobles -- for he treated even these as his enemies if by chance they were not sufficiently obedient, and he now appeared rather to affect the kingdom of Ireland for himself than for the king of England; so much so, indeed, that (as report states) he provided himself a royal diadem. The king, on hearing those circumstances, sent for him; but he treated the command with contempt, and by this refusal gave evidence of the truth of the popular belief. After a short period, however, as though fortune had been zealous for the king of England, he perished by the perfidy of a person -- one of the friendly Irish -- who was a youth of his own household; for when he had left his fortress, and gone into the country for the purpose of exercise, and being separated from his guards about a stone's-throw, had casually leaned down to mark something on the ground, the faithless wretch, rejoicing that he had gained the long-sought-for opportunity, struck him violently with a hatchet on the head, and severed it from his body. The attendants ran up in vain to avenge their master -- but the assassin, availing himself of an adjacent wood, and his own swiftness of foot, eluded their pursuit. The news of this transaction gave excessive joy to the king of England then resident (as it has been said) on the extreme borders of his kingdom; and soon after the affairs of Ireland received from him a more cautious settlement.

Chapter 10:  Of the arrival of the patriarch in England; the death of the king of Jerusalem -- the reign of his son -- and of Saladin    <to index>

[1] In the one thousand one hundred and eighty-fourth year from the delivery of the Virgin, which was the thirty-first of king   Henry II, the patriarch of Jerusalem came into England, dispatched on urgent business from the Eastern Church. That these causes, however, may be more manifest, we shall briefly glance at the affairs of Jerusalem from the time of king Amalric, of whom our former history has not been silent.

[2] This Amalric, after many great and fortunate exploits, died, and left his kingdom to his son Baldwin, not yet arrived at the state of manhood. He was a youth of great promise, though afflicted by God's secret judgment with leprosy; and he governed the kingdom as long as he lived rather by strength of mind than of body. In order that a certain successor might not be wanting, on account of the dangers which threatened the state, he determined that the stock of the royal race should proceed from the marriage of his sister. About this time, Noradin, king of Syria and Mesopotamia, dying, who, after his bloody father, had been the rod of God's fury upon the Christians, Saladin arose in his stead, no longer a rod, but a mallet. He was the nephew of Saraco, who (as it has been said before) had been chief commander in Noradin's army and had succeeded to his uncle's office on his decease -- a man of singular cunning, and possessed of a thousand mischievous arts. Moreover, on the demise of Noradin, he asked for his widow in marriage; and on her surrendering Damascus and its borders, he took possession of them also. Being extremely beloved by the Turkish soldiery, and advancing his power by artifice and his artifice by power, he disinherited the son of Noradin, and obtained his very extensive empire. Next transferring his arms to Egypt, and dispatching the princes of that country, he seized on the most opulent kingdom of Babylon. Getting possession also of Libya and Arabia, he gained an exalted name, surpassing that of other earthly potentates. Finally (as it is said), presiding over eight of the richest kingdoms, he thought that but little had been done by him, so long as the Christians, separated by a great gulf, that is, the Mediterranean Sea, possessed Jerusalem, Antioch, and the maritime cities of Syria. Wherefore, directing against them the whole force of his most extensive dominions, this man, beyond compare in secular power and cunning, endeavored, by all possible means, to swallow up the people of God like a morsel of bread, and to tear down the cross of Christ throughout the region of the East wherever it had been previously erected.

Chapter 11:  How Saladin was overcome, and how afterwards prevailed    <to index>

[1] About this time, Philip, the illustrious count of Flanders, stricken with pious devotion, entered the land of Jerusalem with a numerous army, anxious to effect something against Saladin, and to extend the Christian territory. Offended, however, by the Templars, he led the Christian forces to Antioch, on the invitation of its prince, and with his co-operation he laid siege to a strongly fortified town called Hareng. He made no impression upon it, however, but retired with disgrace. Hearing that the land of the Lord was more than usually bereft of its defense, in consequence of this removal of its troops, Saladin made a sudden irruption into it at the head of a countless force; and, making no stop on the frontiers, forthwith penetrated into the heart of the country, as though he should possess it. The Christian prince, adorning the leprosy of his body by the energy of his mind, assembled as large an army as the time would permit; and, as he was about to fight the battle of his God, and not his own, he was undismayed at the number of his enemies. Preceded, therefore, by the cross of the Lord, and about to engage near the town of Rama, which his opponents had besieged, he relied on the Divine assistance, and routed these terrific armies of an abandoned race. Saladin, taking to flight, escaped with difficulty, while thousands of his hosts were slain. This battle was successfully fought by the Christians, by Christ's assistance, on the seventh of the kalends of December. [25th Nov.]

[2] But in the following year, on account of the transgressions which, in the present life, God's providence less overlooks in his own than other people, the anger of Heaven waxed hot against the Christians who were resident in the Holy Land, as they did not conduct themselves in a holy manner; for when Saladin invaded the Christian territory, better equipped, and in a more formidable manner, desiring to wipe out the disgrace of the preceding year and our own people, too, were far better arrayed, and in greater number than before, and consequently less confident in God, while presumptuous in themselves, had given battle on the frontier; and God, who had formerly given grace to the humble, now resisted the proud; a vast slaughter of the Christian forces took place, a considerable number of the knights, together with the master of the Templars, were slain, with many of the nobility; but this was only the beginning of sorrows.

[3] God's fury was not yet turned away, but his hand was stretched out still. For after Caesarea Philippi (which is now called Belinas, and was, as it were, the key of the Christian territories against Damascus) had fallen into the hands of the enemy, the Templars, is well from their own resources as what they had supplicated from all sides, built an important fortress at a place called Jacob's Ford, in order to prevent the foe from making unrestrained invasions within the Christian territory from the side of Caesarea. The walls rose daily; and a large party of armed men constantly kept watch there, lest the work should be impeded by any hostile incursion. For a long time this was winked at and endured by the Turks, but with envy and grief of heart, while the Christian force was undiminished; but when they saw them weakened in a measure by their recent overthrow, watching their opportunity, they surrounded the fortress aforesaid, now filled with men and arms, and applying their engines, they began their attack with spirit. The Christian army, however, assembled at Tiberias to raise the siege, but not with its wonted alacrity. Here our chiefs, deliberating on what was to be done, deemed it by no means safe for them to encounter so numerous an enemy, while the holy cross was absent. Persons were sent to Jerusalem to procure that protecting standard immediately. In this interval the fortress was taken; and being quickly demolished, the Turks retired with abundant spoils -- for there was captured a large quantity of arms, and Christian blood was shed profusely.

[4] Not long after this, Saladin, attacking the Christian territory unexpectedly, captured and destroyed Neapolis (formerly called Sychem), and having occasioned considerable slaughter, betook himself again to his own kingdom, while our troops were being collected.

Chapter 12:  Of the cause of the arrival of patriarch in England    <to index>.

[1] At this time the king of Jerusalem, being delivered from his leprosy by the kind hand of death, bequeathed his kingdom to his nephew on his sister-side, a boy of nine years old. After he was anointed king he was brought up, as his age required, under the guardianship of the count of Tripoli, with whom the chief management of everything appeared to rest entirely. Therefore, when the affairs of Jerusalem every day declined, and the intelligent part of the people were perpetually thinking  about the saying of Solomon "Woe to that land whose ruler is a child, and whose princes eat in the morning" [Eccles 10:16], it was determined by a general decree that an illustrious personage, whose authority might have weight, as well as the importance of his business, that is to say, the patriarch of the Holy Resurrection, should be dispatched into Europe for the purpose of requesting assistance from the Christian princes against their most cruel enemy Saladin, and especially to the noble king of England, from whom was expected more vigorous and more ready aid than from the others. This same patriarch arriving at Rome, after encountering the perils of the sea, and the patriarchal being united with the apostolical authority, when about to proceed on his mission, he received the following epistle from pope Lucius to the king of England:

The epistle of the sovereign pope to the king of England

[2] Lucius the bishop, servant of the servants of God, to his dearest son in Christ, Henry the illustrious king of England, wishes health and the apostolical benediction.

[3] Since your renowned predecessors have flourished, from a far date, in glory of arms and nobleness of mind beyond other earthly princes, and the faithful have experienced them to be their patrons in adversity, reverence is confidently and deservedly paid to you, when danger, if not absolute destruction, hangs over the people of Christ; inasmuch as you are not only the heir of the kingdom, but also of the virtues of your ancestors. Our expectation is, that, by the am of your royal dignity, help may be extended to Christ's members, since He, by His affection, hath permitted you to gain the summit of such high glory and eminence, and hath appointed you to be an impregnable barrier against those who wickedly assail His name.

[4] Wherefore, your excellence, already harassed on this account with frequent and troublesome appeals, is aware in what manner the land of Jerusalem (the especial inheritance of the cross, in which the mysteries of our salvation were foretold and completed by the manifestation of the Truth itself, which He who created all things, appointed to be His heritage by peculiar privilege), overrun and surrounded by the aggression of perfidious and most detestable race, unless quickly assisted, must fall headlong into ruin; and thence must the Christian religion (which God forbid) sustain irreparable loss. For Saladin, the most cruel persecutor of His holy and tremendous name, is so inflamed with the spirit of madness, and so employs the force of his whole wickedness for the utter destruction of the people of the faithful, that, unless the vehement assault of his ferocity be repressed by the interposition of some powerful restraint, he seems to entertain sure hope and confidence that he can even swallow up Jordan; and the land consecrated by the sprinkling of the life-bestowing blood must be polluted by the contagion of his most pestilential superstition; that land, which your glorious and noble predecessors have rescued from the dominion of a faithless nation, at the cost of numberless dangers and labors, must again become subject to the base control of a most abandoned tyrant.

[5] On account, therefore, of the pressure of this emergency and impending sorrow, we have thought fit to exhort your highness by an apostolical letter, nay, even to entreat you by a most solemn appeal, that regarding the honor of Him who hath exalted you on high, and hath given you a glorious name, as far as human greatness goes, you would affectionately attend to the desolation of the land aforesaid; and that you would give effectual diligence to take away His disgrace in this respect, who for your sake was willing to be held in mockery in that land; to the end that, following the example of your predecessors, who delivered this land out of the jaws of the prince of darkness, it may still, by your exertions and God's assistance, be preserved in the service of the Lofty One. On this account, indeed, it behooves your highness to use greater solicitude in so great a strait of calamity, because you know that this land is bereft of the protection of a king, and that its chiefs have thought fit to place every hope of its defense in your highness's protection; and this your excellence may more correctly know, because they have dispatched to your highness those great and noble defenders of that land, our venerable brother E[raclius] the patriarch, and his beloved son, the master of the Hospital, that by their presence you should weigh (considering their dignity) how great must be the necessity for the sake of which these regions can so long endure the want of their help, in order that by their means they may more easily incline your regard to their petitions. Kindly receive, therefore, the persons aforesaid, as if sent to you from the Lord Himself; treat them with becoming regard, and assent to their request so much the more readily, as greater favor and kindness is to be accorded them from respect to their gravity and rank. Let your wisdom recollect, and carefully revolve within itself the promise, whereby you have bound your highness with respect to giving assistance to this land; and show yourself in this matter so provident and anxious, that, in the tremendous day of judgment, you may not be accused by your own conscience, nor be condemned by the sentence of that severe Judge who is not deceived. Farewell.

Chapter 13:  In what manner the patriarch returned unsuccessful    <to index>

The venerable patriarch, therefore, on his arrival in England, diligently employed himself on the business which had brought him thither. Having been received by the king with all becoming respect, he explained the causes of his laborious undertaking; and in order that Henry might embark in such a holy service, as if destined by God, and earnestly solicited by all to bring down the pride of the most detestable Saladin, he exhorted him thereto by the influence of his high authority. When the king complacently admitted his wholesome counsel, and promised his reply after a due time for deliberation, the patriarch continued for some little space in England; but the king. alleging the certain and excessive dangers which must attend his departure from his own kingdom, and promising a competent sum of money in aid of the Eastern Church, in lieu of his personal attendance, the patriarch, with hopes far less sanguine than on his arrival, retired into France. The king, too, went abroad, to superintend his affairs on the continent; and when the seeds of a deadly discord between himself and the king of France were germinating, at the interposition of the devil, who took every active means to hinder Christian princes, mutually weakening their Christian strength, from rendering any assistance to that land and city, whence flowed the salvation of all, and which was now exposed to danger of every kind, the venerable patriarch returned to his country without accomplishing his purpose.

Chapter 14:  Of the disagreement of the kings, and their subsequent treaty     <to index>

The evil of that discord which arose between the kings involved many nations; for as each people was zealous for its respective monarch, they became so mutually hostile and resolute in their intentions, as though they individually sought their own advantage and reputation, or were about to avenge their own grievances. Multitudes of armed men, inflamed with the most ferocious spirit, assembled from different provinces on all sides, at a castle called Chateauroux, purposing, in their strange infatuation, to pour out their blood as an offering to the glory, or rather to the pride, of their kings; for what can be more absurd than to be emulous of vain-glory, and that not our own, but another's? And what more unjust or more pitiable than for so many thousands of Christians to run into danger for the benefit or more pride of an individual? After these two great armies had regarded each other with angry countenance for several days, from their opposite positions, while persons of pacific temper busied themselves in behalf either of a peace or a treaty, but all in vain, the fatal and tremendous day of engagement at length dawned. The troops were arranged for battle and on the eve of engaging; when lo! more (as it is said) through the secret whispers of the commanders than through public discussion, a truce for several days was proclaimed by the voice of a herald throughout each army. This notice sounded much more agreeably to the ears of all than the sound of the trumpet calling them to battle. The nations, in consequence, which just before had been fiercely raging, and the people who so lately imagined vain things, at the kind interposition of God, turned homeward with bloodless joy; but the king of England, dismissing his army, remained upon the continent, rather intent on the business of consolidating peace than stirring up the strife of conflict; for, long since heartily tired of war, on account of his age, he was now led on to hostile intention, not by desire, but by necessity alone.

Chapter 15:  Of the prerogative of the land of Jerusalem, on account of which it so frequently devours its inhabitants    <to index>

[1] In the one thousand one hundred and eighty-seventh year from the fullness of time in which the Word was made flesh, during the reign of Frederick in Germany, of Philip in France, and of Henry II in England, and while Urban, who had succeeded Lucius, presided over the holy see, the hand of the Lord was heavy upon the land of Jerusalem, and in the words of Jeremiah, the stroke of an enemy smote her with severe correction. The holy city in which the name of God had been called upon from old time, in which the sacred prophecies abounded, in which the symbols of human redemption were displayed, and from which the waters of salvation flowed to the farthest ends of the earth -- and the holy land (dreadful to think of) fell into the hands of a profane and unclean nation; the land, I say, of the holy prophets which have been since the world began; the land of the apostles, nay the land of our Lord and Savior Himself, which he dignified with the mystery of His incarnation and nativity; signalized with His abode, and preaching, and miracles; consecrated with His passion, burial, and resurrection; irradiated with the triumph of His ascension, and the coming of the Comforter; of this land the beastly Saladin took possession, made it empty of the faithful, and destroying the symbols of the Christian religion, profaned it with the abominations of his detested sect: and to him was granted not only a mouth speaking great things, but even an arm executing as much against the Lord, and against the people of His Christ. For with respect to this people was fulfilled the word of Jeremiah [15: 2], or rather the word of the Lord speaking by his mouth, "Cast them out from my presence, and let them go forth, such as are for death to death: and such as are for the sword to the sword: and such as are for the famine to the famine: and such as are for the captivity to the captivity."

[2] No one, indeed, ought to doubt that the cause of this pitiable and signal overthrow arose from an overwhelming weight of sin; and certainly from the beginning, in every country under heaven, God has borne with sins more patiently than in that land, which from the grace of so many great and signal Divine operations, either already miraculously performed there, or about to be performed, ought (if I may use the expression) by a kind of privileged necessity to be holy, or else not long unpunished. For indeed, God chose this land from the beginning to be ennobled at His own good time with the miracles of His most surpassing condescension, which, of a truth, far excel all other Divine operations; I mean, the miracles of His incarnation and of the redemption of mankind. Indeed, in favor of such things to be accomplished in this land at their season, it had always a pre-eminent privilege before all other countries, which truly it is known to possess in a more especial manner from what had already taken place there. Hence it is that the holy Scripture, in many places, so clearly sets forth its prerogative. Yet, regarding it with reference either to the glory of riches or its fertility, it may at once he admitted, that, in matters of this nature, it is rivaled by many nations, if not actually surpassed, unless we attach no credit to the descriptions given of India; wherefore it is acknowledged either to have been, or to be at present, celebrated beyond all other regions from the single circumstance that in it to be consummated, and really has been so, the great and wonderful mystery of human redemption. For if God had been inclined to grant to His peculiar people, that is, the seed of Abraham, an earthly inheritance for the sake of abundant fertility, He would have assigned them a settlement in India rather than in Syria; but now a people being elected for this purpose by His Divine foreknowledge, that out of them the Offering for human redemption should be taken in His own good time, he gave them for a possession that land which He had chosen from the beginning, that there that propitiatory Sacrifice should be offered up.

[3] On this account He calls that land more especially His own, saying, "This land shall never be sold again, because it is mine, for ye were strangers and sojourner with me" [Levit. 25:23]. The first inhabitants, indeed, of this land, after the Deluge, were the Canaanites and the Amorites, and the people related to them -- but God truly foreseeing that they must hereafter be dispersed, on account of their flagitious manners, brought thither Abraham, the future father of a noble race, from out of Ur of the Chaldeans, saying, "Unto thy seed will I give this land" [Gen. 12: 7]. Moreover, to Abraham himself he gave therein, as the apostle says, not so much as to set his foot on [Acts 7:5]; and because, according to the Word of God, the sins of the Amorites were not yet accomplished, that is, had not yet attained such maturity and strength as to induce God, who visits transgression in mercy rather than in judgment, totally to exterminate these sinners; therefore, by a prescient, just, and indulgent God, the filling up the measure of iniquity is patiently waited for, and the destruction of the guilty is delayed until the perfect consummation of their sins. In consequence, Abraham was not made possessor of that land, but a stranger; and his posterity, after the sin of the Amorites had been filled up, took their land in possession -- and as they possessed this land by the gift of God, so also, by His command, did they exterminate the wicked. Do we suppose that this sinful nation transgressed more outrageously than the other nations of the universe, insomuch that, while the rest escaped, this only should suffer destruction? Assuredly the darkness of error had involved the world, and no one was forbidden to do as he pleased out of respect to that Divine judgment, of the existence of which he was altogether ignorant.

[4] This nation did not singly undergo the severity of Divine visitation, merely because it was more abandoned than other people, but it was necessary that the land about to be signalized hereafter with the most splendid tokens of heavenly condescension, and at that time debased by the enormities of its inhabitants, should be purified by their extermination, and given for a heritage to the chosen people, that is, the seed of Abraham, who possessed the types of the holy faith -- wherefore it is said to this people, by Moses, in the Book of Deuteronomy: It is not for thy righteousness that thou shalt go in and possess the land of those nations, but they are destroyed at thy entrance on account of their own wickedness, and that God might perform the word which he promised by an oath to thy fathers Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. [Deut. 9:4,5] Moreover, in Leviticus it is said, by the word of God to the sons of Abraham: Be not ye polluted in all things, in which the nations are defiled, which I will cast out in your sight: by whom the land is polluted, whose offences I will visit, so that it may cast out its inhabitants. [cf. Levit. 18:3] Take heed, therefore, lest, in like manner, it cast you out also when ye shall have done the like, as it cast out the nation which was before you. Other regions, however, not possessing this privilege, do not, in such manner, swallow up or cast out their inhabitants, though they be more deeply debased by transgressions, as that land afterward justly cast out even the seed of Abraham, to whom it was given as an heritage when it had polluted it by the enormity of its crimes; and indeed it cast out into Babylon the greater part of it, that is, the ten tribes which were irrevocably banished; but two tribes, that is, the tribe of Judah, from which the Lord Himself was to be born according to the flesh, and the tribe of Benjamin, which was to produce the vessel of election, though the former were to be recalled in due time, and the latter two after a season. But because they know not the time of their visitation, but by execrable infatuation killed their own Redeemer, this same land, notable for the performance of the heavenly mysteries accomplished within it, cast out with sorer judgment never to be recalled, while the Roman emperors Vespasian and Titus were the ministers of Divine vengeance.

[5] The fleshly seed of Abraham being thus exterminated, because it had so degenerated that God Himself said, "It shall be more tolerable in the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you" [Matt. 10:15]; the sanctuary of God was trodden under foot by the heathen until the time of that religious emperor Constantine the Great. For at that period the Holy Land, through the pious exertions of this prince, being cleansed from the impurity of heathen rites, was given as a heritage and possession to the true seed of Abraham, that is, to the Christians, by whom it was enjoyed for many years, till after the time of Saint Gregory-but, at length, even these dwellers, after having incensed the Divine indignation against them by the increase of their transgressions, the Holy Land, which had been polluted by them, devoured or cast out; and the Hagarenes defiled it by their most beastly residence therein until the year one thousand and ninety-nine from the fullness of time when the Word was made flesh. For all that period the holy city, as it has been above related, by means of a Christian army arriving from Europe, cast out its heathen inhabitants; and herein was exactly fulfilled that prophecy of Noah, "God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem" [Gen. 9:27] for from Shem sprung the nations of Aa, but the nations of Europe from Japheth. Therefore, in a manner, he received a dwelling in the tents of Shem, when the men of Europe, on the expulsion of the Hagarenes, began to reside in Palestine, a province of Asia.

[6] The residence of the sons of Japheth in the Holy Land was about eighty-seven years, that is, from the year one thousand and ninety-nine from the delivery of the Virgin, till the year one thousand one hundred and eighty-seven. For at that time the Holy Land, after its wonted manner, cast out even these people, upon the increase of their transgressions, with which the power of the Hagarenes increased in proportion, though we cannot repeat it without a groan: for there were now in Jerusalem and its territory, not, as formerly, devout men from every nation under heaven, but, out of every Christian country, abandoned, luxurious, and intemperate people, mimics and stage-players, all of which kind had settled in the Holy Land, as in a common receptacle, and had polluted it with unseemly habits and actions. Moreover, the present natives of this land, whom they called "Pullani," becoming infected from their vicinity to the Saracens, differed but little from them either in faith or morals, and appeared to be a kind of neutral beings between the Christian and the Saracen population. In such manner the land of our Lord, alike debased in our time by strangers and by natives, has at length, by God's decree, cast out both of them, and now endures that most abandoned people, the Hagarenes, for a season, whom doubtless it wilt devour at God's good pleasure. It was recovered, indeed, by the Christians, during the papacy of Urban the second, and fell again into the hands of the Hagarenes, in the pontificate of Urban the third, after a lapse (as it has been said) of eighty-seven years. How this took place must be more fully explained, not for the sake of contemporaries, as the matter is of very recent recollection and sufficiently known by all, but that a lasting knowledge of the signal evils which befell our times may, by the agency of my pen, be transmitted to the knowledge of posterity.

Chapter 16:  Of Guy, king of Jerusalem    <to index>

[1] This youth of nine years old, being anointed king of Jerusalem, next after his uncle, was soon after snatched away from this world, having been poisoned (as it is supposed) by his own guardian, the count of Tripoli, who, being a great and powerful man, and related to the former kings, aspired to the sovereignty , which he hoped would easily fall to him on the removal of his youthful ward. The patriarch, however, and part of the chiefs of the land, together with the Templars and Hospitallers, gave the kingdom to the mother of the deceased boy, the daughter of the very illustrious king Amalric, as the nearer and more rightful heir, though they blamed her unbecoming marriage; for in the time of the king her brother, in pursuance of her own wish, she had contracted a second marriage with a foreigner, one Guy of Poitou, who had fled from Henry II, king of England, out of Aquitaine, and had served with great credit under the king of Jerusalem. Having obtained possession of the fortresses and cities, by the assistance of the Templars and the patriarch, she gave the royal diadem to her own husband. On this occasion the nobility were incensed beyond measure; nor could they endure with patience that a man who was a stranger, and not of the royal lineage, should be exalted over their heads, while there still remained a shoot of the royal family, by whom (as they believed) the kingdom might be more becomingly and more honorably governed. Many of them, indeed, dissembled their anger, and either through fear or craft were silent for a time; and as far as outward appearance went, obeyed this stranger prince in expectation of a proper opportunity to shake off his yoke. But the count of Tripoli, who was actuated by fiercer indignation, relying either on his own powers or artifices, openly resisted, and with the rest refused to submit to his control; and when he was strenuously attacked by the royal power, and compelled to surrender, on account of the insufficiency of his own strength, he solicited and easily obtained the assistance of Saladin, who was endeavoring to undermine the Christian power by craftily fomenting discord among the parties.

[2] Soon after, during the month of May, he sent out the Turkish forces against the Christian territory from the side of Tiberias, which he at that time possessed. These engaged with a certain party of the Templars, and made considerable slaughter of our people, and, laden with spoils, went oft victorious. But not long afterwards, this same count, through the mediation of his friends, made, as it afterwards appeared, a pretended peace with the king; for both himself and almost all the chiefs of the land, from their excessive indignation, had entered into a secret truce with Saladin, into whose hands (as it is said) they had covenanted to deliver the Christian king, and to whom he also in turn was said to have pledged himself, that, on this event taking place, he would not disturb them from having the free disposal of the kingdom of Jerusalem. They had made a covenant with death, and with hell were they at agreement, supposing by this that the over-passing scourge, when it visited others, would not come upon them; but after circumstances taught them that the holy prophecy was singularly fulfilled upon themselves -- "Your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand ; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then shall ye be trodden down by it" [Isaiah 28:18], and misery alone shall give you understanding."

Chapter 17:  Of the battle in which the Christian army perished, and the king was taken, along with the Holy Cross    <to index>

[1] Saladin, with eighty thousand cavalry, and more than that, as it is said, entered the frontiers of the Christians, with greater confidence than usual, and soon after advanced upon the city of Tiberias, and attacked the castle, into which the lady of the place had retired with a few soldiers. The king, on hearing this intelligence, with the utmost celerity collected an army of Christians from every quarter. Former kings, however, when, about to proceed to battle, always left sufficient garrisons in their cities and castles, that they might not expose the realm to a double peril, by depriving the bones of their own marrow, that is, the cities and castles of the needful garrisons. Thus it was that, though they were frequently overcome by their enemies in battle, yet they were never known to place their realm in danger of being exterminated. But this king, who was appointed by a woman, to the ruin of the Christian kingdom, commanded (lest woman should be innocent in so great an evil as this) by a most urgent edict, that the whole population should go forth to battle as one man; so much so, indeed, that the officers directed by the king compelled the sick to march out along with the healthy, as if he would terrify Saladin by numbers. Thus, when all had gone forth as victims, rather than as combatants, and only a few very feeble persons remained in the cites along with the women and children, the whole of that famous kingdom of Jerusalem thus became dependent on the event of a single battle.

[2] The count of Tripoli, who was commanding the Christian army, knowing well the localities, conducted it intentionally (as it is thought) into a rocky place, and into such defiles as soon imperiled it. While it was thus embarrassed, the enemy began to threaten it on every side; so that the king, by the advice of his nobles, determined at all hazards to break through and give battle to the enemy. He permitted the Knights Templar to commence the attack, while he arrayed his army for the fight in bodies as opportunity permitted. The Templars, in a most valiant charge against the enemy, broke the dense order of the hostile troops, and put them either to flight or the sword; and then it was that the infamous treachery of our own men, and their iniquitous collusion with the enemy, became clear. For the count of Tripoli, and the other nobles with their troops, setting at nought the arrangements which the king had made, neglected to follow the noble Knights of the Temple, and thus placed them in peril, as they were bravely defeating the enemy: and thus closely encompassed in the ranks of their foes, they were either made prisoners or slain. Our army, being now in a place without water, was fainting from heat and thirst; and at this time six most infamous soldiers deserting from the camp went over to Saladin, and, after abjuring the Christian faith, betrayed the hidden distresses of our people. Upon this intelligence, Saladin determined to attack our troops in every way; and, after he had nearly cut them all to pieces, the king took flight. Tokedin, the nephew of Saladin, pursued and took him, together with the wooden cross of our Lord. Thus, almost the whole of the Christians were either killed or made prisoners, very few escaping by flight.

[3] The Knights of the Temple and of the Hospital, whom the sword had not destroyed on the field of battle, were separated from the other captives, and Saladin ordered them to be beheaded in his presence, and delighted his eyes with this long-coveted enjoyment. The tyrant displayed his personal hatred against that most Christian man Reginald de Chastillon; -- celebrated as much for his renown in arms as for the nobility of his mind; he formerly administered with vigor the office of prince of Antioch, and presided at that time with distinction over the Christians on the confines of Arabia; him he fiercely questioned; and being answered with the firmness that became so great a man, he slew him with his own hand, thinking that much of his pleasure would be lost, if any one else but himself should shed such precious blood. The count of Tripoli, however, fled from the battle with his accomplices, while the Turks, (as it is said,) took no care to follow them.

Chapter 18:  In what manner Saladin occupied the Land of Promise, with the Holy City     <to index>

[1] Thus, when the victorious army was satiated with slaughter, and had turned to plunder, and after the battle had seized the prodigious spoils of the multitude that were either killed or taken prisoners, that most sanguinary tyrant proceeded with all his forces to the flourishing city of Ptolemais, which is now called Acre, and immediately took it, as it had been left unprovided with garrison, (as we have mentioned above) and foolishly entrusted to those who, by reason of their age or sex, were unfit for war. Satiated with slaughter, and from a new sentiment of clemency, he permitted the multitude which he found therein to depart uninjured. Then turning to the other cities and towns, after a short campaign unstained with blood, Saladin reduced the whole strength of the territory of Jerusalem under his power, except the holy city itself, and Tyre and Ascalon; for since the fortune of one battle had cut off all the garrisons of the cities and castles, this most fortunate tyrant found no difficulty in obtaining possession of the strongest fortresses of the Christians, which could have been reduced only by famine. The same scourge of Divine fury advanced also to the holy city. He compelled the patriarch and the people, dispirited by fear, to surrender, giving them their lives and liberties, that he might gain the credit of clemency; but he dismissed them after they were stripped of their arms and money. Having entered the city in great pomp, he profaned the churches which he had despoiled, and destroyed the cross, the banner of the Lord, after he had mocked it and scourged it. The temple of the Lord, also, which was ever held venerable, even by the Saracens themselves, he caused to be solemnly purified with rose-water, as if it had been defiled by the Christians, and then dedicated it to sacrilegious rites. But he showed some little reverence to the sepulchre of the Lord; for, after carrying off all the ornaments of gold and silver, he commanded the Syrian Christians who were natives of that land to undertake the custody of it, and he issued an edict, "that no alien should approach it with irreverence."

[2] Either through humanity, or for the sake of his own glory, he showed mercy to the sick persons who were lying in the celebrated Hospital of St. John: and he directed that every care should be taken of them until they died or recovered: and he committed this duty to certain of the brethren of the Hospital to be performed in freedom and security. These events took place at Jerusalem, about three months after that direful battle in which the Christian population perished: for that slaughter of the Christians was made in the octave of the feast of Saint Peter and Saint Paul the Apostles [6th July]; and the surrender of the holy city took place about the time of the solemnities of St. Michael the Archangel [29th Sept.]. Ascalon, also, a noble city, to which many had fled after the battle on account of its excellent fortifications, and who had vainly filled it with abundance of arms and provisions, did not escape the power of the tyrant: for that most unfortunate king of Jerusalem, who had been taken prisoner in the battle, gave up this city in exchange for his own deliverance. The famous city of Tyre, which of old had been accustomed to resist the greatest assaults, was now the only one that spurned the power of the enemy: for, as histories relate, it had first found employment for Nebuchadnezzar, that ancient and most powerful king; and afterwards caused great labor to Alexander the Great. This also would have fallen into the hands of the enemy with the same facility as the rest of the cities had done, but for a certain providence of Heaven which frustrated the intention of the tyrant, according to that passage in Isaiah, "As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it; so will I do for my servants' sakes, that I may not destroy them all" [Isaiah 65:8]. The Lord, for the sake of His servants, was evidently unwilling to disperse and destroy everything, in order that a fit place of refuge might not be wanting for the Christians, who should come into that country; for the increasing crimes of our age demanded even this; so the Lord preserved this city, like a little grape of the church, as no small blessing to His own people. Though the manner in which it was preserved is, through the favor of Christ, sufficiently known to these who are now living, yet, for the sake of posterity our narrative ought not to pass it over unrecorded.

Chapter 19:  How Conrad the marquis fortified Tyre, and of the death of the count of Tripoli     <to index>

[1] The marquis de Montferrat, a man great and powerful among the first nobles of the Roman empire, had come to Jerusalem for purposes of religion, having entrusted the care of his own territory to his son Conrad. When he had remained there in pious devotion for some days, and also, at his own expense, had manfully served God in the defense of the Holy Land, he was taken captive with other noblemen by the Hagarenes, in that battle by which the land itself was delivered into the hands of the infidel. At that very time, the younger marquis, whom I have mentioned, was hastening towards Jerusalem with a band of valiant men, intending to pray there himself, and to assist his father; and it so happened that, on the third day after Ptolemais was taken, the marquis, on approaching the land with his vessels, where the Christian ships were wont to seek a port, narrowly examining the appearance of the city front the sea, observed a change in it. The standards of the Christians no longer floated, resplendent to the beholders, on the tops of the towers and temples, for the abomination of the enemy had soon removed them; nor did the bells ring, as had been usual, when strangers were approaching the port. Thus, that prudent man, understanding that the city had fallen into the hands of the enemy, turned his course towards Tyre, where he landed, and found all the Tyrians so overwhelmed with grief and terror, that they were thinking of surrendering the city, after the example of Ptolemais; for their spirits were depressed, and the tyrant was expected soon to appear. But on the arrival of so noble a guest they regained their courage a little; and, having informed him of the miserable slaughter of the Christians, they entrusted themselves to his wholesome counsel, as a man sent by God for the consolation of the very few who were left. He, however, being prudent and of a good courage, bound them all, from the least to the greatest, by an oath to obey him in all respects, while he should faithfully charge himself with the care of them all; wisely informing them that nothing could be done unless they acted unanimously under one chief and director.

[2] When this was done, he carefully fortified the city, all the people assisting. On the following day, the count of Tripolis and Reginald of Sidon came as if seeking for refuge or for the defense of the city; and after they and a few of their followers had been admitted within the walls, they vainly endeavored to corrupt the populace or to seize the citadel; but they were soon detected, and with difficulty escaped, leaving however some of their followers in the city, whom the zealous marquis condemned to be hanged, as manifest traitors to the name of Christ. But when the count of Tripolis (whom I have mentioned) and his accomplices, saw that Saladin had broken faith in their compacts and settled himself in the kingdom of Jerusalem, expelling the inhabitants, and dividing it for a possession among his own people, then at length their vexation gave them understanding, and they were able to comprehend that the treaty into which they had entered with death and destruction, which had been annulled by the judgment of God, and the compact which they had made with hell was annihilated by the same just decree, and that they were deservedly borne down by the scourge that overwhelmed them and swept over them. So this count repented himself, though too late, and returned to his own city; and the vehemence of his grief turning to madness, he died a dreadful death. It is also said that neither disease nor old age, but their intolerable distress and confusion, in a short time, swept away his accomplices from the land which they had betrayed. The citizens of Tripolis, moreover, after mature deliberation, chose -- because the days were evil -- Bohemund, son of the prince of Antioch, for their lord, a youth of approved valor and prudence, tinder whose rule the region of Tripolis was but seldom infested by the Turks; for it is said and believed that, though Saladin laid the country waste elsewhere with all his forces, yet he spared Tripolis and its confines, on account of the oath which had been between himself and the count of Tripolis.

Chapter 20:  Of the siege of Tyre, and the return of the king from captivity     <to index>

[1] And thus Jerusalem, and all the other cities, except Tyre, having surrendered, were immediately received under the protection of Saladin, who laid siege to that city also, which was acting faithfully under the marquis Conrad. Although, according to the testimony of ancient historians, Tyre formerly stood upon an island, yet, by the skill and labor of Alexander the Great, it was united to the continent; and the whole city being thus nearly surrounded by the sea, enjoys a port of the utmost security. The tyrant, consequently, disposed his fleet all round the, city, lest the sea should be left open to the besieged; and he endeavored to attack it, by all possible means, on every side where it was not protected by the sea. The marquis, however, and his generals, apprehending that the provisions might be intercepted which were brought by the Italian ships, conveying supplies from Sicily and Apulia to the city, determine to attack the enemy's fleet by sea. This was done; and (God being propitious) whole multitudes of the enemy were slain or drowned, and several of the ships were taken; while the remainder of their fleet was wrecked upon the coast, in the sight of Saladin, as they were trying to escape. He was so struck with consternation at this occurrence, that, after burning his engines of war and putting an end to the siege, he departed, attempting nothing further against that city.

[2] Soon after, turning the fury of his tyranny against the frontiers of the people of Antioch, he weakened the Christian prince of that place, and enfeebled his power to such a degree, that, after Laodicea and other cities under his jurisdiction were taken, he left him scarcely any possession whatever outside the walls of Antioch. He also so straitened that great city itself, that he compelled the terrified citizens to enter into a compact that they would surrender by a certain day, unless a more powerful army from Europe should happen to arrive and prevent it. Moreover, our army at Tyre, under the marquis, was prospering, and growing stronger every day; great numbers poured in from the Christian countries beyond the sea. The king of Sicily also sent a valuable supply to them. Whereupon, they scoured the country far and wide in search of plunder, and, after succeeding valiantly and prosperously in their excursions, they returned laden with spoil. It happened that, among their spoils, a captive of unusual dignity fell into the hands of the marquis, and with praiseworthy consideration, he exchanged him for his father, who, as I mentioned before, was taken prisoner in the great battle, and was living in misery in the power of the enemy. The king of Jerusalem, however, whose return from captivity I have just mentioned, was rather an impediment than a consolation to our people; for upon claiming Tyre from the marquis, as of royal right, and the marquis refusing to yield that city to him, as having been one which he had exposed to the enemy as much as the rest, and by himself preserved with much labor, the king retired to Tripolis, and, collecting many persons about him, he acted towards the marquis as if he were an enemy. While they were thus at variance, and some were taking the part of one, and some of the other, the affairs of the Christians in Syria made but little progress. In this matter, we may observe the subtle cunning with which Saladin, or rather the devil in Saladin, delivered the king of Jerusalem from captivity, who from the beginning had been the occasion of this disturbance and slaughter and doubtless, under the appearance of right, had placed him it, opposition to the interests of the Christians. Though this partly appeared in that variance, yet it appeared more clearly in those events which followed.

Chapter 21:  Of the death of pope Urban, and the appointment of Gregory    <to index>

[1] While in the East such events came to pass with respect to the Christian people, Urban, the pope of Rome, sunk under the last lot of all; and the venerable Albert, his chancellor, succeeded him, and was called Gregory. He was a man really conspicuous for the wisdom and simplicity of his life, being zealous in all things towards God, according to wisdom, and sharply reprehending the practice of those superstitions to which the multitude had become habituated through the rustic simplicity of certain persons in the church, without the authority of the Scriptures. For this cause, he was thought by some persons of little discretion to be a dotard, through his brain being disturbed by excessive abstinence. It must be admitted that, although the extermination of the Christians in the East, and the irruption into the Holy Land, occurred under the pontificate of this Urban, it was nevertheless said of him, that he was distressed as little as possible by the report of such disasters. When the messengers came to the apostolic seat, about the festival of St. Luke the Evangelist [18th Oct.], bearing news of the certainty that had unfortunately occurred within the octaves of the Apostles Peter and Paul [6th July], Urban had just been taken away from this life, and Gregory substituted in his stead. This venerable pontiff, sorely disquieted at the mournful news, was deeply moved, and rendered anxious by the intensity of his grief; and he inconsolably deplored the enormous loss of reputation which had befallen the Christians. Studious, however, to apply some remedy, and meet so great an evil by pious foresight, lest it should extend further, he thereupon directed this epistle to the Christian world.

The Epistle of Pope Gregory

[2] Gregory, the servant of the servants of God, to all the faithful in Christ to whom these letters shall come, greeting and the apostolic benediction.

[3] Having heard the severity of the tremendous judgment which the Divine hand has inflicted upon the territory of Jerusalem, we and our brethren are perplexed with such horror, and afflicted with such grief, that it does not easily occur to us what we ought to say or do, except to mourn with the Psalmist, and say, "O Lord, the heathen are come into thine inheritance," etc. [Psalm 79:1]. For on the occasion of that dissension which, by the suggestion of the devil, took place lately in the land, Saladin marched towards those parts with a multitude of armed men; and when the king and the bishops, the Templars and Hospitallers, the barons and the knights, with the people of the land, came forth to battle, bearing the cross of the Lord (by which a sure protection used to be afforded them against the incursions of the pagans, from the commemoration and protection of the passion of Christ, who hung from it, and who redeemed all mankind upon it), in the battle which took place between these two parties, one portion of our army was separated from the rest, and the cross of the Lord was taken, the bishops were slaughtered, the king was made captive, and almost all the remainder were either slain by the sword or fell into the hands of the enemy; so that very few are said to have escaped by flight. The Templars, also, and the Hospitallers themselves were beheaded in Saladin's sight.

[4] Though we can likewise exclaim with the prophet, "Who will give to mine eyes a fountain of tears, and I will weep day and night for the slain of my people!" [Jer. 9:1] yet we ought not to be so much dejected as to sink into mistrust. Let us, therefore, believe that God was angry with His people, and in His wrath permitted this to happen, because the people were as a multitude of sinners; yet, when He is pacified by repentance, He will speedily relieve us through His mercy, and that after our tears, He will bring back gladness. Whoever does not truly mourn, amidst such cause for mourning, seems forgetful not only of the Christian faith, but even of humanity itself; while from the magnitude of the peril, and from the ferocity of the barbarians, thirsting for the blood of the Christians, and placing its whole merit in profaning holy things and taking away the worship of God from the earth, every man of discretion will be able to appreciate all that we abstain from saying. Truly, when the prophets first, and afterwards the apostles, labored in order that the worship of God might exist in that land, and might flow from it to every region throughout the world -- yea, what was ineffably greater, God, whose will it was to work salvation there, and who designed in His own person to labor to this end, yet now the tongue cannot speak nor can the senses understand how grievous it is to us, and to all Christians, that this land should have suffered all that it has endured, as we read among the ancient people -- yet we ought not to believe that these events have happened from the injustice of the Judge who strikes, but rather that they have come to pass through the iniquity of a sinful people; for that land has devoured its inhabitants, and has neither been able to enjoy a state of quiet for any length of time, nor to retain those persons who have transgressed the Divine law. Moreover, we, in the midst of our great sorrow for that land, ought to look not only to the sin of its inhabitants, but also to our own, and to those of the whole Christian people, and to fear, lest what is left of that land may perish, and the power of the infidels rage in other lands; for do not we hear from all quarters of dissensions and scandals between kings and princes, cities and states? and thus we can say with the prophet, "There is no truth nor knowledge of God in the land; by stealing and lying, killing and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood." [Hosea 4:1,2]

[5] Think, therefore, my sons, how all things pass away, and how you also will pass away with them: give, therefore, your wealth, give also yourselves -- not for destruction, but for preservation -- to Him from whom you have received both yourselves and all that you possess. Nor do we ask you to scatter your wealth, but rather to hoard it up in that treasure-house which you have in heaven, and lay up your treasures where moth and rust do not corrupt, nor do thieves break through and steal. Labor, also, for the recovery of that land in which, for our salvation, the Truth sprang out of the earth, and for our sake did not disdain to endure the sufferings of the cross. By your example, also, exhort others, that they may be strengthened to lay down their lives for their brethren, and may learn from you how to give up their persons and their goods in obedience to their Creator. Recollect also that it is no new thing for that land to be smitten by the Divine judgment; nor is it unreasonable to believe that, after being scourged and chastised, it shall obtain mercy. The Lord, indeed, could by His will alone have preserved it; but it is not for us to say why He has not done so: for perhaps it was his pleasure to make that country an example for others, and to prove whether there were any of an understanding heart, who would seek after God, and joyfully embrace the time of repentance offered to him, by laying down his life for his brethren, and, by finishing his course in a short time, save many lives.

[6] Moreover, to those persons who shall undertake the labor of this journey with a contrite heart and humble spirit, and die in repentance and in the true faith, we promise eternal life and plenary indulgence for their sins; but whether they survive or whether they die, let them know that they shall have remission of that penance which has been imposed upon them for all the sins of which they have made a true confession, through the mercy of Almighty God, and by the authority of the apostles Peter and Paul, and of ourself. Their goods, also, from the time of their taking the cross, with their families, shall remain under the protection of the holy Roman see, and of the archbishops, bishops, and other prelates of the church; and none of those which they peaceably possessed on taking the cross shall be subject to any question until their return, or their death be most unquestionably known; but their goods, in the meantime, shall remain entire and quiet. If they are bound to make usurious payments to any one, these they are not compelled to pay. Nor let them go in precious raiment, and with dogs or birds, or other things which may appear to serve rather for ostentation and pleasure than for necessary uses; but let them go with moderate preparations and apparel, that they may seem to observe penitence rather than to affect vain-glory.

Dated at Ferentino, on the fourth of the kalends of November [29th Oct. 1187].

Chapter 22:  Of the death of pope Gregory    <to index>

This epistle having been sent forth to the world, the same reverend pontiff, influenced by pious solicitude, proceeded to Pisa, with the intention either of reconciling by God's assistance, the people of that city with those of Genoa -- for they had been separated by a long-continued and inveterate discord -- or of inducing them to suspend their fatal enmity by a truce of long continuance; so that, by their ceasing or laying aside for a time their devotion to their own private interests, either party (their wealth being great, and their power mighty by land and sea) might act in common in the Christian expedition. Having entered the city of Pisa, and sent for the principal men of Genoa, according to the wisdom that was given him, which was aided by their reverence for the pontificate -- he exerted himself to allay the ferocity of their minds; and while the work of peace was advancing by his religious labors, and the inveterate contentions of those warlike people were abating by meditating on the adoption of that more excellent way, he was seized with a fever at Pisa, and in a very few days he bid adieu to this world, to associate (as we may believe of so good a man) with the good pastors in heaven. To him succeeded Clement, who was there elected and enthroned, and who with pious care cherished the seeds of peace that had been cast, and led them to produce fruit.

Chapter 23:  How the kings and many nobles assumed the cross    <to index>

[1] That mournful rumor of how ill managed were our affairs in the East in a short time pervaded the whole world, and carried astonishment and horror into the hearts of all Christians; yet it roused the spirit of many to emulation by presenting a glorious occasion for exercising their valor. Richard, count of Poitou, son of the king of England, and his future heir, happened to receive the messenger of this intelligence towards the close of the day, and, without further deliberation, he immediately formed the praise-worthy intention with his whole heart; and early in the morning of the day following (as it is reported) he solemnly received the sign of the cross as a token of his future pilgrimage and expedition. On hearing this, his father kept silence until the arrival of his son: and when he came, a few days after, he said, "You should by no means have undertaken so arduous an affair without consulting me; yet I will, nevertheless, offer no opposition to your pious design; but I will forward it, so that it may be nobly fulfilled by you." It was then the winter time, and not one of the great princes had yet assumed the sign of the cross; but all were hesitating in doubt upon this subject; but, nevertheless, they constantly experienced the incitements of Divine fear. At length, the archbishop of Tyre, coming from the East, announced still worse intelligence; he publicly deplored in such a manner the miseries of the Eastern Church, as well those present as those which were imminent, that the two mighty kings of England and France met together on the confines of their territories for a solemn conference, with the bishops and a great assembly of their nobles, for the purpose of consulting as to what steps they should take for the deliverance of the land of Jerusalem from the enemy; and although they had been at discord a short time before (as it has been related above) and had not yet brought their hostility to an end, they for the time held it in suspense by a truce. In that conference, however, while with a religious intention they sought not their own, but the things which are of Christ, no allusion to their former rancor, not even the slightest, was introduced; but for the sake of Christ all animosity and dispute were so completely forgotten, laid asleep, and buried, that you would think they were intent on the service of Christ, with equal earnestness.

[2] Thus, rising to a lofty fervor of devotion, they accepted the sign of the King of kings from the hands of the bishop above mentioned, intending soon to belt on their swords in His service, and devote not only all that was theirs, but even their own persons to that noble military expedition. The duke of Burgundy, the count of Flanders, and the count of Champagne, with many other nobles from the kingdoms of France and England, and a vast number of military men, followed their example with joyful devotion; and they, too, thought it glorious to adorn their own shoulders with the sign of the Lord, and to expose themselves for His sake to labors and perils. Having immediately appointed a time when they would commence their march, by common consent they sanctioned the following arrangement necessary for the provision and preparation of so great an undertaking and journey; which, after having been reduced into writing by the bishops, was forwarded to all the provinces of both kingdoms.

The Statutes of the Kings on taking the Cross

[3] In consequence of that lamentable rumor of the destruction of the territory of Jerusalem, and the capture of the cross of the Lord, having come to the knowledge of the church of Rome, and the whole of Christendom, our lord the pope, and the church of Rome, desiring to relieve this misery with the wonted clemency of the apostolic see, have ordained the best remedy for all who should accept the cross -- that is to say, that from the day on which any person whosoever shall assume the cross, he shall be released from every penance enjoined upon him for his sins, provided he be penitent for the same and has made confession, as well as for those which he may have forgotten.

[4] The kings of France and of England, with an immense multitude of archbishops, bishops and barons of both lands, having, by the ordinance of God's providence, taken the cross of the Lord; by their united counsel, it is therefore appointed, that every man, of the clergy as well as of the laity, shall give a tithe of all his rents for one year, and of the moveable goods which he now possesses, excepting the harvest of this present year, for the relief of the territory of Jerusalem; but of the harvest of next year he shall, in like manner, give the tenth. Books and apparel are excepted, and the vestments and the entire chapel of clerks and their equipages, and the ornaments of churches, and in like manner, the vestments and horses and arms of knights, and also the precious stones of both those classes: but whosoever has taken up the cross, whether clerk or layman, shall give nothing, and he shall receive the tenth of his possessions from the tenants (excepting burgesses and husbandmen), excepting such as by the consent of their lords have taken the cross.

[5] We, therefore, confiding in the mercy of God, remit to all persons freely rendering their tithes a moiety of the penances enjoined upon them. Moreover, we remit the tithes which they have not paid as required by law, and also such sins as they may have forgotten; but if there be a doubt whether any man has not paid his lawful tithe, let the truth be inquired into by seven lawful men of his neighborhood, and let it be commanded that these matters be legally done, under the ban of an anathema. It is also enacted by the lords the kings, and conceded by the archbishops, and bishops, and all the barons, that every clerk or layman who shall assume the cross, if he has previously mortgaged his rents, shall have the issue of this year entire; and, at the end of the year, the creditor shall once more receive the rents; yet so that the proceeds which he shall receive therefrom shall be reckoned towards the payment of the debt, for interest shall not run upon debts contracted before the cross was taken up, so long as the debtor shall be upon his pilgrimage. All men, as well clerks as laymen, shall be able legally to mortgage their rents, whether church or others, for the period of three years; so that the creditors, whatever may happen to the debtors, shall be secure thereof. With regard also to those persons who may die in this pilgrimage, and to the money which they carried with them for the maintenance of their servants and the aid of the territory of Jerusalem and the subsistence of the poor, let it be divided according to the counsel of discreet men, who shall be appointed for this purpose.

[6] It is also ordained that no man shall swear great oaths, and that no man shall play at hazard or dice, and that no man shall wear miniver, or vaire, or sable, or scarlet; and that all men, clerks as well as laymen, shall be content with two dishes of meat of that which they buy; and that no man take any woman with him on this pilgrimage, excepting a laundress, who goes on foot, and of whom no suspicion can be entertained; and that no man have clothes that are slashed or laced.

Chapter 24:  Of the exaction of tithes; and how the emperor and his peoples assumed the cross     <to index>

[1] The assembly being dissolved, in which the kings had assumed the ensign of the Lord and decreed these ordinances, with the consent of all the bishops and nobles who were present, the illustrious king of England returned expeditiously into his own kingdom, and there summoned a great council at a convenient place; and, with the approbation of the prelates and the nobles of England, he established the observance of these ordinances, which had been accepted in the parts beyond the sea. Then the archbishop of Canterbury, the bishops of Durham and Norwich, and many nobles of the realm, inflamed by the royal example, solemnly assumed the sacred sign; many, indeed, through mere devotion, but others with less sincerity; that is to say, either by the orders of the king, or that they might recommend themselves to the favor of their sovereign, by anticipating his command. A great multitude of the clergy, knights, burgesses, and husbandmen, in all parts of England, took care to follow the example of the king and the nobles, as the same had been done in the provinces of France. Tithes were also demanded according to the form prescribed, and preparations were made, with the most vigilant care, for the necessary expenses of so long a pilgrimage.

[2] Neither did Frederick, the Roman emperor, long suffer himself to be found in this respect less devout or less active than the kings above mentioned. Having convoked the principal persons of the empire, he made known the intention of his magnanimous spirit; and, in a solemn manner, decorating the diadem of his imperial majesty with the symbol of the humility of the Lord, he presented to his princes and subjects that most influential emblem. So great a fervor of faith and devotion then shone forth in the mighty chiefs and warlike population of Germany, to undertake that most perilous expedition for the sake of Christ, that it might truly be said, this is "the finger of God" [Exod. 8:19]; and thus almost all nations bearing the name of Christian, fervently engaged in immense preparations for the commencement of their intended march.

Chapter 25:  How the treaty was broken by the king of France, and of the death of the king of England which followed    <to index>

[1] While the devotion of the faithful princes and people was thus fervent, the malice of the ancient enemy was not at rest; and he desired the means of marring the commencement that was so good. For when the illustrious king of England was quietly residing in his own realm, and making preparations of all kinds for his future expedition, as became so great a monarch, the king of France, instigated I know not how, broke the faith of the treaty, which, as had been solemnly consecrated between them, was to last until the return of each from the regions of the East; and, holding in no reverence the sign of the cross, which they both had assumed as allies, broke out into a paroxysm of sudden fury, and aided by the treachery of certain iniquitous persons (as it is said), he unexpectedly, and like an usurper, entered that noble castle which is called Chateauroux, and which was a possession of the king of England. Elated at this success, and altering, or rather stifling the scheme of an expedition to Jerusalem, he meditated exploits of more importance.

[2] These events having quickly become notorious, the king of England studied to act with mildness, for the sake of their pious enterprise, and before crossing the sea, he sent forward men high in honor, with words of peace to this false dealer; but he was not only rigid and inflexible to all fair proposals, but with yet more unbridled pride seemed inclined towards his dangerous purposes. As soon as the king of England had crossed the sea, through the intervention of good men, they met together; the king of England intending to set forth a complaint of the rupture of the treaty, and of the injury done to himself; and the king of France, as if he would justify all he bad done, though, under the semblance of confidence in his own uprightness, he covered a mystery of iniquity, as he gave us to understand from what followed. For Richard, then  count of Poitou, son of the king of England, who had been the first to accept the sign of the cross, as it has been said above, being enticed and led away, as it is believed, by the cunning of the French, in that solemn conference of the kings, deserted his father, and went over to the hostile party. While the causes of evil were growing still more serious, the father, shocked at this calamity, having uselessly wasted his words in pacific propositions to those who hated peace, returned home, scarcely knowing whom to trust, after having had experience of the ingratitude of his son. War was, therefore, commenced on both sides, but with unequal force and confidence; for count Richard, to whom his father had committed the duchy of Aquitaine, led his father's army there over to the party of the king of France; and many powerful persons in Normandy, Anjou, and Brittany, with empty faith, openly deserted the father for the son, and for his sake augmented the army of the French -- whence it came to pass, that, with the exception of mercenaries, a very small number assisted the king of England, and even the faith of these was wavering.

[3] Thus, the king of France, with the count of Poitou, and an unlimited number of troops, entered the territory of the king of England without resistance, and marched towards the city of Le Mans, where that king was staying with his army. Upon hearing this, and reviewing his troops, he saw that he was too weak to run the risk of a battle, and fearing to be besieged by the enemy, he fired the city; and throwing away a great deal of his baggage, he retired to a place of greater safety. After this, the army which appeared to follow him gradually melted away. Then John, the youngest of his sons, whom he most tenderly loved, withdrew from his father, lest he should appear unlike the rest of his brethren, and less than a brother. The enemy, having gained possession of the city of Le Mans and its castle, advanced with impetuosity, and also took the city of Tours with its castle by storm, and proceeded in succession to lay siege to the city of Angers. The king of England, rendered anxious by so many misfortunes, and greatly grieved by the defection of his youngest son -- for he perceived that he bad irritated his eldest son by entertaining an especial affection to his promotion -- yet his vexation gave him understanding, and he saw that the hand of the Lord was stretched out against him, and that He had designed the great change of affairs which had occurred around him as a punishment for those evils which he had committed. At length, from great grief, he caught a fever, which gaining strength, after some days he ended his life at Chinon.

[4] Thus died that famous king Henry, the most renowned among the kings of the earth, and second to none of them either for the extent of his wealth, or, until lately, for his happy success. On hearing of his illness, his enemies proceeded with more mildness; and having hastily made a truce, suspended the war; when, behold, it was announced that the star, which formerly had shone so brilliantly, had now set. Distressed at the intelligence, the count of Poitou bewailed his loss, and as an expiation for the little duty he had shown towards his father while living, he proved himself, though late, to be a son in the respect which he exhibited at his father's funeral. His enemies, also, who had always been envious of his valor and surpassing glory, are said to have praised and lamented him when dead; and it was obvious to the minds of all how great are the vanity and fallacy of temporal excellence, when so unhappy a mischance suddenly took away one who, a short time before, had shone so resplendent upon earth. His body (as he himself, at the point of death, with pious devotion had directed) was carried to that famous and noble nunnery which is called Fontevrault, and there, in the presence of his sons, and with the attendance of a multitude of nobles, it was buried with royal magnificence. For this monastery (distinguished by the title of a celebrated religious order) he had especially favored while he lived, and had endowed with very many advantages, so that it was fitting he should there receive, in preference, a place of rest for his body in the expectation of the last resurrection, as was due as well to the favors which he had shown it as to his own wish.

[5] I ought not, I think, to pass over in silence what I remember to have heard from a certain venerable man, who asserted that he had heard from a religious friar of the same monastery the following anecdote. A certain commendable person of our congregation, entertaining an abundant affection towards the king of England, as the principal patron of our monastery, was earnestly making supplication for his welfare to God Almighty; and when he was desirous to know what events would happen to that king, either through the mercy or through the judgment of the Supreme Ruler, previously to the time when the king assumed the sign of the cross, he received in his sleep such a revelation as this from the Lord, concerning that beloved king: "He shall lift up my ensign above him, but amidst torments shall he bear torments: for the womb of his wife shall rise up again him, and at last he shall be veiled among those who wear the veil." The truth of the revelation was made clear in the devotion of this prince, by which he assumed the emblem of the Lord, and in the events which followed this act of his devotion, even unto his sepulture amidst the veiled, as the preceding anecdote clearly showed.

Chapter 26:  Of the character of king Henry    <to index>

[1] Of a truth this king (as is well known) was endowed with many virtues that adorn the person of a king, and yet he was addicted to certain vices especially unbecoming a Christian prince. He was prone to concupiscence, and exceeded the conjugal limit, maintaining in this the practice of his ancestors; yet to his grandfather he yielded the palm in intemperance of this kind. He lived with the queen a sufficient time to raise a progeny; but when she ceased to conceive, he fell into voluptuousness, and had illegitimate offspring. He delighted in the enjoyment of hunting, as much as his grandfather did, and more than was right, yet he was more mild than his grandfather in punishing transgressors of the forest laws; for his grandfather, as it has been said in its place, observed but little or no distinction between the public punishments of those who slew men, and those who killed beasts of venery; but king Henry checked transgressors of this kind by imprisonment, or by temporary exile. He encouraged, more than was right, a nation perfidious and hostile to Christians, that is to say, the Jews, on account of the great advantages which he received from their usuries: and to such a degree that they were insolent and stiff-necked towards Christians, and imposed many burdens upon them. He was somewhat immoderate in seeking after money; but the excessive wickedness of the period was a justification for him in this respect, and was a proof that a decent limit had been observed by him; with this exception, that he allowed vacant bishoprics to remain void a long time, that he might receive the emoluments which thence accrued, and he sent to his treasury the profits, which should rather have been applied to ecclesiastical purposes. Yet he endeavored (it is said) to defend this course, by an excuse that was not very regal. "Is it not better that these sums of money should be expended in affairs that are needful to the realm, rather than consumed in the pleasures of bishops? For the prelates of our time do very little violence to themselves according to the ancient form, but, being remiss and lax in their duty, they embrace the world in their arms." Saying this, though he branded a mark of infamy upon our prelates, yet the defense he set up for himself was void of all show of reason. Certainly he deeply failed in his duty to the church of Lincoln, which is known to have been kept vacant for a long time, on account of its ample revenues; yet, in order to expiate this offence, he made it his study, some years before his death, to provide for that church the care of a religious pastor.

[2] By queen Eleanor he had sons most renowned; but, as the preceding narrative has shown, he was a most unhappy father in having these most illustrious children. This is believed to have happened by the judgment of God from a twofold cause. For the same queen had formerly been united to the king of France; and when she was tired of that marriage, she aspired to a union with him, and sought causes for a divorce; when she was released by law from her first husband, in defiance of the church, by a certain lawless license, if I may say so, he soon after united her to himself in marriage -- whence it came to pass, the Almighty secretly balancing all things -- that from her he begat a noble offspring to his own destruction. He loved his sons with such extreme tenderness, that he is known to have done injury to many persons by his desire to promote their interests beyond what was right; and, therefore, he was justly punished by their wicked rebellion, and by the premature death of some of them. Yet it is manifest that all this happened by the beautiful ordinance of Him who watches from above.

[3] Moreover, because, as I believe, he had not sufficiently bewailed the rigor of that unfortunate obstinacy which he had entertained towards the venerable archbishop Thomas, therefore, I think, the end of that great prince was thus miserable; and as the Lord, with holy severity, did not spare him in this world, it is our duty to believe that He will show mercy to him in another life; for in his high position in the realm he was most studious in watching over and in cherishing public tranquillity; he was a most fitting minister of God in bearing the sword for the punishment of evil-doers, and in guarding the quiet of good men; and as he was an especial defender and preserver of the property and liberties of the church, as clearly appeared after his death. In his laws he displayed great care for orphans, widows, and the poor; and in many places he bestowed noble alms with an open hand. He especially honored religious men; and commanded that their property should be protected by law, with as much equity as his own demesne lands. At the very commencement of his reign, with eminent piety, he corrected the ancient and inhuman custom with regard to the shipwrecked, and ordained that the duties of humanity should he shown to men who were rescued from the perils of the sea; and he enjoined that heavy punishment should be inflicted upon those who ventured to molest them in any respect, or who presumed to plunder any of their goods. He never imposed any heavy tax on the realm of England, or on his possessions beyond the sea, until that last tax of a tenth for the purpose of an expedition to Jerusalem, and yet this tax of a tenth was equally imposed in other countries. He never laid tribute on churches or monasteries, as other princes did, under pretence of necessity of any kind; and with religious care he even secured their immunity from unjust burdens and public exactions.

[4] Regarding with horror the shedding of blood and the death of man, he made it his study to seek for peace: with arms, indeed, when he could not do otherwise, but more willingly with money, whenever he was able. With these and other good qualities adorning his royal station, he was nevertheless not acceptable to many who had eyes only for his bad qualities. Men who were ungrateful, and treacherous as a deceitful bow, carped without ceasing at the failings of their prince, and would not endure to listen to his good qualities; to such as these, the vexations of the subsequent time could alone give understanding, since the experience of present evils has brought back the remembrance of his good times; and though in his own days he was unpopular with almost all men, yet it now becomes clear that he was an eminent and valuable prince. Solomon, also, that pacific king who raised the people of Israel to the greatest height of honor, and to superlative wealth, yet gave but little satisfaction to his subjects, as those words sufficiently intimate, which were addressed to his son. "Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore case thou somewhat of the grievous servitude of thy father, and we will serve thee" [2 Chron. 10:4]. Moreover, the same son replied to the people who complained, threatening them with childish levity thus, "My little finger shall be thicker than my father's loins: for whereas my father did put a heavy yoke upon you, I will put more to your yoke; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions" [2 Chron.10:10, 11]. This, I remark, was said by him through levity; but in sober truth it applies to our times, and fits most suitably to the period in which we live; though the foolish people are now chastised with scorpions and make less complaint than they did some years ago when they were chastised with whips.

[5] Henry the second, the illustrious king of England, duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, and count of Anjou, died in the thirty-fifth year of his reign, in the second year from the time he assumed the cross of the Lord, and when two years had passed of the Christian warfare in the East.

Chapter 27:  Of the toilsome and protracted siege of Acre     <to index>

According to the narration which has been given above, the kings already mentioned were contending with each other, and giving but little attention to the treaty into which they had entered with Christ a short time before, although he may appear excusable who was turned away from prosecuting his pious intention, not by his own wish, but by external violence. While Frederick, the Roman emperor, justly indignant at such discord, resolved not to wait for them; and having entrusted the care of the empire to his eldest son, whom he had constituted king of the Lombards, he determined to march with his other son, the duke of Suabia, through Pannonia and Thrace; and choosing a time of the year suitable for his pilgrimage, he led with him a large army of the most valiant troops selected from the nations of Germany. Also, James de Aveniis, a man both valiant and noble, with many others from the kingdom of France, together with no small amount of armed forces from other kingdoms in Christendom, arrived at Tyre, by a short way across the sea; while the emperor of the Latins, in consequence of the perfidy of the Greek emperor, was passing but slowly through the countries that were subject to him. With the sanction of the marquis, who for the time was acting as governor of Tyre, the French were joined by the Templars and Hospitallers, and advanced to besiege Ptolemais (now called Acre), which was supported by a powerful garrison. Having the city in front, they surrounded themselves with a strong rampart, lest they should be assailed in the rear by the hostile army; but Saladin soon came up with an innumerable host, and having pitched his tents round the ramparts, as often as our men attacked the city, the Turks made an attack upon the ramparts: whence it came to pass that the siege was protracted a long time, with the utmost toil and peril to our men. While our own people received supplies by way of the sea, so also did the Turks, availing themselves of favorable winds, provide the city with abundance of men, arms, and provisions. In what manner this city, which had fallen into the hands of the enemy with very little trouble, was at length taken, after it had given great employment to the Christian army for a long time, shall be told in its proper place.

Chapter 28:  Of the death of William, king of Sicily, and of the evils that happened thereupon    <to index>

At that time the hand of the Lord was heavy upon our people, who were placed in the greatest straits; principally by taking from them their patron, the illustrious William, king of Sicily and duke of Apulia, by whose religious and powerful aid those poor and feeble remnants of Christianity in Syria were chiefly preserved. In fact, from the commencement of their desolation, he had been careful to aid them by competent supplies, when they could obtain nothing from kingdoms more distant, and when the fierceness of Saladin blazed most brightly on account of his recent victory. This loss, however, might have been endured if a destructive altercation had not arisen after his death, concerning the succession to the kingdom; in consequence of which those beautiful regions were thrown into such confusion, and rendered so desolate, that no aid, such as had hitherto been given to the Christians who were struggling in Syria, could be supplied from that source. The cause of the disturbance (as is well known) was this: the king had married the daughter of the king of England, and had died without issue by her; moreover, his cousin-german, to whom the inheritance of the kingdom appeared to descend upon his death, had been married to the king of Lombardy, the son of the emperor of Germany; but the Sicilians and Apulians, detesting the German rule, had, under favor of the holy see, chosen for their king a nobleman named Tancred, of the race of their previous kings. Provoked at this, the king of Lombardy declared war against them; and soon after, his father being removed from this life, he was exalted to the dignity of the empire (as shall be mentioned in its proper course); and his fury being implacable, he sent against them an army of Italians and Germans; but the result of this imperial expedition shall be told in another place. So great a disturbance of the affairs of the Sicilians and Apulians cut off from the survivors of the Christians in the East the ample aid they had been accustomed to receive. And here we terminate the Third Book of our history, that in it the Fourth Book may begin with the reign of the illustrious king Richard.


Return to Index | Book One | Book Two | Book Three | Book Four | Book Five | Introduction


The Church Historians of England, volume IV, part II; translated by Joseph Stevenson (London:  Seeley's, 1861).  For ease of readability and reference, I have altered the original paragraph divisions and added the paragraph numbers; spellings have been modernized.  I have not retained Stevenson's footnotes. I believe this translation is now in the public domain. The electronic form of this presentation is ©1999 by Scott McLetchie and may not be reproduced for any commercial purposes whatsoever. It may be reproduced for non-profit educational purposes.

Select Bibliography

The latest complete edition of William's history is still that found in Chronicles of the Reigns of Stephen, Henry II and Richard I.   Edited by Richard Howlett.  Rolls Series no. 82.  London, 1884-9.   Books 1-4 of William's history appear in volume 1, book 5 in volume 2.

A new edition began to appear in 1988:  William of Newburgh.  The History of English Affairs.  Edited and with a new translation by P. G. Walsh & M. J. Kennedy.  Warminster, Wiltshire:  Aris, 1988-.  To the best of my knowledge, only volume one, containing book one of the history, has so far appeared.

A good starting point for information on William of Newburgh (as well as other medieval English historians) is Gransden, Antonia.  Historical Writing in England, volume 1.  London:  Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1974.

Nancy Partner examines William of Newburgh's work, along with that of Henry of Huntingdon and Richard of Devizes in:  Partner, Nancy F.  Serious Entertainments:  The Writing of History in Twelfth-Century England.   Chicago:  University of Chicago Press, 1977.

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