Imágenes de página

SECT. iv.] Second Crusade to the Holy Land. 439 his royal master from abandoning his dominions, by assuring him that he might make a much more suitable atonement for his sins by remaining at home, and governing his dominions in a wise and prudent manner; the eloquence of Bernard, and the frenzy of the times prevailed. The minister, however, retained his opinion; and made no scruple to predict the inconveniences that would attend an expedition to Palestine, whilst the monk pledged himself for its success, and extolled it with an enthusiasm that passed for inspiration.

- From France, Bernard proceeded to preach the Crusade in Germany; where, through the force of his irresistible eloquence, he prevailed on the emperor Conrad III. as well as on Frederic Barbarossa, who was afterwards emperor, and an immense number of persons of all ranks, to take the cross, promising them in the name of the Most High, complete victory over the Infidels. He ran from city to city, everywhere communicating his enthusiasm ; and, if we may credit the historians of those times, working miracles. It is not indeed pretended that he restored the dead to life; but it is affirmed that the blind received their sight, the lame walked, the sick were healed, and to these bold assertions we may add a fact no less incredible, that while St. Bernard's eloquence operated so powerfully on the minds of the Germans, he always preached to them in French, a language which they did not understand!

The confident hopes of success in this new enterprise, induced the greatest part of the knights in their respective dominions to enrol themselves under the banners of the emperor, and king of France; and it is said, that in each army there were seventy thousand men in complete armour, with a prodigious number of light horse, besides the infantry, making this second emigration at least equal to the number of three hundred thousand men ; wbich, added to thirteen hundred thousand sent on the former occasion, makes a sum total of one million sir hundred thousand of the inhabitants of Europe transplanted to Asia on these crusading expeditions. The Germans advanced first; the French followed them; and the same excesses that had been committed by the soldiers of the first Crusade were repeated by those of the second.

When the emperor Conrad had passed the Bosphorus, he acted with that imprudence which is very characteristic of such expeditions. Instead of joining those Christians who remained in Syria, and there waiting the arrival of the king of France, jealous of all competitors, he marched his army into the heart of Asia Minor, where the Sultan of Iconium, a more experienced general than himself, drew his heavy German cavalry among the rocks and cut his army in pieces. He fled to Antioch, and from thence proceeded to Jerusalem as a pilgrim, instead of appearing as the leader of an army, and at last returned to Europe with an handful of men, A. D. 1148.

The king of France was not more successful in his enterprise. He fell into the same snare that had entrapped the emperor; and being surprised among the rocks near Laodicea, was defeated as Conrad had been, and the conclusion of the whole expedition was, that Lewis, like Conrad, returned to Europe with the wreck of a great army, A. D. 1149, after visiting the holy sepulchre. 'A thousand ruined families in vain exclaimed against Bernard for his prophecies : he excused himself upon the example of Moses, who, he said, had like himself promised the children of Israel to conduct them into a happy country, and yet saw the first generation perish in the deserts.

The failure of this second Crusade reduced the affairs of the Oriental Christians to a state of great distress, which was still further augmented by the bold and enter$ect. Iv.] Subjugation of Palestine by Saladin.


prising conduct of Saladin the Great, a prince of Persian extraction, who, having by his bravery fixed himself on the throne of Egypt, began to extend his conquests over all the East, but finding the settlements of the Christians in Palestine an obstacle to the progress of his arms, he bent the whole force of his policy and valour to subdue that small though important territory. Taking advantage of the dissentions that prevailed among the champions of the cross, and having secretly gained over to his interest the count of Tripoli, who commanded their armies, he invaded Palestine with a mighty force, and obtaining a complete victory over them, utterly annihilating the vigour of the already languishing kingdom of Jerusalem. The holy city itself fell into his hands in the year 1187, after a feeble resistance; the kingdom of Antioch was almost entirely subdued; and, excepting some maritime towns, nothing of importance remained of those boasted conquests, which, nearly a century before, had cost the efforts of all Europe to acquire.

The papal chair was then filled by Clement III. who no sooner received the melancholy tidings, than he ordered a Crusade to be preached throughout all the countries of Christendom. Europe was filled with grief and consternation. The emperor of Germany, Frederic Barbarossa, assembled a diet at Mentz in 1188, in order to deliberate with the states of the empire on this unhappy event. To encourage his subjects, he himself took

his son Frederic, duke of Suabia, followed his father's example, as did also sixty-eight of the first German nobles, ecclesiastics as well as laymen. Ratisbon was appointed the place of rendezvous; and to prevent the inconvenience arising from too great a multitude, Frederic decreed that no person should take the cross, who could not afford to expend three marks of silver. Yet notwithstanding this regulation, so great was the VOL. I.

3 L

the cross ;

zeal of the Germans, that an army was formed consisting of a hundred and fifty thousand military adventurers, well armed, and provided with necessaries for undertaking the third Crusade.

The emperor in person marched at the head of thirty thousand men, by way of Vienna to Presburg, where he was joined by the rest of his army. He thence proceeded through Hungary, into the territories of the Greek emperor, who, notwithstanding his professions of friendship, had been detached by Saladin's promises and insinuations, to give up the interests of Frederic, in consequence of which, he took every opportunity of harrassing the Germans in their march. Enraged at his perfidy, Frederie laid the country under contribution; captured and plundered Philipopolis; defeated a body of Greek troops that attacked him by surprise, and compelled the emperor of Constantinople to sue for peace. He wintered at Adrianople; crossed the Hellespont in the spring; refreshed his troops a short time at Laodicea; defeated the Turks in several battles; took and pillaged the city of Iconium, and crossed mount Taurus, so that all Asia was filled with the terror of his name. Among the crusaders, Frederic was as renowned as Saladin among the Turks. The Christians in Syria and Palestine, flattered themselves that from his assistance they should obtain effectual relief, but their hopes were suddenly blasted. This great prince, who was an expert swimmer, one day plunged into the cold river Cydnus, to refresh himself from the sultry heat of summer, which brought on a fatal illness that at once put a period to bis life and heroic exploits.

The kings of England and France had entered with considerable ardour into the third Crusade. Philip Auguslus reigned at that time over France; and in our own country the throne was filled by the first Richard. Both of these monarchs considered the recovery of the Holy SECT. IV.] Crusade of England and France. 443 Land as the ultimate purpose of their government; yet neither of them was so much impelled to the pious enterprise by superstition, as by the love of military glory. Richard, in particular, had so little regard to sanctity in his external deportment, that when a zealous preacher of the Crusade advised him to rid himself of his pride, avarice, and voluptuousness, which the priest called his majesty's three favourite daughters, Richard replied, “You counsel well: and I hereby dispose of the first to the Templars, the second to the Benedictines, and the third to my Bishops !”

Resolving to profit by the disasters that had attended the former crusading expeditions, the kings of France and England determined to make trial of another road to the Holy Land, which was to conduct their armies thither by sea; to carry provisions along with them; and by means of their naval power, to maintain an open communication with their own states, and with the western parts of Europe. Their first place of rendezvous was the plain of Vezelai, on the borders of Burgundy, where Phillip and Richard found their armies amount to one hundred thousand men. Here they pledged to each other in promises of mutual friendship, and engaged not to invade each other's dominions during the Crusade; their barons and prelates exchanged oaths to the same effect; after which they separated. Phillip took the road to Genoa, Richard that to Marseilles, with the view of meeting their fleets, which were severally appointed to assemble in those harbours. They put to sea at the same time, and both were compelled by stress of weather to take shelter in the harbour of Messina, where they were detained during the whole winter.

In the spring of the year 1191, both fleets arrived in Asia, where, the troops being embarked, they laid ige to Ptolemais, which had been attacked above two years

« AnteriorContinuar »