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restoring Guy de Lusignan to his lost kingdom of Jerusalem, he bestowed upon him the kingdom of Cyprus as some compensation,-a kingdom which his descendants continued to possess for nearly three centuries.
Cæur de Lion was detained in Cyprus only a few weeks by his marriage, the conquest, and the settlement of the island. In his way from thence to Acre he fell in with a vessel of the largest size, sailing under French colours ; but requiring more evidence than the colours and the suspicious language of the spokesman, he soon ascertained that it was a Saracen ship, laden with stores of all kinds for the relief of Acre, which the Christians were then closely besieging. The brother of Saladin had despatched it from Baouk; there were seven emirs on board ; and the number of troops has been stated by the lowest account at 650, by the highest at 1500. They were brave men, well provided with the most formidable means of defence ; and desperate, because they knew how little mercy was to be expected from a fleet of Crusaders. The size, and more especially the height, of their ship, gave them an advantage which for a while counterbalanced that of numbers on Richard's part ; for his galleys could make but little impression upon her strong sides. Richard's people, brave as they were, were daunted by the Greek fire, which was poured upon them, which they had never encountered before, but of which what they had heard was enough to impress them with dread. The great dramond, as she is called, might probably have beaten off her assailants and pursued her course, if Richard's men had not dreaded their king's anger more even than the terrible fire of the enemy. “I will crucify all my soldiers if she should escape,” was his tremendous threat. His example availed more than his threat could have done : they boarded the huge hulk like Englishmen; and the Saracens, when they saw themselves overpowered, ran below, by their commander's order, and endeavoured to sink the ship, that their enemies might perish with them. Part of the cargo, however, was saved before she sank, and some of the crew were taken to mercy, though mercy was not the motive; for it was the chiefs, it is said, who were spared for the sake of their ransom. If the stores and ammunition with which this ship was laden had reached Acre, it was thought that the city could never have been taken. It
appears that the ships of war at this time were all galleys ; that few of them had more than two rows of oars, and many of them only one tier ; these, being shorter and moved with more facility, were used in the Levant for throwing wildfire. This composition, which the Greeks called liquid fire, and which by Latin and later historians is commonly denominated Greek fire, is said to have been invented by Callinicus, an architect of Heliopolis (afterwards called Balbec), about the latter part of the seventh century; and it continued in use some six hundred years, till the more destructive powers of gunpowder were applied to the purposes of
The invention proceeded from the school of Egyptian chemistry; for Callinicus was in the service of the caliphs, from whence he went over to the Greek emperor, expecting, perhaps, a better reward for his discovery from the government to which it would be most useful. Constantinople was, indeed, saved by it in two sieges ; Saracen fleets were deterred from attempting to pass the straits of the Hellespont, when they knew that their enemies were prepared with it; and while the Greeks kept the secret of the composition to themselves, as they did most carefully for four centuries, they possessed a more efficient means of defence than any other people. When the Pisans were at the height of their naval power, the emperor Alexius sent out a fleet against them, in which, as it appears, for the first time, lion's-heads of bronze were fixed at the ships' prows, and from their open mouths this liquid fire was discharged in streams. This he devised as being likely to terrify as well as to astonish them ; but the composition was, no doubt, sent
with surer effect from moveable tubes. The commander who led the way in this action wasted his fire; another officer, when in great danger, extricated himself by its use, and burnt four of the enemy's ships and the Pisans, who saw that the fire spread upwards, downwards, or laterally, at the will of those who directed it, and that they could not by any means extinguish it, took to flight.
The Greek fire was forced in its liquid state from hand engines, or thrown in jars; or arrows were discharged, the heads of which were armed, more formidable than with their own barbs, with tow dipt in this dreadful composition. During the crusades, the Saracens became possessed of the secret : whether they discovered it, or it was betrayed to them, is not known ; but they employed it with terrible effect ; and the crusaders, who feared nothing else, confessed their fear of this.
At this time it was employed on both sides. The only description of a naval action in those ages, which explains the system of naval tactics, relates to the siege of Acre, in which Richard was engaged. The crusaders drew up their fleet in the form of a half-moon, with the intent of closing upon the enemy if he should attempt to break their line. Their best gaileys were placed in the two ends of the curve, where they might act with most alacrity, and least impediment. The rowers were all upon the lower deck; and on the upper the soldiers were drawn up in a circle, with their bucklers touching each other. The action began with a discharge of missile weapons on both sides ; the Christians then rowed forward with all stress of oars, endeavouring, after the ancient manner, to stave in their enemies' sides, or otherwise run them down : when they came to close quarters they grappled ; skill was then no longer of avail, and the issue depended upon personal strength and intrepidity. The Greek fire seems to have been used even when the ships were fastened to each other : the likelihood of its communicating from the enemy's vessel to that which had thrown it, was much less when galleys were engaged, than it would be in vessels rigged like later men of war ; and fire might be employed more freely, because there were no magazines in danger. The crusaders had so greatly the superiority at sea, owing as much to seamanship as numbers, that a sagacious prisoner, whom Philip Augustus interrogated concerning the best means whereby the Holy Land might be recovered and maintained, told him it would be by keeping the seas, and destroying the trade of Egypt. His advice was, that they should take Damietta, and rely upon their fleets more than upon their strength in horse and foot.
78.- THE CRUSADE.
From the “ Penny Magazine." On the 10th of June, 1191, an astounding clangour of trumpets and drums and horns, and every other instrument in the Christian camp, hailed the arrival of Richard and his host in the roadsted of Acre. The welcome was sincere, for the aid was opportune and indispensable. Without the Lion-heart there must have been a capitulation of the Christians to Saladin. The French king had arrived some time before, but had done nothing. Frederic of Suabia, who had taken the command of the remnant of the army of the emperor Frederic Barbarossa, and who had not been able to give a favourable turn to the siege of Acre, had been for some time dead, and the Duke of Austria, who assumed the command of the Imperialists, was a formalist and a sluggard, being at the same time conceited and jealous. The loss of life among the Christians had been fearful. The sword and the plague, with other diseases, had swept away six archbishops, twelve bishops, forty earls, and five hundred barons, whose names are recorded in history, and one hundred and fifty thousand of “the meaner sort.” The siege had lasted well nigb two years, and the Crusaders were not only still outside the walls, but actually pressed and hemmed in, and almost besieged themselves, by Saladin, who occupied Mount Carmel and all the neighbouring heights with an immense army. But the arrival of the English king put a new spirit and life into the languishing siege ; and on the 12th of July, only a month and two days after his landing, Acre was taken. The glory of the achievement was justly given to Cæur-de-Lion
So that king Philip was annoyed there at the thing,
That there was not of him a word, but all of Richard the King.* The French and English soldiery entered fully into the piques and jealousies of their respective kings, who did not agree the better for t’ie treaty which had been concluded between them while in Sicily. Nothing but a Holy War could ever have brought these two sovereigns to attempt to act in concert with one another. Philip was constantly aiming at the overthrow of Richard's dorninions in France, and Richard was resolute to keep those French provinces, which rendered him eren in France as powerful as Philip. These quarrels nearly split the great confederacy of the Crusaders. Each king had his partisans. The Genoese and Templars espoused the quarrel of France; the Pisans and Hospitallers, or the Knights of St. John, took part with England ; and, on the whole, it appears that Richard's more brilliant valour, and greater command of money and other means, rendered the English faction the stronger of the two. The Templars and the Hospitallers, the Genoese and the Pisans, were old rivals, and had often fought against one another even in the Holy Land, and when surrounded by their common enemy, and the foe of all Christians: they were therefore sure to take opposite parts; but among the other Crusaders, who were not divided by such rivalry and enmity, and who looked exclusively to the triumph of the Christian cause, the Cour-de-Lion was evidently regarded as the best present leader and as the most valorous prince that had ever taken the Cross and adhered to the vows he had pledged at taking it.
He never showed himself in the camp without being hailed enthusiastically by the great body of the Christian army ; and he had not been a month in the country ere the Saracens began to speak of him with mingled respect and terror. During the siege of Acre he had worked like a common soldier at the heavy battering-engines ; and when assailed by a violent endemic fever, he had caused himself to be carried to the trenches on a silk pallet or mattress. Even without his ever liberal guerdon the minstrels might have been animated to sing his praise, and to declare, as they did, that if the sepulchre of our Lord were ever again recovered, it must be through king Richard. All this gave rise to fresh jealousies in the brcast of Philip, who, though brave, was far more distinguished as an adroit statesman in Europe than as a warrior in the Holy Land.
Philip Augustus was gone for France, and the Crusaders seemed disposed rather to remain where they were than to go to Jerusalem. Having restored the battered walls of Acre, Richard Cæur-de-Lion prepared to march; but the majority of the Christians by no means shared in his impatience, “ for the wine of Cyprus was of the very best quality, provisions were very abundant, and the city abounded with beautiful women who had come from the neighbouring islands ;” and the gravest knights had made a Capua of Acre. When a herald-at-arms proclaimed with a loud voice that the army was going to begin its march towards Jaffa, many of the pilgrims held down their heads or slunk away into the houses of the pleasant town. The impatient king of England went out of Acre and encamped in the neighbourhood ; and when he had been there some days, and when the clergy by their preach
* Robert of Gloucester.-Rhymed Chronicle,
ing had recalled to the minds of the Crusaders the sad captivity of Jerusalem, the flames of enthusiasm were again lighted. The pilgrims all went forth to the camp, and Richard having given the signal to depart, one hundred thousand men crossed the river Belus, advancing between the sea and Mount Carmel. Richard had left behind him his sister and wife at Acre, and had strictly prohibited women from following the army. It was on the 22nd of August, 1191, that the march began. The distance between Acre and Jerusalem is scarcely more than eighty of our miles; but the country is difficult, and was guarded by a numerous, a brave, and active enemy. Of Richard's forces scarcely more than thirty thousand were to be considered as soldiers, and these were of all nations. They marched in five divisions : the Knights Templars led the van ; the Knights of St. John brought up the rear. There was a great standard car, like the Lombard Carroccio, and like that which had been used at Northallerton in the great battle of the Standard. It ran upon four wheels that were sheathed with iron, and it carried the standard of the Holy War suspended on a high mast. During the fury of battles, such of the wounded as could be recovered in the melée were brought round this car; and in case of any reverse or retreat, the car was the general rallying-point for the Christian army. While Richard and his mixed host marched slowly along between the mountains and the sea, a fleet which carried their baggage, provisions, and munitions of war, glided along the coast within sight of the troops. Every night, when the army halted, the heralds of the several camps cried aloud three times, “Save the Holy Sepulchre !” and every soldier bent his knee, and raised his hands and eyes to heaven, and said " Amen!” Every morning, at the point of day, the standard car, at the command of Richard, was put in motion, and then the Crusaders formed in order of march, the priests and monks chanting a psalm the while, or singing a hymn
Saladin, who had been reinforced from all parts, infested their march every day, and encamped near them every night, with an army greatly superior in numbers. The Crusaders scarcely advanced three leagues a day: their road was cut by ravines and mountain torrents; there were many steep and intricate defiles, with wood and underwood ; and at every difficult point there stood the cunning Paynim to dispute the passage, or to make them suffer from an ambuscade attack. These Saracens were not heavily armed, like the Christians; they carried only a bow and quiver, or a sword, a dagger, and a javelin. Some of them were only armed with a club, bristling at one extremity with sharp steel points, that went through a coat of mail like a needle through a garment of cotton or woollen stuff. Many of thern, well mounted on Arab horses, kept constantly hovering round Richard's line of march, flying when they were pursued, and returning to the charge when the pursuit ceased, or whenever they saw a favourable opportunity. Their movements were compared, now to the flight of the swallow, and now to that of an importunate swarm of summer flies. Their archers frequently did great execution, even without showing themselves, for they were hid behind trees, or among the tall growing weeds, or they bent their bows with a sure aim behind rocks. Whenever a Crusader fell--and many more fell by disease than by the arms of the infidel-his comrades dug him a shallow grave, and buried him on the spot where he had breathed his last, and then chanted the service for the dead as they resumed their march.
On the 7th of September, Richard brought Saladin to a gereral action near Azotus, the Ashdod of the Bible, on the sea-shore, and about nine miles from Ascalon. The sultan had there collected two hundred thousand men to oppose Rickard's farther advance; and, before the battle began, swarms of Bedouin Arabs collected on the declivities of mountains upon the flank of the Crusaders. Richard closed up his five divisions and ordered them all to remain on the defensive. “ The battalions of the Christians,” says old Vinesauf, “stood in so solid a mass that an apple thrown anywhere among them could not have reached the ground without touching a man or a horse.” The Saracens charged this iron mass. They might as well have charged the flank of Mount Carmel or Mount Sion. They were thrown off with great slaughter, and then the mass moved slowly onwards, not deviating in the slightest degree from the line of advance which Richard had originally chosen. The Saracens attacked again and in greater force, and being again repulsed and thrown into some confusion, Richard raised his battle-axe and gave the word, and the great solid body broke up into its several parts, and three of the five columns charged among the Paynim. King Richard showed himself everywhere where the Crusaders had need of succour ; and wherever he appeared his presence was announced by the flight of the Turks. After a display of valour which was never surpassed, and of more cool conduct and generalship than might have been expected from him, he gained a complete victory. Mourning the loss of many thousand men, and of thirty-two Emirs or chiefs of the first rank, Saladin, the victor of many a field, retreated in great disorder, having had, at one time, only seventeen Mamelukes near his person. Richard, who was slightly wounded on the left side, advanced without further opposition to Jaffa, the Joppa of Scripture, of which he took possession. Here he was Ouly thirty miles from the Holy City. As the country in advance of that position was as yet clear of enemies, or was occupied only by disheartened fugitives, the Lion-heart would have followed up his advantages ; but many of the Crusaders, less hardy than himself, were worn out by the climate and by fatigue, and the French barons urged the necessity of restoring the fortifications of Jaffa before they advanced. No sooner had Richard consented to this measure than the Crusaders, instead of prosecuting the work with vigour, abandoned themselves to luxurious ease. The English king was joined by his young wife and sister, and the other ladies he had left at Acre, who came to Jaffa by sea.
Being impatient of repose, he had recourse to hunting and other sports of the field, disregarding the evident fact that hordes of Saracens and Arabs were scouring the country in detached parties. One day he was actually surrounded in a wood, and would have lost either his life or his liberty, had not one of his compawions, William de Pratelles, a knight of Provence, cried out in the Arabic tongue, “I am the king ! Spare my life !” and by drawing attention upon himself, given Richard the opportunity of escaping, The faithful William de Pratelles was carried off a prisoner to Saladin, but Richard soon redeemed him, by giving in exchange ten Emirs whom he had taken. On another occasion, a company of Templars, in quest of forage, fell into an ambuscade. The Lion-heart sent the brave Earl of Leicester to their aid, promising he would follow as soon as he could get on his armour. Before that rather tedious operation could be completed, they told him the Templars and the Earl were being crushed by the number of the enemy. Without finishing his steel toilette, and without waiting for any one, Caur-de-Lion leaped on his war-horse, and galloped to the spot, declaring he were unworthy of the name of king, if he abandoned those whom ho had promised to succour. He spurred into the thickest of the fight, and so laid about him with that tremendous battle-axe which he had caused to be forged by the best smiths in England before he departed for the East, that the Earl of Leicester and all the Knights Templars who had not fallen previously to his arrival were rescued. On such onslaughts, say the chroniclers, his cry was still—“St. George ! St. George !"