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Chapter LIX: The Crusades.—Part I.
Preservation Of The Greek Empire.—Numbers, Passage, And Event, Of The Second And Third Crusades.—St. Bernard.— Reign Of Saladin In Egypt And Syria.—His Conquest Of Jerusalem.—Naval Crusades.—Richard The First Of England.— Pope Innocent The Third; And The Fourth And Fifth Crusades.— The Emperor Frederic The Second.—Louis The Ninth Of France; And The Two Last Crusades.—Expulsion Of The Latins Or Franks By The Mamelukes.
In a style less grave than that of history, I should perhaps compare the emperor Alexius72807280 Anna Comnena relates her father's conquests in Asia Minor Alexiad, l. xi. p. 321—325, l. xiv. p. 419; his Cilician war against Tancred and Bohemond, p. 328—324; the war of Epirus, with tedious prolixity, l. xii. xiii. p. 345—406; the death of Bohemond, l. xiv. p. 419. to the jackal, who is said to follow the steps, and to devour the leavings, of the lion. Whatever had been his fears and toils in the passage of the first crusade, they were amply recompensed by the subsequent benefits which he derived from the exploits of the Franks. His dexterity and vigilance secured their first conquest of Nice; and from this threatening station the Turks were compelled to evacuate the neighborhood of Constantinople. While the crusaders, with blind valor, advanced into the midland countries of Asia, the crafty Greek improved the favorable occasion when the emirs of the sea-coast were recalled to the standard of the sultan. The Turks were driven from the Isles of Rhodes and Chios: the cities of Ephesus and Smyrna, of Sardes, Philadelphia, and Laodicea, were restored to the empire, which Alexius enlarged from the Hellespont to the banks of the Mæander, and the rocky shores of Pamphylia. The churches resumed their splendor: the towns were rebuilt and fortified; and the desert country was peopled with colonies of Christians, who were gently removed from the more distant and dangerous frontier. In these paternal cares, we may forgive Alexius, if he forgot the deliverance of the holy sepulchre; but, by the Latins, he was stigmatized with the foul reproach of treason and desertion. They had sworn fidelity and obedience to his throne; but he had promised to assist their enterprise in person, or, at least, with his troops and treasures: his base retreat dissolved their obligations; and the sword, which had been the instrument of their victory, was the pledge and title of their just independence. It does not appear that the emperor attempted to revive his obsolete claims over the kingdom of Jerusalem;72817281 The kings of Jerusalem submitted, however, to a nominal dependence, and in the dates of their inscriptions, (one is still legible in the church of Bethlem,) they respectfully placed before their own the name of the reigning emperor, (Ducange, Dissertations sur Joinville xxvii. p. 319.) but the borders of Cilicia and Syria were more recent in his possession, and more accessible to his arms. The great army of the crusaders was annihilated or dispersed; the principality of Antioch was left without a head, by the surprise and captivity of Bohemond; his ransom had oppressed him with a heavy debt; and his Norman followers were insufficient to repel the hostilities of the Greeks and Turks. In this distress, Bohemond embraced a magnanimous resolution, of leaving the defence of Antioch to his kinsman, the faithful Tancred; of arming the West against the Byzantine empire; and of executing the design which he inherited from the lessons and example of his father Guiscard. His embarkation was clandestine: and, if we may credit a tale of the princess Anne, he passed the hostile sea closely secreted in a coffin. 72827282 Anna Comnena adds, that, to complete the imitation, he was shut up with a dead cock; and condescends to wonder how the Barbarian could endure the confinement and putrefaction. This absurd tale is unknown to the Latins. * Note: The Greek writers, in general, Zonaras, p. 2, 303, and Glycas, p. 334 agree in this story with the princess Anne, except in the absurd addition of the dead cock. Ducange has already quoted some instances where a similar stratagem had been adopted by Norman princes. On this authority Wilken inclines to believe the fact. Appendix to vol. ii. p. 14.—M. But his reception in France was dignified by the public applause, and his marriage with the king's daughter: his return was glorious, since the bravest spirits of the age enlisted under his veteran command; and he repassed the Adriatic at the head of five thousand horse and forty thousand foot, assembled from the most remote climates of Europe.72837283 'Apo QulhV in the Byzantine geography, must mean England; yet we are more credibly informed, that our Henry I. would not suffer him to levy any troops in his kingdom, (Ducange, Not. ad Alexiad. p. 41.) The strength of Durazzo, and prudence of Alexius, the progress of famine and approach of winter, eluded his ambitious hopes; and the venal confederates were seduced from his standard. A treaty of peace72847284 The copy of the treaty (Alexiad. l. xiii. p. 406—416) is an original and curious piece, which would require, and might afford, a good map of the principality of Antioch. suspended the fears of the Greeks; and they were finally delivered by the death of an adversary, whom neither oaths could bind, nor dangers could appal, nor prosperity could satiate. His children succeeded to the principality of Antioch; but the boundaries were strictly defined, the homage was clearly stipulated, and the cities of Tarsus and Malmistra were restored to the Byzantine emperors. Of the coast of Anatolia, they possessed the entire circuit from Trebizond to the Syrian gates. The Seljukian dynasty of Roum72857285 See, in the learned work of M. De Guignes, (tom. ii. part ii.,) the history of the Seljukians of Iconium, Aleppo, and Damascus, as far as it may be collected from the Greeks, Latins, and Arabians. The last are ignorant or regardless of the affairs of Roum. was separated on all sides from the sea and their Mussulman brethren; the power of the sultan was shaken by the victories and even the defeats of the Franks; and after the loss of Nice, they removed their throne to Cogni or Iconium, an obscure and in land town above three hundred miles from Constantinople.72867286 Iconium is mentioned as a station by Xenophon, and by Strabo, with an ambiguous title of KwmopoliV, (Cellarius, tom. ii. p. 121.) Yet St. Paul found in that place a multitude (plhqoV) of Jews and Gentiles. under the corrupt name of Kunijah, it is described as a great city, with a river and garden, three leagues from the mountains, and decorated (I know not why) with Plato's tomb, (Abulfeda, tabul. xvii. p. 303 vers. Reiske; and the Index Geographicus of Schultens from Ibn Said.) Instead of trembling for their capital, the Comnenian princes waged an offensive war against the Turks, and the first crusade prevented the fall of the declining empire.
In the twelfth century, three great emigrations marched by land from the West for the relief of Palestine. The soldiers and pilgrims of Lombardy, France, and Germany were excited by the example and success of the first crusade.72877287 For this supplement to the first crusade, see Anna Comnena, (Alexias, l. xi. p. 331, &c., and the viiith book of Albert Aquensis.) Forty-eight years after the deliverance of the holy sepulchre, the emperor, and the French king, Conrad the Third and Louis the Seventh, undertook the second crusade to support the falling fortunes of the Latins.72887288 For the second crusade, of Conrad III. and Louis VII., see William of Tyre, (l. xvi. c. 18—19,) Otho of Frisingen, (l. i. c. 34—45 59, 60,) Matthew Paris, (Hist. Major. p. 68,) Struvius, (Corpus Hist Germanicæ, p. 372, 373,) Scriptores Rerum Francicarum à Duchesne tom. iv.: Nicetas, in Vit. Manuel, l. i. c. 4, 5, 6, p. 41—48, Cinnamus l. ii. p. 41—49. A grand division of the third crusade was led by the emperor Frederic Barbarossa,72897289 For the third crusade, of Frederic Barbarossa, see Nicetas in Isaac Angel. l. ii. c. 3—8, p. 257—266. Struv. (Corpus. Hist. Germ. p. 414,) and two historians, who probably were spectators, Tagino, (in Scriptor. Freher. tom. i. p. 406—416, edit Struv.,) and the Anonymus de Expeditione Asiaticâ Fred. I. (in Canisii Antiq. Lection. tom. iii. p. ii. p. 498—526, edit. Basnage.) who sympathized with his brothers of France and England in the common loss of Jerusalem. These three expeditions may be compared in their resemblance of the greatness of numbers, their passage through the Greek empire, and the nature and event of their Turkish warfare, and a brief parallel may save the repetition of a tedious narrative. However splendid it may seem, a regular story of the crusades would exhibit the perpetual return of the same causes and effects; and the frequent attempts for the defence or recovery of the Holy Land would appear so many faint and unsuccessful copies of the original.
I. Of the swarms that so closely trod in the footsteps of the first pilgrims, the chiefs were equal in rank, though unequal in fame and merit, to Godfrey of Bouillon and his fellow-adventurers. At their head were displayed the banners of the dukes of Burgundy, Bavaria, and Aquitain; the first a descendant of Hugh Capet, the second, a father of the Brunswick line: the archbishop of Milan, a temporal prince, transported, for the benefit of the Turks, the treasures and ornaments of his church and palace; and the veteran crusaders, Hugh the Great and Stephen of Chartres, returned to consummate their unfinished vow. The huge and disorderly bodies of their followers moved forward in two columns; and if the first consisted of two hundred and sixty thousand persons, the second might possibly amount to sixty thousand horse and one hundred thousand foot.72907290 Anne, who states these later swarms at 40,000 horse and 100,000 foot, calls them Normans, and places at their head two brothers of Flanders. The Greeks were strangely ignorant of the names, families, and possessions of the Latin princes. 72917291 It was this army of pilgrims, the first body of which was headed by the archbishop of Milan and Count Albert of Blandras, which set forth on the wild, yet, with a more disciplined army, not impolitic, enterprise of striking at the heart of the Mahometan power, by attacking the sultan in Bagdad. For their adventures and fate, see Wilken, vol. ii. p. 120, &c., Michaud, book iv.—M. The armies of the second crusade might have claimed the conquest of Asia; the nobles of France and Germany were animated by the presence of their sovereigns; and both the rank and personal character of Conrad and Louis gave a dignity to their cause, and a discipline to their force, which might be vainly expected from the feudatory chiefs. The cavalry of the emperor, and that of the king, was each composed of seventy thousand knights, and their immediate attendants in the field;72927292 William of Tyre, and Matthew Paris, reckon 70,000 loricati in each of the armies. and if the light-armed troops, the peasant infantry, the women and children, the priests and monks, be rigorously excluded, the full account will scarcely be satisfied with four hundred thousand souls. The West, from Rome to Britain, was called into action; the kings of Poland and Bohemia obeyed the summons of Conrad; and it is affirmed by the Greeks and Latins, that, in the passage of a strait or river, the Byzantine agents, after a tale of nine hundred thousand, desisted from the endless and formidable computation.72937293 The imperfect enumeration is mentioned by Cinnamus, (ennenhkonta muriadeV,) and confirmed by Odo de Diogilo apud Ducange ad Cinnamum, with the more precise sum of 900,556. Why must therefore the version and comment suppose the modest and insufficient reckoning of 90,000? Does not Godfrey of Viterbo (Pantheon, p. xix. in Muratori, tom. vii. p. 462) exclaim? ——Numerum si poscere quæras, Millia millena militis agmen erat. In the third crusade, as the French and English preferred the navigation of the Mediterranean, the host of Frederic Barbarossa was less numerous. Fifteen thousand knights, and as many squires, were the flower of the German chivalry: sixty thousand horse, and one hundred thousand foot, were mustered by the emperor in the plains of Hungary; and after such repetitions, we shall no longer be startled at the six hundred thousand pilgrims, which credulity has ascribed to this last emigration.72947294 This extravagant account is given by Albert of Stade, (apud Struvium, p. 414;) my calculation is borrowed from Godfrey of Viterbo, Arnold of Lubeck, apud eundem, and Bernard Thesaur. (c. 169, p. 804.) The original writers are silent. The Mahometans gave him 200,000, or 260,000, men, (Bohadin, in Vit. Saladin, p. 110.) Such extravagant reckonings prove only the astonishment of contemporaries; but their astonishment most strongly bears testimony to the existence of an enormous, though indefinite, multitude. The Greeks might applaud their superior knowledge of the arts and stratagems of war, but they confessed the strength and courage of the French cavalry, and the infantry of the Germans;72957295 I must observe, that, in the second and third crusades, the subjects of Conrad and Frederic are styled by the Greeks and Orientals Alamanni. The Lechi and Tzechi of Cinnamus are the Poles and Bohemians; and it is for the French that he reserves the ancient appellation of Germans. He likewise names the Brittioi, or Britannoi. * Note: * He names both—Brittioi te kai Britanoi.—M. and the strangers are described as an iron race, of gigantic stature, who darted fire from their eyes, and spilt blood like water on the ground. Under the banners of Conrad, a troop of females rode in the attitude and armor of men; and the chief of these Amazons, from her gilt spurs and buskins, obtained the epithet of the Golden-footed Dame.
II. The number and character of the strangers was an object of terror to the effeminate Greeks, and the sentiment of fear is nearly allied to that of hatred. This aversion was suspended or softened by the apprehension of the Turkish power; and the invectives of the Latins will not bias our more candid belief, that the emperor Alexius dissembled their insolence, eluded their hostilities, counselled their rashness, and opened to their ardor the road of pilgrimage and conquest. But when the Turks had been driven from Nice and the sea-coast, when the Byzantine princes no longer dreaded the distant sultans of Cogni, they felt with purer indignation the free and frequent passage of the western Barbarians, who violated the majesty, and endangered the safety, of the empire. The second and third crusades were undertaken under the reign of Manuel Comnenus and Isaac Angelus. Of the former, the passions were always impetuous, and often malevolent; and the natural union of a cowardly and a mischievous temper was exemplified in the latter, who, without merit or mercy, could punish a tyrant, and occupy his throne. It was secretly, and perhaps tacitly, resolved by the prince and people to destroy, or at least to discourage, the pilgrims, by every species of injury and oppression; and their want of prudence and discipline continually afforded the pretence or the opportunity. The Western monarchs had stipulated a safe passage and fair market in the country of their Christian brethren; the treaty had been ratified by oaths and hostages; and the poorest soldier of Frederic's army was furnished with three marks of silver to defray his expenses on the road. But every engagement was violated by treachery and injustice; and the complaints of the Latins are attested by the honest confession of a Greek historian, who has dared to prefer truth to his country.72967296 Nicetas was a child at the second crusade, but in the third he commanded against the Franks the important post of Philippopolis. Cinnamus is infected with national prejudice and pride. Instead of a hospitable reception, the gates of the cities, both in Europe and Asia, were closely barred against the crusaders; and the scanty pittance of food was let down in baskets from the walls. Experience or foresight might excuse this timid jealousy; but the common duties of humanity prohibited the mixture of chalk, or other poisonous ingredients, in the bread; and should Manuel be acquitted of any foul connivance, he is guilty of coining base money for the purpose of trading with the pilgrims. In every step of their march they were stopped or misled: the governors had private orders to fortify the passes and break down the bridges against them: the stragglers were pillaged and murdered: the soldiers and horses were pierced in the woods by arrows from an invisible hand; the sick were burnt in their beds; and the dead bodies were hung on gibbets along the highways. These injuries exasperated the champions of the cross, who were not endowed with evangelical patience; and the Byzantine princes, who had provoked the unequal conflict, promoted the embarkation and march of these formidable guests. On the verge of the Turkish frontier Barbarossa spared the guilty Philadelphia, 72977297 The conduct of the Philadelphians is blamed by Nicetas, while the anonymous German accuses the rudeness of his countrymen, (culpâ nostrâ.) History would be pleasant, if we were embarrassed only by such contradictions. It is likewise from Nicetas, that we learn the pious and humane sorrow of Frederic. rewarded the hospitable Laodicea, and deplored the hard necessity that had stained his sword with any drops of Christian blood. In their intercourse with the monarchs of Germany and France, the pride of the Greeks was exposed to an anxious trial. They might boast that on the first interview the seat of Louis was a low stool, beside the throne of Manuel;72987298 Cqamalh edra, which Cinnamus translates into Latin by the word Sellion. Ducange works very hard to save his king and country from such ignominy, (sur Joinville, dissertat. xxvii. p. 317—320.) Louis afterwards insisted on a meeting in mari ex æquo, not ex equo, according to the laughable readings of some MSS. but no sooner had the French king transported his army beyond the Bosphorus, than he refused the offer of a second conference, unless his brother would meet him on equal terms, either on the sea or land. With Conrad and Frederic, the ceremonial was still nicer and more difficult: like the successors of Constantine, they styled themselves emperors of the Romans;72997299 Ego Romanorum imperator sum, ille Romaniorum, (Anonym Canis. p. 512.) The public and historical style of the Greeks was Rhx... princeps. Yet Cinnamus owns, that 'Imperatwr is synonymous to BasileuV. and firmly maintained the purity of their title and dignity. The first of these representatives of Charlemagne would only converse with Manuel on horseback in the open field; the second, by passing the Hellespont rather than the Bosphorus, declined the view of Constantinople and its sovereign. An emperor, who had been crowned at Rome, was reduced in the Greek epistles to the humble appellation of Rex, or prince, of the Alemanni; and the vain and feeble Angelus affected to be ignorant of the name of one of the greatest men and monarchs of the age. While they viewed with hatred and suspicion the Latin pilgrims the Greek emperors maintained a strict, though secret, alliance with the Turks and Saracens. Isaac Angelus complained, that by his friendship for the great Saladin he had incurred the enmity of the Franks; and a mosque was founded at Constantinople for the public exercise of the religion of Mahomet.73007300 In the Epistles of Innocent III., (xiii. p. 184,) and the History of Bohadin, (p. 129, 130,) see the views of a pope and a cadhi on this singulartoleration.
III. The swarms that followed the first crusade were destroyed in Anatolia by famine, pestilence, and the Turkish arrows; and the princes only escaped with some squadrons of horse to accomplish their lamentable pilgrimage. A just opinion may be formed of their knowledge and humanity; of their knowledge, from the design of subduing Persia and Chorasan in their way to Jerusalem;73017301 This was the design of the pilgrims under the archbishop of Milan. See note, p. 102.—M. of their humanity, from the massacre of the Christian people, a friendly city, who came out to meet them with palms and crosses in their hands. The arms of Conrad and Louis were less cruel and imprudent; but the event of the second crusade was still more ruinous to Christendom; and the Greek Manuel is accused by his own subjects of giving seasonable intelligence to the sultan, and treacherous guides to the Latin princes. Instead of crushing the common foe, by a double attack at the same time but on different sides, the Germans were urged by emulation, and the French were retarded by jealousy. Louis had scarcely passed the Bosphorus when he was met by the returning emperor, who had lost the greater part of his army in glorious, but unsuccessful, actions on the banks of the Mæander. The contrast of the pomp of his rival hastened the retreat of Conrad:73027302 Conrad had advanced with part of his army along a central road, between that on the coast and that which led to Iconium. He had been betrayed by the Greeks, his army destroyed without a battle. Wilken, vol. iii. p. 165. Michaud, vol. ii. p. 156. Conrad advanced again with Louis as far as Ephesus, and from thence, at the invitation of Manuel, returned to Constantinople. It was Louis who, at the passage of the Mæander, was engaged in a "glorious action." Wilken, vol. iii. p. 179. Michaud vol. ii. p. 160. Gibbon followed Nicetas.—M. the desertion of his independent vassals reduced him to his hereditary troops; and he borrowed some Greek vessels to execute by sea the pilgrimage of Palestine. Without studying the lessons of experience, or the nature of the war, the king of France advanced through the same country to a similar fate. The vanguard, which bore the royal banner and the oriflamme of St. Denys,73037303 As counts of Vexin, the kings of France were the vassals and advocates of the monastery of St. Denys. The saint's peculiar banner, which they received from the abbot, was of a square form, and a red or flaming color. The oriflamme appeared at the head of the French armies from the xiith to the xvth century, (Ducange sur Joinville, Dissert. xviii. p. 244—253.) had doubled their march with rash and inconsiderate speed; and the rear, which the king commanded in person, no longer found their companions in the evening camp. In darkness and disorder, they were encompassed, assaulted, and overwhelmed, by the innumerable host of Turks, who, in the art of war, were superior to the Christians of the twelfth century.73047304 They descended the heights to a beautiful valley which by beneath them. The Turks seized the heights which separated the two divisions of the army. The modern historians represent differently the act to which Louis owed his safety, which Gibbon has described by the undignified phrase, "he climbed a tree." According to Michaud, vol. ii. p. 164, the king got upon a rock, with his back against a tree; according to Wilken, vol. iii., he dragged himself up to the top of the rock by the roots of a tree, and continued to defend himself till nightfall.—M. Louis, who climbed a tree in the general discomfiture, was saved by his own valor and the ignorance of his adversaries; and with the dawn of day he escaped alive, but almost alone, to the camp of the vanguard. But instead of pursuing his expedition by land, he was rejoiced to shelter the relics of his army in the friendly seaport of Satalia. From thence he embarked for Antioch; but so penurious was the supply of Greek vessels, that they could only afford room for his knights and nobles; and the plebeian crowd of infantry was left to perish at the foot of the Pamphylian hills. The emperor and the king embraced and wept at Jerusalem; their martial trains, the remnant of mighty armies, were joined to the Christian powers of Syria, and a fruitless siege of Damascus was the final effort of the second crusade. Conrad and Louis embarked for Europe with the personal fame of piety and courage; but the Orientals had braved these potent monarchs of the Franks, with whose names and military forces they had been so often threatened.73057305 The original French histories of the second crusade are the Gesta Ludovici VII. published in the ivth volume of Duchesne's collection. The same volume contains many original letters of the king, of Suger his minister, &c., the best documents of authentic history. Perhaps they had still more to fear from the veteran genius of Frederic the First, who in his youth had served in Asia under his uncle Conrad. Forty campaigns in Germany and Italy had taught Barbarossa to command; and his soldiers, even the princes of the empire, were accustomed under his reign to obey. As soon as he lost sight of Philadelphia and Laodicea, the last cities of the Greek frontier, he plunged into the salt and barren desert, a land (says the historian) of horror and tribulation.73067306 Terram horroris et salsuginis, terram siccam sterilem, inamnam. Anonym. Canis. p. 517. The emphatic language of a sufferer. During twenty days, every step of his fainting and sickly march was besieged by the innumerable hordes of Turkmans,73077307 Gens innumera, sylvestris, indomita, prædones sine ductore. The sultan of Cogni might sincerely rejoice in their defeat. Anonym. Canis. p. 517, 518. whose numbers and fury seemed after each defeat to multiply and inflame. The emperor continued to struggle and to suffer; and such was the measure of his calamities, that when he reached the gates of Iconium, no more than one thousand knights were able to serve on horseback. By a sudden and resolute assault he defeated the guards, and stormed the capital of the sultan,73087308 See, in the anonymous writer in the Collection of Canisius, Tagino and Bohadin, (Vit. Saladin. p. 119, 120,) the ambiguous conduct of Kilidge Arslan, sultan of Cogni, who hated and feared both Saladin and Frederic. who humbly sued for pardon and peace. The road was now open, and Frederic advanced in a career of triumph, till he was unfortunately drowned in a petty torrent of Cilicia.73097309 The desire of comparing two great men has tempted many writers to drown Frederic in the River Cydnus, in which Alexander so imprudently bathed, (Q. Curt. l. iii c. 4, 5.) But, from the march of the emperor, I rather judge, that his Saleph is the Calycadnus, a stream of less fame, but of a longer course. * The remainder of his Germans was consumed by sickness and desertion: and the emperor's son expired with the greatest part of his Swabian vassals at the siege of Acre. Among the Latin heroes, Godfrey of Bouillon and Frederic Barbarossa could alone achieve the passage of the Lesser Asia; yet even their success was a warning; and in the last and most experienced age of the crusades, every nation preferred the sea to the toils and perils of an inland expedition.73107310 Marinus Sanutus, A.D. 1321, lays it down as a precept, Quod stolus ecclesiæ per terram nullatenus est ducenda. He resolves, by the divine aid, the objection, or rather exception, of the first crusade, (Secreta Fidelium Crucis, l. ii. pars ii. c. i. p. 37.)
Note: * It is now called the Girama: its course is described in M'Donald Kinneir's Travels.—M.]
The enthusiasm of the first crusade is a natural and simple event, while hope was fresh, danger untried, and enterprise congenial to the spirit of the times. But the obstinate perseverance of Europe may indeed excite our pity and admiration; that no instruction should have been drawn from constant and adverse experience; that the same confidence should have repeatedly grown from the same failures; that six succeeding generations should have rushed headlong down the precipice that was open before them; and that men of every condition should have staked their public and private fortunes on the desperate adventure of possessing or recovering a tombstone two thousand miles from their country. In a period of two centuries after the council of Clermont, each spring and summer produced a new emigration of pilgrim warriors for the defence of the Holy Land; but the seven great armaments or crusades were excited by some impending or recent calamity: the nations were moved by the authority of their pontiffs, and the example of their kings: their zeal was kindled, and their reason was silenced, by the voice of their holy orators; and among these, Bernard,73117311 The most authentic information of St. Bernard must be drawn from his own writings, published in a correct edition by Père Mabillon, and reprinted at Venice, 1750, in six volumes in folio. Whatever friendship could recollect, or superstition could add, is contained in the two lives, by his disciples, in the vith volume: whatever learning and criticism could ascertain, may be found in the prefaces of the Benedictine editor. the monk, or the saint, may claim the most honorable place.73127312 Gibbon, whose account of the crusades is perhaps the least accurate and satisfactory chapter in his History, has here failed in that lucid arrangement, which in general gives perspicuity to his most condensed and crowded narratives. He has unaccountably, and to the great perplexity of the reader, placed the preaching of St Bernard after the second crusade to which i led.—M. About eight years before the first conquest of Jerusalem, he was born of a noble family in Burgundy; at the age of three-and-twenty he buried himself in the monastery of Citeaux, then in the primitive fervor of the institution; at the end of two years he led forth her third colony, or daughter, to the valley of Clairvaux73137313 Clairvaux, surnamed the valley of Absynth, is situate among the woods near Bar sur Aube in Champagne. St. Bernard would blush at the pomp of the church and monastery; he would ask for the library, and I know not whether he would be much edified by a tun of 800 muids, (914 1-7 hogsheads,) which almost rivals that of Heidelberg, (Mélanges tirés d'une Grande Bibliothèque, tom. xlvi. p. 15—20.) in Champagne; and was content, till the hour of his death, with the humble station of abbot of his own community. A philosophic age has abolished, with too liberal and indiscriminate disdain, the honors of these spiritual heroes. The meanest among them are distinguished by some energies of the mind; they were at least superior to their votaries and disciples; and, in the race of superstition, they attained the prize for which such numbers contended. In speech, in writing, in action, Bernard stood high above his rivals and contemporaries; his compositions are not devoid of wit and eloquence; and he seems to have preserved as much reason and humanity as may be reconciled with the character of a saint. In a secular life, he would have shared the seventh part of a private inheritance; by a vow of poverty and penance, by closing his eyes against the visible world,73147314 The disciples of the saint (Vit. ima, l. iii. c. 2, p. 1232. Vit. iida, c. 16, No. 45, p. 1383) record a marvellous example of his pious apathy. Juxta lacum etiam Lausannensem totius diei itinere pergens, penitus non attendit aut se videre non vidit. Cum enim vespere facto de eodem lacû socii colloquerentur, interrogabat eos ubi lacus ille esset, et mirati sunt universi. To admire or despise St. Bernard as he ought, the reader, like myself, should have before the windows of his library the beauties of that incomparable landscape. by the refusal of all ecclesiastical dignities, the abbot of Clairvaux became the oracle of Europe, and the founder of one hundred and sixty convents. Princes and pontiffs trembled at the freedom of his apostolical censures: France, England, and Milan, consulted and obeyed his judgment in a schism of the church: the debt was repaid by the gratitude of Innocent the Second; and his successor, Eugenius the Third, was the friend and disciple of the holy Bernard. It was in the proclamation of the second crusade that he shone as the missionary and prophet of God, who called the nations to the defence of his holy sepulchre.73157315 Otho Frising. l. i. c. 4. Bernard. Epist. 363, ad Francos Orientales Opp. tom. i. p. 328. Vit. ima, l. iii. c. 4, tom. vi. p. 1235. At the parliament of Vezelay he spoke before the king; and Louis the Seventh, with his nobles, received their crosses from his hand. The abbot of Clairvaux then marched to the less easy conquest of the emperor Conrad:73167316 Bernard had a nobler object in his expedition into Germany—to arrest the fierce and merciless persecution of the Jews, which was preparing, under the monk Radulph, to renew the frightful scenes which had preceded the first crusade, in the flourishing cities on the banks of the Rhine. The Jews acknowledge the Christian intervention of St. Bernard. See the curious extract from the History of Joseph ben Meir. Wilken, vol. iii. p. 1. and p. 63.—M. a phlegmatic people, ignorant of his language, was transported by the pathetic vehemence of his tone and gestures; and his progress, from Constance to Cologne, was the triumph of eloquence and zeal. Bernard applauds his own success in the depopulation of Europe; affirms that cities and castles were emptied of their inhabitants; and computes, that only one man was left behind for the consolation of seven widows.73177317 Mandastis et obedivi.... multiplicati sunt super numerum; vacuantur urbes et castella; et pene jam non inveniunt quem apprehendant septem mulieres unum virum; adeo ubique viduæ vivis remanent viris. Bernard. Epist. p. 247. We must be careful not to construe pene as a substantive. The blind fanatics were desirous of electing him for their general; but the example of the hermit Peter was before his eyes; and while he assured the crusaders of the divine favor, he prudently declined a military command, in which failure and victory would have been almost equally disgraceful to his character.73187318 Quis ego sum ut disponam acies, ut egrediar ante facies armatorum, aut quid tam remotum a professione meâ, si vires, si peritia, &c. Epist. 256, tom. i. p. 259. He speaks with contempt of the hermit Peter, vir quidam, Epist. 363. Yet, after the calamitous event, the abbot of Clairvaux was loudly accused as a false prophet, the author of the public and private mourning; his enemies exulted, his friends blushed, and his apology was slow and unsatisfactory. He justifies his obedience to the commands of the pope; expatiates on the mysterious ways of Providence; imputes the misfortunes of the pilgrims to their own sins; and modestly insinuates, that his mission had been approved by signs and wonders.73197319 Sic dicunt forsitan isti, unde scimus quòd a Domino sermo egressus sit? Quæ signa tu facis ut credamus tibi? Non est quod ad ista ipse respondeam; parcendum verecundiæ meæ, responde tu pro me, et pro te ipso, secundum quæ vidisti et audisti, et secundum quod te inspiraverit Deus. Consolat. l. ii. c. 1. Opp. tom. ii. p. 421—423. Had the fact been certain, the argument would be decisive; and his faithful disciples, who enumerate twenty or thirty miracles in a day, appeal to the public assemblies of France and Germany, in which they were performed.73207320 See the testimonies in Vita ima, l. iv. c. 5, 6. Opp. tom. vi. p. 1258—1261, l. vi. c. 1—17, p. 1286—1314. At the present hour, such prodigies will not obtain credit beyond the precincts of Clairvaux; but in the preternatural cures of the blind, the lame, and the sick, who were presented to the man of God, it is impossible for us to ascertain the separate shares of accident, of fancy, of imposture, and of fiction.
Omnipotence itself cannot escape the murmurs of its discordant votaries; since the same dispensation which was applauded as a deliverance in Europe, was deplored, and perhaps arraigned, as a calamity in Asia. After the loss of Jerusalem, the Syrian fugitives diffused their consternation and sorrow; Bagdad mourned in the dust; the cadhi Zeineddin of Damascus tore his beard in the caliph's presence; and the whole divan shed tears at his melancholy tale.73217321 Abulmahasen apud de Guignes, Hist. des Huns, tom. ii. p. ii. p. 99. But the commanders of the faithful could only weep; they were themselves captives in the hands of the Turks: some temporal power was restored to the last age of the Abbassides; but their humble ambition was confined to Bagdad and the adjacent province. Their tyrants, the Seljukian sultans, had followed the common law of the Asiatic dynasties, the unceasing round of valor, greatness, discord, degeneracy, and decay; their spirit and power were unequal to the defence of religion; and, in his distant realm of Persia, the Christians were strangers to the name and the arms of Sangiar, the last hero of his race.73227322 See his article in the Bibliothèque Orientale of D'Herbelot, and De Guignes, tom. ii. p. i. p. 230—261. Such was his valor, that he was styled the second Alexander; and such the extravagant love of his subjects, that they prayed for the sultan a year after his decease. Yet Sangiar might have been made prisoner by the Franks, as well as by the Uzes. He reigned near fifty years, (A.D. 1103—1152,) and was a munificent patron of Persian poetry. While the sultans were involved in the silken web of the harem, the pious task was undertaken by their slaves, the Atabeks,73237323 See the Chronology of the Atabeks of Irak and Syria, in De Guignes, tom. i. p. 254; and the reigns of Zenghi and Noureddin in the same writer, (tom. ii. p. ii. p. 147—221,) who uses the Arabic text of Benelathir, Ben Schouna and Abulfeda; the Bibliothèque Orientale, under the articles Atabeks and Noureddin, and the Dynasties of Abulpharagius, p. 250—267, vers. Pocock. a Turkish name, which, like the Byzantine patricians, may be translated by Father of the Prince. Ascansar, a valiant Turk, had been the favorite of Malek Shaw, from whom he received the privilege of standing on the right hand of the throne; but, in the civil wars that ensued on the monarch's death, he lost his head and the government of Aleppo. His domestic emirs persevered in their attachment to his son Zenghi, who proved his first arms against the Franks in the defeat of Antioch: thirty campaigns in the service of the caliph and sultan established his military fame; and he was invested with the command of Mosul, as the only champion that could avenge the cause of the prophet. The public hope was not disappointed: after a siege of twenty-five days, he stormed the city of Edessa, and recovered from the Franks their conquests beyond the Euphrates:73247324 William of Tyre (l. xvi. c. 4, 5, 7) describes the loss of Edessa, and the death of Zenghi. The corruption of his name into Sanguin, afforded the Latins a comfortable allusion to his sanguinary character and end, fit sanguine sanguinolentus. the martial tribes of Curdistan were subdued by the independent sovereign of Mosul and Aleppo: his soldiers were taught to behold the camp as their only country; they trusted to his liberality for their rewards; and their absent families were protected by the vigilance of Zenghi. At the head of these veterans, his son Noureddin gradually united the Mahometan powers;73257325 On Noureddin's conquest of Damascus, see extracts from Arabian writers prefixed to the second part of the third volume of Wilken.—M. added the kingdom of Damascus to that of Aleppo, and waged a long and successful war against the Christians of Syria; he spread his ample reign from the Tigris to the Nile, and the Abbassides rewarded their faithful servant with all the titles and prerogatives of royalty. The Latins themselves were compelled to own the wisdom and courage, and even the justice and piety, of this implacable adversary.73267326 Noradinus (says William of Tyre, l. xx. 33) maximus nominis et fidei Christianæ persecutor; princeps tamen justus, vafer, providus' et secundum gentis suæ traditiones religiosus. To this Catholic witness we may add the primate of the Jacobites, (Abulpharag. p. 267,) quo non alter erat inter reges vitæ ratione magis laudabili, aut quæ pluribus justitiæ experimentis abundaret. The true praise of kings is after their death, and from the mouth of their enemies. In his life and government the holy warrior revived the zeal and simplicity of the first caliphs. Gold and silk were banished from his palace; the use of wine from his dominions; the public revenue was scrupulously applied to the public service; and the frugal household of Noureddin was maintained from his legitimate share of the spoil which he vested in the purchase of a private estate. His favorite sultana sighed for some female object of expense. "Alas," replied the king, "I fear God, and am no more than the treasurer of the Moslems. Their property I cannot alienate; but I still possess three shops in the city of Hems: these you may take; and these alone can I bestow." His chamber of justice was the terror of the great and the refuge of the poor. Some years after the sultan's death, an oppressed subject called aloud in the streets of Damascus, "O Noureddin, Noureddin, where art thou now? Arise, arise, to pity and protect us!" A tumult was apprehended, and a living tyrant blushed or trembled at the name of a departed monarch.
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