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Ascalon. The sultan had there collected two hundred thousand men to oppose Richard'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 owly 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 companions, 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 toid 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, Cæur-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 he 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 !"
At the end of May, 1192, the Crusaders once more set out on their march towards Jerusalem, under the command of Richard. The march now began on a Sabbath-day, the fighting men being to all appearance full of courage, and the poor pilgrims who followed them full of hope, for they raised their voices and said, “O Lord ! Thanks be unto thee, for the time of the deliverance of the Holy City is now at hand!” The warriors had ornamented their helmets with bright cockades and flowers; the flags of the army had been renewed, and shined splendidly in the sun. When not employed in singing psalms and canticles of victory, all tongues spoke the praise of the Lion-hearted king who remained at his post when others had deserted it, and who was now assuredly leading them to a final victory. Early in June they encamped in the valley of Hebron. But here Richard received fresh messengers from England, bringing dismal accounts of plots within and armed confederacies without his dominions. We follow the most consistent, though not the most generally received account, in saying that, on this intelligence, and at the prospect of the increasing power of the Saracens (who had not only strongly fortified and garrisoned the Holy City, but had occupied all the mountain-passes leading to it, and had thrown a tremendous force between the city and his advanced posts), and of the increasing weakness and destitution of the Christian forces, to whose wants he could no longer administer, as his money was all spent, Richard now came to a stand, and turned his heart and
thoughts to the West, where his crown was almost within the grasp of his brother John, and whither he was conjured to return by his still able and active mother Eleanor, and by all such of his ministers as were faithful unto him. A council was assembled at his suggestion : it was composed of five knights of the Temple, five knights of St. John, five barons of France, and five barons or Christian lords, who held lands in Palestine ; and it deliberated during several successive days. In the end, this council declared that, under present circumstances, it would be better to march to the south and besiege Cairo, whence Saladin drew his main supplies, than to advance and besiege Jerusalem. This decision was perhaps a wise one, but it was adopted far too late.
If the expedition to Egypt and the siege of Cairo had ever been seriously contemplated, it was presently seen that the scheme was impracticable ; for as soon as a countermarch from the Hebron was commenced, all discipline abandoned the camp, and, after some savage quarrels and conflicts of arms among themselves, the mass of the French and Germans deserted the Standard of the Cross altogether. Richard then leisurely fell back upon Acre. The Saracens now descended from the mountains of Judæa, pouring through every pass and gorge like the headlong torrents in the winter season ; and Saladin soon took the town of Jaffa or Joppa, all but the well-defended citadel, in which Cæur-de-Lion had left a manful garrison. A tremendous contest ensued between Saladin and Richard.
As the battle of Jaffa was the most brilliant, so also was it the last fought by the Lion-heart in the Holy Land. The duke of Burgundy had withdrawn to Tyre, and had refused to take any further part in the war. The Germans, commanded by the duke of Austria, had quitted Palestine for Europe ; and most of the Crusaders of other nations were wearied with the contest or engaged in their old jealousies and feuds. Richard's health, and the health of his great adversary Saladin, were both seriously affected ; and a mutual admiration and respect appears to have forwarded a treaty which was concluded shortly after the battle of Jaffa.
79.—THE CAPTIVITY OF RICHARD.
THIERRY. The occupation of the fortresses by earl John had caused much anxiety to the king of England, and he foresaw that his brother, following the example that he himself had set him, would sooner or later make common cause between his ambitious designs and the hostile projects of the king of France. These fears soon began to distress him to such an extent that, disregarding the oath that he had made not to quit the Holy Land whilst there remained a horse for him to feed on, he concluded a truce of three years, three months, and three days with the Saracens, and set out westward.
When he arrived off Sicily he suddenly bethought himself that it would be dangerous for him to land at any of the ports of southern Gaul, because the greater number of the lords of Provence were related to the Marquis of Montferrat, whose death he was accused of having caused, and also because the Count of Toulouse, Raymond de St. Gilles, who, under the king of Aragon, ruled over all the maritime towns situated west of the Rhone, was his personal enemy. Justly fearing some ambuscade on their part, instead of crossing the Mediterranean, he entered the Adriatic Gulf, after having dismissed the greater part of his suite, in order that he might not be recognised. His vessel was attacked by pirates, with whom, after a lively engagement, he contrived to make so close a friendship, that he left his own ship for one of theirs, which carried him to Yara, on the coast of Sclavonia. He went ashore with a Norman baron named Baldwin de Bethune, master Philip and master Anselm, his chaplains, some Templars, and some servants. It was necessary p have a safe-conduct from the lord of the province, who unfortunately happened to be one of the numerous relations of the Marquis de Montferrat. The king sent one of his men to make this request, and commissioned him to offer to the ruler a ring set with a large ruby which he had bought in Palestine of some Pisan merchants. This ruby, at that time famous, was recognised by the ruler of Yara : “Who are they who have sent thee to ask a free passage of me?" he inquired of the messenger.
"Some pilgrims returning from Jerusalem.”—“And their names?" -“ One is called Baldwin de Bethune, and the other, who offers you this ring, Hugh the merchant.” The ruler, examining the ring attentively, did not speak for some time, and then suddenly replied, “Thou dost not speak the truth : his name is not Hugh, it is King Richard. But, since he wished to honour me with his gifts without being acquainted with me, I will not arrest him ; I return him his present, and leave him free to depart.”
Surprised at this incident, which he was far from expecting, Richard immediately set out, and no one attempted to stop him. But the ruler of Yara sent to warn bis brother, the lord of a neighbouring town, that the English king was in the country, and would probably pass through his territory. The brother had in his service a Norman named Roger, originally from Argenton, whom he immediately commissioned to visit every day all the inns at which pilgrims lodged, and endeavour to discover the king of England either by his language or some other token, promising, if he succeeded in capturing him, to reward him with the government of half the town. The Norman prosecuted the search for several days, going from house to house, and, at last, discovered the king. Richard endeavoured for some time to conceal who he was, but, driven to an extremity by the Norman's questions, he was, at last, forced to avow himself; thereupon Roger burst into tears, and implored him immediately to fly, at the same time offering him his best horse ; then he returned to his master, and told him that the news of the arrival of the king was merely a false report, that he had not found him, but only one of his countrymen,
Baldwin de Bethune, who was returning from a pilgrimage. The lord, furious at having failed in his object, had Baldwin arrested and kept him in prison.
Meanwhile, king Richard pursued his flight through the German territory, having for his companions only William de l'Etang, his intimate friend, and a valet who could speak the Teutonic language, either being of English birth, or having, from his inferior condition, acquired a taste for learning the English language, which was then exactly similar to the Saxon dialect of Germany, and had nothing of the French tongue either in the words, phrases, or construction. They travelled three days and three nights without food, almost without knowing where they were, and entered the province called in the Tudesque tongue Ost-ric or Est-reich, that is to say, the East kingdom. This name was a last relic of the old empire of the Franks, of which this country formed the eastern extremity. Ost-ric, or l'Autriche, as the French and the Normans called it, was a dependency of the Germanic empire, and was governed by a lord who bore the title of here-zog or duke ; and, unfortunately, this duke, named Leopold, was the same whom Richard had mortally offended in Palestine, by tearing down his banner. His residence was at Vienna, on the Danube, at which place the king and his two companions arrived, worn out with fatigue and hunger.
The servant who spoke English went to the town exchange to get the money of the country for their gold byzantines. He made a great display before the merchants of his gold and his person, adopting a dignified air, and the manners of a courtier. The citizens, being suspicious of him, took him before their magistrate to discover who he was. He gave himself out for the valet of a rich merchant who was to arrive in three days, and on this reply he was liberated. When he returned to the king's lodging, he recounted his adventure to him, and advised him to leave the town as soon as possible ; but Richard, wishing for some repose, staid some days longer. During this interval the report of his landing at Yara was spread through Austria, and duke Leopold, who wished at once to wreak his vengeance on the king, and enrich himself by the ransom of such a prisoner, sent spies and menat-arms in search of him in all directions. They traversed the country without finding any traces of him ; but one day the same servant, who had been before arrested, being in the market of the town purchasing provisions, some richly embroidered gloves, such as the great lords of that time wore with their court dresses, were observed in his girdle. He was again arrested, and, to force confessions from him, he was put to the torture. He revealed all, and pointed out the inn where Richard was. It was surrounded by the duke of Austria's soldiers, who, taking Richard by surprise, forced him to surrender ; and the duke with great marks of respect, had him confined in a prison, where picked soldiers with drawn swords guarded him day and night.
No sooner was the report of the king of England's arrest spread, than the emperor, or Cæsar of all Germany, summoned his vassal the duke of Austria, to surrender his prisoner to him, under the pretext, that none but an emperor had a right to imprison a king. Duke Leopold assented to this strange reasoning with apparent willingness, but not without stipulating that he should receive at least a part of the ransom. The king of England was then transferred from Vienna to Worms, into one of the imperial fortresses, and the emperor, in great glee, sent a message to the king of France, which was more agreeable to him, says an historian of the time, than a present of gold or topaz. Philip immediately wrote to the emperor to congratulate him cordially on his prize, and to intreat him to guard it carefully, because, he said, the world would never be at peace if such a disturber succeeded in escaping. Therefore, he proposed to pay a sum equal or even superior to the king of England's ransom, if the emperor would give him into his custody.
The emperor, according to custom, submitted this proposition to an asserably of
the lords and bishops of the country, called in the Tudesque language, a diet, a word which meant, in its original signification, the people in general, but which had by degrees got to be used in a more restricted sense. He made known to the diet the motives of the king of France's request, and justified Richard's imprisonment on the plea of the pretended crime of murder committed by him upon the Marquis of Montferrat, the insult offered to the banner of the Duke of Austria, and the three years' truce concluded with the enemies of the faith. For these misdeeds the king of England ought, he said, to be declared a capital enemy of the empire. The assembly decided that Richard should be judged by it for the crimes imputed to him, but refused to surrender him to the king of France. The latter did not wait for judgment to be given against the prisoner, but sent an express message to inforın him that he renounced him as his vassal, defied him, and declared war to the utmost against him. At the same time he made the same offers to the Earl of Mortain which he had formerly made to Richard to incite him against his father. He promised to ensure to John the possession of Normandy, of Anjou, and of Aquitaine, and to aid him in obtaining the kingdom of England; in return he demanded that he should be his faithful ally, and that he should marry that same Alice, of whom mention has been before made. Without at that time concluding a positive alliance with king Philip, John commenced intrigues in all the countries which were in subjection to his brother; and, under the pretext that Richard was dead, or at least must be considered so, he exacted the oath of fidelity from the public officers, and the governors of the fortresses and towns.
The king of England was informed of these manœuvres, by some Norman abbots, who obtained permission to visit him in his prison, and especially by his old chancellor, William Longchamp, the personal enemy of the Earl of Mortain.. Richard received him as a friend persecuted for his cause, and employed him in several negociations. The day fixed on for the trial of the king arrived; he appeared as an accused man before the Germanic diet assembled at Worms; all he had to do to obtain an acquittal on all points was to promise as his ransom, one hundred thousand pounds of silver, and to avow himself a vassal of the emperor. This avowal of vassalage, which was a mere formality, was of great importance in the eyes of the emperor, on account of his pretensions to the same universal dominion as the Cæsars of Rome, of whom he called himself the heir, had held. The feudal subjection of the kingdom of England to the Germanic Empire was not of a nature to be of long duration ; but, nevertheless, the acknowledgement and declaration were made with all the pomp and ceremony exacted by the custom of that age. “ King Richard,” says a contemporary, "divested himself of the kingdom, and surrendered it to the emperor, as lord of all the earth, investing him with it by means of his hat; and the emperor returned it to him to hold as a fief of him, on condition of an annual tribute of five thousand pounds sterling, and invested him with it by means of a double crown of gold.” After this ceremony the German emperor, bishops, and lords, promised by oath, on their soul, that the king of England should be free on the payment of the hundred thousand pounds : and from that day the captivity of Richard was less strict.
In the meantime the Earl of Mortain, carrying on his intrigues and maneuvres, solicited the justiciaries of England, the archbishop of Rouen, and the barons of Normandy, to swear fidelity to him, and to acknowledge him as king; the greater number refused, and the earl, feeling that he was not sufficiently powerful to oblige them to accede to his wishes, crossed over to France, and concluded a formal treaty with king Philip. He acknowledged himself that king's vassal and liegeman for England, and all the other states of his brother, swore to marry Philip's sister, and to give up to him a considerable portion of Normandy, Tours, Loches, Am