Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

management of the horse and lance. The lance was th« proper and peculiar weapon of the knight: his horse was of a large and heavy breed; but this charger, till he was roused by the approaching danger, was usually led by an attendant, and he quietly rode a pad or palfrey of a more easy pace. Uis helmet and sword, his greaves and buckler, it would be suj>erfluous to describe; but I may remark, that, at the period of the crusades, the armor was less ponderous than in later times; and that, instead of a massy cuirass, his breast was defended by a hauberk or coat of mail. When their long lances were fixed in the rest, the warriors furiously spurred their horses against the foe; and the light cavalry of the Turks and Arabs could seldom stand against the direct and impetuous weight of their charge. Each knight was attended

to the field by his faithful squire, a youth of equal birth and similar hopes; he was followed by his archers and men at arms, and four, or five, or six soldiers were computed as the furniture of a complete lance. In the expeditions to the neighboring kingdoms or the Holy Land, the duties of the feudal tenure no longer subsisted; the voluntary service of the knights and their followers were either prompted by zeal or attachment, or purchased with rewards and promises; and the numbers of each squadron were measured by the power, the wealth, and the fame, of each independent chieftain. They were distinguished by his banner, his armorial coat, and his cry of war; and the most ancient families of Europe must seek in these achievements the origin and proof of their nobility. In this rapid portrait of chivalry I have been urged to anticipate on the story of the crusades, at once an effect and a cause, of this memorable institution."

Such were the troops, and such the leaders, who assumed the cross for the deliverance of the holy sepulchre. As soon as they were relieved by the absence of the plebeian multitude, they encouraged each other, by interviews and messages, to accomplish their vow, and hasten their departure. Their wives and sisters were desirous of partaking the danger and merit of the pilgrimage: their portable treasure!

** On the curious subjects of knighthood, knights-service, nob'lity irms, cry of war, banners, and tournaments, an ample fund of information may be sought in Selden, (Opera, torn. iii. part i. Titles of Honor, part ii. c. 1, 3, 5, 8,) Ducange, (Gloss. Latin, torn. iv. p 89S —412, «fec.,) Dissertations sur Joinville, (i. vi.—xii. p. 127—14'2 y If! —$22,) and M. de St. Palaje, (Mcmoires sur la Ghevalerie.)

were conveyed in bars of silver and gold; and the princei and barons were attended by their equipage of hounds and hawks to amuse their leisure and to supply their table. The difficulty of procuring subsistence for so many myriads of men and horses engaged them to separate their forces: their choice or situation determined the road; and it was agreed to meet in the neighborhood of Constantinople, and from thence &> begin their operations against the Turks. From the banks of the Meuse and the Moselle, Godfrey of Bouillon followed the direct way of Germany, Hungary, and Bulgaria; and, as long as he exercised the sole command, every step afforded some proof of his prudence and virtue. On the confines of Hungary he was stopped three weeks by a Christian people, to whom the name, or at least the abuse, of the cross was justly odious. The Hungarians still smarted with the wounds which they had received from the first pilgrims: in their turn they had abused the right of defence and retaliation; aud they had reason to apprehend a severe revenge from a hero of the same nation, and who was engaged in the same cause. But, after weighing the motives and the events, the virtuous duke was content to pity the crimes and misfortunes of his worthless brethren; and his twelve deputies, the messengers of peace, requested in his name a free passage and an equal market. To remove their suspicions, Godfrey trusted himself, and afterwards his brother, to the faith of Carloman,* king of Hungary, who treated them with a simple but hospitable entertainment: the treaty was sanctified by their common gospel; and a proclamation, under pain of death, restrained the animosity and license of the Latin soldiers. From Austria to Belgrade, they traversed the plains of Hungary, without enduring or offering an injury; and the proximity of Carloman, who hovered on tneir flanks with his numerous cavalry, was a precaution not less useful for their safety than for his own. They reached the banks of the Save; and no sooner had they passed the river, than the king of Hun gary restored the hostages, and saluted their departure with the fairest wishes for the success of their enterprise. With the same conduct and discipline, Godfrey pervaded the woods >f Bulgaria and the frontiers of Thrace; and might congrat

* Carloman 'or Calmany) demanded the brother of Godfrey as hostage tvl Count Baldwin refused the humiliating submission. Godfrey fihwnM1 hire into this sacrifice for the common pood by offering to mrrendfur bimw.tf W liken, vol. i p. 104.—M

ulate hiruso f that he had almost reached the first term of his pilgrimage, without Jrawing his sword against a Christian adversary. After an easy and pleasant journey through Lombard)7, from Turin to Aquileia, Raymond and his provincials inarched forty days through the savage country of Dalmatia*' and Sclavonia. The weather was a perpetual fog; the land was mountainous and desolate; the natives were either fugi tive or hostile: loose in their religion and government, they refused to furnish provisions or guides; murdered the stragglers; and exercised by night and day the vigilance of the ^ount, who derived more security from the punishment of some captive robbers than from his interview and treaty with the prince of Scodra.60 His march between Durazzo and Constantinople was harassed, without being stopped, by the peasants and soldiers of the Greek emperor; and the same faint and ambiguous hostility was prepared for the remaining chiefs, who passed the Adriatic from the coast of Italy. Bohemond had arms and vessels, and foresight and discipline ■ and his name was not forgotten in the provinces of Epirus and Thessaly. Whatever obstacles he encountered were surmounted by his military conduct and the valor of Tancred; and if the Norman prince affected to spare the Greeks, he gorged his soldiers with the full plunder of an heretical castle.*1 The nobles of France pressed forwards with the vain and thoughtless ardor of which their nation has been sometimes accused. From the Alps to Apulia the march of Hugh the Great, of the two Roberts, and of Stephen of Char

69 The Familife Dalmatics of Ducange are meagre ami imperfect; die national historians are recent and fabulous, the Greeks remote and careless. In the year 1104 Coloman reduced the maritine country aa far as Trau and Saloma, (Katona, Hist. Crit. torn. iii. p. 195—207.)

60 Scodras appears in Livy as the capital and fortress of Gentius, king of the Illyrians. arx munitissinia, afterwards a Roman colony. (Cellarius, torn. i. p. 393, 394.) It is now called Iscodar, or Scutari, (D'Anville, Geographie Ancienue, torn. i. p. 164.) Thesanjiuk (now a pacha) of Scutari, or Schendeire, was the viiith under the Beglorbeg of Romania, and furnished 600 soldiers on a revenue of 78,787 rix dollars, (Marsigli, Stato Militare del Imperio Ottoniano, p. 128.)

61 In Pelagonia castrum hsereticum spoliatum cum suis habi

tatoribus igne combussere. Nee id eis injuria contigit: quia illorum detestabilis sermo et cancer scrpebat, jamque circumjacentes regiones suo pravo dogmate fcedaverat, (Robert. Mon. p. 36, 37.) Aftei coolly relating the fact, the Archbishop Baldric adds, a* a prai-e, Omnes liquidem illi viatores, Judeos, haereticos, Saracenos irqualiter hal>en< exow»; quos omnes appellant inimicos Dei, (p. 92.)

trea, through a wealthy country, and amidst the applauding Catholics, was a devout or triumphant progress: they kissed the feet of the Roman pontiff; and the golden standard of St. Peter was delivered to the brother of the French monarch." But in this visit of piety and pleasure, they neglected to secure the season, and the means of their embarkation: the winter was insensibly lost: their troops were scattered and corrupted in the towns of Italy. They separately accomplished theii passage, regardless of safety or dignity; and within nine months from the feast of the Assumption, the day appointed by Urban, all the Latin princes had reached Constantinople. But the count of Vermandois was produced as a captive; his foremost vessels were scattered bv a tempest; and his person, against the law of nations, was detained by the lieutenants of Alexius. Yet the arrival of Hugh had been announced by four-and-twenty knights in golden armor, who commanded the emperor to revere the general of the Latin Christians, the brother of the king of kings.*8 *

In some oriental tale I have read the fable of a shepherd, who was ruined by the accomplishment of his own wishes: he had prayed for water; the Ganges was turned into his grounds, and his flock and cottage were swept away by the inundation. Such was the fortune, or at least the apprehension of the Greek emperor Alexius Comnenus, whose name has already appeared in this history, and whose conduct is so differently represented by his daughter Anne," and by the Latin wri

** 'AvaXadoftevos drrS 'Pwuijj rfkl* %pv<rijv roC (A.yiov Iltrpou arjfttiaf

(Alexiad. L x. p. 288.)

M 'O IWiAtuS T(ov ftaai\ltii¥t Kal ap^qyo; Tnv QpayyiKOV OTpaTEvpaTOi 1-raiTos. This Oriental pomp is extravagant in a count of Vermandois; but the patriot Ducange repeats with much complacency (Not ad Alexiad. p. 352, 353. Dis«ert. xxvii. sur Joinville, p. 315) the passages of Matthew Paris (A. D. 1254) and Froissard, (vol. iv. p. 201,) which style the king of France rex regum, and chef de tous les roia Ohrdj iens.

8 v Anna Comnena was born the 1st of December, A. D. 1083, indictiort vii., (Alexiad. L vi. p. 166, 161.) At thirteen, the time of the first crusade, she was nubile, and perhaps married to the youngei Nioephorus Bryennius, whom she fondly styles rdv Ipdv Kaiaapa, \\. x. p. 295, 296.) Some moderns have imagined, that her enmity to Boibemond was the fruit of disappointed love. In the transaction!

[ocr errors]

Hugh was taken at Duazzo, and sent by land to ConstantinopW Jlken.—M

ters." In the council of Placentia, his ambassadors had solicited a moderate succor, perhaps of ten thousand soldiers, but he was astonished by the approach of so maty potent chiefs and fanatic nations. The emperor fluctuated between hope and fear, between timidity and courage; but in the crooked policy which he mistook for wisdom, I cannot believe, I cannot discern, that he maliciously conspired against the fe or honor of the French heroes. The promiscuous mul itudes of Peter the Hermit were savage beasts, alike destituto of humanity and reason: nor was it possible for Alexius to prevent or deplore their destruction. The troops of Godfrey and his peers were less contemptible, but not less suspicious, to the Greek emperor. Their motives might be pure and pious: but he was equally alarmed by his knowledge of tue ambitious Bohemond,* and his ignorance of the Transalpine chiefs: the courage of the French was blind and headstrong; they might be tempted by the luxury and wealth of Greece, and elated by the view and opinion of their invincible strength: and Jerusalem might be forgotten in the prospect of Constantinople. After a long march and painful abstinence, the troop? of Godfrey encamped in the plains of Thrace; they heard with indignation, that their brother, the count of Vermandois, was imprisoned by the Greeks; and their reluctant duke was compelled to indulge them in some freedom of retaliation and rapine. They were appeased by the submission of Alexius: he promised to supply their camp; and as' they refused, in the midst of winter, to pass the Bosphorus, their quarters were

of Constantinople and Nice, her partial accounts (Alex. 1. x. xi. p. 283 —317) may be opposed to the partiality of the Latins, bu<t in theii subsequent exploits she is brief and ignorant.

65 In their views of the character and conduct of Alexius, Maimbourg has favored the Catholic Franks, and Voltaire has been partial to tr.j schismatic Greeks. The prejudice of a philosopher is le.ss ex cusaole than that of a Jesuit.

■ Wilken quotes a remarkable passage of William of Malmsbury as to the secret motives of Urban and of Bohemond in urging the crusade. Illud repositius propositum non ita vulgabatur, quod Boemundi consilio, p\>ene totam Europam in Asiaticam expeditionem moveret, ut in tanto tuimiltu omnium provinciarum facile obaeratis auxiliaribus, et Urbanus Romans et Boemundus lllyricum et Macedonians pervaderent. Nam eas terras) el qaidquid praeterea a Dyrrachio usque ad Thessakmicam protenditur, Gjiiscardus pater, super Alexium acquisierat; idoirco ittas Boemundus suo Jwn eompetere clamitabat: inons haereditatis Apulire, quam genitor Kxj^qrio Biaori filio delegaverat Wilken, vol. ii. p. 313.—M

« ForrigeFortsett »