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Rigord of St. Denis (c. 1150 – c. 1209):

The King of France on the Third Crusade


From Gesta Philippi Augusti (The Deeds of Philip Augustus), by Rigord of St. Denis, translated by Paul Hyams (Cornell University) and expanded G.A. Loud [1]

On the messengers sent by the people of Jerusalem to the king of France

(53)     While these things were going on, messengers came from Outremer (de transmarinis partibus) to king Phillip and announced to him with groans and sighs that Saladin, king of Syria and Egypt, had because of the sins of the Christians invaded the Christian lands of Outremer, killed many thousand Christians in misery, cruelly put to the sword many Templars and Hospitallers with the bishops and barons of the land, taken the Holy Cross with the king of Jerusalem and within a few days of growing iniquity conquered the holy city of Jerusalem and the whole Promised Land, except for Tyre, Tripoli and Antioch and a few very strong castles which they could never have. …

That at the prompting of God King Phillip and King Henry of England took crosses

(56)     At the celebration of the feast of St. Hilary on January 13th a conference was held between the king of France Phillip and Henry king of England, between Tria [Trie-Château, Oise or Triel-sur-Seine, Seine et Oise?] and Gisors, where it came about, by the Lord's miraculous workings and against everyone's expectations, those two kings by the secret inspiration of the Holy Spirit assumed the sign of the holy cross in the same place for the liberation of the Lord's Holy Sepulchre and of the holy city of Jerusalem, and many archbishops, bishops and counts, dukes and barons with them. Among them were Walter, archbishop of Rouen, Baldwin archbishop of Canterbury, the bishops of Beauvais and Chartres, the duke of Burgundy, Richard count of Poitou, Phillip count of Flanders, Thibault count of Blois, Rotrou count of La Perche,[2] Guillaume des Barres count of Rochefort, Henry count of Champagne, Robert count of Dreux, the counts of Clermont Beaumont, Soissons, Bar, Bernard of St. Valéry, Jacques d'Avesnes, the count of Nevers, Guillaume de Merlot and many others inflamed with God 's zeal whose names would be too long to list here. And the two kings piously erected in the same place a stone cross in memory of this deed and founded a church there, striking a perpetual alliance between them and calling the place ‘The Holy Field’ because they were signed with the holy crosses there. And they assigned adequate rents for two priests to serve the Lord there, as we have learnt by the report of many, and granted the church with everything belonging to it to the nuns of Fontevrault to hold in perpetuity.

(57)      In the year of the Lord 1188, in the month of March, the middle of Lent, King Phillip celebrated a general council at Paris, to which he summoned all the archbishops, bishops, abbots and barons of the whole realm. At it an innumerable multitude of knights and foot soldiers were signed with the most sacred Cross. And on account of the emergency (for the king aspired to make the Jerusalem journey from the city), he decreed with the assent of clergy and people that certain tithes were to be taken from everyone, called the Saladin Tithes and which we have placed in the present book.

The text of the (Saladin) Tithes

(58)      In the name of the holy and individual Trinity, amen. It has been enacted by the lord Phillip, King of the Franks, with the counsel of the archbishops, bishops and barons of his land, that the bishops and prelates and clergy of the conventual churches and the knights who have taken the cross will have a respite for the repayment of the debts owed both to Jews and to Christians before the king took the cross for two years from the first All Souls day after the king leaves (for Jerusalem. Thus creditors will have a third of their debt on that first All Souls day, another third of the debt the next All Souls day and the final third on the third feast of All Souls. Moreover usury will not run against anyone from the day he took the cross for any debts previously contracted.

If any knight bearing the cross should be a legitimate heir, the son or son-in-law of some knight who does not bear the cross or of some widow, and he belong to the household of his father or mother, his father or mother is to enjoy respite concerning his debt according to the ordinance just made.

But if their son or son-in-law be a foris-familiated legitimate heir,[3] also if he is not yet knighted and is not bearing the cross, he [the father] shall not enjoy a respite on his [the son's] account.

Further, debtors who will have lands and rents within the fortnight before the feast of St. John the Baptist, will assign to their creditors, through the lords under whose lordship the indebted lands were, lands and rents from which the creditors will receive their debts at the aforesaid terms. And the lords may not oppose these assignments, unless they are prepared to satisfy the creditor for his money (de pecunia sua pacem fecerint).

If any cleric or knight bearing the cross owes a debt to another cleric or knight also bearing the cross, he shall have a respite for it until the next feast of All Souls, providing indeed he gives good security for that adjournment.

If any of those who took the cross eight days before the Purification of St. Mary or thereafter assigns any gold or silver, or grain, or any other moveable as a gage, the creditor is not to be compelled to give a respite for this.

If anyone buys from anyone else who does not bear the cross one year's fruits of any lands at a fixed price, that deal is to stand.
If any knight or cleric gages or leases for a term of years his land or rent to any burgess also bearing the cross, or to a cleric or knight who does not bear the cross, the debtor will receive this year's fruits or rent and the creditor, once the term of years for which he ought to hold the gage or assignment is over, will hold for one extra year to compensate him for the year he lost (at the start). The creditor is to receive half of the grain for that year for cultivation [as seed?], providing he has cultivated the lands or vineyards.
All deals (mercata) made from the week before the Purification of St. Mary or thereafter are valid.

Debtors are to give concerning all debts for which respite has been granted a good surety (fidejussionem) equal to or better than the one he had given previously. And if any dispute should arise concerning this surety, a surety arrangement as good as before or better will be made by the counsel of the lord under whom the creditor is; and if this arrangement is not satisfactorily adjusted by the lord, it should be amended by the counsel of the prince of the land.

Should any of the lords or princes in whose jurisdiction the said creditors and debtors were be unwilling to uphold or cause to be not upheld what was ordained concerning the respite of the debts and the making of (financial) assignments, and he is warned by his metropolitan or bishop, and does not remedy the situation within forty days, he may then be placed by the same (bishop) under sentence of excommunication. Nevertheless, so long as the lord is willing to plead in the presence of his metropolitan or bishop that he did not default towards the creditor, or even the debtor, and that he is prepared to uphold what was ordained, the metropolitan or bishop may not excommunicate him.

Nobody bearing the Cross, whether cleric or knight or anyone else, should have to make answer to any claim for anything that he held on the day he took the cross until he returns from the journey (itinere = crusade) he has undertaken, the sole exception being a suit begun against him before he took the cross.

More of the same

(59)     It was enacted especially concerning these tithes that all who do not bear the cross, whoever they may be, give in this year at least a tenth of all their movable goods and rents, except for as much property as belongs to members of the Cistercian and Carthusian orders and the order of Fontevrault, and except for lepers.

Nobody is to lay a hand upon any communal property (communia = property owned by religious houses etc.?) unless he is its lord. He will then have only such right in the communal property as anyone had had previously.

Anyone exercising "haute justice" (qui...magnam justiciam habet) over the lands of another will have the tithe of the same lands. And note that the person from whom tithes are due is to give tithes from all his movable property and rents, with no exception allowed for his debts contracted previously. Rather, he may pay his debts with what remains after the grant of the tithes.

All laymen, knights as well as others, are to give tithes after swearing an oath under threat of anathema, clerics to be constrained by threat of excommunication.

Any knight not bearing the cross is to give the tithe from his movable property to the lord who does bear the cross and from any fee which he holds of him. If he should hold no fee from him, he is to give a tithe of his movable property to his liege lord. He is to give a tithe from each fee to the lord from whom he holds it. Should he have no liege lord, he is to give the tithe of his movable property to the one on whose he fee he actually lives (in cujus feodo manserit levans et cubans).

If anyone collecting his tithe finds on his lands, property belonging to someone other than those from whom he ought to be taking tithe, and that person can show that the things are his, he may not retain them as tithe.

Any knight bearing the cross who is a legitimate heir, the son or son-in-law of a knight who does not bear the cross or of a widow, he is to have the tithe of father or mother.

No one is to set hand on the property of archbishops or bishops or (cathedral) chapters or of churches held directly of them (que ab eis movent in capite), except the archbishops, bishops, chapters and the churches held of them. If it is the bishops, they are to collect the tithes and give them to whoever they ought to give them.

Anyone bearing the cross who ought to pay taille and tithes and is unwilling to do so, let them be taken from him to the person to whom he owes his taille and tithes for him to do with as he wills. No-one can be excommunicated for taking this.

On the breach of treaty committed by count Richard

(60)     Two or three months after these things were done, between Whitsun and the feast of St. John's [5-24th June, 1188], Richard count of Poitou assembled an army, entered the lands which the count of Toulouse held from the king of the Franks, and took Moissac and other castles belonging to the count of Toulouse. When Raymond, count of Toulouse heard of this, he sent messengers to the most Christian King Phillip, to report all the evil things done to him by the count of Poitou against right and the treaty which had existed before. For count Richard had broken the pact made and confirmed on oath the year before between Chaumont and Gisors between Phillip king of the Franks and King Henry of England with the same Richard. It ran like this: that their lands should remain in the state they were when the kings had taken the cross, until each of them returned home joyfully after performing the Lord's service across the sea in the Holy Land. When King Phillip, semper Augustus, heard about the breach of the treaty which the two above-mentioned kings had struck between themselves, he was much moved and so collected a multitude of armed men and swiftly entered their lands to take Châteauroux and Buzançais and Argentan and besieged a fourth one called Leurosium. It was while the king was there for a short stay during the siege that something happened worthy of memory...

That King Phillip received in the church of Saint-Denis the staff and scrip (sporta) of pilgrimage

(69)      In the year of the Lord 1190, on the feast of St. John the Baptist, came to the church of the blessed martyr Denis with the greatest company to receive license. For the kings of the Franks had been accustomed of old that, whenever they took up arms against their enemies, they carried with them the banner from the altar of the Blessed Denis for their safety and protection and placed it in the first rank of the fighting. Oftentimes, when their opponents saw this and recognized it, they were terrified and turned tail.[4] The most Christian king therefore humbly prostrated himself in prayer on the marble pavement before the bodies of the holy martyrs Denis, Rusticus and Eleutherius, and commended himself to God and the Blessed Virgin Mary and the holy martyrs and all the saints. When at length he arose tearfully from his prayers, he received with great devotion the pilgrim's scrip and staff from the hand of William, archbishop of Rheims, his uncle and legate of the apostolic see.[5] He then accepted with own hands standing on the bodies of the saints (?) two exceedingly fine silk battle standards and two great banners properly embroidered with orphrey crosses. [6] Finally commending himself to the prayers of the monks, he accepted the benediction of the key and the Crown of Thorns and the arm of St. Simeon, and left reaching Vézelay with King Richard on the Wednesday after the octave of St. John the Baptist. [7] There he received the license of all his barons, he entrusted the custody of the whole kingdom of the Franks along with his most beloved son Louis to his very dear mother Adela and his uncle William, archbishop of Rheims. A few days later he came to Genoa where he had ships and all the necessary supplies and utensils most carefully prepared. Richard king of England set sail from Marseille with all his men. Thus the said catholic kings committed themselves to the winds and sea to defend holy Christianity and for love of our Lord Jesus Christ and came to Messina despite many and great dangers.

[Phillip's testament and regency arrangements]

(70)     Before king Phillip left the kingdom of the Franks, however, he summoned his friends and intimates to Paris and drew up a testament and ordinance for the whole realm in the following words:

In the name of the holy and individual Trinity, amen. Phillip by the grace of God, king of the Franks. The royal office exists to provide for the needs of subjects by all means and to place the public before (the king's) private interest. Since, therefore, we have embraced with deep desire a vow for our pilgrimage to aid the Holy Land with all our strength, we have decided on the counsel of the Most High to set down how the necessary business of the kingdom should be managed in our absence and to make final dispositions for our life in case we should we end it on the way.

In the first place, we order that our baillis through the prévôts in our (potestatibus) place four prudent men, lawful and of good reputation, without whose counsel (or as a minimum that of two of them) the business of each town is not to be carried on, except that we appoint six trustworthy and lawful men for Paris whose names are these, T [Thibaud le Riche], A [Athon de la Grève], E [Ebrouin le Changeur], R [Robert de Chartres], B [Baudoin Bruneau?] and Ī [Nicolas Boisseau].

And we have placed in our lands which are specified by name baillis, who are to fix each month in their bailliage [bailiwick] one day to be called an assize, on which all those who put forward a complaint (clamor) are to receive their right through them [the baillis] and to get justice without delay, and we too are to get our rights and our justice. The fines (forefacta) which are our own are to be registered (scribentur) there.

In addition we will and command that our most dear mother, queen A., with our dearest uncle and faithful vassal William, archbishop of Rheims shall fix a day once every four months, on which they will hear the complaints of the men of our realm in Paris and determine them to the honour of God and in the interests of the realm.

We command too that on that day there be before them from each of our Vills the baillis who will hold the assizes, so that they may report in their presence on the business of our land.

If, moreover, any of our baillis should err (deliquerit), otherwise than by murder or rape or homicide or treason, and this is established as fact by the archbishop and queen and by the others who are present to hear the misdeeds (forefacta) of our baillis, we command them to inform us by letters each year and three times a year which bailli has so erred, what he did, what he received and from whom, whether money or gift or service, on account of which our men lost their right or we lost ours.

Our baillis shall similarly inform us concerning our prévôts.

The queen and the archbishop may only remove our baillis from their bailliages for murder or rape or homicide or treason. Nor can the baillis remove the prévôts, except for one of those offences. But we shall by God's counsel take on them such retribution, after the aforesaid men have reported to us the truth of the matter, as should reasonably deter others.

The queen and the archbishop shall similarly inform us on the state of our realm and its business three times a year.

Should any royal episcopal see or abbey chance to fall vacant, we will that the canons of the vacant church or the monks of the vacant monastery come before the queen and the archbishop, as they might have come before us, and seek from them a free election, and we sill that they grant them this without argument (sine contradictione). But we warn the both canons and monks to choose the kind of shepherd who will please God and be helpful (utilis) to the realm. The queen and the archbishop are to hold the regalia in their hand in the meantime, until the elect is consecrated or receives benediction and the regalia are then to be rendered up to him without argument.
We command in addition that should any prebends or ecclesiastical benefice fall vacant when the regalia come into our hand, the queen and archbishop should confer them on decent and literate men, as they best and most decently can on the advice of Brother Bernard, saving however any grants of ours which we have made to anyone by our letters patent.

We also prohibit all prelates of churches and our men from giving any taille or other arbitrary exaction (toltam) while we are on God's service. And if the Lord God should do his will on us and we happen to die, we most strictly prohibit all the men of our land, both clergy and laity, from giving any taille or other arbitrary exaction until our son (whom may God deign to keep safe and sound for His service!) reaches by the grace of the Holy Spirit an age when he is capable of ruling the realm.

Moreover, if anyone wishes to make war on our son and the rents that he has are inadequate, then all our men are to aid him with their bodies and goods (averis), and the churches are to give such aid to him as they were accustomed to give to us.

In addition we prohibit our prévôts and baillis from arresting any man or his movable goods, so long as he is willing to give good sureties (fidejussores) that he will pursue justice in our court, except for homicide or rape or treason.

We command besides that all our rents and services and offerings (obventiones) are to be carried to Paris at three dates: first on the feast of St. Rémi, secondly on the Purification of the Blessed Virgin, thirdly at Ascension. And all is to be handed over to our aforesaid burgesses and to P. the marshal. If any of them happen to die, G. de Garlande will substitute another in his place.

Adam our clerk is to be present at receptions of movable goods (averi) and to register them. And each [of the ministers named earlier?] is to have every key for each chest in which our treasure (averum) is placed in the Temple, and one (to the) Temple (itself).From this treasure as much is to be sent to us as we order in our letters.

If we happen to die on the road, we command that the queen and the archbishop and the bishop of Paris and the abbots of Saint-Victor and Vaux-de-Cernay and Brother B.[8] should divide our treasure (thesaurum) into two parts. They should distribute one half to repair those churches which have been destroyed through our wars, so that God's service may be done in them. From the same half, they are to give to those who were ruined by our taxes (talliae) and give what remains to whomever they wish, those whom they believe to have done the most for the remedy of our soul and that of our father king Louis and of our ancestors. Concerning the other half, we command the keepers of our treasure (averi) and the all the men of Paris that they keep it for the use of our son until he come of an age when with God's counsel and his own good sense (sensus suo) he is capable of ruling the realm.

But if both we and our son happen to die, we then command that our treasure (averum) be distributed by the hand of aforesaid seven men at their judgement for our soul and that of our son. We wish that, as soon as there is certainty about our death, our treasure be carried to the bishop of Paris' house and kept there and that what we have disposed be later carried out on it.
We also command the queen and archbishop to retain all vacant honores in our gift, such as our abbeys and deaneries and certain other dignities, which they can decently do, and hold them in their hand until we return from God's service. And they should grant and assign those they cannot retain according to God and by the counsel of Brother B. and do this to the honour of God and the utility of the realm. If, however, we die on the road, we wish that they give the honours and dignities to those who seem more worthy.

We have commanded that the present document be confirmed with the authority of our seal and the monogram (karactere) of the royal name appended below.[9] Done at Paris in the year of the incarnate word 1190, the eleventh of our reign, in the presence of those whose names are placed below, and with the seals of count Thibault our seneschal (dapifer), Guy the butler, Matthew the chancellor, Raoul the constable. While the chancery was vacant .


(71)     He also commanded the citizens of Paris that the city of Paris, which the king much loved, should be most carefully enclosed by a fine wall properly fitted with turrets and gates. We have seen this completed in a short space of time. And he ordered the same thing to be done in other cities and castles throughout the kingdom.

(72)      Now we return to those things that were done at Messina between the two kings aforementioned and how they behaved themselves in foreign parts.

When king Phillip came to Messina in the month of August [actually September 16], he was received with honour in the palace of king Tancred who gave him of his victuals in abundance and would have given him an infinite sum of gold to marry one of his daughters to his son Louis [VIII]. But King Phillip, on account of the friendship in which he held the emperor Henry, refrained from a marriage with any of them. Later a dispute which the king of England had over the dowry of his sister with King Tancred was settled in this manner: the king of England had 40, 000 ounces of gold from King Tancred, of which king Phillip had a third, where he ought to have had half, but contented himself with the third for the good of peace. Some noblemen swore also on the king of England's part that one of King Tancred's daughters would be for Arthur, future duke of Brittany. Phillip king of the Franks then celebrated Christmas at Messina and gave many and great gifts to the poor knights, who had lost their goods at sea when a storm blew up: 1, 000 marks to the duke of Burgundy, 600 to the count of Nevers, 400 to Guillaume de Barre, 400 ounces of gold to Guillaume de Mello, 300 to the bishop of Chartres, 300 to M. de Montmorency, 200 to Dreux [de Mello] and 200 to many others, whose names it would take too long to put here. Whatever goods were found for sale there at that time were very dear. A sester of wheat cost 24 Angevin sous, of barley 18 sous, of wine 15 sous, a chicken 12 pennies. King Phillip therefore sent to the king and queen of Hungary to help provision him. Later he sent to the emperor of Constantinople to give aid to the Holy Land and if the king should by God's will return through the emperor's land that the emperor should grant safe passage and the king give him good security for his peaceful entry and exit.

(73)     A few days later, the king of the Franks formally demanded that the king of England to prepare to sail in mid-March and cross the sea with him. He responded, however, that he could not cross until August. The king of the Franks then sent again and summoned (commonuit) him as his man, that he should cross the sea with him as he had sworn to him and, if he wished, marry the daughter of the king of Navarre, whom the king of England's mother had brought there. But if he was unwilling to cross, he should marry his [Phillip's] sister, as he was bound by oath to do. The king of England flatly refused to do one or the other. The king of the Franks then demanded that those who were bound to him by this oath should carry out what they had sworn. But G. de Rançon and the vicomte of Châteaudun, answering on behalf of all, conceded what they had sworn to do and said they would go with him whenever he wished. The king of England was extremely angry about this and swore to disinherit them, which subsequent events proved to be the case. And from this time on there arose discords and envy (invidia) and enmities between the two kings.

(74)     Phillip, King of the Franks, desiring greatly to complete the journey he had begun, set to sea in the month of March, reached Acre with all his things after a few days of favourable winds on the eve of Easter, and was received with the greatest joy as if he were an angel of the Lord, with hymns and songs of praise and much shedding of tears, by the whole army which had been besieging Acre for a long time. He at once had his house (domus) made close to the walls of the city and pitched tents at which the enemies of Christ sent missiles with their catapults and arrows with their bows, right up to that house and often beyond it. But later, once he had erected his petraries and mangonels and other engines, he broke so much of the city walls before the arrival of the king of England that the only thing lacking to take the city was the (final) assault. For the king of the Franks was unwilling to assault the city in the absence of the king of England. As soon as the king arrived, the king of the Franks spoke to him to tell him that all were of a single will, to make the assault. The king of England, speaking heart to heart (in corde et corde loquens), took counsel how to make the assault and send all whom he could have. King Phillip wanted to start the assault first thing the next day. But the king of England would not permit his men to leave and forbade the Pisans, with whom he had a sworn agreement, to assault, and so the assault failed. Later still, after consultation with both sides, spokesmen (dictatores) were chosen for each side, wise and honest men by whose judgement and counsel the whole army was to be governed. The two kings promised and swore by the faith that they owed to God and his pilgrimage that they would do whatever the two spokesmen said. The two arbiters said that the king of England should send his men into the assault, and place guards at the barriers and have mangonels and other engines raised up, because the king of the Franks did all these things. He refused this, so king Phillip released his own men from the oath which he had made about the government of the army.

(75)      While the king of England and his men were coming by sea, they passed through the island of Cyprus and took it with their emperor and his daughter and they carried off all their treasures. But eventually, they left the island well fortified with their men, committed their sails to the wind and met up with an amazingly well fortified ship of Saladin's coming to the aid of the city and carrying innumerable glass vessels filled with Greek fire, 50 crossbows (ballistae) and a vast abundance of bows and other arms. And in her were some very strong warriors who were all killed by the king of England and his men, and the ship itself was destroyed. Our men took at Tyre another of Saladin's ships, coming to the aid of city of Acre but unable to find a wind, in which there was an abundance of arms and few men.

(76)      That same year, Frederick the most Christian emperor of the Romans and Germans was on his way to Outremer with his son, the duke of Bohemia, and all his army, when he went the way of all flesh between the city of Nicea in Bithynia and Antioch, leaving his whole army with his son, the duke of Bohemia.[10] He escaped from the land of the Turks with but few men, came with them to Acre and ended his natural life there. The Emperor Frederick's successor was his son Henry, a man valiant in deeds and brave in the face of the enemy, generous and munificent to all who came before him.

In the year of the Lord 1191, on 17th April, pope Clement (III) died after two years and five months on the throne, and his successor was Celestine (III) a Roman by birth.

That same year in the months of June, July and August, the air was so intemperate because of the large amount of rain that the standing corn germinated into ears and puffballs out in the fields before it could be harvested
Again that same year, on 23rd June, the eve of St. John the Baptist, while the kings were besieging Acre, there was a solar eclipse in the seventh degree of Cancer, while the moon was in the sixth degree of the same sign and the Dragon's tail in the twelfth, and it lasted for four hours. …

(79)     That same year the pious and merciful count Thibaud, seneschal to the king of the Franks,[11] the count of Clermont, the count of Perche, the duke of Burgundy and Phillip count of Flanders all by God's summons entered the way of all flesh at the siege of Acre.[12] The count of Flanders' lands passed to his nephew Baldwin, son of the count of Hainault and later made emperor of Constantinople, because he had no other heir. …


(81)      While these things were going on in France, Phillip king of France (Francie) with the help of God's faithful so attacked the city of Acre, breaking down the city walls with his petraries and mangonels, that he compelled the enemies of Christ's cross, that is Saladin's keepers, his vassals (satrapae) Limathosius and Carachosius with a vast body of armed men to surrender under certain conditions.[13] For they promised under an oath of their law, keeping only their bodies, to give up complete to the king of the Franks and the king of England the Lord's True Cross, which Saladin had, and all the Christian captives who could be found in the whole of his land. In this battle, Aubrée, marshal to the king of the Franks, a high-minded man doughty in arms, was cut off within the gates of the city and killed by the pagans [3rd July 1191]. The tower called "Accursed" (maledicta = maudit) which had for a long time caused much harm to our men, was undermined and supported on timbers placed there by the king's sappers so that nothing remained to be done to destroy it except to fire the wood. The pagans now saw that they could not resist the kings and princes and the other Christians, so they negotiated with our kings and princes and in July they handed over to them the city of Acre with all its arms and fortifications and a sufficient supply of provisions.[14] As the Christian people entered the city, crying and weeping for joy with their hands raised to Heaven, they cried out in a clear voice:

"Blessed be the Lord our God who had a regard for our labours and sweat and humbled beneath our feet the enemies of the Holy Cross who had presumed upon His virtue and power."

The Christians divided amongst themselves the provisions found there, allotting the greater part to the many and a lesser share to the fewer. In their share the kings received all prisoners whom they then divided equally between themselves. The king of the Franks, however, passed his share on to the duke of Burgundy with a great sum of gold and silver and an infinite amount of food and command over all his armies. For the king was at that time seriously ill, and on the other hand deeply suspicious of the king of England because he was frequently sending secret messengers to Saladin and exchanging gifts with him. For this reason and he first consulted his princes in detail and re-organized the army, then took leave of his men and tearfully committed himself to the winds and sea to cross by God's will to Apulia in just three galleys which Ruffo de Volta from Genoa had made ready for him. He recovered health a little there and then while still weak journeyed on with a few men and crossed the country to the city of Rome, where he visited the relics (liminibus) of the apostles and received a blessing from the Roman pontiff, Celestine before returning to France around Christmas-time.

(82)  But the king of England who stayed on in Outremer forced the prisoners he held, Limathosius and Carachosius, and the others whom other prices held to carry out their promises, and restore without delay to holy Christianity the Lord's Cross which Saladin had and all the Christian prisoners, just as they were bound to do by their recent oath according to their own law (legis sue = religion?). When they were unable to put this into effect as they had sworn to do, the king of England became violently angry, brought the pagan prisoners outside the city and had five thousand of them and more beheaded, while holding back the greater and richer ones from whom he received a vast sum of money as ransom and so allowed them to go away free. He then sold to the Templars the island of Cyprus which he had captured en route for 25, 000 marks of silver. Later, however, he took it away from them and sold it a second time for Guy, former king of Jerusalem, to hold in perpetuity. He completely destroyed the city of Ascalon at the request, backed by much gold, of the pagans. And he took the banner of the city of Acre away from the duke of Austria for some other prince, broke it most vilely and threw it into a deep sewer in contempt of the duke and to his shame. But because we have no intention of writing up the history or the deeds of the king of England, we turn our pen back to the things we know about our king Phillip.

(83)      When Phillip king of the Franks had returned to France, he celebrated Christmas at Fontevraud and then hurried off as fast as he could to the church of the most blessed martyr Denis in order to pray there. ….

(85)[15]    On 14th May in that same year, at Nogent in the Perche, a company of knights was seen descending to earth from the Heavens, and after miraculously fighting among themselves they suddenly vanished. The inhabitants of that district who saw this were absolutely terrified, and ran away beating their chests.

(86)      On 20th November in the year of our Lord 1192, there was a partial eclipse of the moon, after midnight, in the sixth degree of Gemini, and it lasted for two hours. In the following May, on the 10th of the month, at Rogation time, at Pontoise, a priest from the English nation called William, a man of holy life and distinguished morals, migrated to the Lord. From the time of his death the Lord worked many miracles at his tomb – the blind saw, the lame were cured, and others suffering from various illnesses were fully restored to pristine health. The reputation of this notable man spread through the world, and caused many people to come from all sorts of places to make a pilgrimage to the place of his burial.

(87)     In that same year evil grew among the Christians, and a letter from the land beyond the sea was brought to King Philip at Pontoise saying that Assassins had been sent, at the suggestion and instruction of King Richard of England, so as to murder King Philip. For they had at that time in these overseas lands killed the Margrave, the king’s blood relation,[16] a man valiant in war who had, before these kings had arrived there, exerted all his strength and power to rule the Holy Land with wonderful valour. On hearing this letter, King Philip burned with anger, and immediately departed from this same castle, and remained greatly upset for many days. And since the mind of this same king was greatly disturbed by rumours of this sort, and his concern grew greater and greater as time went on, he consulted with his close advisers (familiares) and sent envoys to the Old Man [of the Mountains], the King of the Assassins, that he might learn every particular of the truth of this matter. Meanwhile, however, the king took pains to select bodyguards for himself, who carried bronze keys always in their hands, and took turns to watch over him at night. When the envoys returned to the king, he realised from a letter from the Old Man, and from the account of his envoys, whom he carefully interrogated as to the truth, that this story was false, and [therefore] disregarding the treacherous rumour, his mind was set at rest.

(88)      The king of England intended to return to his own land, and so he left all the land over the seas which the Christians held at this time to his nephew Count Henry, a most excellent young man. Handing over command of his army to him, he put to sea. A storm blew up, and it happened that the wind took hold of the ship in which the king was sailing and drove him to Istria, where this same king suffered shipwreck at a place between Aquileia and Venice, but with the help of God he and a few of his men escaped. Count Meinhard of Görz[17] and the people of that region, having heard that he was in that land, and being convinced that the king had acted with evil intent to harm them in the Promised Land, hunted for him, intending to make him prisoner, although it is the custom that all pilgrims ought to be able to travel in safety through every Christian land. The king, however, fled, taking with him eight of his knights. The king then journeyed to a town in the archbishopric of Salzburg called Friesach, where Friedrich of Sankt Sowa arrested six of these knights, while the king and three others hastened towards Austria at night. Duke Leopold of Austria, a relative of the emperor, had the road watched and posted sentinels everywhere. He discovered the king in a tumbledown house in a town not far from Vienna, and arrested him, plundering all of his property. The following December he handed him over to the Emperor Henry, by whom for almost a year and a half he was unjustly held in prison, oppressed by many expenses and all sorts of exactions. Finally, after a ransom of 200,000 marks of silver had been paid to the emperor, the king was brought back to England by sea. For he was afraid that if he made the journey by land then he might be captured a second time, by the king of the French, whom he had greatly offended.

Seeing that Outremer was left quite defenceless by the departure of the two king, that distinguished man, that youth of good repute Count Henry of Champagne, who was nephew on the sister’s side to both of the kings, was moved by the prompting of God and his hereditary piety and was persuaded by the prayers of many to remain in the service of God. He chose to remain there with his men and to carry the burden of Jesus Christ, albeit with great effort and labour and despite his lack of wherewithal. He was determined to make a stand for Him if he could get the chance, rather than returning to his homeland without visiting the Holy Sepulchre. Seeing this, the knights of the Holy Temple and Hospital of Jerusalem, and the many other pilgrims who had mustered there to liberate the Holy Land, taking account of the great heartedness of the count, and his steadfast determination in God’s cause, unanimously chose him as king of the city of God, and gave him the daughter of the king of Jerusalem as his wife, blessing and praising God because He had raised up a saviour and liberator of the Holy Land from the kin of the king of the French.

(89)      On 12th April in the year of our Lord 1193, after gathering an army King Philip captured Gisors, and in a very short time he brought the whole of the Norman Vexin, which the king of England was holding unjustly, back under his authority. After he had made Gisors and all the march of Normandy subject to his power, King Philip restored the ‘New Castle’ [Neufle-Saint-Martin?] to St. Denis, which King Henry had long ago unjustly and violently seized, and then Richard his son [retained].

(90)      At this time Saladin, the king of Syria and Egypt, died at Damascus. Two of his sons succeeded him, one named Saphadin ruled over Syria, the other named Meralitius ruled over Egypt.[18]



[1] Latin text in Œuvres de Rigord et de Guillaume le Breton, ed. Henri-François Delaborde (2 vols., Paris 1882), i. 81, 83-91, 98-111, 113, 115-18, 119-23. Most of this translation is the work of the late Paul Hyams, cc. 85-90 translated by G.A. Loud.

[2] Rotrou III, Count of Perche 1144-91.

[3] That is, some independent provision had already been made for him, for example on his marriage.

[4] This was the celebrated Oriflamme.

[5] He was a brother of King Philip’s mother, Adela, and archbishop of Rheims 1175-1202, having previously been archbishop of Sens.

[6] Orphrey was embroidery with gold thread.

[7] 4th July.

[8] Bernard de Bré, a monk of Grandmont, one of Philip’s most influential advisers. Vaux-de-Cernay was a Cistercian monastery about 35 km. SW of Paris.

[9] Rigord added a drawing of this monogram to his manuscript.

[10] 10th June 1190. His son was actually Frederick, Duke of Swabia.

[11] Count of Champagne.

[12] This is slightly misleading, in that while most of them died in 1191, the duke of Burgundy only died in 1193.

[13] These commanders were actually called Al-Mashtūb and Qāraqūsh, both long-serving and trusted officers of Saladin.

[14] 12th July 1191.

[15] Chapters 85-90 translated by G.A. Loud.

[16] Conrad of Montferrat was murdered on 28th April 1192.

[17] Meinhard II, Count of Görz (Gorizia), 1191-1231.

[18] Saladin died on 4th March 1193. Saphadin (Saif-al-Dīn) was Saladin’s younger brother, not his son, and he only gained rule over Damascus in 1196. Meralitius (al’Aziz Imad al-Din), ruler of Egypt 1193-8, was a son of Saladin.

 


Source:

From ‘The Deeds of Philip Augustus", by Rigord of St. Denis, Translated by Paul Hyams (Cornell University) and expanded by G.A. Loud (University of Leeds)

Latin text in Œuvres de Rigord et de Guillaume le Breton, ed. Henri-François Delaborde (2 vols., Paris 1882), i. 81, 83-91, 98-111, 113, 115-18, 119-23. Most of this translation is the work of the late Paul Hyams, cc. 85-90 translated by G.A. Loud.

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Paul Halsall, November 2023


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