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Baldwin, M. W. (ed.) / The first hundred years

X: The First Crusade: Antioch to Ascalon,   pp. 308-341 PDF (13.4 MB)

Page 313

no doubt on pope Urban's instructions, had hastened to enter into relations
with him, and treated him with a respect which belies the theory that Urban
intended to bring the eastern church under his direct control. Symeon had
in the past written a treatise against Latin usages; but he was ready to
cooperate with the Latins. When Adhémar in October had sent a report
to the west on the progress of the crusade, he had written it in Symeon's
name as well as his own; and his next appeal to the west for reinforcements
was drafted as an appeal from Symeon alone; and in it Symeon was given the
titles and authority of an independent pontiff. In return for this friendliness
Symeon sent from Cyprus across to Antioch all the fruit, bacon, and wine
that he could collect. But, generous though his gifts were, they could do
little to alleviate the general hunger.3 
 In their despair soldiers began to desert the army and seek transport back
to Europe. The first deserters were humble folk; but one January morning
it was found that Peter the Hermit had fled from the camp, together with
an old comrade, William, viscount of Melun. William was an adventurer who
had already deserted from a crusade in Spain. Presumably he persuaded Peter
that it was useless to waste time on a hopeless expedition. Tancred went
at once to pursue the fugitives. When they were brought back, Peter was pardoned
in silence, but William was made to stand all night in Bohemond's tent. In
the morning he was sternly lectured and obliged to swear to stay with the
army till it reached Jerusalem. Later he broke his oath. 
 Early in February of 1098 the emperor's representative, Taticius, suddenly
left the army. He had recommended a closer blockade and the occupation of
castles commanding the approaches to the city, but his advice was unheeded.
His story, when he reached Alexius, was that Bohemond sent for him one day
and warned him that the army believed the emperor to be secretly encouraging
the Turks, and that there was a plot against his life. Such was the temper
of the army that Taticius was convinced by the story. Besides, he may well
have despaired of the crusaders' ever taking the fortress. He announced that
he must go to arrange for a better system of revictualment, and took a ship
from St. Simeon to Cyprus. To show that he meant to return he left most of
his staff with the army. But as soon as he was gone, Bohemond's friends put
it about that he had fled from cowardice 
 ~ The letters sent in Symeon's name are given in Hagenmeyer, Epistuiae,
pp. 141—142, 146—149. Albert of Aix, VI, 39 (RHC, 0cc., IV, 489),
reports Symeon's gift to the army. 

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