Baldwin, M. W. (ed.) / Volume I: The first hundred years
XV: The Second Crusade, pp. 463-512 PDF (5.7 MB)
508 A HISTORY OF THE CRUSADES I would assure the attacking army a supply of food and water. Going by Mount Lebanon, they arrived at Daraiya, a few miles southwest of Damascus, on July 23.~ There they arranged the armies in battle formation and decided upon the order of march, to eliminate disorder and rivalry as much as possible during the siege. First went the forces of the eastern Franks, whose superior knowledge of the country fitted them for finding the best route and opening the attack. Louis and his men followed close behind to strengthen and aid the Jerusalemite army, while Conrad commanded the rear in anticipation of a possible surprise attack from that direction. In this way they advanced on the following day through the plain before the city, which was irrigated by canals and thickly set with mud-walled orchards whose density and narrow paths made the approach extremely difficult. The Damascenes harassed the army from hiding places among the trees, openly blocked the paths, shot arrows from towers in the orchards, and hid behind perforated walls in order to stab the attackers with lances. Despite this vigorous defense the crusaders killed or captured many of the Moslems and drove the rest back into the city. As they emerged from the gardens, however, they found the cavalry and archers of Damascus and its allies massed on the bank of the Barada river, which flowed beside the city. After some hesitation the crusaders rallied and began to attack, but were not able to break through until Conrad and his knights rushed from the rear in a powerful charge and then began hand to hand fighting. With great courage and ferocity they drove the Moslems back from the river and inside the city. Thus the army was established in a good position, with access to food and water. They had gained some booty in the gardens and had timber at hand to use for defenses; at the same time they were able to destroy bridges which were necessary to the enemy. Inside the walls the Damascenes were terrified. Their vizir, Mucin~ad~Din Unur (or Onör), had sent urgent messages for help to Saif-ad-DIn of Mosul and his brother Nür-ad-Din. Both had raised large forces to come to the aid of Damascus, but the citizens were afraid that they could not hold out until help came. Unur, however, was indomitable. He stirred his people by displaying ' ~ ' William of Tyre, History, XVII, 3—5; Historia ponti/icalis, xxiv; Wibaldi epistolae, no. ' 44; Ibn-al-Qalanisi (tr. H A. R. Gibb), pp. 283—286; Ibn-al-Athir, Kãrnil (RHC, Or., I), p. 460; Atãbeks (RHC, Or., II, part a), p. i6i; Bar Hebraeus, Chronography (tr. E. A. wallis Budge), p. 274; Usãmah, I'tibar (tr. P. K. Hitti), p. i~.l; Grousset, Ilistoire des croisades, II, 255—268; Runciman, History o/ the Crusades, II, 281—284. On Nur-ad-Din, see below, chapter XVI.
Copyright 1969 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System. All rights reserved. Use of this material falling outside the purview of "fair use" requires the permission of the University of Wisconsin Press. To buy the paperback book, see: http://www.wisc.edu/wisconsinpress/books/1732.htm