Wolff, R. L.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume II: The later Crusades, 1189-1311
XII: The Crusade of Frederick II, pp. 429-462 PDF (20.5 MB)
448 A HISTORY OF THE CRUSADES II by the terms of the agreement of Damietta, alone might break the truce, left to the crusaders a difficult decision. Duke Henry of Lim burg, while fully aware of the dangers in breaking the truce, was powerless to resist the demand of the masses of the crusaders: the German knights no less than the ordinary crusaders clamored for either an attack on the Saracens or a speedy return home. Already many crusaders, discouraged by the emperor's delay, had decided to leave, although probably not as many as 40,000, the figure given by the pope in a letter of December 27, 1227. Most likely, large numbers reëmbarked at Acre almost immediately in the ships in which they had arrived.66 The leaders clearly believed that action was necessary to prevent the disintegration of the army. They decided not to mount a direct attack against Jerusalem. Instead, the duke of Limburg led the main body of the crusader army to Caesarea and Jaffa to carry on the work of restoration of the aban doned fortifications along the coast. These activities were obviously contrary to the spirit, if not the letter of the treaty, but they did not provoke an attack from the Moslems, because of the sudden death of al-Mu'azzam, the governor of Damascus, in November 1227. This also hastened the decision of a group of French crusaders, who had remained in Acre, to attack and reclaim the whole of Sidon, half of which had been under the jurisdiction of Damascus. They hoped to restore the ancient fortifications, but in the language of Ernoul, "there was too much to do there". They decided instead to fortify the island of Qal'at al-Bahr, just outside the harbor. About the same time, German crusaders began the reconstruction of the mountain for tress, Montfort (Qal'at al-Qurain), northwest of Acre, later to become "Starkenburg", the headquarters of the Teutonic Knights in Syria.67 While the crusaders were thus engaged in Syria, Frederick, now recovered from his illness, was actively preparing to set out the following May (1228). The outlook for the swift reacquisition of the old kingdom of Jerusalem had, however, brightened un expectedly. For, amazingly enough, at the very moment when the pope was exerting every effort to thwart the plans of the emperor, a representative of the sultan al-Kãmil had arrived in Sicily with an urgent appeal for assistance and with tempting promises in return for immediate aid. After the defeat of the crusaders at Man 66 See the pope's letter in Matthew Paris, Ch ronica majora (Rolls Series, LVII), III, 128 ff. 67 Ernoul, Ch ronique, p. 459; Grousset, Croisades, III, 288, and notes I, 2, 3.
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