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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)

Page 448

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
 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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