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Wolff, R. L.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume II: The later Crusades, 1189-1311

XIII: The Crusade of Theobald of Champagne and Richard of Cornwall, 1239-1241,   pp. 463-486 PDF (13.4 MB)

Page 472

There was little point in attacking Egypt if its sultan did not control the
Holy Land. 
 The crusaders left France in August 1239. While a few took advantage of
emperor Frederick II's offer to use the ports of southern Italy, the majority
sailed from Marseilles. As the fleet neared its destination, a storm scattered
it over the shores of the Mediterranean. If one is to believe the Rothelin
manuscript, some ships were driven as far as Sicily and Sardinia. Theobald
reached Acre on September 1, and soon the army was concentrated there. At
Acre the crusaders were met by the potentates of the Holy Land 
— the prelates and barons of the kingdom of Jerusalem and the masters
of the three great military orders, the Templars, the Hos pitallers, and
the Teutonic Knights. The most prominent of the local barons as far as relations
with the crusaders were concerned was a recent arrival in Palestine to whom
Frederick had given the c6unty of Jaffa, Walter, count of Brienne, nephew
of John of Brienne, former king of Jerusalem. Walter was a vassal of Theobald
for his county of Brienne and must have been well known to most 
— of the crusading lords. With him were Odo of Montbéliard,
con stable of Jerusalem, and two of the chief members of the great house
of Ibelin, Balian, lord of Beirut, and John, lord of Arsuf, as well as their
cousin, Balian of Sidon. Balian of Sidon also had connections in the crusading
host. His mother Helvis of Ibelin's second husband had been Guy of Montfort,
younger brother of Simon, count of Toulouse, and he was thus a half-brother
of Philip of Montfort, lord of La Ferté-Alais. 
 The most immediate necessity facing the crusaders was to attempt to secure
the safety of Jerusalem. Frederick had obtained possession of the holy city
by his truce with al-Kämil, but either because of penury or from a desire
not to annoy the Moslems he had neglected to fortify it. When the truce expired,
the only defensible post in the city was the Tower of David, which was held
by a small garrison under the command of an English knight, Richard of Argentan.
Although the alarmed citizens had done what they could to improve the defenses,
they had succeeded only in erecting some flimsy works at St. Stephen's Gate.
As soon as Theobald landed at Acre, he wrote to Frederick II to notify him
of his safe arrival and to ask for money to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
Meanwhile the Mos lems had decided to anticipate any possible action by the
crusading host. Attacking the city in force, they easily overthrew the light
works that had recently been erected, but the Tower of David held 

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