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)
Ch. XIII CRUSADE OF THEOBALD OF CHAMPAGNE 473 out against them. Soon imperial agents arrived to ask for an exten sion of the truce. Although these officers persuaded the Moslems to abandon their attack on the Tower of David, it is not clear whether or not they retired from the city.13 The news of the attack on Jerusalem reminded the crusaders who were resting quietly at Acre that they had come to the Holy Land to conduct a campaign against the Moslems. Theobald sum moned a council of the crusading lords and the prelates and barons of the kingdom of Jerusalem to decide on a course of action. The chroniclers tell us that a whole day was passed in fruitless debate, and that many divergent views were presented, but they do not say what these views were. Presumably the possibility of fortifying Jerusalem was discussed. Perhaps the local barons, who were all members of the anti-imperial party, had no enthusiasm for saving the city for Frederick, with whom they were at war. Perhaps Theo bald felt that he lacked the resources required for so great a task. Then it seems likely that there were some who wanted to attack the sultan of Damascus, while others preferred a campaign against Egypt. As the two sultans were on very bad terms, a good argument could be advanced for a vigorous attack on one of them in the hope that the other would stay neutral. The final decision looks like a compromise. The army would first march down the coast to Ascalon and build a castle there, a scheme that was of particular interest to the chief local lord in the council, Walter of Brienne, as Ascalon covered his county of Jaffa from Egyptian attacks. Then the host would proceed against Damascus itself. The chief objection to this plan was that it was likely to antagonize both sultans. The sultan of Egypt would naturally be alarmed at having the host camp on his frontier, and he probably had no desire to see a castle built at Ascalon. Under the circumstances annoying the sultan of Egypt seems a poor way to prepare for an attack on Damascus. It was November before the army commenced its march toward Ascalon. Except for the two days spent debating their plan of campaign there is no information about the barons' activities during the two preceding months. Acre was a pleasant city, noted 13 It is impossible to reconcile fully the different accounts of the events in Jerusalem during this crusade. Rothelin Eracles, pp. 529—530, states clearly that both the city and the Tower of David were taken shortly after the crusaders arrived at Acre. All the other chroniclers both Christian and Moslem place the fall of Jerusalem after the battle of Gaza. The only possible solution seems to lie in a passage of the Annales de Dunstaplia, p. 150. It tells how Richard of Argentan and his men were saved by the imperial envoys. Obviously the Rothelin Eracles may have confused this Moslem attack with the later one that captured and destroyed the Tower of David. As Richard's lands lay near Dunstable, the priory's chronicler may well have based its account on a letter from him or a report by one of his men.
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