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Baldwin, M. W. (ed.) / The first hundred years

IX: The First Crusade: Constantinople to Antioch,   pp. 280-[307] PDF (10.5 MB)

Page 283

 Their success roused the jealousy of the Germans, who set out in. force
a few days later under Reginald, and marched past Nicaea, pillaging as they
Went but sparing Christian lives, till they came to a castle called Xerigordon.2
They surprised it and finding it well stocked with provisions decided to
hold it as a center from which to raid the countryside. On hearing the news
Kilij Arslan sent out a strong expedition from Nicaea which arrived before
the castle on September 29 and invested it. After the summer the castle cisterns
were dry, and the only well was outside the walls. The besieged Germans were
soon desperate from thirst. After eight days of misery Reginald surrendered
on receiving a promise that his and his friends' lives would be spared if
they renounced their faith. All those that remained true to Christianity
Were slaughtered. Reginald and his fellow apostates were sent into captivity
in the east. 
 The first news to reach Civetot from Xerigordon told of its capture by the
Germans; and it was followed by a rumor, sedu lously put around by two Turkish
spies, that Nicaea too had been taken. The Turks hoped thus to lure the eager
crusaders out into ambushes that they had prepared. The trick would have
succeeded had not a messenger arrived to tell the true story of Reginald's
fate and to warn that the Turks were massing. The excitement in the camp
turned into panic. Peter the Hermit set sail at once for Con stantinople
to beg for additional help from the emperor. Without his restraining influence
the crusaders decided to attack the Turks at once. Walter Sans-Avoir persuaded
them to await Peter's return; but when Peter delayed at Constantinople, Walter
and his friends were overruled by Geoffrey Burel, who shared the general
impatience. It was arranged that, the whole armed force of the expedition
should march out at dawn on October 21. 
 Some three miles out of Civetot the road to Nicaea passed through a narrow
wooded valley, by a village called Dracon. There the Turks lay in ambush.
As the horsemen in the van en tered the valley they fell on them and drove
them back on to the infantry behind. In a few minutes the whole Christian
army was fleeing in disorder back to the camp, with the Turks on their heels.
There followed a general massacre. Hardly a Christian, soldier or civilian,
survived, except for a few boys and girls whose appearance pleased the Turks,
and a few soldiers who with Geof 
 2 Xerigordon has not been identified. Albert of Aix, I, 17 (RHC, 0cc., IV,
285), places it at three miles from Nicaea; the Gesta, I, z (ed. Bréhier,
p. 6), at four days' journey beyond Nicaea. Anna Comnena, X, vi, 2 (ed. Leib,
II, 210), gives no geographical particulars. 

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