Baldwin, M. W. (ed.) / The first hundred years
IX: The First Crusade: Constantinople to Antioch, pp. 280- PDF (10.5 MB)
Ch. IX CONSTANTINOPLE TO ANTIOCH 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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