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

XV: The Second Crusade,   pp. 463-512 PDF (5.7 MB)

Page 507

engaged in defending their lands against Nür-ad-Din, and the count of
Tripoli had serious internal problems to settle. 
 In his description of the court William of Tyre characterizes the nobles
of the realm of Jerusalem as possessing an accurate knowledge of affairs
and places, attributes which were normal enough for the inhabitants of the
country, but in sharp contrast to the elementary and romantic notions that
the European crusaders entertained concerning the Holy Land. On foreign soil,
among situations which had repeatedly proved far more complex than they had
suspected, the western princes felt and were made to feel that they needed
the advice of men who knew the place intimately. The day was past when they
could afford to dash ahead into practically unknown territory or plod ahead
without a vigorous plan for a campaign. With the nobles of Jerusalem they
entered into careful consideration as to what action would be most expedient.
Various plans were presented before the council and discussed. Some crusaders
like the count of Flanders and Arnuif of Lisieux were eager to leave the
Holy Land behind and to go home without attempting the campaign, and Conrad
seemed to be turning to that point of view. Louis and his warlike supporters
like the bishop of Langres wanted to stay and perform some deed worthy of
their country and their ancestors. Surely there must have been advocates
for the northern campaign planned by Raymond of Antioch or for the relief
of Edessa. In the end, however, the recommendation of the more belligerent
Syrian barons won out, even though there was a native faction which considered
an expedition against a city as consistently friendly as Damascus unwise.
At this decision some of the crusaders like Welf did go home; but the greatest
part of the troops, numbering at least 50,000 and commanded by Baldwin, Louis,
and Conrad, assembled at Tiberias in mid-July.37 
 Fired by the sight of the True Cross, the Christian army marched to Banyas
for a further conference about strategy. Here the leaders received the advice
of men well acquainted with the situation of Damascus and its surroundings,
and in council with the barons and prelates decided to attack from the west,
where the city's strongest fortifications were protected by orchards that
 ~ William of Tyre, History, XVI, 28—29; XVII, I—a; Otto, Gesta,
I, 6z; Historia pontificalis, xxiv; Historia Welforum Weingartensis (MGH,
SS., XXI), p. 27. The Syriac Fragment (ed. Taylor), pp. 123—124, after
speaking of the second fall of Edessa, mentions the many refugees from Edessa
among the great crowds in Jerusalem in I 148. See also Giesebrecht, Kaiserzeit,
IV, 288—289; Devic et Vaissete, Histoire ginirale de Languedoc, III,
754; IV, 223—224; Jean Richard, Le Comti de Tripoli, p. 6ff.; Grousset,
Histoire des croisades, II, 270; Bernhardi, Konrad ill, pp. 663—665.

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