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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 508

would assure the attacking army a supply of food and water. Going by Mount
Lebanon, they arrived at Daraiya, a few miles southwest of Damascus, on July
23.~ There they arranged the armies in battle formation and decided upon
the order of march, to eliminate disorder and rivalry as much as possible
during the siege. First went the forces of the eastern Franks, whose superior
knowledge of the country fitted them for finding the best route and opening
the attack. Louis and his men followed close behind to strengthen and aid
the Jerusalemite army, while Conrad commanded the rear in anticipation of
a possible surprise attack from that direction. In this way they advanced
on the following day through the plain before the city, which was irrigated
by canals and thickly set with mud-walled orchards whose density and narrow
paths made the approach extremely difficult. The Damascenes harassed the
army from hiding places among the trees, openly blocked the paths, shot arrows
from towers in the orchards, and hid behind perforated walls in order to
stab the attackers with lances. Despite this vigorous defense the crusaders
killed or captured many of the Moslems and drove the rest back into the city.
As they emerged from the gardens, however, they found the cavalry and archers
of Damascus and its allies massed on the bank of the Barada river, which
flowed beside the city. After some hesitation the crusaders rallied and began
to attack, but were not able to break through until Conrad and his knights
rushed from the rear in a powerful charge and then began hand to hand fighting.
With great courage and ferocity they drove the Moslems back from the river
and inside the city. Thus the army was established in a good position, with
access to food and water. They had gained some booty in the gardens and had
timber at hand to use for defenses; at the same time they were able to destroy
bridges which were necessary to the enemy. 
 Inside the walls the Damascenes were terrified. Their vizir, Mucin~ad~Din
Unur (or Onör), had sent urgent messages for help to Saif-ad-DIn of
Mosul and his brother Nür-ad-Din. Both had raised large forces to come
to the aid of Damascus, but the citizens were afraid that they could not
hold out until help came. Unur, however, was indomitable. He stirred his
people by displaying 
 ' ~ ' William of Tyre, History, XVII, 3—5; Historia ponti/icalis,
xxiv; Wibaldi epistolae, no. ' 44; Ibn-al-Qalanisi (tr. H A. R. Gibb), pp.
283—286; Ibn-al-Athir, Kãrnil (RHC, Or., I), p. 460; Atãbeks
(RHC, Or., II, part a), p. i6i; Bar Hebraeus, Chronography (tr. E. A. wallis
Budge), p. 274; Usãmah, I'tibar (tr. P. K. Hitti), p. i~.l; Grousset,
Ilistoire des croisades, II, 255—268; Runciman, History o/ the Crusades,
II, 281—284. On Nur-ad-Din, see below, chapter XVI. 

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