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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 510

walls were too thick to storm at once, and the large armies of Nür-ad-Din
and his brother still threatened from the rear. The folly of the move was
apparent to all; and it was impossible to return to the western approach,
which the Moslems had reoccupied and where the army would have been obliged
to repeat their first arduous offensive in order to gain a foothold. Retreat
from the city seemed the only solution, but the bishop of Langres and the
most belligerent part of the French army advocated remaining and fighting
it out. At last Conrad, the count of Flanders, and the native barons induced
Louis to agree with them. This he did for the common good and as a token
of his respect for Conrad. Thus the armies withdrew, suffering Moslem attacks
as they went. 
 The failure at Damascus gave rise to much bitterness and many accusations
of treachery against various persons and groups. The Templars, the Palestinian
barons, and Raymond of Antioch were named most often. Even Conrad, who was
too cautious to name names, wrote to Wibald that betrayal had been encountered
where least expected when the city was declared unassailable in the west
and the armies were moved intentionally to another place where there was
not a suitable approach or water supply for the army. Thus the great alliance
was destroyed in one short campaign. Although the troops besieging Damascus
had agreed on their return to attack Ascalon and had fixed a day and place
for the assembly of the expedition, the atmosphere was full of accusations
and charges which discouraged cooperation. When Conrad arrived at the rendezvous
he found few others there, and after eight days' waiting for a muster that
never occurred he decided that he had been deceived a second time and made
plans to leave Palestine as soon as possible and to winter in Constantinople
on the way home. The crusade had been a series of shattering defeats for
him, but he consoled himself with the reflection that he and his army had
accomplished everything which God had wished or the people of the land had
permitted. He felt the kind of antagonism for the inhabitants of the Latin
principalities which the French vented on the Greeks; and so he turned his
attention to the one advantage which his eastern journey seemed to offer:
a closer alliance with the Byzantine emperor Manuel. This was built partly
on the marriages of Manuel and Bertha and Manuel's niece Theodora and Henry
of Bavaria, the second of which was celebrated at this time. Bertha's dowry
had been southern Italy; Theodora's seems to have been part or all of Austria.
To ensure the possession of these portions a coalition was established among
Manuel, Conrad, the duke of 

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