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Zacour, N. P.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / The impact of the Crusades on Europe

III: The Epic Cycle of the Crusades,   pp. 98-115 PDF (6.7 MB)

Page 112

he becomes master of all Egypt through the assassination of his overlord
the Amulaine. At first, he makes little headway against young king Baldwin,
who is ably assisted by three powerful lords, Baldwin of Falkenberg, count
of Ramla, his brother Balian, count of Tripoli, and Reginald of Châtillon,
castellan of Kerak. Unfortunately the young king is stricken with leprosy
and cannot prevent Reginald from violating a truce both sides had promised
to respect. Saladin besieges Kerak. King Baldwin manages to raise the siege
and renew the truce. Soon afterward he dies without having named a successor.'3
 In the closing lines of part two of Cycle I reference is made to another
poem in which the taking of Acre will be recounted, as well as the founding
of the military orders. Part three does contain an account of the siege and
capture of Acre, but nothing is said of the first appearance of either the
Knights Templar or the Knights Hospitaller. As may be gathered from the summary
given above, part three of Cycle I presents a very fanciful, yet not entirely
unhistorical, recital of what took place in the Holy Land between the battle
of Ascalon and the death of Baldwin IV. Godfrey of Bouillon's marriage to
the fictitious Florie and the conversion of her supposed brother Corbaran
are, of course, examples of unbridled fantasy. The drastic pruning down of
the family tree of the kings of Jerusalem is worth noting: Godfrey's two
immediate successors, his brother Baldwin I and his cousin Baldwin II, are
telescoped into just one Baldwin; Baldwin II's son-in-law Fulk of Anjou and
the latter's two sons, Baldwin III and Amairic, are replaced by the still
more composite Amairic of Auxerre. Despite his disappearance from the roster
of kings, Baldwin of Le Bourg is reborn as Baldwin of Sebourc, who will become
the second husband of Ida, the supposed widow of Amairic of Auxerre. Baldwin
II's eldest daughter, Melisend, and his youngest, Yvette, are now named Ida
and Beatrice. Although it is historically true that Yvette was as a small
child for a time a hostage in the hands of the Saracens, it is unlikely that
she was sexually molested by them during her captivity, but it is indeed
a fact that she later became a nun, abbess of Bethany. One may safely assume
that patriarch Heraclius, who in the 1180's had for mistress the notorious
Pasque de Riveti (Madame la Patriarchesse) and was rumored to have instigated
the poisoning of William of Tyre, was the prototype of the nonhistorical
patriarch Heraclius stated to have 
 13. For a detailed summary and analysis of part three of Cycle I see Emile
Roy, "Les Poèmes francais relatifs a la premiere croisade: le poème
de 1356 et ses sources," Romania, LV (1929), 

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