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Wolff, R. L.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume II: The later Crusades, 1189-1311

XI: The Fifth Crusade,   pp. 376-428 PDF (13.1 MB)

Page 416

mission. Al-Kãmil probably mistook these extraordinary visitors for
emissaries from the crusaders and received them courteously, only to find
that they had come merely to expose the "errors" of the Moslem faith. Outraged
by this impertinence, the companions of the sultan demanded that the friars
be summarily executed. AlKamil, however, with a display of affection for
his humble visitors, first listened patiently to their message and then had
them safely escorted to the outposts of the Christian camp. Francis appears
to have remained with the crusaders until after the fall of Damietta before
departing for Acre. 140 
 Pelagius' opposition did not prevent a protracted discussion of the sultan's
offer. Oliver remarks significantly that "during the negotiations we promptly
repaired our ramparts and other fortifica tions." While the negotiations
were still in progress, the Moslems, breaking the truce, launched new attacks
on the Christian camp and one of the bridges, hoping to get through to Damietta
with provisions, but their forces were driven off. 141 
 Now the sultan tried bribery. Nine Christians were induced by offers of
money to attempt to destroy the bridge, so the Moslems could relieve the
city. But one of the Christians revealed the scheme to Pelagius; the others
took refuge in the Moslem camp. On the following night a Genoese, acting
alone, tried to destroy the bridge and several siege machines. About the
same time, a renegade Spaniard was detected in "black market" dealings with
the enemy. Both of these traitors, upon detection, were tied to the tails
of horses and dragged through the camp as examples. The Christians likewise
used Moslem deserters to learn of an impending Moslem attack, and took new
precautions to defend both bridge and camp. Pelagius offered two-year indulgences
to crusaders who would transport the necessary timbers from the ships to
erect emergency fortifications.142 
 140 The visit is recorded by most of the contemporary sources, perhaps in
greatest detail by Ernoul, op. cit., pp. 431 ff. G. Golubovich, Biblioteca
bio-bibliografica della Terra Santa e deli' Oriente Francescano, I, places
the date of the visit between Sept. 1 and 26 (?), 1219. This exhaustive assembling
of the pertinent documents has been further supplemented by the same author
in Studi Francescani, XXIII (n.s., XII; 1926), 307—330. Nazzareno Jacopozzi,
' Dove sia evvenuta la visita di San Francesco d'Assisi al Sultano Malek
el-Kamel," Congres international de géographie, V, 146, says: "La
sua visita a Malek el-Kamel ii febbraio del 1220      For a recent detailed
study of the visit see also Roncaglia in Studi Franceccani, 
L 97—106. 
141 Oliver, Historia Damiatina, pp. 218—219; Gesta obsidionis Damiate,
pp. 106—107. 
 142 Gesta obsidionis Damiate, pp. 108—109. As to the presence of Spaniards
see the brief notice of P. Ferdinand M. Delorme, "Les Espagnols ala bataille
de Damiette (29 aout 1219)," in Arcizivum Franciscanum historicum, XVI (1923),
245. This brief statement of Delorme, based on a bull of Honorius III of
March 15, 1219, as well as a remark of Thomas of Celano (p. 149) appears
to establish the presence of Spaniards, despite former doubts. 

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