Wolff, R. L.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume II: The later Crusades, 1189-1311
XIII: The Crusade of Theobald of Champagne and Richard of Cornwall, 1239-1241, pp. 463-486 PDF (13.4 MB)
Ch. XIII CRUSADE OF THEOBALD OF CHAMPAGNE 477 returned to Ascalon. Soon the army retired up the coast to Jaffa and then went all the way back to Acre. This retirement to Acre is extremely puzzling. The army had marched to Ascalon in order to build a castle there. Certainly the loss of a few hundred men did not weaken it so seriously that it could not carry out its plan. One reason for the retreat may well have been lack of supplies. The army had started from Acre without enough provisions, and Peter's booty cannot have lasted long. But it seems likely that the perpetual conflict between crusaders and local lords was an even more important factor. The barons of Jerusalem and the military orders were in general inclined to let the Moslems alone when they could. Their interest lay in defending their own lands rather than in aggression, and long experience had given them a deep respect for the military capacity of their foes. No doubt the Templars and Hospitallers considered the idea of pur suing the victors of Gaza into Egypt utterly foolhardy. The prisoners captured at Gaza blamed the two orders for their plight.16 While this was obviously unfair, it seems clear that the orders saw no reason for risking a large army in the vague hope of rescuing a small number of prisoners. But not even the non-aggressive ten dencies of the orders and the local barons explain the retirement to Acre. The fortification of Ascalon was to their interest. It seems more likely that the determining factor was the civil war between the local barons and Richard Filangieri, the imperial bailie. Filan gieri was holding Tyre, and the local barons were anxious to recover it. The Ibelins and Odo of Montbëliard may well have felt that they had spared enough time from their private war. It is interesting to notice that Philip of Novara in his chronicle mentions the crusade of Theobald only in connection with the arrival in the Holy Land of Philip of Montfort, who was to become an important baron of Jerusalem.17 At Acre the crusaders settled down once more to enjoy the pleasures of the city. Either they had forgotten the plight of Jeru salem or they were too discouraged to attempt to do anything to save it. A month or so after the battle of Gaza, an-Näsir Dä'üd of Kerak, lord of Transjordania, advanced into the city and laid siege to the Tower of David. The garrison was small and poorly furnished 16 Joseph Bédier, Les Chansons de croisade (Paris, 1909), Pp. 2 17—225. 17 This rests on a distinction drawn between Philip of Novara's own work and later addi tions to it. See Charles Kohler's edition of Les Mémoires de Philippe de Novare, 1218—1243 (Les Classiques français du moyen-âge, no. xo, Paris, 1913), p. xii, and cf. in general John L. LaMonte and Merton J. Hubert, translators, The Wars of Frederick II against the Ibelins in Syria and Cyprus by Philip of Novare (Records of Civilization, no. xxv, New York, 1936).
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