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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)

Page 480

are easily understood: the truce condemned the count of Montfort and his
fellow prisoners to indefinite captivity. 
 In accordance with his agreement Theobald led his host down the coast to
the vicinity of Jaffa, where he was joined by the army of the sultan of Damascus.
An Egyptian force advanced to meet them there. Just what happened is far
from clear. Apparently the followers of the sultan resented the alliance
with the crusaders, and deserted in large numbers to the other side. The
Christians, left without allies, took refuge in Ascalon. Moslem writers speak
of crusaders killed and captured, but the Christian historians fail to mention
any serious fighting. 
 Meanwhile the Hospitallers and the friends of the count of Montfort had
been at work on the irresolute Theobald. Without too much difficulty they
persuaded him to make advances to the sultan of Egypt. The sultan was anxious
for peace. He had not yet had time to consolidate his control over the vast
lands ruled by his deposed brother, and he had many problems more pressing
than the situation on the Palestinian coast. If he could obtain peace by
freeing his prisoners and confirming the lands the crusaders had already
been promised by his rival at Damascus, it was well worth his while. An agreement
was soon reached, and a truce concluded on these terms. 
 This treaty also met fierce opposition in the Christian army. The Templars
and some of the local lords refused to accept it, and in sisted on keeping
the previous agreement with Damascus. Both parties could advance excellent
arguments. From the point of view of the crusading barons who had come to
the Holy Land to extend the territory held by the Christians, Theobald's
action was wise. The sultan of Damascus had already surrendered Galilee,
which was in Christian hands. But he had also shown that he could not persuade
his army to cooperate with the crusaders against the sultan of Egypt and
the lord of Transjordania, who controlled Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and the Gaza
region. The truce with these two princes secured the rest of the lands that
had been promised, and freed the prisoners. The question of good faith is
more difficult to assess. Theobald could argue that the desertion of the
crusaders by the sultan's troops released him from his agreement. Moreover,
there is a suggestion in the chronicles that Ismä'il of Damascus had
been negotiating privately with an-Nãsir of Transjordania. In any
event, Theobald's truce with the sultan of Egypt secured for Christendom
the lands and fortresses obtained by Frederick II in 1229 and about as much
more in addition. Nevertheless it is not hard to understand 

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