Capture of Jerusalem

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Capture of Jerusalem
by Unknown

Exulting with joy we reached the city of Jerusalem on Tuesday, June 6, and we besieged it in a wonderful manner. Robert of Normandy besieged it on the northern side, near the church of St. Stephen, the first martyr, who was there stoned for Christ's name. Next to him was Robert, Count of Flanders. Duke Godfrey and Tancred carried on the siege on the west. The Count of St. Gilles operated from the south, on Mount Sion, near the church of St. Mary, the Lord's mother, where the Lord supped with His disciples.

During the siege we were unable to find any bread to buy for about the space of ten days, until a messenger came from our ships; also we were afflicted by great thirst, so much so that in fear and terror we had to water our horses and other animals six miles away. The fountain of Siloam, at the foot of Mount Sion, sustained us, but the water was sold among us at a high price. . . . We sewed up skins of oxen and buffaloes in which we brought the water six miles. The water we drank from such receptacles was fetid, and what with foul water and barley bread we daily suffered great affliction and distress. Moreover the Saracens hid near all the springs and wells and ambushed our men, killing and mutilating them and driving off the animals into their dens and caverns.

Then our leaders planned to attack the city with machines, in order to enter it and adore the sepulchre of our Saviour. They made two wooden towers and many other machines. . . . Day and night on the fourth and fifth days of the week we vigorously attacked the city on all sides; but before we made our assault the bishops and priests persuaded all by their preaching and exhortation that a procession should be made round Jerusalem to God's honour, faithfully accompanied by prayers, alms and fasting. Early on the sixth day we attacked the city on all sides and could do nothing against it. We were all surprised and alarmed. Then, at the approach of the hour at which our Lord Jesus Christ deigned to undergo the passion of the cross for us, our knights in one of the towers fought bravely, amongst them Duke Godfrey and his brother, Count Eustace.

One of our knights, Letholdus by name, climbed on to the wall of the city. When he reached the top, all the defenders of the city quickly fled along the walls and through the city. Our men followed and pursued them, killing and hacking, as far as the temple of Solomon, and there there was such a slaughter that our men were up to their ankles in the enemy's blood.

The emir who commanded the tower of David surrendered to the Count [of St. Gilles] and opened the gate where pilgrims used to pay tribute. Entering the city, our pilgrims pursued and killed the Saracens up to the temple of Solomon. There the Saracens assembled and resisted fiercely all day, so that the whole temple flowed with their blood. At last the pagans were overcome and our men seized many men and women in the temple, killing them or keeping them alive as they saw fit. On the roof of the temple there was a great crowd of pagans of both sexes, to whom Tancred and Gaston de Beert gave their banners [to provide them with protection] . Then the crusaders scattered throughout the city, seizing gold and silver, horses and mules, and houses full of all sorts of goods. Afterwards our men went rejoicing and weeping for joy to adore the sepulchre of our Saviour Jesus and there discharged their debt to Him.

On the eighth day after the capture of the city they elected Duke Godfrey prince of the city, to fight the pagans and protect the Christians. Also, on the day of St. Peter in chains, they elected as Patriarch a most wise and honourable man, named Arnulf. The city was captured by the Christians on Friday, July 15.