Translations and Reprints

Author: Stephen

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d’Achery III 430–433 Dana C. Munro University of Pennsylvania I

As the Crusaders Saw It

[1098]

Count Stephen to Adele, his sweetest and most amiable wife, to his dear children, and to all his vassals of all ranks—his greeting and blessing.

You may be very sure, dearest, that the messenger whom I sent to give you pleasure left me before Antioch safe and unharmed and, through God’s grace, in the greatest prosperity. And already at that time, together with all the chosen army of Christ, endowed with great valor by Him, we have been continually advancing for twenty-three weeks toward the home of our Lord Jesus. You may know for certain, my beloved, that of gold, silver, and many other kind of riches I now have twice as much as your love had assigned to me when I left you. For all our princes, with the common consent of the whole army, though against my own wishes, have made me up to the present time the leader, chief, and director of their whole expedition.

Doubtless you have heard that after the capture of the city of Nicaea we fought a great battle with the treacherous Turks and, by God’s aid, conquered them. Next we conquered for the Lord all Romania, and afterwards Cappadocia. We had learned that there Was a certain Turkish prince, Assam, dwelling in Cappadocia; so we directed our course thither. We conquered all his castles by force and compelled him to flee to a certain very strong castle situated on a high rock. We also gave the land of that Assam to one of our chiefs, and in order that he might conquer the prince we left there with him many soldiers of Christ. Thence, continually following the wicked Turks, we drove them through the midst of Armenia, as far as the great river Euphrates. Having left all their haulage and beasts of burden on the bank, they fled across the river into Arabia.

The bolder of the Turkish soldiers, indeed, entering Syria, hastened by forced marches night and day, in order to be able to enter the royal city of Antioch before our approach. Hearing of this, the whole army of God gave due praise and thanks to the all-powerful Lord. Hastening with great joy to this chief city of Antioch, we besieged it and there had a great number of conflicts with the Turks; and seven times we fought with the citizens of the city and with the innumerable troops all the time coming to their aid. The latter we rushed out to meet and fought with the fiercest courage under the leadership of Christ. And in all these seven battles, by the aid of the Lord God, we conquered and most assuredly killed an innumerable host of them. In those battles, indeed, and in very many attacks made upon the city, many of our brethren and followers were killed and their souls were borne to the joys of Paradise.

We found the city of Antioch very extensive, fortified with the greatest strength and almost impossible to be taken. In addition, more than 5,000 bold Turkish soldiers had entered the city, not counting the Saracens, Publicans, Arabs, Turcopolitans, Syrians, Armenians, and other different races of whom an infinite multitude had gathered together there. In fighting against these enemies of God and of us we have, by God’s grace, endured many sufferings and innumerable hardships up to the present time. Many also have already exhausted all their means in this most holy enterprise, Very many of our Franks, indeed, would have met a bodily death from starvation, if the mercy of God and our money had not come to their rescue. Lying before the city of Antioch indeed, throughout the whole winter we suffered for our Lord Christ from excessive Cold and enormous torrents of rain. What some say about the impossibility of hearing the heat of the sun in Syria is untrue, for the winter there is very similar to our winter in the West.

I delight to tell you, dearest, what happened to us during Lent. Our princes had caused a fortress to be built before a certain gate which was between our camp and the sea. For the Turks, coming out of this gate daily, killed some of our men on their way to the sea. The dry of Antioch is about five leagues distant from the sea. For this purpose they sent the excellent Bohemond and Raymond, count of St. Gilles, to the sea with only sixty horsemen, in order that they might bring mariners to aid in this work. When, however, they were reaming to us with these mariners, the Turks collected an army, fell suddenly upon our two leaders and forced them to a perilous flight. In that unexpected fight we lost more than 500 of our foot-soldiers—to the glory of God. Of our horsemen, however, we lost only two, for certain.

On that same day, in order to receive our brethren with joy, and entirely ignorant of their misfortune, we went out to meet them. When, however, we approached the above-mentioned gate of the city, a mob of foot-soldiers and horsemen from Antioch, elated by the victory which they had won, rushed upon us in the same manner. Seeing these, our leaders went to the camp of the Christians to order all to be ready to follow us into battle. In the meantime our men gathered together and the scattered leaders, namely. Bohemond and Raymond, with the remainder of their army came up and told of the great misfortune which they had suffered.

Our men, full of fury at these most evil tidings, prepared to die for Christ and, deeply grieved for their brethren, rushed upon the wicked Turks. They, enemies of God and us, hastily fled before us and attempted to enter the city. But by God’s grace the affair turned out very differently; for, when they tried to cross a bridge built over the great river Moscholum, we followed them as closely as possible, killed many before they reached the bridge, forced many into the river, all of whom were killed, and we also slew many upon the bridge and very many at the narrow entrance to the gate. I am telling you the truth, my beloved, and you may be assured that in this battle we killed thirty emirs, that is, princes, and three hundred other Turkish nobles, not counting the remaining Turks and pagans. Indeed the number of Turks and Saracens killed is reckoned at 1230, but of ours we did not lose a single man.

On the following day (Easter), while my chaplain Alexander was writing this letter in great haste, a party of our men lying in wait for the Turks fought a successful battle with them and killed sixty horsemen, whose heads they brought to the army.

These which I write to you are only a few things, dearest, of the many which we have done; and because I am not able to tell you, dearest, what is in my mind, I charge you to do right, to watch carefully over your land, and to do your duty as you ought to your children and your vassals. You will certainly see me just as soon as I can possibly return to you. Farewell.

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Chicago: Stephen, Translations and Reprints, ed. D’Achery and trans. Dana C. Munro in History in the First Person: Eyewitnesses of Great Events: They Saw It Happen, ed. Louis Leo Snyder and Richard B. Morris (Harrisburg, Pa.: Stackpole Co., 1951), Original Sources, accessed December 5, 2022, http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=D2GWKYWL8QRRJL8.

MLA: Stephen. Translations and Reprints, edited by D’Achery, and translated by Dana C. Munro, Vol. I, in History in the First Person: Eyewitnesses of Great Events: They Saw It Happen, edited by Louis Leo Snyder and Richard B. Morris, Harrisburg, Pa., Stackpole Co., 1951, Original Sources. 5 Dec. 2022. http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=D2GWKYWL8QRRJL8.

Harvard: Stephen, Translations and Reprints, ed. and trans. . cited in 1951, History in the First Person: Eyewitnesses of Great Events: They Saw It Happen, ed. , Stackpole Co., Harrisburg, Pa.. Original Sources, retrieved 5 December 2022, from http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=D2GWKYWL8QRRJL8.