The Patriarch Heraclius quarrels with the king
of England--He returns to Palestine without succour--The disappointments and
gloomy forebodings of the Templars--They prepare to resist Saladin--Their
defeat and slaughter--The valiant deeds of the Marshal of the Temple--The
fatal battle of Tiberias--The captivity of the Grand Master and the true
Cross--The captive Templars are offered the Koran or death--They choose the
latter, and are beheaded--The fall of Jerusalem--The Moslems take possession
of the Temple--They purify it with rose-water, say prayers, and hear a
sermon--The Templars retire to Antioch--Their letters to the king of England
and the Master of the Temple at London--Their exploits at the siege of Acre.
"Gloriosa civitas Dei Jerusalem, ubi dominus
passus, ubi sepultus, ubi gloriam resurrectionis ostendit, hosti spurio
subjicitur polluenda, nec est dolor sicut dolor iste, cum sepulchrum
possideant qui sepulchrum persequuntur, crucem teneant qui crucifixum
contemnunt. "--The Lamentation of Geoffrey de Visnisauf over the Fall of
"The earth quakes and trembles because the king
of heaven hath lost his land, the land on which his feet once stood. The foes
of the Lord break into his holy city, even into that glorious tomb where the
virgin blossom of Mary was wrapt up in linen and spices, and where the first
and greatest flower on earth rose up again."--St. Bernard, epist.
A.D. 1185. THE Grand Master, Arnold de
Torroge, who died on his journey to England, as before mentioned, was
succeeded by Brother Gerard de Riderfort. *
A.D. 1185. On the tenth of the
calends of April, a month after the consecration by the patriarch Heraclius of
the Temple church, the grand council or parliament of the kingdom, composed of
the bishops, earls, and barons, assembled in the house of the Hospitallers at
Clerkenwell in London. It was attended by William king of Scotland and David
his brother, and many of the counts and barons of that distant land. *
The august assembly was acquainted, in the king's name, with the object of the
solemn embassy just sent to him from Jerusalem, and with the desire of the
royal penitent to fulfil his vow and perform his penance; but the barons were
at the same time reminded of the old age of their sovereign, of the bad state
of his health, and of the necessity of his presence in England. They
accordingly represented to King Henry that the solemn oath taken by him on his
coronation was an obligation antecedent to the penance imposed on him by the
pope; that by that oath he was bound to stay at home and govern his dominions,
and that, in their opinion, it was more wholesome for the king's soul to
defend his own country against the barbarous French, than to desert it for the
purpose of protecting the distant kingdom of Jerusalem. They, however, offered
to raise the sum of fifty thousand marks for the levying of troops to be sent
into Asia, and recommended that all such prelates and nobles as desired to
take the cross should be permitted freely to leave the kingdom on so pious an
Fabian gives the following quaint account of
the king's answer to the patriarch, from the Chron. Joan Bromton: "Lasteley,
the kynge gaue answere, and sayde that he myghte not leue hys lande wythoute
kepynge, nor yet leue yt to the praye and robbery of Frenchemen. But he wolde
gyue largely of hys owne to
A.D. 1185. such as wolde take upon theym
that vyage. Wyth thys answere the patryarke was dyscontente, and sayde, 'We
seke a man, and not money; welnere euery crysten regyon sendyth unto us money,
but no lande sendyth to us a prince. Therefore we aske a prynce that nedeth
money, and not money that nedeth a prynce.' But the kynge layde for hym suche
excuses, that the patryarke departed from hym dyscontentyd and comforteless,
whereof the kynge beynge aduertysed, entendynge somwhat to recomforte hym wyth
pleasaunte wordes, folowed hym unto the see syde. But the more the kynge
thought to satysfye hym wyth hys fayre speche, the more the patryarke was
discontented, in so myche that at the laste he sayde unto hym, 'Hytherto thou
haste reygned gloryously, but here after thou shalt be forsaken of him whom
thou at thys tyme forsakeste. Thynke on hym what he hath gyuen to thee, and
what thou haste yelden to him agayne: howe fyrste thou were false unto the
kynge of Fraunce, and after slewe that holy man Thomas of Caunterburye, and
lastely thou forsakeste the proteccyon of Crystes faith.' The kynge was amoued
wyth these wordes, and sayde unto the patryarke, 'Though all the men of my
lande were one bodye, and spake with one mouth, they durste not speke to me
such wordys.' 'No wonder,' sayde the patriarke, 'for they loue thyne and not
the; that ys to meane, they loue thy goodes temporall, and fere the for losse
of promocyon, but they loue not thy soule.' And when he hadde so sayde, he
offeryd hys hedde to the kynge, sayenge, 'Do by me ryghte as thou dyddest by
that blessed man Thomas of Caunterburye, for I had leur to be slayne of the,
then of the Sarasyns, for thou art worse than any Sarasyn.' But the kynge
kepte hys paeyence, and sayde, 'I may not wende oute of my lande, for myne own
sonnes wyll aryse agayne me whan I were absente.' 'No wonder,' sayde the
patryarke, 'for of the
A.D. 1185. deuyll they come, and to the
deuyll they shall go,' and so departyd from the kynge in great ire." *
According to Roger de Hoveden, however,
the patriarch, on the 17th of the calends of May, accompanied King Henry into
Normandy, where a conference was held between the sovereigns of France and
England concerning the proposed succour to the Holy Land. Both monarchs were
liberal in promises and fair speeches; but as nothing short of the presence of
the king of England, or of one of his sons, in Palestine, would satisfy the
patriarch, that haughty ecclesiastic failed in his negotiations, and returned
in disgust and disappointment to the Holy Land. On his
arrival at Jerusalem with intelligence of his ill success, the greatest
consternation prevailed amongst the Latin christians; and it was generally
observed that the true cross, which had been recovered from the Persians by
the Emperor Heraclius, was about to be lost under the pontificate, and by the
fault of a patriarch of the same name.
A resident in Palestine has given us some
A.D. 1185. notices of this worthy
consecrator of our Temple church at London. He says that he was a very
handsome parson, and, in consequence of his beauty, the mother of the king of
Jerusalem fell in love with him, and made him archbishop of Cæsarea, (biau
clerc estoit, et par sa beauté l’ama la mere de roi, et le fist arcevesque de
Cesaire.) He then describes how he came to be made patriarch, and how he was
suspected to have poisoned the archbishop of Tyre. After his return from Rome
he fell in love with the wife of a haberdasher who lived at Naplous, twelve
miles from Jerusalem. He went to see her very often, and, not long after the
acquaintanceship commenced, the husband died. Then the patriarch brought the
lady to Jerusalem, and bought for her a very fine stone house. "Le patriarche
la fist venir en Jerusalem, et li acheta bonne maison de pierre. Si la tenoit
voiant le siecle ausi com li hons fait sa fame, fors tant que ele n'estoit mie
avec lui. Quant ele aloit au mostier, ele estoit ausi atornée de riches dras,
com ce fust un emperris, et si serjant devant lui. Quant aucunes gens la
veoient qui ne la connoissoient pas, il demandoient qui cele dame estoit. Cil
qui la connoissoient, disoient que cestoit la fame du patriarche. Ele avoit
nom Pasque de Riveri. Enfans avoit du patriarche, et les barons estoient, que
là où il se conseilloient, vint un fol ou patriarche, si li dist; 'Sire
Patriarche, dones moi bon don, car je vous aport bones novelles Pasque de
Riveri, vostre fame, a une bele fille!'" *
When Jesus Christ," says the learned author, "saw the iniquity and wickedness
which they committed in the very place where he was crucified, he could no
longer suffer it."
The order of the Temple was at this period
[paragraph continues] Palestine, and
the Grand Master, Gerard de Riderfort, coerced with the heavy hand of
authority the nobles of the kingdom, and even the king himself. Shortly after
the return of Heraclius to Palestine, King Baldwin IV. died, and was succeeded
by his infant nephew, Baldwin V., who was crowned in the church of the
Resurrection, and was afterwards royally entertained by the Templars in the
Temple of Solomon, according to ancient custom. *
The young king died at Acre after a short reign of only seven months, and the
Templars brought the body to Jerusalem, and buried it in the tombs of the
christian kings. The Grand Master of the Temple then raised Sibylla, the
mother of the deceased monarch, and her second husband, Guy of Lusignan, to
the throne. Gerard de Riderfort surrounded the palace with troops; he closed
the gates of Jerusalem. and delivered the regalia to the Patriarch. He then
conducted Sibylla and her husband to the church of the Resurrection, where
they were both crowned by Heraclius, and were afterwards entertained at dinner
in the Temple. Guy de Lusignan was a prince of handsome person, but of such
base renown, that his own brother Geoffrey was heard to exclaim, "Since they
have made him a king, surely they would have made me a God!"
These proceedings led to endless discord and dissension; Raymond, Count of
Tripoli, withdrew from court; many of the barons refused to do homage, and the
state was torn by faction and dissension at a time when all the energies of
the population were required to defend the country from the Moslems.
A.D. 1186. Saladin, on the other
hand, had been carefully consolidating and strengthening his power, and was
vigorously preparing for the reconquest of the Holy City, the long-cherished
enterprise of the Mussulmen. The Arabian writers enthusiastically recount his
pious exhortations to the true believers, and describe with vast enthusiasm
his glorious preparations for the holy war. Bohadin F. Sjeddadi, his friend
and secretary, and great biographer, before venturing upon the sublime task of
describing his famous and sacred actions, makes a solemn confession of faith,
and offers up praises to the one true God.
"Praise be to GOD," says he, who hath blessed
us with Islam, and hath led us to the understanding of the true faith
beautifully put together, and hath befriended us; and, through the
intercession of our prophet, hath loaded us with every blessing . . . . . . "I
bear witness that there is no God but that one great God who hath no partner,
(a testimony that will deliver our souls from the smoky fire of hell,) that
Mohammed is his servant and apostle, who hath opened unto us the gates of the
right road to salvation. . . . . ."
"These solemn duties being performed, I
will begin to write concerning the victorious defender of the faith, the tamer
of the followers of the cross, the lifter up of the standard of justice and
equity, the saviour of the world and of religion, Saladin Aboolmodaffer
Joseph, the son of Job, the son of Schadi, Sultan of the Moslems, ay, and of
Islam itself; the deliverer of the holy house of God (the Temple) from the
hands of the idolaters, the servant of two holy cities, whose tomb may the
Lord moisten with the dew of his favour, affording to him the sweetness of the
fruits of the faith." *
On the 10th of May, A.D. 1187, Malek-el-Afdal,
A.D. 1187. excellent prince," one of
Saladin's sons, crossed the Jordan at the head of seven thousand Mussulmen.
The Grand Master of the Temple immediately despatched messengers to the
nearest convents and castles of the order, commanding all such knights as
could be spared to mount and come to him with speed. At midnight, ninety
knights of the garrison of La Feue or Faba, forty knights from the garrison of
Nazareth, with many others from the convent of Caco, were assembled around
their chief, and began their march at the head of the serving brothers and the
light cavalry of the order. They joined themselves to the Hospitallers, rashly
engaged the seven thousand Moslems, and were cut to pieces in a bloody battle
fought near the brook Kishon. The Grand Master of the Temple and two knights
broke through the dense ranks of the Moslems, and made their escape. Roger de
Molines, the Grand Master of the Hospital, was left dead upon the field,
together with all the other brothers of the Hospital and of the Temple.
Jacqueline de Mailly, the Marshal of the
Temple, performed prodigies of valour. He was mounted on a white horse, and
clothed in the white habit of his order, with the blood-red cross, the symbol
of martyrdom, on his breast; he became, through his gallant bearing and
demeanour, an object of respect and of admiration even to the Moslems. He
fought, say the writers of the crusades, like a wild boar, sending on that day
an amazing number of infidels to hell! The Mussulmen severed the heads
of the slaughtered Templars from their bodies, and attaching them with cords
to the points of their lances, they placed them in front of their array, and
marched off in the direction of Tiberias. *
The following interesting account is given of
the march of
A.D. 1187. another band of holy
warriors, who, in obedience to the summons of the Grand Master of the Temple,
were hastening to rally around the sacred ensigns of their faith.
"When they had travelled two miles, they
came to the city of Saphet. It was a lovely morning, and they determined to
march no further until they had heard mass. They accordingly turned towards
the house of the bishop and awoke him up, and informed him that the day was
breaking. The bishop accordingly ordered an old chaplain to put on his clothes
and say mass, after which they hastened forwards. Then they came to the castle
of La Feue, (a fortress of the Templars,) and there they found, outside the
castle, the tents of the convent of Caco pitched, and there was no one to
explain what it meant. A varlet was sent into the castle to inquire, but he
found no one within but two sick people who were unable to speak. Then they
marched towards Nazareth, and after they had proceeded a short distance from
the castle of La Feue, they met a brother of the Temple on horseback, who
galloped up to them at a furious rate, calling out, Bad news, bad news; and he
informed them how that the Master of the Hospital had had his head cut off,
and how of all the brothers of the Temple there had escaped but three, the
Master of the Temple and two others, and that the knights whom the king had
placed in garrison at Nazareth, were all taken and killed." *
In the great battle of Tiberias or of Hittin,
fought on the 4th of July, which decided the fate of the holy city of
Jerusalem, the Templars were in the van of the Christian army, and led the
attack against the infidels. The march of Saladin's host, which amounted to
eighty thousand horse and foot, over the hilly country, is compared by an
Arabian writer, an eye-witness, to mountains in movement, or to the vast waves
of an agitated sea. The same author speaks of the advance of the Templars
A.D. 1187. them at early dawn in
battle array, "horrible in arms, having their whole bodies cased with triple
mail." He compares the noise made by their advancing squadrons to the loud
humming of bees! and describes them as animated with "a flaming desire of
Saladin had behind him the lake of Tiberias, his infantry was in the centre,
and the swift cavalry of the desert was stationed on either wing, under the
command of Faki-ed-deen (teacher of religion.) The Templars rushed, we
are told, like lions upon the Moslem infidels, and nothing could withstand
their heavy and impetuous charge. "Never," says an Arabian doctor of the law,
"have I seen a bolder or more powerful army, nor one more to be feared by the
believers in the true faith."
Saladin set fire to the dry grass and dwarf
shrubs which lay between both armies, and the wind blew the smoke and the
flames directly into the faces of the military friars and their horses. The
fire, the noise, the gleaming weapons, and all the accompaniments of the
horrid scene, have given full scope to the descriptive powers of the oriental
writers. They compare it to the last judgment; the dust and the smoke obscured
the face of the sun, and the day was turned into night. Sometimes gleams of
light darted like the rapid lightning amid the throng of combatants; then you
might see the dense columns of armed warriors, now immovable as mountains, and
now sweeping swiftly across the landscape like the rainy clouds over the face
of heaven. "The sons of paradise and the children of fire," say they, "then
decided their terrible quarrel; the arrows rustled through the air like the
wings of innumerable sparrows, the sparks flew from the coats of mail and the
glancing sabres, and the blood spurting forth from the bosom of the throng
deluged the earth like the rains of heaven." . . . . . "The avenging sword of
the true believers was drawn forth against the infidels; the faith of the
UNITY was opposed to the faith of the TRINITY, and speedy ruin, desolation,
and destruction, overtook the miserable sons of baptism!"
The cowardly patriarch Heraclius, whose
duty it was to bear the holy cross in front of the christian array, confided
his sacred charge to the bishops of Ptolemais and Lydda, *--a
circumstance which gave rise to many gloomy forebodings amongst the
superstitious soldiers of Christ. In consequence of the treachery, as it is
alleged, of the count of Tripoli, who fled from the field with his retainers,
both the Templars and Hospitaliers were surrounded, and were to a man killed
or taken prisoners. The bishop of Ptolemais was slain, the bishop of Lydda was
made captive, and the holy cross, together with the king of Jerusalem, and the
Grand Master of the Temple, fell into the hands of the Saracens. "Quid plura?"
says Radulph, abbot of the monastery of Coggleshale in Essex, who was then on
a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and was wounded in the nose by an arrow. "Capta
est crux, et rex, et Magister militiæ Templi, et episcopus Liddensis, et
frater Regis, et Templarii, et Hospitalarii, et marchio de Montferrat, atque
omnes vel mortui vel capti sunt. Plangite super hoc omnes adoratores crucis,
et plorate; sublatum est lignum nostræ salutis, dignum ab indignis indigne heu!
heu! asportatum. Væ mihi misero, quod in diebus miseræ vitæ meæ talia cogor
videre. . . . . . O dulce lignum, et suave, sanguine filii Dei roratum atque
lavatum! O crux alma, in qua salus nostra pependit! &c.
"I saw," says the secretary and companion of
Saladin, who was present at this terrible fight, and is unable to restrain
himself from pitying the disasters of the vanquished--"I saw the mountains
A.D. 1187. and the plains, the hills
and the valleys, covered with their dead. I saw their fallen and deserted
banners sullied with dust and with blood. I saw their heads broken and
battered, their limbs scattered abroad, and the blackened corpses piled one
upon another like the stones of the builders. I called to mind the words of
the Koran, 'The infidel shall say, What am I but dust?' . . . . I saw
thirty or forty tied together by one cord. I saw in one place, guarded by one
Mussulman, two hundred of these famous warriors gifted with amazing strength,
who had but just now walked forth amongst the mighty; their proud bearing was
gone; they stood naked with downcast eyes, wretched and miserable. . . . . The
lying infidels were now in the power of the true believers. Their king and
their cross were captured, that cross before which they bow the head and bend
the knee; which they bear aloft and worship with their eyes; they say that it
is the identical wood to which the God whom they adore was fastened. They had
adorned it with fine gold and brilliant stones; they carried it before their
armies; they all bowed towards it with respect. It was their first duty to
defend it; and he who should desert it would never enjoy peace of mind. The
capture of this cross was more grievous to them than the captivity of their
king. Nothing can compensate them for the loss of it. It was their God; they
prostrated themselves in the dust before it, and sang hymns when it was raised
Among the few christian warriors who escaped
from this terrible encounter, was the Grand Master of the Hospital; he clove
his way from the field of battle, and reached Ascalon in safety, but died of
his wounds the day after his arrival. The multitude of captives was enormous,
cords could not be found to bind them, the tent-ropes were all used for the
purpose, but were insufficient,
A.D. 1187. and the Arabian writers
tell us that, on seeing the dead, one would have thought that there could be
no prisoners, and on seeing the prisoners, that there could be no dead. As
soon as the battle was over, Saladin proceeded to a tent, whither, in
obedience to his commands, the king of Jerusalem, the Grand Master of the
Temple, and Reginald de Chatillon, had been conducted. This last nobleman had
greatly distinguished himself in various daring expeditions against the
caravans of pilgrims travelling to Mecca, and had become on that account
particularly obnoxious to the pious Saladin. The sultan, on entering the tent,
ordered a bowl of sherbet, the sacred pledge amongst the Arabs of hospitality
and security, to be presented to the fallen monarch of Jerusalem, and to the
Grand Master of the Temple; but when Reginald de Chatillon would have drunk
thereof, Saladin prevented him, and reproaching the christian nobleman with
perfidy and impiety, he commanded him instantly to acknowledge the prophet
whom he had blasphemed, or be prepared to meet the death he had so often
deserved. On Reginald's refusal, Saladin struck him with his scimitar, and he
was immediately despatched by the guards. *
Bohadin, Saladin's friend and secretary, an
eye-witness of the scene, gives the following account of it: "Then Saladin
told the interpreter to say thus to the king, 'It is thou, not I, who givest
drink to this man!' Then the sultan sat down at the entrance of the tent, and
they brought Prince Reginald before him, and after refreshing the man's
memory, Saladin said to him, 'Now then, I myself will act the part of the
defender of Mohammed!' He then offered the man the Mohammedan faith, but he
refused it; then the king struck him on the shoulder with a drawn scimitar,
which was a hint to those that were present to do
A.D. 1187. for him; so they sent his
soul to hell, and cast out his body before the tent-door! *
Two days afterwards Saladin proceeded in cold
blood to enact the grand concluding tragedy. The warlike monks of the Temple
and of the Hospital, the bravest and most zealous defenders of the christian
faith, were, of all the warriors of the cross, the most obnoxious to zealous
Mussulmen, and it was determined that death or conversion to Mahometanism
should be the portion of every captive of either order, excepting the Grand
Master of the Temple, for whom it was expected a heavy ransom would be given.
Accordingly, on the christian Sabbath, at the hour of sunset, the appointed
time of prayer, the Moslems were drawn up in battle array under their
respective leaders. The Mamlook emirs stood in two ranks clothed in yellow,
and, at the sound of the holy trumpet, all the captive knights of the Temple
and of the Hospital were led on to the eminence above Tiberias, in full view
of the beautiful lake of Gennesareth, whose bold and mountainous shores had
been the scene of so many of their Saviour's miracles. There, as the last rays
of the sun were fading away from the mountain tops, they were called upon to
deny him who had been crucified, to choose God for their Lord, Islam for their
faith, Mecca for their temple, the Moslems for their brethren, and Mahomet for
their prophet. To a man they refused, and were all decapitated in the presence
of Saladin by the devout zealots of his army, and the doctors and expounders
of the law. An oriental historian, who was present, says that Saladin sat with
a smiling countenance viewing the execution, and that some of the executioners
cut off the heads with a degree of dexterity that excited great applause.
"Oh," says Omad’eddin Muhammed,
"how beautiful an ornament is the blood of the infidels sprinkled over the
followers of the faith and the true religion!"
If the Mussulmen displayed a becoming
zeal in the decapitation and annihilation of the infidel Templars, these last
manifested a no less praiseworthy eagerness for martyrdom by the swords of the
unbelieving Moslems. The Knight Templar, Brother Nicolas, strove vigorously,
we are told, with his companions to be the first to suffer, and with great
difficulty accomplished his purpose. It was believed by the Christians, in
accordance with the superstitious ideas of those times, that heaven testified
its approbation by a visible sign, and that for three nights, during which the
bodies of the Templars remained unburied on the field, celestial rays of light
played around the corpses of those holy martyrs.
The government of the order of the Temple, in
consequence of the captivity of the Grand Master, devolved upon the Grand
Preceptor of the kingdom of Jerusalem, who addressed letters to all the
brethren in the West, imploring instant aid and assistance. One of these
letters was duly received by Brother Geoffrey, Master of the Temple at London,
"Brother Terric, Grand Preceptor of the poor
house of the Temple, and every poor brother, and the whole convent, now, alas!
almost annihilated, to all the preceptors and brothers of the Temple to whom
these letters may come, salvation through him to whom our fervent aspirations
are addressed, through him who causeth the sun and the moon to reign
A.D. 1187. "The many and
great calamities wherewith the anger of God, excited by our manifold sins,
hath just now permitted us to be afflicted, we cannot for grief unfold to you,
neither by letters nor by our sobbing speech. The infidel chiefs having
collected together a vast number of their people, fiercely invaded our
christian territories, and we, assembling our battalions, hastened to Tiberias
to arrest their march. The enemy having hemmed us in among barren rocks,
fiercely attacked us; the holy cross and the king himself fell into the hands
of the infidels, the whole army was cut to pieces, two hundred and thirty of
our knights were beheaded, without reckoning the sixty who were killed on the
1st of May. The Lord Reginald of Sidon, the Lord Ballovius, and we ourselves,
escaped with vast difficulty from that miserable field. The Pagans, drunk with
the blood of our Christians, then marched with their whole army against the
city of Acre, and took it by storm. The city of Tyre is at present fiercely
besieged, and neither by night nor by day do the infidels discontinue their
furious assaults. So great is the multitude of them, that they cover like ants
the whole face of the country from Tyre to Jerusalem, and even unto Gaza. The
holy city of Jerusalem, Ascalon, and Tyre, and Beyrout, are alone left to us
and to the christian cause, and the garrisons and the chief inhabitants of
these places, having perished in the battle of Tiberias, we have no hope of
retaining them without succour from heaven and instant assistance from
Saladin, on the other hand, sent triumphant
letters to the caliph. "God and his angels," says he, "have mercifully
succoured Islam. The infidels have been sent to feed the fires of hell! The
cross is fallen into our hands, around which they
A.D. 1187. fluttered like the moth
round a light; under whose shadow they assembled, in which they boldly trusted
as in a wall; the cross, the centre and leader of their pride, their
superstition, and their tyranny." . . . *
After the conquest of between thirty and forty
cities and castles, many of which belonged to the order of the Temple, Saladin
laid siege to the holy city. On the 20th of September the Mussulman army
encamped on the west of the town, and extended itself from the tower of David
to the gate of St. Stephen. The Temple could no longer furnish its brave
warriors for the defence of the holy sanctuary of the Christians; two
miserable knights, with a few serving brethren, alone remained in its now
silent halls and deserted courts.
After a siege of fourteen days, a breach
was effected in the walls, and ten banners of the prophet waved in triumph on
the ramparts. In the morning a barefoot procession of the queen, the women,
and the monks and priests, was made to the holy sepulchre, to implore the Son
of God to save his tomb and his inheritance from impious violation. The
females, as a mark of humility and distress, cut off their hair and cast it to
the winds; and the ladies of Jerusalem made their daughters do penance by
standing up to their necks in tubs of cold water placed upon Mount Calvary.
But it availed nought; "for our Lord Jesus Christ," says a Syrian Frank,
"would not listen to any prayer that they made; for the filth, the luxury, and
the adultery which prevailed in the city, did not suffer prayer or
supplication to ascend before God."
A.D. 1187. On the surrender of the
city (October 2, A.D. 1187) the Moslems rushed to the Temple in thousands.
"The Imauns and the doctors and expounders of the wicked errors of Mahomet,"
says Abbot Coggleshale, who was then in Jerusalem suffering from a wound which
he had received during the siege, "first ascended to the Temple of the Lord,
called by the infidels Beit Allah, (the house of God,) in which, as a
place of prayer and religion, they place their great hope of salvation. With
horrible bellowings they proclaimed the law of Mahomet, and vociferated, with
polluted lips, ALLAH Acbar--ALLAH Acbar, (GOD is victorious.)
They defiled all the places that are contained within the Temple; i. e. the
place of the presentation, where the mother and glorious virgin Mary delivered
the Son of God into the hands of the just Simeon; and the place of the
confession, looking towards the porch of Solomon, where the Lord judged the
woman taken in adultery. They placed guards that no Christian might enter
within the seven atria of the Temple; and as a disgrace to the Christians,
with vast clamour, with laughter and mockery, they hurled down the golden
cross from the pinnacle of the building, and dragged it with ropes throughout
the city, amid the exulting shouts of the infidels and the tears and
lamentations of the followers of Christ." *
When every Christian had been removed
from the precincts of the Temple, Saladin proceeded with vast pomp to say his
prayers in the Beit Allah, the holy house of God, or " Temple of the
Lord," erected by the Caliph Omar. He was preceded by
five camels laden with rose-water, which he had procured from
[paragraph continues] Damascus, *
and he entered the sacred courts to the sound of martial music, and with his
banners streaming in the wind. The Beit Allah, "the Temple of the
Lord," was then again consecrated to the service of one God and his prophet
Mahomet; the walls and pavements were washed and purified with rose-water; and
a pulpit, the labour of Noureddin, was erected in the sanctuary.
The following account of these transactions was forwarded to Henry the Second,
king of England.
"To the beloved Lord Henry, by the grace of
God, the illustrious king of the English, duke of Normandy and Guienne, and
count of Anjou, Brother Terric, formerly Grand Preceptor of the house
of the Temple AT JERUSALEM, sendeth greeting,--salvation through him who
"Know that Jerusalem, with the citadel of
David, hath been surrendered to Saladin. The Syrian Christians, however, have
the custody of the holy sepulchre up to the fourth day after Michaelmas, and
Saladin himself hath permitted ten of the brethren of the Hospital to remain
in the house of the hospital for the space of one year, to take care of the
sick . . . . . Jerusalem, alas, hath fallen; Saladin hath caused the cross to
be thrown down from the summit of the Temple of the Lord, and for two days to
be publicly kicked and dragged in the dirt through the city. He then caused
the Temple of the Lord to be washed within and without, upwards and downwards,
with rose-water, and the law of Mahomet to be proclaimed throughout the four
quarters of the Temple with wonderful clamour. . . ."
Bohadin, Saladin's secretary, mentions as a
A.D. 1187. happy circumstance, that the
holy city was surrendered to the sultan of most pious memory, and that God
restored to the faithful their sanctuary on the twenty-seventh of the month
Regeb, on the night of which very day their most glorious prophet Mahomet
performed his wonderful nocturnal journey from the Temple, through the seven
heavens, to the throne of God. He also describes the sacred congregation of
the Mussulmen gathered together in the Temple and the solemn prayer offered up
to God; the shouting and the sounds of applause, and the voices lifted up to
heaven, causing the holy buildings to resound with thanks and praises to the
most bountiful Lord God. He glories in the casting down of the golden cross,
and exults in the very splendid triumph of Islam. *
Saladin restored the sacred area of the Temple
to its original condition under the first Mussulman conquerors of Jerusalem.
The ancient christian church of the Virgin (otherwise the mosque Al Acsa,
otherwise the Temple of Solomon) was washed with rose-water, and was once
again dedicated to the religious services of the Moslems. On the western side
of this venerable edifice the Templars had erected, according to the Arabian
writers, an immense building in which they lodged, together with granaries of
corn and various offices, which enclosed and concealed a great portion of the
edifice. Most of these were pulled down by the sultan to make a clear and open
area for the resort of the Mussulmen to prayer. Some new erections placed
between the columns in the interior of the structure were taken away, and the
floor was covered with the richest carpets. "Lamps innumerable," says Ibn
Alatsyr, "were suspended from the ceiling; verses of the Koran were again
inscribed on the walls; the call to prayer was again heard; the bells were
silenced; the exiled faith returned to its ancient sanctuary; the devout
A.D. 1187. again bent the knee in adoration
of the one only God, and the voice of the imaun was again heard from the
pulpit, reminding the true believers of the resurrection and the last
The Friday after the surrender of the city, the
army of Saladin and crowds of true believers, who had flocked to Jerusalem
from all parts of the East, assembled in the Temple of the Lord to assist in
the religious services of the Mussulman sabbath. Omad, Saladin's secretary,
who was present, gives the following interesting account of the ceremony, and
of the sermon that was preached. "On Friday morning at daybreak," says he,
"every body was asking whom the sultan had appointed to preach. The
Temple was full; the congregation was impatient; all eyes were fixed on the
pulpit; the ears were on the stretch; our hearts beat fast, and tears trickled
down our faces. On all sides were to be heard rapturous exclamations of 'What
a glorious sight! What a congregation! Happy are those who have lived to see
the resurrection of Islam.' At length the sultan ordered the judge
(doctor of the law) Mohieddin Aboulmehali-Mohammed to fulfil the sacred
function of imaun. I immediately lent him the black vestment which I had
received as a present from the caliph. He then mounted into the pulpit and
spoke. All were hushed. His expressions were graceful and easy; and his
discourse eloquent and much admired. He spake of the virtue and the sanctity
of Jerusalem, of the purification of the Temple; he alluded to the silence of
the bells, and to the flight of the infidel priests. In his I prayer he named
the caliph and the sultan, and terminated his discourse with that chapter of
the Koran in which God orders justice and good works. He then descended from
A.D. 1187. and prayed in the Mihrah.
Immediately afterwards a sermon was preached before the congregation." *
This sermon was delivered by Mohammed Ben
Zeky. "Praise be to God," saith the preacher, "who by the power of his
might hath raised up Islamism on the ruins of Polytheism; who governs all
things according to his will; who overthroweth the devices of the infidels,
and causeth the truth to triumph. . . . . I praise God, who hath succoured his
elect; who hath rendered them victorious and crowned them with glory, who hath
purified his holy house from the filthiness of idolatry. . . . . I bear
witness that there is no God but that one great God who standeth alone and
hath no partner; sole, supreme, eternal; who begetteth not and is not
begotten, and hath no equal. I bear witness that Mahomet is his servant, his
envoy, and his prophet, who hath dissipated doubts, confounded polytheism, and
put down LIES, &c. . . . .
"O men, declare ye the blessings of God, who
hath restored to you this holy city, after it has been left in the power of
the infidels for a hundred years. . . . . This holy house of the Lord hath
been built, and its foundations have been established, for the glory of God. .
. . . This sacred spot is the dwelling place of the prophets, the kebla,
(place of prayer,) towards which you turn at the commencement of your
religious duties, the birth-place of the saints, the scene of the revelation.
It is thrice holy, for the angels of God spread their wings over it. This is
that blessed land of which God hath spoken in his sacred book. In this house
of prayer, Mahomet prayed with the angels who approach God. It is to this spot
that all fingers are turned after the two holy places. . . . . . This
conquest, O men, hath opened unto you
A.D. 1187. the gates of heaven; the angels
rejoice, and the eyes of the prophets glisten with joy. . . . . . *
Omad informs us that the marble altar and
chapel which had been erected over the sacred rock in the Temple of the Lord,
or mosque of Omar, was removed by Saladin, together with the stalls for the
priests, the marble statues, and all the abominations which had, been placed
in the venerated building by the Christians. The Mussulmen discovered with
horror that some pieces of the holy stone or rock had been cut off by the
Franks, and sent to Europe. Saladin caused it to be immediately surrounded by
a grate of iron. He washed it with rose-water and Malek-Afdal covered it with
After the conquest of the holy city, and
the loss of the Temple at Jerusalem, the Knights Templars established the
chief house of their order at Antioch, to which place they retired with Queen
Sibylla, the barons of the kingdom, and the patriarch Heraclius.
The following account of the condition of the
few remaining christian possessions immediately after the conquest of
Jerusalem, was conveyed by the before-mentioned Brother Terric, Grand
Preceptor of the Temple, and Treasurer General of the order, to Henry the
Second, king of England.
"The brothers of the hospital of Belvoir as yet
bravely resist the Saracens; they have captured two convoys, and have
valiantly possessed themselves of the munitions of war and provisions which
were being conveyed by the Saracens from the fortress of La Feue. As yet,
also, Carach, in the neighbourhood of Mount Royal, Mount Royal itself, the
Saphet, the hospital of Carach, Margat, and Castellum Blancum, and the
territory of Tripoli, and the territory of Antioch, resist Saladin. . . . .
From the feast of Saint Martin up to that of the circumcision of the Lord,
Saladin hath besieged Tyre incessantly, by night and by day, throwing into it
immense stones from thirteen military engines. On the vigils of St. Silvester,
the Lord Conrad, the Marquis of Montferrat, distributed knights and foot
soldiers along the wall of the city, and having armed seventeen galleys and
ten small vessels, with the assistance of the house of the Hospital and the
brethren of the Temple, he engaged the galleys of Saladin, and vanquishing
them he captured eleven, and took prisoners the great admiral of Alexandria
and eight other admirals, a multitude of the infidels being slain. The rest of
the Mussulman galleys, escaping the hands of the Christians, fled to the army
of Saladin, and being run aground by his command, were set on fire and burnt
to ashes. Saladin himself, overwhelmed with grief, having cut off the ears
and the tail of his horse, rode that same horse through his whole army in
the sight of all. Farewell!" *
Tyre was valiantly defended against all the
efforts of Saladin until the winter had set in, and then the disappointed
sultan, despairing of taking the place, burnt his military engines and retired
to Damascus. In the mean time, negotiations had been set on foot for the
release from captivity of Guy king of Jerusalem, and Gerard de Riderfort, the
Grand Master of the Temple. No less than eleven of the most important of the
cities and castles remaining to the Christians in Palestine, including Ascalon,
Gaza, Jaffa, and Naplous, were yielded up to Saladin by way of ransom for
these illustrious personages; and at the commencement of the year 1188, the
Grand Master of the
Temple again appeared in arms at the head of the remaining forces of the
The torpid sensibility of Christendom had
at this time been aroused by the intelligence of the fall of Jerusalem, and of
the profanation of the holy places by the conquering infidels. Three hundred
knights and a considerable naval force were immediately despatched from
Sicily, and all the Templars of the West capable of bearing arms hurried from
their preceptories to the sea-ports of the Mediterranean, and embarked for
Palestine in the ships of Genoa, Pisa, and Venice. The king of England
forwarded a large sum of money to the order for the defence of the city of
Tyre; but as the siege had been raised before its arrival, and as Conrad, the
valiant defender of the place, claimed a title to the throne of Jerusalem in
opposition to Guy de Lusignan, the Grand Master of the Temple refused to
deliver the money into Conrad's hands, in consequence whereof the latter wrote
letters filled with bitter complaints to King Henry and the archbishop of
In the spring of the year 1189, the Grand
Master of the Temple marched out of Tyre at the head of the newly-arrived
brethren of the order, and, in conjunction with a large army of crusaders,
laid siege to Acre. The "victorious defender of the faith, tamer of the
followers of the cross," hastened to its relief, and pitched his tents on the
mountains of Carouba.
On the 4th of October, the newly-arrived
warriors from Europe, eager to signalize their prowess against the infidels,
marched out to attack Saladin's camp. The Grand Master of the Temple, at the
head of his knights and the forces of the order, and a large body of European
chivalry who had ranged themselves
A.D. 1189. under the banner of the Templars,
formed a reserve. The Moslem array was broken by the impetuous charge of the
soldiers of the cross, who penetrated to the imperial tent, and then abandoned
themselves to pillage. The infidels rallied, they were led on by Saladin in
person; and the christian army would have been annihilated but for the
Templars. Firm and immovable, they presented, for the space of an hour, an
unbroken front to the advancing Moslems, and gave time for the discomfited and
panic-stricken crusaders to recover from their terror and confusion; but ere
they had been rallied, and had returned to the charge, the Grand Master of the
Temple was slain; he fell pierced with arrows at the head of his knights; the
seneschal of the order shared the same fate, and more than half the Templars
were numbered with the dead. *
A.D. 1190. To Gerard de Riderfort succeeded
the Knight Templar, Brother WALTER. Never did the flame of enthusiasm burn
with fiercer or more destructive power than at this famous siege of Acre. Nine
pitched battles were fought, with various fortune, in the neighbourhood of
Mount Carmel, and during the first year of the siege a hundred thousand
Christians are computed to have perished. The tents of the dead, however, were
replenished by-new corners from Europe; the fleets of Saladin succoured the
town, the christian ships brought continual aid to the besiegers, and the
contest seemed interminable. Saladin's exertions in the cause of the prophet
were incessant. The Arab authors compare him to a mother wandering with
desperation in search of her lost child, to a lioness who has lost its young.
"I saw him," says his
A.D. 1190. secretary Bohadin, "in the
fields of Acre afflicted with a most cruel disease, with boils from the middle
of his body to his knees, so that he could not sit down, but only recline on
his side when he entered into his tent, yet he went about to the stations
nearest to the enemy, arranged his troops for battle, and rode about from dawn
till eve, now to the right wing, then to the left, and then to the centre,
patiently enduring the severity of his pain." . . . . "O God," says his
enthusiastic biographer, "thou knowest that he put forth and lavishly expended
all his energies and strength towards the protection and the triumph of thy
religion; do thou therefore, O Lord, have mercy upon him." *
At this famous siege died the Patriarch
114 Bernard Thesaur. cap. 157, apud
Muratori script. rer. Ital. p. 792. Cotton MS., Nero E. vi. p. 60,
115 Radulph de Diceto, ut sup. p. 626.
Matt. Par. ad ann. 1185.
115 Hoveden annal. apud rer. Angl.
script. post Bedam, p. 636, 637.
117 The above passage is almost literally
translated from Abbot Bromton's Chronicle. The Patriarch there says to the
king, "Hactenus gloriose regnasti, sed amodo ipse te deseret quem tu
deseruisti. Recole quæ dominus tibi contulit, et qualia illi reddidisti;
quomodo regi Franciæ infidus fuisti, beatum Thomam occidisti, et nunc
protectionem Christianorum abjecisti. Cumque ad hæc rex excandesceret, obtulit
patriarcha caput suum et collum extensum, dicens, 'Fac de me quod de Thomá
fecisti. Adeo libenter volo a te occidi in Anglia, sicut a Saracenis in Syria,
quia tu omni Saraceno pejor es.' Cui rex, 'Si omnes hommes mei unum corpus
essent, unoque ore loquerentur, talia mihi dicere non auderent.' Cui ille,
'Non est mirum, quia tu et non te diligunt, prædam etiam et non hominem
sequitur turba ista.' 'Recedere non possum, quia filii mei insurgerent in me
absentem.' Cui ille, 'Nec mirum, quia de diabolo venerunt, et ad diabolum
ibunt.' Et sic demum patriarcha navem ascendens in Galliam reversus est."--Chron.
Joan. Bromton, abbatis Jornalensis, script. X. p. 1144, ad ann. 1185.
117 Sed hæc omnia præfatus Patriarcha parum
pendebat, sperabat enim quod esset reducturus secum ad defensionem
Ierosolymitanæ terræ præfatum regem Angliæ, vel aliquem de filiis suis, vel
aliquem virum magnæ auctoritatis; sed quia hoc esse non potuit, repatriaturus
dolens et confusus a curiâ recessit.--Hoveden ut sup. p. 630.
118 Contin. Hist. Bell. Sacr. apud
Martene, tom. v. col. 606. It appears from Mansi that this valuable
old chronicle, formerly attributed to Hugh Plagon, is the original French work
of Bernard the Treasurer.
119 Quand le roi avoit offert sa corone au
Temple Dominus, si avaloit uns degrès qui sont dehors le Temple, et entroit en
son pales au Temple de Salomon, ou li Templiers manoient. La etoient les
tables por mengier, ou le roi s’asseoit, et si baron et tuit cil qui mengier
voloient.--Contin. bell. sacr. apud Martene, tom. v. col. 586.
119 Contin. hist. ut sup., col. 593, 4.
Bernard. Thesaur. apud Muratori script. rer. Ital., tom. vii. cap.
147, col. 782, cap. 148, col. 173. Assizes de Jerusalem, cap. 287, 288.
Guill. Neubr. cap. 16.
120 Vita et res gestæ Saladini by Bohadin F.
Sjeddadi, apud Schultens, ex. MS. Arab. Pref.
121 Chron. terræ Sanctæ apud Martene,
tom. y. col. 551. Hist. Hierosol. Gest. Dei, tom, i. pt. ii. p. 1150, 1.
Geoffrey de Vinisauf.
122 Contin. hist. bell. sacr. ut sup., col.
123 Mohammed F. Mohammed, N. Koreisg.
Ispahan, apud Schultens, p. 18.
124 Radulph Coggleshale, as eye-witness,
apud Martene, tom. v. col. .553.
124 Chron. Terræ Sanctæ, apud Martene,
tom. v. col. 558 and 545. A most valuable history.
Kateb-Abou-hamed-Mohamed-Benhamed, one of Saladin's secretaries. Extraits
Arabes, par M. Michaud.
126 Contin. hist. bell. sacr. apud Martene,
tom. v. col. 608. Bernard. Thesaur. apud Muratori script. rer.
Ital., cap. 46. col. 791.
127 Bohadin, cap. 35. Abulfeda.
127 Omad’eddin Kateb, in his book
called Fatah, celebrates the above exploits of Saladin. Extraits Arabes,
Michaud. Radulph Coggleshale, Chron. Terr. San et. apud
Martene, p. 128
tom. v. col. 553 to 559. Bohadin, p. 70. Jac. de Vitr. cap. xciv.
Guil. Neubr. apud Hearne, tom. i. lib. iii. cap. 17, 18. Chron.
Gervasii, apud X. script. col. 1502. Abulfeda, cap. 27.
Abulpharag. Chron. Syr. p. 399, 401, 402. Khondemir. Ben-Schunah.
128 Geoffrey de Vinisauf apud Gale,
script. Antiq. Anglic. p. 15, "O zelus fidei! O fervor animi!" says that
admiring historian, cap. xv. p. 251.
128 Geoffrey de Vinisauf, ut sup. cap.
v. p. 251.
129 Epistola Terrici Præceptoris Templi de
captione terræ Jerosolymitanæ, Hoveden anal. apud rer. Angl. script.
post Bedam, p. 636, 637. Chron. Gervas. ib. col. 1502. Radulph de
Diceto, apud X. script. col. 635.
130 Saladin's letter to the caliph Nassir
Deldin-Illah Aboul Abbas Ahmed.--Michaud, Extraits Arabes.
130 Les dames de Jerusalem firent prendre
cuves et mettre en la place devant le monte Cauviaire, et emplir d’eue
froide, et firent lors filles entrer jusqu’au col, et couper for treices
et jeter les.--Contin. hist. bell. sacr. apud Martene, tom. v. col.
131 Chron. Terra Sancta, Radulphi Coggeshale,
apud Martene, tom. v. col. .572, 573; flentibus christianis, trines et
vestes rumpentibus, pectora et capita tundentibus, says the worthy abbot.
131 See ante, p. 6.
132 Saladin ot mandé a Damas por euë rose assés
por le Temple laver . . . il avoit quatre chamiex ou cinq tous
chargiés.--Contin. hist. Bell. Sacr. col. 621.
132 Bohadin, cap. xxxvi, and the
extracts from Abulfeda, apud Schultens, cap. xxvii. p. 42, 43.
Ib’n Alatsyr, Michaud, Extraits Arabes.
132 Hoveden. annal. apud rer. Angl.
script. post Bedam, p. 645, 646.
133 Bohadin apud Schultens, cap.
134 Ibn-Alatsyr, hist. Arab. and the
Raoudhatein, or "the two gardens." Michaud, Extraits Arabes.
Excerpta ex Abulfeda apud Schultens, cap. xxvii. p. 43.
Wilken Comment. Abulfed. bist. p. 148.
135 Omad’eddin Kateb.--Michaud, Extraits
136 Khotbeh, or sermon of Mohammed
Ben Zeky.--Michaud, Extraits Arabes.
136 See the account of this remarkable stone,
ante p.7, 8.
136 Hist. Hierosol. Gesta Dei per
Francos, tom. i. pt. ii. p. 1155.
137 Hoveden ut sup. p. 646.
Schahab'eddin in the Raoudhatein.--Michaud.
138 Jac. de Vitr. cap. acv. Vinisauf,
apud XV script. p. 257. Trivet ad ann. 1188, apud Hall, p. 93.
138 Radulph de Diceto ut sup. col. 642,
643. Matt. Par. ad ann. 1188.
139 Radulph Coggeshale, p. 574. Hist.
Hierosol. apud Gesta Dei, tom. i. pars 2, p. 1165. Radulph de Diceto ut
sup, col. 649. Vinisauf, cap. xxix. p. 270.
139 Ducange Gloss. tom. vi. p. 1036.
139 Geoffrey de Vinisauf, apud XV
script. cap. xxxv. p. 427. Rad. Coggleshale apud Martene, tom.
v. col. .566, 567. Bohadin, cap. l. to c.
140 Bohadin, cap. v. vi.
140 L’art de verif. tom. i. p 297.