Puslapio vaizdai

possessed the right of coinage. Ecclesiastically, the Latin states of Syria were organised under two patriarchs -those of Jerusalem and Antioch; and the first archbishop of the kingdom was he of Tyre, whose function it was to crown the King in the Patriarch's absence.

The Salic law did not obtain in the Holy Land; and as, by some mysterious law of population, common also to Frankish Greece, many noble families consisted of daughters only, women played an important part in the crusading states. On two occasions, the election of the Patriarch of Jerusalem (Amaury in 1159 and Heraclius in 1180) was due to female influence; and, on the second of these, the personal predilection of the Queen-Mother Agnes prevailed (to the great detriment of Church and State alike) over the disinterested advice of William of Tyre, who urged the election of a candidate from beyond the sea, and recalled an old prophecy that, as the Emperor Heraclius had brought the true cross to Jerusalem, so in the time of another Heraclius would it be lost a prophecy verified at the battle of Hattin.*

The competition for the hands of noble heiresses was another result of the extinction of families in the male line; it frequently caused serious political complications and encouraged penniless adventurers, like Guy de Lusignan, whose success aroused the jealousy of less fortunate rivals. Thus, the great disaster of Hattin, which led to the fall of Jerusalem in 1187, was indirectly due to the revenge of an Englishman, Girard de Rideford, for his failure as a suitor. He had come to the Holy Land as a knight-errant to make his fortune; and Count Raymond II of Tripolis had promised him the hand of his ward, the wealthy heiress of Boutron. A rich Pisan, however, arrived with a weighing-machine, placed the lady (probably an opulent beauty) in one scale and his money-bags in the other, and gave the Count her weight in gold. The baffled Briton became a Templar and rose to be Seneschal and Master of the Order, but never forgot how he had been cheated,† and persuaded the weak monarch to reject Raymond's strategy on the eve of Hattin.

* Recueil des Hist., Hist. Occid.,' ii, 47, 58.

† Ib., ii, 36, 50; Archives de l'Orient Latin,' i, 663-8.

An even more romantic but equally fatal example was that of Renaud de Châtillon, who, coming to Palestine as a younger son to seek his fortune in the suite of Louis VII of France at the time of the Second Crusade, married the widowed Princess-Regent of Antioch, and governed the Principality for his stepson. Local gossips, and especially the Patriarch, criticised this mésalliance; whereupon the audacious Frenchman had the Patriarch stripped, smeared with honey, and exposed, a feast for the flies, during a long summer day. A born soldier of fortune, he put his sword at the disposal of the Greek Emperor for an attack on an Armenian baron, and, when a little difference arose as to the pay. ment of the costs of the expedition, paid himself by ravaging the then Greek province of Cyprus. We next find him begging the Emperor's pardon in his shirtsleeves, with a rope round his neck. Then he was captured by the Saracens in the course of a cattle-lifting expedition, and kept for fifteen years a prisoner at Aleppo. Finding, on his liberation, that his wife was dead and his stepson reigning at Antioch, he looked out for a second heiress, and found one in the widowed baroness of Mont Réal. There, in the land beyond Jordan, he was in his element. His next enterprise was, indeed, a bold one. He constructed a flotilla at Krak-'the stone of the Desert,' as it was picturesquely calledconveyed it on camel-back to the Gulf of 'Akaba, and sailed down into the Red Sea with the object of plundering Mecca and Medina, and conquering the Hedjaz and the Yemen. For this daring attempt, and for intercepting, in time of peace, the Moslem caravan, Saladin swore twice to kill him with his own hand. The second of these acts provoked the invasion which led to the capture of Jerusalem; and in Saladin's tent, as a captive after the battle of Hattin, the adventurous Frenchman, who declared that, to princes, treaties were 'scraps of paper,' was beheaded. His seal with the gateway of Krak upon it still survives as a memorial of his strange


The middle class was a far more important body than in either the England or the France of that day. Palestine during the Crusades was not visited exclusively for religious or military reasons. Besides being a goal

of pilgrimage, it was also what California or Australia was in the middle of the last century-a place where shrewd men of business could make money rapidly. Long before the First Crusade, there had been an Italian colony from Amalfi at Jerusalem, in the capture of which a Genoese detachment had assisted; colonies from Venice, Genoa, Pisa, and Marseilles followed; we even find an English quarter' at Acre.* Owing to the small numbers of the nobility, and the constant need of recruiting its ranks after its losses in battle, it was easy for the wealthy members of the middle class to enter the aristocracy, while, from the nature of its occupations, it was thrown into much closer contact with the natives.

Mixed marriages were commoner among the bourgeoisie, although Baldwin I and II and Joscelin I of Edessa married Armenians, and Baldwin III and Amaury I Greeks. The issue of these mixed marriages was known as the Poulains. These half-castes, who corresponded to the Taoμovλor of Frankish Greece, are not depicted in flattering terms by contemporary writers. Jacques de Vitry, the Bishop of Acre, describes them as 'nourished in delights, soft and effeminate, more accustomed to baths than to battles, given to uncleanliness and luxury, dressed in soft garments like women, slothful and idle, cowardly and timid, little esteemed by the Saracens.' With these they were too ready to make peace, and from them they were prone to accept assistance against their fellow-Christians in their internecine quarrels. They were, alike by nature and interest, opposed to the arrival of fresh bodies of Crusaders, because war interfered with their business and interrupted their commercial relations with the Moslems, whose family life they imitated, veiling their wives, shutting them up in Oriental seclusion, and allowing them to go out thrice a week to the baths, but only once a year to church. This undue preference of cleanliness to godliness had disastrous effects, for it led the ladies to intrigue all the more to get out.

The worthy Bishop, speaking doubtless from personal

* Röhricht, 'Regesta Regni Hieros.,' pp. 285, 321, 325.

+ From pullus, a 'colt,' and probably of the same origin as the Moreote termination -όπουλος.

experience, adds that the Poulains swindled the ingenuous pilgrims by overcharges at inns, by exorbitant prices in shops, and by giving them poor exchange. Worse still, they despised these Christian boxers' and exiles, calling them fatuous idiots for their pains-for to the Poulains the Holy Land had no halo. They wore flowing robes, as even the first King of Jerusalem had done, while a coin of Tancred of Antioch represents him with a turban; and their whole outlook was Oriental rather than European. Indeed, Foucher, Baldwin I's chaplain, remarked quite early how soon the Westerner became an Easterner in Palestine, and how the Crusader who married an Armenian or a Syrian soon forgot the land of his birth, adopting the comfortable maxim-'ubi bene, ibi patria.' Hence the marked contrast between the Frankish residents, and still more the Poulains, and the newlyarrived Crusaders. Hence, too, the often far too harsh judgments passed by the latter, especially after the Second Crusade in 1148. Like the Philhellenes who went to Greece in the War of Independence, expecting to find the Peloponnese peopled by the superhuman heroes of Plutarch instead of by men like themselves, they did not realise that poor human nature, even under conditions far more favourable, could not have possibly shone resplendent in the tremendous setting of the Holy Land. Consequently, they were often disillusioned, whereas men like William of Tyre, born and living in the country, were far fairer in their judgments, because they measured the Holy Land by the standard of other and more prosaic lands and not by the unattainable perfection of the greatest figure in all history, with whom it must ever be associated.


Society in the Crusading States was, it must be remembered, even apart from the Poulains, an extraordinary mixture of races. Even an Austrian army does not contain so many nationalities as the Crusaders. The Franks, as they were generically called, included Normans (at first the dominant race), French (who ousted the Normans, and thenceforth maintained their influence, culture, and language, as they did nearly two centuries later at the Court of Athens), English, Welsh, Irish, Scots, Flemings, Italians, Germans (not very

numerous), and Scandinavians. De Vitry considered the Italians the most satisfactory. He describes them as

'prudent, temperate in eating and drinking, ornate and prolix in speaking, but circumspect in counsel, diligent in managing their own public affairs, and a very necessary element in the country, not only in battle, but at sea and in business, especially in the import trade. Since they are sober in food and drink, they live longer than other Western nations in the East'; and they would be very formidable to the Saracens, if they would cease fighting among themselves.' Unfortunately, the rivalries between Venetians, Genoese, and Pisans were even more serious than the feuds between the Normans and the French; and the possession of the Church of St Saba at Acre (two pillars of which are now outside St Mark's, Venice) led to an Italian colonial war, in which we may find one cause of the final loss of the Holy Land. These Italian colonies, indeed, formed practically an imperium in imperio. Their respective quarters in the Syrian towns were the property of their Governments, which appointed their officials (called 'Consuls' in the Genoese and Pisan colonies, Bailies' in the Venetian), often from among the most celebrated families of the Venetian Republic. Venice had also what we should call a Consul-General, a 'Baily' for all Syria; and both she and Genoa received a large portion of the harbour dues at Tyre and Acre. The Italian colonies had their own tribunals, like the consular courts in Turkey in our own day. Thus, Italian interests in the Holy Land were considerable and mainly commercial. To Venice and Genoa foreign affairs werethe affairs of their merchants. The French and the English settlers (says De Vitry) were

'less composed and more impetuous, less circumspect in action and more full of superfluity in food and drink, more lavish in expense and less cautious in talk, hasty in counsel, but more fervent in almsgiving and more vehement in battle, most useful for the defence of the Holy Land, and very formidable to the Saracens.'

Besides these various elements among the Crusaders, Palestine contained a large variety of indigenous races. Of these the native Christians of Arab speech,

« AnkstesnisTęsti »