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HISTORICAL SCENES.

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"On the following morning," continues Geoffroy of Ville-Hardoin," after mass had been heard, the crusaders assembled in parliament. And the parliament was held on horseback, in the midst of the fields behind Scutari. There might you have seen many a fine war-horse, and many a brave knight in the saddle. And, all being thus mounted, they consulted together as to the properest way of disposing their army for battle; and the end of their counsels was this:-That Count Baldwin of Flanders should have the van-guard, because he had a very great plenty of arbalisters and archers, and, in sooth, many more men than any other chief in the host; That the second battalia should be formed and led by Count Henry, his brother, and Mathieu of Waulencourt, with other bold knights from their lands, and Count Baldwin of Beauvoir; That the third battalia should be led by the Count of Saint-Pol, Peter of Amiens, Eustace of Canteloup, and Anselm of Caen, together with many a good knight from their lands and from their several countries; That the fourth battalia should be formed by Count Louis of Blois, who was very great, rich, and redoubtable, for he had great plenty of people and of knights; That the fifth battalia should be that of Mathieu de Montmorency, (and Geoffroy of VilleHardoin, Marshal of Champagne, was in this battalia,) and Ogiers of Saint-Chinon, and Manessier de l'Ile, and Milo the Brabanter, and Macaire of Saint-Mainchoix, and John Foisnons, Guy de Chapes, Clarembault his nephew, and Robert of Rosoi, were also among those who formed this fifth battalia; That the sixth battalia should be made by the people of Burgundy; and in this battalia were Oude of Chan-lit, William his brother, Otho de La Roche, Richard de Dampierre, Oude his brother, Guy of Covlans, and the people from their lands and countries; That the seventh battalia should be that of the Marquis Boniface

No. 23.

of Montferrat, for he was very great, and with him were the Lombards, the Tuscans, and the Allemands; And that all the people from the Alps, or that came from the country between Mont-Cenis and the city of Lyons on the Rhone, should form the eighth battalia, and be the rear-guard to the whole.

"On the same day it was also resolved that the army should embark to conquer or die. And, be it known to ye, this was as doubtful an enterprise as ever was undertaken. And then spoke the bishops and the clergy to the people of the army, showing them how much was entrusted to them, and how they were bound to do their duty in this great emprise, and bidding each make his last will and testament, as none could tell how soon God might call him hence: and this was done all through the host right piously.

"And then came the time to embark, and the cavaliers all went on board with their horses; and they were all in complete armour; and the vessels were loosened from their moorings.

The

war-horses were all covered with mail, and were saddled. And the rest of the people were on board the great ships, and the galleys were armed and surrounded by shields. The weather was beautiful. The Emperor Alexis, on the opposite shore, awaited the coming of the Franks, with his great army drawn up in goodly array. Then sounded trumpets, and every galley was taken in tow by her tender, that she might go the faster. No body ever asked which was to go first, but those went fastest that fastest could. And as the galleys drew nigh unto the opposite shore the knights rushed out of them, and counts, barons, dukes, and princes leaped into the sea, with all their armour on, and, having the salt water up to their girdles, they waved their swords over their heads; and the serjeants, and men-at-arms, and the good archers, followed their several chiefs and formed in order of battle, company by company. And the Greeks on the shore, frightened out of their senses at sight hereof, turned their backs and ran away, leaving all [KNIGHT'S PENNY MAGAZINE.]

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that shore to the Franks. And, be it known to ye, never was ground more proudly gained. Then began the good mariners to land the war-horses, and so soon as the horses were a-shore our knights vaulted into the saddle, and were away after the enemy. And Count Baldwin rode at the head of the vanguard, and each battalia rode after him, all in their proper order. And they went up to the spot where the Emperor Alexis had been quartered; but they found he had struck his tents, and had fled across the port of the Golden Horn into the city of Constantinople.

"For the present our barons took up quarters near the mouth of the port, close under the great Tower of Galata, where was a strong iron chain, which was drawn from that suburb right across the mouth of the port of the Golden Horn unto Constantinople; and ye must know that there was no getting into the port without breaking that chain. Well did our counts and barons see that if they did not soon take the great Tower of Galata, and break the strong chain, they would be in very bad case. So they sat down before the Tower, among the Jews, who dwelt in that suburb, and were very wealthy. That night a vigilant watch was kept. On the morrow, at the hour of Tierce, the people in the Tower of Galata made a sally, and those of Constantinople came across the port, in barges and in ships, to help them. Our people ran to their arms. The first that got his men in order was Jacques d'Avesnes; and Messer Jacques was vigorously charged by the Greeks, and was wounded in the body by a sword, and was in mortal peril, when one of his cavaliers, who was mounted already, and who had for name Nicholas de Joulain, rode to the rescue of his Lord, saved him from the foe, and comported himself so valorously that he gained great praise. The sound of alarm had been raised throughout our host; and now our people came running in upon the Greeks from every side; and they soon killed and captured a decent number of them. So that those who had come over from the city to aid those in the suburb ran back towards their barges and ships: of these some were drowned in the port,

and some escaped. And those of the Greeks that returned to the Tower of Galata were followed so closely by the Franks that they could not shut their gates; so the people of the Emperor and our people entered together, fighting hand to hand. There fell a round number in killed and wounded; but soon the Tower was ours, together with all that was in it.

"Thus was the castle of Galata taken, and entrance gained into the port of Constantinople by force. Much were comforted those of our host, who rendered the praise and glory to our Lady the Virgin, and much were those in the strong city discomforted. On the morrow, the chain being broken, our ships, and galleys, and tenders were brought into the harbour. And then council was held by our chiefs to determine whether we should assault the city by land or by sea. Heartily did the Venetians recommend the attack by sea in their ships; but the French said that they were not expert in sea affairs, and that they could fight best on dry land and on horseback."

Eventually it was resolved that the assault should be made both by sea and land. And, on the fifth day after the capture of the tower of Galata, the army was put in motion for the landward walls of Constantinople. On reaching the river Barbyses, which flows into the Golden Horn, between the suburbs of Galata and Pera and the city, they found that the Greeks had destroyed the stone bridge. But, in the course of that day and the following night, the Franks restored the bridge; and the next morning, crossing the Barbyses, they were soon under the treble, lofty walls of the city, on the side where those walls are loftiest and incomparably strongest.

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None," continues honest Geoffroy, "sallied out of the city as we came up, which surely was marvellous, seeing that for every four men in our host there were four hundred men within the walls. Then, up went our tents and banners! And it was a proud sight to see; for the walls of Constantinople on the land side are three leagues in length, and the whole of our host when drawn out in line could only reach to the first of the seven gates and never were so many

people besieged in so strong a city by so few as we were.

"In the meanwhile the Venetians were in the port with their ships, threatening that side of the city, and preparing scaling-ladders, manginals, and slings, and making all things ready for their seaward assault."

But in a day or two the besieged plucked up a little spirit, and began to make frequent sorties from the gates on the land side, which were too many and too far apart to be guarded or even watched by the besiegers. Several

French knights of fame were taken by surprise and killed. These successes so emboldened the Greeks that they sallied more and more frequently, allowing the Franks no rest by day or by night. Geoffroy also tells us that he and his friends were sorely stinted in their provender; that the soldiers could not venture into the country to forage and collect good victual; that fresh meat was not to be had in the camp, and that they had no beans to eat with their salt bacon.*

"In these pains and perils," continues our Marshal of Champagne, "did we pass ten days; but at length, on one fine Thursday morning, our scaling-ladders and all things else were ready for the assault, as well on the side of the Venetians as on the land side. And thus was the assault planned :-Three battaliæ out of the seven were to remain on guard in the camp, and the other four battaliæ were to storm the walls. The Marquis Boniface of Montferrat, and Mathieu de Montmorency, with the men of Burgundy and Champagne, were to remain guard; and Count Baldwin of Flanders was to lead the main assault. Count Henry, Louis Count of Blois, Hugo Count of Saint-Pol, and the knights under their orders, were to carry a barbican which stood near the sea."

on

The Greeks, on the whole, had behaved like effeminate cowards; but when the Franks began the assault, they found in their front a body of men as hardy and valiant as themselves. Ever since the year 1070 the Greek emperors had

Ville-Hardoin uses the word bacon in the sense that we still use it. So does glorious old Rabelais.

retained in their service a strong bodyguard of foreigners drawn from the north of Europe. These men were called collectively the Varanges, or the Northmanni, a name about equally terrible to the unwarlike citizens of Constantinople and to the enemies of the emperor. They came from more than one of those northern countries which have been at all times the cradle of hardy and brave men; some were Danes (and the ponderous Danish battle-axe was the chief weapon of the corps), some were Jutlanders, some Norwegians, some Swedes, some Holsteiners, and some English. Their ranks were swelled at their first formation by the Norman conquest of England; for many of our Anglo-Saxon warriors, after withstanding William the Conqueror for the space of ten years, fled from their native land rather than submit to him, and repaired to Greece in quest of foreign_service and bread. Geoffroy of Ville-Hardoin, who pays the tribute fairly due to their valour, calls them all English and Danes ("Englois et Danois"). After describing how the Franks went to the assault, he continues :

:

"And the walls of the barbican were strongly garnished with English and Danes. And the assault was hard and strong. And by dint of strength our knights and serjeants clomb up the walls, by the scaling-ladders, seeking to establish themselves on the rampart. And, when many had fallen, sixteen of our people got to the wall top, and there fought hand to hand with battle-axes and with swords. And those within the city reinforced those terrible English and Danes, who then drove the Franks from the walls, making two of them prisoners. And those of our people who were captured were carried before the Emperor Alexis; yea, and they were bound with chains. And then the Franks renewed the assault; and a vast number of them were killed, or wounded, or sorely bruised. Whereat the barons of the host were very irate.

"But the Doge of Venice was making good progress on his side of the city, with his galleys and great ships drawn out in line; and that line was three crossbowshots long. And the Venetians, all together, approached the shore of the

port, and soon ran close under the walls and towers, working their manginals with vigour, and using their bows, crossbows, and javelins very deliberately and with a sure aim. And when their platforms and ladders were laid from the ships to the walls,* those within the walls stood forth and fought desperately, in such sort that in many places they and the Venetians were mixed; and so fearful was the noise they raised as they struggled with sword

and spear, that you would have thought heaven, earth, and sea were coming together. And ye must know that those who were in the galleys did not dare set foot on shore.

"But now must ye hear of an extraordinary courage, and an extraordinary miracle; for the Doge of Venice, who was now a very aged man, and quite blind,† stood, armed cap-à-pied, on the deck of his galley, with the gonfalon of Saint Mark before him, and he cried out to his people in the galleys that they must land or he would hang them all. And the blind old doge drove his own galley right ashore. And then all the people were shamed, and began to land as fast as might be. And when the Venetians saw the gonfalon of Saint Mark a-shore, and the galley of their lord the doge fast on the shore, every man of them took shame to himself and made for land. Nay, even the people in the little tenders and transport ships jump out and gain the shore. And those in the great ships, which could not near the edge of the port, get into their barges and row to land as fast as they can. And now are seen grand and marvellous assaults! And Geoffroy, Marshal of Champagne, who writes this book, and who saw every thing with his own eyes, can bear this testimony:-suddenly the great banner [gonfalon] of Saint Mark was seen on the top of one of the towers of the city, and no man ever knew who carried it thither: and more than forty barons witnessed this miracle.‡

*Then, as now, the walls on the side of the port, and on the whole seaward face of Constantinople, were low and weak.

"O! for one hour of blind old Dandolo,
The octogenarian chief, Byzantium's
conquering foe!"

BYRON: Childe Harold. ‡ The banner, no doubt, had been planted

"Now hear a miracle of war! The Greeks within fled from the walls, and the Venetians climbed over the walls, and entered the city as fast as they could, and best as they could; and they spread themselves, hither and thither, and they presently seized twenty-five of the towers of Constantinople, and garrisoned them with their own people. And the Doge of Venice dispatched a messenger to Count Baldwin and the barons who were combating on the land side of the city, to let them know that he had taken twenty-five towers, and that, for a certainty, the Greeks should never retake them. The barons were right joyous; yet, upon consideration, they could not believe all they heard. So the Venetians began to send them horses and palfreys, and other fine things they had captured in the city.

"And when the Emperor Alexis saw that the Venetians were within the city, he began to send such multitudes of people against them, that they saw they could not withstand them; so the Venetians kindled a great fire, and set fire to the houses which were between them and the Greeks; the winds fanned the fire, the flames crackled, and the smoke which arose was so thick that the Greeks could not see our brave people; and in this guise the Venetians retreated into the strong towers which they had seized and conquered. Then the Emperor of Constantinople, with all his host, made a sally on the land side, going out by a gate which was a good league from the host of the Franks. And so many went out with him that it seemed as though all the people of the world were there. He put his army in order of battle in the open plain a little to the east of our camp. When our people saw this they ran to their arms, and, trumpets sounding, they formed their battaliæ.

This day Henry, brother of Count Baldwin of Flanders, kept guard by the great gate of Plakerne, and with him were Mathieu de Vaulaincourt, Baldwin of Beauvoir, and their vassals. But out of

on the town by some adventurous and successful mariner; but the Venetians preferred believing that it had been carried up and unfolded by St. Mark himself; and honest Geoffroy evidently leans to the same belief.

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