1321 THE CRUSADES-THE FIRST CRUSADE.
of swords, lances, poniards, axes, maces, bows
and cross-bows, slings, and indeed every fashion of instrument and missile peculiar to the
warfare of the Middle Ages. Still there was
no true foresight of the difficulties to be encountered. The distance was totally misapprehended. The routes to the East were little
known. The real obstacles to be overcome before a blow could be delivered were either
unheard of or esteemed as trifles. The most
intelligent knights began the extraordinary
march as though it were a hunt or a holiday.
Many took their wives and children with them.
Distinguished barons rode along with their
bugle-horns and blew at intervals as if to sound
the signals of the chase. Some carried hawks
on their wrists, while hounds trotted by the
side of the horses. Even yet the Crusade was
considered rather in the light of a pilgrimage-a demonstration in force against the Infidels-than as a military expedition involving long marches, stubborn sieges, and bloody battles.
CHAPTER XC- THE FIRST CRUSADE.
The pilgrim princes who were now about to direct the chivalry of Europe against the Turks had sufficient prudence to consider the difficulty of subsistence. The countries through which they were to pass were
already half exhausted by the ravages and excesses of the precursive multitudes. It was now agreed among the leaders to set out at different dates and by different routes.
Constantinople was to be the rendezvous.
It was clear that if all the hosts now under
arms were to proceed in one body, the provinces through which they should pass would
be utterly consumed. Europe could survive
only by distributing the stomachs of her
The rabble vanguard of the soldiers
of the Cross had not left a favorable impression on the minds of the Byzantine
Greeks. The Emperor Alexius found reason
to repent of having called from the vasty
deep the perturbed spirits of the West.
Now came the news to Constantinople that
other vast armies, less savage, but more
severe, were on their way to the Eastern
Capital. The Emperor began to see that
he might as well have braved the warriors
of Alp Arslan as to have evoked by his messages such an insatiable host of friends.
From this time forth Alexius was driven
by the winds and tossed. Unable to dictate
by authority and enforce with a menacing
attitude such mandates as seemed necessary
for the preservation of the Empire, he fell
into subterfuge and double dealing-the last
resorts of the weak against the strong. Never
was monarch more beset with perils. He
had himself procured the throne by the
perpetration of a crime. He held it as if
awaiting a visit from Nemesis. A thousand
domestic foes were in the city. Now his