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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

defenders.

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