Page 1327

1327 THE CRUSADES-THE FIRST CRUSADE.

then set out in no enviable mood to prosecute

their march toward Jerusalem.

Departing from the scene of their victorious discomfiture, the Crusaders set out

in two divisions. The first and by far the

larger force was commanded by the Counts

Godfrey, Raymond, Hugh and Robert of

Flanders. The other and more warlike

army composed for the most part of the

Norman knights, was under the lead of Short

Hose, Boemund, and Tancred. The first division advanced across the plain of Dorylaeum, and the other entered the valley of Dogorgan. Ten days after their departure,

namely, on the 30th of June, the warriors

under the lead of Boemund pitched their

tents in what was deemed a secure position

and prepared for the rest of the night. Early

on the following morning Greek spies hurried

into the camp and announced the approach

of the sultan with two hundred thousand

men. Before the Crusaders could prepare

for the onset, clouds of dust boiled up on the

horizon, and the Turks bore down at full

speed to battle.

Now it was that the powers of Boemund

of Tarento shone with unequaled luster.

The camp was hastily surrounded with

a palisade formed with the wagons. Behind this the non-combatants were placed

for safety, and the knights, vaulting into

their saddles, quickly took the battleline,

with Short Hose and Tancred furious for

the fight. Scarcely was the order of the

conflict set when the white turbans and

green sashes and long spears of the Turks

flashed out of the dust cloud and broke

upon the Christians. Then followed the

blowing of horns, the roll of drums, the yell

of the Saracens, and the cloud of darts descending with deadly din and rattle upon

the armor of the Norman horsemen. Called

by the javelins which set the horses in a

foam of rage and fear, the Crusaders dashed

into the small river which separated them

from the enemy, and rushed hand to hand

with their assailants. The skillful Turks

opened their lines, and the Christians seemed

to beat the air. Then the enemy wheeled,

returned to the fray, discharged their arrows, and again sped out of reach. Many

of the knights reeled from their saddles

and fell. Horses dashed wildly about the

field. Confusion and rout seemed to impend over the Christian army. Count Robert

of Paris and forty of his comrades were

killed. The sultan, with a body of picked

cavalry, dashed across the stream, and

captured the camp of the Crusaders. At

the critical moment, when all seemed well-nigh lost, Robert Short Hose burst with

a fresh body of horsemen upon the astonished

Turks, and several of their leaders bit the

dust under the flashing swords of the Normans. In another part of the field Boemund rallied his men to the charge, and retook the camp. Nevertheless the odds against

the Christians were as five to one, and it

seemed impossible that the fight could be long

maintained. The Crusaders were beaten back

into the encampment. Despair was settling

down on the heroic band when the shrill bugles

of Godfrey were heard in the distance, and in a

moment more than fifty thousand sabers flashing in the sunlight under the banner of Hugh

of Vermandois gleamed over the summit of

the hills behind the Christian camp. It was

now the turn of the sultan to be dismayed.

His bugles sounded a retreat, and the Turks

fell back rapidly, pursued by the Crusaders.

The lines of the enemy were broken, and the

Saracens soon found themselves hemmed in on

every side, and slashed by the swords of the

Crusaders. Backed against the hills, flight was

impossible. The host was cut down by thousands, and the sultan, with a few survivors,

could hardly bolster up the courage of his

countrymen with a lying report of victory.

The Turkish camp, rich in provisions, treasures, camels, and tents, fell into the hands of

the conquerors. The priests of the crusading

army chanted a hymn of victory, and the outline of the triumphant cross was seen in the

Valley of Dogorgan.

The Crusaders might with good reason celebrate their victory. It was now evident that

the Saracens were not able to stand before

them in battle. The courage of the conquerors arose with the occasion, and with renewed

enthusiasm they took up their march towards

Antioch. The expedition had not proceeded

far, however, until a change came over the

dreams of the Christians. The sultan of Nice,

unwilling to hazard another engagement,

adopted the policy .of laying waste the country, to the end that his enemies might starve.

The army of the princes soon came into a region where no food was to be found for man