Page 1331

1331 THE CRUSADES-THE FIRST CRUSADE.

commanders in Antioch was a certain renegade Christian named Emipher. For reasons of his own, in former years he had left

the Cross to follow the Crescent, and by servility and zeal had gained the favor of the

sultan of Antioch. Auxian had taken him

into his official household, and given him an

important command. The chief towers on the

ramparts were committed to his keeping.

The situation suggested to him the profitableness of a reconversion to Christianity.

Looking down into the camp of the Crusaders, he soon descried the figure of one to

whom he deemed it well to open his designs.

This was Boemund of Tarento. Not that

this prince was disloyal to the cause for

which he fought; but he was ambitious in

the last degree, and had long been fixed in

his purpose to conquer a principality of his

own. The great and rich city of Antioch

seemed to be the prize which he had seen

in vision. Such was his frame of mind that

when a secret message was delivered to

him from Emipher, requesting an interview on matters of the highest moment,

he not only scented the treachery which

was intended, but gladly welcomed the

opportunity of gaining his end by dishonorable means.

The meeting was held. The hypocrite

Emipher narrated how Christ had come to

him in a dream and warned him to turn

again to the Cross and to bring forth fruits

meet for repentance. The good Boemund

exhorted him to go on and to follow the

command of the Lord. The result was that

the shrewd Prince of Tarento overreached

the traitor, gained his confidence, and secured from him a promise to deliver Antioch

into his hands.

Boemund now called the Western leaders

together, and offered to gain possession of Antioch on condition that he should be recognized

as prince of the city. At first the proposition

was received with great disfavor. The ambitious leader was rebuked for his scheme, and

like Achilles he went off to his tent in sullen

anger. It was not long, however, until news

was borne to the camp which changed the disposition of the Western princes. The sultans

of Nice and Mossoul had aroused half the

East, and were marching a host of four hundred thousand Moslems for the relief of

Antioch. It was only a question of time when this tremendous force would be hurled upon

the Crusaders. Godfrey, Tancred, and the rest were prudent enough to put aside their

scruples, and, sending for Boemund, they signified to him their willingness that .he should

be prince of Antioch if he would obtain possession of the city. Communication was accordingly opened with Emipher, and it was arranged that on a given night the towers

should be surrendered into the hands of the

Christians.

It was a perilous piece of business. The

traitor was suspected and sent for by Auxian.

Such, however, was his skill as a dissembler,

that he completely reestablished the sultan's

confidence. On the day appointed for the

delivery, the Crusaders withdrew as if abandoning the siege. They hid themselves in a

neighboring valley, and lay there until nightfall. A storm came on and favored the enterprise. The besiegers returned and swarmed

silently around that portion of the rampart

which was held by Emipher. The latter established communication with the Franks

below, and the Lombard engineer was taken

up to the towers to see that every thing

was in readiness for the surrender. When

the signal was at last given for the Crusaders

to plant their ladders and ascend, they

became apprehensive of a double treachery,

and refused to scale the rampart. It was

with the utmost difficulty that Boemund

and a few others, by first climbing the ladders themselves and reporting every thing in

readiness, finally induced their followers to

ascend. It was found that Emipher was in

bloody earnest. There, in the tower, lay the

body of his brother, whom he had butchered

because he refused to be a participant in the

treason.

The turrets were quickly filled with

Christian warriors, and, when all was secure,

they poured down into the city. Trumpets were sounded, and the thunder-struck

Moslems were roused from their slumbers

by the fearful and far resounding cry of

Dieu ie Veuti In the midst of the panic

and darkness they heard the crash of the

Crusaders' swords. Auxian, perceiving that

he had been betrayed, attempted to escape,

but was cut down by his enemies. The

Saracens, rushing to and fro in the night,

were slaughtered by thousands. The gray

dawn of June 4th, 1098, showed the streets