Page 1398

1398 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE MODERN WORLD.

element of discord and danger was introduced in the jealousies and intrigues which

at once sprang up among so many eminent

leaders. Within the city were the ravages

of disease and famine, yet the residue of the

courageous people held out for seventeen

months. When at last neither passive endurance nor actual bravery availed any

longer to keep the Crusaders at bay, the

latter burst into the city and found themselves in a metropolis of death.

The other cities of Egypt were greatly

alarmed by the capture of Damietta. The

consternation spread throughout all Syria,

and for once the Christians were completely

masters of the situation. For the time

they might have dictated to the terrified

Moslems whatever terms they chose to offer.

Meanwhile, Coradinus and Camel, two sons

of Saphadin, both weaklings, had been seated

on the respective thrones of Damascus and

Cairo. It were hard to say which of these

two princes was now more seriously distressed. Camel saw his stronghold wrested

from his grasp, while Coradinus remembered

that the Crusaders were only warring in

Egypt with a view to making sure the conquest of Palestine. Both the sultans were

anxious for peace. He of Damascus demolished the fortifications of Jerusalem and

joined with his brother in offering to cede that

city and all Palestine to the Christians on the

single condition that they should withdraw

from Egypt. Thus at last, upon the camp of

the Crusaders, pitched on the sands of Lower

Egypt, arose out of the Syrian desert the

glorious sun of success, flashing his full beams

on the spires and Necropolis of Cairo.

The more conscientious soldiers of the Cross

were anxious to accept the terms which were

offered by the brother sultans. Why should

they war any longer since the sepulcher of

Christ and all the sacred places of the Holy

Land were now freely, almost abjectly, offered

by the cowering representatives of Islam? The

king of Jerusalem, the French and English

barons, and the Teutonic knights eagerly favored the conclusion of a treaty. But the

Templars and Hospitallers, together with the

Italian leaders, influenced partly by their insane lust for the treasure-houses of Egypt and

partly by the stupid bigotry of Cardinal

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