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sapping of the loyalty of his subjects. Bitter

were the persecutions which were directed

against him. When the Empress Iolanta

died at the birth of her son, the anti-German

party insisted that the child should be discarded along with its father, and that the

crown of Jerusalem should be given to Alice,

daughter of Isabella and Henry of Champagne. The latter claimant went over from

Cyprus to Syria to set up her pretensions,

whereupon, in 1230, a civil war ensued between her adherents and the supporters

of Frederick. The party of Alice had greatest

numerical strength, but the Teutonic Knights

remained loyal to their Emperor, and more

than counterbalanced the advantage of his


After the strife had continued for a season, a reconciliation was effected between

Frederick and the Pope. The settlement

was without any sincere foundation on

either side, but was sufficiently meritorious

to bring about a peace in Syria. But in

that country the mischief had already been

accomplished. More than half of the time

of the truce concluded by the Emperor with

Sultan Camel had already run to waste, and

nothing had been done towards securing the

conquests made by the Germans in Palestine.

Perceiving their opportunity in the quarrels and turmoil of the Christians, the Saracen emirs of Syria disclaimed the compact which had been made by their sovereign,

and renewed hostilities. They fell upon

the outposts which had been established by

Frederick, and drove away the defenders.

Pursuing their successes, they attacked and

massacred a large body of Christian Pilgrims on their way from Acre to Jerusalem.

Less atrocious but more serious in its consequences was the defeat of the Templars,

who had undertaken an expedition against

Aleppo. So terrible was the loss inflicted

upon the Knights, that a considerable period

elapsed before they could rally from their

overthrow. One disaster followed another,

and it soon became apparent that, unless a

new Crusade should be speedily undertaken,

the Holy Land would be entirely regained

by the Infidels. The same Church which

had so recently, by neglect and positive opposition, thwarted the efforts of Frederick for

the restoration of the Christian kingdom, now

exerted itself to the utmost to organize a new expedition against the Turks. A great

council was called at Spoleto, where it was

resolved to renew the Holy War, and the

two orders of Franciscan and Dominican

friars were commissioned to preach the Crusade. It appeared, however, that the monks

were lukewarm in the cause, and it was soon

known that the moneys which they procured

for the equipment of armies were finding a

lodgment in their own coffers and the papal

treasury at Rome.

In this way seven years of precious time

were squandered, and still no relief was

brought to the suffering Christians of Palestine. In the interval their fortunes had

constantly run from bad to worse. At last

the sultan of Egypt, incited thereto partly

by the news of the preparations made in

Europe for renewing the war, and partly

by the hope of restoring his own influence

throughout the Moslem dominions, raised an

army, marched against Jerusalem, ejected

the Christians, and shut the gates of the city

against them.

When the news of this proceeding was

carried to Europe the people were everywhere aroused from their apathy. Not even

the selfish and sordid policy of the Pope

and the monks could any longer avail to check

or divert popular indignation from its purpose. The barons of France and England

assumed the Cross, and in spite of papal

opposition and interdict, the Sixth Crusade was organized. In order to make sure

that their object should in no wise be thwarted

the English nobles met at Northampton and

solemnly recorded their vows that within a

year they would in person lead their forces

into Palestine.

Nor were the French barons of highest

rank less active and zealous in the cause.

Count Thibaut-now king of Navarre-the

Duke of Burgundy, the counts of Brittany

and Montfort were the most noble of the

leaders who sprang forward to rally their

countrymen and arm them for the expedition. They even outran the English lords

in the work of preparation, and before the

latter were well on their way the French

were already at Acre preparing a campaign

against the Moslems at Ascalon. The latter

were driven back, and the French, grown

confident, divided their forces. The Count

of Brittany plunged into the enemy's country,