Page 1403

1403 THE CRUSADES-FALL OF THE CROSS.

made his way victoriously to the very walls

of Damascus, and returned laden with booty.

The effect of this success, however, was presently worse than a reverse. The counts of

Bar and Montfort, emulating the fame

gained by the Lord of Brittany, led their

forces in the direction of Gaza, and were

disastrously routed by the Moslems. De Bar

was slain and Montfort taken prisoner. The

king of Navarre was constrained to gather up

the remnants of the French army and retreat

to Acre.

In these expeditions led by the barons

of France the Hospitallers and Templars

took little part. It was evident that the

Knights had no sympathy with any movement by which glory might accrue to others

than themselves. Finding in this defection

of the two military orders a good excuse for

such a course, the French nobles collected

their followers, and taking ship from Acre

returned to Europe.

In the mean time the more tardy but more

resolute English came upon the scene which

the continental lords had just abandoned.

They were led by one well calculated to

achieve great victories, even by the terror of

his name-Richard, earl of Cornwall, brother

to Henry III of England, and nephew to the

Lion Heart. Such was the fame of the Plantagenet that on his arrival at Acre he was almost immediately placed in control of the

affairs of the kingdom, and as the hopes of

the Christians rose, the fears of the Moslems

were excited.

Nor was the great Earl Richard slow to

avail himself of the various conditions favorable to success. It happened that on his

arrival in Palestine, the sultans of Cairo

and Damascus had fallen into dissensions,

and were pursuing different policies with

respect to the Christians. Richard, emboldened by a knowledge of this fact, at once

demanded of the emir of Karac the restoration of the prisoners taken by that high

Turk in the battle of Gaza. When the emir

refused or neglected to release his captives,

the English forces set out towards Jaffa to

enforce compliance, but the Moslems durst

not resist one who carried the terrible sword

of Plantagenet. The prisoners were liberated

before the Christians struck a blow. One

success quickly followed another, until with

little bloodshed all that the Crusaders had contended for since the capture of the Holy

City by Saladin was accomplished. The humble sultans made haste to renew their offers of

peace. Richard acceded to their proposals,

for these were all that he or the most sanguine

of the Western princes could have desired. It

was solemnly agreed by the Moslems that Jerusalem, with the greater part of the territory

which had belonged to the kingdom in the

times of Baldwin l should be absolutely

given up to the Christians. In addition to this

prime concession it was stipulated that all captives held by the Turks should be liberated

without ransom. Thus by a single and almost

bloodless campaign, headed by the English

prince, was the reconquest of the Holy Land

at last effected. The Crescent was replaced by

the Cross in the city of David, and Richard

and his barons, well satisfied with the result,

departed for their homes. The immediate care

of Jerusalem was left to the Patriarch of that

sacred metropolis and to the Hospitallers, who

undertook the rebuilding of the walls. As to

the crown of the kingdom, the same was decreed to Frederick II, who had previously

assumed the somewhat dubious honor in the

Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

For the moment, it now appeared that the

epoch of the Crusades was closed with the

complete triumph of the Christians. The

essential question at issue had been decided

in their favor. It happened, however, that

just as this auspicious state succeeded the

century and a half of war, a new element

was introduced into the Syrian problem.

The story of the great invasion of Genghis

Khan and his Monguis has already been

recited in the preceding volume of this work.

It is only necessary in this connection to

note the fact that in the overthrow of the

Persian Emperor by the Monguis, the Corasmins of that region were driven from

their seats of power to make room for the

conquerors. These Corasmins made their

way to the west at the very time when the

victorious Earl of Cornwall was reestablishing the kingdom of Jerusalem. Within

two years after that event, the Persian

brigands, acting under the advice and guidance of the Emir of Egypt, himself justly

offended by some hostilities of the Templars, broke into Palestine twenty thousand

strong, and under the leadership of their