It has been 2 years since I last wrote to you when our army was camped at the gates of Constantinople. I hope that in that time, you and our children have been well, and our lands are providing aptly to your needs for I have done all to prevent losing out our property to finance this holy war, as it requires so much to support this campaign (Gore 2006). My soul’s salvation and the advancement of Christianity only takes as much precedence as your welfare, my love.
As you well know, under the auspices of lord Bohemond of Taranto we have moved from the gates of Constantinople and have made steady progress to the south for the city of Jerusalem. We first encountered resistance as we moved into Asia Minor, and we attempted to take on the Anatolian city capital of Nicaea in the spring of 1097, defended by the same force which annihilated Peter the Hermit’s forces (Gore 2006). We successfully took the city after a month long siege and cut down any reinforcements. One again, we took to march but our forces, divided among the great leaders, diverged. As I suspected, they have no respect for the might of my lord, Bohemond. It is just as well for who would fare in battle fighting with knaves.
When we diverged, we marched on for an astounding 85 miles before we stopped at a grassy meadow (Gore 2006). With the long, difficult trek our foot soldiers were weary and we rested on this piece of heaven. Unbeknownst to all, it was to be a living hell, for, at the dawn of the day to follow, we were attacked. The enemy was upon us, throwing javelins and cutting down knights, soldiers and the camp’s followers. Lord Bohemond arose to the challenge and called upon us, his knights and said, “this day, if it pleases God, you will all have been made rich.” For the glory of my soul and our family, I too, rose to do battle. I must have been lost in the heat and hatred of death for I hacked and cut with blind ardor. Many an enemy fell before my blade that day and it was a miracle that your beloved husband remained unmarred by the sharpened side of enemy steel. Moreover, our mercenaries and regular soldiers finally brought themselves out of their confused state and the ferocity of our defensive stance shocked the Turks. In our time of need, Boehemond’s messenger struck well for reinforcements arrived on time. The attack was repulsed but so many brother knights died that day.
That day of battle left me numb to the killing and violence up until the gates of Jerusalem. On that day, after so much killing ensued, I wonder if my soul is truly saved. And today, within the gates of the holy city of Jerusalem, I still wonder. Pope Urban the II in the Council of Clermont said that God wills it, that we must reclaim this city. But almost exactly two years from that fateful day in July at the grassy meadows, after besieging the walls of this holy city for five weeks, we took the city, but I still wonder is my soul truly saved (Department, 2001)? My comforting thought is that Christianity can once again go on a pilgrimage to this holy site without fear of torture and death from the Muslim threat.
With all the death and destruction that I have seen from the gates of Constantinople to the Holy Sepulcher, the site of our Savior’s resurrection, I still feel bereft of all life. I yearn to be with you once again Hélène and our children. Perhaps God will someday see fit to see me home into your arms again. Until then, I bid you well.
Sir Guillaume Theroulde
Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters. “The Crusades (1095–1291 A.D.)”. In Timeline of Art History. Oct. 2001 New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
5 Dec. 2006 <http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/crus/hd_crus.htm>
Gore, Terry L. “First Crusade: Battle of Dorylaeum”. The HistoryNet.com. 2006.
5 Dec. 2006 <http://www.historynet.com/wars_conflicts/ancient_medieval_wars/3028436.html?showAll=y&c=y>