A History of Deeds Done Beyond the Sea by William of Tyre

A History of Deeds Done Beyond the Sea by William of Tyre is in Late Medieval Books.


Translated and Annotated by EMILY ATWATER BABCOCK and A. C. KREY. 1943.

A History of Deeds Done Beyond the Sea by William of Tyre 15th Book Emperor John and the Latin States

A History of Deeds Done Beyond the Sea by William of Tyre 15th Book Emperor John and the Latin States Chapter 27

The king, while pursuing a hare in the plain of Acre is thrown headlong from his horse; he dies and is buried at Jerusalem with his predecessors.

It happened in those days, when autumn was over, that the king and queen were sojourning for a time at the city of Acre. In order to vary the monotony by some agreeable recreation, the queen expressed a desire to go out of the city to a certain place in the suburbs where there were many springs. That she might not lack the pleasure of his company, the king attended her with his usual escort. As they were riding along, the servants who had preceded the train happened to rouse a hare which was lying in a furrow. It fled, followed by the shouts of all. The king, impelled by evil fate, seized his lance and joined the pursuit. In vigorous chase, he began to urge on his horse in that direction. Finally, the steed, driven to reckless speed, stumbled and fell. The king was thrown headforemost to the ground. As he lay there stunned by the pain of the fall, the saddle struck his head and his brains gushed forth from both ears and nostrils. The members of his escort, those in advance and those following him, overcome with horror at the frightful accident, rushed to his aid as he lay on the ground. They found him unconscious, however, unable to speak or understand.

When the queen was informed of her husband's unexpected death, she was pierced to the heart by the sinister disaster. She tore her garments and hair and by her loud shrieks and lamentations gave proof of her intense grief. Flinging herself upon the ground she embraced the lifeless body. Tears failed her through continual weeping; frequent sobs interrupted her voice, as she tried to give expression to her grief; nor could she do justice to it, although she cared for naught save to satisfy her anguish. The people of the household also manifested their grief by tears, words, and aspect and gave plain proof of great sorrow.

The king's deplorable accident soon became known. Rumor, on swift wings, spread the news throughout the city of Acre. Crowds flocked to the scene, all eager to convince themselves of the unspeakable disaster. Tearfully they bore him thence to the city, where he lived until the third day, unconscious but still breathing. Thus, on November lo, in the year 1142 of the Incarnation of our Lord and of Folk's reign the eleventh, his life was brought to a close in a good old age31.

His body was borne thence to Jerusalem with fitting honors. The entire body of clergy and people went out to meet the funeral train. He was buried with royal magnificence among his kingly predecessors of blessed memory in the church of the Sepulchre of the Lord, at the foot of Mount Calvary, by the gate as one enters on the right. William, the venerable patriarch of Jerusalem, conducted the royal obsequies.

King Fulk left two children who had not yet attained the age of manhood: Baldwin, the eldest, then thirteen years old, and Amaury, aged seven. The royal power passed to the Lady Melisend, a queen beloved of God, to whom it belonged by hereditary right.

Note 31. The Latin here is rather ambiguous, quarta demiim die, idibus videlicet Novembris. It might be read as meaning "on the fourth day of his illness, i.e,, on the Ides of November" which is November 13, or "on the fourth day of the Ides of November" which is November 10. In this instance it clearly has the first meaning, but William himself later read it with the second meaning (Book XVI, chap. 3), The text carries the year 1142, but all 'the evidence points to 1143 as the year of Fulk's death. The date of Fulk's death, so vital in the chronology of the Latin kingdom, has been confused by William's dating. This may be merely a typographical or copyist's error, for it is not consistent with his other references to the event. Mile Chartrou, on the basis of local Angevin records as well as a review of all known evidence, concludes that it could not have occurred before late 1143, fixing the other terminal date as March 26, 1144. She prefers 1144 on the basis of local western records (Josephe Chartrou, L'Anjou de 1109 á 1151, pp. 234-36). La Monte, who has reviewed the matter more recently, is convinced that her evidence does not preclude November, 1143 (La Monte, Feudal Monarchyy pp, 14-15, note 3). Normally there would be no ship sailing from Palestine as late as November, and the West would not have learned of his death before 1144 even if a special courier had been dispatched immediately. La Monte prefers November 10, 1143, the date of Fulk's death.