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The History Of The First Crusade Of King Louis Ix Of France

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At Easter in the year of Grace 1248 I summoned my men and my vassals to Joinville; and on the eve of that easter, when all the men I had summoned had come, my son John, lord of Ancerville, was born of my first wife…All that week we feasted and danced and my brother the lord of Vaucouleurs and the other rich men who were there took it in turns to provide food…On the Friday I said to them, ‘Lords, I am going overseas and I do not know whether I will return. Now step forward; if I have wronged you in any way I will make amends to each of you in turn, just as I have always done to anyone who had any demands to make of me or of my men’. I made amends to them according to the judgements of all the men of my land…

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Because I did not want to take with me a single penny to which I had no right I went to Metz in Lorraine to raise a mortgage on a large part of my land. And you should know that on the day I left our country to go to the Holy Land I did not hold a thousand pounds worth of land, because my lady my mother was still living. And so I went to the Holy Land, taking with me nine knights and being myself the third of three bannerets. And I can recall these things to you because if God, who never failed men, had not helped me I would scarcely have been able to endure such a length of time as the six years I stayed in the Holy Land.

At the time I was preparing to go John, lord of Apremont and count of Sarrebruck by marriage, sent to me and told me that he had settled his expenses for going overseas with nine knights beside himself. And he asked if I would like us to share the hire of a ship. And I agreed: his men and mine hired a ship at Marseilles…. We agreed, the count of Sarrebruck and I, to send our equipment in carts to Auxonne, to put it there on a boat on the River Saône, in order to go as far as Arles, by the way of the Saône and the Rhône.

On the day I left Joinville, I sent for the abbot of Cheminon, who was said to be the most upright member of the Cistercian Order…This abbot of Cheminon gave me my scrip and my staff. And then I left Joinville, not to enter the castle again until my return, on foot, without hose and in my shirt. And so I went to Blécourt and Saint-Urbain I never once looked back to Joinville, for fear that my heart would be moved because of the beautiful castle I was leaving and my two children. I am my companions at the Fontain-l’Archevêque before Donjeux. And there Abbot Adam of Saint-Urbain – may God absolve him – gave me and the nine knights a great number of beautiful jewels. From there we went to Auxonne and we set off from there with all our equipment, which we had ordered to be loaded on boats to go down the Saône from Auxonne as far as Lyons. And our great war-horses were led along the bank beside the boats…

In the month of August we embarked on our boat at the Roche-de-Marseille. On the day we embarked the side of the ship was opened and all our horses which we had to take overseas were loaded. And then the door was closed again and well sealed…When the horses were in, our master mariner…called to his sailors, ‘In the name of God, make sail’.

11 February 2020

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