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Courage and Obedience

Hugh O’Reilly

Even the enemies of the Crusaders admired their invincible courage and determination that touched on the sublime. A letter written by the Patriarch of Armenia to Saladin tells us how the soldiers and nobles of the army of Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa (Red Beard) had the strength necessary to resist the terrible trials through which they passed.

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The invicible courage of the Crusaders raised admiration even in their enemies
The Patriarch wrote:

“The Germans are extraordinary men: they have an indestructible will. Nothing can turn them aside from their set goal. The army is under the strictest discipline - a fault never goes without a punishment. A singular thing: they avoid all pleasures! Woe to the one who indulges in some sensuality! This rigor results from their sadness to lose Jerusalem. As a sign of penance, they avoid any precious material in their clothing, preferring to wear iron. Their patience in bearing fatigue and adversity is more than one can believe.”

Ansbert, an eye witnesses to the 2nd Crusade, remarks along the same vein: “Who would not be moved to tears at seeing Bishops and illustrious knights, weak and infirm, being carried on their cots through the steep cliffs on horseback? At seeing squires, their faces covered with sweat, carrying their sick lords upon their shields? It is, however, their love for He who directs the steps of men, their desire for the celestial homeland, that make them support all these trials without complaint.”

Selected and based upon J.F. Michaud
História das Cruzadas, p. 39

Posted July 25, 2009
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