Be Faithful to Your Duty and Fight, But Never Surrender the City

July 9, 2020

Battle of La Forbie, also known as the Battle of Hiribya, October 17 – 18, 1244.

The victory of the Carizmians delivered up the greater part of Palestine to the most redoubtable enemies of the Christian colonies. The Egyptians took possession of Jerusalem, Tiberias, and the cities ceded to the Franks by the prince of Damascus. The hordes of Carismia ravaged all the banks of the Jordan, with the territories of Ascalon and Ptolemaïs, and laid siege to Jaffa. They dragged the unfortunate Gauthier de Brienne¹ in their train, hoping that he would cause a city that belonged to him to open its gates to them: this model of Christian heroes was fastened to a cross before the walls. Whilst thus exposed to the eyes of his faithful vassals, the Carizmians loaded him with insults, and threatened him with instant death if the city of Jaffa offered the least resistance.

Jaffa

Gauthier, braving death, exhorted the inhabitants and the garrison, with a loud voice, to defend themselves to the last extremity. “Your duty,” cried he, “is to defend a Christian city; mine is to die for you and Jesus Christ.” The city of Jaffa did not fall into the hands of the Carizmians, and Gauthier soon received the reward of his generous devotedness. Sent to the sultan of Cairo, he perished beneath the brutal blows of a furious mob, and thus obtained the palm of martyrdom for which he had wished.

 

¹Walter IV the Great of Brienne (French: Gauthier IV le Grand de Brienne (1205–1244) was Count of Brienne 1205–1244.

Joseph François Michaud, History of the Crusades, trans. W. Robson (London: George Routledge and Co., 1852), 2:331–2.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 734

 

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