[Deeds of Phillip Augustus 1190-91]

71. He also commanded the citizens of Paris that the city of Paris, which the king much loved, should be most carefully enclosed by a fine wall properly fitted with turrets and gates. We have seen this completed in a short space of time. And he ordered the same thing to be done in other cities and castles throughout the kingdom.

72. Now we return to those things that were done at Messina between the two kings aforementioned and how they behaved themselves in foreign parts.

When king Phillip came to Messina in the month of August [actually September 16], he was received with honor in the palace of king Tancred who gave him of his victuals in abundance and would have given him an infinite sum of gold to marry one of his daughters to his son Louis (VIII). But king Phillip, on account of the friendship in which he held the emperor Henry (VI), refrained from a marriage with any of them. Later a dispute which the king of England had over the dowry of his sister with king Tancred was settled in this manner: the king of England had 40, 000 ounces of gold from king Tancred, of which king Phillip had a third, where he ought to have had half, but contented himself with the third for the good of peace. Some noblemen swore also on the king of England's part that one of king Tancred's daughters would be for Arthur, future duke of Brittany. Phillip king of the Franks then celebrated Christmas at Messina and gave many and great gifts to the poor knights, who had lost their goods at sea when a storm blew up: 1, 000 marks to the duke of Burgundy, 600 to the count of Nevers, 400 to Guillaume de Barris, 400 ounces of gold to Guillaume de Mello, 300 to the bishop of Chartres, 300 to M. de Montmorency, 200 to Dreux [de Mello] and 200 to many others, whose names it would take too long to put here. Whatever goods were found for sale there at that time were very dear. A sester of wheat cost 24 Angevin sous, of barley 18 sous, of wine 15 sous, a chicken 12 pennies. King Phillip therefore sent to the king and queen of Hungary to help provision him. Later he sent to the emperor of Constantinople to give aid to the Holy Land and if the king should by God's will return through the emperor's land that the emperor should grant safe passage and the king give him good security for his peaceful entry and exit.

73. A few days later, the king of the Franks formally demanded that the king of England to prepare to sail in mid-March and cross the sea with him. He responded, however, that he could not cross until August. The king of the Franks then sent again and summoned (commonuit) him as his man, that he should cross the sea with him as he had sworn to him and, if he wished, marry the daughter of the king of Navarre, whom the king of England's mother had brought there. But if he was unwilling to cross, he should marry his (Phillip's) sister, as he was bound by oath to do. The king of England flatly refused to do one or the other. The king of the Franks then demanded that those who were bound to him by this oath should carry out what they had sworn. But G. de Ranchon and the vicomte of Châteaudun, answering on behalf of all, conceded what they had sworn to do and sais they would go with him whenever he wished. The king of England was extremely angry about this and swore to disinherit them, which subsequent events proved to be the case. And from this time on there arose discords and envy (invidie) and enmities between the two kings.

74. Phillip king of the Franks desiring greatly to complete the journey he had begun, set to sea in the month of March, reached Acre with all his things after a few days of favorable winds on the eve of Easter, and was received with the greatest joy as if he were an angel of the Lord, with hymns and songs of praise and much shedding of tears, by the whole army which had been besieging Acre for a long time. He at once had his house (domus) made close to the walls of the city and pitched tents at which the enemies of Christ sent missiles with their catapults and arrows with their bows, right up to that house and often beyond it. But later, once he had erected his petraries and mangonels and other engines, he broke so much of the city walls before the arrival of the king of England that the only thing lacking to take the city was the (final) assault. For the king of the Franks was unwilling to assault the city in the absence of the king of England. As soon as the king arrived, the king of the Franks spoke to him to tell him that all were of a single will, to make the assault. The king of England, speaking heart to heart in corde et corde loquens), took counsel how to make the assault and send all whom he could have. King Phillip wanted to start the assault first thing the next day. But the king of England would not permit his men to leave and forbade the Pisans, with whom he had a sworn agreement, to assault, and so the assault failed.n1 Later still, after consultation with both sides, spokesmen (dictatores) were chosen for each side, wise and honest men by whose judgement and counsel the whole army was to be governed. The two kings promised and swore by the faith that they owed to God and his pilgrimage that they would do whatever the two spokesmen said. The two arbiters said that the king of England should send his men into the assault, and place guards at the barriers and have mangonels and other engines raised up, because the king of the Franks did all these things. He refused this, so king Phillip re;eased his own men from the oath which he had made about the government of the army.

75. While the king of England and his men were coming by sea, they passed through the island of Cyprus and took it with their emperor and his daughter and they carried off all their treasures. But eventually, they left the island well fortified with their men, committed their sails to the wind and met up with an amazingly well fortified ship of Saladin's coming to the aid of the city and carrying innumerable glass vessels filled with Greek fire, 50 balistae and a vast abundance of bows and other arms. And in her were some very strong warriors who were all killed by the king of England and his men, and the ship itself was destroyed. Our men took at Tyre another of Saladin's ships, coming to the aid of city of Acre but unable to find a wind, in which there was an abundance of arms and few men.

76. That same year, Frederick the most Christian emperor of the Romans and Germans was on his way to Outremer with his son, the duke of Bohemia, and all his army, when he went the way of all flesh between the city of Nicea in Bithynia and Antioch, leaving his whole army with his son, the duke of Bohemia. [June 10 1191] He escaped from the land of the Turks with but few men, came with them to Acre and ended his natural life there. The emperor Frederick's successor was his son Henry, a man valiant in deeds and brave in the face of the enemy, generous and munificent to all who came before him.

In the year of the Lord 1191, the 15th kalends of May, pope Clement (III) died after two years and five months on the throne, and his successor was Celestine (III) a Roman by birth.n2

That same year in the months of June, July and August, the air was so intemperate because of the large amount of rain that the standing corn germinated into ears and puffballs out in the fields before it could be harvested

Again that same year, on June 23rd, the ev of St. John the Baptists's, while the kings were besieging Acre, there was a solar eclipse in the seventh degree of Cancer, while the moon was in the sixth degree of the same sign and the Dragon's tail in the twelfth, and it lasted for four hours.

77. Next month, the 10th kalends of August, Louis the son of king Phillip took sick with a most serious illness which was called dysentery by the doctors. Everybody despaired of his life. It therefore came about by common counsel that the sacred convent of Saint-Denis, after devout fasts and prayer, came in procession barefooted to the church of Saint-Lazare near Paris, carrying with them the key and the Lord's crown of thorns and the arm of the old saint Simeon, with clergy and people pouring out tearful prayers. When these prayers were over and had been followed by an offering from the people, all the religious houses of Paris and the venerable Maurice bishop of Paris with his canons and clerks and an innumerable crowd of students and people from the schools (scholarium et populi) bearing with them the bodies and relics of the saints, came to meet them, the soles of their feet bare, weeping and crying, and joining together in singing with more tears and many sighs, they reached the royal palace where the sick boy was. After a sermon to the people with a great deal more tears shed, and prayers poured out to the Lord on his behalf, the boy's belly was touched all over by the key and the crown of thorns and the arm placed on it in the form of a cross, and he was liberated that very day from imminent danger. And his father, king Phillip, too was cured from a similar sickness on the same day in Outremer. Then, after the boy Louis had kissed the relics and received benediction, all the processions came to the church of St. Mary [Notre Dame] where they gave forth hymns of prasie and offerings to the Lord, joined up with many other processions and led the convent of Saint-Denis with more hymns and songs of praise and much other action of graces to the Lord right up to the entrance to the town. There they blessed each other on the relics and each went back to his home. The canons of Notre-Dame indeed returned rejoicing with the people that the relics of the Blessed Denis had been brought to Paris in their time, for it is not known from any writing that they had ever been brought outside the town of St. Denis for any imminent danger before that time. Nor ought we to pass over in silence the fact that on the same day clear air and weather was restored to all lands. For the Lord had long rained on the earth because of the sins of men.

78. That same year, the bishop of Liège in flight from the emperor Henry (VI) stayed briefly at Rheims and was honorably received by William, archbishop of Rheims and, once all the necessaries were adequately prepared, put up in his own home. A few days later, however, at the Devil's prompting, some knights, but flunkeys of Satan, were sent to the bishop of Liège by the emperor. The bishop, a gentle and kind man, received them honorably and invited them to his table as one would friends and household members. For they told him that they had been unjustly disinherited by the emperor, but they were speaking with cunning and deceit in their hearts (in corde et corde); for they had conceived a deceit and then at once perpetrated an iniquity [Job, xv. 35]. Some days later they took the bishop outside the city for a walk and unsheathing their swords they most vilely killed the Lord's anointed, because he had been canonically elected and consecrated against the emperor's will.n3 Then taking flight, they returned again at top speed to the emperor.

79. The same year the pious and merciful count Thibauld, seneschal to the king of the Franks, the count of Clermont, the count of La Perche, the duke of Burgundy and Phillip count of Flanders all by God's summons entered the way of all flesh at the siege of Acre.n4 The count of Flanders' lands passed to his nephew Baldwin, son of the count of Hainault and later made emperor of Constantinople, because he had no other heir.

80. On the 8th kalends in the same year, the bodies of the most blessed martyrs Denis, Rusticus and Eleutherius with the vessels of the purest silver in which they were contained were sealed, taken out and placed upon the altar on the counsel of the Lord G., archbishop of Rheims and of Queen Adela and of all the bishops. There were placed with them there the bodies of other saints resting in the same church, in order that all the believers (fideles) assembled for so holy a spectacle might with groans and sighs for the liberation of the Holy Land, for the king of the Franks and his whole following, pour out prayers to the Lord while raising their pure hands with Moses. For it is not in the power of arms but in the virtue and mercy of Christ that Christians place their trust, nor do they achieve great things (virtutem faciunt) in themselves but in God, overcoming the unbelieving peoples and reducing to nothing the enemies of Christ's cross. And on the following feast of St. Denis, they opened the silver vessel containing the body of the most sacred martyr Denis in the presence of the venerable bishops of "Silvanectensi et Meldensi et Ala", the queen of the Franks and many abbots and monks, and found there his whole body with the head as we said before. This was then shown to all of God's faithful who had most devoutly gathered there from far-away parts for the sake of prayer. And to refute the error of the Parisians, they kept back the head of the saintly martyr Denis deposited in an appropriate silver vessel, when the saints' bodies were devoutly returned with their vessels under the altar in the marble crypt from which they had been taken out.n5 The head was however displayed throughout the year to all pilgrims in order to excite the devotion of the faithful and was then replaced in its vessel with the body at the following feast of St. Denis.

81. While these things were going on in France, Phillip king of France (Francie) with the help of God's faithful so attacked the city of Acre, breaking down the city walls with his petraries and mangonels, that he compelled the enemies of Christ's cross, that is Saladin's keepers, his vassals (satrapas) Limathosius and Carachosius with a vast body of armed men to surrender under certain conditions. For they promised under an oath of their law, keeping only their bodies, to give up complete to the king of the Franks and the king of England the Lord's True Cross, which Saladin had, and all the Christian captives who could be found in the whole of his land. In this battle, Aubri, marshal to the king of the Franks, a high-minded man doughty in arms, was cut off within the gates of the city and killed by the pagans [July 3 1191]. The tower called "Accursed" (maledicta = "maudit") which had for a long time caused much harm to our men, was undermined and supported on timbers placed there by the king's sappers so that nothing remained to be done to destroy it except to fire the wood. The pagans now saw that they could not resist the kings and princes and the other Christians, so they negotiated with our kings and princes and in July [July 12 1191] they handed over to them the city of Acre with all its arms and fortifications and a sufficient supply of provisions. As the Christian people entered the city, crying and weeping for joy with their hands raised to Heaven, they cried out in a clear voice:

"Blessed be the Lord our God who had a regard for our labors and sweat and humbled beneath our feet the enemies of the Holy Cross who had presumed upon His virtue and power."

The Christians divided amongst themselves the provisions found there, allotting the greater part to the many and a lesser share to the fewer. In their share the kings received all prisoners whom they then divided equally between themselves. The king of the Franks, however, passed his share on to the duke of Burgundy with a great sum of gold and silver and an infinite amount of food and command over all his armies. For the king was at that time seriously ill, and on the other hand deeply suspicious of the king of England because he was frequently sending secret messengers to Saladin and exchanging gifts with him. For this reason and he first consulted his princes in detail and re-organized the army, then took leave of his men and tearfully committed himself to the winds and sea to cross by God's will to Apulia in just three galleys which Ruffo de Volta from Genoa had made ready for him. He recovered health a little there and then while still weak journeyed on with a few men and crossed the country to the city of Rome, where he visited the relics (liminibus) of the apostles and received a blessing from the Roman pontiff, Celestine before returning to France around Christmas-time.

82. But the king of England who stayed on in Outremer forced the prisoners he held, Limathosius and Carachosius, and the others whom other prices held to carry out their promises, and restore without delay to holy Christianity the Lord's Cross which Saladin had and all the Christian prisoners, just as they were bound to do by their recent oath according to their own law (legis sue = religion?). When they were unable to put this into effect as they had sworn to do, the king of England became violently angry, brought the pagan prisoners outside the city and had five thousand of them and more beheaded, while holding back the greater and richer ones from whom he received a vast sum of money as ransom and so allowed them to go away free. He then sold to the Templars the island of Cyprus which he had captured en route for 25, 000 marks of silver. Later, however, he took it away from them and sold it a second time for Guy, former king of Jerusalem, to hold in perpetuity. He completely destroyed the city of Ascalon at the request, backed by much gold, of the pagans. And he took the banner of the city of Acre away from the duke of Austria for some other prince, broke it most vilely and threw it into a deep sewer in contempt of the duke and to his shame. But because we have no intention of writing up the history or the deeds of the king of England, we turn our pen back to the things we know about our king Phillip.

83. When Phillip king of the Franks had returned to France, he celebrated Christmas at Fontevraud and then hurried off as fast as he could to pray at the church of St. Denis within a few days. The sacred convent with abbot Hugh met him there in procession and brought him into the church. He completed his prayer, prostrated before the bodies of the saints, giving thanks to God and the blessed martyrs for liberating him from so many and such great dangers, and then offered on the altar as a pledge of his love (amoris et caritatis) a liturgical coverlet (pallium) of the finest quality silk.

84. Some months later, on the 15th kalends of April [March 18 1192], while king Phillip was at Saint-Germain-de-Laie, he heard about the ignominious death of a certain Christian perpetrated by the Jews and at once, moved by compassion for the Christian faith and religion, took off, leaving his intimates with no idea of where he was headed and swiftly reached the castle which they call "Braia".n6 He placed guards at the castle gates and had the Jews he caught there, 80 and more, burnt. The countess whose castle it was, corrupted by the Jews with great gifts, had handed over to them a certain Christian, whom they falsely accused of theft and homicide. The Jews motivated by their ancient hatred tied his hands behind him, crowned him with thorns, beat him through the town and then hanged him from a gallows, though they had said at the time of the Lord's Passion: "We are not permitted to kill anyone."


[Oeuvres de Rigord et de Guillaume le Breton, ed. H. Francoise Delaborde, I (Libr. Renouard: Paris, 1882).
Translation © Paul R. Hyams 1998]


1. Even our French editor doubts that this attempt could have been made as early as the morning after Richard's arrival. Other sources confirm that Richard had time first at least to take the Pisans into his pay.

2. Clement actually died on December 19 1187 after 3 years and two and a half months!

3. The murder of bishop Albert of Liège took place on November 24 1192. It is described in his vita.

4. Rigord is a little misleading in collecting these deaths here. The last will of Raoul, count of Clermont was already known in July 1191, while the duke of Burgundy did not die until 1193.

5. The citizens of Paris had recently (perhaps in 1186) proclaimed their discovery of the saint's head in the church of Saint-Étienne.

6.There is some doubt about the location of this place. Our editor plumps for Brie-comte-Robert and names the lady in question as Agnès de Baudemont, countess of Dreux. The most accessible account of the incident is in W.C. Jordan, The French Monarchy and the Jews, 35-7 accepts the identification.