Letters of the Crusaders of the First Crusade:

Many letters relative to the crusades have been preserved. Undoubtedly, the most valuable are those which were written by eye-witnesses of the events recorded, and which have come down to us in epistolary form. "These are in general the most precious documents for the history of the crusades. For in their day they played the part of the dispatches and military bulletins of our day, and they transmit to us faithfully the impression which the events themselves made upon those who had taken part in them". Of these a few have been selected for translation here. All but two were written by persons high in rank, and all furnish information which cannot be obtained, with equal accuracy, elsewhere. The selection of letters has been controlled to some extent by the fact that adequate translations of some of the most important already exist in English.

"Anselme of Ribemont, count of Ostrevant and Valenciennes, is one of the most brilliant figures in the first crusade; and his glorious death before Archis (early in April, 1099), was recorded by all the eye-witnesses of the expedition.' ' From Guibert's history (Bk. VI, 23), he was known to have written two letters to the archbishop of Reims, but only the second was known to be in existence. In 1877, count Riant found the first— the one here translated— in the " Bibliotheque Mazarine, n in Paris.

Stephen, count of Blois and Chartres, was one of the richest and ablest among the princes who took part in the first crusade. According to legend he was the possessor of three hundred and sixty-five castles; in the second letter we find him in temporary command of the whole Christian army. He wrote at least three letters to his wife (see Riant, Lettres No. LXXIV, LXXXVII, C), of which this is the third. " Sybel rightly considers this letter as one of the most important documents for the history of the first crusade."

The third letter was probably the most widely read of all those written about the first crusade. It has been regarded with great suspicion, but is now recognized as genuine. Several versions have been preserved. Another translation can be found in Michaud's History of the Crusades.

Full discussions of the above letters are given in Riant; Inventaire critique des Lettres historigues des Croisades, and Sybel: Geschichte des ersten Kreuzzuges. The facts related in the letters are most fully treated of in the latter book. Kugler gives an excellent brief summary in his Geschichte der Kreuzzuge.

1- Letters of the First Crusade: Anselme of Ribemont to Manasses II in February 10, 1098.

2- Letters of the First Crusade: Stephen, Count of Blois to his wife, Adele, 1098.

3- Letters of the First Crusade: From Daimbert, Godfrey and Raymond to the Pope Urban II in 1099.
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