Chroniclers of the Fifth Crusade - 606 

the Lord God.” They responded that they only wanted to go [to the Sultan] to accomplish a great good which they longed to carry to its conclusion. Then the cardinal said it was indeed good for them to go if they wished, but that they were not to let anyone think that he had sent them.

2 And so the two clerics left the Christian camp and headed towards that of the Saracens. When the Saracen sentinels saw them coming they thought that they were messengers or perhaps had come to renounce their faith.a When they met them, they seized them and led them to the Sultan.

When they were brought into his presence, they greeted him. The Sultan returned their greeting and then asked if they wished to become Saracens or perhaps had come with some message. They responded that they never would want to become Muslims, but that they had come to him as messengers on behalf of the Lord God, that he might turn his soul to God. “If you wish to believe us,” [they said], “we will hand over your soul to God, because we are telling you in all truth that if you die in the law which you now profess, you will be lost and God will not possess your soul. It is for this reason that we have come. But if you will give us a hearing and try to understand us, we will demonstrate to you with convincing reasons, in the presence of the most learned teachers of your realm, if you wish to assemble them, that your law is false.”

The Sultan responded that he had archbishops, bishops, and good clergy of his law,b and that he could not listen to what they had to say except in their presence. “Very well,” responded the two clerics, “order them here, and if we cannot demonstrate with solid arguments that what we tell you is true, that your law is false—that is, if you are willing to listen and understand—then you can have our heads cut off.”c So the Sultan ordered them to join him in his tent. And so some of the highest nobles and wisest men of his land and the two clerics were gathered together.

3 When they had all assembled, the Sultan explained the reason why he had called them together and brought them into his presence, and what the two clerics had said, and the purpose they had in coming to his court. But they answered him: “Lord, you are the sword of the law: you

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Chronicle of Ernoul, Biblioteca Biobibliografica della Terra Santa, p. 1213


Il disent qu'il n'i voloient aler se por grant bien non, se i pooient esploitier. Dont dist li cardenals que bien i pooient aler, s'il voloient, mais ce n'estoit mie par son congiet.

Atant se partirent li clerc de l'ost as Crestiens, si s'en alerent vers l'ost as Sarrasins. Quant li Sarrasins qui escargaitoient lor ost les virent venir, si cuidierent qu'il venissent en message ou per renoier. Il alerent encontre, si les prisent, si les enmenerent devant le soudant. Quant il vinrent devant le soudant, si le saluerent; li soudans les salua aussi, puis lor demanda s'il voloient estre sarrasin, ou il estoient venu en message. Et il respondirent que sarrasin ne seroient il ja; mais il estoient venu à lui en message, de par Dame Diu, et por s'ame rendre à Diu. «Se vous ne volés croire, [disent il], nous renderons vostre ame à Diu, car nous vous disons por voir que se vous morés en ceste loi où vous estes, vos estes perdus, ne Dius n'ara mie vostre ame. Et por çou somes nous venu à vous. Se vous nous volés oïr et entendre, nous vos mosterrons par droite raison, voiant les plus preudommes de vostre tiere, se vons les mandés, que vostre lois est noiens». Li soudans lor respondi qu'il avoit de sa loi archevesques et vesques et bons clers, et sans aus ne pooit il mie oïr [ce] qu'il disoient. Li clerc li respondirent: «De ce sommes nous moult liet; mandés les, et se nous ne les poons mostrer par droites raisons que c'est voirs que nous vos disons, que vostre lois est niens, s'il nous veulent oïr et entendre, faites nos les testes coper».

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 606