Chroniclers of the Fifth Crusade - 608 

the Dominican Francesco Pipino of Bologna.a This passage is in a work entitled The Death of Coradin, Sultan of Damascus.

1 Regarding the humanness and clemency of the same Sultan, Coradin,b this Bernard gives the following example. During the siege of Damietta, there were in the Christian camp two clerics who, burning with zeal for the faith, proposed to go to the Sultan to preach the faith. But when they sought permission from the Cardinal legate, he replied: “I do not know whether you are led by zeal, moved by the Spirit of God, or if a temptation of Satan has possessed you. As for whether you go or not, I will not encourage or dissuade you. But if you decide to go, strive that your actions bear fruit in the sight of God.”

2 When they drew near the camp of the Saracens, they were led into the Sultan’s presence, who sought to know from them whether they had come on some embassy or perhaps wished to become Saracens. They replied: “We are ambassadors of the Lord Jesus Christ, and have come here for the salvation of souls. We are ready to show you convincing arguments that it is only through the observance of the Christian law that one can be saved.” And they declared that they were ready to suffer death for that faith. Now since the Sultan was gentle of heart, he listened to them kindly. He called together his archbishops, bishops, and other experts in his law, and also some of the commanders of his army. But when the Sultan had explained to them the reason why he had called them together, one of them replied for them all: “One who is bound to be the defender of our law and who should oppose its adversaries with the sword of vengeance indeed acts most imprudently if he instead grants an audience to blasphemers of the law, such as these are.” Having said this, they entreated him, in virtue of the law, to have them put to death. Then they left.

3 But the Sultan said to the Christians: “Far be it that I would ever condemn to death you who have come for my life.” He added that he was ready to entrust them with great possessions if they wished to remain with him, and he ordered gold and silver ingots presented to them; but they refused to take anything, protesting that they had come not for temporal goods but spiritual ones. And so, accepting an escort from the Sultan, they returned to their own camp.

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


Bernard the Treasurer (1229/30)26

De humanitate autem et clementia eiusdam Conradini Soldani idem Bernardus tal refert exemplu: Erant in obsidione Damaiatae, dum eam Christiani tenerent, viri duo literati, qui zelo fidei succensi proposuerunt Soldanum adire, fidem praedicaturi. Et cum licentiam peterent a Letgato, respondit eis: «Ignoro quidem, quo zelo ducamini, an videlicet Dei Spiritu movemini, an Satanae tentatio vos apprehendat. Quod autem pergatis, nec hortor, neque dissuadeo. Si tamen contingat vos proficisci, satagite, ut actiones vestrae fructificent apud Deum». Quum autem ad castra Saracenorum venissent, ducti sunt ante conspectum Soldani; et dum sciscitaretur ab eis, an haberent, legationem explere, an vellent Saraceni fieri: «Nos, inquiunt, Domini Nostri Iesu Christi sumus Legati, qui pro animarum salute advenimus, parati verissimis rationibus demonstrare, quod nisi in observatione legis christianae poterit quis salvari». Et pro hac lege dispositi erant mortis subire discrimen. Soldanus ut erat corde mitis, benigne eors audiens, convocat archiepiscopos, episcopos et alios legis suae peritos, aliosque exercitus sui Primates; et quum causam, cur in unum convocati earnt, narrasset Soldanus, unus vice omnium ait: «Imprudenter auctum esse, ut qui propugnator esse legis eorum tenebatur, et se contra adversarios gladium ultionis opponere, passus fuerat profanationibus legis eorum audientiam dare in conspectu tantorum». His dictis adiuraverunt eum sub obtestatione legis suae, ut eos sententiae capitali submitteret, et sic discesserunt. Soldanus vero ad Christianos ait: «Absit, ut vos morti subiiciam, qui pro mea vita venistis». Et quum illis, si morari vellent, magnos reditus se esse assignaturum esset pollicitus, et in praesenti auri et argenti laminas proferri coram eis mandasset, singula abdicarunt, dicentes, se non temporalia sed spiritualia quaerere, et accepto a Soldano comitatu reversi sunt ad castra suorum.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 608