This history of the Crusades is not comprehensive, but rather gives a detailed picture of some of the most interesting incidents in the First, Third, and Eighth Crusades. It is told from the point of view of a "wandering Jew" and gives romantic insight into some of the most famous characters and incidents.
RICHARD COEUR DE LION ASSAILED BY A TROOP OF TURKISH HORSEMEN.
We find in the Chronica Maiora of Matthew Paris, a monk of St. Alban's Abbey in the thirteenth century, the story of a Jew who had been doomed, for some insult offered to Christ, to live till the Second Corning. He had heard the story from an Armenian bishop on a visit to England, who said that he had seen the man and talked with him. One of his characteristics was that he was accustomed to tell stories of old times to those who came to see him.
I have ventured to use the legend for the purpose of this book. Not intending to write a continuous narrative of the Crusades, a task quite beyond my powers, I thought that I might please and even instruct my readers by describing some of the more important events, that these descriptions might be linked together by being attributed to one person, and that the "Wandering Jew" would be a convenient character for this purpose. I have done my best not to put into his mouth anything wholly incongruous.
The Crusades which have been selected for detailed narrative are the First, the Third, and the Eighth. For the First the authority is the History of William, Archbishop of Tyre, translated by Caxton. This translation has been published in the Extra Series of the Early English Text Society. For the Third Crusade there are abundant contemporary authorities, conveniently collected together in Mr. J. Archer's Crusade of Richard I. published in Mr. Nutt's English History from Contemporary Writers. For the Eighth there is De Joinville's History of St. Louis. De Joinville was a French noble, on terms of intimate friendship with King Louis IX.
I am under special obligation to Mr. Archer's admirable volume.
IGHTHAM, August 25, 1904.