Godfrey of Bouillon

Godfrey Of Bouillon, duke of Lorraine, was born at Bézy, in Brabant, probably about A.D. 1060. He served with high distinction in the armies of the emperor Henry IV. When, near the end of the 11th century, the first crusade was set on foot, he entered into the movement, and was the first in rank among the Crusaders. "He not only signalized himself be valor among the valorous, and by enthusiasm among the enthusiastic, but he showed also disinterestedness, probity, skill, and prudence, which were of a higher and rarer order. He maintained the most complete discipline among his division of the Christian army, which he brought safely to the appointed muster- place beneath the walls of Constantinople in the winter of 1096. By his sagacity and firmness he prevented hostilities breaking out between the host of the Crusaders and the Greek emperor, Alexius Comnenus, and in the spring of 1097 Godfrey led the Frankish nations into Asia Minor, to the siege of the capital of the Turkish sultan of Nice. This city was captured after a siege, in which the personal valor of Godfrey, as well as his generalship, was frequently displayed. He was tall, wellproportioned, and of such remarkable strength and dexterity in the use of his weapons that he is said, in more than one encounter, to have cloven his foe by a single sword-stroke from skull to center. After Nice was captured, the Crusaders marched forward and defeated a Turkish army in the great battle of Dorylaeum. They reached Antioch, in Syria, late in the winter of 1097. The city was captured after an obstinate resistance, and the weakened army of the victors was in turn besieged in its walls by an innumerable host of the Mohammedans. After enduring such suffering and loss, Godfrey led the Crusaders in a sudden sortie upon their enemies, which was completely victorious. The enthusiasm caused among the Christian army by the supposed discovery of the relic of the holy lance was one great cause of this success. It was not till 1099 that the Crusaders reached Jerusalem, and their numbers were then reduced by the sword and by disease to only 1500 horse and 20,000 foot fit for service. The Mohammedan garrison was far more numerous, and the city was formidably strong. But the zeal of the Crusaders was indomitable" (Rich, s.v.), and the Holy City was carried by a storm July 15, 1099. Godfrey was proclaimed first Latin king of Jerusalem, but he rejected the title, and assumed the style of "Defender and Baron of the Holy Sepulchre." He defeated the sultan of Egypt at Ascalon, August 12, 1099. Godfrey compiled and promulgated a code named Les Assises de Jerusalem, which, as finally revised towards the close of the 14th century for the use of the Latin kingdom of Cyprus, is printed in old law French in Beaumanoir's Coutumes de Beauvaisais (Bourges and Paris, 1690). He died in 1100. See Creasy, in Rich's (Cyclop. of Biography; English Cyclopaedia; Michaud, Histoire des Croisades.

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