St. Louis Makes the 16-year-old Prince of Antioch a Knight and Helps Him Assume the Reigns of Government

January 21, 2016

St. Louis IX of FranceAt this point the Prince of Antioch returned to the camp, and the princess his mother; and the king [St. Louis IX] did him great honor, and made him a knight very honorably. His age was not more than sixteen years; but never have I seen a child of such discernment. He asked the king to give him hearing before his mother; and the king consented. And the words that he spoke to the king before his mother were these: “Sire, it is no doubt true that my mother should still keep me for four years in her tutelage; but that is no reason why she should suffer my land to be lost, and go to decay. And this I say, sire, because the city of Antioch is perishing in her hands. Wherefore I beseech you, sire, that you ask her to grant me money and men, so that I may go and succor my people who are there and give them help. And, sire, rightly should she do this; for if I remain with her in the city of Tripoli, needs is it that great expense should be incurred; and the great expense I shall so incur will be incurred for nothing.”

Asia Minor and the States of the Crusaders in Syria, about 1140. Antioch is to the right of Cyprus.

Asia Minor and the States of the Crusaders in Syria, about 1140. Antioch is to the right of Cyprus.

The king heard him right willingly, and did all in his power to bring his mother to give him as much as could be extracted from her. As soon as he parted from the king, he went to Antioch, and there obtained favor. With the king’s consent he quartered his arms, which are gules, with the arms of France, because the king had made him a knight.

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Geoffroy de Villehardouin and Jean de Joinville, Memoirs of the Crusades, trans. Sir Frank Marzials (New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., n.d.), 266-7.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 508

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