Godfrey of Bouillon Kills a Saracen Giant During the Siege of Nicaea

March 8, 2018

Godfrey of Bouillon

A Saracen, whom history describes to us as a giant, performed during this siege [of Nicaea] exploits which surpass those related of fabulous antiquity. He was not less remarkable for his skill than for the strength of his arm; he never cast a javelin in vain, and all whom he hit were sure to sink beneath the blow. When he had exhausted his arrows, and could make no more use of his bow, he seized masses of rock, and rolled them down upon the assailants. One day, when he was standing on the platform of a tower attacked by Raymond, he alone defied the efforts of the enemies. At one time he hurled a shower of stones upon the besiegers; then, raising his voice, he defied the bravest of the Christians to the combat, loading them with the most violent abuse.

Crusaders throwing the heads of Muslims over the ramparts at the Siege of Nicaea.

All eyes were turned towards him, and a thousand arrows flew at once from the Christian army to punish his audacity. For a moment all the efforts of the besiegers were directed against a single man. His body was covered with wounds and bristling with arrows; but he defended himself skillfully, and was still braving the crowd of his enemies, when Godfrey, attracted by the noise of this general attack, seized a crossbow, and taking aim at the redoubtable Saracen, shot him through the heart, and his immense body rolled from the platform into the ditch.

Joseph François Michaud, The History of the Crusades of the Crusades, trans. W. Robson (New York, Redfield, 1853), vol. I, 103.

Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 616

 

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