St. Louis IX King, More anecdotes of dispensing justice in the Outremer

Jean de Joinville relates:

"... And now you shall hear the punishments and sentences that I saw awarded in Cesarea, whilst the King was staying there. First of all, I will tell you of a knight who was caught in a house of ill fame. He was offered according to the custom of the country an alternative: either to be led by a rope through the camp, stripped to his shirt; or to forfeit his horse and armour, and be turned out of the army. He left his horse and armour to the King, and quitted the camp; and I went and begged the King to grant me the horse for a poor gentleman that was in the army. The King replied that it was an unreasonable request, for that the horse was still worth from eighty to a hundred pounds, which was no small sum. Said I: " See how you have broken our bargain, by being angry at what I asked you!" And he said to me, laughing: "Say whatever you please, I will not be angry." But, all the same, I did not get the horse for the poor gentleman.(1)

The second sentence was as follows: The knights of our troop were hunting a wild animal, called a gazelle (which is just like a roebuck). The Brethren of the Hospital dashed in amongst them, and hustled and drove away our knights. I complained to the Master of the Hospital; and he said he would do me justice according to the custom of the Holy Land; which was this; that he would make the brothers who had insulted us, eat on the ground, with only their cloaks under them, until those whom they had insulted should raise them up. The Master kept his word by them. And when we saw that they had been eating in this manner for a good while, I went to the Master, and found him sitting at table, with the brothers eating on their cloaks in front of him; and I begged him to allow them to be properly seated. The knights also to whom the insult had been shown, entreated him. He replied, that he would do nothing of the sort, for that he would not have the brethren ill-use those who came on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Thereupon I sat down with the brothers, and began to eat with them, telling him I would rise when they rose. And he told me, that I left him no choice, and granted my request; and he made me and the knights with me sit at meat with him, and the brothers went and ate with the rest at a raised table.

...The third judgment that I saw delivered at Cesarea was as follows: One of the King's serjeants, called "the Glutton," laid hands on a knight of my troop. I went and complained to the King. The King told me: That it seemed to him I might let the matter rest, for he had done no more than give him a push.-And I told him, that I would never let it rest, and that if he would not see justice done me, I should quit his service, since his serjeants were to be allowed to strike knights. I got justice from him, and the punishment was according to the custom of the country: namely, the serjeant came to my quarters, barefoot and in his breeches, nothing more, with a naked sword in his hand, and kneeled down before the knight, and said to him: " Sir, I come to make amends for laying my hand on you; and I bring you this sword, that you may cut off my hand, if so please you." I begged the knight to lay aside his grudge, and forgive him; which he did...

...The fourth punishment was as follows: Brother Hugh of Joy, who was Marshall of the Temple, was sent to the Sultan of Damascus from the Master of the Temple, to come to some agreement with the Sultan about a large piece of land which the Templars used to hold, and which the Sultan wanted to share with them. The agreement was concluded on the condition, that the King approved, and Brother Hugh brought an Emir to represent the Sultan of Damascus, and brought the contract in a document called a Power of Attorney. The Master told the King all about it; whereupon the King fell into a great passion, and told him, that he was very presumptuous to have had any dealings or negotiations with the Sultan, without telling him. And the King insisted that he should do penance to him. And the penance was this: the King had the skirts of three of his pavilions removed; and all the rank and file of the camp that chose to come, assembled there; and thither came the Master of the Temple with all his convent, all barefooted through the camp, for their quarters were outside the camp. The King made the Master of the Temple and the Sultan's messenger sit down in front of him; and the King said in a loud voice to the Master: "Master, you will tell the Sultan's messenger, that you repent having made any treaty with him, without telling me; and that because you had not consulted me, you acquit him of his part of the bargain, and return him all his contracts." The Master took the contracts and handed them to the Emir. And then the King told the Master to stand up and make all his brethren stand up; and, when he had done so: "Now kneel down" said the King "and make me amends for having opposed my will." The Master knelt down, and held out the end of his cloak to the King, and offered to the King whatever was his due by way of amends, whatever he might please to dictate. " I order," said the King, " first of all, that Brother Hugh, who made the contract, be banished out of all the kingdom of Jerusalem." Neither the Master, nor the fact that Brother Hugh was gossip to the King through the Count of Alençon (that was born at Castle Pilgrim) nor even the Queen nor anyone, could avail him, but he must quit the Holy Land and the kingdom of Jerusalem...(1)


(1)See the The Memoirs of the Lord of Joinville, pages 262-264

(2)The King had already, while in Cyprus, fallen foul of the Master of the Temple for venturing to listen to overtures of peace from the Sultan of Egypt.

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