The Crusades >> The
First Crusade >> Raymond IV of Toulouse
Certainly the most prestigious of all the barons to go on the First
Crusade was Count Raymond IV de St. Gilles of Toulouse. Already an old man at the time,
around fifty-five, he was an experienced warrior against the infidel, having
fought in Spain against the Muslims there. He took his wife and youngest son
with him, and later reports say that he sold most of his possessions and
took a vow never to return.
Toulouse was a wealthy county, and Raymond's was the largest of all the
crusader forces. The fact that Bishop Adhemar accompanied Raymond, and that
the crusade was first preached in southern France, must have helped
recruiting. Raymond's army also had the largest contingent of
non-combatants, so his expenses were very high.
Historians have had to guess at Raymond's route, for the chronicles don't
pick up Raymond until he entered Dalmatia; most likely, he went overland
through southern France and northern Italy. They had a hard passage through
Serbia because of lack of supplies. Once they entered Byzantine territory
there were again quarrels and skirmishes; during one of these, Bishop
Adhemar was seriously injured; during another, Count Raymond himself was
nearly lost in an ambush.
They reached Thessalonica at the beginning of April. At Roussa, the
Greeks evidently so angered the Franks that they stormed the city and looted
it. Since the Normans had passed through only two weeks earlier, it is
possible that the town was simply drained of supplies and that the Franks
did not believe it.
As Bohemond had done, Count Raymond went on to Constantinople ahead of
his army, arriving there on April 21st. While he and Alexius were talking on
friendly terms, word came that the Provençals had been routed by Byzantine
troops. Raymond was furious and had to be restrained by his fellow lords.
His army arrived at last on April 27th.