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The Road to Attalia
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  Home >> The Crusades >> The Second Crusade >> The Road To Attalia

With the remnants of the Germans, the French traveled through Pergamum, Smyrna and Ephesus, all cities of renown in Christian history. Provisions were ample and they were well within Byzantine territory, and these days passed in a kind of holiday atmosphere. They reached Ephesus around Christmas time.

While here, Conrad fell ill and he and his household returned to Constantinople. Emperor Manuel personally nursed Conrad back to health and treated him well. When had recovered, Conrad proceeded to the Holy Land by ship. He had had enough of the overland route.

A few days after Conrad left, Louis and his people were flooded out by a storm, their tents and baggage and even some people washed away by a flooding stream. They decided now to go overland, to cut through the southwest corner of Turkey and so shorten the distance to Antioch. The French climbed the great mountains and came finally to Laodicaea at the beginning of January of 1148, but this city was stripped of all supplies. They were now about to cross a range of mountains that stood between them and Attalia, with too few supplies and Turks all around them.

During the crossing, they saw the bodies of the German non-combatants who had taken this route a few weeks before. The Turks attacked any stragglers and the discipline of the army was beginning to crack. Late in January, during this crossing, the French suffered a severe blow. The leading segment of the army was to set a camp on a mesa, but its commander found more attractive a valley just beyond. On his own command, he led his contingent forward in the failing light and left the main body of the army dangerously exposed. Louis and the rest of the army arrived on the tableland and were immediately attacked by the Turks. The Franks were routed.

The fleeing soldiers fell into ambushes and were slaughtered. Only nightfall saved them. Louis himself had to hide in a tree, his bodyguard all around beneath him. The queen had been with the advance troops, for these were Poitevins and Aquitainians. This debacle brought her great embarrassment, for it was one of her own Poitevins who had disobeyed orders. Geoffrey of Poitou, who was the culprit, was ordered home in disgrace.

In the morning, it was decided to have the Templars lead the march. All swore not to flee from battle and to follow the commands of the Grand Master. 

Under the guidance of the Templars, the army was kept under strict order and at last made its way out of the mountains.

The road to Antioch

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