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which was held out against him, apparently by the Basques. This was one of the principal stations of the marauders; and as a punishment for their cruelties and exactions, the English prince demolished the castle, and marching through the country, reduced a number of other places, striking terror into the hearts of the Basques and Navarrese. At length, yielding all resistance, the leaders of the tribes inhabiting the passes of the mountains met the English prince at a place called Sorges, and entered into a treaty with him, by which they agreed both to keep peace amongst themselves, and to leave the passes free to all pilgrims, abolishing at the demand of Richard, all those evil laws which had grown up amongst them, and declaring that their submission should be perpetual. In regard to the latter part of the treaty, it is probable that Richard did not put any great faith in a clause which has filled a place in most documents of the kind, but which never yet received accomplishment; and it was sufficient for him, without believing that the pacification of those districts would be perpetual, to know that he had opened the passes for the time, and facilitated, if not secured, the safe passage of pilgrims to the shrine of the Gallician saint.* What was the cause of such frequent quarrels between
* It would seem from the account of Bromton that this was the great object of Richard's proceedings after the capture of Bayonne. He says, “Et Basclenses et Navarrenses pacem jurare et tenere postea vi coegit. Destruxit etiam apud Sorges et
the Navarrese and the Basques, we are not told ; but the view with which Richard interfered was evidently to remove the obstructions which their contention had thrown in the way of pilgrims; and it will not seem strange that an object apparently of so little importance should move the young Prince to undertake this expedition, when we recollect that the fame of the wooden image of St. James was so great, that Henry the Second himself proposed to visit it in the course of this very year, and sent into Spain for a passport to ensure his safety.
Having accomplished all that he had undertaken with a degree of skill, vigour, and determination, which brought him an immense addition of renown, Richard marched back from the scene of his distant conquests, and ended the most brilliant enterprise which he had yet achieved, by returning to Poitiers before the 2nd of February, not six weeks from the day of his departure from Bordeaux. His first act was to send messengers to his father, announcing the splendid success which had attended his arms; but whether any other objects were or were not treated of in the messages and letters dispatched by the young Duke
Lespurmi omnes malas consuetudines introductas, ubi mos erat peregrinos sancti Jacobi depradare.” The exact situation of the two places mentioned here I do not know. I was at one time inclined to believe that Richard had advanced as far as Soria, but afterwards found cause to alter my opinion.
of Aquitaine to the King, the historians of the day do not inform us. Neverthess, we have much reason to believe that such was the case; for, in the course of that very year, dissensions arose between the monarchs of France and England, in which Richard himself was deeply interested ; and it is scarcely possible to conceive that he took no part in the preceding discussions.
Before we notice the events connected with this transaction, however, it may be necessary to give some account of the termination of the schism which had long desolated the church, by the unexpected reverses which suddenly befel the arms of a prince who had for many years gone on in a course of almost uninterrupted success. Although nothing like defeat had attended the efforts of Frederic Barbarossa, and although as soon as one anti-pope was dead, the Emperor raised up another in his stead, yet the power of his enemy Alexander had been steadily though slowly increasing ever since a pestilence, attacking the imperial army, had forced Frederic precipitately to quit the ancient capital of the world. Dependent in some degree upon the good will of the Electors of the empire, the resources of the German monarch were subject to constant fluctuations, as indeed was ever the case with the long line of princes who filled the same imperial throne. The people of Bohemia, too, frequently in revolt, afforded a continual diversion in favour of the papal party in Italy; and although Frederic obtained some succour from the Diet assembled at Worms in 1172, yet Alexander, acknowledged by England, supported by France, and strictly allied with the brave King of Sicily, daily extended his power, and saw the rival popes sink into insignificance.
In the course of the year 1174, Frederic resolved to make a greater effort than he had yet done since his retreat from Rome; and, entering Lombardy, he marched towards a town which had been founded in honour of his enemy, Alexander, and which receiving his name, has ever since been called Alexandria. The inhabitants of the city had prepared themselves to make a vigorous and pertinacious defence; and although the place was not in those days strongly fortified, the garrison contrived to keep the Emperor at bay during many months. The statement made by Godefridus, that the town was only defended by a deep ditch without any walls, is of course not to be credited, and is merely one of the many marvels of the monkish scribes, whose own account of the siege shows their assertion in this respect to be indubitably false. Some authors state that the walls were very strong, but still it would seem that the defences of the place were imperfect. The courage of the inhabitants, however, supplied all deficiencies; and although Frederic employed against the walls various battering engines of great power, the town remained unsubdued from the twenty-ninth of October far into the spring of the following year.
The winter was rigorous in the extreme, the cold weather was followed by incessant rains, which inundated the whole of the flat country round Alexandria, and, together with the want of good food and forage, spread a pestilential disease among both the men and horses of the imperial camp. Frederic however persisted, evincing that determined resolution which characterised him, although, besides his loss by war and by the pestilence, the Saxon troops, who had followed him unwillingly, left his standard, I believe almost entirely. Not having succeeded in effecting a practicable breach by means of his battering engines, the Emperor proceeded to employ the mine, and carried forward a large excavation without the knowledge of the inhabitants, till it had passed under the ditch and wall of the town. He had now remained between five and six months in tents before Alexandria, and success seemed about to crown his efforts, notwithstanding the terrible loss which he had sustained in the siege. The people of the town, too, were beginning to be pressed by famine; but they contrived to give notice of their distress to the confederate cities of Lombardy, and fifteen principal towns joined together to raise a large army both of cavalry and infantry, with which they marched to the relief of the besieged place. The formidable force thus