Conrad III
First Letter to Wibald, Abbot of Corvey

Translations and Reprints from the Original Sources of European History ,
(Philadelphia: Department of History, University of Pennsylvania, 1894) vol. 1, no. 4, 12-13

Hanover Historical Texts Project
Scanned by Linda Xue, December 1997.
Proofread and pages added by Jonathan Perry, March 2001.

Munro's introduction:
These letters were written as official bulletins, in order to set before the German people the disastrous events of the crusade in the light most favorable to the German participants. See especially Kugler: Studien zur Geschichte des zweiten Kreuzzuges.

Conrad, by the grace of God, king of the Romans, to venerable Wibald, abbot of Corvey and Stavelot,--his most kind greeting.

Because we have very frequently realized your faithfulness, proven in many trials, to us and to our kingdom, we do not doubt that you will rejoice greatly, if you hear of the state of our prosperity. We, therefore, announce to your faithfulness that when we had reached Nicaea with our army entire and strong, wishing to complete our journey quickly, we hastened to set out for Iconium under the guidance of men who knew the road. We carried with us as many necessities as possible. And behold when ten days of the journey were accomplished and the same amount remained to be traversed, food for the whole host had almost given out, but especially for the horses. At the same time the Turks did not cease to attack and slaughter the crowd of foot-soldiers who were unable to follow the army. We pitied the fate of our suffering people, perishing by famine and by the arrows of the enemy; and by the advice of our princes and barons, we led the army back from that desert land to the sea, in order that it might regain its strength. We preferred to preserve the army for greater achievements rather than to win so bloody a victory over archers.

When, indeed, we had reached the sea and had pitched our tents and did not expect quiet amid so great a storm, to our delight the king of France came to our tents, wholly unexpectedly. He grieved, indeed, that our army was exhausted by hunger and toil, but he took great delight in our company. Moreover, he himself and all his princes offered their services faithfully and devoutly to us and furnished for our use their money especially, and whatever else they had. They joined themselves, therefore, to our forces and princes. Some of the latter had remained with us, and others, either sick or lacking money, had not been able to follow and had accordingly withdrawn from the army.

We proceeded without any difficulty as far as St. John's, where his Lomb with the manna springing from it is seen, in order that we might there celebrate the Nativity of our lord. Having rested there some days to recover our health, inasmuch as sickness had seized on us and many of our men, we wanted to proceed; but weakened by our illness we were wholly unable to do so. The king therefore departed with his army, after having waited for us as long as possible; but a long sickness detained us.

When our brother, the emperor of Greece, heard of this he was greatly grieved, and with our daughter, the most beloved empress, his wife, he hastened to come to us. And, liberally to us and our princes his money and the necessities for our journey, he led us back, as it were, by force, to his palace at Constantinople, in order that we might be the more speedily cured by his physicians. There he showed to us as much honor as, to our knowledge, was ever shown to any one of our predecessors. Thence we hastened to set out for Jerusalem on Quadragesima Sunday, in order to collect there a new army and to proceed to Rohas.

Moreover, that God may deign to make our journey prosperous, we ask that you and your brethren will pray for us and will order all Christians to do the same. And we entrust our son to your fidelity.

Hanover Historical Texts Project
Hanover College Department of History
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