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The Conquest of Lisbon

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Scene from the Siege of Lisbon, by Pereira Cão, Palácio da Rosa, Lisbon, nineteenth century. Wiki Commons.

In early 1147 the Devon port of Dartmouth was the gathering level for the Second Campaign, drawing would-be holy warriors from throughout northern Europe. There have been at the least 164 vessels within the assembled fleet. Every ship held some 50 males; every was a parish and had its personal priest. One such priest, a Norman named Raol, wrote an eyewitness account of the following Siege of Lisbon, De expugnatione Lyxbonensi, lengthy on medieval siege ways, longer nonetheless on sermons.

At Oporto the crusaders agreed to assist Afonso I of Portugal liberate Lisbon from the Moors. They reached town on 28 June. Raol was within the vanguard: one of many first onto the shore, one in every of simply 39 who spent the primary night time encamped underneath town partitions.

Raol was within the thick of the combating. Within the climactic assault, ‘an virtually insufferable contest’, he highlights the braveness of seven youths from Ipswich who spent two days and an evening in a ‘penthouse of plaited osiers’ – often called a ‘Welsh cat’ – between the principal siege engine and town partitions. These younger males had been engaged in placing out the fires, ‘pitch and flax and oil and each form of inflammable matter’, that rained down on the engine.

The town surrendered on 25 October 1147. It’s doubtless that Raol continued on to the Holy Land – and into oblivion – the next spring.

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