THE CRUSADERS LEAVE VENICE TO BESIEGE ZARA
Then were the ships and transports apportioned by the barons. Ah, God I what fine war-horses were put therein. And when the ships were fulfilled with arms and provisions, and knights and sergeants, the shields were ranged round the bulwarks and castles of the ships, and the banners displayed, many and fair.
And be it known to you that the vessels carried more than three hundred petraries and mangonels, and all such engines as are needed for the taking of cities, in great plenty. Never did finer fleet sail from any0port. And this was in the octave of the Feast of St. Remigius (October) in the year of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ twelve hundred and two. Thus did they sail from the port of Venice, as you have been told.
On the Eve of St. Martin (10th November) they came before Zara in Sclavonia, and beheld the city enclosed by high walls and high towers; and vainly would you have sought for a fairer city, or one of greater strength, or richer. And when the pilgrims saw it, they marvelled greatly, and said one to another, " How could such a city be taken by force, save by the help of God himself? "
The first ships that came before the city cast anchor, and waited for the others; and in the morning the day was very fine and very clear, and all the galleys came up with the transports, and the other ships which were behind; and they took the port by force, and broke the chain that defended it and was very strong and well-wrought; and they landed in such sort that the port was between them and the town. Then might you have seen many a knight and many a sergeant swarming out of the ships, and taking from the transports many a good war-horse, and many a rich tent and many a pavilion. Thus did the host encamp. And Zara was besieged on St. Martin's Day (11th November 1202).
At this time all the barons had not yet arrived. Thus the Marquis of Montferrat had remained behind for some business that detained him. And Stephen of Perche had remained at Venice sick, and Matthew of Montmorency. When they were healed of their sickness Matthew of Montmorency came to rejoin the host at Zara; but Stephen of Perche dealt less worthily, for he abandoned the host, and went to sojourn in Apulia. With him went Rotrou of Montfort and Ives of la jaille, and many others, who were much blamed therein; and they journeyed to Syria in the following spring.*
[note: Literally, "in the passaae of March," i.e. among the pilgrims who periodically started for the (,,y Land in March.]