THE CRUSADERS MARCH TO THE RELIEF OF DEMOTICA
Then did Henry take council with his barons, and their decision was that they would go to the city of Bizve, which was a fair city, and strong. So they did as they had devised, and came to Bizye, and encamped before the city on the eve of the feast of our Lord St. John the Baptist, in June (23rd June 1206). And on the day that they so encamped came messengers from Adrianople, and said to Henry, the brother of the Emperor Baldwin: "Sire, be it known to thee that if thou dost not relieve the city of Demotica, it cannot hold out more than eight days, for Johannizza's petraries have breached the walls in four places, and his men have twice got on to the walls." Then he asked for counsel as to what he should do. Many were the words spoken, to and fro; but in the end they said: " Lord, we have come so far that we shall be for ever shamed if we do not succour Demotica. Let every man now confess and receive the communion; and then let us set our forces in array." And it was reckoned that they had with them about four hundred knights, and of a certainty no more. So they summoned the messengers who had come from Adrianople, and asked them how matters stood, and what number of men Johannizza had with him. And the messengers answered that he had with him at least forty thousand men-at-arms, not reckoning those on foot, of whom they had no count.
Ah God! what a perilous battle-so few against so many 1 In the morning, on the day of the feast of our Lord St. John the Baptist, all confessed and received the communion, and on the following day they marched forward. The van was commanded by Geoffry, the Marshal of Roumania and Champagne, and with him was Macaire of Sainte-Menehould. The second division was under Conon of Béthune and Miles the Brabant; the third under Payen of Orléans and Peter of Bracieux; the fourth was under Anseau of Cayeux; the fifth under Baldwin of Beauvoir; the sixth under Hugh of Beaumetz; the seventh under Henry, brother of the Emperor Baldwin; the eighth, with the Flemings, under Walter of Escornai; Thierri of Loos, who was seneschal, commanded the rear-guard.
So they rode for three days, all in order; nor did any host ever advance seeking battle so perilously. For they were in peril on two accounts; first because they were so few, and those they were about to attack so many; and secondly, because they did not believe the Greeks, with whom they had just made peace, would help them heartily. For they stood in fear lest, when need arose, the Greeks would go over to Johannizza, who, as you have already heard, had been so near to taking Demotica.