An Account of the Goods of a Captured Caravan, 1192
The capture of a caravan by King Richard reveals the variety and quantity of goods
transported by camels, dromedaries, horses, and asses from Asia to Europe in the twelfth
century, and during all the Crusades.
By this defeat the pride of the Turks was entirely cast down, and their boldness
effectually repressed; whilst the caravan, with all its riches, became the spoil of the
victors. Its guards surrendered to our soldiers themselves, their beasts of burden, and
sumpter horses; and stretching forth their hands in supplication, they im plored for
mercy, on condition only that their lives should be spared. They led the yoked horses and
camels by the halter, and offered them to our men, and they brought mules loaded with
spices of different kinds, and of great value; gold and silver; cloaks of silk; purple and
scarlet robes, and variously-ornamented apparel, besides arms and weapons of divers forms;
coats of mail, commonly called gasiganz; costly cushions, pavilions, tents,
biscuit, bread. barley, grain, meal, and a large quantity of conserves and medicines;
basins, bladders, chess-boards; silver dishes and candlesticks; pepper, cinnamon, sugar,
and wax; and other valuables of choice and various kinds; an immense sum of money, and an
incalculable quantity of goods, such as had never before (as we have said) been taken at
one and the same time, in any former battle.
From: Geoffrey de Vinsauf's Itinerary of Richard I and Others, to the Holy Land, translation in Chronicles of the Crusades, ed. H. G. Bohn, (London, 1848), p. 307,
reprinted in Roy C. Cave & Herbert H. Coulson, A Source Book for Medieval Economic
History, (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Co., 1936; reprint ed., New York: Biblo
& Tannen, 1965), p. 155.
Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by
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© Paul Halsall, September 1998