You are viewing a draft
Not for citation.

Albert of Aachen, History of the Journey to Jerusalem 5.41-5.42


Albert was a priest and sacristan at Aachen, or Aix-la-Chapelle, during roughly the first half of the 12th century. He wrote a detailed history of the First Crusade and the early years of the Kingdom of Jerusalem based not on his own experiences but apparently on firsthand accounts, documentary sources, and oral interviews, as well as compiled legendary matter. In this passage, Albert narrates the first approach of the crusaders to the Holy Land at Akko and Haifa, and their stay thereafter at a camp in the hinterland of Caesarea.


(41) Sequenti vero die Sur relicta, ad civitatem Ptolomaidam nomine, quam nunc moderni Acram vocant eo quod urbs esset Dei Accaron, ventum est. Quam ad dexteram in litore maris relinquentes, supra flumen dulcis saporis quod ibidem mari influit biduo pernoctaverunt. lllic duae dividuntur viae, una quae ducit per Damascum et flumen Iordanis a sinistris in Ierusalem, altera quae semper a dextris juxta litus praedicti maris continuatur in Ierusalem. Unde inter quinquaginta milia virorum vix viginti milia in bello valentium reperiri poterant, consilium inierunt ut per Damascum nequaquam transirent propter Turcorum copias qui Damasci inhabitabant, et propter apertam illic camporum planitiem ubi eis in omni latere spaciosum videbatur ab hostibus occursari. Qua de re inter mare et montana in litore viam constituentes, ubi fiducialiter transire poterant, protecti a mari a dextris et a montium altitudine incommeabili a sinistris, civitatem Cayphas, dictam a Caypha, quondam principe sacerdotum, praeterierunt. Eademque die in terminis Caesareae, quam quondam urbem Stratonis Herodes postea in honore Caesaris reaedificatam Caesaream appellavit, castra metati hospitio remanserunt. Ibidem ad radicem montium fons manat, qui eidem influit urbi per apertam camporum planitiem, ubi dux Godefridus et Robertus Flandriensis positis tentoriis hospitati sunt. Comes vero Reimundus Robertusque Nortmannorum princeps, post illos interposita ejusdem fontis amplissima palude, procul abhinc in eodem flumine castra posuerunt. Per quatuor quippe dies commorantes ibidem, sabbatum sanctum Pentecostes, ipsumque diem adventus Sancti Spiritus devotissime celebraverunt.(42) Has itaque urbes praefatas praetereuntes intactas, secunda, tertia et quarta feria in terminis et spaciosa planitie praenominatae Caesareae Cornelii in regione Palaestinorum iter suum continuantes, quinta feria ad flumen civitatis Rama vel Ramnes castra applicuerunt, et in crepidine alvei eiusdem fluminis tentoria ponentes pernoctare decreverunt1

Textual Note

Ed. Meyer 1879

Textual Note

Minor corrections with ref. to Edgington 2007


(41) On the following day, after leaving Tyre, they came to the town named Ptolomaïs, which people today call Acra because the city was God’s Accaron. They left it to the right on the shore and spent two nights along a freshwater river which flows into the sea there. There the road is divided into two, the one on the left leads past Damascus and the River Jordan to Jerusalem, and the other always on the right along the aforementioned shore continues on to Jerusalem. Since among the 50,000 men scarcely 20,000 could be found who were fit for battle, they decided that they should definitely not pass through Damascus due to large number of Turks occupying it and due to the open plain there which they considered an ample space for attack by the enemy on all sides. Therefore they settled on the coastal road between the sea and the mountains, where they could confidently travel under the protection of the sea on the right and the impassable height of the mountains on the left, and they passed by the city of Cayphas, named after Cayphas who was once chief priest. And on the same day they set up camp and quartered in the territory of Caesarea which, formerly the city of Straton, Herodes later rebuilt in honor of Caesar and called Caesarea. A spring wells up at the base of the mountains which flows into the city across the open plain of fields, where Duke Godfrey and Robert of Flanders had pitched their tents and quartered. Count Raymond and Robert prince of the Normans situated their camp on the same river but far off from them, because at their rear a vast swamp from the same source intervened. They stayed there four days and celebrated with great devotion the Sunday of Holy Pentecost and (the same day) the Advent of the Holy Spirit [= May 29, 1099].(42) And so, passing by these aforementioned cities untouched, on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday they continued their journey in the territory and wide plain of the aforementioned Caesarea, in the land of the Palestinians. And on Thursday [June 2, 1099] they established camp at the river of the town Rama or Ramnes, and at the base of the riverbed they pitched their tents and decided to spend the night. ...2

Translation Note

Adapted from Edgington 2007

Works Cited

  • 1 Jerome, S. Eusebii Hieronymi Stridonis presbyteri opera omnia, ... tomus secundus, ed. J.-P. Migne, Patrologiae cursus completus, series Latina 23 (Paris: Garnier, 1883), section: 5.41-5.42, p: 459-460.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 2 Albert of Aachen, Albert of Aachen, Historia Ierosolimitana: History of the Journey to Jerusalem, ed. Susan B. Edgington, Oxford Medieval Texts (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2007), p: 394-397.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record

Copyright and License for Reuse

Except for materials quoted from other sources, this entry is copyright 2023 by the contributors (Joseph L. Rife, et al.) and the Caesarea City and Port Exploration Project. It is licensed under the Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license.

Some texts quoted in this entry may be in the public domain in the United States. No copyright is asserted for these quotations.

Some texts quoted in this entry may have copyright restrictions and are reused under Section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976 (Title 17 of the United States Code) which permits “fair use” of copyrighted materials for purposes such as criticism, comment, scholarship, and research. These texts remain under copyright of their owners. No copyright infringement is intended.

How to Cite This Entry

Joseph L. Rife, “Albert of Aachen, History of the Journey to Jerusalem 5.41-5.42,” in Caesarea Maritima: A Collection of Testimonia, entry published June 30, 2023,


Joseph L. Rife, “Albert of Aachen, History of the Journey to Jerusalem 5.41-5.42.” In Caesarea Maritima: A Collection of Testimonia, edited by Joseph L. Rife., edited by Joseph L. Rife. Caesarea City and Port Exploration Project, 2023. Entry published June 30, 2023.

About this Entry

Entry Title: Albert of Aachen, History of the Journey to Jerusalem 5.41-5.42

Authorial and Editorial Responsibility:

  • Joseph L. Rife, general editor, Vanderbilt University
  • Joseph L. Rife, editor, Caesarea Maritima: A Collection of Testimonia
  • David A. Michelson, Daniel L. Schwartz, and William L. Potter, technical editor, “Albert of Aachen, History of the Journey to Jerusalem 5.41-5.42
  • Joseph L. Rife, entry contributor, “Albert of Aachen, History of the Journey to Jerusalem 5.41-5.42

Additional Credit:

  • TEI encoding by Joseph L. Rife
  • URNs and other metadata added by Joseph L. Rife
  • Electronic text added by Joseph L. Rife
  • Testimonia identified by Joseph L. Rife
Show full citation information...