VERY few words are needed to introduce this volume. It is intended to give a history of the city of Jerusalem from about the year 30 to the present time. This period includes the siege and capture by Titus, the last revolts of the Jews, the Christian occupation of three hundred years, the Mohammedan conquest, the building by the Mohammedans of the Dome of the Kock, the Crusades, the Christian kingdom, the reconquest of the city, and a long period of Mohammedan occupation, during which no event has happened except the yearly flocking of pilgrims to the Church of the Sepulchre, and an occasional quarrel among the monks.
There are here, surely, sufficient materials for the historian if only he knows how to use them.
For the modern period, that of the Christian kingdom, two sources of information exist, one, the contemporary and later chronicles of the Crusaders, written either in Latin or Langue d'Oil, and the other, the Arabic historians themselves. I have written my own part of the book from the former; to my colleague is due all that part (the Mohammedan Conquest, the chapter on Saladin, &c.) which has been taken from Arabic writers. Most of thishas the great advantage of being entirely new, and now for the first time introduced to English readers. For my own share in the work, I claim no other novelty than the presentation of facts as faithfully as I could gather them, at first hand, and from the earliest writers. There is nothing sacred ahout the actors in this long story we have to tell, and we have not thought it necessary to endeavour to invest them, as is generally done by those who write on Jerusalem, with an appearance of sanctity, because they fought for the City of Sacred Memories, or because they bore the Cross upon their shoulders. We have, on the other hand, endeavoured to show them as they were, men and women actuated by mixed motives,
sometimes base, sometimes noble, sometimes interested, sometimes pure and lofty : but always men and women, never saints. The Christians in the East were as the Christians in the West, certainly never better, more often worse. If we have succeeded in making a plain tale, divested of its customary pseudoreligious trappings, interesting and useful, our design is satisfied. One word more.
There may be found, owing to the double source from which our pages are derived, certain small discrepancies in the narrative. We have not cared to try and reconcile these. Let it be remembered that the one narrative is Christian, the other Mohammedan.