Thomas Fuller.

The history of the holy war online

. (page 1 of 32)
Online LibraryThomas FullerThe history of the holy war → online text (page 1 of 32)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook























WHEN I observe the several alterations in
nobility, I find four principal actors on the
theatres of great families ; the beginner, advancer, V"
continuer, and ruiner. The beginner is he who by his \
virtues refineth himself from the dross of the vulgar,
and layeth the foundation of his house : an excellent
workman indeed, as who not only bringeth his tools,
but maketh his materials. The advancer, who im-
proveth the patrimony of honour he receiveth ; and
what his father found glass and made crystal, he findeth
crystal and maketh it pearl. The continuer, who
keepeth his nobility alive, and passeth it along, neither
marring nor mending it ; but sendeth it to his son as
he received it from his father. The ruiner, who basely
degenerateth from his ancestors ; so that in him nobi-
lity hath run so far from its first starting, that it is
tired : and whilst he liveth he is no better than his
grandfather's tomb ; without, carved over with honour-
able titles ; within, full of emptiness, or what is worse,

Now to apply. You cannot be beginners of your
families ; that care was cared for, before your nurses
were chosen, or your cradles provided. Your fathers,



though of late years fixed in a higher sphere, were
bright stars long before. None can go on in our
English chronicles, but they must meet with a Mon-
tagu and a Powlet, either in peace in their gowns, or
in war in their armour. Yea, when I go backward by
the streams of your paternal nobility (not to speak of
the tributary brooks of their matches), I can never find
the first fountain ; and hope none shall ever find the
last fall. For as for the ruiners of houses, I should
rend that thought out with my heart, if it should con-
ceive that of you. Nay, let me tell you, if you be but
bare continuers of your honour, you deceive both the
desires and hopes of your friends. Good is not good
when proceeding from them from whom far better is
expected. Your youthful virtues are so promising, that
you cannot come off in your riper age with credit, with-
out performing what may redound to the advancing of
the honour of your family, and without building your
houses one story higher in the English history.

Now know T , next religion, there is nothing accom-
plkheth a man more than learning. Learning in a
lord is as a diamond in gold. And if you fear to hurt
your tender hands with thorny school-questions, there
is no danger in meddling w T ith history, which is a
velvet study, and recreation work. What a pity is it
to see a proper gentleman to have such a crick in his
neck that he cannot look backward ! yet no better is
he who cannot see behind him the actions which long
since were performed. History maketh a young man
to be old, without either wrinkles or gray hairs ; pri-
vileging him with the experience of age, without
either the infirmities or inconveniences thereof. Yea,
it not only maketh things past, present ; but enableth
one to make a rational conjecture of things to come.
For this \vorld afFordeth no new accidents, but in the
same sense wherein we call it a new moon, which is
the old one in another shape, and yet no other than
what hath been formerly. Old actions return again,
furbished over with some new and different circum-



r amongst all particular histories (I may say)
is moreej2EaLthan this of the Holy War, which
I present to your honours. Some will condemn
me tor an ill husband, in lavishing two noble patrons
on one book, whereas, one of them might have served
to have patronised many volumes. But first, I did it
in the weak expression of my thankfulness unto you,
being deeply indebted to you both ; and I thought it
dishonesty to pay all to one creditor, and none to
another : and therefore conceived it best, to share my
estate jointly betwixt you, as far forth as it would
extend. Secondly, considering the weakness of this
work, now being to walk abroad in the world, I thought
it must be led by both arms, and needed a double
supporter. And now I am sure this Holy War, which
was unhappy heretofore, when acted, will be happy
hereafter, now written and related, because dedicated
to your honours. So resteth

Your honours'

in all service



March 6, 1639.


IN this work I can challenge nothing to myself, but
the composing of it. The materials were found to
my hand ; which if any historian will make, let him not
be commended for wit, but shamed for falsehood. If
every where I have not charged the margin with the
author's names, it is either because the story is author
for itself (I mean, generally received), or to avoid the
often citing of the same place. Where I could not go
abroad myself, there I have taken air at the window,
and have cited authors on others' citations ; yet so
that the stream may direct to the fountain.

If the reader may reap in few hours what cost me
more months, just cause have I to rejoice, and he (I
hope) none to complain. Thus may the faults of this
book redound to myself, the profit to others, the glory
to God.




CAPTAIN of arts, in this thy Holy War
My muse desires to be thy trumpeter,
In thy just praise to spend a blast or two,
For this is all that she (poor thing) can do.

Peter the Hermit, like an angry owl,
Would needs go tight all armed in his cowl.
What, had the holy man nought else to do,
But thus to lose his blood and credit too ?
Seeking to win Christ's sepulchre, God wot,
He found his own ; this was the ground he got.
Except he got more ground, when he one day
Besieging Antioch fiercely ran away.
Much wiser was the Pope : at home he stayed,
And made the world believe he wept and prayed.
Meanwhile (behold the fruit of feigned tears)
He sets the world together by the ears.
His head serves him, whilst others use their hands :
Whilst princes lose their lives, he gets their lands.
To win the Holy Land what need kings roam ?
The pope can make a Holy Land at home
By making it his own : then for a fashion,
'Tis said to come by Constantine's donation.
For all this fox-craft, I have leave (I hope)
To think my friend far wiser than the pope
And hermit both : he deals in holy wars,
Not as a stickler in those fruitless jars,
But a composer rather : hence this book ;
Whereon whilst I with greedy eyes do look,
Methinks I travel through the Holy Land,
Viewing the sacred objects on each hand.
Here mounts (methinks), like Olivet, brave sense ;
There flows a Jordan of pure eloquence :
A temple rich in ornament I find
Presented here to my admiring mind.
Strange force of Art! the ruined holy city
Breeds admiration in me now, not pity.
To testify her liking, here my muse
Makes solemn vows, as holy pilgrims use.

I vow, dear friend, the Holy War is here

Far better writ than ever fought elsewhere.

Thousands have fought and died : but all this while,

I vow, there nothing triumphs but thy style.

Thy wit hath vanquished barbarfsm more

Than ever Godfrey's valour did before.

Might I but choose, I rather would by far

Be author of thy book than of that war.

Let others fight ; I vow to read thy works,

Prizing thy ink before the blood of Turks.



HOW comes stern war to be accounted holy,
By nature fierce, complexion melancholy ?
I'll tell you how : sh' has been at Rome of late,
And gained an indulgence to expiate
Her massacres ; and by the pope's command
Sh' has been a pilgrim to the Holy Land,
Where freeing Christians by a sacred plot,
She for her pains this epithet hath got.


NOR need Jerusalem, that holy mother,
Envy old Troy ; since she has found another
To write her battles, and her wars rehearse
In prose as elegant as Homer's verse.
Let Sueton's name august as Caesar's be ;
Curtius more worlds than Alexander see ;
Let Joseph in his country's siege survive,
And Phoenix-like in his own ashes thrive :
Thy work great Fuller, will outlive their glory,
And make thy memory sacred as thy story.
Thy style is clear and white : thy very name
Speaks pureness, and adds lustre to the frame.
All men could wish, nay long, the world would jar,
So thou'dst be pleased to write, compose the War.
H. HLTTON, M. A. C. Jes.



"V1THILE of thy book I speak, friend, I'll think on
W Thy Jordan for my purest Helicon ;
And for biforked Parnassus, I will set
My fancy on the sacred Olivet.


Tis holy ground which now my measured feet
Must tread on ; then (as in due right 'tis meet)
Let them be bare and plain ; for quainter art
May sacrifice to thee without a heart ;
And while it praiseth this thy work, may preach
His glory, rather than thy merit's reach.

Here, reader, thou mayst judge and well compare
Who most in madness, Jew or Roman, share :
This not so blind, yet in the clearest day
Does stumble still on stocks, on stones, on clay ;
The other will in bright and highest noon
Choose still to walk by glimmering light o' th' moon.
Here thou mayst represented see the right
Between our earthly flesh and heavenly Sp'rit.
Lo, how the Turk doth drive with flaming sword,
Salvation from him and God's holy word,
As once the angel did rebellious vice
With Adam force from blessed paradise.
And this in style diamond-like doth shine,
Which firmest parts and clearest do combine,
And o'er the sad ground of the Jewish story
As light embroidery explays its glory.
The temple razed and ruined seems more high
In his strong phrase, than when it kissed the sky.
And as the viper, by those precious tears
Which Phaeton bemoaned, of amber wears
A rich (though fatal) coat; so here enclosed
With words so rare, so splendent, so composed,
E'en Mahomet has found a tomb, which shall
Last when the fainting loadstone lets him fall.



I LOVE no wars,
I love no jars,
Nor strife's fire :
May discords cease ;
Let's live in peace ;
This I desire.

If it must be
Wars we must see

So (fates conspire),
May we not feel
The force of steel ;

This I desire.


But in thy book
When I do look

And it admire ;
Let war be there,
But peace elsewhere ;

This I desire.




THERE'S not a story, friend, in thy book told,
But's a jewel ; each line a thread of gold.
Though war sound harsh, and doth our minds affright,
Yet clothed in well-wrought language 't doth delight.
Such is thy gilded phrase, I joy to read
In thee massacres, and to see men bleed.
Oft have I seen in hangings on a wall
The ruins of great Troy, and Priam's fall ;
A story in itself so full of woe,
Twould make the Grecian weep that was the foe ;
But being wrought in arras, and made gay
W r ith rich embroidery, 't makes th' beholder say,
I like it well ; this flame, that scar is good ;
And then commend : this wound, that stream of blood.
Things in themselves distasteful, are by art
Made pleasant, and do much delight the heart.
Such is thy book ; though it of blood relate
And horrid war, whose very name we hate,
Yet clad in arras-language and thy phrase,
Doth not affright, but with delight amaze,
And with such power upon our senses seize,
That 't makes war dreadful in itself, to please.



WE need not now those zealous votaries meet,
Or pilgrims turn ; but on our verses' feet.
Thy quill hath winged the earth ; the Holy Land
Doth visit us, commanded by thy hand.
If envy make thy labours prove thy loss,
No marvel if a crusade wear the cross.




CHAPTER I. The Destruction of the City and Temple of
Jerusalem by the Romans, under the Conduct of Titus.

WHEN the Jews had made the full measure of their
sins run over, by putting to death the Lord of Life
[A. D. 34], God's judgments (as they deserved, and our
Saviour foretold) quickly overtook them ; for a mighty army
of the Romans besieged and sacked the city of Jerusalem
[72], wherein by fire, famine, sword, civil discord, and
foreign force 1 , eleven hundred thousand were put to death.
An incredible number it seemeth : yet it cometh within
the compass of our belief, if we consider that the siege began
at the time of the passover, when in a manner all Judea was
enclosed in Jerusalem, all private synagogues doing then
their duties to the mother temple; so that the city then
had more guests than inhabitants. Thus the passover, first 2
instituted by God in mercy to save the Israelites from death,
was now used by him in justice to hasten their destruction,
and to gather the nation into a bundle to be cast into the
fire of his anger. Besides those who were slain, ninety-
seven thousand were taken captives; and they who had
bought our Saviour for thirty pence 3 were themselves sold
thirty for a penny. The general of the Romans in this
action was Titus, son to Vespasian the emperor : a prince
so good, that he was styled the Darling of Mankind 4 for

1 Josephus, lib. 7, Belli Jud. Gr. c. 45, Lat. c. 17.
'- Exod. xii. 13.

3 Adricom. in Actis A post. fol. 282, credo, ex Hegesippo.

4 Suetonius in Tito.



his sweet and loving nature (and pity it was so good a stock
had not been better grafted), so virtuously disposed, that he
may justly be counted the glory of all Pagans, and shame of
most Christians. He laboured what lay in his power to
have saved the temple, and many therein ; but the Jews,
by their obstinacy and desperateness, made themselves in-
capable of any mercy. Then was the temple itself made a
sacrifice, and burnt to ashes ; and of that stately structure,
which drew the apostles' admiration, not a stone left upon
a stone. The walls of the city (more shaken with the sins
of the Jews defending them, than with the battering rams
of the Romans assaulting them) were levelled to the ground ;
only three towers left standing, to witness the great strength
of the place, and greater valour of the Romans who con-
quered it. But whilst this storm fell on the unbelieving
Jews, it was calm amongst the Christians ; who, warned by
Christ's predictions, and many other prodigies, fled betimes
out of the city to Pella (a private place beyond Jordan),
which served them instead of a little Zoar, to save them
from the imminent destruction 5 .

CHAP. II. How Judea was dispeopled of Jews by Adrian
the Emperor.

rj^HREESCORE years after [132], Adrian the emperor
JL rebuilt the city of Jerusalem, changing the situation
somewhat westward, and the name thereof to yElia. To
despite the Christians, he built a temple x over our Saviour's
grave, with the images of Jupiter and Venus; another at
Bethlehem, to Adonis her minion : and to enrage the Jews,
did engrave swine over the gates of the city : who, storming
at the profanation of their land, brake into open rebellion,
but were subdued by Julius Severus, the emperor's lieute-
nant, an experienced captain, and many thousands slain,
with Bencochab, their counterfeit Messias (for so he termed
himself), that is, the son of a star, usurping that prophecy,
Out of Jacob shall a star arise a ; though he proved but a
fading comet, whose blazing portended the ruin of that
nation. The captives, by order from Adrian, were trans-
ported into Spain ; the country laid waste, which parted
with her people and fruitfulness both together. Indeed
pilgrims to this day here and there light on parcels of rich
ground in Palestine ; which God may seem to have left,

5 Euseb. Eccl. Hist. lib. 3, c. 5.

1 Hieron. torn. 1, p. 104. 2 Num. xxiv. 17.

A.D. 132 THE HOLY WAR. 3

that men may taste the former sweetness of the land, before
it was soured for the people's sins ; and that they may guess
the goodness of the cloth by the fineness of the shreds.
But it is barren for the generality : the streams of milk and
honey, wherewith once it flowed, are now drained dry ; and
the whole face of the land looketh sad 3 , not so much for
want of dressing, as because God hath frowned on it. Yet
great was the oversight of Adrian, thus totally to unpeople
a province, and to bequeath it to foxes and leopards.
Though his memory vras excellent, yet here he forgot the
old Romans' rule, who, to prevent desolations, where they
rooted out the natives, planted in colonies of their own
people. And surely the country recovered not a competency
of inhabitants for some hundred years after. For though
many pilgrims came thither in after ages, yet they came
rather to visit than to dwell ; and such as remained there,
most embracing single lives, were no breeders for posterity.
If any say that Adrian did wilfully neglect this land, and
prostitute it to ruin for the rebellion of the people ; yet all
account it small policy in him, in punishing the Jews, to
hurt his own empire, and by this vastation to leave fair
and clear footing for foreign enemies to fasten on this coun-
try, and from thence to invade the neighbouring dominions :
as, after, the Persians and Saracens easily overran and
dispeopled Palestine; and no wonder if a thin meadow
were quickly mown. But to return to the Jews, such
stragglers of them, not considerable in number, as escaped
this banishment into Spain (for few hands reap so clean as
to leave no gleanings), were forbidden to enter into Jerusa-
lem, or so much as to behold it from any rise or advantage
of ground. Yet they obtained 4 of the after emperors, once
a year (namely, on the tenth of August, whereon their city
was taken), to go in and bewail the destruction of their
temple and people, bargaining with the soldiers who waited
on them, to give so much for so long abiding there ; and if
they exceeded the time they conditioned for, they must
stretch their purses to a higher rate : so that (as St. Hierome
noteth) they who bought Christ's blood were then glad to
buy their own tears.

3 Sand. Trav. p. 145. 4 Hieron. torn. 6, p. 256.


CHAP. III. Of the present ivoful Condition of the Jews;
and of the small Hope and *great RinderanceS of their

nnilUS the main body of the Jews was brought into
JL Spain, and yet they stretched their out-limbs into
every country ; so that it was as hard to find a populous
city without a common sink, as without a company of
Jews. They grew fat on the barest pasture, by usury and
brokage ; though often squeezed by those Christians amongst
whom they lived, counting them dogs, and therefore easily
finding a stick to beat them. And always in any tumult,
when the fence of order was broken, the Jews lay next
harms : as at the coronation of Richard the First, when
the English made great feasts, but the pillaged Jews paid
the shot. At last, for their many villanies (as falsifying of
coin, poisoning of springs, crucifying of Chiistian children)
they were slain in some places *, and finally banished out
of others ; out of England, A. D. 1 291 , by Edward the First ;
France, 1307, by Philip the Fair; Spain, 1492, by Ferdi-
nand; Portugal, 1497, by Emmanuel " L . But had these two
latter kings banished all Jewish blood out of their countries,
they must have emptied the veins of their best subjects,
as descended from them. Still they are found in great
numbers in Turkey, chiefly in Salonichi, where they enjoy
the freest slavery : and they who in our Saviour's time so
scorned publicans, are now most employed in that office, to
be the Turks' tollgatherers 3 ; likewise in the popish parts
of Germany; in Poland, the Pantheon of all religions; and
Amsterdam may be forfeited to the king of Spain, when
she cannot show a pattern of this as of all other sects.
Lastly, they are thick in the pope's dominions, where they
are kept as a testimony of the truth of the Scriptures, and
foil to Christianity, but chiefly in pretence to convert them.
But his holiness's converting faculty worketh the strongest
at the greatest distance; for the Indians he turneth to his
religion, and these Jews he converted! to his profit. Some
are of opinion of the general calling of the Jews ; and no
doubt those who dissent from them in their judgments, con-
cur in their wishes and desires. Yet are there three grand
hinderances of their conversion : first, the offence taken and
given by the papists among whom they live, by their wor-

1 Minister Cosmogr. p. 457. 2 Polvd. Virg. p. 327.

3 Sandys' Trav. p. 146.

A. D.326 THE HOLY WAR. 5

shiping of images, the Jews being zealots in the -second
commandment : secondly, because on their conversion they
must renounce all their goods as ill gotten 4 ; and they will
scarce enter in at the door of our church, when first they
must climb over so high a threshold : lastly, they are
debarred from the use of the New Testament, the means of
their salvation. Arid thus we leave them in a state most
pitiful, and little pitied.

CHAP. IV* Of' the flourish ing Church in Judea under Con-
stantine. Julian's Success in building the Temple.

ADRIAN'S profanation of Jerusalem lasted one hundred
and eighty years, as St. Hierome counteth it x : during
which time the Christians, under the ten persecutions, had
scarce a leap-year of peace and quiet, and yet bare all with
invincible patience ; yea, some were too ambitious of mar-
tyrdom, and rather wooed than waited for their own deaths*
At last, Constantine (a Britain by birth, as all authors
agree 1 , save one or two late wrangling Grecians, who
deserve to be arraigned for felony, for robbing our land of
that due honour) stanched the issue of blood wherewith the
church had long been troubled, and brought her into
acquaintance with peace and prosperity [326]. Then
Helen, his mother (no less famous amongst the Christians
for her piety, than the ancient Helen amongst Pagans for
her beauty), travelled to Jerusalem ; zeal made her scarce
sensible of her age, being eighty years old ; and there she
purged Mount Calvary and Bethlehem of idolatry ; then
built in the places of Christ's birth and burial, and elsewhere
in Palestine, many most stately and sumptuous churches.
And because she visited the stable and manger of our
Saviour's nativity, Jews and Pagans slander her to have
been stabularia 3 , an ostleress, or a she stable groom: the
same nickname which since impudent papists (not for the
same reason, but with as little truth) put on reverend
Cranmer 5 , archbishop of Canterbury. But these dead flies
were not able to corrupt the sweet ointment of her name,
fragrant to posterity ; and as a father 6 writeth of her, Bona
stabularia, qua maluit testimari stercoraria ut Christum

4 P. Heylin, Microcos. in Palestine/p 570, Sir Ed. Sandys'
Survey of the West.

1 Epist. ad Paulinum, torn. 1, p. 104

2 Camden, Brit. p. 51. 3 Ambros. cont. in Theodosium.
* Fox, Martyrol. p. 1860. 6 Ambros. ibid*


lucrifaceret. To her is ascribed the finding out of the
cross, the memory whereof is celebrated the third of May :
and from that time the church flourished in Palestine,
being as well provided of able bishops, as they of liberal

363]. Afterwards Julian, going about to confute God,
befooled himself and many Jews. This apostate studied to
invent engines to beat down Christianity : yet all the vapours
of his brain could not cloud so bright a sun. He gave the
Jews liberty (not so much out of love to them as hatred to
Christians), with money and materials, to build again their
temple, hoping, by raising it, to ruin the truth of Christ's
prophecy. Hither 6 flocked the Jews, with spades and
mattocks ^of silver, to clear the foundation; the women
carried away the rubbish in their laps, and contributed all
their jewels and ornaments to advance the work. But a
sudden tempest 7 made them desist, which carried away
their tools and materials, with balls of fire which scorched
the most adventurous of the builders. Thus they who
sought to put out the truth of Christ's words, by snuffing it
made it burn the brighter. But the wonder of this wonder
was, that the hearts of the Jews, and of him who set them

Online LibraryThomas FullerThe history of the holy war → online text (page 1 of 32)