Camels are mentioned frequently in Latin accounts of the Crusades. Most references are fleeting and incidental, as for example in Fulker of Chartres’s Historia Hierosolymitana (PL 155, cols 837, 846, 856f., 875, 880, 887, 911, 916, 926, 933) and William of Tyre‘s Historia rerum in partibus transmarinis gestarum (pp. 316, 392, 499, 465, 555, 730, 823, 827, 884, 919, 983, 991, 994). In 9, 12 (p. 435), however, William interestingly corroborates the ancients’ assessment of the value of camels in counteracting cavalry, and in 3, 15 (p. 235), he records that the crusaders saw camels for the first time at the siege of Nicea. Moreover Guibert de Nogent’s Gesta Dei per Francos fascinatingly chronicles the extent to which those besieged in Antioch depended on camels for food – »wealthy men ate the flesh of → horses, camels, → cows, and → deer« (tr. Levine, p. 103); »[the Count of Flanders’] quartermaster paid a remarkable amount of money for a camel’s foot, since he was unable to find anything better for him to eat at that point« (p. 109). The occasional presence of camels in the medieval West is meanwhile recorded in accounts of menageries, such as that of Emperor Frederick II (see Godfrey of Viterbo, Gesta Frederici, p. 348; also Loisel, 2, 154, 169, 179).
The occasional presence of camels in the medieval West is recorded in accounts of menageries, such as that of Emperor Frederick II (see Godfrey of Viterbo, Gesta Frederici, p. 348; also Loisel, 2, 154, 169, 179).
Lit.: G. LOISEL: Histoire des ménageries de l’antiquité à nos jours, 1912; A. DIERKENS: Chameaux et dromadaires en Gaule mérovingienne. Quelques remarques critiques. In: Hommages à Carl Deroux, ed. P. DÉFOSSE, 2003, 114-137; A. DIERKENS: Chameaux et dromadaires dans la Gaule du très haut Moyen-Âge. Note complémentaire: La méditerrannée et le monde mérovingien. Bulletin Archéologique de Provence, Supplément 3 (2005), 241-245.