Still, as long as Greek and Saracen were protected and favoured, so long was Sicily the most brilliant of European kingdoms. But its greatness had no groundwork of national life; for lack of it the most brilliant of kingdoms presently sank below the level of other lands.
Side by side with his indignation at the idea of cheating his Saracen enemies may be mentioned his answer to those who after Taillebourg complained that he had let off Henry III.
Rainouart turns out to be the brother of Guillaume's wife Guibourc, who was before her marriage the Saracen princess and enchantress Orable.
His picture of the Holy Land preserves a record of conditions (such as the Saracen raiding almost up to the walls of Christian Jerusalem, and the friendly relations subsisting between Roman and Eastern churches in Syria) peculiarly characteristic of the time; his account of Jerusalem itself is remarkably clear, minute and accurate; his three excursions - to the Dead Sea and Lower Jordan (which last he compares to a river of Little Russia, the Snov), to Bethlehem and Hebron, and towards Damascus - gave him an exceptional knowledge of certain regions.
Then came another Saracen inroad from Alexandria, in which Syracuse was sacked (Paul.
His memory is stained by one act of needless cruelty, the massacre of over two thousand Saracen prisoners at Acre; and his fury, when thwarted or humbled, was ungovernable.
The iconoclast emperor Leo V., an Armenian, persecuted the sect afresh, and provoked a rising at Cynoschora, whence many fled into Saracen territory to Argaeum near Melitene.
One town was taken by storm; another submitted on terms harsher or Saracen more favourable.
Into these divans where figures of this kind moved to the music of Saracen instruments, there entered an inevitable voluptuousness and corruption of manners.
Euphemius, a puppet emperor, was led about by his Saracen allies much as earlier puppet emperors had been led about by Alaric and Ataulf, till he was slain in one of the many sieges.