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JOHN LORD DE JOINVILLE Memoirs of Louis IX, King of France

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JOHN LORD DE JOINVILLE
Memoirs of Louis IX, King of France
page 61



Α.Π. 1249.]] MILITARY MACHINES. 403 teil$.* There were two towers in front of these beffrois, and two bouses in their rear, to receive the things the Saracens threw upon their machines, of which they had sixteen that did wonders. The king ordered eighteen machines to be constructed, under the direction of a man named Jousselin de Courvant, who was the inventor and undertaker ; and with these engines did each army play on the other. The king's brother was on guard over the cats in the daytime, and we other knights guarded them at night These chas-chateils were finished the week before Christmas, and then the causeway was set about in earnest ; but as fast as we advanced, the Saracens destroyed it. They dug, on their side of the river, wide and deep holes in the earth, and as the water recoiled from our causeway it filled these holes with water, and tore away the banks ; so that what we had been employed on for three weeks or a month, tbey ruined in one or two days; they also very much annoyed, by their arrows, our people who were carrying materials for the dam. The Turks, after the death of their sultan, who died of the disorder he was seized with when before Hamault, chose for their chief a Saracen named Sacedun, son of the sheik, whom the emperor Ferrait had made a knight Shortly after this, Sacedun sent part of his army to cross near Damietta, and to a small town called Sourmesac, which frois : " The English had constructed two large towers, of great beams of wood, three stories high ; each tower was placed on wheels, and covered over with prepared leather, to shelter those within from fire, and from the arrows : in each story were 100 archers." William of Malmesbury, in the fourth book of his History of England, calls this machine ber/roy. This word beffroy (belfry) has since been applied to the highest towers of frontier towns, wherein a sentinel is placed to watch for their security, and with a bell for him to strike on to alarm the inhabitants end guards at the gates. This bell has afterwards been employed to mark the hour for the retreat of the inhabitants to their houses, and the garrisons to their quarters, and other public uses. * The cat was properly a machine made in the form of a covered gallery (whence Anna Comnena, in her Alexiade, page 383, gives it the name of στοά), which was fastened to the walls to afford shelter to the sappers. Ravedicus, in the second book of the History of Frederic I. c. 63, describing the siege of Crema, gays that the inhabitants, to defend themselves against those who scaled the walls, or who descended on their walls from beffrois and towers of wood, made use of cats to enable them ta attack the enemy within their machines. 2 D 2


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