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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 88



When the sultan wanted any thing, or wished to give orders to his men-at-arms, he mentioned it to the above commander, who ordered the minstrels to sound their Saracen horns, drums, and nacaires ; and to this sound the whole of the chiefs drew up before their sultan's tent, to whom the commander of the Hauleca told the good pleasure of the sultan, which they instantly obeyed to the utmost of their power. Whenever the sultan went personally to war, he nominated from such of the knights of the Hauleca as shewed the most courage and abilities an admiral,* or captain over the men-at-arms, and according as they rose in merit, the more the sultan gave them ; by which means every one of them tried who should surpass the other to the utmost. The manner of the sultan's acting towards them was, that whenever any one of the knights of the Hauleca had, by his prowess and chivalry, gained a sufficiency, so that he was no longer in want, and could live independent, the sultan, for * That ia to say, as the lord de Joinville explains this word, captain or governor of a province or place, chief of an army or smaller body of troops. Thé word is derived from the Arabic emir or amir, which signifies lord. The same thing is observed by the lord de Villerval in his manuscript travels, in the chapter on the condition and nature of the 44 sultans, of their admirals and slaves, &c. Item. The sultan of Babylon has always, as they tell me, as well in Cairo as in the environs, about ten thousand slaves in his pay, who fight for him when war makes it necessary, some with two horses, and others with more or less, according to their circumstances. It must be known, that these slaves are from foreign nations, such as Tartary, Turkey, Bulgaria, Hungary, Sclavonia, Wallachia, Russia, Greece, and other countries, as well from those of the Christians, as elsewhere. They are not called the sultan's slaves unless they be bought with his money, or sent to him as presents from distant countries. In these slaves he trusts wholly for the guard of his person, and he gives them women, houses, horses, and robes, and places them, when young, under masters, to teach them the art of war. According to their different abilities, he appoints one captain of ten lancemen, another of twenty, another of fifty, another of one hundred ; and, thus rising, they are made, one governor of Jerusalem, another king, or ruler, of Damascus, another chief governor of Cairo, and thus with other officers of that country." The word admiral is printed by different writers various ways. This officer is called by the Greeks, αμκραι, αμηραιοι, and by the Latins of the middle ages, admirabile», admiraldi, Sec. This much is however certain, that we have borrowed the word from the infidel nations, and commonly style the chiefs of naval armaments admirals, because those from whom we have adopted it thus applied the word.


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