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Richard of Devizes Chronicle

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Richard of Devizes
page 5

Sect. 20. The ships which the king found already prepared on the shore were one hundred in number, and fourteen busses, vessels of great magnitude and admirable swiftness, strong vessels and very sound, whereof this was the equipage and appointment. The first of the ships had three spare rudders, thirteen anchors, thirty oars, two sails, three sets of ropes of all kinds, and besides these double whatever a ship can want, except the mast and the ship's boat. There is appointed to the ship's command a most experienced steersman, and fourteen subordinate attendants picked for the service are assigned him. The ship is freighted with forty horses of value, trained to arms, and with arms of all kinds for as many horsemen, and forty foot, and fifteen sailors, and with an entire year's provisions for as many men and horses. There was one appointment for all the ships, but each of the busses received a double appointment and freight. The king's treasure, which was very great and inestimable, was divided amongst the ships and busses, that if one part should experience danger, the rest might be saved. All things being thus arranged, the king himself, with a small household, and the chief men of his army, with his attendants, having quitted the shore, advanced before the fleet in galleys, and, being daily entertained by the maritime towns, taking along with them the larger ships and busses of that sea, arrived prosperously at Messina. (5) So great was the splendour of the approaching armament, such the clashing and brilliancy of their arms, so noble the sound of the trumpets and clarions, that the city quaked and was greatly

(5) He arrived at Messina. Sept. 23.

astounded, and there came to meet the king a multitude of all ages, people without number, wondering and proclaiming with what exceeding glory and magnificence that king had arrived, surpassing the king of France, who with his forces had arrived seven days before. And forasmuch as the king of France had been already received into the palace of Tancred, king of Sicily, within the walls, the king of England pitched his camp without the city. The same day the king of France, knowing of the arrival of his comrade and brother, flies to his reception, nor could their gestures sufficiently express in embraces and kisses how much each of them rejoiced in the other. The armies cheered one another with mutual applause and intercourse, as if so many thousand men had been all of one heart and one mind. In such pastimes is the holiday spent until the evening, and the weary kings departing, although not satiated, return every one to his own quarters. On the next day the king of England presently caused gibbets to be erected without the camp to hang thereon thieves and robbers. The judges delegated spared neither sex nor age; the cause of the stranger and the native found the like law and the like punishment. The king of France, whatever transgression his people committed, or whatever offence was committed against them, took no notice and held his peace; the king of England esteeming the country of those implicated in guilt as a matter of no consequence, considered every man his own, and left no transgression unpunished, wherefore the one was called a Lamb by the Griffones, the other obtained the name of a Lion.

Sect. 21. The king of England sent his messengers to the king of Sicily, demanding Johanna his sister, formerly queen of Sicily, and her dowry, with a golden seat and the whole legacy which King William had bequeathed to his father, King Henry, namely, a golden table of twelve feet in length, a silk tent, a hundred of the best galleys with all their necessaries for two years, sixty thousand silinas of wheat, sixty thousand of barley, sixty thousand of wine, four and twenty golden cups, and four and twenty golden dishes. The king of Sicily, setting little by the demands of the king of the English, and still less considering his own exigencies, sent him back his sister with the ordinary furniture of her bed, having given her, however, with royal consideration, a thousand thousand terrini for her expenses. On the third day following, the king of England, having passed over the great river Del Far, which separates Calabria from Sicily, entered Calabria in arms, and took therein the well-fortified town which is called La Banniere, and having expelled the Griffones, established his sister there, and secured the place with an armed garrison. Again the king took a very strong castle, which is called the Griffones' Monastery, on the same river Del Far, situated between La Banniere and Messina, and fortified it when taken; and having without mercy despatched by various tortures the Griffones who had resisted, caused them to be exhibited as a gazing-stock to their friends. Wide, king of Jerusalem, sent word to Philip, king of the French, and Richard, king of the English, whilst wintering in Sicily, that the residue of the Christians who lay before Acre would, on account of their weakness and the violence of the pagans, either be obliged to depart or perish, unless very shortly sustained. To aid whom, the kings sent forward Henry, count of Champagne, and Baldwin, archbishop of Canterbury, and Hubert, bishop of Salisbury, and Ralph de Glanville, with a strong army; of whom Archbishop Baldwin and Ralph de Glanville died at the siege of the city, which the Latins call Acre and the Jews Accaron, while the kings still remained in Sicily.

Sect. 22. The Griffones, before King Richard's arrival in Sicily, were more powerful than all the mighty of that region, and having moreover always hated the people beyond the Alps, and now irritated by recent occurrences more inveterate than ever, kept the peace with all who claimed the king of France for their master, but sought to wreak the entire vengeance of their wrongs on the king of the English and his tailed (6) followers, for the Greeks and Sicilians followed that king about and called them tailed English. Thereupon all intercourse with the country is denied the English by proclamation; they are murdered both day and night by forties and fifties, wherever they are found unarmed. The slaughter was daily multiplied, and it was madly purposed to go on until they should either destroy or put them all to flight. The king of England, excited by these disorders, raged like the fiercest lion, and vented his anger in a manner worthy that noble beast. His fury astounded his nearest friends, and his whole court, the famous princes of

(6) The origin of this joke is unknown.

his army sat around his throne, each according to his rank, and if any one might dare to raise his eyes to look him in the face, it would be very easy to read in the ruler's countenance what he

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