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GEOFFREY VINSAUF Itinerary of Richard I and others to the Holy Land

 
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GEOFFREY VINSAUF
Itinerary of Richard I and others to the Holy Land
page 56

refuge in flight. The galleys, therefore, being captured, and our boats come to shore, our slingers and archers, gaining courage by success, sent a shower of arrows, like rain, at those who were guarding the landing-place. The Griffons not able to stand the charge, retreated from the beach to firmer ground, while their arbalesters and ours kept constantly throwing darts, so that the sky was darkened, and the calmness of day seemed to grow into night from the shower of arrows, while the whole city swarmed with men, and the neighbourhood was filled with a multitude of men plying their engines. It was a long time doubtful on which side the victory lay, or which party was superior; for our troops, though they strove with all their strength, did not make progress. The king, perceiving that his men were not daring enough to get out of their boats, and make for the shore, leaped first from his barge into the water, and boldly attacked the Griffons; and then our soldiers, imitating his example, eagerly sought to put the enemy to flight; and having made an impression on their troops, forced them to give way. Then you might see a shower of flying darts, and the Greeks cut down; and you might hear the murmurs of the combatants, the groans of the dying, and the yells of the retreating. Then, also, our men in a body, mowing down the Greeks as they fled in confusion, drove them first into the city, and from thence to the plains beyond. The king, pushing on in pursuit of the emperor, found a common horse, upon which he speedily vaulted by the aid of a lance, placed behind the saddle, and rode on with cords for stirrups. The king thus hastily pressed after the emperor, crying out, "My lord the emperor, I challenge you to single combat;" but, as though he were deaf, he fled swiftly away. The king, having thus taken the city, caused the two queens to be landed from the buss and lodged in Limozin, where, after the fatigues and perils of their voyage, they recruited themselves in security.

Chapter XXXIII. - Further of the fight between the king and the emperor, and of the victory of the king and the flight of the emperor to Nicosia.

The same night the king lodged in his pavilion, and caused his horses to be landed by the Esneckars. But the emperor, not thinking he had any horses, feared him the less, and passed the night encamped within a distance of two leagues. On the morrow, about two o’clock, the king mounted his horse, and discovered some Greeks standing not far off in an olive-yard with their gorgeous banners, and on their taking to flight, he pursued them. But forasmuch as our horses had been injured by being tossed about on the sea, standing for a whole month, our men spared them and went at a moderate pace, until they saw the army of the emperor, which had spent the night in a valley, and then they stopped in their pursuit. The Greeks, crying out with a horrible clamour, began to insult our men; on which the emperor, aroused from his sleep, mounted his horse, and marched with his men towards ours gradually, as far as a neighbouring hill, where be took his station to overlook the engagement. The Greeks making use only of their bows and slings, cried out that our men were immoveable. Then there came to the king a certain clerk, by name Hugo de Mara, in arms, and said to the king, "My lord the king, it appears to be a wise plan to decline for a time so large and so powerful a multitude." To whom the king answered, "Sir clerk, as for our profession, you had better employ yourself in writing, and leave war to us, and take good care to keep out of the crowd." Others likewise dissuaded the king from fighting against so mighty a host: indeed he had not with him at that time more than fifty men; but taking courage from the enemy’s wavering, he put spurs to his horse, and was suddenly carried against the enemy, and piercing through their line, scattered them, and attacking first one and then the other, he instantly dispersed them. For when their army perceived that their adversaries were collecting together, their valour gave way, and they took to flight; those who had swift and nimble horses escaped, but the footsoldiers and common people, who were less fitted for flight, were slain in all directions without distinction, and could not fly further, on account of the arrival of the king. And while the emperor was encouraging and animating his men to fight, the king coming suddenly upon him at full speed, knocked him off his horse with his lance; but he quickly procured another, and escaped in the crowd: some of his companions, however, were lost. Oh! how many noble horses might you have seen slain there, and coats of mail, and helmets, and swords, and lances, and pennons fallen down, and standards of various shapes, and the bodies of dead men weltering in their blood, and some yet breathing their last, in countless numbers. The emperor, perceiving the boldness of our men, and the flight of his own, and not forgetting his spurs, which he saw were the only thing that remained, fled with the utmost swiftness to the mountains. The king struck down his banner-bearer, and gave orders that the splendid and

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