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Geoffrey de Vinsauf
Itinerary of Richard I and others to the Holy Land
when the sailors saw them coming near, in their excessive fear they cried out together, "O Lord God, we shall be taken and slaughtered." To whom Ivo de Vipont said, "Why do ye of little faith fear those whom you shall soon see dead?" And when the enemy’s galley appeared by force of rowing to be on the point of striking the vessel with its beak, Ivo leapt into it and began to cut down the Turks who pressed upon him, with the axe he carried in his hand. His companions, when they saw his work prosper, gaining heart, leapt into the galley also, and either beheaded whomsoever they found, or led them away captives. Thus these men triumphed who placed their hope in God, who knows not how to be conquered, and with whom a counterfeit faith availeth not, nor a multitude of warriors, for it matters not with the Lord whether the valour of battle and the glory of victory rest with a few or with many.
Chapter LV. - The admiral’s genitalia destroyed by the Greek fire with which the enemy proposed to destroy our machines.
Again, when the townsmen beheld a great multitude of our people going, as was their wont, in search of provender for the animals, they sallied out against them under the command of their admiral Bellegeminus, a famous and powerful man, and rushed without care upon them; but our men withstood the enemy obstinately, and after many were killed on both sides, drove them back into the city. But the admiral stood his ground a long time, as he was a man of greater bravery than the others; while he was doing his best to execute the main object of the attack by cutting to pieces or burning with Greek fire the machines which were ready to move against the walls of the city, and as, while his men fled, he lagged behind to accomplish his purpose, a soldier, coining behind, threw him from his horse, and the vessel in which he carried the Greek fire being
broken by the fall, the inextinguishable liquid burnt his genitalia. So that what he had intended for our detriment became his own destruction.
Chapter LVI. - How a Turk, while carrying the Greek fire, is caught in a net by our men.
On one occasion, some of our fishermen were throwing their nets for fish at no great distance from land, - men who, being devoted to this pursuit, gained a livelihood for themselves and no small relief by selling the fish. It happened one day towards sunset, when the nets were stretched out, that one of our men, sitting on an elevated spot on shore, saw a man swimming at a distance with his head only above water, and on his pointing him out, the aforesaid fishermen closely pursued the swimmer in their boat to ascertain what this strange appearance might be; and when they approached nearer they perceived that he was a Turk. He was frightened at their shouts and tried to escape, but they rowed quickly and caught him in their net. The man, being an expert swimmer, had already passed their nets with a load which he carried suspended from his neck, for he had with him in a skin Greek fire, destined for the besieged in the city. In this way the Turks used to send Greek fire to the besieged by skilful swimmers, as they judged it the safest and most secret plan. The fishermen landed with their captive, and told their story to those on shore: and then conducted him with the fire he carried through the midst of the army, and after scourging him severely and gibing at him, they sadly mangled, and then decapitated him, and so he had his reward. Thus the Lord shewed that he cared for his people; for he scattereth the counsels of the heathen and of princes, and brought to nothing the plans which the malignity of the enemy imagined.
Chapter LVII. - How a Turk, who attempted to defile the cross of Christ, died of a wound with a dart in his bowels.
Again, we think we ought not to pass over the following fact in silence, though irksome of relation and horrible to listen to: viz. that the
Turks were wont, to the scandal and disgrace of our faith, to take whatever images and pictures representing the mysteries of our religion they could find in the city, bringing them on the walls in sight of the Christians, to scourge and beat them with rods as if they were alive, and spit upon and treat them shamefully in many other ways as the humour took them. One day as some of our men saw a Turk doing this and tossing about a cross with the image of our Saviour in a shameful and impious manner, and obscenely giving utterance to blasphemies and impious revilings against our religion, on his proceeding further and attempting to defile the same, a zealous man cut a dart from his sling and killed the Turk, and thus proved to him how man’s attempts against the Lord are as nothing.
Chapter LVIII. - How a Parthian bowman was shot by a Welch bowman, for not keeping to his agreement.
It chanced, moreover, one day that the slingers and bowmen, and all who were skilled in throwing missiles, frequently challenged one another
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