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Geoffrey de Vinsauf
Itinerary of Richard I and others to the Holy Land
on both sides, and discharged their weapons for exercise. When the rest had departed from the field in their turns, a Parthian and a Welchman began to aim their arrows at each other in a hostile manner, and discharge them so as to strike with all their might. But the Welchman, aware of his foe’s intention, repaid like for like; on which the Parthian, making a truce, approached him, and when within hearing, began a parley. "Of what country are you," said he, "and by what name may I be pleased to know you? I see you are a good bowman, and in order that you may be more inclined to tell me, I am a Parthian by nation, brought up from childhood in the art of shooting, and my name is Grammahyr, of good reputation amongst my people for my deeds of renown, and well known for my victories." The Welchman told his name and nation. "Let us prove," said the Parthian, "which is the best bowman, by each taking an arrow, and aiming them against one another from our bows. You shall stand still first, and I will aim an arrow at you, and afterwards you shall shoot in like manner at me." The Welchman agreed. The Parthian having fitted his
arrow, and parting his feet as the art requires, with his hands stretched asunder, and his eyes fixed on the mark, "Lets fly the arrow, failing of its aim." The Welchman, unhurt, demanded the fulfilment of the aforesaid condition. "I will not agree," said the Parthian; "but you must stand another shot, and then have two at me." The Welchman replied, "You do not stand by your agreement, nor observe the condition you yourself dictated; and if you will not stand, although I may delay it for a time, as I may best be able, God will take revenge on you according to His will, for your treachery;" and he had scarce finished speaking, when in the twinkling of an eye he smote the Turk with his arrow in the breast, as he was selecting an arrow from his quiver to suit his purpose, and the weapon, meeting with no obstacle, came out at the back, having pierced the Turk’s body; upon which he said to the Turk, "You stood not by your agreement, nor I by my word." Animated by these and the like successes, the Christians thought they should preserve themselves for good fortune by bearing all their misfortunes with more cheerful faith, and more fervent hope.
Chapter LIX. - Of the sea-fight between the Turks and our men, and how, while our men are trying to take the Tower of Flies with towers and machines fixed on the galleys, our machines are destroyed by fire. Meanwhile the Pisans, and others who were skilled in managing ships, to whom had been entrusted the siege of the city from the sea, had built and fitted on their galleys a machine in the form of a castle, with bulwarks, with a great deal of toil, to overlook the walls, and give the power of throwing in their missiles more effectually. They had also built two ladders, with some steps, whereby they might reach the top of the walls. These machines they covered, as well as the galleys, with raw hides, so that it was judged they would not be affected by iron, or any kind of weapon.
Having all things in readiness, they proceeded to lay siege to the Tower of Flies, and fiercely attacked it with slings and missiles. Those who were in the tower manfully resisted them, and being a match for them, both in strength and good fortune, they took immediate revenge on our men for the death of one of their party. And in order to vanquish them or drive them away, nearly two thousand Turks went out from the city against the galleys to give assistance to the besieged in the tower, while they harassed the Pisans from the opposite quarter. Our men being skilful and experienced warriors, moved their machines as conveniently as they could against the aforesaid tower, and immediately strove to cast immense anchors on it, and throw on its defenders whatsoever stones or weapons they had at hand; while others were appointed to fight by sea, and no less bravely repelled those who attacked them in that quarter. With the anchors they threw on the tower the defences were pulled down, and the bucklers and shields crushed to pieces. The tower was assaulted for a long time with wonderful and intolerable violence; one party succeeding the other when tired, in rapid succession and with invincible valour. Darts flew with horrid crash, and ponderous missiles rushed whizzing through the air. The Turks give way for a time, for they were not able to withstand the brunt of the battle; and behold! our men, having fixed the ladders for scaling the tower, were ready to mount, when the Turks, seeing that it was their last struggle, and that they must resist our ascent with all their might, cast masses of enormous size down to crush our men and throw them from the ladders. They afterwards threw Greek fire on our castle, which at last caught fire; and when those who were in it saw this, they were obliged to descend and retreat. An incalculable slaughter of the Turks, who attacked
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