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Geoffrey de Vinsauf
Itinerary of Richard I and others to the Holy Land
Cyprus, which are said to have no match for quality throughout the world. On the third day, also, he tried to circumvent and beguile them, by bland and deceptive messages, and on the other hand they were in great state of perplexity, lest the emperor should make them prisoners, if they should listen to him, or else, if they obstinately refused, they must fear some violence; for as yet nothing was known of the expected arrival of the king, or the good condition of his fleet; but they kept him in suspense by returning an ambiguous answer, saying, that on the morrow they would place themselves at his disposal. In expectation of the fulfilment of this promise, the emperor kept quiet; and while the queens were agitated by intense anxiety, and were questioning and conversing with each other, that same day, being Sunday, behold! there appeared in the distance, like crows, on the foaming summit of the curling waters, two vessels, driven forwards and sailing swiftly towards them. And while the queens, and those with them, were in doubt as to what they were, some more ships were espied coming on, and directly after the whole fleet was seen, bearing down with rapid course to the port; and conjecturing that it was the king’s fleet, they were so much the more rejoiced that it had come to their succour, when they were despairing of their desolate position. And thus King Richard arrived by the guidance of the Lord, after many dangers overcome, in the port of Cyprus. Therefore, on the festival of St. John before the Latin Gate (May 6), King Richard put into the port of Limozin, with all his fleet, but did not go on shore.
Chapter XXXII. - How King Richard with his forces, routed the emperor with his forces, first by sea and then by land.
When the king learnt in what danger the shipwrecked men had been, and how they were plundered of their property, and all that had happened in the interim, he was exceedingly angry; and on the morrow, being Monday, he sent two knights to the emperor, to ask satisfaction of him, in a peaceful manner, for the injuries received, and the money he had plundered, at his will. The emperor was very indignant at this demand, and just as though he himself had been the injured man, burst out into abusive language, saying, "Pruht, Sire," and declaring he had nothing to do with a king; boasting, as he did, for the assumption of imperial authority, and wholly confiding in impunity from Heaven, he acted just as it pleased him. When the ambassadors brought back his answer the king, irritated at the emperor’s arrogance, abusive reply, and the loss his own men had sustained, shouted out aloud, "To arms!" a command his men immediately obeyed. Therefore the king, having armed himself, proceeded, in the boats of the "Esneckars," with his soldiers, to seize on the port; but the emperor, with a large army, surrounded it, and resisted their landing, and they blocked up the entrance to the port with every kind of bar and obstacle, taking the doors and windows from the houses, casks with hoops, benches and ladders, and long pieces of wood, placed crosswise; also, bucklers and shields, old galleys, abandoned vessels, dirty from being laid up, and every description of utensil, to prevent their coming on shore; - in a word, every thing portable of wood or stone that could be found in the city of Limozin, the Griffons piled upon the shore to oppose the assailants. Moreover, the emperor and his troops marched up and down the beach. Oh! how splendidly was the emperor’s host equipped! They had on costly armour, and very valuable and many-coloured garments, and rode on war-horses that champed the foaming bit, and beautiful mules; they marched to and fro, ready for battle, their numberless pennons and gorgeous banners floating in the breeze, to keep off those that were advancing, or to give them battle. As our men were endeavouring to reach the shore, they tried to frighten them by horrible shoutings, like growling dogs, and abused them as if they had been curs, and told them they were hastening after what it was impossible to accomplish. They also had some slingers and archers and five galleys on the shore, well armed, and filled with young
men skilled in sea-fights. Our troops, who were making for the port to seize upon it, blocked up as it was, seemed no match for the enemy, because they were exposed in small boats, and were also much fatigued by long tossing about on the sea, and besides, they were foot soldiers, burdened with their proper arms; the natives, on the contrary, were in their own country, and could do every thing at pleasure. So when our men approached in their boats, in order, they determined on coming to close quarters to drive off the slingers and archers in the galleys, and against them our archers and slingers directed their attacks; and the Griffons, after losing a great many of their men, gave way, for they could not withstand the brunt of the battle. And when the arrows flew thickly, three or four at a time leaped out of the galleys into the sea, and dived under water, where they perished, by knocking against each other in their attempts to seek
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