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Geoffrey de Vinsauf
Itinerary of Richard I and others to the Holy Land
thus he thundered on, cutting and hewing every one he came up with; no kind of armour could resist his blows, for the edge of his sword cut open the heads from the top to the teeth: thus waving it to and fro, he scared away the routed Turks, as a wolf, when he pursues the flying sheep. While the king was thus scattering the fugitives, who were flying with all their speed over the mountains, some of them despairing of escape from his persevering pursuit, for he had come up with the foremost, turned aside out of their road, and returned to our nearly deserted camp hoping to effect something against the guards in the king’s absence, for their courage failed them when he was in sight, and not without reason, for the life or death of
the enemy was always in his hands. About thirty, therefore, of the fugitives came round upon our men by a circuitous route, and made a violent charge on Roger de Toony, whose horse they killed under him; and they were near capturing himself, but he was rescued from their hands by one of his comrades, Jakel of Maine, who however was also thrown front his horse; but Roger stoutly defended him on foot, and succeeded in rescuing him. Meanwhile, our men-at-arms came up, and the earl of Leicester, who attacked them to the right and left, also Gilbert Malemain, with four companions, Alexander Arsi, and others, to the number of about twenty; Stephen de Longchamp also generously offered his services to Roger do Toony, in the midst of the hostile Turks, and supplied him with a horse to mount. Then the slaughter was renewed; swords flashed in the air; and the ground was covered with blood; arms rung and clashed together; bodies were torn limb from limb; heads, arms, feet, and hands, and other limbs, lay scattered about; and our men were interrupted as they walked along by the bodies of the enemy, which lay along the fields in great numbers, and caused them to stumble at every step. The men of Poictou and Anjou, together with the French and Normans, distinguished themselves in the battle; but King Richard, the flower of valour, and the crown of chivalry, bore away the prize from all; and any praise that I could give him would fall far short of his merits. The slaughter of the Turks was greater than our ancestors had ever seen; and such was their confusion and dismay in the encounter, that a boy might have killed ten of them, or, in fact, as many of them as came in his way. By this defeat the pride of the Turks was entirely cast down, and their boldness effectually repressed; whilst the caravan, with all its riches, became the spoil of the victors. Its guards surrendered to our soldiers themselves, their beasts of burden, and sumpter horses; and stretching forth their hands in supplication, they implored for mercy, on condition only that their lives should be spared. They led the yoked horses and camels by the halter, and offered them to our men, and they brought mules loaded with spices of different kinds, and of great value; gold and silver; cloaks of silk; purple and scarlet robes, and variously-ornamented apparel, besides arms and weapons of divers forms, coats of mail, commonly called gasiganz; costly cushions, pavilions, tents, biscuit, bread,
barley, grain, meal, and a large quantity of conserves and medicines; basins, bladders, chess-boards; silver dishes and candlesticks; pepper, cinnamon, sugar, and wax; and other valuables of choice and various kinds; an immense sum of money, and an incalculable quantity of goods, such as had never before (as we have said) been taken at one and the same time, in any former battle.
Chapter V. - How many camels and dromedaries were taken, and how many Turks were slain.
The slaughter of the infidels being finished, and the caravan captured, our army was harassed with new toils in gathering together the runaway camels and dromedaries, by which the whole army was thrown into confusion, for they avoided the pursuit of our horses with such great fleetness, that no other kind of animal appeared to be of so active and swift a nature. These animals appeared slothful and tardy until the pursuers were within a short distance, and then they moved at full speed. At last, by one means or another, 4,700 camels and dromedaries were collected together, though the number is not quite certain. They took so many mules of both sexes, and laden asses, that they could not reckon the number, for they appeared more abundant than the number of men could possibly require. Moreover, the number of Turkish horsemen who were that day slain, exceeded 1,700, besides very many foot soldiers, who were trodden to death in the ml.e.
Chapter VI. - How while King Richard was returning with his spoil to Betenoble whence he had started, Count Henry from Acre met him with the army for which he had been sent.
Having accomplished all these things, and prepared the baggage, for returning, the king and his army set out, laden with spoil, at an easy pace, and reached Bethaven, which was only four miles distant from Joppa.
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