Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Deeds of the Franks, Book 6, Chapter 17

Then Lord Bohemond hearing that there were uncountable Turks coming to fight us, warily went to the others, saying: "Lords and most skillful knights, what shall we do about this deed that is about to be done? For we are not so many that we can prevail by fighting on two fronts. But you know what we should do? Let our people be divided into two groups. Part of the footsoldiers should remain constantly to guard the tents and part who can go can continue the siege against those who are in the city. The rest of our knights can come with us to meet our enemies, who are encamped near us in the fortress of Areg beyond the Iron Bridge."

This having been done, the valiant Bohemond exited the tents with his most skilled knights and went to set up between the river and the lake. At first daybreak he ordered scouts to go out immediately and see how many troops of Turks there were and where they would be or for certain where they would be going. They went out and quietly began to ask where the battle lines of the Turks would be concealed. At last seeing innumerable Turks separated to advance from a part near the river divided into two battle lines, the greatest strength of theirs was coming in the rear. The spies, after they had quickly returned, said: "Behold, behold they come! Therefore make yourselves ready since they are now near you." And the very wise Bohemond said to the others: "Lords and most invincible knights, prepare together for war.: And they answered: "You are wise and skillful, you are great and magnificent, you are strong and victorious, you are the arbiter of war and the judge of battles, do this entirely. This is beyond us. Take command. All that seems good to you, we will do and arrange" Then Bohemond gave orders, so that each prince lined up in the battle lines according to their ranks. And they did it thus and six battle lines were drawn up. Five of these would go as one to attack the Turks. After a little while, Bohemond was stepping in the back with his own battle line. Therefore, they were joined next to ours, as one hand in hand we struck hard at the others. A clamor was resounding up to heaven. Everyone was fighting at the same time. Rains of spears were veiling the sky. Afterwards, the greatest strength of those which was held in reserve, severely attacked our men. In this way so that our own men were now being pushed back. Because he saw this, the most learned Bohemond groaned. Then he sent before his own constable, namely Robert FitzGerard, saying: "Go as quickly as you are able as a strong man and be stern in aid to God and to the Sacred Sepulcher. For you know in return that this war is not earthly but spiritual. Be therefore the bravest champion of Christ. Go in pace. The Lord will be with you everywhere." Bohemond did this and, from all sides well fortified by the sign of the cross, just as the lion, having endured famine for three or four days, emerges from his lair , roaring and thirsting for sheep's blood, thoughtlessly charges among the flocks of sheep and tearing the sheep fleeing hither and thither to pieces, thus he was going among the flocks of the Turks. So zealously he stood against those that the tips of his banners were fluttering over the heads of the Turks.

The battle lines of the others, seeing the standard of Bohemond born so honorably before the others, they returned to the field with our men and together they attacked the Turks, who completely amazed took flight. Then our men pursued them all the way to the Iron Bridge and cut them off. Moreover retreating, the Turks hurried back into their forts, and they took everything they could find there and they looted the fort and set fire to it and fled. The Armenians and Syrians, knowing the Turks to have lost the battle, came out and stood guard in narrow places and killed and seized many of those.

Therefore our enemies had been overcome, granted by God, on this day. Our men recovered enough horses and other goods which were very necessary to them. And they carried one hundred severed heads before the gate of the city where the ambassador of the emir of Babylon(Cairo) had his camp, who was sending his nobles. They who remained with the tents, had battled all day with those who were in the city, before the three gates of the city. This battle had been waged on the (Shrove) Tuesday before the start of the fasting (Lent), five days(Feb. 9) before the Ides of February, supporting God with our lord Jesus Christ, who with the Father and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns through never ending ages of ages. Amen.

Bohemond as Leonidas "Prepare for glory!! Tonight we dine in heaven!!" And the words of Dieneces"This is pleasant news that the stranger from Trachis brings us, if the Persians hide the sun, we will have our battle in the shade." (about the heavy rain of projectiles coming down) Boo-yah. Except Bohemond survives victorious. Maybe a certain friend of mine is correct and Gerard Butler should play Bohemond in a movie of his life.


Tracy said...

So zealously he stood against those that the tips of his banners were fluttering over the heads of the Turks.
Well, you can't doubt his bravery, regardless of what you think about the morality of the whole war.

And I can certainly see Mr Butler playing the part (and I'm not exactly his biggest fan):)

The Red Witch said...

@ you can't doubt his bravery

Absolutely, he is fierce and fearless. The Turks seem frightened at the mention that he is on his way. Plus he is very tall. He was named Bohemond after some legendary giant. His name was really Mark.

@And I can certainly see Mr Butler playing the part

After this description yeah. Although he would have to dye his hair. Bohemond was a Norman, ie Viking and blonde. And he would have to lose the Scottish accent. I am not sure what languages Bohemond used but I am sure English or Gaelic are not among them.

Tracy said...

Tall and blond! No wonder everyone was impressed with him - the guy's a Greek god! And Mark, no, sorry, it just doesn't sound nearly as impressive as Bohemond, does it?