[What happened during the first day of battle, and how the day ended.]
[An 1878 depiction of the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa of 1212, by Francisco de Paula Van Halen, at the Prado Museum, on display in the Senate of Spain.]
The Emperor arrived on a large horse, armed as has been described, and because he was large of body and rode before his men, he looked so good to everyone who saw him that they were amazed, and he attracted a great deal of attention. And the first man he found before him was Balais of Carsante, and he charged at him so fiercely that he broke his lance on Balais’ shield, and then the Emperor ran into him with his horse, which was very fresh. Because Balais’s horse was tired, it could not withstand such a hard blow and fell with its rider in such a way that he was badly bruised. The Emperor, with this accomplishment, became very proud, put his hand on his sword, and began to shout:
“Rome, Rome, have at them, my knights, and let no man escape.”
Then he entered the thick of the battle, giving great and mighty blows to everyone he found before him in the manner of a fine knight, and as he went that way doing great harm, he encountered Sir Cuadragante, who himself was riding with his sword in hand attacking and bringing down everyone he reached. When they saw each other, they rode at full speed toward each other, swords raised, and struck each other on top of their helmets. Sparks flew from the helmets and the swords. But because Sir Cuadragante was stronger, the Emperor was so injured by the blow that he lost his stirrups and had to hold onto the horse’s neck, and was left quite stunned.
As it happened, at that moment Constancio, Brondajel de Roca’s brother and a fine young knight, found himself there, and when he saw his lord the Emperor in such a state, he spurred his horse and went for Sir Cuadragante with his lance ready to attack, struck his shield and pierced it, giving him a minor injury on his arm. When Sir Cuadragante returned the attack with his sword, the Emperor had time to turn away toward where his men were.
When Constancio saw that he was safe, he did not stop. Instead, because he and his horse were fresh, he quickly left and went toward where Amadis was, and when he saw the amazing things he was doing and all the knights that he left on the ground wherever he went, he was so frightened he could only believe Amadis was some devil who had come to destroy them. As he was watching, he saw how a knight, the governor of the principality of Calabria for Salustanquidio, attacked and injured Amadis’s horse on the neck with his sword. Amadis gave him such a blow on the top of his helmet that both the helmet and his head were cut into two, and he immediately fell dead on the ground, which gave Constancio great sorrow, because he was a very good knight.
He shouted to Floyan:
“Attack this man, capture him or kill him, for he is destroying us without pity!”
Then they rode together at him and gave him great blows with their swords. But Amadis gave such a blow to Constancio on the boss of his shield that he cut it into pieces, and the sword did not stop there. Instead it reached his helmet and the blow was so great that Constancio was stunned and fell from his horse. When the Romans protecting Floyan saw him with Amadis, and Constancio on the ground, more than twenty knights united to attack him, but they could not knock him from his horse, and they did not dare to stop in front of him because anyone he could reach only needed one blow to be brought down.
At that stage of the battle the Romans, as they had the greater numbers, had something of an advantage. Grasandor and the mighty Sir Florestan came to the rescue, arriving when the Romans had surrounded Agrajes, Sir Bruneo, and Angriote, having killed their horses. Lasindo, Gandalin, Gavarte of the Fearful Valley, and Branfil, who happened to find themselves together, had come to help them, but the crowd of men around them was so great that these men I speak of, although they brought down and killed many knights and put themselves in great danger, could not reach them. When Sir Florestan drew near and saw such a press of men, he realized there would have to be a good reason for it. And when he came closer, he recognized the knights who were rescuing Agrajes and his companions.
When Lasindo saw him, he said:
“Oh, my lord Sir Florestan, help us here! If not, your friends are lost.”
When he heard that, he said:
“Then come to me, and we will attack those who do not dare to wait for us.”
Then he entered the press of men, knocking down and killing those he could reach until his lance broke. Then he put his hand on his sword and gave great blows with it, terrifying all those who were there. And those knights of whom I told you went with him until they reached where Agrajes and his companions were on foot, as ye have heard.
Who could tell you what happened in that rescue and what those who were surrounded had done? Truly, it cannot be recounted how so few as they were could defend themselves against so many who wished to kill them. But even with all that, they were in great danger of losing their lives if fate had not brought Amadis there, whom Floyan and his men had fled. Of the twenty knights that I told you about who rescued Constancio, Amadis had killed and brought down six, and when he saw that they had fled and he heard the great shouting that came from that press of men, he went there.
When he arrived, he immediately recognized their armor and began to call his men, and he united more than four hundred knights. And as there was the greatest melee of the entire day, there also arrived from the Romans’ side Floyan, Arquisil, and Flamineo with all the men they could, and the bravest and most dangerous battle began that man has ever seen.
There ye would have seen Amadis do amazing things that no other knight had ever been seen or heard of doing, and both his opponents in his own men were very amazed at how many he killed and unhorsed. Due to all the shouting and the noise, the Emperor and all the other knights who were riding in battle approached. Sir Cuadragante, who was in another area, was told by a mounted crossbow man what was happening, and immediately he united more than a thousand knights who were waiting for him in his column and told them:
“Now, my lords, show your skills and follow me, for our help is greatly needed.”
They all went with him, he in the lead, and when they arrived at the melee, there were so many men from one end to the other that they could hardly reach their enemies. And when he saw this, he brought his men into a close, very effective formation made up of fine knights who attacked a flank so forcefully that at their arrival more than two hundred knights went to the ground, and I can tell you that those whom he struck a proper blow could not have been saved by a physician.
When Amadis saw what Sir Cuadragante and his men were doing, he was astonished and entered into the fray with the enemy so forcefully, giving such mighty blows, that he left no man in his saddle. But at that moment Arquisil, Floyan, Flamineo, and the many other men with them fought so forcefully that few could have done better than they did, and they struggled as hard as they could to bring death to Agrajes and the companions with him on foot, and to Sir Florestan and the other men we told you of who were alongside them to defend them, for after they passed through the great press of men and reached them, they could never be driven away by the knights who came at them or by the blows they gave them.
When they saw the great harm that their men were doing to their enemies, they pressed hard on the Romans, both Sir Cuadragante’s men and those of Amadis and Sir Gandales, who had suddenly come with fully eight hundred knights of those he commanded. The Emperor was shouting orders, for after Sir Cuadragante had given him that great blow with his sword, he put more effort into directing his men than fighting. But against his will, they were making the Emperor lose ground, so Agrajes, Angriote, and Sir Bruneo, who had suffered great toil and danger, could acquire horses to mount.
They immediately entered into the fray against the Romans, who were withdrawing, and followed them until they reached the column led by King Arban of North Wales. By then, the sun had already set, and because of that King Arban combined the Romans with his men and did not wish to enter in battle, as King Lisuarte had ordered, because of the hour and because his opponents still had many men who could fight, and he was afraid of suffering some reverse, since he believed the Emperor and his men had done enough for the first battles.
And due to that and because night had come over them, which was the main reason, they withdrew with the Romans and stopped their enemy, who did not pursue them, so the battle ended with a great deal of damage on both sides, although the Romans had received the worst.
Amadis and those on his side, who controlled the field, had their injured men taken away, and his men despoiled the rest, leaving the Romans injured and dead on the field, whom they did not wish to kill, but many of them died for lack of aid.
When the knights on both sides returned to their camps, there were some men of religious orders who had come to the battle to aid the souls of those who needed it, and when they saw the great destruction and heard the shouts of the injured asking for pity and mercy, they agreed on both sides to put themselves at the service of God and work for a truce so that the injured might be helped and the dead buried. And so they did, and some spoke with King Lisuarte and the Emperor, and others with King Perion, and they all considered it good for a truce to be established for the following day.
The night passed, carefully guarded, and they cared for the injured and rested from the great labors they had undertaken. When morning broke, many came to seek their family members, and others their lords, and there you would have witnessed such lamentation from both sides that to hear it would cause great sorrow, and even more to see it. All those who were alive were taken to the Emperor’s camp, and the dead were buried, and the field was cleared.
And so they spent the day preparing their arms and caring for their horses, and Sir Cuadragante’s injury to his arm was treated. They saw that it was minor, but another knight who would have suffered such an injury and was not like him would not have put on armor or returned to his labor, while he, because of it, did not wish to fail to help his companions in the next battle.
Night came and they all took shelter in their tents, and at dawn the next day they got up to the sound of trumpets, heard Mass, then all the knights were armed and mounted horses, and each captain assembled his men. And by one side and by the other it was agreed that the vanguard would be taken by the battalions who had not yet fought, and so it was arranged.