Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Chapter 111 [part 2 of 2]

[How Amadis killed the Emperor of Rome but prevented the killing of King Lisuarte.]  

[Battle scene from the Bayeux Tapestry.]


And into this press of battle, as ye hear, came the very courageous knight Amadis, who had been fighting on the right-hand area of the battle, had killed Constancio with a single blow, and had brought to ruin everything else there. He carried in his hand his good sword stained with blood up to the hilt. And with him came Count Galtines, Gandalin, and Trion. When he saw so many men attacking his father and saw the Emperor ahead of him fighting against the men of his side as if he had already won, he spurred the horse that he had earlier taken from one of his father’s pages and was well rested, and entered into the fight with such fury and daring it was a wonder to behold.

Floyan, who recognized his insignia, was worried he would reach the Emperor, and then all of them together would not be enough to protect or defend him. As fast as he could he rode forward, risking his life to save the life of the Emperor. Sir Florestan, who found himself in that area, attacked along with Amadis, and when he saw Floyan, he charged at him as quickly as he could, and they gave each other great blows with their swords on top of their helmets. Floyan was stunned and could not remain on his horse, fell to the earth, and died there both from the great fall and from the many horses that trampled him.

Amadis paid no attention to their fight. Instead, with his eyes fixed on the Emperor and his heart set on killing him if he could, because the Emperor was surrounded by men from his own side, he rode into them enraged to attack him, and although he was struck with great blows from all sides by those defending him, they were unable to stop him from reaching him. And when he arrived, he raised his sword and struck the Emperor with all his strength and gave him such a great blow on the top of his helmet that it left him powerless, and he let his sword fall from his hand. When Amadis saw that the Emperor was going to fall from his horse, he quickly gave him another blow to his shoulder, which cut through all his armor and flesh to the armpit, so that portion of his body with the arm was dangling, and he fell from his horse and very quickly died.

When the Romans nearby saw that, they gave great shouts, so many other knights came and revived the battle. Arquisil and Flamineo quickly arrived with many other knights to where Amadis and Sir Florestan were, delivering great and mighty blows everywhere. But Count Galtines, Gandalin, and Trion shouted to Sir Bruneo and Angriote to join together to rescue them, and all five, despite their attackers, came to their aid, causing great damage.

King Perion was with Sir Cuadragante and Agrajes and many other knights in the area where King Lisuarte and King Cildadan and many other men were fighting with fury. There occurred the bravest battle of the day and the greatest mortality among the men. But at this time Sir Brian of Monjaste and Sir Gandales intervened, who had assembled from among their men fully six hundred knights, and they charged bravely into the area where Amadis and his companions were, for they had been fighting for a while there. King Arban of North Wales turned to see what all the shouting was about and saw the Romans in retreat, and said to King Lisuarte:

“My lord, draw back. If not, ye shall be lost.”

When the King heard this, he looked and realized it was true. Then he told King Cildadan to help him withdraw his men in a way that they would not be lost, and so they did, always in tumult with their enemies and giving great blows, retreating with them until they were alongside the Romans, and there they all stopped. Norandel, Sir Guilan, Cendil of Ganota, Landasin, and many others with them went to reinforce the Romans, but it did no good because they were losing.

The battle being in the state that ye hear, Amadis saw that King Lisuarte’s side was losing beyond all hope, and that if things went on, he would not be able to save him or any of his great friends. And above all he remembered that this man was the father of his lady Oriana, whom he loved and held more dearly than anything else in the world, and he remembered the great honors that he and his lineage in times past had received from him, which deserved to take precedence over the affronts, and that everything which could be done in that situation would be of great glory for him and considered more as extraordinary virtue than as slight effort. And he saw that many of the Romans were carrying away their lord with great mourning, and the men were dispersing.

Because night was falling, he decided that although he might face some shame, he would see if he could serve his lady in such an important matter. He took with him Count Galtines, whom he had alongside him, and rode amid the battles with great urgency as best he could despite the many men and the great press, for those on his side, recognizing their advantage, attacked their enemies with courage, and those on the other side hardly defended themselves except for King Lisuarte and King Cildadan and other worthy knights. He and the Count reached his father King Perion, and he told him:

“My lord, night is coming, and very soon we will not be able to recognize one side or the other, and if the contention continues, it will be very dangerous because given the crowd of men, we could kill our friends as well as our enemies and they could kill us. It seems to me that it would be good to pull back the men, for given the damage that our enemies have received, I believe that tomorrow they will not dare to make a stand against us.”

The King, whose heart was heavy for having seen so many men die without fault, told him:

“My son, do as thou thinkest best, both for what thou sayest and so that more men do not die, and so the Lord who knows all things may see that this was brought to an end more in His service than for any other reason, for it is in our hand the complete destruction of those who have been defeated.”

Agrajes, whom Amadis had not seen, was near the King and heard everything that had been said, and he came with great fury to Amadis and told him:

“What, my lord cousin! Now ye have your enemies defeated and scattered, and ye could become the most honored prince in the world, and ye want to save them?”

“My lord cousin,” Amadis said, “I want to save our men, so that in the night they do not kill each other, and I consider our enemies defeated, because they can offer no defense.”

Agrajes, as he was very reasonable, recognized his intent and told him:

“Since ye do not wish to defeat them and ye do not wish power, ye shall always be a knight errant, since at such an opportunity mercy has overcome you and subjected you. But do as ye hold best.”

Then King Perion and Sir Cuadragante, who was not troubled by this because he was so closely related to King Cildadan and loved him dearly, on one hand, and Amadis and Gastiles, on the other, began to pull back the men, and they did it with little difficulty since night was already dispersing them.

King Lisuarte, who had no hope to recover what he had lost and was determined to die before being defeated, when he saw those knights withdrawing all their men, was amazed and fully believed it was only being done as some sort of trick. He waited to see if anything could be done. When King Cildadan saw what the other side was doing, he told the King:

“It seems to me that those men will not follow us, and they are doing us an honor. And since that is so, let us collect our men and go to rest, for it is time.”

So it was done, and King Arban of North Wales, Sir Guilan the Pensive, Arquisil, Flamineo, and all the Romans had their men retreat. And so the battle ended, as ye hear: when this great story began, it was founded on the great love King Perion had for Queen Elisena, by which was engendered the knight Amadis, his son, and that love and the love Amadis had for his lady Oriana has produced and is producing this great and grand account. Although some of it may seem unrelated, the reason for it is to forgive those who loved in such a disorderly fashion and others who love like them: thus it can be said what a great force love is over all else.

In such a great event so outstanding throughout the world as this is where so many men of such great estate came together and so many were killed, and such great and grand honor was won by the victors, setting aside all else amid the ire and rage and great arrogance with such long enmity that the least of it is sufficient to blind and agitate anyone, however discrete and courageous they may be, there the love that this knight had for his lady held such strength that forgetting the greatest glory that he could achieve in this world, which is victory, he instead offered restraint by which his enemies might receive the benefit that ye have heard, for without any doubt ye may believe that Amadis and those on his side had at hand and in their will the opportunity for the complete destruction of King Lisuarte and his men, who could not defend themselves.

But this is not the cause to which it should be attributed but instead to the Lord Who restores all things, and it may well be believed that He permitted this to be done, given the great peace and agreement that came to pass from this great enmity, as we shall tell farther on.

Once the men were separated and returned to their camps, they made a truce for two days because so many had died, and they agreed that each side could carry off their dead in safety. The labor required to bury them and the lamentation over them need not be said, because the death of the Emperor, given the sorrow it caused, made the rest forgotten. But it shall not be recounted what took place on one side and the other because it would be very long and tedious, as well as falling outside of our purpose.


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Chapter 111 [part 1 of 2]

What happened on each side during the second battle, and why the battle was halted. 

[Depiction of England and France at war, c. 1415, from the Grandes Chroniques de France, at the British Library.]

King Lisuarte placed King Arban of North Wales, Sir Guilan the Pensive, and the other knights in the vanguard, as ye have heard. And King Lisuarte with his battalion and King Cildadan were behind them, and the Emperor and all his men were farther back, each one in a column with its captains, as had been arranged.

King Perion gave the vanguard to his nephew Sir Brian of Monjaste, and he and Gastiles, with the standard of the Emperor of Constantinople, were behind him and all the other battalions arranged so that those that were farthest away on the first day of fighting now were at the front.

In these formations, they marched toward each other, and when they were close, trumpets played on both sides and the columns of Brian of Monjaste and King Arban of North Wales met each other so bravely that in the first attack more than five hundred knights fell to the ground, and their horses ran free through the field. Sir Brian found himself facing King Arban, and they struck each other hard and broke their lances, but did no further harm to each other. Then they put their hand to their swords and began to attack every way they could to do the most harm possible, as knights who had done so many times before and were experienced.

Norandel and Sir Guilan, working together, attacked the men on the opposing side, and as they were very brave and courageous, they caused great harm, and they would have caused even more if not for a knight related to Sir Brian and who had come with the men from Spain, named Fileno. He had with him many of the Spaniards, who were good men at war, and they attacked with such force in the area where Sir Guilan and Norandel were fighting that the Spanish knights pushed back them and all the others there, where Norandel and Sir Guilan did amazing feats to protect their men.

King Arban and Sir Brian were separated from their battalions and from each other due to the great press of fighting on the other side, and each of them began to encourage their men by attacking and bringing down their opponents. But as the Spanish knights were greater in number and had better horses, they held a great advantage, and if King Lisuarte and King Cildadan had not come to the rescue with their columns, their men could not have held the field and would have all been lost, but the arrival of those Kings compensated for the difference.

King Perion, when he saw the flag of King Lisuarte, said to Gastiles:

“Now, my good lord, let us move out, and keep watching that flag, as I shall do myself.”

Then they raced toward their enemy. King Lisuarte received them like he whose heart and courage had never failed; without any doubt ye may believe that during his lifetime there was never a king who better or more freely placed his body in danger over matters of honor, as ye can see throughout this great story in every battle and confrontation in which he is found.

Now, as these men were fighting in such a large number, who could tell you of the knightly deeds they did there? It would be impossible for whoever wished to tell the truth, for so many good knights were killed and injured there that the horses could hardly move without trampling them. Of King Lisuarte I tell you that as a man whose pride was hurt and holding his life as worthless, he charged into his enemies so courageously that few could be found who dared to await him. King Perion, coming from another area and performing amazing feats, by chance encountered King Cildadan, and when they recognized each other, they did not wish to attack each other. Instead they passed each other by and went on to attack whomever they found in front of them and sent many knights dead or injured to the ground.

When the Emperor saw such a great turbulence, he thought that the men on his side were in great danger, and he ordered the captains of his columns to attack as fast as they could, as he himself would, and this was carried out. All the battalions along with the Emperor charged at their opponents. But before they could arrive, those on the other side saw them coming and together they galloped as one across the field, so that they were all mixed among each other in such a way that they could not be organized nor protect their captains. Instead they rode so close together that they could not attack with their swords, and they fought hand to hand and tried to pull each other from their horses, and more of them died from being trampled than from injuries inflicted by men.

The confusion and noise was so great, along with the shouts and the clash of arms echoing in all the valleys of the mountains, that it seemed as if all the world were fighting there. And ye may truly believe that not all the world but most of Christendom and its best men were there, where it suffered so much damage on that day that for a very long time it could not recover.

Thus this should be taken as an example by kings and great lords. Before they do something, they should ponder and think carefully, putting great consideration into the problems that could result because under their command and due to their errors and fervor, blameless men can be injured and killed, as so often happens: and may their innocence carry their souls to a better place. Although those who caused this present destruction might survive, many deaths and great peril could be recounted, as came to pass on this occasion with King Lisuarte; he was very discreet and wise in all things, as ye have heard, but in this case he did not wish to take anyone’s advice but his own.

Great arrogance and rage can be found among those who have lordship over us that can place us in great anguish and suffering and tribulation, but because I believe these admonishments will be ignored, I shall place all this aside and return to our purpose, and I say that as the battle continued and many men died, the press was so great that neither side could prevail and all were occupied with fighting whomever they found in front of them.

Agrajes constantly tried to find King Lisuarte and had not seen him due to the great press and crowd of men, and going among the battles, he saw that Lisuarte had just brought down Dragonis in an encounter in which he broke his lance, and he had his sword drawn to attack him. Agrajes rode at him with his sword in hand and said:

“Attack me, King Lisuarte, for I am the one who despises thee most.”

When he heard that, the King turned to look and charged at him, and Agrajes at him, and they met each other so hard they could not strike a blow. Agrajes dropped his sword, which was attached by a chain, and seized the King’s arms, for, as has been said in other places in this story, Agrajes was the most aggressive knight with the most lively heart as there was in his time, and if courage like his was enough, there could not have been found a better knight in the world than him, and he was one of the best that could have been found in many places.

And as they gripped each other each trying to throw the other from his horse, Agrajes could have found himself in great danger because the King was larger and had greater strength, if it had not been for the intervention of King Perion, who came with Sir Florestan and Landin and Enil and many other knights. When they saw the situation Agrajes was in, they hurried to rescue him, and on the other side came Sir Guilan the Pensive, Norandel, Brandoivas, and Giontes, nephew of the King. Those men, even when they were charging on their horses and doing great deeds of knighthood elsewhere, always kept an eye out to look for the King, as was their responsibility. When these men arrived, they attacked with their swords since their lances had been broken, all of them so bravely that it was an astonishing thing to see, and both sides came together to rescue their own.

But the King and Agrajes were gripping each other so tightly that they could neither let go nor throw each other down, because the men on their side were in their way and helping them so they could not fall. And since the greatest press of battle and noise was there, many knights hurried there from both sides, among them Sir Cuadragante. When he arrived and saw the tumult and the King holding Agrajes, he charged roughly through them all and grabbed the King so bravely he almost knocked both of them down, but he did not dare to attack the King because he might have hit Agrajes, and he never let him go even though those who were defending the King gave him many blows.

King Arban of North Wales, who was coming with the Emperor of Rome, had not seen the King for a while, and when he arrived there and saw him in great danger, he was overcome and grabbed Sir Cuadragante tightly. And so all four were in each others’ grasp and around them were King Perion and his men, and from the other side Norandel and Sir Guilan and his men, and they never ceased fighting.

And as the situation was in great tumult and danger, on the side of King Lisuarte, the Emperor and King Cildadan intervened with more than three thousand knights, and on the other side, Gastiles and Grasandor with just as many companies of men. Each side arrived with such fury into the press and with such thunderous noise that by force they scattered those who were fighting, and those who were holding each other found they could finally let each other go. All four remained on horseback but were very tired and could barely hold themselves in their saddles. And so many men on King Lisuarte’s side had charged that the battle would have been lost if it had not been for the great skills of King Perion, Sir Cuadragante, Sir Florestan, and their other friends, who as courageous knights endured so much that it was a great marvel.


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Chapter 110 [part 2 of 2]

[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.


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Chapter 110 [part 1 of 2]

Which tells why Gasquilan, King of Suesa, sent his squire to Amadis with the request that ye have heard. 

[A view of the battlefield of the 1195 Battle of Alarcos in south-central Spain. Photo by Valdavia.]

This story shall tell why Gasquilan had come twice seeking Amadis to fight him, for it would be unreasonable if it were not made publicly known the good reason why such a great prince as he came with such intent from such a distant land as was his kingdom. The third part of the story has already told you that Gasquilan was the son of Madarque, the giant from Sad Island, and of the sister of Lancino, King of Suesa. He was made King of Suesa because Lancino died without an heir. And because he was large of body, as the son of a giant, and had great strength and had been tested in many deeds at arms and passed them all with full honors, people everywhere spoke of no other knightly skills like his, although he was a young man.

He was deeply in love with a very fair princess called Pinela the Beautiful, who at the death of her father the King became lady of Strong Island, which lay alongside the Kingdom of Suesa. For her love, he undertook great deeds and confrontations and underwent many dangers to his person to convince her to love him. But she, knowing that he came from a lineage of giants and was very untrustworthy and arrogant, never gave him any hope for his desires. But some of the great men of her realm feared that in his power and arrogance, if he were to see he had no remedy for his love, his surpassing love might turn into disdain and enmity, as it sometimes does, and where there had been peace there might come cruel war. They considered it best to advise her not to turn him away so crudely, and with some feigned hope she should detain him for as long as possible.

She agreed, and when this lady found herself very bothered by him, she sent word to him that since God had made her lady of that great land, her intention, as she had promised her father when he was dying, was not to marry except to the best knight who could be found in the world, although he might not be of high estate. She had endeavored to find out who that would be, sending her messengers to many foreign lands, and they brought back news of a man named Amadis of Gaul who was unexcelled among all others in the world as the most courageous and valiant of knights, undertaking and carrying out dangerous deeds that others did not dare to attempt.

She said that if Gasquilan, so valiant and courageous, were to fight Amadis and defeat him, then she, fulfilling her desire and the promise she gave her father, would give him her love and make him lord over herself and her kingdom, for she fully believed that then there would be no one equal to his skills. The beautiful princess sent him that message so he would cease troubling her and because, according to her men who had seen Amadis or heard of his great deeds, she knew that Gasquilan’s skills were in no way equal to his.

When her answer was told to Gasquilan, given both the great love he had for that princess and his presumption and arrogance, he began to look for a way to carry out her order. And for this reason, as ye hear, he left his kingdom twice to look for Amadis: the first time in the war over the Island of Mongaza, when he returned injured by a great blow that Sir Florestan gave him in the battle against him and King Arban of North Wales; the second time now in this confrontation involving King Lisuarte, because until then Amadis had been traveling incognito, calling himself the Knight of the Green Sword, to the islands of Romania and through Germany and Constantinople, where he did extraordinary feats at arms, as a third part of this story recounts.

Gasquilan’s squire returned with Amadis’ answer, which ye have heard, and when it was delivered, he said:

“My friend, now thy has brought that which I have desired for a long time, and everything is going according to my volition. Today I intend to win the love of my lady, if I am the Gasquilan that thou knowest.”

Then he called for his arms, which were like this: a brown field on his surcoat and visor decorated by golden griffins. The helmet and shield were as bright as a clear mirror, and in the middle of the shield, held with golden nails, a griffin decorated with many precious stones and valuable pearls, and it held a heart in its claws, the heart pierced through by the claws; the griffin in its fierceness represented the aloofness and great cruelty of his lady, who held his heart that way, sinking her claws through it, just as his was continually pierced by great troubles and mortal desires. He meant to bear those arms until he won his lady, and he thought that carrying them in remembrance of her would give him strength and great solace in his troubles.

Then, armed as ye hear, he took a heavy lance in hand with a large, clean iron tip, went to where the Emperor was, and asked for the favor of ordering his men not to attack until he had held the joust he had arranged with Amadis, and that he not be considered a knight if in the first meeting he did not remove Amadis from his way. The Emperor, who knew Amadis better than Gasquilan because he had fought him, although he did not reveal his thoughts, believed it would be much harder to defeat him than he thought. Then Gasquilan continued on past the columns of knights. Everyone remained in their places to watch the battle between these two famous and outstanding knights.

So Gasquilan arrived where Amadis was ready to receive him. And although Amadis knew this was a brave knight, he considered him so untrustworthy and arrogant that he did not fear his courage much, because when men like that think to do the most and there is the need to do it, God breaks their great pride to give an example to other men like him.

When Amadis saw him coming, he turned his horse toward him, covered himself with his shield as best he could, and spurred his horse to ride as fast as he could at him. And Gasquilan himself rode without much control of his horse as fast as it could carry him. Their lances struck each others’ shields and flew in pieces through the air, and the knights collided with a blow so hard that everyone thought both would be knocked to pieces. Gasquilan was thrown from his saddle, and as he was large of body and the blow was very forceful, he struck the ground so hard that he was left too stunned to get up. He had fallen over his right arm, which was broken, and so he lay in the field as if he were dead. Amadis’s horse had broken a shoulder and could not remain standing, and Amadis was a bit stunned, but not so much that he did not immediately dismount so he would not fall with the horse. And so on foot he went to where Gasquilan lay to see if he was dead.

The Emperor of Rome, who was watching them fight, when he saw Gasquilan dead, as he and everyone else believed he was, and saw Amadis on foot, shouted to Floyan, who was in the vanguard, to help Gasquilan with his column, and so he did. And when Sir Cuadragante saw this, he spurred his horse and shouted to his men:

“Attack them, my lords, and leave no one alive!”

Then both sides charged at each other, but Gandalin, when he saw his lord Amadis on foot and the columns charging, felt great fear for him and rode ahead of them all as fast as his horse could gallop. He saw Floyan coming in front of his men and rode at him. They both struck each other with fierce blows, and Floyan fell from his horse. Gandalin lost both stirrups, but he did not fall.

Then many Romans arrived to rescue Floyan, and Sir Cuadragante to rescue Amadis, and each side got their man on a horse, for they had no other concern. But because many Romans had arrived, although they had quickly recovered Gasquilan, who was a bit more conscious, they took him from the press with great effort. When Sir Cuadragante arrived, before he lost his lance, he knocked four knights to the ground, and Angriote d’Estravaus took the horse of the first knight he had knocked down and quickly brought it to Amadis. Gavarte of the Fearful Valley and Landin followed behind Sir Cuadragante and caused great distruction among the enemy, as those who were accustomed to such duties.

As I say, these men arrived ahead of their columns, but when the two battalions came together, the noise and the shouting were so loud that no one could hear each other. There ye would have seen horses without riders and their knights dead and injured, and those who could, deliberately trampled them.

Floyan, as he was valiant in wished to win honor and avenge the death of his brother Salustanquidio, when he found himself on horseback again, took a lance and rode at Angriote, whom he saw doing amazing deeds at arms. He struck him on the ribs so hard that he almost knocked him from his horse, and he broke his lance. He put his hand on his sword and went to attack Enil, whom he found in front of him, and struck him on the top of his helmet with such a great blow that sparks flew from it. And he rode so fast through the battalions and between them that neither of them could strike him, and they were amazed by his passion and great valor. And before his men arrived, he encountered a knight from Ireland, a ward of Sir Cuadragante, and gave him such a blow on his shoulder that he cut through the flesh and bones, and he was so badly injured that he was forced to leave the battle.

Meanwhile Amadis took Balais of Carsante and Gandalin and, with great fury, seeing how well the Romans were defending themselves, entered a flank of the column as hard as he could, with them following him, and gave such great blows with his sword that every man who saw him was frightened. And even more frightened were those ahead of him, for he had caused such terror that none dared to wait, and they rushed to hide among the other knights as sheep do when wolves attack.

And as Amadis went without encountering the defense, there came out to meet him the bastard brother of Queen Sardamira, named Flamineo, a very good knight at arms. When he saw that Amadis was doing such amazing things that no one dared to face him, he went at him and struck him on the shield with his lance, which pierced it, and the lance was broken into pieces. And as Amadis passed, he tried to strike Flamineo on the helmet, but he went past so fast he could not, and Amadis struck the horse on the back next to the saddle straps, cutting through its body and entrails, and it fell with Flamineo to the ground in a great crash, so hard that Amadis thought he had cut through its backbone.

Sir Cuadragante and the other knights, who were fighting elsewhere, drove back their opponents so hard that if Arquisil had not arrived with the second column to help them, they would have all been destroyed and defeated. But when he arrived, those men were relieved and recovered great strength. And in that attack, there fell from their horses to the earth more than a thousand knights from both sides.

Arquisil encountered Landin, nephew of Sir Cuadragante, and they struck each other with great blows using their lances and their horses, and both fell to the ground. Floyan, who was riding everywhere with fifty knights, had rescued Flamineo, who was on foot, and given him a horse, because Amadis, after cutting it down, did not come back to him because he saw the second column coming. To be the first to receive it, Amadis left him to Gandalin and Balais, who thought Flamineo was dead and went to attack Arquisil’s column, so that when it arrived their men would not be harmed, for they were coming to their first clash at arms.

When Floyan saw Arquisil on foot fighting with Landin, he shouted:

“Oh, knights of Rome, rescue your captain!”

Then he charged very bravely with more than five hundred knights, and if it were not for Angriote, Enil, and Gavarte of the Fearful Valley, who saw them and shouted to Sir Cuadragante, who hurried to rescue him with many of his knights, Landin would have soon been killed or taken prisoner. But when they arrived, they attacked so fiercely that it was amazing to see. Flamineo, who, as has been said, was now on horseback, took on as many as he could and like a good knight aided his men.

What shall I tell you? The press of battle was so great with so many dead and unhorsed knights that the entire field where they fought was filled with the dead and injured. But the Romans, who were many in number, rescued Arquisil in spite of their enemy, and Sir Cuadragante and his companions rescued Landin, and so each side saved his man, and they mounted them on horses, for there were many without riders.

Amadis was riding in another area doing amazing feats at arms, and when they recognized him, they mostly let him ride where he wished to go. But it was all badly needed, since his side was outnumbered by the Romans. If it were not for the outstanding knights on their side, the Romans could have done whatever they wished. But immediately Agrajes and Bruneo of Bonamar arrived with their column so fast and riding so closely together that, since the Romans were scattered, they promptly divided them into two parts, and they would have had no hope if the Emperor had not come to their aid with his battalion, which was five thousand knights. With their large number, they gave great courage to their side, and very quickly they recovered everything they had lost.


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Chapter 109 [part 2 of 2]

[How Gandalin became a knight, and what Amadis told him.] 

[Promotional photo for the Battle of Nations. The 2016 historic medieval battle full-contact armored competition will take place in Prague, Czech Republic, May 6 to 9.]

Now we shall tell you of the armor worn by King Perion and Amadis and some of the great lords on their side. King Perion wore armor whose helmet and shield were very shiny and bright and of very fine steel, with a surcoat of very bright red silk, and mounted a fine horse that his nephew Sir Brian of Monjaste had given him, for his father, the King of Spain, had sent twenty very handsome horses to be distributed among the knights; and he rode beneath the flag of the Emperor of Constantinople.

Amadis wore the green armor strewn with golden lions he had worn when he killed Famongomadan and his son Basagante, who were the two mightiest giants that could be found in the world. He was very fond of that armor because he wore it when he left Poor Rock and went to see his lady at Miraflores Castle, as the second book of this story recounts.

Sir Cuadragante wore brown armor decorated with silver flowers and rode one of the Spanish horses. Sir Bruneo of Bonamar did not wish to change his armor, which had the figure of a damsel on the shield and a knight on his knees in front of her, who seemed to be asking for a boon. Sir Florestan, the fine and great jouster, wore red armor decorated with golden flowers and rode on a large horse from Spain. Agrajes’ armor was of a fine pink color and on his shield was the hand of a damsel clutching a heart. The noble Angriote did not wish to change from his armor enameled with blue and silver. And all the others, of whom no mention will be made so as not to annoy the readers, wore very fine armor of the colors most to their liking, and so they all came out on the field in good order.

When all of the men were assembled, each one with his captain as ye have heard, they rode slowly through the field as the sun rose and shone on the armor, and as it was all new and fresh and bright, it gleamed in such a way that it was nothing but amazing to see it.

And at that time Gandalin and Lasindo, Sir Bruneo’s squire, arrived in white armor as befitted new knights. Gandalin went to where his lord Amadis was, and Lasindo to Sir Bruneo. When Amadis saw him cominge left the column to go to him, and asked Sir Cuadragante to stop the men until he made that squire a knight. And he took Gandalin and went to where his father King Perion was, and on the way he told him:

“My true friend, I urge thee that today in this battle thou shouldst try to tread carefully and not leave my side so that if it is necessary I can come to thy aid. For although thou hast seen many battles and great confrontations, and thou mayest believe that thou knowest what thou must do and needest nothing other than courage, do not believe it, for it is a very different thing to watch than do. Each man will think when he sees things that he could do them better than he who is doing them if he were in his place, and later when he himself is doing them, many difficulties come before him that distress him because he is not accustomed to them and he finds much that he had not expected.

“This is because everything is in the execution, although something can be learned by watching. And as thy beginning shall be in such high deeds at arms as we have before us, and thou must protect thyself from so many others, it is necessary to defend thy life as well as thy honor, which is more valuable and should be held more dearly, and that with great discretion and wisdom and not giving such full reign to thy courage that it obscures thy mind, thou mayest attack our enemies, and I shall take great caution in watching out for thee when I can. Do the same for me each time thou seest that it is necessary.”

When he heard this, Gandalin said:

“My lord, everything shall be done as ye order as much as I can and my wisdom permits me, and may it please God for it to be so, for it would be easy for me to place myself where your help would be necessary.”

And so they arrived to where King Perion was, and Amadis told him:

“My lord, Gandalin wishes to be made a knight, and I would be very pleased if it were by your hand, but since it pleases him to be by my hand, I ask for the sword to come from your hand because, when he needs it, he may remember the great honor he received and who gave it.”

The King looked at Gandalin and recognized his son Sir Galaor’s horse, and tears came to his eyes and he said:

“Gandalin, my friend, how did thou leavest Sir Galaor when thou departed from him?”

And he told him:

“My lord, much improved in his illness, but with great pain and sorrow in his heart, for no matter how ye hid your departure from him, he knew it, although not its reason, and he tried to get me to tell him the truth if I knew it, and I told him, my lord, that from what I had learned about it, ye went to help the King of Scotland, Agrajes’ father, who had an issue with some of his neighbors. I did not wish to tell him the truth because in this situation and his being in such difficulty, I thought that was for the best.”

The King’s sighed from the depths of his heart, as one who loved him and bore him deep within himself, and thought that except for Amadis, there was no better knight in the world than him, both in courage and in all other things that a good knight must have, and he said:

“Oh, my dear son! May it please our Lord that I do not see thy death, and that I see the honorably relieved of this great affection that thou hast for King Lisuarte because, being free, freely thou mayest help thy brothers and thy lineage.”

Then Amadis took the sword brought by Durin, brother of the damsel of Denmark, which he had ordered him to bring, and gave it to the King, and Amadis made Gandalin a knight and kissed him and placed his right spur on him, and the King belted on his sword, and so he was armed by the two best knights who ever bore weapons. Amadis took him and returned to Sir Cuadragante, and when they arrived, he came to embrace Gandalin to give him honor, and told him:

“My friend, may it please God that your knighthood be as well employed by you as until now has been the virtue and good habits that a fine squire ought to have, and I believe it shall be so because a good beginning usually brings a good ending.”

Gandalin bowed, considering the honor he was given a boon.

Lasindo was knighted by the hand of his lord, and Agrajes gave him his sword. And ye may believe that these two new knights made their commencement with such feats of arms in this battle and suffered such great danger and labor that for all the days of their lives they won honor and great glory, as this story shall tell you with more detail farther on.

As the battalions moved forward, as I say, they did not get far before they saw their enemy before them coming in the columns ye heard of earlier. When they were close to each other, Amadis recognized the flag that the Emperor of Rome had carried in the front, and he felt great pleasure because the first blows would be with them, for although he had lost his love for King Lisuarte, he always remembered having been in his court and the great honors he had received from him; above all, what he most feared and was troubled by was that Lisuarte was father to his lady, whom he was so afraid to anger. In his heart he had decided that if he could do so without much danger to himself, he would avoid wherever King Lisuarte might be so as not to encounter him or anger him, although he knew well from the past that he should not expect such courtesy from him, instead to have him seek him out for death as a mortal enemy.

But of Agrajes, I tell you that his thoughts were very different from those of Amadis, for he asked nothing of God except to guide him were he could bring Lisuarte death and destroy all his men, for he could always see before him the discourtesy and lack of gratitude that had been done to him at the island of Mongaza, and what Lisuarte had done to his uncle Sir Galvanes and those on his side, for although Lisuarte had given him that island, he held it as more of a dishonor than an honor since he did so after having been defeated, and all the honor remained with the King. And if he had found himself there at that time, he would not have consented to his uncle taking it; instead he would have given him another one in his father’s kingdom. And with his great rage, he often would have lost himself in the battle by entering in the greatest skirmishes to kill or capture King Lisuarte, but as the other man was courageous and accustomed to such things, he did not have much concern for him, nor did he fail to fight everywhere as necessary, as shall be told farther on.

As the battalions were ready to attack each other, only waiting for the sound of the trumpets and bugles, Amadis, who was in the vanguard, saw a squire coming on a horse as fast as he could from the other side, and shouting to ask if Amadis of Gaul was there. Amadis gestured for him to come. The squire did so, and when he arrived, Amadis said:

“Squire, what do ye wish, for I am he whom ye seek.”

The squire looked at him and it seemed to him he had never seen such a fine knight and horse, and told him:

“My good lord, I fully believe what ye tell me, for your appearance gives testimony to your great fame.”

“Now tell me what ye wish,” Amadis said.

The squire told him:

“My lord, Gasquilan, King of Suesa and my lord, would have ye know that in the past when King Lisuarte was at war with you and with Sir Galvanes and many other knights from your side and his over the island of Mongaza, Gasquilan came to King Lisuarte with the desire to fight with you, not out of any enmity for you, rather for the great fame he heard of your great deeds in knighthood. He was in that war until, badly injured, he returned to his land, having learned that ye were not in the place where his desire could have been carried out. Now King Lisuarte has let him know about this war in which ye are, where, given its cause, a great battle cannot be avoided. He has come to it with the same desire, and he says to you, my lord, that before the battalions attack each other, to break two or three lances with him, which he shall gladly do, because when the battalions attack, he will not be able to encounter you at his will, for he will be obstructed by many other knights.”

Amadis told him:

“Good squire, tell your lord the King that everything he sent you to tell me I knew at the time when I could not be in that war, and that what he wishes I consider to be from the grandeur of his courage rather than from any enmity or ill will, and that although my deeds are not as admirable as their fame, I am very pleased that a man of such high means and renown holds me so highly, and that, since his quest is more from his will than from his needs, I would wish, if it pleases him, that he test himself in a way more to his honor and advantage than to my gain or loss. But since he has sent you to tell me what he would most prefer, then I shall do what he asks.”

The squire said:

“My lord, my lord the King knows well what ye did to his father Madarque, the giant of Sad Island, and how ye defeated him to rescue King Cildadan and your brother Sir Galaor, and although this involves him as a question of his father to whom he is so closely akin, knowing the great courtesy that ye afforded him, he would rather give you thanks than harm, and if he has a great desire to test himself against you, it is nothing else than the great envy he has for your great skills, and he realizes that if he defeats you, his praise and fame would be higher than that of all the knights of the world, and if he were defeated, it would not be a great disgrace or shame to be done by the hand of he who has defeated so many knights and giants and other unnatural wild beasts.”

“Since it is so,” Amadis said, “tell him that as I have said, if this which he asks would give him the most contentment, I am ready to do it.”