Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Chapter 116

About the battle between King Lisuarte and King Arabigo and their armies, and how King Lisuarte was defeated and rescued by Amadis of Gaul, who never failed to aid those in need. 

[Illustration from the Codex Manesse, an anthology of Minnesang poetry, made in Germany for the Manesse family in about 1304 to 1340. At the library of the University of Heidelberg.]

We have told you how King Lisuarte was warned by the knights he sent to the mountain that they had seen King Arabigo’s soldiers on its peaks, and how with great haste he tried to reach his town of Lubaina because if there was an attack, he could take refuge there. Because his men were tired and injured from the previous battles that ye have heard about, he was well aware that they would not withstand the great might of their enemies.

And so it was that as he was traveling, King Arabigo’s men followed him until it was night: Esclavor with his ten men on horseback and the forty knights that his uncle the King had sent him. Given the way the soldiers from the mountains rode, once they had descended to the plain they might have reached King Lisuarte’s troops, but the night was so dark that they could not see their opponents, and because of that and because Arcalaus had said that the village where they hoped to go had weak defenses, they made no effort to fight with them, and instead they stayed right behind them and their scouts were almost in contact with King Lisuarte’s scouts.

And so they rode until the dawn of day, when they saw that they were quite close to each other and a short distance from the village. Then King Lisuarte, as a courageous prince, drew to a halt with all his men and put them into two columns. The first he gave to King Cildadan, and with him his son Norandel, King Arban of North Wales, Sir Guilan the Pensive, Cendil of Ganota, and almost two thousand knights. In the second column were the Romans Arquisil and Flamineo, his nephew Giontes, and Brandoivas, and many other knights of the King’s retinue, and with them six thousand knights.

If these two battalions had been supplied with fresh arms and rested horses, they would have had little to fear from their enemies, but it was entirely otherwise, and all their weapons were damaged in many places from the previous battles, and their horses very weak and tired from their previous labors and their present efforts, since all that day and night they had paused very little. From this great harm came to them, as ye shall hear farther on.

King Arabigo had in his front lines Barsinan, lord of Sansuena, who as has been said was a courageous young knight eager to win honor and to avenge the death of his father and his brother Gandalod, whom Sir Guilan had defeated and brought as a prisoner to King Lisuarte, who ordered him thrown from a tower in London, at the foot of which Barsinan’s father had been burned, as was recounted in the first book of the story. He had with him two thousand knights and the other battalions behind him, as has been told.

Then when the day was bright and they saw themselves close to each other, they attacked fiercely, so that in the first encounter many horses lost their masters. Barsinan broke his lance, put his hand on his sword, and gave great blows with it, as one who was valiant and had great rage.

Norandel, who rode in front of his men, encountered a maternal uncle of Barsinan, who had been governor of his lands after his father was killed until his nephew was old enough to know how to rule. He met him with a hard blow from a lance that passed through the uncle’s shield and his chain mail, came out of his back, and struck him dead, and he fell immediately to the ground.
King Cildadan brought down another knight who was with him and who was one of the best in Barsinan’s company, and Sir Guilan and King Arban of North Wales attacked with great blows as did the others who came with them, who were all outstanding and select knights, so that Barsinan’s column would have been brought to ruin if it had not been aided by Arcalaus. He had lost half of his right hand, which Amadis had cut off when he called himself Beltenebros and killed Lindoraque, Arcalaus’s nephew, but with Arcalaus’ great experience at arms he could now fight with his left hand as well as he had with the other.

With his arrival the men on his side were greatly encouraged and recovered the fire in their hearts, so many of King Lisuarte’s troops were killed or injured or unhorsed. Arcalaus rode among them and did great deeds at arms, as one who was valiant and courageous. But at the same time you would have seen amazing deeds by King Cildadan, Norandel, Sir Guilan, and Cendil of Ganota, who acted as shields and protectors of all their men, but it would have been worth nothing if King Lisuarte had not come to their aid since their opponents, greater in number and more rested, were about to defeat them.

But King Lisuarte, who was always ready for whatever he needed to do in the great confrontations where he found himself, rode ahead of his men, more eager to be killed than to fail to do what he ought. The first man he found in front of himself was a brother of Alumas, whom Sir Florestan had killed in a matter involving damsels held by force at the Spring of the Elms, who was first cousin to Dardan the Arrogant. Lisuarte struck him, and all his armor failed and he was left dead on the ground, and the King’s men attacked the others so fiercely that they made them lose a large area of the battlefield.

The King put his hand on his sword, striking with it such that whoever was reached by a proper blow could not have been saved by a doctor. At that time he was full of rage and, forgetting all danger, he rode into his enemies, causing injury and death. Arcalaus had earlier learned what insignia he would be wearing to be able to attack and injure him in any manner he possibly could, for such was his way, and when he saw him so separated from his men, he went to Barsinan and told him:

“Barsinan, seest thou before thee thine enemy, and if he is killed, this will all be over. Dost thou not see what King Lisuarte is doing?”

Barsinan took ten knights from among the men who guarded him and said to Arcalaus:

“Now to bring death to him, or for all of us to die!”

Then they rode at the King and struck him on all sides and unhorsed him. Filispinel always rode with the twenty knights that ye have heard of who had gone with him to investigate the mountain, and they had promised to stay together in the battle, and when they saw the King brought down, Filispinel told them:

“All my lords, now is the time to die with the King!”

Then they wrote together and reached the King, whom they found being held down by two knights who had thrown themselves over him before he could get up, and they had taken his sword. Filispinel and his men attacked Barsinan and Arcalaus and their men, who were unwillingly driven from there. But Arcalaus had shouted to his men and so many of them charged against their opponents that if fate had not brought there King Cildadan, Arquisil, Norandel, and Brandoivas along with some knights they had aided, the King would have been lost. Instead these men killed so many opponents that by the might of their weapons they recovered the King. When Norandel reached him, he jumped off his horse and attacked those who held him with fierce blows, recovered the King’s sword, put it in his hand, and told him:

“Take my horse.”

The King did so, and did not leave there until Brandoivas had given another horse to Norandel and had him mount. They immediately went to help their men and fought so fiercely that their opponents did not dare to wait. Arcalaus said to one of his knights:

“Ask King Arabigo why he is letting them kill us.”

The knight rode to King Arabigo and told him that, who answered:

“I have thought for a while it would be proper to help them, but I did not do that so our opponents would ride farther away from the town. But if that is what he wants, so it shall be done.”

Then the trumpets sounded and he came with all his men, and with him the six knights from Centaur Island. And as they found the other troops in confusion and tired, they attacked to save them and wrought great havoc. Those six knights of whom I spoke did extraordinary things, bringing down and killing whomever they reached, and so with what they did and with the many rested men who arrived with King Arabigo, King Lisuarte’s men could not withstand the attack and began to lose ground and lose the battle.

King Lisuarte, who saw that things were lost and in no way could be recovered, took with him King Cildadan, Norandel, Sir Guilan, Arquisil, and other select knights and, placing himself in front of his men, ordered the remainder to retreat to the town that was nearby. What shall I say to you? In this retreat and defeat the King did so much to defend his men that never before had his skill and courage as a knight been demonstrated as it was then, and the same was true of all the knights who found themselves with him.

But in the end, given the great loss of his men, some killed and many others taken prisoner or injured, they were forced inside the gates of the town. And as the men began to crowd toward it and their enemies saw the battle already won, so they charged, and even more were lost. King Arban of North Wales and Sir Grumedan, with the King’s standard, were brought down from their horses and taken prisoner by the enemy. And that would have happened to the King as well if some of his men had not dragged him inside the town, and then the gates were closed. The number of men who had entered were very few.

Their opponents pulled back because they were being shot at by bows and crossbows, and they brought with them King Arban and Sir Grumedan with the King’s flag. Arcalaus wished to have them immediately killed, but King Arabigo would not agree and told him to wait, for soon they would have King Lisuarte and all the other men, and with the agreement of himself and the other great lords who were there, they would do justice. He ordered them brought to some of his own men to be guarded very carefully.

And so, as I tell you, King Lisuarte was defeated and ruined and most of his men lost, dead, or taken prisoner, and he and the others with him were inside that ill-protected town where other than death, little else awaited them.

Then what shall we say of what brought him to that point? God and fate? Truly, no, only he himself by having his ears more open and willing to receive harmful words and believe what those evil man Brocadan and Gandandel told him about Amadis than to believe what he saw with his own eyes. And he was more given to their evildoing than to the natural goodness of Amadis and his lineage, by whom he had been placed in higher fame than any other prince in the world.

Yet aside from our Lord God, who will rescue him? By chance will he be restored from his harm and danger by Brocadan and Gandandel and their lineage or by others like them who are devoid of conscience as they were and are envious of those who are virtuous and courageous, placing themselves in danger for the sake of following virtue? Have they the desire to seek what the virtuous seek or instead do they wish to harm and defeat them with all their might? It seems to me that if Lisuarte were waiting for Brocadan and Gandandel, very soon would be avenged the death of Barsinan, the lord of Sansuena, and the great loss that King Arabigo suffered in the battle of the seven kings, and the rage of Arcalaus.

Then who shall be his remedy and aid? Truly it shall be the famous and courageous Amadis of Gaul, who has rescued him so many times, as this great story has shown. But did Amadis have any reason to do so, other than the service of his lady? Instead I say that given the great and advantageous services he had done for Lisuarte and the poor recognition and thanks that he had received, he might rightly and justly wish to see his total destruction. But because this knight had been born in this world to win glory and fame, he thought of nothing besides noble deeds of great virtue, as ye shall hear in what he did for this defeated and besieged King on the verge of death and the loss of his kingdom.

Returning to our purpose, I say that after King Lisuarte was besieged in that town, King Arabigo withdrew to the place in the battlefield where his great lords were and asked them how they thought that matter should be brought to an end. They offered many ideas, some in opposition to others, as often happens to those for whom fate is favorable and things are going so well that they do not know how to select between what is good and what is best. Some of them said it would be good to rest a while and prepare for combat and meanwhile to place many guards so that the King could not escape. Others said it would be good to fight them immediately before they could do anything else to defend themselves, and since they were lost and afraid, the town could be taken quickly and the King’s men defeated.

After King Arabigo had heard all this, everyone waited to hear his decision because he commanded all of them, and he said:

“My good lords and honorable knights, I have always heard it said that men should follow good fortune when it comes to them and not look for obstacles and pretexts to avoid it. Instead, with the greatest devotion and diligence, they should work together so that pleasure will come to all of them together. And for that reason, I say that without delay Barsinan and the Duke of Bristol with whatever men they wish should immediately go to one end of the town, and Arcalaus and I with the King of Deep Island and the other knights shall go to the other end. And what we have at hand is what we shall fight with, and our enemies shall immediately be attacked before night comes, for only two hours of sunshine remain. And if with this combat we cannot break into the town, we shall pull back and our men shall rest a little, and at the dawn of day we shall fight again. And I say to you and I will say to all my men and to any others who wish to follow me that I shall not rest nor eat nor drink until there is death: I promise as a king that my death or Lisuarte’s will come tomorrow without fail.”

King Arabigo gave great courage and pleasure to those lords, and they all agreed to what he had said and promised. They immediately ordered provisions to be brought out, of which they had a great deal, and had all their men eat and drink to be strengthened for the combat, and told them that when it was over they were bound to be rich and blessed if they did not lose due to a lack of courage. When this was done, Barsinan, the lord of Sansuena, and the Duke of Bristol with half the men went to one end of the village, and King Arabigo and the rest of the men went to the other end. They all immediately dismounted and prepared to fight, waiting for the sound of the trumpets.

King Lisuarte, who was in the town, did not wish to rest for he understood fully that he had lost, and although he realized he was somewhere that could not be defended for very long, he decided to put all his efforts  into defense until his disgrace was over, and to die like a knight before being taken prisoner by those who were his mortal enemies. After he and his men had eaten what little the people of the town had given them, he immediately distributed all the knights with the people of the village to the parts where the city wall was the weakest, admonishing and telling them that after God, health and life was definitely in their hearts and hands. But they were such that they did not need anyone to make them noble, and each one for himself hoped to die like their lord the King.

And thus, as ye hear, their enemies came fearlessly into battle with the courage that victors often have, protected by their shields and with the lances that were still in good repair in their hands and the others with their swords, and the archers and crossbow men at their backs, and they reached the wall. Those inside received them with stones and arrows from both crossbow men and archers, and because the wall was very low and in some places broken, there they met each other as if they were in a battlefield. Despite the poor protection that those inside had, they defended themselves so bravely and with such great courage that their opponents lost the impetus and passion with which they had arrived. Immediately most of them began to grow weak and to pull back while others fought fiercely, so on both sides there were many deaths and injuries.

King Arabigo and all the other captains who rode on horseback never ceased to urge their men forward and came up to the wall without hesitation so their men would follow them, and from their horses they struck those on top of the wall with their lances, so King Lisuarte came very close to having his line of defense broken, but God wished to protect him by having the night fall with great darkness. Then the men pulled back as they were ordered and treated their injuries, and others were distributed to surround the town and stand guard. They rightl considered it as a given that the next day at the first combat the matter would be settled, as it was.

But now we shall tell you what Amadis and his companions did after they departed from King Perion to go rescue King Lisuarte.


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Time for a summer break

As usual, this blog will take the month of August off. 

Your translator, Sue Burke, in front of the Cathedral of León, Spain. Photo by Jerry Finn.

Will Amadis rescue King Lisuarte? And if he does, will Amadis finally enjoy a quiet and peaceful life with Oriana and Esplandian?

No spoilers, but we have about another year to go before we finish this grand story, and a lot will happen.

Let me thank all the readers who are accompanying me on this medieval adventure. If I can do anything to make this more fun for you, please let me know.

Remember that this blog is licensed under Creative Commons 4.0, so you can copy, distribute, display, share, or perform all or any part of it, or to create derivative works – provided it’s for non-comercial use. Just say you got it here. If you want to do something commercial, I can be very reasonable.

See you in September!


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Chapter 115

How King Arabigo learned the troops were departing and decided to fight with King Lisuarte. 

[Illustration from Roman d’Alexandre en prose, victory of Alexander over Nicolaus, made in France, 1333-1340. At the British Library.]

We have told you how King Arabigo and Barsinan, lord of Sansuena, and Arcalaus the Sorcerer and their troops were hidden in the highest and most easily defended part of the mountain, waiting for news from the scouts who continually and very secretly kept watch over the camps. The scouts had seen the previous battles very well, along with the defenses of the camps, making sure neither side could suffer any harm at night.

Up until that time neither side had been defeated and the camps seemed to be unharmed, so King Arabigo had not dared to leave the mountain since there was no way for him to fulfill his desire. Instead, his plan was to wait until the very end because he fully expected that although each side would hold off the other for a while, in the end one side would be defeated. He was very pleased because neither side seemed to have been defeated after the first battle because the more stubborn both sides were, the greater the harm that would be done, and in the end so few troops would remain that with little effort and less danger they could be dispatched, and Arabigo would be lord of all the land without anyone in it to challenge him.

With great pleasure he often embraced Arcalaus and praised and thanked him for having thought of this, promising him great favors and telling him that there could be no error in being repaid many times over for the damage that had been done and what had been lost.

And as they were enjoying their pleasure and happiness, the scouts came and told them how the troops had broken camp and returned, armed, down the roads on which they had come, and they could not imagine what was happening. When King Arabigo heard this, he immediately thought they might be departing due to some agreement. He decided he would rather attack King Lisuarte than Amadis, because if the King were killed or taken prisoner, Amadis would have little concern, good or bad, about the kingdom, and so he could take it all.

But he said it would not be wise to attack until night because Lisuarte’s men would be caught more unaware and with less danger. He ordered his nephew, Esclavor, a man very wise in warfare, to take ten knights and very stealthily follow their trail and watch carefully where they set up camp, and so it was done. Hiding in the mountain, Esclavor watched the troops traveling down in the plain.

King Lisuarte, as he traveled down the road, was always wary of Arabigo’s troops. He  did not know for certain where they were, but some of the people in the countryside had told him they kept seeing men on the mountain on the side facing the sea, but they did not dare to approach any of them, and the King had not had time to look into the matter as he should have since he had enough to do in front of him. While he was traveling, as has been told, he was advised by some people in the region that they had seen men on horseback concealing themselves as they rode on the peaks of those mountains. As the King was very perceptive and of active heart, he immediately understood what it meant and that he could not be rid of those men if they were to attack without a great battle, which he feared because he saw that his men were in such poor shape due to the previous battles.

But his mighty heart did not delay in responding as required, and he had King Cildadan and all the captains called, and he told them the news he had learned about those troops, and he asked them to have all their men ride armed and in formation, in case it was necessary, so the enemy troops would find them well prepared as proper knights. They all responded that they would comply with his orders and that he should believe they would rather loose their lives than suffer any harm to their honor.

There were some who told him privately that he should let King Perion know about this  because his troops were of greater number and more rested, and Lisuarte’s own troops were just the opposite, and they were concerned that they could not escape without great harm. They believed King Perion and the men on his side would understand that these were enemies to all of them, and if fate were contrary, those enemies would have no mercy on them and would not hesitate to do all the harm that they could. These men were Sir Grumedan and Brandoivas, who realized that if this were done, their lord the King would not have anyone to fear and the road to peace would be more firm and shorter between them.

But the King, who as we have told you many times always feared the losing his honor more than his life, told them that things had not reached the point at which he would wish to commit himself to his opponents, and they should think about nothing else than fiercely attacking their enemies if they came, as they had always done in the greatest confrontations in which they had been placed. Then he ordered Filispinel to take twenty knights and skirt the mountain as carefully as he could, so they would not be harmed, to learn what they could, and so it was done as he ordered.

Meanwhile he ordered the men to rest, since they had by then marched four leagues, and to refresh their animals, so that if it were possible they could reach Lubaina without any more delay. He feared an attack at night more than by day, and if the men were to rest again, they would be so fatigued it would not be possible to prevent them from disarming and sleeping, so with very few troops they could be routed. And after they had rested a while, he ordered them to remount, and he put all of the baggage and the injured in front of them, although during the days of the truce he had ordered most of the injured to Lubaina.

Filispinel went straight to the mountain and with great precaution immediately discovered Esclavor’s spies and troops. Keeping most of his men in their opponent’s sight, he sent a warning to the King so he would know they had found a few knights watching from up in the heights, and he thought the other troops were not far away. The King responded by hurrying as fast as he could so that if an encounter came, it would occur near his town, although he realized that even if they were not well protected on all sides, they would be better protected there than in the open countryside. So very soon he had moved a great distance away from the mountain.

Esclavor, King Arabigo’s nephew, when he saw that they had been discovered, sent news to his uncle saying he believed that without any delay he should come down from the mountain to the plain, for because they had been discovered, King Lisuarte would not stop until he was somewhere to his advantage.

When this message arrived, King Arabigo and all his men were resting to prepare for the night without any thought of attacking their enemy by day, and they could not arm themselves and mount their horses without a great deal of delay since they were a large number of troops. The greatest difficulty lay in traveling through the poor mountain passes, since the site they had selected was rocky and easily defended, but on the offense they found it worked against them.

So as ye hear, these troops began to pursue King Lisuarte, but before they could descend from the mountain, he had already gone a great distance, and for all that they hurried once they had come out onto the plain, they could not reach him until he was very close to the town. But Arcalaus, who knew the land, told King Arabigo not to hurry so that the troops would not grow tired. They had their opponents in sight, so it would not be possible for them to get away, and he should not be concerned if they took shelter in the town because Arcalaus knew it very well and it would be more dangerous for them to be in it than in the field, given their few men.

In the meantime it happened that by the will of God, so that those evil men would not put their vile plans into action, the good and holy hermit sent his ward Esplandian and his nephew Sarguil to King Lisuarte to let him know that the negotiations were going well, and that as soon as he could he would come to be with him in Lubaina to arrange how the four knights from both sides should meet.

When these two young men arrived at the King’s camp, they found that it had departed some time earlier, and they followed its trail and rode until they reached the place where the King had rested, and there they saw that he had continued with caution and hurry, and they hastened on their way to meet him. Before they saw the King’s army, they saw the troops coming fast down the mountain. They immediately thought that it belonged to King Arabigo, because when they were with Queen Brisena they had heard them spoken of and had seen how the Queen sent some of her men from one place to another where the army was said to be. And when they saw them coming with such might, and their lord the King with so few and such fatigued men that they would not be able to withstand the attack and were in great danger, Esplandian, with great pain and suffering, said to Sarguil:

“My brother, follow me, and let us not rest until, if possible, my lord the King will get some help so that those evil man cannot do him any harm.”

Then they turned the reins on their palfreys and returned down the road they had come from as fast as they could during what remained of the day and all night, never resting, and the next day they arrived at the camp of King Perion, who on the previous day had gone only four leagues, and they found the encampment made on a riverbank with many trees and gardens. On the side facing the mountains, Perion had placed many knights on guard because he had also heard the news from some pastors about that army and how it was moving from the place where it had been, and he was wary of it, and for that reason he had ordered guards to be placed.

When they arrived there, Esplandian went directly to Amadis’s tent and found the good hermit, who had arisen and wished to travel. And when he saw the young man’s great haste, he told him:

“My good son, for what purpose is this hurried arrival?”

He told him:

“My lord father, our haste is so great that until I can speak with Amadis, I cannot tell you it.”

Then he dismounted and went to the bed where Amadis lay in his armor, for he had spent the entire night guarding the camp and at dawn had come to rest and sleep. He woke him up and told him:

“Oh, my good lord! If at any time your noble heart has wished to do great deeds, the time has come where your grandeur can show itself, because although ye have already experienced many great confrontations and dangers, none can be as outstanding as this one. Know ye, my good lord, that the men who were said to be in the mountain with King Arabigo are riding as fast as they can toward my lord King Lisuarte. And I believe, my lord, that given their great numbers and the King’s limited and exhausted men, they cannot avoid being in great danger, so, after God, their only help is in you.”

When he heard this, Amadis arose very quickly and said:

“Good youth, wait for me here, for if I can help, your effort will not be in vain.”

Then he went immediately to the tent of his father King Perion and told him the news and asked him earnestly to give him permission to offer help, from which he could receive much honor and esteem, and he would be praised everywhere that this became known. Amadis asked for this on his knees, and he did not wish to stand until the King, as he was given to all virtue and never spent his time except on matters involving great fame, told him:

“Son, do as thou wishest, and take the lead with what men thou art pleased, and I shall follow thee, for if King Lisuarte wishes peace, this shall make him more decided, and if he wishes war, it would be better for him to be destroyed by ourselves than by others who by chance might be mightier enemies for us than he is now.”

He ordered the trumpets and bugles to sound, and since the men were all armed and suspicious of a surprise attack, they immediately mounted, each one with his captain. King Perion and Amadis had Gastiles, nephew of the Emperor of Constantinople mount, and with the Emperor’s flag they left the camp, and behind them came all the rest.

And when they were all in the field, the King told them the news he had learned and urged them not to look to the past and instead to wish to show their virtue by rescuing the King, who was in great need due to those evil men. They all agreed and said they would do what he ordered.

Then Amadis took with him Sir Cuadragante, his brother Sir Florestan, Angriote d’Estravaus, Gavarte of the Fearful Valley, Gandalin, Enil, four thousand knights, and the doctor Elisabad, who on that day as he had in the previous battles did amazing things in his profession, giving life to many of those who would not have had it without the help of God and himself.

With this company of men he took to the road, with his father the King and all the rest in their battalions following him.

But now the story shall cease to speak of them, as they rode as fast as they could, and shall turn to recount what those other Kings were doing in the meantime.


Thursday, July 14, 2016

Summary, Chapters 82 to 114

This means war! 

The medieval walls of Buitrago de Lozoya (pdf). Photo by Sue Burke.

At the end of Book III, King Lisuarte sends away his daughter Oriana to marry the Emperor of Rome – against her wishes and everyone’s advice. But Amadis arrives at Firm Island and rallies the knights there to rescue her. They intercept the Romans’ fleet in the high seas, and after a great battle, they rescue Princess Oriana, and the ladies and damsels with her.

Book IV

Chapter 82

Queen Sardamira learns that the Romans’ leader, Salustanquidio, whom she loved, was killed in the battle, and she weeps and mourns. Oriana asks Mabilia to comfort her.

Chapter 83

The knights agree to take Oriana, who is very grateful to them for their courage and effort, to Firm Island.

Chapter 84

Grasinda is among those who welcome them at Firm Island. With great ceremony, Oriana and her companions are escorted to a beautiful tower in which to dwell, and all the victorious knights are given fine lodgings. The great love between Oriana and Amadis remains a secret.

Chapter 85

Amadis lies awake at night thinking about what to do. Then he has all the knights called together and encourages them to prepare for war against King Lisuarte and the Emperor of Rome. Sir Cuadragante suggests sending messengers to King Lisuarte to see if the matter can be settled justly and peacefully while they prepare.

Chapter 86

The knights agree. They begin sending emissaries to other kings and lords to ask for troops, including Amadis’ father, King Perion. Sir Brian of Monjaste, a Spanish prince, arrives and although he has doubts, he joins Amadis’s cause.

Chapter 87

Sir Brian, Sir Florestan, and Agrajes visit Oriana to tell her their plans. She encourages them to seek peace with her father.

Chapter 88

Amadis tells Lady Grasinda their plans, and she sends the doctor Elisabad to the Emperor of Constantinople to ask for help.

Chapter 89

Amadis sends a messenger to Queen Briolanja, sends Gandalin to King Perion, and sends Sir Gandales to the King of Scotland.

Chapter 90

Sir Cuadragante sends a messenger to Ireland, and Sir Bruneo sends his squire to his father.

Chapter 91

Amadis sends an emissary to the King of Bohemia.

Chapter 92

Gandalin visits Oriana and Mabilia before he leaves, and she asks him to help find a way for her to see Amadis without raising suspicions. He tells Amadis, who suggests a visit by all the knights.

Chapter 93

The knights visit Oriana, and she and Amadis manage to speak privately of their love.

Chapter 94

Back in Great Britain, Oriana’s mother is weeping because Oriana was sent away, but King Lisuarte is sure he did the right thing. Then some Romans who had escaped from Firm Island come and tell him everything about the battle and how Oriana was taken to Firm Island. After thinking deeply about it, he tells this to the Queen, then asks his most deeply trusted knights for advice.

Chapter 95

Oriana sends a letter to her mother, asking her to try to persuade the King to agree to a peaceful solution that will be proposed by two knights being sent from Firm Island. The Queen gives the letter to King, who says he will see what the knights have to say. When Sir Cuadragante and Sir Brian of Monjaste arrive, he listens to them, then answers that unless amends are made for what was done, there is nothing to talk about.

Chapter 96

King Lisuarte receives advice from his most trusted knights: King Arban of North Wales, Sir Grumedan, and Guilan the Pensive. They recommend raising more troops from all his vassals and friends and from the Emperor of Rome to fight the knights of Firm Island. King Lisuarte sends messengers to Rome and to many other places.

Meanwhile, Aracalaus the Sorcerer, sworn enemy of Amadis and King Lisuarte, decides to raise his own army. He plans that after the battle between Amadis and Lisuarte, when both sides will be weak, his army will attack the survivors. He goes to see King Arabigo of Arabia and many other lords who are enemies of Amadis and Lisuarte to ask for support and troops.

Chapter 97

On their way home, Sir Cuadragante and Brian of Monjaste encounter Queen Briolanja of the kingdom of Sobradisa at sea, who is coming to Firm Island to see Oriana. They join her in the voyage, luckily for her, because her nephew Trion, who covets her throne, attacks. Cuadragante and Brian defeat him, and they continue on to Firm Island. Oriana welcomes Briolanja with great honors and friendship.

Chapter 98

Sir Cuadragante and Brian of Monjaste tell the other knights at Firm Island that King Lisuarte wishes war and that he can call up many troops. They decide to recruit all the men they can to fight.

Chapter 99

Elisabad arrives at Lady Grasinda’s realm and orders her troops be readied, then he goes to the Emperor of Constantinople to ask for his help, which is granted.

Chapter 100

Gandalin arrives in Gaul, and King Perion agrees to help. Gandalin also visits Amadis’s brother, Sir Galaor, who is too ill to leave his bed.

Chapter 101

Sir Bruneo of Bonamar’s father receives his squire and promises to send troops.

Chapter 102

Amadis’s messenger is welcomed by the King of Bohemia, who also agrees to send help.

Chapter 103

Sir Cuadragante’s nephew meets with the Queen of Ireland, and she sends men secretly to Firm Island. Her husband, King Cildadan, is King Lisuarte’s vassal and must help him.

Chapter 104

King Lisuarte’s messenger, Sir Guilan the Pensive, arrives in Rome and tells the Emperor what has happened. The Emperor wants to take charge of the war against the knights of Firm Island, but Guilan realizes he would make a poor leader and urges him to work with Lisuarte. When he returns to Britain, Guilan warns the King about him. King Lisuarte is aware that many troops are being sent to Firm Island.

Chapter 105

Thousands of knights begin to arrive at Firm Island. King Perion gives encouragement to Oriana, who is troubled because so many men will be put at risk because of her. Queen Briolanja has Trion brought to her to decide if he should be executed. He says he was motivated by bad advice, swears loyalty to her, and is pardoned. He joins Amadis’s troops. Elisabad arrives and reports that the Emperor of Constantinople is sending 8,000 men to Firm Island, and the Emperor’s 10,000 men are on their way to Britain.

Chapter 106

The Emperor of Rome arrives in Great Britain, and King Lisuarte manages to keep him from attacking rashly. Instead the troops are allowed to rest and prepare before they march toward Firm Island.

Chapter 107

King Perion, who is leading the knights of Firm Island, learns that King Lisuarte’s troops have begun to march, so he orders his men to move out from Firm Island.

Chapter 108

Meanwhile, Aracalaus the Sorcerer, who has learned that the two armies are on the march, calls up his own army and begins the march toward his enemies.

Chapter 109

The troops of both Lisuarte and Perion arrive at a large field, and each side camps at one end, a half league [1.5 miles] apart. Gandalin arrives and asks Amadis to make him a knight, and Amadis agrees. Meanwhile, both Lisuarte and Perion learn that Arcalaus’ troops have arrived in Britain, which worries them, but they do not know where the army has gone. The next morning, the armies of Lisuarte and Perion prepare to attack each other. As they march toward each other, the King of Suesa challenges Amadis to a joust before the battle begins.

Chapter 110

Amadis defeats the King of Suesa, then both sides attack. Many knights are killed and injured, and after a long day of hard fighting, the Romans suffer the greatest losses. Fighting ends as night falls.

Chapter 111

The next morning, fighting resumes. Agrajes tries to kill Lisuarte and fails, but Amadis kills the Emperor of Rome. By then the Romans have suffered so many losses that Amadis fears King Lisuarte will be killed, which would upset Oriana, so under the pretext that night is falling, he convinces his father to stop the fighting. Both sides set a two-day truce to bury their dead and treat their wounded men.

Chapter 112

King Lisuarte realizes that his side is going to lose, but he prefers death to dishonor. The Romans agree to keep fighting.

Chapter 113

Meanwhile, the holy hermit Nasciano, who had raised Esplandian, the son of Oriana and Amadis, has learned about the war and wants to stop it, although he is old and near-bedridden. He travels to Firm Island and talks to Oriana, who had told the priest in confession about her relationship with Amadis. He gets her permission to tell that to Lisuarte with hopes that the King will call off the war. He travels to Lisuarte’s camp and tells the King about their marriage and that Esplandian is his grandson. The King is willing to accept peace.

Nasciano travels to the other side to see Amadis, who favors peace. Then Nasciano talks to King Perion, who also prefers peace, and his knights agree.

Chapter 114

Nasciano returns to King Lisuarte, and the Romans also agree to seek peace. Both sides decide to have delegations meet to work out the terms.

But the troops of Arcalaus the Sorcerer and King Arabigo are up in the mountains overlooking the battlefield, waiting to attack.


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Chapter 114

How the holy man Nasciano returned to King Lisuarte with King Perion’s answer, and what was agreed to. 

[Depiction of a king in court from the 11th century Old English Hexateuch, a translation of the first six books of the Hebrew Bible. At the British Library.]

The good man Nasciano returned to King Lisuarte, as ye have heard, and told him he had spoken with King Perion and everyone under his command, and they thought the matter should go forward, with fine words said in agreement. Since King Lisuarte had already made up his mind and was very desirous not to aid the Evil Enemy [the Devil] by adding to the great deal of harm that had already been done, he told him:

“Father, then nothing from me shall stand in the way, as ye shall see. Stay here with your companions in this tent, and I shall go to speak with the kings who have suffered so much harm and danger to maintain my honor.”

Then he went to the tent of Gasquilan, King of Suesa, who was still bedridden from the battle he had fought with Amadis, as ye have heard, and Lisuarte had King Cildadan and all the other major knights summoned, both his own men and the Romans, and he told them what the good hermit had said when he first arrived as well as the answer he had brought from King Perion, keeping secret what involved Amadis and his daughter, which he did not wish to make known at that time. He earnestly asked them to say what they thought because whether the outcome of that agreement was good or to the contrary, everyone would be affected. He especially wished to know the will of the Romans because, given the great loss they had suffered with the death of their lord, he was very obliged to set aside his own will to follow theirs.

King Cildadan said:

“My lord, it is very right for you to give the chance to speak to these knights from Rome and to consider it carefully, and your proper restraint obliges them in the end to follow whatever your volition might be, just as I and all others who are obedient to you must do, along with the noble king of Suesa, whose desire in this matter will not be different from ours. Now let those who wish speak.”

Then the noble knight Arquisil stood up and said:

“If my lord the Emperor were alive, both for his grandeur and because this contention has been by his cause, it would be up to him according to his wishes and will to make peace or war. But since he is dead, it can be said that with him died any obligation for ourselves, being of his blood, and for all his vassals whom we command and govern. We are no longer a party in that which ye, my good lord King Lisuarte, wish to undertake as his equal in that cause. Yet as ye have been told and now we shall repeat, as long as one of us is alive, all of us will continue to follow whatever might be your will, and we relinquish the duty of decision to you as our leader and as the one whom this matter involves more than anyone else.”

The King and everyone else there were very pleased by that knight because his answer conformed to both great discretion and great courage, which rarely occurs in a single person. He told him:

“Since ye leave the responsibility to me, I shall take it, and if I err in anything, may I suffer the greatest harm, and if I am correct, the greatest honor.”

With that he went to his tent, and he ordered King Arban of North Wales and Sir Guilan the Pensive to take charge of speaking with the knights whom King Perion would name, and with their advice he would make the final determination. Then he said to the hermit:

“Father, it seems to me that since this matter has reached such a point, it would be good if ye were to return to King Perion and tell him I have chosen these two knights to bargain with his. And it would be good, because this sort of thing always takes some time and because those who are injured cannot receive treatment in our camps, nor do we have provisions for the men and the beasts, if those camps were to be broken. He and all his men ought to retreat the distance of one day’s journey in the direction from which they came, and I in the other, which would be to my town of Lubaina, to give proper assistance to these men who are so battered and to have the Emperor taken to his land.

“Thus our messengers may speak about what should be done, and he and I may oversee most of it. He should tell his will to his messengers, and I shall do that to mine, and ye shall be with them and witness anyone who does not behave reasonably. If necessary, he and I with fewer men can meet wherever it seems best to you.”

The hermit was very pleased by this, because even if an agreement was not reached, danger would be lessened by the men being more distant, for before this holy man took orders and went to live such a constrained life in a remote location, he had been a knight, and a very good one, in the court of the King who was father to King Lisuarte, and later, of his brother King Falangris, so that although he was very accomplished in matters divine, he did not fail to understand matters temporal, in which he had been deeply involved.

And he said to the King:

“My good lord, what ye say seems very good to me. All that remains is that on the given date your messengers and his shall be in this place, which is halfway between either side. May it be that with the help of the Lord, without Whom nothing can be remedied, this shall give rise to such an agreement between them that ye and King Perion shall see each other, as he said, and the delays may be avoided that tend to happen through third persons. I shall immediately return, and I shall have sent to you the time and hour at which ye may break camp and at which the other camp will also be broken.”

So the good man returned to King Perion and he told him everything that had been agreed to and left out nothing. The King was pleased by that, since it would be to his great advantage to have the camps broken, and with the agreement of Sir Cuadragante and Sir Brian of Monjaste, he ordered it be declared that the next day early in the morning everyone should be ready to take down their tents and other equipment in order to carry it away. The good man ordered that it be told to King Lisuarte, and as soon as he could be he would be with him.

When the morning came, the trumpets sounded throughout the camps, the tents were struck, and with great pleasure on both sides the camps were moved, each to where they should go. But now we shall let them go on their way, and we shall tell you about King Arabigo, who was up on the mountain, as ye have heard.


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Chapter 113 [part 4 of 4]

[Which tells of the consideration King Perion and his knights gave to King Lisuarte’s desire for peace.]

[King holding an orb and scepter alongside other men on an ivory ring-shaped base, possibly from a crozier, 14th century, from the Gothic Ivories Project at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London.]

Then Nasciano took King Perion by the hand and led him away to speak privately, and he told him:

“King, blessed in all the things of this world and in the next if ye fear God and see that everything is done in His service, I have come to these lands with this body so weak and weary from old age with the intent that my Lord God would give me the grace to serve Him by ending all the evil that is yet to happen, and my illness and great fatigue did not permit me to come earlier. I have spoken with King Lisuarte, who as a servant of God would wish to achieve peace if both sides can do so with honor. And from him I went to your son Amadis, who sent me to you and excused himself from responding to what I told him by placing himself at your orders. And so, my lord, peace or war depends on you, and everyone knows how ye are obliged to prevent all things contrary to the service of the most high Lord, given the goods that he has provided you in this world, such as a wife and children and kingdoms. So now it is the time for Him to know whether ye shall be grateful to Him and wish to serve Him.”

The King, who was always inclined to peace and tranquility, both because of the harm that war could bring and because his son, who was the light of his eyes, was there, as were Sir Florestan and Agrajes and many other knights of his lineage, responded to him and said:

“Father Nasciano, God is the witness to the goodwill I have had in this great rupture and how I would have avoided it if any way to do so could have been found, but King Lisuarte has made it so that no way is possible, because greatly against both God and his conscience he wished to disinherit his daughter Oriana, as everyone knows, who was rescued, as ye have learned. And even after he was admonished and begged to do what is just, and everything would be done at his orders, he, as a powerful prince, and in this affair more arrogant than reasonable, believing he had the Emperor of Rome on his side and all the world would be subject to him, never wished to do justice or even to hear it spoken of. What has come to him from it and what he has earned, God knows and everyone else sees.

“But if now he wishes to have the understanding that up to now he has not, I have much faith in these knights beside me to do and to follow what seems best to me, which is nothing else but to prevent these wrongs. And so that ye, father, may see how he has been stubborn over so little, if he were only to resolve the matter involving his daughter Oriana, that would solve everything.”

The good man told him:

“My good lord, God shall deliver that, and I in His place, and for that end, speak with your knights and name such persons who shall seek what is good, and this will also be done by King Lisuarte, and I shall be with them as the servant of Jesus Christ to mend and repair what has been broken.”

King Perion agreed to that and told him:

“This shall be done immediately, and I shall send two knights who, with complete love and goodwill, shall arrive at what is just.”

With that, the good man returned very content and pleased to King Lisuarte’s camp.

King Perion ordered all the most principal knights to be called to his tent, and when they were assembled, he told them:

“Noble princes and knights, just as we are all very obliged to defend our honor and estates and to place ourselves in every danger to defend them and maintain justice, we are also called to withdraw without rage or arrogance and take recourse in reason when justice is made plain to us. At times, things may be initially undertaken with true justice and without offense to God, but as the matter proceeds, if through illusion and misunderstanding it does not come to anything reasonable, what is just at first will be negated by later injustice. So it is necessary that for honor and esteem to be perfected, if a way to peace can be found, as it seems now, by leaving the past behind, the service to the Lord on high may be taken as a remedy to our souls, to Whom we are so obliged.

“Now know ye that a holy man and hermit, friend and servant of God, has come to me, and from what he says, our opponents wish peace more as a matter of good conscience than as a point of honor, if we wish. In order for this to be put into effect, he only asks that men be named from both sides who will meet with goodwill and leave aside unjust passion. It seemed to me a very wise thing for ye to know it and give your will as to what you consider the best way to continue.”

They were all quiet for a long time. Angriote de Estravaus stood and said:

“Since ye are all quiet, I shall say what I think.”

And he said to the King:

“My lord, because of your royal dignity and great worth, and even more for the great love that these princes and knights have for you, they considered it wise to take on this task with you as their leader so that in matters of war and peace they might be guided by your counsel, knowing that no fear or self-interest would subjugate you. And I have such faith in your virtue that whatever ye might determine would not be contradicted by anyone, and for everyone your ability is sufficient.

“But since Your Mercy is pleased to hear what each one wishes to say, I want you to know my will: which is that, since the Princess Oriana and everything that concerns her is held so dearly by us, it would be a great injustice for us to oppose peace, since our honor has grown so much and since we risk so little in seeking it. And since earlier Sir Cuadragante and Sir Brian of Monjaste were named as negotiators, they should be our negotiators now. Their discretion and virtue is so heightened that as they undertake the task this time, in the future they shall conclude it either with a peace agreement or with an outbreak of war.”

And just as this knight said, the King and the lords there agreed that these two knights, with the advice and approval of the King, would determine what should be done going forward.