Monday, March 19, 2012

Three Portuguese vs. Three French at Paris (1415)

It happened that many knights and squires of the realm of France gathered together, and they saw that there were many Portuguese come from the realm of Portugal with the intention of doing arms. And they concluded together that they would find three noble men which they would send to the Portuguese to say and indicate to them that they knew well that they had come from the realm of Portugal with the intention to have the acquaintance by arms of certain noble men of the realm of France. Because of this they had found among them three noble men which, they made known to them, were ready to accomplish their desire and will. That is to say to do arms against three noble men of their company, which would be to fight with axe, sword and dagger until each one or the other of them were surrendered to their companions or was carried to the ground . When this thing was declared to the Portuguese they took joy in answering that day would be quickly accomplished. And they agreed to the arms aforesaid, of which the Duke of Guienne would be judge, and they would do them outside Paris at one of the lodgings of the king between St. Denise and Montmartre called Santthouin.

When the day came to do these arms, with the Duke of Guienne on his scaffold, accompanied by his uncle the Duke of Berry, the three Frenchmen, that is to say Sir Francois de Grignaulx, Marignon de Songnacq and la Rocque, entered into the lists which had three pavilions erected for the three. but before they entered within their pavilions they went to do reverence to the Duke of Guienne their judge. Afterwards, there came the three Portuguese, that is to say Alavaro Continge, Pierre Gondsalve de Mallefaye and Rumaindres, who also did reverence to the judge and entered their three pavilions. Afterwards as is customary they made the cries, warnings and other ceremonies. These done and accomplished the six noble men issued out of their pavilions dressed in coats of arms and the Portuguese bearing the red cross on their coats of arms, holding their axes in their hands and each furnished with their other weapons. They came together to fight; that is to say Sir Francois de Grignaulx against Sir Alvaro Continge, Marignon de Songnacq against Pierre Gonsalve and la Rocque against Rumaindres. And it was good to see them. In truth they carried themselves as good men at arms.

It happened by fortune that Rumaindres who was held to be the most powerful of the six was fighting with his axe and pushing with the spike with all his force against la Rocq to make him retreat. When la Rocq felt that Rumaindres was putting forth all of his strength to make him recoil, he stepped back a pace and with this move Rumaindres fell on one knee. Then la Rocq struck him and stretched him out on the ground. I do not know if the Portuguese surrendered or not, or if their was any speech between them; but it is true that la Rocq left him and went to aid his companion Marignon, and they both found themselves against Pierre Gonsalve who quickly surrendered. And then Maringnon and la Rocq went to aid sir Francois de Grignaulx who fought the Portuguese knight. And then the three Frenchmen found themselves against the Portuguese knight who fought against the three. And in fighting Marignon gave him a great swinging blow which made him fall to earth, and so the arms were accomplished of which I have told you.. Afterwards, they asked the Portuguese to which of the Frenchmen he surrendered and he responded that he had surrendered to all three. And truly he acquired, in spite of his misfortune, great honor that day and many held him to be the bravest of the six.

And around the time of the battle of the six in the year 1414* in the same place of Santhouin in the month of February the Portuguese named Diego D'Ollumen, did arms against a Breton named Guillaume de la Haye which Portuguese and Breton did combat without either the one or the other being defeated.

* Old style. Prior to the 16th c, the year was generally considered to start at Easter. By modern reckoning this would be 1415.

Jean Le Fevre, Seigneur de Saint-Remy Chronique Paris 1876 I. 208-211

Translation copyright 2003 Will McLean

But at this time there were also knights of Spain and Portugal. Of these three from Portugal well renowned for chivalry took, through I know not what mad enterprise, the field of battle to meet with three knights of France; that is to say, Francois de Grinquos ... La Roque... Morigon; and it was ordained to the outrance for the 23rd day of February, the vigil of St Peter and St. Ouin, and it was before sunrise ... that they entered the field; but in God's good truth, it didn't take longer than it takes to go from the gate of St. Martin to that of St. Antoine by horseback, before the Portuguese were discomfited by the three French of which La Roque was the best.

Anon. Journal d'un Bourgeois de Paris in Nouvelle Collection des Memoires pour Servir a l'Histoire de France Paris 1836 Vol. 2. p. 644

Translation copyright Will McLean, 2003

There were three other Portuguese, who required to do arms against three French, who were a knight and two squires. And the knight was named Sir Francois de Grignaud, one of the squires, Archambaud de la Roque, and the other, Maurignot, and all three were Gascons. And they made known to the Portuguese, who were nearby, that if they wanted to demand or require anything of them, that they would defend themselves. Then the Portuguese thanked them and chose an hour and day and place when and where the work would be done. And so each one made his provisions as well as he could. When the day had arrived, the lords who were to be in charge went to their scaffolds where there were men placed to guard the field. The English were to advise and accompany the Portuguese.

There was one difficulty, who was to enter the field first. But it was said that the Portuguese should enter first, and that was reasonable, because in effect they were plaintiffs. And so they went with great pomp, accompanied by lords of England and of their own country. Then, almost at the same time the French entered equally well and honorably accompanied. On one side and the other the trumpets sounded loudly: all showing their eagerness to do their duty. After the cries that were customary in such matters were done, the parties arose equipped with their armor and weapons appropriate to such occasions.

It seems that each of the Portuguese chose a Frenchman. The knight, who was a valiant man ,went and advanced and presented himself to Sir Francois. According to what they say, the most valiant of them all, and most renowned in war, addressed himself against la Roque, and the other to Maurignon. And when they came to their axes the one who fought la Roque pierced him beneath the top of his piece, and when he felt that the iron of his axe was taken within the harness, he began to push strongly, seeking to open up the harness. And when la Roque perceived this, he held himself firm, with the intention of doing what he would do next: when he perceived that the Portuguese leaned forward to push more strongly, all of a sudden with the swiftness of his body with which he was most skillful, he stepped back so that the Portuguese fell, carried away headlong. La Roque gave him two strokes with the axe on the head, so that he was thoroughly stunned, and drew his sword to thrust him in the behind: others said that he lifted his visor and that he wanted to strike him in the face. Anyway, whatever he did, the Portuguese surrendered, and was discomfited, and taken by the guards.

After this la Roque looked to his companions to see who had the most to do, and he went with the full force of his axe, and gave such a blow to the one who was having to do with Maurignon that he staggered him, and Maurignon with another stroke made him fall to earth and surrender. And then the two, that is to say la Roque and Maurignon, went to help Grignaux who was badly worked over and wounded, particularly in the left hand, which was pierced through so that he was unable to use it. But when the knight saw the two others come against him he saw that he could no longer resist and said in a loud voice "I surrender to you three". And it was said that all had done very valiantly: The French went through Paris, trumpets sounding and the people were joyful that they had the honor.

Jean Juvenal des Ursins Histoire de Charles VI, Roy de France in Nouvelle Collection des Memoires pour Servir a l'Histoire de France Paris 1836 Vol. 2 p.503-504

Translation copyright Will McLean, 2003

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