Saturday, June 23, 2012

Jacques de Lalaing and Jacques d'Avanchies Fight with Swords, 1450

The Wednesday following they appeared together, around eight in the morning, and for the second time Sir Jacques de Lalaing, knight of the enterprise on the one side, and on the other side, Jacques d'Avanchies, presented themselves; and sir Jacques presented himself before the judge dressed in a long robe of cloth of gold and crimson, furred with marten, in nearly the color and pattern of the violet shield touched by the said Jacques; and the squire presented himself in a long robe and retreated into his pavilion; and soon sent for the marshal of the lists, to have the swords to do the arms, and signifying to the knight of the enterprise that the squire had required eleven strokes done with a sword, advancing and stepping back three paces, according to the content of the chapters. The said swords given and presented to the squire, he chose according to his pleasure.

The cries and ceremonies done, they left their pavilions, and to speak first of Jacques d'Avanchies, he left his pavilion, entirely armed, his coat of arms on his back and gripping his sword, which they call an estoc of arms; and holding his left hand reversed and protected by the roundel of the estoc; and he was armed on his head with a armet in the fashion of Italy armed with a great bevor. And on the other side the knight of the enterprise left his pavilion which was in the manner of a little tent; strewn with blue tears. He was completely armed; and over his armor he had a palletot with sleeves of vermilion silk covered with tears as before; and so continued his finery, following the way that he had been carrying out his task, according to the conditions of the shields of his enterprise; and on his head he was armed with a bassinet with a great visor, which he had closed, and this was the first and only time which sir Jacques fought with his face covered. But the arms with the estoc, struck without being beaten aside, require secure armor, which everyone who knows the noble profession of arms can easily understand. And when sir Jacques had gripped his sword, he seemed like one of the most handsome and fierce men of arms that I have ever seen, and, beyond comparison, I have never seen a more a more handsome one.

They advanced the one against the other and, when Jacques d'Avanchies approached within six paces of his companion, he stopped in his tracks and fixed himself in the sand, the left foot forward and the point of his sword turned toward his companion; and showed well that he wished to wisely bear and sustain his deeds and the power of the knight; and sir Jacques marched boldly, and with that stroke hit the squire between the left shoulder and the edge of the bevor of the armet with a very great stroke; and the squire hit sir Jacques on the left flank. And the guards put themselves as ordered between them, and made them step back three paces, as had been said by the chapters, and for the second time sir Jacques advanced on his companion; but the squire again fixed himself in his tracks as before and put the point of the estoc before the blow, and the knight, advancing for the second time, hit very hard right beside the first hit but the squire sustained it coolly and wisely , without stepping back. The knight, who was very sure in his deeds, did not pursue the attack further, but made the same steps back as ordered and returned for the third time; and to make a long story short, so the knight continued to prosecute his attack and make the steps back as prescribed until the eleven strokes of the sword were struck by the knight, and sustained by the squire, as he had from the beginning, without the squire making any retreat from his first position, and so the judge had them parted, and so they retreated each one to his pavilion. to disarm....

Oliver de la Marche, Memoires Paris 1884 II. 188 Translation copyright Will McLean, 2002

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