Post-classical history

§ Jum’a al-Numayri Rescues his Son from the Franks

I saw something of the bravery of men and their courage in time of war on another occasion. We woke up one morning at the time of the dawn prayer and noticed a detachment of Franks, about ten horsemen, who had come to the gate of the town before it had been opened.72

They asked the gatekeeper, ‘What’s the name of this here town?’73 The gate was made of wood, with beam-bolts running across the doors, and the gatekeeper was on the inside of the gate.

‘Shayzar,’ he said. At that, they shot an arrow through a gap in the door, turned their horses around and trotted off.

So we mounted up. My [57] uncle (may God have mercy upon him) was the first to mount his horse and I went with him while the Franks rode ahead completely unworried. A few of our troops joined up with us.

‘At your command,’ I said to my uncle, ‘I’ll take our comrades and go follow them and unhorse them, seeing as they are not so far away.’

‘No,’ he replied (for he was more experienced than I in matters of war). ‘Is there a Frank left in Syria who does not know Shayzar? This is a trick.’

He then called two of our horsemen riding swift mounts and said, ‘Go and reconnoitre Tall Milh.’ For that was where the Franks used to lie in ambush.

As soon as they were in position overlooking Tall Milh, the entire army of Antioch rushed out against them. So we went to confront their vanguard, hoping to seize our advantage over them before the battle finished. With us was Jum’a al-Numayri and his son Mahmud. Jum’a was our cavalier, our teacher.

His son Mahmud somehow fell into the midst of the enemy, so Jum’a shouted, ‘Fellow horsemen! My son!’

And we turned back with him with sixteen horsemen, thrusting our spears at sixteen Frankish knights and took our comrade from their midst. But we became so mixed up with them in the melee that one of them put Jum’a in a choke-hold. A few more of our spear-thrusts were able to save him, though.74

If you find an error please notify us in the comments. Thank you!