Post-classical history

§ More than Meets the Eye: A Frank Miraculously Recovers

The army of Antioch once made an attack on us. Our comrades encountered the enemy vanguard, but retreated before them. For my part, I stationed myself in their path waiting for them to arrive, hoping that I might get a chance to attack the enemy. Meanwhile, our comrades crossed over towards me in flight. Mahmud, the son of Jum’a, was one of those who crossed over towards me. So I said, ‘Mahmud, stop!’ He paused for a moment, but then spurred his horse on and left me.

Then the vanguard of the enemy cavalry arrived, so I pushed away ahead of them, twisting my spear towards them and turning around so that I could watch them, in case one of their horsemen should catch up with me and try to thrust his spear at me. In front of me was a group of our comrades and we were surrounded by gardens enclosed by walls as high as a seated man. My horse bumped its chest into one of our comrades and knocked him down, so I turned its head to my left, prodded it with my spurs and it leapt over the wall. I then arranged my position so that I was even with the Franks, with the wall between us. One of their horsemen sped towards me, wearing a silk tunic emblazoned in green and yellow, without, it seemed to me, any armour underneath. So I let him pass by. I then prodded my horse with my spurs and it jumped back over the wall. Then, I thrust my spear at the Frank. He fell over sideways so far that his head was level with his stirrups, his shield and spear fell out of his hands and his helmet slipped off his head. By then we had reached [62] our infantrymen. The Frank then sat up again, upright in his saddle: he had a mail hauberk under his tunic and my spear-thrust had not even harmed him! His comrades caught up with him and they retreated. Our infantrymen took his shield, spear and helmet.

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