Post-classical history

§ Jum’a Accused of Cowardice

One day, the army of Antioch came and encamped against us at the spot where they usually made camp, while we stood on horseback facing them, the river between us. Not a single one of them came towards us. They pitched their tents and settled down in them, and so we withdrew and we too settled down in our homes, while we watched them from the citadel. Then about twenty horsemen from our army went out to Bandar-Qanin,90 a village near town, to graze their horses, leaving their spears at home. Two Frankish horsemen went out in the vicinity of these troops who were grazing their horses, and on the way they fell upon a man leading an animal, capturing him and his beast while we watched from the castle. Those [64] troops of ours mounted up but then stopped, not having any spears.

At that my uncle exclaimed, ‘Those twenty men cannot even save one captive from two horsemen! If Jum’a were with them, then you would see what he can do!’

Even as he was saying this, Jum’a galloped off towards them, fully armoured. ‘Watch now and see what he does!’ my uncle said.

But when he approached the two Frankish horsemen at full gallop, Jum’a turned the head of his horse and remained behind them, under cover. My uncle was watching all of this from a projecting window91 that he had in the castle. When he saw that Jum’a had stopped his pursuit of the two Franks, he turned inside from the window in anger and exclaimed, ‘This is mutiny!’ In fact, Jum’a stopped because he was afraid there might be an ambush set up in a ditch which lay in front of the Franks. Once he arrived at the ditch and saw that there was no one in it, he attacked the two horsemen and rescued the man and his animal, chasing the horsemen back to their tents.

Bohemond’s son,92 the lord of Antioch, was watching what was happening. When the two horsemen arrived, he sent someone to take their shields, which he converted into food-troughs for the animals. Then he pulled down their tents and expelled them, saying, ‘One Muslim horseman chases away two Frankish knights! You aren’t men – you’re women!’

As for Jum’a, my uncle reprimanded him, angry that he stopped pursuing the two knights once he got to them.

And so Jum’a said, ‘My lord, I was afraid they might have an ambush set up in the ditch at Rabiyat al-Qaramita93 and come out against me. Once I had a look at it and saw that there was no one in it, I rescued the man and his beast and chased the two Franks until they went back into their camp.’

But, by God, my uncle would not accept his excuse, nor was he pleased by his conduct.

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