Post-classical history

§ Tales of Sharp Swords: Isma’ilis Attack Shayzar

The blow of the mangonel-stone upon that old man’s head207(may God have mercy upon him) has reminded me of the blows of sharp swords. Here is an example. When the Isma’ilis made an attempt on the citadel of Shayzar,208 one of our comrades called Hammam the Pilgrim encountered one of the Isma’ilis in a portico in the residence of my uncle (may God have mercy upon him). The Isma’ili had a knife in his hand and Hammam had a sword. The Batini209 charged at him with his knife, but Hammam struck him with his sword above the eyes. He cut through the top of his skull and his brains fell out, spattering and spreading out on the ground. Hammam then threw the sword from his hand and vomited up everything in his stomach, stricken with nausea at seeing those brains.

[117] On the same day, one of them came at me with a long knife in his hand, while I had one of my swords. He charged at me with his knife, but I struck him in the middle of his forearm as he grasped the handle of the knife, its blade held back close to his raised arm. A length of four finger-widths was cut from the blade of the knife and his forearm was cut in half, clear off. The traces of that knife-blade remained ever afterwards on the edge of my sword. An artisan in our town saw it and said, ‘I can get rid of that dent there.’

But I said, ‘Leave it as it is. It’s the best thing about the sword.’ Even today, when someone looks at that sword they know it is the mark of that knife.

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