Post-classical history

§ Another Noteworthy Sword-Blow: The Lord of Abu Qubays

Among other noteworthy sword-blows is the following:

Four brothers related to the amir Iftikhar al-Dawla Abi al-Futuh ibn ‘Amrun, the lord of Abu Qubays Castle,210 went up to see him in the castle as he slept and covered him with wounds. There was no one else with him in the castle except his son. They then went out, thinking they had killed him, and went looking for his son. Now, God had granted this Iftikhar al-Dawla amazing physical strength. So he rose up from his bed [118] all undressed, took his sword, which was hanging there in his house, and went out to get the four brothers. One of them, the most intrepid and courageous of the bunch, came and confronted him. So Iftikhar al-Dawla struck him with his sword and then jumped to one side, fearing that his opponent might get him with the knife that he held. When he turned around, he saw that his foe was flat on the ground, the sword-blow having killed him. He then went on to the second man and, striking a blow on him, killed him. The two remaining men fled, throwing themselves from the castle. One of them died as a result, but the other escaped.

Once we heard the news about this in Shayzar, we sent a messenger to congratulate Iftikhar al-Dawla on his safety. Three days later, we went up to Abu Qubays Castle to visit him, since his sister lived with my uncle Sultan and he had children by her. He related his story to us and how the whole thing happened. Then he said, ‘The back of my shoulder is itching, but I can’t get at it.’ So he called an attendant of his to have a look at the spot to see what sort of thing had bitten him. The attendant examined it, and what do you know, but it was a cut in which was stuck the head of a dagger that had broken off in his back. He hadn’t even known it was there nor did he feel it until it started generating pus and began to itch.

Such was the physical strength of this man that he could grab a mule by its ankle and beat it without its being able to free its foot from his grasp. He could take a horseshoe nail between his fingers and drive it into a board of oak wood, too. His appetite was like his strength – no, even greater!

§ A Brief Exposition on the Franks of Antioch

So far, I have mentioned something of the deeds of men, so I will now mention something of the deeds of women after a brief exposition by way of introduction.211

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