Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Encounter, affair, battle in Charny's Questions

Charny's Questions have no answers. Sometimes you can guess the answer, but other times lacking illumination from another source, it's near impossible to figure out what he means.

Here's a puzzle that someone learned in military history or Old or Middle French literature may able to help with. How does one distinguish between a rencontre, a besoigne, and a bataille? Just an idea of where to look would be very useful.

Here are my translations of the relevant "War" questions.

13. Charny asks:

There are three types of combat in the field. One is called a rencontre (encounter). How is it called a rencontre and why, for some say that a rencontre takes place between a thousand men at arms or more on one side and the other? And if one party fights and defeats the other and takes possession of the field, if it is not called a besoigne (affair) nor a bataille (battle), how should it be designated, then?

14. Charny asks:

Men at arms are in the field, and a thousand men or more fight; and one party defeats the other and takes possession of the field. And it is said that it was nothing but a besoigne (affair), halted as it was by nightfall, and should not be called a rencontre or a bataille . How should it be designated?

15. Charny asks:

When should a bataille be called a bataille and why that rather than something else?

Update: See this later post for more relevant questions on this terminological issue.

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Blogger Will McLean said...

Jean Nicot (1606)

Bataille, f. C'est tantost la meslée et combat de deux armées rengées soit à jour assigné ou à jour forcé. Et est different de rencontre et d'escarmouche qui ne sont de deux armées entieres, et ordonnées,

1:31 PM  

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