Friday, February 23, 2007

Charny's Questions on War, #74 and #75: Sharpsters and scofflaws

Again, it's interesting to think of these as bits of a screenplay.

There are a number of questions about what constitutes a valid surrender.

The man on the left above is the valet or varlet.

74. Charny asks:

A man at arms has taken another in war; it happens that the master has set a certain ransom with the agreement of the prisoner, either to pay on a set day or to return to his captivity on that day. And one of the party of the prisoner's master takes himself to the master as pledge to pay for the prisoner or instead of him surrender himself on the set day. And in the meantime it is made known by the counsel of the pledges that the prisoner is divested of all his heritage, all that he had, into the hands of his heirs. And then the pledge leads back the prisoner on the agreed day and asks the prisoner's master that he be released from his status as pledge. The master says no, for he has not fulfilled his captivity as he agreed to do. Many good reasons are given on either side. How will it be judged by the law of arms?

75. Charny asks:

Men at arms encounter each other and fight until one of the parties is defeated. It happens that one man at arms of party with the upper hand takes a man at arms of the defeated party and says to him, "Surrender to me!" And the man at arms says "I surrender to you," and gives him his sword; and the one who has captured him gives him to one of his valets to guard and this companion goes to fight with the others. Then another of those who have the upper hand comes and finds the prisoner which the valet of the other companion is guarding and demands from him whose prisoner he is, and the prisoner responds, "So and so of your party." The man at arms asks if he has given his faith, and the prisoner replies that he has not given any faith, at which the companion says that he will kill him if he does not swear to be his prisoner. And this one takes his oath as a prisoner and takes him away despite the valet. And when evening comes the companion who first took him without faith being pledged demands his prisoner; the other who has his faith says no. Many good arguments are given on either side. How will it be judged by judgment of arms?

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