Sunday, February 25, 2007

Charny's Questions on War, #78 and #79: Say "coward" and start a riot

What was Charny aiming at when he composed this pair of questions?

78. Charny asks:

Since some contend that when a man at arms who is captured in the field, armed in a besoigne and the man at arms says “I surrender” or gives his faith, that this ought to be a reproach of cowardice to him, how can he be captured and keep his honor and without reproach?

79. Charny asks:

Since I do not understand when a man at arms surrenders himself into the hands of his enemies in a besoigne arrestee in what way he can say the words, “I surrender,” which will not be considered cowardice, I ask to be enlightened, for I don’t understand it.

A besoigne or besoigne arrestee is a kind of battle ("affair" or perhaps "set-piece battle"). And Charny himself had been captured and ransomed twice in his previous career. Still, these alternative formulations of the same issue seem pretty provocative.

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