Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A barrier fight in time of war, as told by the Chronicle of the Good Duke


This incident took place about 1363, and the writer's chief informant was the John de Chastelmorand mentioned as the standardbearer below. He told this story in the 1420s.
Two days before the English came before Troyes, a gentleman named John de Nedonchel, captain of Plancy, spoke to the Duke of Bourbon, saying "If you, my redoubtable lord, wish to grant me fifty men at arms, gentlemen, I will make for you a fine adventure, for the English ought to pass by this path along the river."

The Duke of Bourbon immediately had those of his household whom he loved the most mount up to go there, including John de Chastelmorand, who carried his standard, and many others of his household, and they went to Plancy where they remained for two days before the English came, and the people of the Duke of Bourbon made before the gate the most beautiful barrier that anyone had seen for a long time, and they called it La Barrière amoreuse, and it was convenient for the English to pass by.

So it happens that the English came to pass by Plancy, and all the companions were armed outside their barrier, and the English seeing them put foot to the ground to come and fight; seeing this, those of the garrison of Plancy, because there were so many English opposed to them, withdrew inside their barrier where they were well stocked with shot; and immediately the English advanced, thinking to gain the barrier, and those of Plancy and of the Duke of Bourbon vigorously defended against them by their shot and their lances, and there were performed the most beautiful arms lasting nearly two hours; for when those inside saw their advantage they came out all at once, and charged in among the English, and their charges succeeding to their honor, they withdrew inside, and these charges which those of the barrier made kill seven English men at arms and the shot injured a large crowd of them. And in enduring this danger there died at this barrier [three men of the Duke of Bourbon; and one was seriously injured.]
Image: an SCA barrier fight, with no "shot" (French, trait) involved.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Will McLean said...

For me, "shot" has such strong connotations of musketeers that it's distracting. I would translate gens de trait as missile troops to avoid that problem.

Great story otherwise.

10:41 AM  
Blogger Steve Muhlberger said...

So how would you translate "trait" when it is not part of the phrase "gens/hommes de trait?"

I am still wrestling with the connotations and echoes.

11:16 AM  

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