12th century account of a judicial duel in Palestine

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12th century account of a judicial duel in Palestine

Postby Chiron » 31 Dec 2012 13:00

From the memoirs of Usamah Ibn-Munqidh, an arab lord who had many dealings with the franks, despite not liking them at all. I can only suggest the book if only for it's entertainment factor.

"I attended one day a duel in Nablus between two franks. The reason for this was that certain moslem thieves took by surprise one of the villages of Nablus. One of the peasants of that village was charged with having acted as guide for the thieves when they fell upon the village. So he fled away. The king (Fulk of Anjou king of Jerusalem 1131-42) sent and arrested his children. The peasant thereupon came back to the king and said, "let justice be done in my case. I challenged to a duel the man who claimed that I guided the thieves to the village." The king then said to the village in fief, "Bring forth someone to fight the duel with him." The tenant went to his village, where a blacksmith lived, took hold of him and ordered him to fight the duel. The tenant became thus sure of the safety of his own peasants non of whom would be killed and his estate ruined. I saw this blacksmith. He was a physically strong young man, but his heart failed him. He would walk a few steps and the sit down and ask for a drink. The one who had made the challenge was an old man, but he was strong in spirit and he would rub the nail of his thumb against that of the forefinger in defiance, as if he was not worrying over the duel. Then cam the viscount, i.e. the seigneur of the , and gave each one of the two contestants a cudgel and a shield and arranged the people in a circle around them.
The two met. The old man would press the blacksmith back-ward until he would get his as far as the circle, then he would come back to the middle of the arena. They went on exchanging blows until they looked like pillars smeared with blood. The contest was prolonged and the viscount began to urge them to hurry, saying, "hurry on." The fact that the smith was given to the use of the hammer proved now of great advantage to him. The old man was worn out and the smith gave him a blow which made him fall. His cudgel fell under his back. The smith knelt down over him and tried to stick his fingers into the eyes of of his adversary, but could not do it because of the great amount of blood flowing out. Then he rose up and hit his head with the cudgel until he killed him. They fastened a rope around the neck of the dead person and hanged him. The lord who brought the smith his own mantle, made him mount the horse behind him and rode off with him. This case illustrates the kind of jurisprudence and legal decisions the Franks have - may Allah's curs be upon them!"
nay king, nay quin we willnae be fooled again!
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Postby Ty N. » 01 Jan 2013 01:13

I love it, because it's vastly detailed, as if it happened yesterday. The circumstances were as mundane as one might expect, which lends to its credibility.
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Re: 12th century account of a judicial duel in Palestine

Postby Chiron » 01 Jan 2013 11:58

I was looking for something else and came across it again, I take it you have the book.

Farwell good cavalier, and may a mouse never piss in your leopard inflicted wounds. :twisted:
nay king, nay quin we willnae be fooled again!
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Re: 12th century account of a judicial duel in Palestine

Postby jpk » 19 Jun 2013 11:54

Master sock puppeteer of social media.
http://www.zornhau.de
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