“A people without a king is not to be feared” – a Muslim general

July 4, 2013

Saracen

These things happened on the first day of Lent (the 9th of February, 1250). On that very day a valiant Saracen—made sheik by our enemies in the place of Scecedin, the sheik’s son, whom they had lost in the battle on Shrove Tuesday—took the Count of Artois’s coat of arms, and showed it to all the people of the Saracens, and told them it was the king’s coat of arms, and that the king [St. Louis IX of France] was dead.

Shield and Crown of King St. Louis IX of France

Shield and Crown of King St. Louis IX of France

“And I show you these things,” said he, “because a body without a head is not to be feared, nor a people without a king. Therefore, if it so please you, we will attack them on Friday; and, meseems, you can but agree, for we cannot fail to take them all, seeing they lost their chief.”

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Geoffroy de Villehardouin and Jean de Joinville, Memoirs of the Crusades, trans. Sir Frank Marzials (New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., n.d.), 201-2.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 296

 

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