Medieval Quotes Advent Calendar 5th of December

Death of the outlaw Eustache the Monk at the Battle of Sandwich in 1217. A battle in which the “enemy” for Eustache was the English forces who were fighting to the rid the country of the forces of Prince Louis of France. It’s much more complicated than that, but that is an outline. The English forces were led by William Marshal

“The enemy set out in small boats and attacked the ships [of Eustache’s fleet] with longbows and crossbows. The Monk’s men guarded themselves against everything thrown at them in the chase by firing missiles and shooting arrows. They killed many Englishmen and defended themselves nobly. Eustache himself toppled many of them with the oar he wielded, breaking arms and smashing heads with every swing. This one he killed, another one he threw overboard. This one he knocked down, another one he trampled underfoot, and a third one had his windpipe crushed. But Eustache was assailed from all directions with no let up. Battle axes struck his ship on all sides. On the first wave the defenders were able to ward off the attack, preventing the enemy from coming on board. Then the English started hurling pots of finely ground lime, smashing them to pieces on the ship railings, with the result that great clouds of dust covered the decks. That was what caused the most damage, against which Eustache’s men could not defend themselves. To their misfortune the wind was against them, causing even further torment, for their eyes became filled with ash. In the confusion the English leaped in to Eustache’s ship and mistreated his men badly, taking all the nobles prisoner. As for Eustache the Monk, he was slain, his head cut off. With that the battle was over.

Epilogue

No man who spends his days doing evil can live a long life.

 

From Thomas E. Kelly  editor and translator Eustache the Monk. In A Book of Medieval outlaws edited by Thomas H. Ohlgren. ISBN9780750924931

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