Friday, May 27, 2011

W 27

27.  Charny asks:   The lord of a country is at war with another lord of a country, and has calls himself the lord of the country which the other one holds and says that he will conquer the country as being his by right.   It happens that this lord besieges a city which belongs to the lord and to the country of which the other lord demands as his right, and maintains his siege there for a year and more.   And there are spent great expenses and great costs and great efforts and great hardships, to the point that the city can no longer hold out.  It happens that the lord of the country where the city is gathers together his people to rescue it if he is able; and when he is close to the city he finds that the lord who has besieged the city to be so strong in his army from ditches, walls, and palisades that in no way can he recover his city nor break the army, which is to his great disadvantage.   So he requires the lord who is besieging the city to come fight him in the open field, and he will immediately put at stake  possession of the city and all the goods within it. And he makes known to him that there is no better way for him to conquer the country that he claims than to fight him who holds it now.  And, more, he makes known to him that he will give the place to him in common so that neither will have an advantage over the other, in regards either to the dependencies of the town or of the place itself.   And he makes it known to him that when he calls himself lord of the country which is not his that he will not be able to refuse him if he wishes to conquer it.   And the lord who is before the city responds that when he has taken the city, and he does not think he will fail to take it before he leaves, then he will willingly fight him, but not otherwise.   So it should be decided which is more honorable:  either to refuse battle against him who holds the country which he calls himself lord and conqueror and remain before the city until he has taken it, or to go from it and fight in the manner which is described above, especially when he has enough men at arms and foot to fight if he wishes?  

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