Monday, 16 July 2012

This is the 800 year anniversary of the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa, one of the critical engagements in the history of conflict between between Christendom and Islam. The Muslim defeat in this encounter hastened the end of their presence in Europe. Shortly before the battle, the troubadour Gavaudan wrote this song, summoning all Europeans to do battle against the Mohammedans in Spain, and predicting a Christian victory.
Seigniors, 'tis on account of our sins, that the power of the
Saracens is thus increasing. Jerusalem has been taken by
Saladin, and it is not yet reconquered; and all at once the
king of Morocco now prepares for war against all Christian
kings, with his treacherous Andalusians, with his Arabs armed
against the faith of Christ.

He has assembled all the races of the west, the Mazmudes,
the Moors, the Berbers and the Goths. Vigorous or feeble, not
one of them has stayed behind ; and never did the rain descend
more closely than they pass on, encumbering the plains and
famishing each other. They feed upon dead bodies, as the
sheep on grass, which they devour blade and root.

They are so proud of their number, that they consider the
world as theirs. When they halt upon the meadows, crammed
one against the other, Morocco's hordes against the Marabouts,
the Marabouts against the Berbers, then they deride us among
themselves. Franks, they say, make room for us ! Toulouse
and Provence are ours ; and ours the whole interior of the
land, as far as Puy. Was there ever before heard raillery
so insolent from the mouth of the false dogs of this lawless
race?

Hear them, O emperor, and you too, king of France, king
of the English, and you, the count of Poitiers ! and come to the
assistance of the king of Castile. No one had ever such fair
opportunity for serving God ; with his aid you'll conquer all
these pagans, whom Mahomet deluded, these renegades, this
refuse of mankind.

Gavaudan shall be a prophet
for his words shall become a fact. Death to those dogs!
God shall be honoured and worshipped where Mahomet is now served

3 comments:

Juniper in the Desert said...

Goths? The future Germans...

Cheradenine Zakalwe said...

It does seem odd. Might be a reference to the Vandals, a Germanic group that ruled in North Africa before the Arabs conquerors arrived. Or some remnant of the Visigoths who ruled in Spain before the Arabs arrived there.

Dinan said...

800 years! Imagine our surprise to learn this was just an interlude in a very long war and the attitudes and tactics of our opponents have changed little. Almost as though the last 800 years of European history count for nothing and we have no right to exist .

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