From The Chronicle of Ramon Muntaner, translated by Robert D. Hughes with an introduction by J. N. Hillgarth, Barcino/Tamesis: Barcelona/Woodbridge 2006
So, while the entire Company was in Gallipoli, it fell to my lot that I should remain behind to defend the town, the women, the children, and all the Company’s property, and that they should leave me two hundred foot-soldiers and twenty horsemen as my troops. So it was arranged that they should give me a third of the fifth part of what they acquired in spoils, and that another third should be divided between those who stayed behind with me, and that Rocafort should have the final third.
So, with God’s grace, the troops proceeded to go forth from Gallipoli. And you should know that it was altogether twelve day’s march between Gallipoli and where the Alans were located, outside the territory of the Emperor Andronicus and within the territory of the Emperor of Thrace. And if anyone asks me why the fifth part was to be divided in this way, such that two hundred men who were to remain in Gallipoli with me should receive a third, I tell you that it was done because we could find nobody who wished to stay. But even by such means we were unable to find anyone. What can I tell you? Some of those who were supposed to stay went off during the night; so many, in fact, that only one hundred and thirty four foot-soldiers – some seamen, others Almogavers – and seven heavily-armoured horsemen who belonged to my household, remained behind with me; for I had to give permission, against my will, for the others to go off. And they promised me that they would distribute half of all the spoils that God might grant them between those seven heavily-armoured horsemen. So I remained behind in the company of few men yet many women, for altogether a good two thousand women remained in Gallipoli.
Thus the Company departed without incident, and they marched so fast that they soon entered the Empire of Thrace, reaching a beautiful plain. And Girgon, leader of the Alans, who had slain the Caesar with his own hands in Adrianople, was there. With him were about three thousand horsemen and about six thousand foot-soldiers. And they all had their wives and children there, for, in this, the Alans behave like the Tartars, as they always travel with all their belongings and never lodge in a city, town or village.
So once our troops were close to them, they waited for a day before approaching them, in order to mend horseshoes and to make plans for the battle. For the Alans are considered to be the best cavalry in the Levant. And having rested for a day, they went the following day to make camp at only a league’s distance away from them. Then they got up in the early morning and, by dawn, they were upon them, attacking the Alans among their tents. And the Alans had received news of us, but did not think that we were quite so close to them. But a good thousand of their horsemen were there at the ready even so. What can I tell you? The fighting was heavy and lasted the entire day even though, by noon, their leader, Girgon, had been slain or had lost his head, and his standards had been knocked down, whereby they were soon put to flight. What can I tell you? Out of all the Alans, fewer than three hundred escaped, some of them horsemen, others foot-soldiers; the others all perished therefore on account of the torment that they felt regarding their wives and children.
But I must tell you about what happened to an Alan knight who was taking his wife away with him, he riding a fine horse and his wife another, while three of our horsemen pursued them. What can I tell you? The lady’s horse was growing weak, and he was beating it with the flat of his sword, but, finally, our horsemen caught up with them. The Alan knight, seeing that they were closing in on her and that the lady would be lost, spurred himself onwards a little, and the lady let out a loud cry to him, and he returned towards her and embraced her and kissed her. When he had done this, he struck such a blow to her neck with his sword that he took off her head in a single stroke. When he had done this, he turned on our three horsemen, who were already taking the lady’s horse, and delivered such a blow with his sword to one of them, named William of Bellveer, that he hewed off his left arm with a single stroke and he fell lifeless to the ground. Seeing this, the other two rushed at him, and he at them; and one of them – a captain and a skilled fighter – was named Arnold Miró, and the other Bernard of Ventaiola. What can I tell you? I should let you know that on no account did he intend to be separated from his lady until they had cut him to shreds. And he avenged himself so fully that he slew the aforesaid William of Bellveer and wounded the other two. So you can see how he perished like a worthy knight, and that he acted as he did on account of his great torment.
So the greater part of the Alans perished for this same reason and on account of this same torment; and, as I have already told you, fewer than three hundred men-at-arms escaped, for the others all perished. And our men took their wives, their children, and all they possessed, including horses, livestock and tents. And they estimated how many soldiers they had lost, and they found that they had lost at least forty four men, horsemen and foot-soldiers together, with many left wounded. So, bearing immense spoils, they prepared to make their return, delighted at the great vengeance they had wrought for the death of the Caesar. So they set out upon their journey and they returned, at their leisure, towards Gallipoli.
OLD CATALAN VERSION
E com tota la companya fo a Gal·lípol, la sort vengué sobre mi que jo romangués a guardar Gal·lípol, e les mullers e los infants e tot ço de la companya, e que em lleixassen dos-cents hòmens de peu e vint hòmens de cavall de ma companya. E fo ordonat que em donassen lo terç de la quinta d’açò que guanyarien, e l’altre terç se partís per aquells qui ab mi romanien, e l’altre terç hagués En Rocafort.
E així, ab la gràcia de Déu la host pensà d’eixir de Gal·lípol. E sapiats que tota hora havia dotze jornades entrò lla on los alans eren, de Gal·lípol, així que for a eren de la terra de l’emperador e eren en la terra de l’emperador de Lautzara. E si negun me demana la quinta com se partia així, que dos-cents hòmens que devein romandre ab mi a Gal·lípol n’haguessen lo terç, jo us dic que per ço se faïa com negun no trobàvem qui romandre volgués; e així mateix, aitampoc ne podíem trobar negun. E què us diré? Que de nuit se n’anaren d’aquells qui romandre devein, enans que no romangueren ab mi mas cent trenta-quatre hòmens de peu, qui de mar, qui d’almogàvers, e set cavalls armats, qui eren de casa mia; que als altres haguí a donar per força llicència que se n’anassen. E prometeren-me de partir mig per mig, de tot guany que Déus los donàs, ab aquells set cavalls armats. E així romanguí mal acompanyat d’hòmens e bé acompanyat de fembres, que tota hora hi romangueren ben dues mília fembres.
E així la host se n’anà a la bona hora. E anaren tant per llurs jornades, que entraren en l’emperi de Latzaura, en un bell plan. Girgon, cap dels alans, qui de les sues mans havia mort lo cèsar a Andrinòpol, era aquí; e havia ab ells entrò a tres mília hòmens a cavall e entrò sis mília hòmens de peu, e tuit hi havien llurs mullers e llurs infants; que los alans ho fan a manera de tartres, que ab tot ço del llur van tots temps, e jamés no posen en ciutat, ne en vila, ne en poblat.
E con los nostres foren de prop ells, aturaren-se un jorn, que no s’acostaren a ells, per referrar e per endreçar llur fet de batalla; que los alans són tenguts per la mellor cavalleria que sia al Llevant. E con un jorn hagueren reposat, vengren l’endemà albergar prop d’ells estrò a una llegua; e puis llevaren-se matí, e a alba foren ab ells e van ferir per les tendes. E los alans havien-ne haüda llengua, mas no es pensaven que tan prop los fossen; e així, hac-n’hi ja aparellats ben mília de cavall. Què us diré? La batalla fo forts, e durà tot lo jorn, sí que a hora de migdia lo llur cap Girgon fo mort e perdé la testa, e les senyeres sues abatudes; sí que tantost se desbarataren. Què us diré? Que de tots los alans no n’escaparen, qui de cavall, qui de peu, tres-cent hòmens; qui per ço moriren així tuit, con dolia’ls lo cor de llurs mullers e de llurs infants.
Que contar-vos n’he què n’esdevenc a un cavaller alà que se’n menava sa muller, ell en bon cavall e sa muller en altre; e tres hòmens a cavall, dels nostres, anaren-los aprés. Què us diré? Lo cavall de la dona flaquejava, e ell, ab l’espaa, de pla, dava-li, e a la fin los nostres hòmens a cavall aconseguiren. E el cavaller, qui veé que l’aconseguien e que la dona s’havia a perdre, brocà un poc avant, e la dona gità-li un gran crit, e ell tornà envers ella e anà-la abraçar e besar; e con ho hac fet, donà-li tal de l’espaa per lo coll, que el cap ne llevà en un colp. E con aço hac fet, tornà sobre los nostres tres hòmens a cavall, qui ja prenien lo cavall de la dona, e ab l’espaa va tal colp donar a un d’aquells, qui havia nom Guillem de Bellveer, que el braç sinestre li n’avallà en un colp, e caec en terra mort. E los altres dos, qui veeren aço, lleixaren-se córrer sobre ell, e ell a ells; e la un havia nom Arnau Miró, adalill, que era bon hom d’armes, e l’altre En Bernat de Ventaiola. Què us diré? Que faç-vos saber que anc no es volc llevar prop de la dona estrò l’hagren tot especejat; e ell carvené-se tan fort, que hac mort aquell Guillem de Bellveer e nafrats los altres dos malament. E així podets veure con morí con a bon cavaller, e que ab dolor faïa ço que faïa.
E així moriren, per aquesta raon e dolor, la major partida dels alans; així con ja davant vos he dit, no n’escaparen tres-cents hòmens d’armes, que tots moriren. E los nostres preseren les dones, e los infants e tot quant havien, e les bèsties, e els bestiars e llur tendes. E regonegren quina gent havien los nostres perduda, e atrobaren que havien perduts, entre de cavall e de peu, ben quaranta-quatre hòmens e molts de nafrats. E així, ab gran guany, pensaren-se’n de tornar, e ab gran alegre per la venjança que hagen feita de la mort del cèsar. E així metern-se e’l camín, e ab gran repòs pensaren-se’n de tornar envers Gal·lípol.