Bourne Archive: FNQ: Hereward XII

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De Gestis Herwardi Saxonis.

XII.

De secundo bello apud Scaldemariland, et quomodo gens illa ad pugnam, vel cum quibus armis processit, et qualiter Herwardus suum contra ordinavit exercitum.

Confestim ergo omnis illa infesta natio et gens non approbanda, undique protinus ex insula et mari omnem multitudinem terræ convenire jubent, et incursantes et infestantes suos fines exterminare, et illos in xiijo die1 radicitus confestim a facie terræ exterminare mandant, ne modicum fundati non leviter excludantur, aut potius alienigenis his diebus subacti fierent, sicut gens Anglorum a Francigenis, nec subdita, audierant. Collectis autem in unum omnibus ad Flandrensem exercitum ut absciderentur mandaverunt, solummodo vita comite amissis omnibus quicunque ibi etiam advenerant, præter aliquas naves, navalia ac insuper ducem exercitus Robertum et Herwardum magistrum militum et tribunos cuneorum illis traderent interficiendos pro omnibus. Conduxerant enim simul plaustra et quadrigas, ut res eorum abducerentur et arma. Quibus perceptis, innuente et hoc Herwardo, cunctas quadrigas et currus ante legatos igni tradiderunt et ipsos in mediis flammis projicti judicaverint, nisi jura internunciorum apud illos frangi viderentur, et fœdera legationis violari. Suasit ergo Herwardus exercitus [exercitui] et primatibus legatos hos paululum vi aut blandimentis aliquantum detineri, ex eis cum donis remitti quis aliis promaioribus moras agens, et reliquos ut interim præpararent se ad bellum suasque acies ordinarent, constituto etiam unicuique aciei ductore imperio et magistro. His autem omnibus facta succedunt. Porro gens illa improvisa [improvida] et inexperta, visis aliquibus nuntiis muneribus valde honustris, ad tales æstuantes res plurimi erga illos converterunt, sibi potiora ante alios arripere volentes. Quos obvios trecenti electi milites cum suo duce Herwardo ante exercitum explorare præcurrentes habuerunt, et ex eis non minimam cædem fecerunt, et aliquos usque ad tentoria collegarum suorum persecuti sunt ; unde omnes vehementer attoniti obstupuerunt, deceptos se incauti nunc ex hoc intelligentes. Pro quo enim cum ira magna et indignatione maxima suo more ad bellum præparati procederent, nullo modo nec aliquem præterire vivum conjurantes, his armis præcincti et muniti ; cum feltreis togis pice et resina atque in thure intinctis, seu cum tunicis ex coria valde cortis, et in manibus hastilia clavata et torta ad pugnendum vel ad retrahendum, seu ad percutiendum, et cum tribus jaculis quadratis aut quatuor ad jaciendum. Inter duos quippe sic munitos, unus semper cum gladio vel cum secure constituebatur, præferens etiam scutum illorum duorum. Habuerunt enim nimis multam et magnam multitudinem, sed incompositam. Dux vero Flandrensis exercitus et Herwardus magister militum videntes illos in convalle descendere, super montana contra suum statuerunt exercitum. Et pariter congressi, paulatim aliis imminentibus recedebant omnio, volentibus illis omnes eos ab suis tentoriis longius protrahere. Quum enim multum a suo præsidio recessissent, fugere quidem Flandrenses cessarunt et conversi steterunt ad pugnam, et Herwardus cum mille equitibus et cum sexcentis armatis ad castra eorum in circuitu perere que ignem succendit, et omnes tentoria eorum custodientes necavit, et sic suam aciem a tergo Scaldemariensium conduxit, ubi omnes pene armis vacuos offendit, nullo modo resistere valentes dispersi sunt. Qui autem in primis aciebus fuerunt, inopinabilem rem intelligentes, et suos undique confugere videntes, inexperti in bello et imperfecti ex fuga in quodam districto loco pariter conglobati tandem præsidium invenerunt. His jaculis et machinamentis Scaldemarienses usque ad tenebrosam noctem illo in loco necabantur. Quæ obtenebrata utrumque exercitum tandem divisit, ante ortum quidem luciferi, nocte eadem luna modicum illucescente. Herwardus cum sexaginta viris, quos ad naves pridie custodiendas reliquerat, intempesta nocte, ad castra Scaldemariensium, nemine ex suis hoc percipiente, reversus est, ubi et multos jaculando peremit et innumerabiles ac majores quosque vulneratos reddidit. Quod eis inopinabilem rem et ultra spem bellandi fuit. Quumque summo mane exercitus ab utrisque ad opus bellicum et certamina committenda esset jam in acie constitutus, Scaldemarienses concite legatos miserunt, cum illis misericordiam agere orantes et deprecantes. Quo pacto, omnem justitiam de injura se facturos promiserunt ex tunc, et sicut servi dominis servituros, et si gratiam apud illos invenirent, atque omnes illos qui manus in suos legatos miserant vel assensum præbuerant, seu in verbo aut in facto offenderant, se a minimo usque ad maximum ditioni eorum tradituros. Quos gratanter acceptis obsidibus susceperunt, in septimo die illis constituentes responsuros.


The Exploits of Hereward the Saxon.

XII.

Of the second war at Scaldemariland, and how that nation advanced to the fight, and with what arms : and how Hereward arranged his army against them.

Immediately then all that dangerous nation and outrageous people, ordered the whole population of the country from all sides from the island and the sea to come together, and to ravage and lay waste their borders, and they command them to do so very thoroughly within 14 days1, lest being so little secure they should be wholly driven out, or rather become subject within that time to the foreigners, like the English people to the French2 ; nor had they heard a false report. And having gathered all together into one place by the army of the men of Flanders, they3 gave orders that they4 should be cut off ; all the men who had come thither might have their lives spared, but to lose everything else except a few ships and their tackling and were to deliver up besides, Robert5, the leader of the army, and Hereward, the master of the soldiers, and the tribunes of the companies, to them, to be put to death in the place of all the others. For they6 had brought to the same place wagons and chariots, so as to convey away their7 possessions and arms. Perceiving this, and at Hereward’s suggestion, they8 set all their9 chariots and cars on fire before the ambassadors ; and would have ordered them to be cast into the flames themselves, had it not been that the rights of intermediaries would seem to be broken, and the privilege of an embassy to be violated. And therefore Hereward persuaded the army and the chief men that these ambassadors should be detained for a little time, either by force or by cajolery, and the rest10 meantime to get ready for fighting, and arrange to take their lines, appointing likewise to each line a leader, an appointed work, and a superintendent. All this in the event proved successful. Because that people11, imprudent and inexperienced, seeing some messengers heavily laden with presents, and eagerly coveting such things, in great numbers made their way to them, each wishing to secure the best things before the others. But three hundred picked soldiers under the leadership of Hereward encountered these as they were running in front of the army to reconnoitre, and made no small slaughter of them, and pursued some right up to the tents of their comrades : whereupon all were completely astounded, realising now that they had been taken unawares. And accordingly with great anger and supreme indignation, they were advancing ready for battle, vowing that they would not leave a single man alive. And they were girt and protected with these arms : with coats of felt dipped in pitch and resin and incense, or tunics strongly made of leather, and in their hands spears studded with nails and twisted for thrusting and pulling away, or for striking, and with three or four squared javelins for throwing. And Between each couple so armed, one was always set with a sword or an axe, bearing also a shield before the couple. For they had an exceedingly large multitude, but badly arranged. Now the leader of the Flemish army, and Hereward the master of the soldiers12, seeing them go down into the valley, drew up their army against them on the heights. And when they came together, as little by little others came against them, they altogether retreated, since they wished to draw them all away from their tents. For when they had advanced some distance from their quarters, the men of Flanders ceased flying, and turned and stood to battle, and Hereward with 1000 horse soldiers and 600 armed men killed those who were guarding their camp, and so led his force to the rear of the men of Scaldemariland, where he came upon them all almost unarmed, and being wholly unable to resist they were routed. But those who were in the front lines, realising this unexpected occurrence, and seeing their men flying in all directions, being inexperienced and untrained in war, at length found a place of safety from their flight in a certain secluded spot. But in that place the men of Scaldemariland kept being slain with javelins and missiles up till nightfall. And the night, covering everything with darkness, at last separated the armies, before the rising of the morning star, the moon the same night shining very slightly. Hereward with 600 men, whom he had left the day before to guard the ships, in the dead of night, returned to the camp of the men of Scaldemariland, without anyone perceiving it, and there killed many by hurling javelins, and wounded a great number, including some of the officers. And this was to them quite unexpected, and beyond all their experience in warfare. And when in full daylight the armies on both sides had been drawn up in line for the engagement, the men of Scaldemariland hastily sent ambassadors, praying and entreating them to have mercy. And a bargain having been made, they promised that they would do every justice for their wrong-doing then, and would like slaves serve their lords, and if they should find favour with them, that they would deliver over to their sway all the men who had laid hands on their ambassadors, or who had consented to it, or who had offended in word or deed, from the least to the greatest. And having received hostages, they gladly accepted them arranging that they would send them an answer on the seventh day.


Commentary

Thanks to Wikipedia for the map: green = Neustria: brown = Lotharingia: slate = Church lands

Historical map of the duchy of Brabant, the county of Hainaut and of the Prince-Bishopric of Liège (1477)Charlemagne accumulated an exceptionally large empire and soon after Pope Leon III had crowned him emperor in 800, by way of thanks for having recovered Rome for him, Charlemagne subdivided much of the empire into counties so that the counts were the top rank of his vassals. He died in 814, and his empire was divided in 843 between his grandsons. By 885 it had more or less come together again but was finally split in the years 887-8. By the treaty of Verdun (843) the part to the west of the Schelde, Meuse, Saône and Rhône was hived off as West Francia, leaving Flanders and Zeeland on opposite sides of the new border. The eastern part of the empire was split into two parts, broadly represented today by Germany and Italy.  Within these, many of the counties became more or less independent. Flanders was one such, which was nominally subject to the French kingdom of Neustria (Volkmann). Zeeland fell on the other side of the border with the German, Lotharingia. The French name of this kingdom is Lorraine over part of which the French and Germans were still fighting in 1870-71, 1914-18 and 1940-45. When it seemed that Robert was trying to extend Flanders across the Francia-Lotharingia border he met resistance at all levels. This struggle in Zeeland seems to have been an early stage in these events. He took over as Count of Flanders in 1070 but the death of Baldwin V (on 1 September 1067), reported in Chapter XIII, shows the present events as taking place in 1067.

The mix is further complicated in that, like Normandy and the Danelaw in England, from the end of the ninth century onward, Zeeland was settled by Danes (Times Atlas pp. 110-11).

1.     The use of the preposition ‘in’, the ordinal number ending ‘o’ and the ablative form of the noun for the unit of time, ‘die’ is the Medieval Latin (ML) expression for ‘time when’ (Sidwell K p. 367). The expression ‘in xiijo die’ might therefore be translated as ‘on the 13th day’, but Sweeting’s ‘within 14 days’ is probably nearer to Hugh Candidus’s intention.

2.    Like the English’: this was of course, written with hindsight, after the Norman Conquest but at the time of the events recorded here, that had begun -  in the preceding October.

However, the passage ‘aut potius .. .. audierant’ (‘or rather become .. .. a false report’) might be better translated as ‘or rather, within that period, they might be defeated by the foreigners; just as, they had heard, the English nation (with ‘had been defeated’ understood), though not subdued, by the French.’ The essence of the matter lies in the phrase ‘nec subdita, which may be translated literally as ‘though not subdued’, the final –a of subdita agreeing with the feminine noun gens, gentis f.

The verb subdo has meanings:-

          i.       Root:          put/place under

          ii.      Primary:    subdue, subject

          iii.     Secondary: substitute  (especially falsely), counterfeit

The suggested translation takes the primary meaning while Sweeting has evidently taken the secondary one, though this takes no account of the feminine ending. of subdita.

Hugh Candidus, the original writer of the Latin, appears to have been leaving scope for Hereward’s future deeds in England while Sweeting’s translation would tend to preclude what the story goes on to tell us, happened. (FWP)

3.       The Zeelanders.

4.      The Flemings.

5.       Robert: this is Robert, b. 1031 son of Baldwin V and Aelide. As Robert I, he became Regent of Holland from 1071 to 1093. Here we have a clear sttement implying that Robert was the principal and Hereward, the executive officer.

6.      The Zeelanders.

7.       The Flemings.

8.      The Flemings.

9.      The Zeelanders.

10.   The rest of the Flemish army.

11.     The Zeelanders.

12.   Magister Militum is a term arising ultimately, from reforms of civil and military organization beginning in the reign of Diocletian, in the third century.

A man described thus was a commander of mobile field army, responsible to a superior. It is interesting to see that the Latin term for Hereward’s position in the Flemish army is directly reflected in his own name. The possible implications of this are discussed on a separate page.


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