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The Combat of the Thirty (1351)

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The Combat of the Thirty (1351)

Post Neon Knight on Sat 5 Aug - 9:48

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Combat_of_the_Thirty



Combat des Trente: an illumination in the Compillation des cronicques et ystoires des Bretons (1480), of Pierre Le Baud. The two strongholds of Ploërmel and Josselin are fancifully depicted within sight of each other.

The Combat of the Thirty (26 March 1351) was an episode in the Breton War of Succession, a war fought to determine who would rule the Duchy of Brittany. It was an arranged fight between picked combatants from both sides of the conflict.

It was fought at a site midway between the Breton castles of Josselin and Ploërmel between thirty champions, knights and squires on each side, in a challenge issued by Jean de Beaumanoir, a captain of Charles of Blois supported by the King of France, to Robert Bemborough, a captain of Jean de Montfort supported by the King of England.

After a hard-fought battle, the Franco-Breton Blois faction emerged victorious. The combat was later celebrated by medieval chroniclers and balladeers as a noble display of the ideals of chivalry. In the words of Jean Froissart, the warriors "held themselves as valiantly on both sides as if they had been all Rolands and Olivers." This idealised account conflicts with a version according to which the combat arose from the mistreatment of the local population by Bemborough.

Beaumanoir commanded thirty Bretons, Bemborough a mixed force of twenty Englishmen (including Robert Knolles and Hugh Calveley), six German mercenaries and four Breton partisans of Montfort. It is unclear whether Bemborough himself was English or German.

The battle, fought with swords, daggers, spears, and axes, mounted or on foot, was of the most desperate character, in its details very reminiscent of the last fight of the Burgundians in the Nibelungenlied, especially in the celebrated advice of Geoffroy du Bois to his wounded leader, who was asking for water: "Drink thy blood, Beaumanoir; thy thirst will pass" (Bois ton sang, Beaumanoir, la soif te passera).

According to Froissart, the battle was fought with great gallantry on both sides. After several hours of fighting there were four dead on the French side and two on the English side. Both sides were exhausted and agreed to a break for refreshments and bandaging of injuries. After the battle resumed, the English leader Bemborough was wounded and then killed, apparently by du Bois. At this point the English faction formed a tight defensive body, which the French repeatedly attacked. A German soldier called Croquart is said to have displayed the greatest prowess in rallying the Anglo-Breton defence.

In the end, the victory was decided by Guillaume de Montauban, a squire who mounted his horse and rode into the English line, breaking it. He overthrew seven of the English champions, the rest being forced to surrender. All the combatants on either side were either dead or seriously wounded, with nine on the English side slain. The prisoners were well treated and released on payment of a small ransom.

While the combat did not have any effect on the outcome of the Breton war of succession, it was considered by contemporaries to be an example of the finest chivalry. It was sung by trouvères, retold in the chronicles of Froissart and largely admired, and honoured in verse and the visual arts. A commemorative stone was placed at the site of the combat situated between Josselin and Ploermel and king Charles V of France commissioned a tapestry depicting it. The renown attached to those who participated was such that twenty years later, Jean Froissart noticed a scarred survivor, Yves Charruel, at the table of Charles V, where he was honoured above all others due to having been one of the Thirty.

According to historian Steven Muhlberger, this chivalric version concentrates on "how the deed was done and not on who won. The willingness of all concerned to agree to rules and to actually observe them, to fight their best and not to run when injured or in danger of capture are the focus – and both sides are shown as equally worthy in that respect."



Penguilly l'Haridon: Le Combat des Trente

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Re: The Combat of the Thirty (1351)

Post Jehan I on Sun 6 Aug - 8:54

This story is pretty fascinating. I entertained myself by writting a scenari on the story. For me there are everything to make a good movie.
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Re: The Combat of the Thirty (1351)

Post Neon Knight on Sun 6 Aug - 9:09

Yeah, I thought it might make a good film. I only came across this piece of history by chance - it should be well known.

EDIT: Or at least it would make a good drama-documentary.

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Between the velvet lies, there's a truth that's hard as steel
The vision never dies, life's a never ending wheel
- R.J.Dio
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