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of Rome, passed the Pyrenees with a thousand knights, and came to join the counts of Toulouse, Foix, and Cominges. Don Pedro was at once a brave warrior, a skilful politician, and an elegant troubadour; he was subject to no other reproach than that of too passionate a love for women. At this very time he wrote to a lady of Toulouse, that it was for her sake he was come to combat the French knights, that he should be indebted to her beautiful eyes for the valour which he should show in the battle, and that from them he should expect the recompense of his atchievements. This was the language consecrated to the gallantry of the age; nor is there any reason to believe, as some moderns have supposed, that the letter was addressed to one of his sisters married to the two Raymonds of Toulouse. It fell, however, into the hands of Simon de Montfort. Our fortune is not doubtful, he exclaimed, God is for us. He has jor him only the eyes of his lady.” The king of Aragon, having united his forces with those of the counts his allies, went to lay siege to the little town of Muret, three leagues distant from Toulouse, on the south-west. He arrived before it on the 10th of September. He had joined to his thousand knights of Aragon, those of the counts of Toulouse, of Foix, of Cominges, and of Gaston de Béarn, which might, at most, form a number equal to his own. But the
• Guillelmus de Podio Laurentii, cap. xxi, p. 678.
cavalry of the Pyrenees could not, any more than that of Spain, be compared with the French cavalry, either in respect to the weight of the armour, or the strength of the horses. The Spaniards, principally accustomed to contend with the Mussulmans, had acquired their method of fighting; and their squadrons more resembled light cavalry, than the heavy horse of the French. Simon de Montfort, who had assembled his troops at Saverdun, in the countship of Foix, had with him about a thousand knights, or serjeants at arms. These might be regarded as the flower of French knighthood; they were men enveloped in iron; and their bodies seemed as iron as their armour. Amongst them was distinguished, William des Barres, uterine brother of Montfort, the ancient rival of Richard Coeur-de-lion, and the most renowned of all the warriors of France. Many others, without equalling him in reputation, did not yield to him either in strength or courage. Amongst them all, not a heart could be found susceptible of terror, or accessible to pity. Equally inspired by fanaticism and the love of war, they believed that the sure way to salvation was through the field of carnage. Seven bishops, who followed the army, had blessed their standards and their arms, and would be engaged in prayer for them whilst they were attacking the heretics. Thus did they advance, indifferent whether to victory or martyrdom, certain that either would issue in the reward which the hand of God himself had des, timed for them. Simon de Montfort, passing the Garonne at their head, entered, without any obstacle, into the town of Muret, and prepared for battle on the following day, the 12th of September. The cavalry, at that time, formed the only force of armies. A warrior, entirely covered with iron as well as his horse, overturning the infantry, piercing them with his heavy lance, or cutting them down with his sabre, had nothing to fear from the miserable footmen, exposed in every part to his blows, scarcely armed with a wretched sword, and who had neither been exercised to discipline or danger. Nevertheless, it was the custom to summon these also to the armies, either that they might labour at the sieges, or that they might dispatch the vanquished, after a defeat. Simon de Montfort had assembled the militia of the cities which were subject to him; Raymond, on his part, had caused the levies of the Toulousians to march, and these were much the most numerous. As it was afterwards attempted to find out something miraculous, both in the disproportion of number, and in the extent of the carnage, the historians of the church affirmed, that the militia, under the orders of the king of Aragon, amounted to sixty thousand men; they allow, however, that they were not engaged. Simon de Montfort, quitting, on the morning of the 12th of September, the gates of Muret, in order to seek his enemies, did not march strait towards them, but kept along the side of the Garonne, from the eastern gate, so as to make it appear to the king of Aragon and his allies, who were also under arms, that his design was to escape. But, all at once, turning sharply upon the army of Don Pedro, he repulsed the count of Foix, who commanded the advanced guard, and encountered the body led by the king of Aragon himself. Two French knights, Alain de Roucy, and Florent de Ville, had agreed, unitedly to attack the king, to attach themselves wholly to his person, and to suffer no assailant to divert them from the pursuit, until they had killed him. Pedro of Aragon had changed armour with one of his bravest knights. But, when the two Frenchmen had, at the same time, broken their lances against him who wore the royal armóur, Alain, seeing him bend under the stroke, cried out immediately, This is not the king, for he is a better knight. No truly, that is not he, but here he is, instantly replied T}on Pedro, who was near at hand. This bold declaration cost him his life. A band of knights, who were waiting the orders of Alain and Florent, surrounded him immediately, and neither left him, nor suffered him to escape, till they had thrown him lifeless from his horse. As the French had anticipated, the death of the king of Aragon occasioned the rout of his army. Simon, who had remained at the head of the rear-guard of the cru
saders, did not come up with his enemies till the news of this event had already circulated amongst them, and he profited by it to press, more vigourously, the three counts, and Gaston de Béarn, whom he compelled to flight. Arrived at the place where Don Pedro had fallen, and where his body was already stripped by the infantry of the crusaders, it is said, he could not forbear shedding a few tears; but this apparent compassion was only the signal for new displays of fury. He fell upon the infantry of the Toulousians, who had taken no part in the battle, and who, abandoned by their knights, could make no resistance against a powerful cavalry; and, having first cut off their retreat, he destroyed nearly the whole, either by putting them to the sword, or drowning them in the waters of the Garonne.”
4 Petri Val. Cern. Hist. Albigens. cap. lxxi, et seq. p. 637. Litterae Praelatorum qui in exercitu Simonis erant, ibid, cap. lxxiii, p. 641. Guillelmi de Podio Laurentii, cap. xxi, xxii, p. 678. Praeclara Francor. Facinora, p. 767. Bernardi Guidonis, p. 483. Historia de los faicts de Tolosa, p. 53. Chronic. o Comment, del rey en Jacme, cap. viii. Hist, gén de Languedoc, p. 249, et seq. liv. xxII, ch. lvi. Raynaldi Annal. Eccl. 1213, § 56, seq. p. 227. Joan. Mariana. Hist. Hisp. lib. XII, cap. ii, p. 558.