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Ramon Muntaner
The Catalan Expedition to the East
In the midst of such hearty feasting, while everyone was celebrating, Friar Roger was deep in thought; but even though this seemed stubborn of him, nobody in the world had greater foresight than he. And his thoughts were these: “You have lost this lord, as have, likewise, those Catalan and Aragonese men who have served him, for he is unable to give them anything, and they will be a great burden upon him. And they are like all men, for they cannot survive without food, and so, since they will receive nothing from the King, they will cause great devastation out of necessity; and, in the end, they will destroy all the land, and all of them will perish one by one. So, since this lord who has bestowed such honours upon you is so well served, it is necessary that you seek to relieve him of these troops, for the sake of his honour and for their own advantage.” And similarly, he thought that, in his own case, it did not suit him to stay any longer in Sicily, for the Lord King was on peaceful terms with the Church, so the Master of the Templars, King Charles, and the Duke – who bore great hatred towards him – might ask the Pope to hand him over; in which case the King would have to do one of two things: either he would have to obey the Pope by handing him over or he would have to return to war; and for these reasons he would not permit the King to face such dishonour on account of him.

Having reflected so judiciously, he went to see the Lord King and, taking him into a room, he revealed to him all the thoughts he had been having. Having told him these things, he said to him:

“My lord, I have been thinking that, with your help and assistance, I can get you and all those who have served you, myself included, out of a delicate situation.”

And the Lord King told him that his proposal pleased him deeply and that he was very grateful for it, but requested that Friar Roger take the necessary steps to ensure that he, as King, stand free of blame in this matter, and that it be to the advantage of those who had been his followers, adding that he was ready and prepared to give him all the assistance he could.

“In that case, my Lord King,” said Friar Roger, “with your permission, I shall send two knights with an armed galley to the Emperor of Constantinople, and I shall let him know that I am ready to go to him with as many Catalan and Aragonese troops, both horsemen and foot-soldiers, as he might wish, and that he should provide us with pay and board. I know that he is in dire need of this assistance, for the Turks have taken from him more land than can be covered in a thirty-day journey. And in no other nation would he have as much confidence as in the Catalans and the Aragonese, particularly in those who have sustained this war against King Charles.”

And the Lord King replied:

“Friar Roger, you know more about such matters than we do; however, it is clear to us that your reasoning is sound. So you may arrange matters as you please, for we shall be well satisfied with all your arrangements.”

And then Friar Roger kissed the King’s hand and went back to his lodgings where he spent that entire day arranging these matters. And the Lord King and the others gave themselves over to feasting, recreation and sport.

Translated by Robert D. Hughes
Ramon Muntaner, The Catalan Expedition to the East.

MUNTANER, Ramon. The Catalan Expedition to the East: from the Chronicle of Ramon Muntaner. Woodbridge: Tamesis, 2006.

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