Home Marco Polo Travels Marco Polo, The Description of the World, §232

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Le Devisement du monde (BNF, Fr.1116):
CCXXXII. Comant le roi Nogai s’esproitéç vailantment. E dou roi Nogai voç di tout autretelz, car sachiés tot voiremant que il la fist si bien por son cors que il ne i avoit nulz, ne de le une partie ne de l’autre, que si bien la fist, et san faille il en oit le pris e le los de toute celz batailes. Il se metoit entre les enimis ausi ardiemant com fait le lionz entres les bestes sauvajes: il li vait abatant et occiant. Il se metoit en les greignor prese qu’il veoit; il les vait departant or ça or la, ausi com c’il fuisent bestes menues. E sez homes, que veoent lor segnor qe la fasoit en tel mainere, il s’esforcent de tout lor pooir e coroient sus lor enimis mout aspremant et en fasoient trop grant maus. E por coi voç firoie lonc cont? Sachiés tuit voiremant qe les jens de Toctai s’avoient tant esforcés con il plus puent por //a mantinir lor honor, mes ce estoit noiant, car trop avoient a faire a bone jenz et fors. Il avoient tuit tant sofert qe il voient apertmant qe, se il hi demorent plus, qu’il sunt tuit mors. E por ce, quant il virent qu’il ne pooient plus soufrir, il se mistrent a la fuie tant com il plus puent. E le roi Nogai et sez homes li vont chachant et occiant et en funt trop grant maus. En telz mainere com voç avés oï vinqui la bataille Nogai. E si voç di qe il en mururentb bien .lxm. homes. Mes le roi Toctai eschampe, e les .ii. filz Tolobuga schanpoit ausint.
© Marco Eusebi and Eugenio Burgio, Venezia: Edizioni Ca’ Foscari, 2018
English translation:
Of King Noghai I can speak just as highly. For you may take my word for it that he performed such feats in his own person that he did not come up against anyone on either side who was his equal. Without doubt he earned the highest honours and praise in all that day’s battle. He threw himself among the enemy as fearlessly as a lion among wild beasts, went round beating them down and killing them, and wrought inordinate havoc among them. He charged in wherever the press was thickest and went about scattering them this way and that as if they were a herd of calves. And when his men saw their lord acting in this way they summoned every last ounce of energy and, charging furiously at the enemy, inflicted dreadful suffering on them. But why make a long story of it? You may take my word for it that Toqta’s men strove with all their might to uphold their honour. But it was all in vain, for they were overmatched by strong and able opponents. When they had endured all they could, they saw plainly that if they remained any longer they would all be dead men. So when they knew they could endure no more they turned and fled as fast as they could. And King Noghai and his men pursued them and slaughtered them without mercy. So Noghai won the battle in the way you have heard. And let me tell you that no fewer than 60,000 men died that day. But King Toqta escaped, as did the two sons of Tele-Buqa.
Reproduced from THE TRAVELS by Marco Polo translated by Nigel Cliff (Penguin Books, 2016). Copyright © Nigel Cliff, 2015
a f. 111 column c.b murent in the original text.


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