Tales from Froissart

edited by Steve Muhlberger, Nipissing University

How the Men of Ghent Acted in Victory

The men of Ghent have taken control of the rival city of Bruges.

Book II, ch. 98. Francis Atremen was one of the principal leaders of the mob. He was ordered by Philip von Artaveld and Peter du Bois, to search the town of Bruges, and guard the market-place, until they should find themselves complete masters of the town. He was particularly commanded to suffer no harm to be done to foreign merchants, or other strangers then at Bruges, for they had nothing to do with their quarrels. This order was very well observed, and neither Francis nor any of his company did the smallest hurt to a foreigner.

The search of the Ghent men was especially directed to the four trades, of jerkin-makers, glassmen, butchers, and fishermen; for they had resolved to put to death all whom they should find of these different trades, because they had been partisans of the earl of Flanders at Oudenarde, and other places. They sought for them everywhere, and when they found any, they were killed without mercy. There were upwards of twelve hundred, one with the other, slain this night; and many murders and robberies committed, which were never known: several houses robbed, and women and girls violated; coffers broken open, and a variety of wicked deeds done; insomuch, that the poorest of the Ghent army became very rich...

No people ever behaved themselves better towards their enemies than the men of Ghent did to those of Bruges, nor conducted themselves more graciously to a conquered town: they did no harm to any of the small tradesmen unless there were very strong accusations against them. When Philip von Artaveld, Peter du Bois and the other captains saw they were completely masters of the place, they issued out a proclamation in their name for all persons to retire to their houses, and that no one should break open or pillage any house, nor be any way instrumental in raising of riots, under pain of death.

They then inquired what had become of the earl: some said, he had left the town on Saturday night: others that he was yet in Bruges, but so closely hid that he could not be found. The captains of the Ghent army paid no great attention to him; for they were so rejoiced at their victory that they thought nothing of any earl, baron or knight in Flanders, and looked on themselves as so mighty that all the world must obey them.

This story continues.

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