John Polemon describes the Battle of Alcazar in his 1587 The second part of the booke of battailes, fought in our age taken out of the best authors and writers in sundrie languages. Published for the profit of those that practise armes, and for the pleasure of such as loue to be harmlesse hearers of bloudie broiles.
The Battaile of Alcazar, fought in Barbarie, betwene Sebastian King of Portugall, and Abdelmelec the King of Marocco, the fourth of August 1578. Taken out of a namelesse Portugall auctor, translated into Latine by Thomas Freigius.
That ye may the better understand what the principall Persons that were present & fought at this Battaile were, & also to know the quarel and cause thereof, I have thought good to insert myne auctors whole Historie, not omitting his, as it wer pleasant and profitable preamble of the foundation and familie of these mightie kings that reigne now at Marocco.
The founder of that familie and house, which are now kings of Marocco, and the first king of that stocke, was a certaine Moore of the Mahometicall superstition, called Muley Mahamet Xeque. His father Muluey Xarif, being accompted in his countrie of Mecha in Arabia, the chiefe man of the Moores (as he that was descended of the bloud & line of the damned and cursed false Prophet Mahomet) had heaped together an immeasurable masse of money, and greate innumerable treasure. He being moved by I know not what dreame, did take occasion to depart out of his Countrie, and to get him into Africa with all that he had. Wherfore that he might bring to effect that which he had determined with himselfe, he going from Mecha with his onelie sonne, whom we spake off before, and travailing all Ægypt and Africa, and other regions subject to the Turkish Empire, came at lastinto that parte of Barbarie that is at this daie called Sus. In this Countrie when Muley Xerife had gotten a great opinion of wisedome (as touching their sect and religion) among the Moore of Barbarie, and had obtained a singuler surpassing fame throughout the provinces there defiled with the superstition of Mahomet, he wanne also the grace and favour of the Alarbes (that doe dwell in this Barbarie) and namelie of those that did inhabite in the kingdome of Sus. Hereby it came to passe that within short time he had gotten about a thousand horsemen to bee as it were his clients, vassalls, or reteiners at command: that I may passe over in silence a great number of servantes and ordinarie waiters, that still attended on him with horse and armour. Through the helpe of these men and many other that did afterward joyne with him, he tooke certain Cities of that kingdome, and made them subject unto him. But in all journeies he carried about with him his sonne Muley Mahamet Xeque, that the people subdued might be sworne unto him and promise to doe all those things that faithfull subjects doe use to performe unto their Princes. And in deed both the father and the sonne did so stirre them about their businesse, that within short time they had gotten them that power and strength, that they tooke by force Turodant, the head Citie of the kingdome of Sus, and there the sonne Xeque was constituted king of that Countrie. This victorie did mightelie augment the power and courage of this new king. Wherefore he ordeined a strong legion of eight thousand pike men, with purpose to attempt the Citie of Marocco, where the Marines reigned. Wherefore leaving his Father in Sus, who being now broken with age, had become unable to do anie service, besieged Marocco with five hundred harquebuziers, and 7000. pikemen that he brought with him. The twelfth day of the siege, the citie yeelded, and taking also other cities, townes, and fortresses adjoyning to Marocco, tooke upon him the name and stile of king of Marocco and Sus.
A few dayes after, he assembling a mightie armie, besieged the citie of Fes: the which no man resisting, he tooke with the onelie terrour of his mightie armie, the king therof (whose name was Claude) providing for himselfe by flight, and withdrawing into the citie of Tremissen, which was then subject unto him (for the Turke had as then nothing to doe there) where he also spent all the short time of his life that remained. But as soone as Xeque was proclaimed king of Fes, all the cities, townes, and villages of that kingdome, sware him homage and fealtie, and subjected themselves unto him, and the like did other Nations neere, and came under his obeisance of their owne accord, and yeelding him the victorie without sweate or bloud. So that the limites and bonds of his kingdome were on the East Tremissen (which at this daie is subject unto the Turke) & beyond mount Clario, in olde time Atlas, towards the south, the line that goeth by the province of Pigiga, a slope east to Zahara (a citie taken by the king of Portugal) and from hence towards the West the space of fortie leagues from the coast of the Atlantike Ocean (now Golsode Ynegas) looking towards the Canaries. On the West the coasts and forelands of Agnesio, Casi, Azamor, Sala, Larissa, Letuams, all fronter cities of that kingdome, even to the straites of Gibraltar, towards Ceuta, Penon, ≈ Melilla (which cities the Catholike king of Spaine possesseth at this daie) & from hence even to Tremessen. Over all these Countries long & brode did Muley Mahamet Xeque raigne, & his father being shortly after dead, held the empire alone, & was the first king of Marocco & that house.
When Muley Mahamet had reigned many yeeres after in passing great quietnesse andn peace: and was also desirous that his sonnes might enjoy peacebly the kingdomes that he had gotten: being now growen in age, and loaden with yeeres, he asembled the princes, noble men and governours of the provinces, subject unto him, that thorough their counsaile, he might the more maturely and wisely set an order, for the succession of his sonnes. But although he had a great number of them, as well lawfull as bastards, yet we will speake in this place onely of them, which were cause of troubles and stirres in this kingdome, who were in umber foure. Of whome the eldest, borne in lawfull wedlocke, was called Muley Abdallas, the second and youngest of the lawfully begotten, were called Muley Abdelmunen, and Muley Abdelmelec: the youngest of all was a bastard, called Muley Hamet, who both at this day possesse the kingdome. But when the peeres of the kingdome were come together at the citie of Marocco (the Kings seate) and the King had proposed the matter unto the Parliament: it waas inacted by common consent, that the Kings sonnes should one succeed an other, according to their age, so that the right of the kingdome might come unto them all, and thereby all cause of strife and contention among them, might be taken away. This decree made by the princes, did the King like and allow, and commaunded that it being confirmed by his auctoritie, should be kept inviolable by all their posteritie: and wrought so much, that the Princes and principall men of the kingdome did sweare, to doe their best, that it might remaine stable and firme for ever. But not onely the Peeres, but also the kings sonnes did take that othe: for there was no man that gainesaied this law, or was of any other minde and opinion. Whereupon Muley Abdallas (because he was the kings eldest sonne) was immediatly after nominated in the campe Prince and heire of all his Fathers kingedomes, and all men were sworne unto him.
These things being thus ordered and ordained, the old king, because he himselfe (as he had of long time used) laye still in the Citie of Marocco, he sent the new Prince for to governe the kingdome of Fesse, as the people of the Countrie had requested. When he came to Fes, and ws received verie dutifullie of the Citizens, he began his government over them verie kindlie and curteouslie, shewing him selfe verie affable & gentle unto the people of the province, and promising much more lenitie and gentlenesse in time to come. Within few daies after, when Muley Mahomet Xeque flourished in great peace, there happened a tumult in the province of Sus, which forced him for to leavie an army for to represse the insolent. Having gotten together all things necessary therefore, he departed out of Marocco with many horsemen, footmen, and harquebuziers, and marched towards Sus. Now a few daies before, 500 Turkes had come to him from Tremissen, with their Captaine (whom they do call in their language Alcaida) who counterfaited that they had runne awaie out of the garison of Tremissen, but in verie truth, they did it, that they might dispatch out of the waie (the which they did indeede) the king of Marocco. For when they came to Marocco, the king that that thought they had come to serve him, caused them presentlie to be put in wages???, & to follow him to the wars in Sus. So they went forth with the king, marching with him a long journey towards Sus, but when they were come to the confines of those two kingdomes, they hasten their purpose of murthering the king. Wherefore about a 15.0220. of the most audacious & desperat fellowes, faining as though they had I know not what to move the king of, entered his pavillion, & finding him fit for their purpose, slue him & cut off his head after he was dead. This so sodaine & so onthought of a trecherous & villanous part, stirred up a great tumult in the campe betwane the Turkes & the Moores (of whom the one favoured the greate Turke, the other Muley Abdallas) & the matter at last came to that passe, the within one houres space, above 1000. Moores wer slaine, & not passing fiftie Turks. Who seeing themselves oppressed with the multitude of the Moores, withdrew from (yet still keeping their face towards the enimies, & defending themselves into thicke woodes, and tops of mountaines of harde accesse. But when the Moores did also assaile them there, and the Turkes perceived that they laboured in vain to save themselves, and namelie, seeing now their vitualls began to faile them: they set fire to seven barrells of Gunpouder, that they had set round about them, chosing rather to destroie themselves by furious fire, than to come into the hands of the Moores their enimies.
But the kings armie was also constrained to returne to Marocco, where the Prince Muley Abdallas although that he was then in the Citie of Fes) was agayne proclaimed king. But he, as soone as heard of his Fathers death, went forth of Fes, and when he bare him as king, there was none of the provinces that did not willinglie and gladly receive him. Whereupon within few dayes after, he gathered a mightie armie of many Nations (who offered him their service) with the which hee marching to Marocco, was received of the Citizens with surpassing joy, honour, and gratulation. For whilest his Father was yet living, he had perceived the singular favour and good will of his subjects, and found it also after his death: because as long as he lived, he sought for nothing else but golden peace, and the quietnesse of his subjects, and to keepe them happie ad blessed, without anie harme. Whereby he gathered together so great riches and treasure, as scarce anie king that ever lived before him had gotten. So Abdallas raigned alone certaine yeeres, and kept his Court by turnes, one yeere at Fesse, and two at Marocco, untill such time as hee made an heire apparant, and instituted a successor.
After Abdallas had raigned long time in singular quietnesse, and had alone used & exercised the supreame rule & government, he determined with himself to abrogate & disanul the law, that his Father with the peeres of the kingdome had made, for the succession in the crowne: which should in order still descend alwaies to the elder brother living. And although that Abdallas did privelie & secretlie practise it, with those in whom he reposed greatest trust, yet notwithstanding the matter came at length to the notice of his brothers: of whom some beeing carefull of their lives, and fearing to bee made awaie by some trecherie, fled out of the kingdome, as Abdelmunen and Abdelmelec, who not without passing great perill (because there were many privie alwaites laide for them in their journey by the servants of their brother Abdallas) fledde to Tremissen. And being arrived there, they were curteouslie entertained by the Turkes, as young Gentlemen of the bloud roiall. And anone after they withdrew themselves to Argier, that they might live more safelie there, under the defence of the Turkish Emperour. When Muley Abdallas, who as we told you before, privelie compassed the murther of his brothers, that hee might safelie leave the kingdome to his sonnes, heard that they sought to save themselves by flying out of the Countrie, he dissembling his anger (for it greeved him at the heart that some of them had escaped) least the rest of his brothers should bee also afraide, gathered together all his forces out of hand, under pretence of going to the Citie of Fes.
Wherefore being first encamped before the Citie of Marocco, and anone after his Campe removed, as though he woulde goe to Fes: When he heard that his Brothers were come to salute him, hee leaving his youngest brother (whose childish yeeres hee contemned) staied for them foure daies journey from the Citie of Fes.
So then when they were come together, and hadde saluted one another, it happened that a little while after, they suspecting no ill, nor fearing anie falsehoode, were with monstrous crueltie all three beheaded in their Tentes. The which thing dyd not pricke the kinges subjectes a little at the heart, but deepelie pearced it, yet they were forced to dissemble their sorrow.
After that hee had done this so Tragicall an act, hee finished his journey to Fes, to the intent for to thrust his sonne Muley Mahomet upon the Fessans for their Prince and sole heir of all his kingdomes, & to force them to sweare faith & obedience unto him. For although he had other children and in deede more worthie of the Empire, yet because this was his eldest, and also for other causes, he rathest made choice of him to be his successour. Wherfore as soone as hee came to Fes, he assembling the States, brought the matter to that passe, that they gave their allegeance to his sonne, & sware to be true liegemen unto him, rather constrained by feare, than brought to it by love and good will towards the Prince, or for anie right that he could pretend to the kingdome. Afer he had dispatched these matters, and seeing that al things had succeeded as he did wish: then, that he, who was now almost broken with age, might passe the rest of his life in quiet idlenesse, he returned with his armie to Marocco, leaving his sonne in the Citie of Fes for to governe that Province.
Things standing in this state in Barbarie, the two brothers got them to Argier, for to escape and avoide the furie of their brother Muley Abdallas, and the younger of them, Muley Abdelmelec went to Constantinople. Where he did serve so well both by sea and by land, that for his noble courage of heart, and passing strength of bodie, he allured many men to his love, & through his valient acts and victories gotten of his enimies, he wan the fame of a great name, not onelie among the people, but also with the Prince of the Turkes himselfe. The which thing got him not onlie singular favor, & honor full of good will, but also gained him immeasurable riches. That I may omit with what & how great promises the Emperor of the Turkes loded him, & in how great hope he did put him, that he wold reduce him into his fathers kingdome, out of the which he had ben driven by his brothers injurie. But Muley Abdelmunen that abode at Argier, was so simple witted, that by the perswasion of his brother Abdallas he returned again to Tremissen, whether Muley Mahamet sent three cut throte villains for to dispatch him out of the way. And it fel out so, as he wold have it, for when these villains were come to Tremissen, they so well eied Abdelmunen, that one fridaie as he was praying in the temple, they wounded him with an arrow, of the which wound he died within 2. daies after, no auctor of the trecherie and vallanous fact being knowen. When newes was brought to Abdelmelec at Constantinople, of the death of his brother, he was verie heartely sory therefore. Which caused Solyman themperor of the Turkes to promise him aide to recover his kingdome. But that this promise was not performed, the death of Sultan Solyman that followed shortly after was the let. But when Sultan Amurathes was come to the Empire, (& now reigneth over the Turkes) Abdelmelec obteined more favour and credit, then ever he had before. About the same time Muley Abdallas fell sick, and dyed within three daies after, in the Citie of Marocco. His death was concealed & kept close three dayes, not onely that in th emeane time Muley Mahamet (who was then in the citie of Fes,) might be certified of the decease of his father, & but also least that if his uncles had knowen of the death of their brother Abdallas before him they would make themselves Princes of he citie of Marocco, in the possession whereof, the state of the kingdome consisted. But the subjects bare more good will to the two brothers of Mahamet, although they were younger than he. But when Mahamet had receaved newes of his Fathers death, he cauesd himselfe to be proclaimed king of Fes, and immediatly after went out of the Citie with an armie, and came to Marocco, the head and Metropolitan citie of the whole kingdome, and there, although the people were unwilling, dyd assume the dignitie royall, no man resisting nor impeaching him, except onely his brother Muley Banacar, whome as soone as he had ascended the seige royall, he bereft of lyfe. But an other brother Muley Hazar, he cast in prison, and sent certaine men to murder his youngest uncle of all, that then lived at Tasulet. But when he understoode of the trecherie, he sought himselfe safetie by flight, & went to Tremissen, with the household furniture royail. And being thus escaped out of the handes of the cutthroates, he opened a way for himselfe to the kingdome. For this is he that reigneth at this present in Marocco, called Muly Hamet. The death of Abdallas and the rest of things that had happened in Barbaria, were soone brought into Turkie, and when Muley Mahamet had with singular diligence, ordered and appointed those things that seemed unto him necessarie for the establishment of the state of the kingdome: at the same time Abdelmelec used that diligence, that within few daies he cam to Argier with mandates of the Turkish Emperour, in whome it was conteined, that the Captaines in those parts, should supply unto him all things needefull for the warres. And straightway he had ready to take the field, five thousand harquebuziers, as well Turkes, as Azuagas, warlike men and well practised in feates of armes. With these he marched to Tremissen, taking up by the warre so many horsemen of the Alarbes, as he could get, and gather together. When he came to Tremissen, he was very honorably receaved, and there stayed five dayes for to make provision of all things necessarie for the warres, and he with his younger brother Hamet, whom he found there, levied twelve thousand speares, and foure hundreth Harquebuziers on horsebacke, and toke with him out of Tremissen, twevle field pieces, with victualls, and all other munition. Being furnished with these forces, he marched to take the Citie of Fes. But although Muley Mahamet, (who was that time at Marocco) was certified of the enterprise of his unkle, yet he did so contemne him, and did so despise his forces in comparison of his owne, that he tooke no regard thereof, untill he saw that the matter was come to good earnest in deede, and that he understoode that Abdelmelec hadde now assembled his forces at Tremissen. And then he levying men in hast, and in a hurrie, without choise, encamped a league or two miles from Marocco, and commaunded all the subjects of his kingdoms to repaire unto him, spreadding a rumor that he would assaile the Christians of Tangar, that by this allurement they might take armes more cheerefully, because the Moores doe desire no warres more, than those that are kept against the Christians.
These forces being made readie, and furnished with great Artillerie, he commaunded them to march towards Fesse, and because the greatest part of his power had joyned with him in his journey, as soone as he came to Fesse, he mustered his armie, which then consisted of foure score thousande horsemen with speare and shield, thirtene thousand footemen, harquebuziers, and foure thousand harquebuziers on horseback, with five and thirtie field peeces. At the same moment that Mahamet did set frth with his armie against Abdelmelec, there came unto him a noble man Ambassadour from Sebastian the King of Portugall, who promised him in his masters Majesties name, aide against the Turkes, and his Unkle. But Mahamet being made more proude for that he saw so great an armie and so strong under his commaund, contemned the benefit of the king of Portugall. Wherefore as soone as he understoode that his unkle was departed from Tremissen, he marched against him with that heate, that theyr Armies mette betweene Fesse, and Tremissen, the seventeenth of March, in An. 1576.
The Battaile was begonne about evening, and the furious tempest continued so long, untill that Mahamets armie being wearied both in heart and bodie, turned their backes. The fault of that flight was ascribed to one Dagall, who being Captaine of the Andalousians, revolted from Mahamet to Abdelmelec, with two thousand verie choise harquebuziers. The which when Mahamet hadde perceaved (who as soone as the Battailes hadde joyned, withdrew himselfe a mile off providing for one, and standing upon a Wagon, did beholde the fight a farre off) and was afrayde least the rest of the Captaines following that example, would also take part with his enimie: he immediatlie stole out of his Tent, and with five hundreth horsemen, posted a pace to Marocco, leaving his Souldiours to the furie of the enimie, and all his Treasures and riches to the spoile.
So Abdelmelec got the victorie, without much sweate or bloud, on either side, and doubtlesse Mahamet, might have easilie defaited and destroied Abdelmelec his power with the tenth part of his armie. But Abdelmelec having obtained so famous a victorie, sent a good great troupe for to pursue and take Mahamet, but he himselfe beeing received with great joy of the Fessans, was proclaimed king by them, and the rest of the Cities and Townes of that kingdome. And because he having caught an ague was not well in health, he determined to rest a little while in the Citie of Fes, & there dismissed the Turkish forces which came with him under the leading of Rabadan Bassa, to the king of Argier. For that Bassa had no more in his commission but to acccompanie Abdelmelec to Fesse, and to put him in possession of that kingdome. So Abdelmelec dismissed all his Turkes, except a few that hid themselves when their fellowes went awaie, that they might gratifie the new king, and become his subjects: who were in number 1500. verie valiant and stout men.
But that we may returne to Muley Mahamet: as soone as he came to Marocco he repaired his power, he levied soldiours in all parts of the kingdome, he opening his Cofers monyed the Captaines, rewarded the souldiours, and went about more diligentlie to winne all mennes good will with giftes, than ever he had done in his life before, having regard and respect of this onelie, that he might wash out with some notable victorie, the shamefull blot that his unkle had given him, and to make amends therefore. Sob by this carefulnesse and diligence, he got together ten thousand harquebuziers footemen, and a thousand on horsebacke, but fresh water souldiours, and besides them thirtie thousand horsemen with speare and shielde. The which forces, with foure and twentie field peeces, he brought into the field, and provided so much victuals as was needfull for that journey. But it happened that also at this second muster the king of Portugal sent againe an Ambassador unto him, with Letters, & againe offred him aide against Abdelmelec his unkle. But he made the verie same answere to the second Ambassador that he did to the first: but that he mustering all his whole armie, brought it in the sight of the Ambassadour, that his maister might understand that he had no neede of the Portugalls.
When Abdelmelec had a little recovered himselfe of his sicknesse at Fesse, and had augmented his armie with five thousand harquebuziers, after the departure of the Turkes, (whereof we tole you before) he lead forth his armie with purpose to march toward Marocco, for he had heard that Mahamet was in the field with a mightie armie. And because he began to be now a little better, he being carried in an horse litter marched towards Marocco with five thousand harquebuziers, twentie thousand horsemen with speare and sheeld, two thousand argolets, with twentie field peeces. On the other side Mahamet being advertised of his unkles intent, went verie speedelie out of Marocco with great hast, and heate to fight, and to trie the right of a kingdome with the perill of his life. And becaue the narration of the order and araie of the battailes hwich they both used, maketh almost nothing for the thing that we do purpose, we will comprehend all the whole Hystorie in few words. So in a certaine valley three leagues from the river of Sala towards the West, a long the sea coast, in a place called Motha Arracahana, they encamped, where the 29. of June at three of the clocke in the after noone, a cruell and a bloudie battaile was fought, in the which the victorie enclined now to Mahamet, and then to Abdelmelec his partie. But Abdelmelec being a wise & a skilfull Captaine, when he sawe that night was at hand, and that his men, although they had a long time laide on with might and maine, could not obtaine the victorie, and that his enimies resisted stoutlie, he going out from the middest of his band, and vambrashing his semitarre in his hand, compelled his souldiours with thicke blowes to renue the charge, and hee himselfe beeing seene among the formost, ranne in upon his enimies with such force and violence, that hee forced them to turne their backes shamefullie, of whome Mahamet was the first that ranne awaie.
The victours in this last battaile slue above five thousand. But Abdelmelec sent his brother Hamet for to pursue Mahamet with certaine light horsemen, but hee himselfe after he hadde stayed a while for the burying of the dead, marched towarde Marocco with his whole armie.
Mahamet seeking safetie by flight, came to Marocco, not without the greate infamie of his men, followe by a five or eight speares, and then going into the plaine, hee tooke out as much treasure as could bee commodiouslie carried awaie, and laide it on five Mules, & staying in the Citie not above two houres, betooke him againe to flight, hasting to escape his unkles troupes that were not farre off. Beeing thus departed out of he Citie with a few horse men, he hasted a fling on the spurre towards Mount Atlas (now Clario) which beeing five leagues from Marocco, is the sanctuarie and refuge of proscribed and banished men and theeves. But leaving Mahamet in the mountaines of Clario, let us returne unto Abdelmelec. He as soone as he had gathered together the spoiles of the vanquished enimies, marched with all his armie to Marocco, and being arived there the eight daie after the victorie, was received with so great pompe & joy, as never was seene before in those Countries, for he had gotten a great fame, to bee a good, curteous, affable, and pitifull man towards those in calamitie, and was also verie well furnished with many other vertues: then againe, the insolencie and tyrannie of Muley Mahamet, made Abdelmelec the more gratious & better beloved of all men. As soone as he was entered into the Citie (which was the vii. of Julie, in the same yeere) he began to set in order the politike state of the kingdome, that he might shew himselfe to be not onelie valiant in armes, and the field, but also singular in wisedome for framing of a publike weale. For he abrogated many lawes & statutes, made by his ancestors, he used passing great curtesie and gentlenesse towards his subjects, he also gave great gifts and largesse, & divided victuals among the people; applying all his actions to this end, that he might by these meanes extend his fame, and get himselfe immortall glorie above all the kings of Africa, that went before him. Although at the first he was nothing gratious, speciallie because that the people were offended with wih the unreasonablenesse and unrulinesse of the Turkes, that he had with him, but that they (as they are proud, unrulie, intollerable, and lawlesse) did verie licentiouslie oppresse the poore Moores with many grievous injuries & violences: but the king did soone rid the Countrie of them, sending them awaie by little and little, and by two and by three at a time, so that at the length there remained not above 200. whome yet he kept from his cmopanie & sight, and being brought into order, constrained them to live quietlie, & without doing harme. The which thing made his subjects to turne their love towards him, and they being moved with the onlie fame of his vertue, did offer themselves unto him most humbly, & promised him due obedience, & finallie, they with liberall and bountifull mindes brought him a vie great, rich, and honouraable gifts and presents, out of all partes and provinces. There were also not a few Christian Princes, that did take singular joy of his friendship: and he also on the other side received them into his friendship with a mot loving heart, & did thinke himself flourishing in their familiaritie & favour to be a happie and blessed man: insomuch that many Christians did continually & out of all quarters repaire unto his kingdome, whome he did more love, & made more of, than he did of any other kind of men that used to come into his countries. For he gave them many & great benevolences, & used them with wonderful curtesie & gentlenesse, he also dismissed many free without ransome, gratis, of an unwonted beneficence. But I will not dwell long upon this his liberalitie & magnificence, namely, seeing that his noble workes are verie well knowen to the whole worlde, through the publike reporte of same. But after he hadde obtained the royall throne, the first thing he did, was to appoint who shoulde succeede him in the kingdome, and to confirme the lawe made by Muley Mahamet Xeque his Father: and therefore hee swore all the peeres of his kingdome unto his brother Muley Hamet, although that he himselfe had a sonne, but yet of tender age, whom he might have nominated to be his successour. The which thing, although it held the nobilitie in suspence with admiration, yet incontinentlie incredible feasts & triumphs were kept in honour of the new Prince, and memorie of the olde law, and also the memorie of his granfather Xarif was honourablie mentioned & renued by the peeres. In the meane time Muley Mahamet, who had gotten him to the streights of mount Clario, beganne strait waie to gather togther some souldiours, and among them some outlawes & theeves: insomuch that he had gathered together five hundred harquebuziers, and two hundreth horse men with sheelde and Speare.
Being furnished with which bands, he beganne to commit robberies, he spoiled those that he met, and sacked the villages, and places that laie under mount Clario, and forced their inhabitants for to acknowledge him for their Lorde, and to paie him tribute, as to their king. These robberyes and roades he used the space of seaven or eight moneths, so that Abdelmelec was forced to levie forces for to coole his lustinesse, & to drive the theeve out of the dens of the mountains. For the doing of the which exploit, he used the service of the new prince Muley Hamet, who was with a power in the kingdome of Sus, for to make excursions. He discomfited Muley Mahamet in certaine places, and almost wholie destroied all his band as wel footemen and horsemen, and forced him to hid himselfe in the verie thicke woodes, and inaccessible cragges of the mountaine, where hee lurked above a yeere, almost killed with colde, snowe, and other miseries, and the inclemencie of the aire, and most miserablie molested and beaten with despaire of his lyfe, and feare of awaites, which his Unkle layde for him, proposing greate rewards to him that could bring him eyther dead or alive. At length he was driven by necessitie, (the sharpest weapon) to that which hee hadde before refused, and tooke scorne of: that is, to desire the aide of the Kinge of Portugall, for to deliver him from the awaites, and hands of his unkle, and to restore him unto his grandfathers and fathers kingedome. For the which cause he sent a messenger from Mount Clario, with letters unto the king of Portugall, and willed him to goe by Mazaga. But that he might receave some aunswere more safely & speadely, he resolved to leave the mountaines, and to get him to Tangar. So through the woodes and wildernesses of the mountaines, where the way was very safe, and not beaten with tract of mens feete, he came without any great daunger unto Penon: where after he had stayed a few dayes to gather his men together, he went towards Tangar, where he was courteously receaved into the Citie, by the Governour, but leaving his forces without the walles. From that Citie he sent two of his Captaines in Ambassade with letters, accompanied with two gentlemen of Tangar, unto king Sebastian, and desired of him aide for to restore him unto his Fathers kingdome. And because the governour of Tangar was not ignorant, the if he used the king of Marocco courteously, that he should thereby well please the king of Portugall, he dispatched a Caravell to Lisbon with the Ambassadours for their speedier passage, of whose journey and successe, we wil speake, after that we have first admonished the reader of certaine things necessarie to be knowen.
King Sebastian being by nature verie much given to love of armes, sought for no other pleasure then by martiall matters, which had caused him in former yeeres to passe over to Tangar. to thentent to conquer Barbarie, but with vaine endevour. For Mahamet, (as we have told you before) had of a vaine and foolish confidence, twise refused aides offered him by the Portugall. But when the king of Portugall saw that now his ayde was desired by the letters of the king of Marocco, he was very glad that a most wished occasion wherreby he might fill his long lust and longing, was offered unto him, who was desirous of praise, and studious to enlarge his Empire, and Religion. Wherefore he receved magnificently the Ambassadour of Muly Mahamet, being arrived in Portugall, and graunted them their request in all demaunds, and also wrote letters to Mahamet, wherein he promised his travaile, helpe, and favour, in restoring him into his fathers kingdome, no man of his counseile, or of the nobilitie holding much against it. And this might be the cause of that interview, where the Catholick king, and the king of Portugall met and talked together, in An. 1578. at Guadalupe, a citie of Castilia. Where the Catholicke laboured all that he could, to feare the king of Portugall from that enterprise: or if he would needes goe through with it, nor could not be disuaded from his purpose, that then he would doe it very substantially, and effectually, providing and furnishing himselfe passing well with all things needefull for so great an attempt. But when the King of Portugall continued constant in that he had once purposed, he returned home: whither anone after the Catholike king sent his Ambassadours for to deale with him about the same matter that he himselfe had talked with him off in presence. For the Catholick king was not ignorant, how the king of Marocco did surpasse in strength & power, & how skilful, expert, & valiant a warriour he was, and how great power and provision, so great an enterprise required, wherof he knew that the Portugall was yet fully unfurnished. But the king of Portugal remained constant in his purpose, & began to provide all things necessarie for the voiage. First he made levies of souldiors throughout his own kingdome, he sent some into Germany to take him uppe 5000. footement. He also wrote letters to certain knights of Andalouzia, to bring unto him olde souldiours. Moreover he commaunded great store of ordenance, wepons, armour, & other munition & victualls to be provided & brought together, & that all these things might be the more commodiously transported, he commaunded shippes to be staied in all havens of his kingdome. the number of the souldiours that he levied in his owne kingdome was great, but they were ill furnished, & freshwater souldiours, taken up of clownes, & husbandmen, and a rable nothing fit for the field.
As for the Germaines, they were also fresh water souldiour, and unskilfull of martiall matters, and when they came to Lisbon, they fell sick, and above 2000. of them died. There came also unto the king, 600. Italians, with whom the Pope had furnished the Counte of Ireland, who being arived at Lisbon, offered his service to the king & promised to follow him in the journey. Moreover the king caused proclamation to be made with sound of Trumpet, throughout his whole kingdome, that all Noblemen and Gentlemen his vassailes, should attend upon him to the warres, uppon paine of losse of landes, and rentes, and all priviledges graunted by the king. So then all things needefull for an armie being provided, and sufficient store of shippes and boates gathered together, he commaunded the ordenaunce, victualls, munition, horses, and other necessaries to be shipped, that when the feast of Saint John Baptist, (on which day he had determined to leave his house) drew nere, ther might be nothing to let & hinder, but that the armie might be embarked, and transported into Africa.
When Abdelmelec the king of Marocco was admonished, and advertised of these things, and what the King of Portugall entended against him: he was verye sorowfull therefore, not so much because he feared the King of Portugall his forces, as for that he being well affected towards men of the Christian Religion, did foresee in minde that Africa would be the grave of the king of Portugall, yea, though he brought with him thrise so great an Armie as he had.
Wherefore it is well knowne that he spake one day to this effecte: The King of Portugall ought diligentlie to weigh and thinke with himselfe, how just and lawfull a cause he hath to come into Africa. For seeing that he goeth about to take the kingedome from him, to whome it does of right appertaine, & to give it to the Negro, and that with no profit nor commoditie to the Christians, that will almightie God, who is a just Judge, never suffer. Furthermore, Abdelmelec, as he was a man of a sharpe witte, and in such matters of surpassing diligence and providence, began also to make provison for the warres, and to bethinke him of things necessarie therefore. Wherefore he commaunde Tents to be sset up in a field a league from Marocco, and warres to be openlie proclaime through his kingdome against the Christians: the whicch thing highlie pleased the Moores.
He also commanded a great number of great Guns, and speciallie field peeces, and also infinite store of victualls and of horses and Camells, for to carrie necessaries for their armie, to be provided. Which being done, when he hard that the king of Portugal was now upon the point to goe a ship boord, and to arrive at Arzil, he also went out of Marocco the sixteenth day of April with great applause of the people, and with almost an infinite companie of men into the campe, and kept the armie in the Tents, where he staied twentie daies, looking for the rest of his forces. From hence he marched with Ensignes displaied by small journeyes towards Arzill, and that he might the more commodiousli ejoyne with those forces that he looked for, he staied a little while at Temocen, which is in the confines of his kingdome. But the king of Portugall, who was hot set on his voiage, commanded before he went on shipboord, processions and praiers to be publiscklie made throughout all the kingdome, that God might vouchsafe to graunt happie successe to this enterprise, and victorie against his enimie.
At length on Midsummer daie the whole armie was embarked, and the next daie after verie earlie in the morning, king Sebastian (having nominated before seaven of the chiefe of the Realme governours of the kingdome because the Cardinall his unkle had refused the government, for that he could not intreate the king to relinquish the voiage), launched out of the Haven, and hoised up sailes the 26. of June, with ten or twelve Galeons, in whom were embarked almost all the whole Nobilitie of his kingdome. The sea was passing calme, the fleete of the whole armie launching from Lisbon, was of great and small vesselles about a thousand and three hundreth saile, so pleasant a spectacle, that many sayd they never sawe such a fleete before, and having a good winde they arived at Caliz on Saint Peters eve. The king being received with singular gratulation and joy of the people, staied there fifteene dayes, for to provide necessaries that he lacked, and that he might transport with him certaine bands of Spaniards, that were levied for him in Andaluzia. Which things being dispatched, he departed from Caliz the eight of Julie, and sailed with the Galeons towards Tangar, but commanded the rest of the fleete to keepe their course towards Arzil. So the tenth of Julie the king arrived at Tangar, but before he was come into the haven, Mahamet sent his sonne, a child almost ten yeeres ld, named Muley Xeque, against the king in a small vessell, whom the king did verie gentlie and curteouslie salute. But beeing come on land, he shewed greater signes of good will and friendship to Mahamet, and verie liberallie offered his travaile & aide for to restore him into his kingdome. When Mahamet was come to the kings presence, although he had before sufficientlie certefied him both by Letters & Ambassadours of his will and mind: yet that he might more safelie provide for his state, he did then more plentifullie and more at large open unto him by speech what he was minded to doe: and did tell him how that his unkle, supprted by the power and strength of the Turke, did usurpe the kingdome, the which hee had taken from him by force. He added moreover, that the vassailes and subjects of Abdelmelec did practise nothing else, and were wholie busied, how they might secretlie kill Abdelmelec, or at the least forsake him, and revoult to Mahamet, and that thereof he received dailie without intercession Letters from the Peeres of the Realme, in the which Letters they promised to revoult unto him, as soone as ever hee would come agaynst the enimie, yea, and if it were but with a small power. Hee woulde also perswade the king of Portugall that he shoulde not fight with the Abdelmelec, but onelie go into the field: which thing if hee did, then his unkles souldiours would immediatlie bee at his devotion and command. Hee promised also to give the king of Portugall two or three Havens in Barbarie, with their territories adjoyning, and for suretie thereof hee gave his sonne in hostage. The king of Portugall as hee was a prince of noble passing good nature, credited all that Mahamet spake, and assented to his petition without conditions, covenants, and sureties. From hence hee went with Mahamet to Arzil, where his armie was, and there Muley Xeque was Generall of his Fathers small forces, and had with him the horsemen and footmen of the garison of Tangar.
The king came to Arzil on Sundaie, beeing the foureteenth of Julie, and as soone as hee was come on shoare, hee commaunded the Ordenaunce, victuall, and the rest of the warlicke furniture to bee disbarked, but sent foure shippes well appointed to Massaga, to carrie thether Muley Xeque his pledge: but commaunded his campe to bee pitched neere the walles of Arzill, and it to bee entrenched rounde with rampires and ditches, that hee might lye there the safer.
But that wee may returne to Abdelmelec: as soone as hee came to Temocen, a greate multitude of horsemen that served with sheelde and Speare, and many other forces joyned with him. But three dayes after hee came thether, hee fell verie sicke, the cause wherof, as then no man understood. But anone after when he felt a mightie torment in his stomache, it was easilie understoode whereof it came: that is, hee had eaten greedelie of sowre milke, which had curded in his stomacke. That he might cast it up, hee asayed in vaine two and almost three daies to make himselfe vomite (as he had used to doe) and so at the length he cast up a great gobbet of Cheese, which made his stomacke so weake and faint, that afterward it could concoct no meate. Also his sicknesse was increased by harde and ill lodging. But as soone as hee heard that the king of Portugall was departed from Caliz, to sayle to Arzil, although hee were at that time nothing well, yet hee commaunded his arme to march forward towardes Arzil, he himselfe beeing carried in an horse litter.
And now he was from Alcazara (where his brother expected him with an armie) not above a dayes journey, but when hee drew neere him, his comming was received with a great peale of great and small shot, in token of joye. And there hee was forced to pitch up his Tents, and to lie there in a Campe certaine daies, staying for other forces and to recover his strength weakened by sicknesse. Wherefore as soone as those forces that hee looked for were come, he tooke muster of his whole armie, and found fifteene thousand footmen harquebuziers, of whome five thusand were verie choice olde souldiours, and the rest fresh water souldiours, and of none experience.
Then he had two thousand Argolets, two and fortie thousand Alarbes with sheeld and speere, & five and twentie field peeces verie well furnished, and Gunners were good and readie. Moreover, all his whole armie was verie well provided of victualles, and his souldiours well paide, the which is one of the chiefest thinges in warres, and whereof the Generall ought to have most speciall care. So his souldiours were paide everie moneth a Duckate or a peece of golde, wherefore they were also all readie to abide all extremitie for Abdelmelec, and to spend their lives for him, except the horse men of the Alarbes, whome hee little trusted, as he that was not ignorant that they were full of falsehoode, nor gave their mindes to anie thing else than to gette booties, and to rob they cared not whom.
And that I may tell you all in few words, he had more trust in none than in those five thousand old souldiours harquebuziers. But the thing that greeved Abdelmelec most, was, that at so great and perillous a battaile, whereat hee must needs be present himselfe and order it, unlesse he would endaunger the whole state of his kingdome, hee did have himselfe to bee so weake and quite broken with sickenesse, the which the burning Dogge dayes did increase.
Wherefore he laie still there eight or nine daies, untill that the king of Portugall constrained him, yea, unwilling for to march forward, and to encampe at Alcazar. In the meane time the king of Portugal beeing issued out of Arzill, and readie to march, mustered his armie, wherein (besides the thousand stipendaries, that he had left to keepe the fleete, and the two thousand that hee had sent to Massaga) he had foureteene thousand footemen, and two thousand horsmen, a great part armed.
Moreover, there were three thousand pioners, and above a thousand cochmen, and almost an infinite number of drudges, slaves, Negroes, mullotters, horse boies, landresses, and those sweete wenches that the Frenchmen doe merrilie call the daughters of delight, for now the world is come to that, we thinke we cannot keepe wars without these snailes. So that all the insavorie companie of baggage did exceede five and twentie thousand persons. He had also five and thirtie field peeces, and 1500. wagons full of mattes, vessell, and householde stuffe onelie for noble men. He might in deede have brought a greater power in this voiage, as wel out of Spain as out of other Countries, but that he giving credite to the words of Muley Mahamet, who said that the armie of Abdelmelec would revolt unto him, he dismissed many Spaniards that would have gone aboord at Caliz, and did more easilie discharge them, that under pretence of sicknesse, desired that they might goe home. In the armie that followed him were three thousand Germanes, five hundreth Italians, two thousand five hundreth light horsemen, in whome hee reposed his greatest trust. The rest were Portugalls. And the greater parte of these forces had their wages sparingly and verie ill paide them, and were distressed with want, and many other ills, for now victuals beganne to faile, the which were so sparinglie distributed, that many died for hunger.
The fault was in the purveiours, who do full often in the time of wars through their knaverie, cast princes & generals into extreme calamities. But that which was worst of all, the greater part of the armie consisted of fresh water souldiours, who were without skill of martiall discipline, neither had ever seene battaile or campe. That I may omit those eight thousand that bare long pikes, then the which kinde of souldiours there is none of lesse use and service, & more unfit for wars in Barbarie. By that time the king of Portugal had mustered his armie, Abdelmelec was come to Alcazar, with an armie full of furie and wrath. Which caused the King of Portugall his Counsell to desire their Prince in no case to joyne in battaile with his enimies, who did farre surpasse him in men and might, but rather that he would march with his armie to Larissa, & take that fortified place, and provide for himselfe.
But when Abdelmelec knew by espies almost everie houre what was done in the campe of the Christians, and how weake the Portugall forces were, and how coldly all things were ordered, and therefore did see that the wretched king being in the prime of his yeares, was neere to death and destruction: he wrought by all meanes he could, that he should not be forced to fight a battaile, because he was not otherwise verie ill affected towards Christians. Wherefore he laboured privilie and secretly by certaine men, and they mostly merchants, to certifie the king of Portugall of the guiles and deceits of Mahamet (that had brought him into these daungers, and to present ruine and jeoperdie of life). But although these advises of Abdelmelec were not unknowne to the king of Portugall, and his counsaillours advised him the verie same that Abdelmelec dyd, and went about to withdraw him from his purpose: yet he wilflulie contemned all that could be sayde, not onely that he might fulfill his burning desire to fight, and to trye his strength and valiant heart, but also shiefelie because he trusted the promises of Mahamet, which he beleeved to be verie true. To be short, his Counsaile laboured to their uttermost, to disuade the king from joyning in battaile, but rather advised him to march to Larissa, and they wrought so much by blaming and urging him, that the king at length yeelded to goe to Larissa. Whereupon the Navie was commaunded to make saile towards Larissa, & he himselfe marched by lang thetherwards, going out of Arzil the 29. of Julie (which was tuesdaie) and three daies he marched, but making small journeys by reason of the multitude of baggage that followed the armie, and then he staied the fridaie, because he looked for some aide from Arzil. The Saterdaie verie earlie he began to march againe, and at length came to the river of Mazaga, which runneth to Larissa, and there he lodged, watches and wardes being diligentlie appointed and set after his used manner, for feare of the Moores that were dispearsed round about him.
At that time Abdelmelec remained at Alcazar, verie weake and sicklie, and although he heard that the Portugall was gone out of Arzil, and was encamped at Mazaga, yet he would not stirre out of his place, untill that he understood by espies, that his enimies made towards Alcazar. For hee would have suffered his enimie to have taken Larissa, thinking that the Portugall being contented with the taking of it, would from thence returne home. But when he was advertised that the Saterdaie morning his enimie marched forward, he also at the same time made towards Arzil by Alcazar. And when he had marched with his armie a little more than half a league (that is, above a mile) he encamped on a certaine high downe in the sight of the Portugalls, who were a league from that hill, and were encamped on a great and pleasant plaine. And being neere to the river of Alcazar, he commanded his Tents to be pitched on the banke of the river, not farre from confluence of another river that goeth to Larissa. After that noone was past, he and his armie refreshed themselves from the heate of the Sunne in their tents, hee taking his rest in an horse litter. In the meane time hee sent forth certaine horsemen for to bring him more certaine newes of the enimie, and placed souldiours before the wardes, for to let that none of his people should flie out of his campe to the Portugall, and Muley Muhamet. When the king of Portugall was come the Saterdaie morning to the river of Larissa, & was encamped neere to the place where he thought ther might be a foord found to passe over his ordenance, & was minded to go to Larissa: then Mahamet, a subtile fellow, ambitious, and deceitfull, thinking with himselfe, that if he Portugall should enter Larissa, and did consider the power and most puisant armie of Abdelmelec, that then hee would returne home, and doe nothing, and leave him forsaken and alone to be devoured of his enimies: he resolved to talke with the Portugall that daie, and to dehort him from the journey that he purposed towards Larissa: and that he might the better bring it to passe, he began with a craftie tale to tel him that many Moores horse men had fled unto him from Abdelmelec, & that the rest of the armie went about to do the same. That if he should goe to Larissa, then all men would blame him, as one fearefull, and such an one as reposed safetie in running awaie. That Abdelmelec was naked of friendes: for hee handled his Souldiours harlie, and that they didde therefore minde to doe him a mischiefe, either by slaying of him, or else by forsaking him in the battaile. That it was better and more wisedome to march toward Alcazar, namelie, seeing that enimie that came against him had not so much heart as to goe about to impeach him.
He added also other arguments making for his purpose, by the which hee disswaded the Porguall from going to Larissa, and to saie the truth, it had otherwise bene an harde matter for him to have gon forward, seeing that his enimy was so neere. The Sundaie morning verie earlie the Portugall removed his campe, and went up a long the banke of the river, that he might come into the high waie that leadeth from Arzil to Alcazar, and when he had found a foord, he staied, and commaunded the pioners to make it readie against the next daie.
But Abdelmelec understanding the intent of the Portugall, caused a signe to be given by sound of Trumpet, that everie man should make himselfe readie to fight. Wherefore in the afternoone he marched forward almost a quarter of a mile, stayed and commaunded his arme to breath, until he understoode what his enimie, that was about a halfe a league off, ment to doe. For as we have tolde you before, Abdelmelec had determined not to joyne in battaile, except the Portugall did first desire it.
When the Portugall being encamped along the River of Larissa, heard that the enimie made towards him, he was forced also to remove his Campe, and to put his people in array of battaile, not for to fight, becaues the fourde of the River could not be passed ver without very great difficultie, and also there was a great troupe of Moores that dyd continually provoke his men with skirmishes, but that he might defense himselfe, and he used the mightie River in steede of a wall against the enimie. In this sort those two Armies, when either did looke that the other should beginne the battaile, kept themselves in it, the rest of the day. So when it drew towards night, and Abdelmelec saw that the Portugals stirred not out of their place, although the chiefe Captaines were verie instant on him to fight, and to give the signall of battaile, yet because night was at hand, he commaunded the retreate to be sounded, and ledde his Armie backe to their Campe. But yet he commaunded proclamation to be made in the Campe by sounde of Trumpet, that no man should put off his armour, nor lay downe his weapon that night, and also commaunded the watch to be doubled, as he also did the night before, that no man could flye out of his Campe unto Muley Mahamet. And doubtlesse this watch was the cause of Mahamets overthrow, because that no man durst to goe out of his ward & tente. In the meane time Abdelmelec was fully resolved to fight, for seeing he had heard that many horsemen, and men that had abjured the faith, were fled out of his Campe, and did feare that if he deferred to fight the next day, that then the greater part of his armie would revolt: he thought that he must staye no longer, but determined to goe on forward, and to adventure the battaile. Wherefore he commanded that it should bee signified by a Trumpet, that all men shoulde be in a readinesse, and prepared either to live or die. Aftre that the king of Portugall sawe that his enimies were retired into their camp, he also did the like, and lodged in the verie same place from whence he came. He assembling in counsaile the chiefe men of the armie that night, determined the next day, being mundaie, to offer the enimie battaile. And it is the constant fame of all men, that Muley Mahamet gave him counsaile to beginne the battaile the next daie in the evening, not so much because by this meanes the souldiours of Abdelmelec might the more commodiouslie revoult unto him, as for that he coulde not be reason of the darknesse of the night remedie it, if anie confusion did arise in his armie. This counsaile as good and wholesome was approved of all men, and therefore the king commanded that the same night it should bee proclaimed in the campe, that the next daie beeing mundaie, as soone as it was light, the ordonnace and the carriages should bee speedelie passed over the water through the foorde. For if they had tarried longer, no doubt the enimies wold have impeached their passage, which also was the cause that the battaile was not begun in the evening, but sooner. The foord beeing made readie, the armie straight waie passed over, and they encamped beyond the river, and also the king began to arange his battailes, to set forth his bands, and to dispose his ordenance in commodious places.
He also made a long Oration to his souldiours, and exhorted them with curteous and loving speech, using also verie effectuall arguments for to present themselves to perils couragiouslie, for the honour of God, and the increase of the Christian Religion, promising them great riches, favour, honours, and priviledges, willing them to have good hope of the victorie, speciallie through the helpe of God, in whom he had all his whole trust fixed.
The like did the noble men that followed the king in the voiage doe, to their uttermost, namelie, the Bishoppes of Coimbra and Portua, and also the Popes Commissarie, and many other spirituall persons. In these adhortations all the forenoone was spent. On the other side Abdelmelec seeing the Christians come in battaile araie, he also commanded the signall to be sounded throughout his campe, and willed the Captaines to bring forth their souldiours, & to dispose them into the order that he had prescribed. And because that hee through sicknesse was verie weake in bodie, and of coulour pale and wan, and by reaosn of the palsie could in no waie use his armes, the wiser and warier of his counsailours dehorted him from comming in person into this instant battaile: to whom he would in no case consent, but whereas he had not come on horse his back in more than twentie daies before, he resolved to leave his horse litter, and to bee clothed in most sumptuous apparell, and to be adorned with infinite most precious stones, and most excellent pearles of the Easte, and mounted on a goodlie and lustie strong horse. Being in this sort prepared to fight, he began to adhort his men to valour, promising honors and great warlike rewards to them that should behave themselves like men, and doe their duties and accomplish their charges valiantlie. With the which words and promises he did incourage and inflame his souldiours, into whose sight he had not come long time before, by reason of his sicknesse, that they seemed to bee inspired by Mars, and to runne to the battaile like Lions. And although at the beginning there were some that went about to murther him, or revolt from him, yet now they changing their mindes, did so subject themselves unto him with all reverence, that they disdained not, yea to kisse his feete. At length his armie being cast into the forme of a semi-circle, or croisant, and divided into three battailes, he began to advance his armie in that order that this table doeth shew.
The right wing the Prince, the brother of Abdelmelec dyd leade, who had with him a thousand verie choice Harquebuziers on horsebacke noted. He had also ten thousand horsemen with speare and sheelde. The lefte wing of the new Moone, which held two thousand argolets, and tenne thousand horsemen with speare and sheeld. These did the Vizeroie Mahamet Zareo leade. The third battaile, which was the maine battaile, wherein king Abdelmelec stoode, was defenced with harquebuziers on foote. Then dyd the king followe, environed with his garde of two hundreth souldiours, that had forsworene the faith, who were all weaponed with halbardes. But he had in the battaile of succour twentie thousand horsmen divided by two thousand in a troupe.
But the Portugal arranged his armie far otherwise, for he divided his whole armie into 4.battailes. On the right side was the first battaile, consisting of the light horsemen and garison of Tangar, and Albares Peres de Tavora lead them. The lefte or the middle battaile consisted of Germanes and Italians, which the Marques of Ireland governed. In the third battaile of succour, stoode the Spaniards and certaine Italians, the Captaine whereof was Alonza Aquilar. The fourth battaile were Portugals, under the conduct of a certaine noble man of that Nation, whose name was Ludovicke Cæsar. Everie battaile hadde almost three thousande footemen, but some moe and some men fewer. But the Generall of the whole armie was Duartes Meneles, the governour of the Citie of Tangar.
Besides these forces, hee had ten thousand1 horsemen verie well appointed, and divided by five hundreths, as well in the first battaile and the battaile of succour, as in both winges.
In the middest and middle of the whole armie were placed the baggage, the weake rable, the wagons, and slaves. Muley Mahamet stoode on the right side of the battayle, with his few Souldiours, to the number of five hundreth harquebuziers, and five hundreth Speares. The king had placed five and thirtie field peeces in the front of his battaile.
So then the two armies were thus arranged on a mightie large plain, which was so open and bare, that there was neither tree, plant, nor stone, to be seene within two leagues round about. The Moores were defenced on the left side with the river of Alcazar, which served them for a rampire or manition, and the Portugalls had on their backes the river of Mazaga, that runneth to Larissa. But for two causes hee desired to come to the river of Alcazar before they came within Gunshot: first, that he might take the winde from his enimies, and secondlie, that he might use the river for a rampire and wall. So the Christians had the winde indifferentlie well with them, although at the beginning the Sunne beames were against them. For afterward, and that tso sodeinlie, the cleere Sunne shine was turned into darke weather, and so cloudie, that the sunne beames troubled them nothing. But when the two armies were come within an harquebusse shot one of another, about halfe an houre before high noone, the Moores began to staie their march, and to levell their peeces.
The fourth daie of August, which was mundaie, in the yeere of our salvation 1578. the battaile was begun between the two kings about twelve of the clocke, and the Moores did first begin to shoote off their great ordenance against the Christians, but they had not shot off three, but that the Christians answered them with theirs. And straight waie the harquebuziers on foote on both sides discharged as thick as haile, with such an horrible, furious, and terrible tempest, that the crashing and roaring of the Gunnes did make the earth so to tremble, as though it woulde have sunke downe to hell, and the element seemed to burne with the fire, flames, lightning, and thunder of the Gunnes. After that the storme of the shot as past five hundreth men of armes of the first battaile, whom the Duke de Avero lead, gave a charge on the left wing of the Moores, and brake and scattered them, and having slaine many, compelled the rest to flie, so that above eight thousand harquebuziers on horsebacke, and twentie thousand Speares (who were Alarbes) left the place, and flying some one way, and some an other, almost twentie leageus, spred every where a rumour of the victorie of the Christians. In this first encounter the Moores lost two guidons, not without the great griefe of Abdelmelec, who when he sitting on his horse in the middle battaile did see his men flye so foulye, he was so kindled with anger and furie, that although for weakenesse he could scarse sitte on his horse, yet he went about to charge our men in that quarter where his menne fledde, that he might repaire that winge broken, and shamefully dispersed, and to staye them that fledde, and to turne them againe against the enimie. But the souldiours of his gard knowing his extreme weakenesse, tooke his horse by the bridle, and would let him goe no farther. But when he would have set his hande to his swoord to have rid himselfe out of their handes, he perceaved that his armes and hands were as stiffe as a stone, with the palsey: whereof he conceaved so great griefe at the heart, that leaving himselfe forward upon the pommel of his saddle, he lost his speach, and never spake worde after, but that shuld they go forward faster: the which was done but no farther than a man could cast a stone. In the meane time the gard tooke the king from his horse, and layd him in his horselitter, where he gave upp the Ghost within halfe an houre after. Yet his death was subtilly dissembled, they bruiting that he was layde downe to rest him. But although the Christians vanquished in the first encounter, yet the reir of the king of Portugall his Armie knew not how to use the victorie: For because there was no man to commaunde what was needeful to be done, or did send the bands of succours with aide, they did suffer a goodly victorie to slip out of their hands. When the Moores saw so great a discomfiture was given by the enimies their onely horsemen, neither was there any man that backed them, tey sent out a thousand Argolets, and many other, who made the Portugalls before victors to flye with that force, that they running upon the middle battaile of their footemen, mightely disordered all the whole armie of the Christians. The thing was done in the sight and presence of the king, who through the counsaile of them about him was yet in his Coch, but as soone as he sawe the flight and disorder of his men, hee speedely mounted on a horse strangely bardded, and accompanied with the Duke of Avero and other men of armes, charged the enimie. But although he were carried against his enimies with that force and feese, that he brake their araie againe, yet beause the armie of the Moores did not abandon the place, those horsemen that werre scarse five hundreth, were forced to retire: whom the Moores followed with such force, that flying many of them, they forced the rest to runne among their footemen with such hast, that they overranne and troade to death a great number of their owne footmen, and committed a miserable misorder and slaughter. In the mane while all the forces of the Mahometan armie running downe from the hill, began to charge the Christians with great violence. In that conflict the Duke of Avero was slaine, and many other noble and valiant men, and also the horse of the king of Portugall was slaine, but hee himselfe safe and unhurt, and the great ordenaunce which served the Christians to no use in this battaile, was taken. Now as touching the right wing of the Moores: the souldiours thereof never ceased from the beginning of the battaile to powre downe showers of shot upon the Christians, yea, and mooving out of their place, but alwayes keeping the croisant figure of their armie, they beganne to inclose the Portugall armie, and to charge the hindermost battaile of the side.
Wherefore the king (who had mounted another fresh horse) perceiving that the hindermost battayle needed succour, taking with him five hundreth men of armes, who hadde beene appointed for that purpose, charged the third time the Moores that were under Muley Hamet, the brother of Abdelmelec: whom he did so skarre, that he forced them to give ground more than halfe a league, slaying many and scattering the rest.
But seeing he was alone, and had no man that woulde follow him, he was forced with great friefe, and full sore against his will to retire to his armie, for to beholde the sorrowfull sight of the entire discomfiture of his whole forces. For the Moores in the lefte wing after they hadde taken the Ordenance of the Christians, pursuing the victorie, dyd also so discomfite those Christians that stoode neere to the banke of the river, that they ranne uppon the forces of Muley Mahamet (that stoode betweene the Christians and the River) and made miserable spoile and slaughter of them, yea, and many of Mahamet his men ranne upon the Christian troupes.
Muley Mahamet seeking to save himselfe by flight, as he would have pased over at the foord of the river of Larissa, which is myrie and moorish, was cast out of the saddle by his horse that strived and struggeled to get out of the durt, and beeing unskilfull to swimme, was drowned and perished in the river. The victours Moores following the vanquished, came to the warde of Muley Hamet, the brother of Abdelmelec, and there either slue or carried awaie prisonerrs the principall men of the Christians being inclosed, and as it were brought into a pinfolde. So then our men being thus enclosed on all partes, and not having Gunnepowder (for that through negligence had taken fire, and was all consumed) nor anie other thing to defende themselves, or else had with indifferent slaughter as wel destroyed their owne fellowes as their enimies, ranne awaie amaine, so that through headlong and hastie flight, one ranne uppon another, and many were squised with the weight of horses running over them with a miserable slaughter. For yee might see the heapes of men troden downe and squised lye as thicke as sheafes of Wheate cast downe in a Barnes floure.
The enimies also that did insatiablie thirst for Christian bloud, shotte off their Harquebusses thicke and threefolde upon them, with whom they did hurt not a fewe of their owne men, and foulie tare them. But as for the eight thousand pikemen, whome the Portugall had in the field, seeing they did nothing else, then leave so many pikes for the barbarous enimie, experience it selfe taught how little good they did in the battaile. For when the King used them for so many harquebuziers, whom he shuld have sent against the enimie, by taking them, he devised assured ruine for himselfe. And although the Christian state was now become desperate, yet the king of Portugal ceased not to indamage the enimie, now in this quarter, now in that, being accompanied with no mo then seven or eight souldiours of Tangar, for the noble men, gentlemen, & horsemen of Portugal were so cowardly, and so delicate, (they say) that many of them leaving their horses, got them to shadowy places, and under the shadow of the wagons, for to coole themselves: with this minde, that when they saw all lost, they might seeke to save themselvs by running awaye. And so when they began to flye, part on foote, and part on horseback towards Arzill, from whence they came: the Moores followed them with such violence & speede, and specially the horsemen, (who were yet fresh) that they made a miserable slaughter of them. Yet King Sebastian forsaketh not his people: thinking it dishonorable to seeke safetie by flight, and with those few that followed him, behaved himselfe valiantly. He slue so manie, he sent so many to hell, that many called him the lightning, and few durst to looke him in the face, or to defend themselves against him. At length about a three gross of Abdelmelec his souldiours seeking glorie by slaying of a king, enclosed him. Then he seeing no way left him to escape, commaunded one of them that followed him, to hold up a white scarfe hanged on a launce, in signe that he would yeeld. But they that had enclosed him (that is to wit, Alubes, a kinde of people of all other most barbarous & cruell) supposing that by this signe he dyd call the Portugalls to aide him, charged him a fresh on all parts, and wounded him in many places, and at length tooke him, and cutting a sunder the lace of his helmet, gave him two blowes on the heade, and as many in the face, so that he tumbling off from his horse, gave up the Ghost.
The Moores followed the flying Christians untill it was late nights. So when all were vanquished and scattered, or brought into wretched captivitie, Muley Hamet commanded the retraite to be sounded, and returned to the Campe with the bodie of his brother Abdelmelec, and it was even night when he came thether, and straight waie was the death of king Abdelmelec published, and thereby also Muley Hamet acknowledged and received for king, and all the whole armie was verie sorrowfull for the losse of Abdelmelec. Although that this overthrowe was no doubt sent us by God for our sinnes, yet two hundreth or few lesse, with happie successe escaped out of the handes of the Barbarians alive and well, of whome three score were horsemen, and the rest footemen, and among them Don Antonio, a Portugall, who was delivered by a certaine Moore out of the handes of his enimies, and brought to Tanger. But there slaine of Christians in thise battaile, above twelve thousand. For all the whole field was filled with dead bodies of men, yea, and of horses, mules, asses, oxen, and other beasts of burthen and draught.
Among the nobler sort that died in this battaile, were besides king Sebastian, the Duke of Avero, the Bishoppes of Coimbra and Portua, the Commissarie General sent by the Pope, the Marques of Treland, Christopher de Tavora, and many other knightes and Gentlemen, whome I doe omit for brevities sake. The Tuesdaie, which was the fift of August, the new king sent in the morning a band of footmen to seeke out the men slaine on their side, of whome a thousand five hundreth being knowen, were buried in the same place, among whome were many valiaunt and renowmed Captaines, friendes and familiars of king Abdelmelec. They being buried after their manner, the bodie of Muley Mahamet (who was the author of so many evils and slaughters) was found on the banke and sands of the river, wherein he had ben drowned.
The bodie of the king of Portugall was also found among the bodies of the slaine Christians, by two of his servants that were prisoners: whom the new king had sent for that purpose in the hard morning, promising them libertie, if they did finde the kings bodie. Wherefore when they had found it naked, they brought it to the new king covered with their owne clothes, and with it was also brought the bodie of Muley Mahamet. These dead bodies of three kings being brought into one Pavillion, made an horrible spectacle, and wrong teares from the beholders. For what more sorrowfull and horrible a sight could there bee, than to beholde three most mightie kings, that died in one battaile, lying together. The armie of one of whom was vanquished when he lived, & after he was dead did straight waie overcome the armie of the other two kinges: and whereas all three did aspire to the kingdome of Marocco, none of them helde it. But this thing being shut from mans senses, and reserved to the hidden judgement of Gods majestie, I doe omit.
The bodie of Abdelmelec was carried in an horse litter to Fesse, distant about twentie leagues from Alcazar, that it might be buried there. All the horsemen with one legion or regiment of footemen attended on the coarse. Which being brought to Fes, and received with the great sorrowe of the Citizens, was laide in the tombe of his auncestours, in the verie same sumptuous apparell, and precious garnishment of gems that the king died in. Many of the noble men that were taken prisoners, were verie desirous to redeeme the bodie of the king of Portugall, and they offered Muley Mahamet ten thousand Duckates if hee would vouchsafe to send it to Tangar.
But the Barbarian answered, that it was not seemelie to sell a dead mannes bodie, yet notwithstanding if they woulde give him Tangar or Arzil, they should have the bodie, but when that was not in their handes and power, they coulde goe no farther: yet this they obtained of the new king, that hee suffered the bodie of the king of Portugall to bee carried to Alcazar, where also it was buried in the Hospital, which is the pallace of the governour of the Towne, and some appointed to keepe it continuallie, least the Christians shoulde steale it awaie. But as for the bodie of Muley Mahamet, the newe king his unkle commaunded the skinne be pulled off (because he had beene the author of so many slaughters) and to be salted, and then stuffed with strawe, and to be carried about thorough out all provinces of his kingdome, for to deterre all other for attempting the like at anie time after. The men, women, boyes, slaves, and blacke Moores taken in this battaile by the Moores, were in number above fourteene thousand, and they beeing the nexxt daie divided among the Souldiours, were carried into all Provinces of Barbarie. For as the Moores came out of all places to the battaile, so everie man carried home with him his prisoners and spoyle. But although the counsailours of the new king were verie earnest with him to besiege either Tanger or Arzill, namelie, seeing that there was no man that woulde resist or defend it: yet hee refused so to doe, but rather prepared himselfe to goe to Fes, that having taken the possession of that Citie, hee might bee seised of the inheritance of all the kingdomes: thinking that there woulde not otherwise want them, that would assaie to set him besides the saddle, if they did perceive him to be slacke therein. And hee was acknowledged for king but with unwilling heartes, and in a manner repining thereat: neither in deede was hee received with the same cheerefulnesse and joye, that they used to receive other kings: and the cause thereof was, for that there was no mettall in this newe king Hamet, an artlesse man, not caring for martiall matters, nor such an one as was fit for to upholde the dignitie of a king, but contrariwise effeminate, nice, given to delicacies, delyghtes and pleasures, and lurking at home in the Pallace.
Hee was then about nine and twentie or thirtie yeeres of age, of coulour blacke, not bigge, but yet faule and weake, and of no strength, and much lesse skilfull of things, and endued with that wisdome which is required in the governing of a kingdome, and that I may comprehend all in few wordes, he was altogether unlike his brother Abdelmelec, for he was of a meane stature, of a fine proportion of bodie, with brode shoulders, white face, but intermixed with red, which did gallantlie garnish his cheekes, a blacke beard thicke, and curled, great eies and graie. In summe, he was a verie proper man, and verie comelie in all his actions and jestures, and verie strong: the which strength he conserved by continuallie exercising of himselfe in skirmishes, and in bending of bowes. He spake Spanish verie well, and with a great grace, he culd also write in Spanish. But hee had the Italian tongue best of all other, yet he tooke most delight in the Turkish tongue, so that for love of it he cared not for the Arabian, the which was his mother tongue, and wherein he was accounted for the most excellent Poet of his time. He was ingenious, sharpe witted, and passing prudent and wise, wheras in other things than speciallie in the government of a kingdome. He plaied wel on diverse instruments, and also daunced excellentlie, but delighted above measure in armes, and the art of warre, in which things he also exercised himselfe much: insomuch, that he made with his owne hands many great peeces of ordenance, that are yet at this daie in Barbarie. For he was of a singular and wonderfull wit in all things that he went about or tooke in hand. And although he professed the religion of Mahamet, yet he so loved Christians, and of them Spaniardes, that I cannot expresse with wordes the love and good will which he shewed towards many captives & prisoners. For he suffered them to returne into Spain, being dismissed without ransome, and with this munificense & liberalitie he had set at libertie above 200. within the 3. yeres that he raigned. I do now omit to tel you with what favor & curtesie he used the prisoners, least I be overlong, or may be carried too far with his love. But that he needs not my publication of his praise, the thing it selfe doth witnesse: the hospital bult for sick Christians, adjoining to the temple of Marocco, & endowed with gret revenues, doth prove it manifestly. He died in the 35. yeere of his age. When he had reigned not full 3. yeeres, leaving a son of 3. yeeres and an halfe olde, whose name is Ismaell, & as yet is it at this day brought up with the Queene his mother, the wife of Abdelmelec at Argier. But as touching his nephew Muley Hamet, he was younger than Abdelmelec, being about xxix. or xxx. yeeres of age: of stature meane, of bodie weake, of colour so blacke, that he was accompted of many for a Negro or black Moore. He was of a perverse nature, he would never speak the trueth, he did all tings subtelly and deceitfully. He was not delighted in armes, but as he shewed in all battailes, of nature cowardly and effeminate. But he so cruelly hated Christians, that he would kil either with famine or nakednesse, those that he caught. If that in these warres he being constreined by necessitie, gave any signification of good will towards them, he did it against the heart, & in a maner unwillingly, that he might make them the more readie and chierfull to endaunger themselves for him.
1 It should be 2000, doubtlesse [marginal note].
This page is by James Eason.