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Friday, August 17, 2007

Bayard and Ignatius

- Bayard defending the bridge over the Garigliano River by Philippoteaux ... On one occasion it is said that he single-handedly defended the bridge of the Garigliano against 200 Spaniards, an exploit that brought him such renown that Pope Julius II tried unsuccessfully to entice him into the papal service.

I know, I know - another post about Ignatius of Loyola. Sorry - for some reason he's been on my mind lately. And that's odd, because although I like Ignatian spirituality, I've never given much thought to Ignatius himself. Ar any rate, as you all know, before Ignatius' conversion, he was a soldier. Last night I was reading about the battle in which he was wounded ... the battle of Pamplona, in May of 1521.

That battle was a part of what was called the Italian War of 1521-1526, or the Four Years War ... on one side we had France and the Republic of Venice, and on the other side (Ignatius' side), we had Spain, the Holy Roman Empire, England, and the Papal States. As I read about the war in Wikipedia (I'm not soooo interested that I'm pouring over dusty primary sources :-), I noticed something interesting, and it wasn't that Martin Luther figured significantly in things (though that was interesting), but it was that fighting on the French side was Pierre Terrail, seigneur de Bayard. Here's a little of what Wiki says of him ...

Pierre Terrail, seigneur de Bayard (1473 – 30 April 1524) was a French soldier, generally known as the Chevalier de Bayard. ..... As a soldier, Bayard was considered the epitome of chivalry and one of the most skilful commanders of the age. He was noted for the exactitude and completeness of his information on the enemy's movements, which he obtained by careful reconnaissance and a well-arranged system of espionage. In the midst of mercenary armies Bayard remained absolutely disinterested, and to his contemporaries and his successors he was, with his romantic heroism, piety and magnanimity, the fearless and faultless knight (le chevalier sans peur et sans reproche). His gaiety and kindness won him, even more frequently, another name bestowed by his contemporaries, le bon chevalier.

As it turns out, Bayard didn't fight in the battle of Pamplona, much less did he ever meet Ignatius, but what a cool alternative-history novel might be written about such an event! :-)

- Armure dite du chevalier Bayard musée de l'armée hotel des invalides


Blogger Jeff said...


Interesting history. I always wondered what that fight was all about. The shattered leg from Pamplona played a huge role in making Ignatius into who and what he finally became. The injuries really put him through the ringer. From here:

Ignatius’ right shin had been shattered by a cannon ball at the battle of Pamplona. It was this same canon ball that tore open his left calf. Although now a
prisoner of the French, he was actually sent home to the castle of Loyola. Not only was the leg shattered for the twenty-nine year old Ignatius, his heart was torn open as well, knowing full well that he would not taste the glory of victory militarily that he had his initial sites on. Ignatius had other more immediate concerns at hand, i.e., a long road to recovery from his injuries, ones that would not heal easily or
normally. After his broken leg had been set badly the first time, doctors had to break it a second time and reset it. After a severe fever, which caused his doctors to
wonder if he would even survive the night, Ignatius began to settle into what would be a very long and complicated convalescence. The results of Ignatius’ leg being set for a second time rendered a very strange deformity in that the end of a bone stuck out under his knee, which he demanded be sawed off. Because of this peculiar
occurrence, Ignatius would have a very distinct limp the rest of his life. It would also take a great deal of time for his calf to heal up, leaving an odorous stench for a
very long time. God was indeed trying to get Ignatius’ attention.

Interesting what can happen when driven, vigorous, and highly ambitious men can be laid low by an infirmity. They can collapse and go all to pieces, or they can channel all that energy elsewhere. I just read a book about FDR and was reminded here of FDR's long, painful, unsuccessful struggle to overcome polio, yet it was a struggle that taught him compassion, and made him into a very different kind of man from who he was before. It must have been very simillar for Igantius.

5:58 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Thanks for the link, Jeff - lots of info there. btw, i sent you an email, but to your workplace ... hope that's ok.

11:24 AM  
Blogger Liam said...

Hey, dusty primary sources rock!

11:35 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Yeah, they actually do, but I can't admit that since I usually can't either travel to where they are, not read them in their original languages :-)

Liam, can you recommend any online reading about what was happening at the time of Ignatius?

12:00 PM  
Blogger cowboyangel said...

Liam, weren't you at the Battle of Pamplona? Am I imagining that? Or was that just the distorted and disjointed remnants of a conversation we had after too much absinthe?

Primary sources do rock. And there are more and more online. Though dust is integral to the experience and can't be replicated virtually. Yet.

I'm still having trouble with the idea that the English and Spanish were on the same side. Are you sure that's not some flaky Wikipedia entry? Liam, is she telling the truth?! It just feels so wrong.

Jeff, what about JFK? How much did his injuries in WWII make him who he was? The whole Profiles in Courage u-boat thing.

4:16 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4:53 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

The English were on the Spanish side because the king of Spain, who was also the holy roman emperor, was related to Henry VIII's wife, Catherine (before the divorce) ... and also, of course, they both hated the French. I like how the French and Scots were always on the same side, both hating the English, but you already knew all this - heh :-)

4:56 PM  
Blogger Liam said...

Crystal -- that's a bit late for me, but I will look around and get back to you.

2:35 PM  
Blogger Liam said...

Here are three sites that look interesting:
Early Modern resources
Internet Modern Sourcebook
early modern links

2:40 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Liam - thanks very much :-)

3:11 PM  

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