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  • The Battle of the Three Kings November 27, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval , trackback

    battle of the three kings

    The Battle of Alcácer Quibir (the Battle of the Three Kings), fought in Morocco in 1578, was a freaky melee. It involved Sebastian of Portugal (obit 1578) and his Arabic patsy Abu Abdallah Mohammed II Saadi (obit 1578), the old sultan of Morocco, who both fought against Abu Abdallah’s uncle, the new sultan of Morocco, Abu Marwan Abd al-Malik I Saadi (obit 1578). The observant reader will already have seen that something special happened in 1578. All three kings who appeared at Alcácer Quibir died there. Abd al-Malik was sick before he arrived at the battle and seems to have passed on of natural causes before the fighting proper began: this information was, for understandable reasons, not shared with his troops. Abu Abdallah got killed running from the field, apparently while crossing a river: the Portuguese-Moroccan army was annihilated that day. Sebastian had, meanwhile, a superb death. He led a charge – Sebastian was trying to fight the crusades half a millennium after the idea had got old – found himself cut off from the rest of his army and just vanished among the corpses. ‘Vanished’ is really the best word, because many Portuguese believed that their king had somehow survived the battle and like Arthur, Constantine XI (or Napoleon III) would one day return to them. Some even believed that he was hiding out on an island in the middle of the Atlantic waiting for the return of God’s rule. Beach can’t think of a medieval or ancient battle where both leaders have been killed, though there must be several: and one or two are scratching, rat like at the back of his mind, its just that the names don’t come. But to have three monarchs on the field all die makes Alcácer Quibir unique. If you can raise Beach to four leaders or even equal three then do please write in: drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com

    Bruce T writes in 27 nov 2016:Try Caesar’s Gallic Wars. It seems to me he pulled the trick in his reduction of  W. Europe’s male population. That’s if the Gauls considered their leaders “kings”. Then you have the modern nitpicking over what constitutes a paramount chiefdom or a proto-state.Other than Caesar in his documented wars with the Gauls, where you had multiple polities locked in a fight to annihilation with an invading killing machine, perhaps Cortes might be next in line? While the Aztecs were the supreme power in the Valley of Mexico they were the latest kids on the block. There were several older states in the Valley who retained their kings and fought for and against Cortes in the siege and razing of Tenochtitlan.

    Beach inspired to this went to the annals of Clonmacnoise’s description of Brunanburh, 937 when the English broke a large non-English coalition:

    The Danes of Loghrie, arrived at Dublin. Awley with all the Danes of Dublin and north part of Ireland departed and went over seas. The Danes that departed from Dublin arrived in England, & by the help of the Danes of that kingdom, they gave battle to the Saxons on the plaines of othlyn, where there was a great slaughter of Normans and Danes, among which these ensueing captaines were slaine, viz. Sithfrey and Oisle, 2 sones of Sithrick, Galey, Awley ffroit, and Moylemorrey the sonn of Cosse “Warce, Moyle Isa, Gebeachan king of the Islands, Ceallagh prince of Scottland with 30000 together with 800 captives about Awley m’Godfrey, and abbot of Arick m’Brith, Iloa Deck, Imar, the king of Denmarks owen son with 4000 souldiers in his guard were all slaine. Conyng m’^Nealle Glunduffe Died.