At all times in the history of humanity, war has been a terrible and bloody act. In the Middle Ages people did not know a wild horror of "carpet bombing" and artillery attacks, but had enough of their own inventions. However, for every sword there is a shield, and brute force is often won with resourcefulness and ingenuity.
At the time people considered awful things that do not particularly scare us today. For example, in a siege of a fortress or castle, very simple, but effective mechanism called a trebuchet was used. It was a lever on an axis, with a rope sling at the end. Ropes were tied to the short end pulled by many people at once when an order was given. The lever cranked, and a stone flew out of the sling. Later people were replaced with a counterweight, a box of stones weighing several tons that allowed throwing stones weighing dozens of kilograms.
Bombardment with stones was not the only method of offense. To poison the lives of residents to the maximum, the offenders urinated and defecated in clay vessels, then sealed them and threw them on the besieged. Special teams were sent to collect dead animals, and if there were not enough of those, cattle were killed or gophers and urchins were collected. The dead animals were left to rot in the sun and then thrown into castles with trebuchet. Muslims used boxes with snakes and scorpions.
Psychological impact weapons were also used. Using trebuchet, the offenders threw to the besieged severed heads of their allies, and even alive captured spies.
Defenders used their own methods and poured on the heads of the offenders boiling water, oil, tar, molten lead, and feces; threw rocks and logs, ash, and shot them with bows. Once there was an incident when a well-fed pig was dropped on the heads of the besiegers, which helped to remove the siege of the city.
A legend of the South of France says that, having taken nearly the entire Spain, Arabs of North Africa continued expansion to the north, crossed the Pyrenees, and arrived on the French soil.
On the way they encountered Carcassonne fortress, and although the locals defended it fiercely, they failed to keep it. However, the leaders of the Visigoths who lived here did not leave Septimani, a region whose capital was Carcassonne. They hid in the mountain fortresses and castles, and continued a guerrilla war against the Muslim ruler.
In 732, Charles Martel, inspired by his victory at Poitiers, tried to oust the Arabs to Spain, but was not able to take Carcassonne. Franks kept on dreaming about taking this fortress to access the Pyrenees mountains. In 750, King Pepin the Short made an alliance with the Visigoth princes of Septimania. This time, the Christian Franks and Aryan Visigoths united in a powerful army that descended into the valley of the Aude River and sieged the fortress.
Its overlord immediately sent a messenger to his cousin, Sheikh of Narbonne city, asking for help. He shut all the gates and prepared to sell his life and the lives of his subjects dearly. However, Franks and Visigoths, seeing in front of them a fortress with 29 towers, opted out of an assault, and decided to take it by siege, hoping that sooner or later the enemy will run out of food and water. The Lord of Carcassonne died almost immediately after its beginning when he left the castle to attack an enemy.
Then his wife came to the forefront, a great lady by the name Carcas. She gave weapons to women and children, and placed old people on ramparts. The few troops of the defenders endlessly ran from one tower to another. To impress the enemy they even used straw dummies dressed in clothes of the murdered.
The lady appeared in all places at once, and Franks were very surprised by the number of those alive in the enemy forces.
However, no soldier can do without food and water, and a siege could not continue indefinitely, as the castle has long been deprived of all food transportation.
The Franks watched over the city. From the tall towers lady Carcas clearly saw that the enemies were waiting, and were not going to storm its high walls and towers. In desperation, the lady came up with a wonderful idea. She ordered to catch a pig, bring it to the top of the tower, and feed it until it was full. Then the lady ordered to throw the filthy animal down. The pig fell at the foot of the tower, and the grain it was fed with spilled in all directions. The Franks looked at it and thought that it was incredible that after so many days of the siege those people still had so much grain they could feed it to pigs. They decided that they could not win and besieged the fortress in vain. The lady offered the Francs to conclude an honorable peace treaty.
Thanks to some ill-fated pig and the lady's wit, she was able to find a way out of this difficult situation. King Pepin left her the city and the land, and she converted to Christianity and married a Frankish count. She became a legend passed from one generation to another, and her image carved out of stone decorates the entrance to the castle. Who knows, maybe this funny story is not fiction, and something like this really happened.
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