The Unconquered Knight
A Chronicle of the Deeds of Don Pero Niño, Count of Buelna
The heroic exploits of the 15th-century Count of Buelna, including tournament glories, knightly romance and the bitter hardships of life on campaign.
Gutierre Diaz de Gamez entered the service of Pero Niño, count of Buelna, in 1402, when they were both about 23, and served as head of his military household for nearly fifty years. He began a chronicle of his master's deeds in about 1431, and it is this eyewitness account of the life of a knight, both in war and peace, which is translated here. It is written in praise of his master, but beneath the veneer of hero-worship a good deal of the reality of a knight's existence shows through: even in the prologue, Diaz de Gamez gives a bitter picture of the hardships of a military campaign: 'Knights who are at the wars eat their bread in sorrow; their ease in weariness and sweat... Mouldy bread or biscuit, meat cooked or uncooked, water from a pond or a butt, poor sleep with their armour still on their backs, the enemy an arrow-shot off...' On the other hand, he can evoke the glories of a tournament, in which hismaster excelled, and his triumphs as a military commander both by sea and land. It is a story full of colour, adventure and romance, and one which deserves its place in the chronicles of chivalry.