Combat of the Thirty

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The Combat of the Thirty was a famous battle fought on March 27, 1351, during the Breton civil war (part of the Hundred Years' War) between Jean de Montfort (supported by the English) and Charles de Blois (supported by the French). The combat was an emprise, an arranged passage of arms, between thirty men of the pro-Blois garrison of Josselin, led by Robert de Beaumanoir, and thirty men of the pro-Montfort garrison of Ploermel, led by Robert Bemborough.

The combatants used axes and daggers, and continued until a break was called. Two English and four French were dead at that point, and de Beaumanoir was bleeding and exhausted. He is said to have called for a drink, to which Bemborough is quoted as replying, "Drink your blood, Beaumanoir, your thirst will pass soon enough." Once the combat resumed it did not stop until Bemborough and eight of his party were dead, and the rest had been taken for ransom. De Beaumanoir and the French were victorious.

While the combat did not have any real effect on the war, or the political issues surrounding it, the legend it created, and the renown attached to those who participated were such that twenty years later Jean Froissart noticed a scarred survivor at the table of Charles V, where he was honored above all others.

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