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Heimskringla

The Chronicle of The Kings of Norway

Part 216 - King Olaf's Speech

King Olaf got certain intelligence now that it would be but a short time until he had a battle with the bondes; and after he had mustered his men, and reckoned up the force, he had more than 3000 men, which appears to be a great army in one field.

Then the king made the following speech to the people:

"We have a great army, and excellent troops; and now I will tell you, my men, how I will have our force drawn up.

I will let my banner go forward in the middle of the army, and my-court-men, and pursuivants shall follow it, together with the war forces that joined us from the Uplands, and also those who may come to us here in the Throndhjem land.

On the right hand of my banner shall be Dag Hringson, with all the men he brought to our aid; and he shall have the second banner.

And on the left hand of our line shall the men be whom the Swedish king gave us, together with all the people who came to us in Sweden; and they shall have the third banner.

I will also have the people divide themselves into distinct flocks or parcels, so that relations and acquaintances should be together; for thus they defend each other best, and know each other.

We will have all our men distinguished by a mark, so as to be a field-token upon their helmets and shields, by painting the holy cross thereupon with white colour.

When we come into battle we shall all have one countersign and field-cry, —

'Forward, forward, Christian men! cross men! king's men!'

We must draw up our meal in thinner ranks, because we have fewer people, and I do not wish to let them surround us with their men.

Now let the men divide themselves into separate flocks, and then each flock into ranks; then let each man observe well his proper place, and take notice what banner he is drawn up under.

And now we shall remain drawn up in array; and our men shall be fully armed, night and day, until we know where the meeting shall be between us and the bondes."

When the king had finished speaking, the army arrayed, and arranged itself according to the king's orders.

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