|Narcissus and the Holy Swarm|
|Don't mess with Girona|
You must be wondering what a fourth century martyr has to do with a thirteenth century war. When Philip's men overran Girona, the French soldiers decided to cap their victory by desecrating the relics of Saint Narcissus. They cracked open his crypt and hauled him out, only to be swarmed by thousands of angry insects. Some reports say hornets, other say biting flies. Either way, they apparently inflicted heavy casualties in the French. They went up the nostrils and anuses of the horses, causing crashing and rolling and widespread dying. One estimate says four thousand horses and twenty thousand troops died. That seems a little high to me, but then again, if the French were thrown into confusion and routed by Peter's troops, it's not impossible.
|Southern icon of St. Ung|
The next day, a carpenter volunteered to build a wooden casket for the relics. A day after that, another deadly swarm came from the box, attacking the French army that had camped nearby. Disease spread from those whom the flies bit to their comrades, decimating the French army and ending Marty's so-called Crusade. Philip died in October 1285 and Peter died the month following.
And St. Ung? Stung? Yeah, I know.