Ferdinand the Catholic exposes himself to defend his men

April 8, 2013

Statue of King Ferdinand the Catholic, in hallway inside the Palacio Real de Madrid in Madrid, Spain.

The capitulation of [Velez-Malaga] followed at the end of April, 1487; and then the Christian army pushed forward to Malaga, a port famous for its commerce from the days of Phoenician traders. The enthusiasm of the troops was raised to white heat by success and by the personal bravery of Ferdinand, who, on one occasion during the late siege, seeing a company of Castilians about to retreat, had hurled himself on the enemy armed only with his breastplate and sword. On the remonstrances of his generals, who besought him in future to remember what his death would cost them, he replied: “I cannot see my men in difficulties and not go to their aid.” It was an answer more likely to endear him to Castilian hearts than any act of legislation.


Ierne L. Plunket, Isabel of Castile and the Making of the Spanish Nation: 1451-1504 (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1915), 200-2.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 271


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