And the men of the emperor fortified themselves in Pavia, and Antonio Leyva was over the host in those days. And King Francis went against Pavia on the tenth day of October, in the year one thousand five hundred and twenty-four, and he pitched his camp round about it, and they cast up trenches against it, and its walls fell to the ground. And Pavia became besieged, and all the city was moved, for the fear of the French fell upon them. And the battle was strong between them at that time, and much people of them fell. And Pavia was straitly shut up, none went out, neither did any come in. And they ate in her every unclean thing, by reason of famine, all those days. And they warred against it daily, but could not prevail against it, and the king said, “Let us sit here until the bread cease;” and they died of hunger.
(After a short interval where he describes events in Genoa, the account of the siege of Pavia resumes)
And Pavia was straightly shut up, and the French warred against it, and many fell slain to the ground daily. And Antonio Leyva spoke kindly to the inhabitants of the city, and their spirit revived when he spoke to them: and it came to pass, on the tenth day of the month of January, in the year one thousand five hundred and twenty-five, that the hosts of the emperor went out from the city; and they fell suddenly upon the French, which were over the battering rams, and slew them with edge of the sword; and two were taken alive, and they brought them into the city. And on the twenty-sixth day of the month came the duke of Bourbon to Lodi, and with him were sixteen thousand Germans, who were exercised for war, and they united themselves with the Spaniards and the Italians who were there, so they became as one in his hand.
And the king sent soldiers and artillery between Lodi and Pavia, to watch the road. Again he commanded, and they gathered together all the soldiers, and they dwelled together: And the men of the emperor removed from Lodi, and went on the road for Milan; and the king sent also thither against them. And it came to pass, on the morrow, that the Marquess Pescara went out against Santo Angelo, and they delivered it into his hand on that day.
And on the first day of the month of February came all the hosts of the emperor into the borders of Pavia, and encamped there. And the men of the king remained on their ward day and night; and they sounded with cymbals and with trumpets of jubilee-cry, that their voices were heard from afar. And the inhabitants of the city went out to them daily. And it came to pass, on the morrow, that the men of the emperor drew nigh again to the city, and they sent messengers to Antonio Leyva, and all the people of the country were glad, and their mourning was turned into joy. And they drew nigh again with a high hand, and about two thousand cubits were between them and the city; and the king was very wroth. And the king commanded, and they fortified themselves round about, and stood on their ward for fear of the night. And it came to pass, on the eighth day of the month of February, that the nobles of the emperor heard that the gunpowder was consumed in the city; and they sent forty men riding on swift horses, who brought them gunpowder in abundance every one in his sack, and they passed the camp of the enemy in the midst, and came into the city, and Antonio Leyva was very glad: and it came to pass, in the morning, that he commanded, and they brought the cannon up to the tower, and battered with them the camp of the Swiss, and much people fell among them and the men of the emperor heard it, and sounded the trumpets, and gave the signal for battle. And the horsemen of the emperor ran; and, the cavalry of the king went, out against them, and slew them; and the Spaniards drew back. And they sent against them three hundred Burgundians clothed with coats of mail; and the French fled, and cried with a loud voice; and the men of the camp fired with twenty cannons, and shot on them with balls; and there fell of the Burgundians many slain to the ground, and the rest fled at their noise, and returned to their tents with shame; and the battle ceased.
And on the seventeenth day of the month of February, there came some of the men of the host which belonged to Rienzo Orsino, to Savona and the men of Duke Francesco Sforza, who was at Alessandria, and they were slain before them, and they fled, and there were not left two together; and the king was very wroth.
And the Marquess Pescara said, “I will go down into the camp of these Frenchmen, and will see what will become of their dreams;" and he went in the darkness of the night, and three hundred Spaniards and Italians with him. And he fell into the place of the artillery, and they slew the watchmen with the edge of the sword, and cast the cannon to the ground. And he commanded farther, and they cast them into the trenches, and returned with gladness. And the French arose from their sleep and fought against them, and there fell many of them slain to the ground, and the chief over the artillery was taken alive. And they returned to their tents, and those that died in the slaughter were five hundred men; and this was to the shame of the French.
And on the twenty-third day of the month, the hosts of the emperor gave the signal for the battle; and Antonio Leyva was glad, and he arrayed the soldiers who were with him; and they remained on their ward that day.
And it came to pass, on the twenty-fourth day of the month of February, in the year one thousand five hundred and twenty-five, in the middle of the night, that they brought the hosts of the emperor, and divided the people into three heads. And they cast down the walls of Barcot, where the king's host was, every one passed over, and they came with a high hand, and gave the signal for battle. In that night the sleep of the king left him; and he commanded, and they divided his hosts into four heads, and they put the battle in array there with a great tumult, and much people fell of the French, for fear came upon them as desolation, suddenly, and the soldiers could not find their own hands.
And Antonio Leyva heard it, and went out also and fell upon them suddenly; and the horsemen and the footmen fled before him, for his fear fell upon them; and Antonio Leyva drew near again. And the battle was strong between them all the night, and the earth was rent because of their voices. The morning dawned, and the men of the king girded themselves with might, insomuch that the Spaniards drew back, and the French took the cannons from their hand with might. That day was dark, cloudy, and misty, by reason of the grievous smoke of the guns, so that hardly one might know his brother.
And when the Marquess Pescara, the chief of the emperor's host, saw the people that were naked, he went to the duke of Bourbon, saying, “The children are come to the birth; but there is no strength to bring forth. And now speak, I pray thee, kindly, to the people which follow thee. And I shall do so also, and we will war against these Frenchmen, and our fame will spread over all the earth; for the day' which we desired, we have found and have seen;" and they did so, and they put the battle in array there, and the marquess passed over before them, and he warred against those nations, and they fell slain to the ground before him. And also the Marquess del Vasto filled his hand, and they were counted by him as vain and as nothing, and they slew among them a great slaughter. And when the Swiss saw that the evil was determined against them, they turned their backs, and fled before them. And the Italians and Germans were left to their destruction, and fell slain to the ground.
Then did the horse-hoofs stamp, when the horsemen also put the battle in array, and the earth shook at their voice. And the chief captains of the imperial hosts placed five hundred foot–men bearing guns in the midst of the cavalry with subtlety. And it came to pass, as they were fighting, that they suddenly fired their guns on the cavalry of the French, and many of them fell; and the rest fled for their lives, for they feared lest the evil should overtake them; and the viceroy of the emperor and the duke of Bourbon also filled their hands at that time. And the king also, as well as his nobles, fought on that day, and all his mighty men fell before his face slain to the ground; and the king ran with his sword drawn in his hand, and slew the chief of the Germans, and he fell slain to the ground; also, the Marquess Pescara was wounded in his face, his belly and his thigh; for all this his anger was not turned away, and he spoke kindly to his men, and they again put the battle in array, and the French were smitten before them, and fled; and they slew the horse of King Francis, who fell to the ground, and they took him, and he was delivered into the hand of the viceroy of the emperor at that time. And also the king of Navarre and, many nobles and honorable men who were with them, were taken in that battle. And many were slain by the edge of the sword; and they were like dung upon the face of the field, and like the corn after the reaper, which none gathered. And it came to pass, as they were fighting, that the duke of Alencon saw their distress, and went out from the camp and four hundred horsemen with him. So they fled, and went on their journey to France. And the hosts of the emperor came into the camp of the king upon the slain and took great spoil, and came to the city with gladness. And the city of Pavia rejoiced and was glad.
Now there died of the men of the emperor on that day, the chief of the cavalry and eight hundred men; and of the host of the king, there fell in that slaughter some of the Italians and Germans and one thousand five hundred Swiss, and five hundred fell into the river Tessino, when they fled: so they died. And also many nobles and honorable men of the French fell in that slaughter, and the number of the dead was eight thousand men. The like thing had not occurred in the gates of Pavia from the time it became a nation. And the nobles of the French gave ransom for their souls, some more and some less, and they returned to their country. And the viceroy of the emperor, the duke of Bourbon, and the nobles with them, went and bowed themselves before this imprisoned king with their faces to the ground. And they spoke kindly unto him, and comforted him, saying, “Let it not be grievous in thine eyes, O king, for the issue of war belongeth unto God, and who will say to him, What doest thou?" And the duke of Bourbon drew his sword, and gave it into the hand of the king, and fell upon his knees and said, “I pray thee, forgive the offence of thy servant, for I have sinned against my lord a great sin; and now, if thou wilt forgive, forgive according to thy great kindness; and if not, slay me utterly, I pray thee, for I am a son of death, because I have lifted up mine hand against my lord the king." And the king said, “The thing came forth from the Lord, and thou hast not sinned, but hast served thy lord the emperor with all thy strength; but because of thy meekness and humility, thou hast spoken thus: arise now, and become a son of valor." And through this thing, Bourbon gained a good name among the kings and counsellors of the land, as well as for his fighting in the day of battle amongst the mighty; and his name became very precious.
This text is from The Chronicles of Rabbi Joseph ben Joshua ben Meir, The Sphardi, translated by C.H.F. Bialloblotzky (London: Oriental Translation Fund, 1836). In two volumes.