That the adversaries should produce any sample whatsoever of poetry or rhetoric equal to the Koran is not at all what the Prophet demands.
Despite the effect of a false rumour of retraction and a forged confession, his adversaries in despair summoned him to four public conferences (1st, 18th, 23rd and 27th of September), and although still suffering, and allowed neither time nor books for preparation, he bore himself so easily and readily that he won the admiration of most of the audience.
The adversaries were regrouping, with one barking orders to those remaining.
The undoubted abuses which grew up, especially during the middle ages, raised up, at the time of the Reformation, fresh adversaries of the cult of the saints.
St Bernard accused him of sharing the doctrines of Abelard (see Ep. 189, 195), and procured his condemnation by the council of Sens (I 140) at the same time as that of the great scholastic. This was perhaps no more than the outcome of the fierce polemical spirit of the abbot of Clairvaux, which led him to include all his adversaries under a single anathema.
In 1563 the long-gathering storm of obloquy burst upon the occasion of the publication of his Thirty Dialogues, in one of which his adversaries maintained that he had justified polygamy under colour of a pretended refutation.
On these grounds the adversaries of Demosthenes, in after-days, used absurdly to taunt him with a traitorous or barbarian ancestry.
Against this exaltation of their power two adversaries might have been formidable; but one, the Church, was a captive in Babylon, and the second, the people, was deprived of the communal liberties which it had abused, or humbly effaced itself in the states-general behind the declared will of the king.
After this he began scheming to hasten the coming of the Angevins, and took part in new and more hazardous campaigns against adversaries such as the duke of Urbino, Sforza of Milan, Piccinino, and, worst of all, the Sienese pope, Pius II., his declared and mortal foe.
Well concealed in skilfully constructed entrenchments that were excavated on terrain overlooking the invader's lines, the Turkish contingents holding the different fronts could fairly calculate upon beating off any hostile attack unless their adversaries should be heavily reinforced.