It should be known that this battle and massacre between the Genovesi and Pisani had already been foretold and announced long before it happened. In the town of Saint Ruffino, in the diocese of Parma, some women peeled [washed?] the linen at night: and they saw two great stars meeting in the sky. They drew away from each other and still collided again, and chased one another, and more than once...
And note that this battle and massacre, which took place between the Genovese and Pisans, was foretold and revealed a long time before it had occurred; for, in the town of San Ruffino, in the bishopric of Parma, women, who by night were cleaning flax, saw two great stars doing battle with one another. They withdrew after many exchanges, and they fought each other again and again in many clashes. (my trans.)
The Latin word purgare means to “cleanse,” so I can’t see how the authors mistook it for “peeled” (glubere). Similarly, the participle praeliantes (variant of the verb proelior) has only the meaning of “doing battle,” not “colliding,” so here the authors actually weaken their own claim by leaving out the most important part of the translation: the stars doing battle!
But this is where it gets interesting: Salimbene’s earlier English translator, the famous medievalist George Gordon Coulton, didn’t think that he meant star at all when he used the word stella. Look at how he translated the same lines in 1906:
And note that this murderous fight between Genoa and Pisa was foretold long before it happened. For in the town of San Ruffino in the Bishopric of Parma, women who were bleaching linen by night, saw two great oxen fighting and retreating, and again meeting to fight with each other. (trans. George Gordon Coulton)
Now let’s look at how the standard 1986 translation by Joseph L. Baird et al. gives the same passage, drawn from the more recent critical edition of Scalia in 1966, the one cited by our authors as their source:
And take note that this battle and this slaughter was forecast long before it took place. For in the village of San Ruffino in the bishopric of Parma, some women who were washing flax by night saw two large stars fighting with one another, and they drew apart many times and came back together in battle.