Friday, October 24, 2008

agincourt revisionism

for hundreds of years young english people have been told that if they must speak french, the only word that they need to know is 'agincourt'. this, of course, refers to the battle in the middle of the hundred years war (1415) in which the english trounced the french despite terrible odds. you may have heard of it if you remember any of shakespeare's 'henry v'.

anyway it appears that historians got it wrong, and the nasty english behaved like war criminals, or so say the french scholars who are meeting in the town of agincourt for a conference this week. according to the telegraph:

"Academics will suggest that the extent of the feat of arms was massively exaggerated, with claims that the English were hugely outnumbered a lie. More controversially still, they will say that the foreign invaders used numerous underhand tactics against an honourable enemy. These included burning prisoners to death and setting 40 bloodthirsty royal bodyguards on to a single Gallic nobleman who had surrendered."

the rest of the article is here. meanwhile, with regard to anglo-french relations, i can only use my other phrase: plus ca change.

2 comments:

  1. thought it was bad enough hanging my head in shame when, at the Scottish School I attended (I am English), the history teacher used to hold a solemn minute of silence every year in memory of the innocent Scots felled by the deceiving English at Flodden Field but Flodden Field that was only 500 years ago!


    Come on, get over it French cousins, it is those evil Romans we should all be hating and blaming self-righteously with an exaggerated sense of nationalist pride, they started this all off, they are the ones to blame and seek restitution from! To war, the victory and spoils will justly be ours! Charge!!

    ReplyDelete