battle of agincourt middle finger
 Rogers, on the other hand, finds the number 5,000 plausible, giving several analogous historical events to support his case, and Barker considers that the fragmentary pay records which Curry relies on actually support the lower estimates. Upon hearing that his youngest brother Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester had been wounded in the groin, Henry took his household guard and stood over his brother, in the front rank of the fighting, until Humphrey could be dragged to safety. The Battle of Agincourt took place on October 25, 1415.  Thepostalleges that the Frenchhad planned to cut offthe middle fingers ofall captured English soldiers,to inhibit them fromdrawingtheir longbowsin futurebattles.  Barker opined that "if the differential really was as low as three to four then this makes a nonsense of the course of the battle as described by eyewitnesses and contemporaries".. T he battle of Agincourt, whose 600th anniversary falls on St Crispin's Day, 25 October, is still tabloid gold, Gotcha! The English account in the Gesta Henrici says: "For when some of them, killed when battle was first joined, fall at the front, so great was the undisciplined violence and pressure of the mass of men behind them that the living fell on top of the dead, and others falling on top of the living were killed as well.". But lets not quibble. Wikipedia.  Shakespeare illustrates these tensions by depicting Henry's decision to kill some of the French prisoners, whilst attempting to justify it and distance himself from the event. It may be difficult to pinpoint exactly when the middle finger gesture originated, but some historians trace its roots to ancient Rome. But frankly, I suspect that the French would have done a lot worse to any captured English archers than chopping off their fingers. At least one scholar puts the French army at no more than 12,000, indicating that the English were outnumbered 2 to 1. A labiodental fricative was no less "difficult" for Middle English speakers to pronounce than the aspirated bilabial stop/voiceless lateral combination of 'pl' that the fricative supposedly changed into, nor are there any other examples of such a pronunciation shift occurring in English. The main part of the speech begins "This day is called the feast of . The army was divided into three groups, with the right wing led by Edward, Duke of York, the centre led by the king himself, and the left wing under the old and experienced Baron Thomas Camoys. . giving someone the middle finger , The French had suffered a catastrophic defeat. Why do some people have that one extra-long fingernail on the pinkie finger. The city capitulated within six weeks, but the siege was costly. . , Henry made a speech emphasising the justness of his cause, and reminding his army of previous great defeats the kings of England had inflicted on the French. There was no monetary reward to be obtained by capturing them, nor was there any glory to be won by defeating them in battle. So they were already overcome with fatigue even before they advanced against the enemy". And I aint kidding yew. If the two-fingered salute comes from Agincourt, then at what point was it reduced to one finger in North America? A list of English archers killed at Agincourt, as recorded in the village's museum, The story of the battle has been retold many times in English, from the 15th-century, Dates in the fifteenth century are difficult to reconcile with modern calendars: see, The first known use of angled stakes to thwart a mounted charge was at the Battle of Nicopolis, an engagement between European states and Turkish forces in 1396, twenty years before Agincourt. Since the French had many more men-at-arms than the English, they would accordingly be accompanied by a far greater number of servants. Henry V and the resumption of the Hundred Years War, That fought with us upon Saint Crispins day, https://www.britannica.com/event/Battle-of-Agincourt, World History Encyclopedia - Battle of Agincourt, Warfare History Network - Miracle in the Mud: The Hundred Years' War's Battle of Agincourt, Battle of Agincourt - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). The play focuses on the pressures of kingship, the tensions between how a king should appear chivalric, honest, and just and how a king must sometimes act Machiavellian and ruthless. Early in the morning on October 25 (the feast day of St. Crispin), 1415, Henry positioned his army for battle on a recently plowed field bounded by woods. , Immediately after the battle, Henry summoned the heralds of the two armies who had watched the battle together with principal French herald Montjoie, and they settled on the name of the battle as Azincourt, after the nearest fortified place. The Burgundian sources have him concluding the speech by telling his men that the French had boasted that they would cut off two fingers from the right hand of every archer, so that he could never draw a longbow again. The idea being that you need two fingers to draw a bow, which makes more sense, and thus links up a national custom with a triumphant moment in national history! These heralds were not part of the participating armies, but were, as military expert John Keegan describes, members of an "international corporation of experts who regulated civilized warfare." In Gestures: Their Origins and Distribution, Desmond Morris and colleagues note that the digitus infamis or digitus impudicus (infamous or indecent finger) is mentioned several times in the literature of ancient Rome. David Mikkelson Published Sep 29, 1999. Some notable examples are listed below. Before the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, the French, anticipating victory over the English, proposed to cut off the middle finger of all captured English soldiers. The effect of the victory on national morale was powerful. Loades, M. (2013).  A second, smaller mounted force was to attack the rear of the English army, along with its baggage and servants. He considered a knight in the best-quality steel armour invulnerable to an arrow on the breastplate or top of the helmet, but vulnerable to shots hitting the limbs, particularly at close range. The French knights were unable to outflank the longbowmen (because of the encroaching woodland) and unable to charge through the array of sharpened stakes that protected the archers. When the first French line reached the English front, the cavalry were unable to overwhelm the archers, who had driven sharpened stakes into the ground at an angle before themselves. Wikipedia. The field that the French had to cross to meet their enemy was muddy after a week of rain and slowed their progress, during which time they endured casualties from English arrows. The English finally crossed the Somme south of Pronne, at Bthencourt and Voyennes and resumed marching north. Henry threatened to hang whoever did not obey his orders. Moreover, with this outcome Henry V strengthened his position in his own kingdom; it legitimized his claim to the crown, which had been under threat after his accession. The body part which the French proposed to cut off of the English after defeating them was, of course, the middle finger, without which it is impossible to draw the renowned English longbow. Barker states that some knights, encumbered by their armour, actually drowned in their helmets.. The Battle of Agincourt is an iconic moment in English military history. You would think that anything English predating 1607, such as the language, Protestantism, or the Common Law, would have been a part of Americas patrimony. Our editors will review what youve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. The Battle of Agincourt originated in 1328. , The French were organized into two main groups (or battles), a vanguard up front and a main battle behind, both composed principally of men-at-arms fighting on foot and flanked by more of the same in each wing. Before the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, the French,anticipating victory over the English, proposed to cut off the middle finger of all captured English soldiers. Rogers says each of the 10,000 men-at-arms would be accompanied by a gros valet (an armed, armoured and mounted military servant) and a noncombatant page, counts the former as fighting men, and concludes thus that the French in fact numbered 24,000. The English were not in an ideal condition to fight a battle. False. This was an innovative technique that the English had not used in the Battles of Crcy and Poitiers. The French had originally drawn up a battle plan that had archers and crossbowmen in front of their men-at-arms, with a cavalry force at the rear specifically designed to "fall upon the archers, and use their force to break them," but in the event, the French archers and crossbowmen were deployed behind and to the sides of the men-at-arms (where they seem to have played almost no part, except possibly for an initial volley of arrows at the start of the battle). The English army, led by King Henry V, famously achieved victory in spite of the numerical superiority of its opponent. The campaign season was coming to an end, and the English army had suffered many casualties through disease.  One particular cause of confusion may have been the number of servants on both sides, or whether they should at all be counted as combatants. According to contemporary English accounts, Henry fought hand to hand. When that campaign took place, it was made easier by the damage done to the political and military structures of Normandy by the battle. By 1415, negotiations had ground to a halt, with the English claiming that the French had mocked their claims and ridiculed Henry himself. The Battle of Agincourt forms a key part of Shakespeare's Henry V. Photo by Nick Ansell / POOL / AFP) Myth: During the Hundred Years War, the French cut off the first and second fingers of any. The cavalry force, which could have devastated the English line if it had attacked while they moved their stakes, charged only after the initial volley of arrows from the English. She graduated from the University of Chicago in 2019 with bachelor's degrees in English Language and Literature and Medieval Studies. As the story goes, the French were fighting with the English and had a diabolical (and greatly advertised) plan of cutting off the middle fingers of any captured English archers so they could never taunt the French with arrows plucked in their . When the archers ran out of arrows, they dropped their bows and, using hatchets, swords, and the mallets they had used to drive their stakes in, attacked the now disordered, fatigued and wounded French men-at-arms massed in front of them. The English won in a major upset and waved the body part in question at the French in defiance. Rogers, Mortimer and Sumption all give more or less 10,000 men-at-arms for the French, using as a source the herald of the Duke of Berry, an eyewitness. It lasted longer than Henry had anticipated, and his numbers were significantly diminished as a result of casualties, desertions, and disease. , Henry's men were already very weary from hunger, illness and retreat.  A slaughter of the French prisoners ensued. The Battle of Agincourt (720p) Watch on Soon after the victory at Agincourt, a number of popular folk songs were created about the battle, the most famous being the "Agincourt Carol", produced in the first half of the 15th century. 33-35). , The most famous cultural depiction of the battle today is in Act IV of William Shakespeare's Henry V, written in 1599. This symbol of rocking out is formed by tucking the middle and index finger and holding them in place with the thumb. This was not strictly a feudal army, but an army paid through a system similar to that of the English. Poitiers 1356: The capture of a king (Vol.  The exhausted French men-at-arms were unable to get up after being knocked to the ground by the English. before a defensive battle was possible. The f-word itself is Germanic with early-medieval roots; the earliest attested use in English in an unambiguous sexual context is in a document from 1310. Battle of Agincourt, (October 25, 1415), decisive battle in the Hundred Years' War (1337-1453) that resulted in the victory of the English over the French. Fighting ignorance since 1973.  In 2019, the historian Michael Livingston also made the case for a site west of Azincourt, based on a review of sources and early maps. Materials characterization, 29(2), 111117. The image makes the claim that the gesture derives from English soldiers at the Battle of Agincourt, France in 1415. People who killed their social betters from a distance werent very well liked, and would likely have paid with their lives as did all the French prisoners, archers or otherwise, whom Henry V had executed at Agincourt, in what some historians consider a war crime. I admit that I bring this story up when I talk about the Hundred Years War only to debunk it. And although the precise etymology of the English word fuck is still a matter of debate, it is linguistically nonsensical to maintain that that word entered the language because the "difficult consonant cluster at the beginning" of the phase 'pluck yew' has "gradually changed to a labiodental fricative 'f.'" The battle repeated other English successes in the Hundred Years War, such as the Battle of Crcy (1346) and the Battle of Poitiers (1356), and made possible Englands subsequent conquest of Normandy and the Treaty of Troyes (1420), which named Henry V heir to the French crown. The French, who were overwhelmingly favored to win the battle, threatened to cut a certain body part off of all captured English soldiers so that they could never fight again. The Battle of Agincourt was a major English victory in the Hundred Years' War.The battle took place on Friday, 25 October 1415 (Saint Crispin's Day) in the County of Saint-Pol, Artois, some. Henry would marry Catherine, Charles VI's young daughter, and receive a dowry of 2million crowns. It seems to me that the single upturned middle finger clearly represents an erect penis and is the gestural equivalent of saying f*ck you! As such, it is probably ancient Wikipedia certainly thinks so, although apparently it became popular in the United States in the late nineteenth century under the influence of Italian immigration, replacing other rude gestures like thumbing the nose or the fig sign. It supposedly describes the origin of the middle-finger hand gesture and, by implication, the insult "fuck you". The Hundred Years' War.  Critic David Margolies describes how it "oozes honour, military glory, love of country and self-sacrifice", and forms one of the first instances of English literature linking solidarity and comradeship to success in battle. Shakespeare's portrayal of the casualty loss is ahistorical in that the French are stated to have lost 10,000 and the English 'less than' thirty men, prompting Henry's remark, "O God, thy arm was here". The town surrendered on 22 September, and the English army did not leave until 8 October. The English numbered roughly 5,000 knights, men-at-arms, and archers. The original usage of this mudra can be traced back as far as the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. While the precise number of casualties is unknown, it is estimated that English losses amounted to about 400 and French losses to about 6,000, many of whom were noblemen. A BBCNews Magazinereportsimilarlytracesthe gesture back toAncient Greek philosophers ( here ). , Henry V invaded France following the failure of negotiations with the French.  Le Fvre and Wavrin similarly say that it was signs of the French rearguard regrouping and "marching forward in battle order" which made the English think they were still in danger.  Many lords and gentlemen demanded and got places in the front lines, where they would have a higher chance to acquire glory and valuable ransoms; this resulted in the bulk of the men-at-arms being massed in the front lines and the other troops, for which there was no remaining space, to be placed behind. (Indeed, Henry V was heavily criticized for supposedly having ordered the execution of French prisoners at Agincourt. Before the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, the French, anticipating victory over the English, proposed to cut off the middle finger of all captured English soldiers. Why is the missionary position called that? Very quickly after the battle, the fragile truce between the Armagnac and Burgundian factions broke down. The delay allowed a large French force, led by the constable Charles dAlbret and the marshal Jean II le Meingre (called Boucicaut), to intercept him near the village of Agincourt on October 24. This would prevent maneuvers that might overwhelm the English ranks. The pl sound, the story goes, gradually changed into an f, giving the gesture its present meaning.  Barker, who believes the English were outnumbered by at least four to one, says that the armed servants formed the rearguard in the battle. To meet and beat him was a triumph, the highest form which self-expression could take in the medieval nobleman's way of life." Medieval warriors didn't take prisoners because by doing so they were observing a moral code that dictated opponents who had laid down their arms and ceased fighting must be treated humanely, but because they knew high-ranking captives were valuable property that could be ransomed for money. The key word for describing the battle of Agincourt is mud . It seems it was purely a decision of Henry, since the English knights found it contrary to chivalry, and contrary to their interests, to kill valuable hostages for whom it was commonplace to ask ransom. On the morning of 25 October, the French were still waiting for additional troops to arrive. , The French army had 10,000 men-at arms plus some 4,0005,000 miscellaneous footmen (gens de trait) including archers, crossbowmen (arbaltriers) and shield-bearers (pavisiers), totaling 14,00015,000 men. King Charles VI of France did not command the French army as he suffered from psychotic illnesses and associated mental incapacity. Despite the lack of motion pictures and television way back in the 15th century, the details of medieval battles such as the one at Agincourt in 1415 did not go unrecorded. The English had very little food, had marched 260 miles (420km) in two and a half weeks, were suffering from sickness such as dysentery, and were greatly outnumbered by well-equipped French men-at-arms. In Nature Embodied: Gesture in Ancient Rome, Anthony Corbeill, Professor of Classics at the University of Kansas wrote: The most familiar example of the coexistence of a human and transhuman elementis the extended middle finger.  Albret, Boucicaut and almost all the leading noblemen were assigned stations in the vanguard. The battle remains an important symbol in popular culture. Agincourt. The French monk of St. Denis says: "Their vanguard, composed of about 5,000 men, found itself at first so tightly packed that those who were in the third rank could scarcely use their swords," and the Burgundian sources have a similar passage. In such a "press" of thousands of men, Rogers suggested that many could have suffocated in their armour, as was described by several sources, and which was also known to have happened in other battles. It goes on to state thatafter an unexpected victory, the English soldiersmocked thedefeatedFrenchtroopsbywavingtheir middle fingers( here ). All quotes delayed a minimum of 15 minutes. , The plate armour of the French men-at-arms allowed them to close the 1,000 yards or so to the English lines while being under what the French monk of Saint Denis described as "a terrifying hail of arrow shot". David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994. with chivalry. 42 Share 3.9K views 4 years ago There is an old story that allegedly gives the background of how we came to use the middle finger as an insult along with the alleged origin of the "F-word". In the other reference Martial writes that a certain party points a finger, an indecent one, at some other people. The English and Welsh archers on the flanks drove pointed wooden stakes, or palings, into the ground at an angle to force cavalry to veer off. With 4,800 men-at-arms in the vanguard, 3,000 in the main battle, and 1,200 in the infantry wings. Inthe book,Corbeillpoints to Priapus, a minor deityhedatesto 400 BC, whichlater alsoappears in Rome as the guardian of gardens,according to the Oxford Encyclopedia of Greece and Rome( here ). With Toby Merrell, Ian Brooker, Philip Rosch, Brian Blessed. It established the legitimacy of the Lancastrian monarchy and the future campaigns of Henry to pursue his "rights and privileges" in France. (There is an Indo-European connection between the p-sound and f-sound see the distinction between the Latin pater and the Germanic Vater/father but that split occurred a long time ago.) At issue was the question of the legitimate succession to the French crown as well as the ownership of several French territories.  Henry, worried about the enemy launching surprise raids, and wanting his troops to remain focused, ordered all his men to spend the night before the battle in silence, on pain of having an ear cut off. Adam Koford, Salt Lake City, Utah, Now for the facts.  (The use of stakes was an innovation for the English: during the Battle of Crcy, for example, the archers had been instead protected by pits and other obstacles. Without the middle finger it would be impossible to draw the renowned English longbow and therefore they would be incapable of fighting in the future. After Henry V marched to the north, the French moved to block them along the River Somme. Without the middle finger it would be impossible to draw the renowned English longbow and therefore be incapable of fighting in the future. Soon after the battle started, it had thousands of English and French soldiers and horses running through it. Subject: Truth About the Finger In the film Titanic the character Rose is shown giving the finger to Jack, another character. Nonetheless, so many readers have forwarded it to us accompanied by an "Is this true?"  The museum lists the names of combatants of both sides who died in the battle. Theodore Beck also suggests that among Henry's army was "the king's physician and a little band of surgeons". Keegan, John. Apparently Henry believed his fleeing army would perform better on the defensive, but had to halt the retreat and somehow engage the French  In his study of the battle John Keegan argued that the main aim was not to actually kill the French knights but rather to terrorise them into submission and quell any possibility they might resume the fight, which would probably have caused the uncommitted French reserve forces to join the fray, as well. King Henry V of England led his troops into battle and participated in hand-to-hand fighting. This suggests that the French could have outnumbered the English 5 to 1. It sounds rather fishy to me. It was often reported to comprise 1,500 ships, but was probably far smaller. The Face of Battle. The "middle finger" gesture does not derive from the mutilation of English archers at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. The recently ploughed land hemmed in by dense woodland favoured the English, both because of its narrowness, and because of the thick mud through which the French knights had to walk.