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Encyclopedia > Battle of Agincourt

Coordinates: 50°27′49″N, 2°08′30″E Map of Earth showing lines of latitude (horizontally) and longitude (vertically), Eckert VI projection; large version (pdf, 1. ...

Battle of Agincourt
Part of the Hundred Years' War

The Battle of Agincourt, 15th century miniature
Date 25 October (Saint Crispin's Day) 1415
Location Agincourt, France
Result Decisive English victory
Combatants
Kingdom of England Kingdom of France
Commanders
Henry V of England Charles d'Albret
Strength
About 6,000 (but see Modern re-assessment). 5/6 longbowmen, 1/6 dismounted men-at-arms. Between 20,000 and 30,000 (but see Modern re-assessment). Estimated to be 1/6 crossbowmen and archers, 1/2 dismounted men-at-arms, 1/3 mounted knights.
Casualties
100-250 Casualties[1] 7,000-10,000 [1]

The Battle of Agincourt was fought on 25 October 1415 (Saint Crispin's Day), in northern France as part of the Hundred Years' War. At the time of the Siege of Rouen (July 1418 - January 1419), the city had a population of 70,000, making it one of the leading cities in France, and its capture crucial to the Normandy campaign during the Hundred Years War. ... Combatants France, Scotland England Commanders John Stewart, 2nd Earl of Buchan Thomas of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Clarence † Strength 5,000 1,500 Casualties light heavy The Battle of Baugé, fought between the English and the Franco-Scots on March 21, 1421 in Baugé, France, east of Angers, was one... The Siege of Meaux was fought in 1422 between the English and the French. ... Combatants England, Burgundy France, Scotland, Brittany Commanders Thomas Montacute, 4th Earl of Salisbury John Stewart, 2nd Earl of Buchan Louis, Count of Vendôme Strength 4,000 8,000 Casualties Around 600 6,000 The Battle of Cravant was an encounter fought on July 31, 1423, during the Hundred Years... The Battle of Verneuil (occasionally Vernuil) was a battle of the Hundred Years War, fought on 17 August 1423 near Verneuil in Normandy and was a significant English victory. ... Combatants England France Commanders Earl of Shrewsbury Earl of Salisbury Duke of Suffolk Jean de Dunois Gilles de Rais Joan of Arc Jean de Brosse Strength 5,000 6,400 soldiers, 4,000+ armed citizens Casualties 4,000 2000+ The Siege of Orléans (1428 – 1429) marked a turning point... Combatants France England Commanders Joan of Arc, Duke John II of Alençon William de la Pole Strength 1,200 700 Casualties  ? 300-400 The Battle of Jargeau took place on June 11 - 12, 1429. ... Combatants France England Commanders Joan of Arc, Duke John II of Alençon John Talbot, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury, Thomas Scales. ... Combatants France England Commanders Joan of Arc, John II of Alençon John Talbot, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury The Battle of Beaugency took place on 16 - 17 June, 1429. ... Combatants Kingdom of France Kingdom of England Commanders La Hire Poton de Xaintrailles Sir John Fastolf Strength 1,500 cavalry 5,000 Casualties About 100 2,500 dead, wounded, or captured The Battle of Patay (18 June 1429) was a major battle in the Hundred Years War between the French... Statue of Joan of Arc at Vaucouleurs. ... Combatants Kingdom of France England Commanders La Hire ? The Battle of Gerbevoy was fought in 1435 between French and English forces. ... Combatants England France Brittany Commanders Thomas Kyriell Comte de Clermont Comte de Richemont Strength 4,000 5,000 Casualties 2,500 300 The Battle of Formigny (April 15, 1450) was a clash of the Hundred Years War. ... Combatants England France Brittany Commanders John Talbot, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury† Jean Bureau Strength 4,000-6,000 8,000 - 13,000 Casualties 4,000 mainly wounded or captured 100 dead or wounded The Battle of Castillon was the last battle fought between the French, the Bretons and the English... is the 298th day of the year (299th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Events Friedrich I Hohenzollern (b. ... Martyrdom of SS. Crispin and Crépinien - From a window in the Hôpital des Quinze-Vingts (Fifteenth Century). ... Combatants France Castile Scotland Genoa Majorca Bohemia Crown of Aragon Brittany England Burgundy Brittany Portugal Navarre Flanders Hainaut Aquitaine Luxembourg Holy Roman Empire The Hundred Years War was a conflict between France and England, lasting 116 years from 1337 to 1453. ...


The armies involved were those of the English King Henry V and Charles VI of France. Charles did not command his army himself, as he was incapacitated. The French were commanded by the Constable Charles d'Albret and various prominent French noblemen of the Armagnac party. The battle is notable for the use of the English longbow, which the English used in very large numbers, with longbowmen forming the vast majority of their army. The battle was also immortalised by William Shakespeare as the centrepiece of his play Henry V. Henry V of England (16 September 1387 – 31 August 1422) was one of the great warrior kings of the Middle Ages. ... Charles VI Charles VI the Well-Beloved, later known as the Mad (French: Charles VI le Bien-Aimé, later known as le Fol) (December 3, 1368 – October 21, 1422) was a King of France (1380 – 1422) and a member of the Valois Dynasty. ... The Constable of France (French connétable de France, from Latin comes stabulari for count of the stables), as the First Officer of the Crown, was one of the original five Great Officers of the Crown of France (along with seneschal, chamberlain, butler, and chancellor) and Commander in Chief of... Charles dAlbert (c1337 -1415)was constable of France and joint commander of the French army at Agincourt where he was killed He was born into a old Gascon family around 1337, he was the son of Arnaud Lord of Albert and fought under Bertrand du Guesclin as a young... The Armagnac party was prominant in French politics and warfare during the Hundred Years War. ... Self-yew English longbow, 6 ft 6 in (2 m) long, 470 N (105 lbf) draw force. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... Title page of the first quarto (1600) Henry V, also known as The Cronicle History of Henry the fift, is a play by William Shakespeare based on the life of King Henry V of England. ...

Contents

Campaign

Henry V invaded France for several reasons. He hoped that by fighting a popular foreign war, he would strengthen his position at home. He wanted to improve his finances by gaining revenue-producing lands, lands he believed had been stolen from him by the King of France. As was the custom at the time internationally nobles taken prisoner would be ransomed by the relatives of the loser in exchange for their return. Evidence also suggests that several lords in the region of Normandy promised Henry their lands when they died, but the King of France took their lands and described it as 'confiscating'. Henry V of England (16 September 1387 – 31 August 1422) was one of the great warrior kings of the Middle Ages. ...


Henry's army landed in northern France on 13 August 1415 and besieged the port of Harfleur with an army of about 12,000. The siege took longer than expected. The town surrendered on 22 September, and the English army did not leave until 8 October. The campaign season was coming to an end, and the English army had suffered many casualties through disease. Henry decided to move most of his army (roughly 7,000) to the port of Calais, the English stronghold in northern France, where they could re-equip over the winter. is the 225th day of the year (226th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Events Friedrich I Hohenzollern (b. ... Harfleur is a town and commune of France in the Seine-Maritime département of Haute-Normandie, on the north bank of the mouth of the Seine, about 10 km east of Le Havre, and across the river from Honfleur. ... The siege of Harfleur, Normandy, France began 18 August 1415 and ended on 22 September when Harfleur surrendered to the English. ... is the 265th day of the year (266th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 281st day of the year (282nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Calais (Kales in Dutch) is a town in northern France, located at 50°57N 1°52E. It is in the département of Pas-de-Calais, of which it is a sous-préfecture. ... A stronghold is a strongly fortified defensive structure. ...


During the siege, the French had been able to call up a large feudal army which d'Albret deployed between Harfleur and Calais, mirroring the English manoeuvres along the river Somme, thus preventing them from reaching Calais without a major confrontation. The result was that d'Albret managed to force Henry into fighting a battle that, given the state of his army, he would have preferred to avoid. The English had very little food, had marched 260 miles in two-and-a-half weeks, were suffering from sickness such as dysentery, and faced large numbers of experienced, well equipped Frenchmen. Feudalism comes from the Late Latin word feudum, itself borrowed from a Germanic root *fehu, a commonly used term in the Middle Ages which means fief, or land held under certain obligations by feodati. ... Somme is a French département, named after the Somme River, located in the north of France. ... Dysentery (formerly known as flux or the bloody flux) is frequent, small-volume, severe diarrhea that shows blood in the feces along with intestinal cramping and tenesmus (painful straining to pass stool). ...


However, the French suffered a catastrophic defeat, not just in terms of the sheer numbers killed, but because of the number of high-ranking nobles lost. Henry was able to fulfil all his objectives. He was recognised by the French in the Treaty of Troyes (1420) as the regent and heir to the French throne. This was cemented by his marriage to Catherine of Valois, the daughter of King Charles VI. This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Events May 21 - Treaty of Troyes. ... Catherine of Valois (27 October 1401 – 3 January 1437) was the Queen consort of England from 1420 until 1422. ...


Battle

Situation

Henry and his troops were marching to Calais to embark for England when he was intercepted by French forces which outnumbered his.


The lack of reliable and consistent sources makes it very difficult to accurately estimate the numbers on both sides. Estimates vary from 6,000 to 9,000 for the English, and from about 15,000 to about 36,000 for the French. Some modern research has questioned whether the English were as outnumbered as traditionally thought (see below). The English were probably not outnumbered as badly as the legend would have it; however, most modern historians (for example, Juliet Barker, Christopher Hibbert) would accept that they were outnumbered by three to one or more.


The battle was fought in the narrow strip of open land formed between the woods of Tramecourt and Agincourt (close to the modern village of Azincourt). The French army was positioned by d'Albret at the northern exit so as to bar the way to Calais. The night of 24 October was spent by the two armies on open ground, and the English had little shelter from the heavy rain. , Coordinates , Administration Country Region Nord-Pas-de-Calais Department Pas-de-Calais Arrondissement Arras Canton Canton du Parcq Intercommunality Communauté de communes de Canche Ternoise Mayor Cyr Henguelle (2001-2008) Statistics Altitude 110 m–142 m (avg. ... Azincourt (sometimes: Agincourt) is a village and commune of northern France in the Pas-de-Calais département, 14 miles to the north-west of Saint-Pol-sur-Ternoise by road, famous on account of the victory, on October 25, 1415, of Henry V of England over the French in... Azincourt (sometimes: Agincourt) is a village and commune of northern France in the Pas-de-Calais département, 14 miles to the north-west of Saint-Pol-sur-Ternoise by road, famous on account of the victory, on October 25, 1415, of Henry V of England over the French in... Calais (Kales in Dutch) is a town in northern France, located at 50°57N 1°52E. It is in the département of Pas-de-Calais, of which it is a sous-préfecture. ... is the 297th day of the year (298th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

The battle of Agincourt

Early on the 25th, Henry deployed his army (approximately 900 men-at-arms and 5,000 longbowmen) across a 750 yard part of the defile. It is likely that the English adopted their usual battle line of longbowmen on either flank, men-at-arms and knights in the centre, and at the very centre roughly 200 archers. The English men-at-arms in plate and mail were placed shoulder to shoulder four deep. The English archers on the flanks drove pointed wooden stakes called palings into the ground at an angle to force cavalry to veer off. It has been argued that fresh men were brought in after the siege of Harfleur; however, other historians argue that this is wrong, and that although 9,200 English left Harfleur, after more sickness set in, they were down to roughly 5,900 by the time of the battle. Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... Man-at-arms was a medieval term for a soldier, almost always a professional. ... The longbow (or English longbow, or Welsh longbow, see below) was a type of bow about 2. ... Not to be confused with Golgotha, which was called Calvary. ...


French accounts state that, prior to the battle, Henry V gave a speech reassuring his nobles that if the French prevailed, the English nobles would be spared, to be captured and ransomed instead. However, the common soldier would have no such luck and therefore he told them they had better fight for their lives. The term ransom refers to the practice of holding a prisoner to extort money or property extorted to secure their release, or to the sum of money involved. ...


The French were arrayed in three lines called "battles", each with roughly 6,000; however, the first is thought to have swelled to nearly 9,000. Situated on each flank were smaller "wings" of mounted men-at-arms and French Nobles (probably 2,400 in total, 1,200 on each wing), while the centre contained dismounted men-at-arms, many of whom were French scions, including twelve princes of royal blood. The rear was made up of 6,000-9,000 (some sources estimate lower, some estimate higher) of late arriving men-at-arms and armed servants known as "gros varlets" . The 4,000-6,000 French crossbowmen and archers were posted in front of the men-at-arms in centre.


Terrain

Arguably, the deciding factor for the outcome was the terrain. The narrow field of battle, recently ploughed land hemmed in by dense woodland, favoured the English.[2][3] Recent analysis (see Battlefield Detectives link) has looked at the crowd dynamics of the battlefield. The 900 English men-at-arms are described as shoulder to shoulder and four deep, which implies a tight line about 225 men long (perhaps split in two by a central group of archers). The remainder of the field would have been filled with the longbowmen behind their palings. The French first line contained between six and nine thousand men-at-arms, outnumbering the English men-at-arms more than six to one, but they had no way to outflank the English line. The French, divided into the three battles, one behind the other at their initial starting position, could not bring all their forces to bear: the initial engagement was between the English army and the first battle line of the French. When the second French battle line started their advance, the soldiers were pushed closer together and their effectiveness was reduced. Casualties in the front line from longbow fire would also have increased the congestion, as following men would have to walk around the fallen. The Battlefield Detectives state that when the density reached four men per square metre, soldiers would not even be able to take full steps forward, lowering the speed of the advance by 70%. Accounts of the battle describe the French engaging the English men-at-arms before being rushed from the sides by the longbowmen as the melee developed. Engaging the English men-at-arms on the same frontage implies a group at least 25 deep, all trying to press forward into the battle. Although the French initially pushed the English back, they became so closely packed that they are described as having trouble using their weapons properly. In practice there was not enough room for all these men to fight, and they were unable to respond effectively when the English longbowmen joined the hand-to-hand fighting. By the time the second French line arrived, for a total of approximately 12,000 men, the crush would have been even worse. The press of men arriving from behind actually hindered those fighting at the front.


As the battle was fought on a recently ploughed field, and there had recently been heavy rain leaving it very muddy, it proved very tiring to walk through in full plate armour. The deep, soft mud particularly favoured the English force because, once knocked to the ground, the heavily armoured French knights struggled to get back up to fight in the melee. Barker (2005) states that several knights, encumbered by their armour, actually drowned in it. Their limited mobility made them easy targets for the volleys from the English archers. The mud also increased the ability of the much more lightly armoured English archers to join in hand-to-hand fighting against the heavily armed French men-at-arms. Most military historians agree that the choice of position by Henry and his advisers was inspired.


Fighting

On the morning of the 25th the French were still waiting for additional troops to arrive. The Duke of Brabant, the Duke of Anjou and the Duke of Brittany, each commanding 1,000–2,000 fighting men, were all marching to join the army. This left the French with a question of whether or not to advance towards the English.


For three hours after sunrise there was no fighting, until Henry, finding that the French would not advance, moved his army further into the defile. Within extreme bowshot from the French line (300 yards), the archers dug in palings (long stakes pointed outwards toward the enemy), and opened the engagement with a barrage of arrows. The use of palings was an innovation: during the battles of Crécy and Poitiers, two similar engagements between the French and the English, the archers did not use them. Combatants Kingdom of England, Allied knights from Germany and Denmark France, Genoese Mercenaries, the Kingdoms of Navarre, Bohemia and the Balearic Islands Commanders Edward III of England Edward, the Black Prince Philip VI of France Strength about 12,000 30,000 to 40,000 Casualties 150-1,000 killed and... Combatants Kingdom of England Gascony France Commanders Edward, the Black Prince Captal de Buch John II of France Strength 9,000 12,000 Casualties Minimal 2,500 killed or wounded The Battle of Poitiers was fought between the Kingdom of England and France on September 19, 1356, resulting in the...


The French at this point lost some of their discipline and the mounted wings charged the longbowmen, but it was a disaster, with the French knights unable to outflank the longbowmen (because of the encroaching woodland) and unable to charge through the palings that protected the archers. Keegan (1976) argues that the longbows' main influence on the battle was at this point: only armoured on the head, many horses would have become dangerously out of control when struck in the back or flank from the high-elevation shots used as the charge started. The effect of the mounted charge and then retreat was to further churn up the mud the French had to cross to reach the English. Barker (2005) quotes a contemporary account by a monk of St. Denis who reports how the panicking horses also galloped back through the advancing infantry, scattering them and trampling them down in their headlong flight. West façade of Saint Denis Depiction of the Trinity over the main entrance The Basilica of Saint Denis (French: Basilique de Saint-Denis, or simply Basilique Saint-Denis) is the famous burial site of the French monarchs, comparable to Westminster Abbey in England. ...


Following the knights' charge, the constable himself then led the attack by the line of dismounted men-at-arms. They outnumbered the English men-at-arms by several times, but weighed down by armour and sinking deep into the mud with every step, they struggled to close the distance and reach their enemies. The mud was knee-deep or worse in places, and the French men-at-arms would have been very slow, and easy targets for the English bowmen. Armour technology at this stage in history had become more advanced than in the earlier medieval period but was still vulnerable to longbow arrows, especially at close ranges where the longbow was said to have penetrated plate visors and armour as if it were cloth. [citation needed] However, the archers quickly ran out of arrows and resorted to the daggers, or leaden mallets many of them carried to drive in the stakes, and engaged the French knights [4]. For other uses, see Armour (disambiguation). ...


The thin line of English men-at-arms was pushed back and Henry himself was almost beaten to the ground. However, because of the number of men they had brought into the battlefield, and the fact that the battlefield narrowed towards the English end, the French found themselves far too closely packed, and had trouble using their weapons properly (Keegan 1976). At this moment, the archers, using hatchets, swords and other weapons, attacked the now disordered and fatigued French, who could not cope with their unarmoured assailants (who were much less hindered by the mud), and were slaughtered or taken prisoner. By this time the second line of the French had already attacked, only to be engulfed in the mêlée. Its leaders, like those of the first line, were killed or captured, and the commanders of the third line sought and found their death in the battle, while their men rode off to safety. A carpenters hatchet See Hatchet (novel) for the young adult novel. ... Swiss longsword, 15th or 16th century Look up Sword in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


One of the best anecdotes of the battle involves Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, Henry V's youngest brother. According to the story, Henry, upon hearing that his brother had been wounded in the abdomen, took his household guard and cut a path through the French, standing over his brother and beating back waves of soldiers until Humphrey could be dragged to safety. Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester (3 October 1390 – February 23, 1447) was the fourth son of King Henry IV of England by his first wife, Mary de Bohun. ...


The only French success was a sally from Agincourt Castle behind the lines attacking the unprotected English baggage train. Ysambart D'Agincourt with 1,000 peasants seized the King's personal belongings and killed the unarmed attendants and 'page boys' usually little children. Thinking his rear was under attack and worried that the prisoners would rearm themselves with the weapons strewn upon the field, Henry ordered the slaughter of his French prisoners. The nobles and senior officers, wishing to ransom the captives (and perhaps from a sense of honour, having received the surrender ['passeport'] of the prisoners), refused. The task fell to the common soldiers.


Aftermath

The next morning, Henry returned to the battlefield and ordered the coup de grace of any wounded Frenchmen which was de rigueur and considered merciful at the time [citation needed]. All of the nobility had already been taken away. It is likely that most commoners left on the field were too badly injured to survive without medical care. Coup de Grace was a a multimedia project under which Michael Moynihan released recordings and print. ... Look up de rigueur in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


Due to a lack of reliable sources it is impossible to give a precise figure for the French and English casualties. However, it is clear that though the English were considerably outnumbered, their losses were much lower than those of the French.


Claims that the English lost only thirteen men-at-arms (including Edward of Norwich, 2nd Duke of York, a grandson of Edward III) and about 100 foot soldiers are quite unlikely, given the ferocity of the fighting.. One fairly widely used estimate puts the English casualties at 450, not an insignificant number in an army of 6,000, but far less than the thousands the French lost. Edward of Norwich, 2nd Duke of York and 1st Duke of Aumale (1373 - 25 October 1415) died by drowning in mud at the Battle of Agincourt, the major English casualty in that battle. ... This article is about the King of England. ...


The French suffered heavily. The constable, three dukes, five counts and 90 barons (see below) were among the dead, and a number of notable prisoners were taken, amongst them the Duke of Orléans (the famous poet Charles d'Orléans) and Jean Le Maingre, Marshal of France.[citation needed] Charles of Valois, Duc dOrléans (November 24, 1394 – January 5, 1465) became Duke of Orléans in 1407, following the murder of his father, Louis of Valois on the orders of Duke John-the-Fearless of Burgundy. ... Jean II Le Maingre (in Old French, Jehan le Meingre), called Boucicaut (August 28, 1366-1421) was marshal of France and a knight renowned for his military skill. ... Baton of a modern Marshal of France The Marshal of France (French: Maréchal de France) is a military distinction in contemporary France, not a military rank. ...


Notable casualties

Antoine of Burgundy (August 1384 – October 25, 1415, in the battle of Agincourt), was Duke of Brabant and Limburg and Margrave of Antwerp. ... Coat of arms of Dukes of Brabant The Duchy of Brabant was formally erected in 1183/1184. ... Phillip II, Count of Nevers (October 1389, Villaines-en-Duesmois – October 25, 1415, Agincourt) was the youngest son of Philip II, Duke of Burgundy and Margaret III of Flanders. ... This is a list of the counts of Nevers. ... This is a list of counts and dukes of Rethel. ... Charles dAlbert (c1337 -1415)was constable of France and joint commander of the French army at Agincourt where he was killed He was born into a old Gascon family around 1337, he was the son of Arnaud Lord of Albert and fought under Bertrand du Guesclin as a young... Arms of the Counts of Dreux The Counts of Dreux in France took their title from the chief stronghold of their domain, the château of Dreux, which lies near the boundary between Normandy and the Ile de France. ... The Constable of France (French connétable de France, from Latin comes stabulari for count of the stables), as the First Officer of the Crown, was one of the original five Great Officers of the Crown of France (along with seneschal, chamberlain, butler, and chancellor) and Commander in Chief of... John I of Alençon, called the Sage (1385, Château dEssay, – October 25, 1415, Azincourt), was the son of Peter II of Alençon and Marie de Chamaillard. ... Frederick of Lorraine (1371 - October 25, 1415, in the battle of Agincourt) was Count of Vaudemont. ... In the middle of the 10th century, the territory of Bar (Barrois) formed a dependency of the Holy Roman Empire. ... Edward of Norwich, 2nd Duke of York and 1st Duke of Aumale (1373 - 25 October 1415) died by drowning in mud at the Battle of Agincourt, the major English casualty in that battle. ... Michael de la Pole, 3rd Earl of Suffolk (1394 – 25 October 1415) was an English nobleman who died at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. ...

Sir Peers Legh

When Sir Peers Legh was wounded, his mastiff stood over him and protected him for many hours through the battle. Although Legh later died, the mastiff returned to Legh's home and became the forefather of the Lyme Park mastiffs. Five centuries later, this pedigree figured prominently in founding the modern English Mastiff breed. Look up sir in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Sir Peers Legh was wounded in the Battle of Agincourt his Mastiff stood over him and protected him for many hours through the battle. ... Mastiffs are a group of large, solidly built breeds of dogs typically with heavy bones, pendant ears, a relatively short and well-muscled neck, and a short muzzle. ... The south front of Lyme Park, Cheshire as rebuilt by Giacomo Leoni. ... A pedigreed dog is a dog that has its ancestry recorded and tracked by a major dog registry. ... The English Mastiff, often called simply Mastiff, is a large breed of dog of the general mastiff or Molosser type. ...


Modern re-assessment of Agincourt

Were the English as outnumbered as traditionally thought?

Until recently, Agincourt has been feted as one of the greatest victories in English military history. But, in Agincourt, A New History (2005), Anne Curry makes the claim that the scale of the English triumph at Agincourt was overstated for almost six centuries. (It should be noted that none of her international contemporaries agree with her.)


According to her research, the French still outnumbered the English and Welsh but at worst only by a factor of three to two (12,000 Frenchmen against 7,000 Englishmen). According to Curry, the Battle of Agincourt was a "myth constructed around Henry to build up his reputation as a king". The legend of the English as underdogs at Agincourt was given credence in popular English culture with William Shakespeare's Henry V in 1599. In the speech before the battle, Shakespeare puts in the mouth of Henry V the famous words, "We few, we happy few, we band of brothers," immediately after numbering English troops at twelve thousand, versus sixty thousand Frenchman. Furthermore, Shakespeare seriously overstated the French casualties and understated the English, even by the traditional count; at the end (Act IV, Scene 8), when Henry's herald delivers the death toll, the numbers are 10,000 French dead and just 29 English. Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... Title page of the first quarto (1600) Henry V, also known as The Cronicle History of Henry the fift, is a play by William Shakespeare based on the life of King Henry V of England. ... Year 1599 was a common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Monday of the 10-day slower Julian calendar). ...


The primary sources themselves generally do not agree on the numbers of the combatants involved. For example, Enguerrand the Monstrelet, a chronicler writing thirty-eight years after the battle, gave a number of 13,000 archers and 2,000 men-at-arms for the English while the French first and second battles plus the two mounted wings added up to 25,000 men. He does not provide any numbers for the mounted reserve that made up the third battle, stating only that it ran away upon seeing the English victory over the first and second battles.


Juliet Barker in Agincourt: The King, the Campaign, the Battle, claims 6,000 English and Welsh fought against 36,000 French, from a French heraldic source. Juliet Barker is a British historian, specialising in the Middle Ages and literary biography. ...


Many documentaries about the Battle of Agincourt use the figures of about 6,000 English and 36,000 French, with a French superiority in numbers of 6–1. The 1911 Encylopædia Britannica puts the English at 6,000 archers, 1,000 men-at-arms and "a few thousands of other foot", with the French outnumbering them by "at least four times". Other historians put the English numbers at 6,000 and the French numbers at 20,000–30,000, which would also be consistent with the English being outnumbered 4–1. Curry is currently alone in putting the odds at significantly less than this and is disputed by the entirety of her profession.


Fingering a popular myth

According to a popular myth the "two-fingers salute" and/or V sign derives from the gestures of longbowmen fighting in the English army at the battle of Agincourt. The myth claims that the French cut off two fingers on the right hand of captured archers and that the gesture was a sign of defiance by those who were not mutilated. (This false etymology has also given rise to an alternative name for the gesture, which can also be known as flicking an "Archers Salute" or just "Archers" as in "He just flicked me an Archers!") The website Snopes [2], however, shows that medieval warriors had no interest in capturing common archers that could not be held for ransom, preferring instead to simply kill such prisoners. Furthermore, mutilating a prisoner to stop them from using a bow would not make sense, since killing them would stop them from ever serving the enemy again. There is also the fact that contemporary accounts of the battle make no references to the French mutilating their prisoners by cutting off fingers from their hands.[3] (The first definitive known reference to the V sign is in the works of François Rabelais, a French satirist of the 1500s. [4]) An urban legend or urban myth is similar to a modern folklore consisting of stories often thought to be factual by those circulating them. ... This article is about the English as an ethnic group and nation. ... Scythian bowmen on gold plaque from Kul oba kurgan, in Crimea, fourth century BC. An archer is someone who practices archery. ... A false etymology is an assumed or postulated etymology which is incorrect from the perspective of modern scholarly work in historical linguistics. ... Snopes, also known as the Urban Legends Reference Pages, is a website dedicated to determining the truth about many urban legends, Internet rumors, email forwards, and other such stories of uncertain or questionable origin. ... The term ransom refers to the practice of holding a prisoner to extort money or property extorted to secure their release, or to the sum of money involved. ... This image depicts a typical bow, as made by the Huns, lying against a tree. ... François Rabelais François Rabelais (c. ...


The belief that the V sign originated among archers might have its origin in the work of the historian Jean Froissart (c. 1337–c. 1404), who died before the Battle of Agincourt took place. In his Chronicles, he recounts a story of the English waving their fingers at the French during a siege of a castle, however he makes no reference to which fingers were used meaning that this is not evidence of the origin of the V sign. Jean Froissart (~1337 - ~1405) was one of the most important of the chroniclers of medieval France. ... Froissarts Chronicle was written in French by Jean Froissart. ... For other uses, see Castle (disambiguation). ...


The "two-fingers salute" is certainly older than Agincourt. It appears in the Macclesfield Psalter MS 1-2005 Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, believed to be produced in about 1330, Folio 130 Recto, CDROM p261, being made by a glove on the extended nose of a marginalia depicting a human headed hybrid beast, ridden by a person playing the pipe and tabor. The Psalter marginalia have many absurdities and obscenities so the traditional meaning of this gesture would not be out of place here. As the gesture is made by a disembodied glove accidental positioning of the hand may be ruled out. Two-fingers salute in Poland. ... The Macclesfield Psalter is regarded as a national treasure in the United Kingdom The Macclesfield Psalter is a lavishly illuminated manuscript from the English region of East Anglia, written in Latin and produced around 1330. ...


See also

Dafydd ap Llewelyn ap Hywel (c. ... A 15th-century depiction of the Battle of Agincourt. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... Title page of the first quarto (1600) Henry V, also known as The Cronicle History of Henry the fift, is a play by William Shakespeare based on the life of King Henry V of England. ... Laurence Kerr Olivier, Baron Olivier, OM, (IPA: ; 22 May 1907 – 11 July 1989) was an Academy Award, Golden Globe, BAFTA and four-time Emmy winning English actor, director, and producer. ... Henry V is a 1944 film adaptation of William Shakespeares play Henry V. The on-screen title is The Chronicle History of King Henry the Fift with His Battell Fought at Agincourt in France (the title of the 1600 quarto edition of the play). ... Kenneth Charles Branagh (born December 10, 1960) is an Emmy Award-winning, Academy Award-nominated Northern Irish-born actor and film director. ... Henry reads of the French dead after the battle of Agincourt Henry V is a 1989 film directed by Kenneth Branagh, and based upon the Shakespeare play. ...

Notes

  1. ^ Trevor Dupuy, Harper Encyclopedia of Military History. p. 450. However, "..it is likely that casualties were substantially greater than this."
  2. ^ Wason, David (2004). Battlefield Detectives. London: Carlton Books, p74. ISBN 0233050833. 
  3. ^ Holmes, Richard (1996). War Walks. London: BBC Worldwide Publishing, p48. ISBN 0-563-38360-7. 
  4. ^ Barker, 2005

Edward Richard Holmes CBE TD JP (born March 29, 1946), known as Richard Holmes, is a British soldier and noted military historian, particularly well-known through his many television appearances. ...

Bibliography

  • Barker, Juliet (2005). Agincourt: The King, the Campaign, the Battle Pub: Little, Brown. ISBN 978-0-316-72648-1 (UK). ISBN 978-0-316-01503-5 (U.S.: Agincourt : Henry V and the Battle That Made England (2006)).
  • Curry, Anne (2005). Agincourt: A New History. Pub: Tempus UK. ISBN 978-0-7524-2828-4
  • "Battle of Agincourt" in Military Heritage, October 2005, Volume 7, No. 2, pp. 36 to 43). ISSN 1524-8666.
  • Dupuy, Trevor N. (1993). Harper Encyclopedia of Military History. Pub: New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-270056-8
  • Hibbert, Christopher (1971). Great Battles—Agincourt. London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson. ISBN 1842127187. 
  • Keegan, John (1976). The Face of Battle: A Study of Agincourt, Waterloo, and the Somme. Pub: Viking Adult. ISBN 978-0-14-004897-1 (Penguin Classics Reprint)
  • The Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge Macclesfield Psalter CD, e-mail [email protected]

Juliet Barker is a British historian, specialising in the Middle Ages and literary biography. ... “My personal feeling is that if I have done anything worthwhile, it is in military theory and the relationship of the elements of historical experience to theory. ... Christopher Hibbert, MC, (born 1924) is an English writer and popular historian and biographer. ... Sir John Keegan OBE (born 1934) is a British military historian, lecturer and journalist. ...

External links

In Our Time is a discussion programme hosted by Melvyn Bragg on BBC Radio 4 in the United Kingdom. ...


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