Course Hero uses AI to attempt to automatically extract content from documents to surface to you and others so you can study better, e.g., in search results, to enrich docs, and more. Agincourt came on the back of half a century of military failure and gave the English a success that repeated victories such as Crcy and Poitiers. [90] 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. The Battle of Agincourt (720p) Watch on With Toby Merrell, Ian Brooker, Philip Rosch, Brian Blessed. I suppose that the two-fingered salute could still come from medieval archery, even if it didnt come specifically from the Battle of Agincourt, although the example that Wikipedia links to (the fourteenth-century Luttrell Psalter) is ambiguous. [8] These included the Duke of York, the young Earl of Suffolk and the Welsh esquire Dafydd ("Davy") Gam. In March 2010, a mock trial of Henry V for the crimes associated with the slaughter of the prisoners was held in Washington, D.C., drawing from both the historical record and Shakespeare's play. In pursuit of his claim to the French throne, Henry V invaded Normandy with an army of 11,000 men in August 1415. [93] Entire noble families were wiped out in the male line, and in some regions an entire generation of landed nobility was annihilated. Nicolle, D. (2004). Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. [23] The army of about 12,000 men and up to 20,000 horses besieged the port of Harfleur. [105] Other benefits to the English were longer term. [124], The most famous cultural depiction of the battle today is in Act IV of William Shakespeare's Henry V, written in 1599. In the song Hotel California, what does colitas mean? This symbol of rocking out is formed by tucking the middle and index finger and holding them in place with the thumb. [c], The English made their confessions before the battle, as was customary. The next line of French knights that poured in found themselves so tightly packed (the field narrowed at the English end) that they were unable to use their weapons effectively, and the tide of the battle began to turn toward the English. The French, who were overwhelmingly favored to win the battle, Continue Reading 41 2 7 Alexander L [96] Of the great royal office holders, France lost its constable (Albret), an admiral (the lord of Dampierre), the Master of Crossbowmen (David de Rambures, dead along with three sons), Master of the Royal Household (Guichard Dauphin) and prvt of the marshals. Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree. On the morning of 25 October, the French were still waiting for additional troops to arrive. It is also because of the pheasant feathers on the arrows that the gesture is known as giving the bird. And yew all thought yew knew everything! Thepostalleges that the Frenchhad planned to cut offthe middle fingers ofall captured English soldiers,to inhibit them fromdrawingtheir longbowsin futurebattles. [88], Regardless of when the baggage assault happened, at some point after the initial English victory, Henry became alarmed that the French were regrouping for another attack. [59], The field of battle was arguably the most significant factor in deciding the outcome. (Its taking longer than we thought.) The battlefield was a freshly plowed field, and at the time of the battle, it had been raining continuously for several days. She graduated from the University of Chicago in 2019 with bachelor's degrees in English Language and Literature and Medieval Studies. When the English won the battle the soldiers waved their middle fingers at the French in defiance, thus flipping the bird was born Image source Since pluck yew is rather difficult to say, like pheasant mother plucker, which is who you had to go to for the feathers used on the arrows for the longbow, the difficult consonant cluster at the beginning has gradually changed to a labiodental fricative f, and thus the words often used in conjunction with the one-finger salute are mistakenly thought to have something to do with an intimate encounter. On October 25, 1415, during the Hundred Years' War (1337-1453) between England and France, Henry V (1386-1422), the young king of England, led his forces to victory at the Battle of . This moment of the battle is portrayed both as a break with the traditions of chivalry and as a key example of the paradox of kingship. [126], Shakespeare's depiction of the battle also plays on the theme of modernity. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992 ISBN 0-19-282916-5 (p. 454). The English army, led by King Henry V, famously achieved victory in spite of the numerical superiority of its opponent. [34][d] The French apparently had no clear plan for deploying the rest of the army. According to most chroniclers, Henry's fear was that the prisoners (who, in an unusual turn of events, actually outnumbered their captors) would realise their advantage in numbers, rearm themselves with the weapons strewn about the field and overwhelm the exhausted English forces. It is unclear whether the delay occurred because the French were hoping the English would launch a frontal assault (and were surprised when the English instead started shooting from their new defensive position), or whether the French mounted knights instead did not react quickly enough to the English advance. Jones, P. N. (1992). The version that I tell explains the specific British custom of elevating two fingers as a rude gesture. Battle of Agincourt. 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. [82], The surviving French men-at-arms reached the front of the English line and pushed it back, with the longbowmen on the flanks continuing to shoot at point-blank range. [93] In all, around 6,000 of their fighting men lay dead on the ground. Didn't it originate at Agincourt? The basic premise that the origins of the one-finger gesture and its association with the profane word "fuck" were an outgrowth of the 1415 battle between French and English forces at Agincourt is simple enough to debunk. [citation needed], 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. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). In the Battle of Agincourt, the French threatened the English Soldiers that they would cut off their fingers and when they failed the Englishmen mocked them by showing their fingers. Keegan, John. Military textbooks of the time stated: "Everywhere and on all occasions that foot soldiers march against their enemy face to face, those who march lose and those who remain standing still and holding firm win. According to research, heres the true story: 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. And for a variety of reasons, it made no military sense whatsoever for the French to capture English archers, then mutilate them by cutting off their fingers. Wikipedia. And where does the distinction between one and two fingers come from? [44] There was a special, elite cavalry force whose purpose was to break the formation of the English archers and thus clear the way for the infantry to advance. [25] The siege took longer than expected. The two candidates with the strongest claims were Edward III of England, who was the son of Charles's sister, and Philip, Charles's paternal . 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. 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. The image makes the further claim that the English soldiers chanted pluck yew, ostensibly in reference to the drawing of the longbow. [22], Henry's army landed in northern France on 13 August 1415, carried by a vast fleet. before a defensive battle was possible. After the initial wave, the French would have had to fight over and on the bodies of those who had fallen before them. [50] Both lines were arrayed in tight, dense formations of about 16 ranks each, and were positioned a bowshot length from each other. The situation in England, coupled with the fact that France was weakened by its own political crisisthe insanity of Charles VI had resulted in a fight for power among the nobilitymade it an ideal moment for Henry to press his claims. There is a modern museum in Agincourt village dedicated to the battle. As John Keegan wrote in his history of warfare: "To meet a similarly equipped opponent was the occasion for which the armoured soldier trained perhaps every day of his life from the onset of manhood. According to contemporary English accounts, Henry fought hand to hand. The pl sound, the story goes, gradually changed into an f, giving the gesture its present meaning. Battles were observed and chronicled by heralds who were present at the scene and recorded what they saw, judged who won, and fixed names for the battles. In the other reference Martial writes that a certain party points a finger, an indecent one, at some other people. [127], Shakespeare's play presented Henry as leading a truly English force into battle, playing on the importance of the link between the monarch and the common soldiers in the fight. 78-116). Departing from Harfleur on October 8, Henry marched northward toward the English-held port of Calais, where he would disembark for England, with a force of 1,000 knights and men-at-arms and 5,000 archers. Materials characterization, 29(2), 111117. [109] Juliet Barker, Jonathan Sumption and Clifford J. Rogers criticized Curry's reliance on administrative records, arguing that they are incomplete and that several of the available primary sources already offer a credible assessment of the numbers involved. It supposedly describes the origin of the middle-finger hand gesture and, by implication, the insult "fuck you". One popular "origin story" for the middle finger has to do with the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. But lets not quibble. Although it could be intended as humorous, the image on social media is historically inaccurate. The Battle of Agincourt took place on October 25, 1415. The town surrendered on 22 September, and the English army did not leave until 8 October. 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. Whether this was true is open to question and continues to be debated to this day; however, it seems likely that death was the normal fate of any soldier who could not be ransomed. giving someone the middle finger Most importantly, the battle was a significant military blow to France and paved the way for further English conquests and successes. By 24 October, both armies faced each other for battle, but the French declined, hoping for the arrival of more troops. 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. Many folkloric or etymological myths have sprung up about its origin, especially the widely quoted one about the interplay between the French and English soldiery at the battle of Agincourt 1415, where the French threatened to amputate the middle fingers of the English archers to prevent them from drawing their bows, which of course is absolute Jean de Wavrin, a knight on the French side wrote that English fatalities were 1,600 men of all ranks. In a book on the battle of Agincourt, Anne Curry, Professor Emeritus of Medieval History at the University of Southampton, addressed a similar claim prescribed to the V-sign, also considered an offensive gesture: No chronicle or sixteenth-centuryhistory says that English archers made any gesture to the French after the battle in order to show they still had their fingers. What does DO NOT HUMP mean on the side of railroad cars? The point is, the middle-finger/phallus equation goes back way before the Titanic, the Battle of Agincourt, or probably even that time Sextillus cut off Pylades with his chariot. [5] [b] Henry V 's victory at Agincourt, against a numerically superior French army. 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. French chroniclers agree that when the mounted charge did come, it did not contain as many men as it should have; Gilles le Bouvier states that some had wandered off to warm themselves and others were walking or feeding their horses. 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". Made just prior to the invasion of Normandy, Olivier's rendition gives the battle what Sarah Hatchuel has termed an "exhilarating and heroic" tone, with an artificial, cinematic look to the battle scenes. The third line of the French army, recoiling at the pile of corpses before them and unable to make an effective charge, was then massacred swiftly. Details the English victory over the French at the Battle of Agincourt. Eventually the archers abandoned their longbows and began fighting hand-to-hand with swords and axes alongside the men-at-arms. After Henry V marched to the north, the French moved to block them along the River Somme. Poitiers 1356: The capture of a king (Vol. It was often reported to comprise 1,500 ships, but was probably far smaller. The French army blocked Henry's way to the safety of Calais, and delaying battle would only further weaken his tired army and allow more French troops to arrive. The French monk of St. Denis describes the French troops as "marching through the middle of the mud where they sank up to their knees. Henry V and the resumption of the Hundred Years War, That fought with us upon Saint Crispins day,, 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 battle occurred on Friday, 25 October 1415 ( Saint Crispin's Day ), near modern-day Azincourt, in northern France. Two are from the epigrammatist Martial: Laugh loudly, Sextillus, when someone calls you a queen and put your middle finger out., (The verse continues: But you are no sodomite nor fornicator either, Sextillus, nor is Vetustinas hot mouth your fancy. Martial, and Roman poets in general, could be pretty out there, subject-matter-wise.