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. Without the middle finger it would be impossible to draw the renowned English longbow and therefore be incapable of fighting in the future. All quotes delayed a minimum of 15 minutes. [97] According to the heralds, 3,069 knights and squires were killed,[e] while at least 2,600 more corpses were found without coats of arms to identify them. While numerous English sources give the English casualties in double figures,[8] record evidence identifies at least 112 Englishmen killed in the fighting,[103] while Monstrelet reported 600 English dead. ", "Miracle in the Mud: The Hundred Years' War's Battle of Agincourt", The Agincourt Battlefield Archaeology Project,, 6,000 killed (most of whom were of the French nobility), Hansen, Mogens Herman (Copenhagen Polis Centre), This page was last edited on 2 February 2023, at 23:13. What does DO NOT HUMP mean on the side of railroad cars? Without the middle finger it would be impossible to draw the renowned English longbow and therefore [soldiers would] be incapable of fighting in the future. 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 French, who were overwhelmingly favored to win the battle, Continue Reading 41 2 7 Alexander L [43], 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. The number is supported by many other contemporary accounts. 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. T he battle of Agincourt, whose 600th anniversary falls on St Crispin's Day, 25 October, is still tabloid gold, Gotcha! News of the contrivance circulated within Europe and was described in a book of tactics written in 1411 by. 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. A truce had been formally declared in 1396 that was meant to last 28 years, sealed by the marriage of the French king Charles VIs daughter to King Richard II of England. Originally representing the erect phallus, the gesture conveyssimultaneously a sexual threat to the person to whom it is directed andapotropaicmeans of warding off unwanted elements of the more-than-human. ( here ). "Guardian newspaper:French correction: Henry V's Agincourt fleet was half as big, historian claims, 28 July 2015", "Living Dictionary of the French Language", "Limitations imposed by wearing armour on Medieval soldiers' locomotor performance", "High Court Rules for French at Agincourt", "High Court Justices, Legal Luminaries Debate Shakespeare's 'Henry V', "The Development of Battle Tactics in the Hundred Years War", "Historians Reassess Battle of Agincourt", The Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge, "Henry V's Greatest Victory is Besieged by Academia", The Little Grey Horse Henry V's Speech at Agincourt and the Battle Exhortation in Ancient Historiography, "The Battle of Agincourt: An Alternative location? One popular "origin story" for the middle finger has to do with the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. Several heralds, both French and English, were present at the battle of Agincourt, and not one of them (or any later chroniclers of Agincourt) mentioned anything about the French having cut off the fingers of captured English bowman. Nicolle, D. (2004). The English numbered roughly 5,000 knights, men-at-arms, and archers. 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". [31], The precise location of the battle is not known. Before the battle of Agincourt in 1415, the French proposed cutting the middle finger off of captured English soldiers rendering them incapable of shooting longbows. In his 2007 film adaptation, director Peter Babakitis uses digital effects to exaggerate realist features during the battle scenes, producing a more avant-garde interpretation of the fighting at Agincourt. The military aspects of this account are similarly specious. [126], Shakespeare's depiction of the battle also plays on the theme of modernity. By most contemporary accounts, the French army was also significantly larger than the English, though the exact degree of their numerical superiority is disputed. Your opponent is not going to pay you (or pay you much) for the return of mutilated soldiers, so now what do you do with them? She graduated from the University of Chicago in 2019 with bachelor's degrees in English Language and Literature and Medieval Studies. [62] The historian Suetonius, writing about Augustus Caesar, says the emperor expelled [the entertainer] Pylades . [18] A recent re-appraisal of Henry's strategy of the Agincourt campaign incorporates these three accounts and argues that war was seen as a legal due process for solving the disagreement over claims to the French throne. Send questions to Cecil via England had been fraught with political discord since Henry IV of the house of Lancaster (father of Henry V) had usurped the throne from Richard II in 1399. [50] Both lines were arrayed in tight, dense formations of about 16 ranks each, and were positioned a bowshot length from each other. [33], Early on the 25th, Henry deployed his army (approximately 1,500 men-at-arms and 7,000 longbowmen) across a 750-yard (690m) part of the defile. Although it could be intended as humorous, the image on social media is historically inaccurate. It forms the backdrop to events in William Shakespeare 's play Henry V, written in 1599. The Battle of Agincourt was immortalized by William Shakespeare in his play Henry V. While every effort has been made to follow citation style rules, there may be some discrepancies. 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. . 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. [89] A slaughter of the French prisoners ensued. Take on the burden and expense of caring for them? It is also because of the pheasant feathers on the arrows that the symbolic gesture is known as "giving the bird". This battle is notable for the use of the English longbow in very large numbers, with the English and Welsh archers comprising nearly 80 percent of Henry's army. The insulting gesture of extending one's middle finger (referred to as digitus impudicus in Latin) originated long before the Battle of Agincourt. 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. Agincourt. [7] Barker, who believes the English were outnumbered by at least four to one,[120] says that the armed servants formed the rearguard in the battle. Why do some people have that one extra-long fingernail on the pinkie finger. [123] Other ballads followed, including "King Henry Fifth's Conquest of France", raising the popular prominence of particular events mentioned only in passing by the original chroniclers, such as the gift of tennis balls before the campaign. Battle of Agincourt, (October 25, 1415)Battle resulting in the decisive victory of the English over the French in the Hundred Years' War. "[129], The play introduced the famous St Crispin's Day Speech, considered one of Shakespeare's most heroic speeches, which Henry delivers movingly to his soldiers just before the battle, urging his "band of brothers" to stand together in the forthcoming fight. A Dictionary of Superstitions. [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. After a difficult siege, the English forces found themselves assaulted by a massive French force. When Henry V acceded to the English throne in 1413, there had been a long hiatus in the fighting. There is no evidence that, when captured in any scenario,archers had their finger cut off by the enemy( ). [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. However, a need to reassert his authority at home (as well as his own ambition and a sense of justice) led Henry V to renew English claims in France. By 1415, negotiations had ground to a halt, with the English claiming that the French had mocked their claims and ridiculed Henry himself. The ransoming of prisoners was the only way for medieval soldiers to make a quick fortune, and so they seized every available opportunity to capture opponents who could be exchanged for handsome prices. David Mikkelson Published Sep 29, 1999. One final observation: any time some appeal begins with heres something that intelligent people will find edifying you should be suspicious. The decorative use of the image of Priapusmatched the Roman use ofimages of male genitalia for warding off evil. The battle occurred on Friday, 25 October 1415 ( Saint Crispin's Day ), near modern-day Azincourt, in northern France. [114][115] Curry and Mortimer questioned the reliability of the Gesta, as there have been doubts as to how much it was written as propaganda for Henry V. Both note that the Gesta vastly overestimates the number of French in the battle; its proportions of English archers to men-at-arms at the battle are also different from those of the English army before the siege of Harfleur. 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.'" In another of his books Morris describes a variety of sexual insults involving the middle finger, such as the middle-finger down prod, the middle-finger erect, etc., all of which are different from the classic middle-finger jerk. [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. The French hoped to raise 9,000 troops, but the army was not ready in time to relieve Harfleur. This material may not be reproduced without permission. Without a river obstacle to defend, the French were hesitant to force a battle. [68], Henry's men were already very weary from hunger, illness and retreat. (Its taking longer than we thought.) One of the most renowned. Maybe it means five and was a symbol of support for Henry V? Battle of Agincourt, (October 25, 1415), decisive battle in the Hundred Years War (13371453) that resulted in the victory of the English over the French. Opie, Iona and Moira Tatem. The Duke of Brabant (about 2,000 men),[65] the Duke of Anjou (about 600 men),[65] and the Duke of Brittany (6,000 men, according to Monstrelet),[66] were all marching to join the army. Since 'pluck yew' is rather difficult to say (like "pleasant mother pheasant plucker", which is who you had to go to for the feathers used on the arrows), 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. Bowman were not valuable prisoners, though: they stood outside the chivalric system and were considered the social inferiors of men-at-arms. Its up there with heres something that they dont want you to know.. Juliet Barker quotes a contemporary account by a monk from St. Denis who reports how the wounded and panicking horses galloped through the advancing infantry, scattering them and trampling them down in their headlong flight from the battlefield. [93] Among them were 90120 great lords and bannerets killed, including[95] three dukes (Alenon, Bar and Brabant), nine counts (Blmont, Dreux, Fauquembergue, Grandpr, Marle, Nevers, Roucy, Vaucourt, Vaudmont) and one viscount (Puisaye), also an archbishop. It took place on 25 October 1415 (Saint Crispin's Day) near Azincourt, in northern France. . Since then there had been tension between the nobility and the royal house, widespread lawlessness throughout the kingdom, and several attempts on Henry Vs life.

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