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They Earned Their Spurs in Flanders Fields

The French have pushed on Flanders County in what is present day Belgium and the Flemish are pushing back....hard. The French occupy the town of Burges, thinking the town is subdued but they are so wrong. The townspeople are sweeping through killing anyone who cannot pronounce the Dutch phrase "schild en vriend". It means "Shield and Friend" and it is thought that a Frenchman can't pronounce it to save his life. Apparently so. The French retaliate with 2,500 mounted knights, with supporting infantry totaling 8,000 but their attack is slowed by Flander's boggy battlefield as 9,000 men of Flanders swarm over them. Apparently the Flemish are not familiar with the French word for "surrender". As the French turn to run, the spurs of the knights fall to the ground. The Battle of the Golden Spurs is the reason why the official language of Flanders remains Dutch rather than French and BY LAW this battle was declared an official holiday in 1973. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
It was 1973 and they were STILL torqued off enough to pass a law officially recognizing this battle. [9] That tells you something. Even the Belgians have a hard time getting the Flemish to go along.

"In Flanders Fields" by John McCrae, 1919 was inspired by the number of deaths in World War I over that piece of land.[10]

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
      Between the crosses, row on row,
   That mark our place; and in the sky
   The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
   Loved and were loved, and now we lie
         In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
   The torch; be yours to hold it high.
   If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
         In Flanders fields. 

Payback is a Bitch When You Don't Pay Your Bills

This has been a bad year for the Byzantine Empire. Venice and Genoa have declared peace, which means Venice can hit Byzantium hard for not paying the money it owes them. Even with war losses the Venetians can still kick the backsides of the Byzantium navy and they do, occupying land, taking slaves and generally breaking things. The Ottoman Muslims are busy harassing the Byzantine Christian army with hit and run tactics. Emperor Michael IX's and his forces are hemmed in at the Battle of Bapheus and he is forced to retreat by sea. Many of his soldiers disperse, taking their families back to Europe as the Muslims move to occupy those deserted lands. Scholars mark this time as the establishment of the Ottoman Empire as a state. Osman I made it happen and he will continue to harass the Greek Empire for many years to come. [11] [12] [13] [14]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Michael IX's father made a mistake when he dismissed his mercenaries in an attempt to save money. But then again, one wonders if he had any money to give them. At the last moment he will receive a letter from Spanish mercenaries. They are available for hire and what choice does he have? These mercenaries, as good as they are at fighting, are loyal only to themselves and that becomes a problem for the Emperor later on when he fails to pay them. [15]

The First Estate is Kicking the Second Estate in the Backside

Pope Boniface VIII is kicking King Philip the Fair of France right in the backside with a papal bull and King Phillip is kicking right back. Through the Middle Ages, the Three Estates have held an uneasy truce, the Nobility, the Clergy and the Peasants. Now the Pope is saying that his word reigns supreme over all. In retaliation King Philip is calling for a General Meeting of the Estates in France. In time there will be a split in the Church and a new Pope will reside in the South of France. [16] [17] [18] [19] [20]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Rest assured that the Estates will vote as the King wants them to vote... sort of like how President Obama runs things. And when the Media calls themselves "The Fourth Estate" they are talking about this same Estate System. And the movie "The Fifth Estate", which features Wikileaks and Julian Assange, asserts the same thing. They consider themselves co-equal partners in the government with some being more equal than others. They are trying to reinstate a "Middle Ages" system of government and guess who gets to play the part of "peasant"?[21][22][23][24]

See Also

  • 1282 The Sicilians Bring a Knife to a Knife Fight


  1. The Battle of Courtrai or the Battle of the Golden Spurs, Joris de Sutter, March 30, 2001
  2. Kortrijk: Battle of the Golden Spurs, Trabel and Arakea Travel, 2001
  3. Battle of the Golden Spurs, from Encyclopedia Britannica
  4. The Battle of the Golden Spurs, 1302, originally from Annales Gandenses/Annals of Ghent, trans. Hilda Johnstone (London, 1951)
  5. schild en vriend, Google Translate and Pronounce (TRANSLATOR)
  6. Bruges Matins (history), Wikipedia
  7. Philip IV of France, Wikipedia
  8. The Day of the Flemish Community of Belgium, Wikipedia
  9. Belgium , Wikipedia
  10. In Flanders Fields, Wikipedia
  11. Byzantium: Volume 3: Decline and Fall by John Julius Norwich, pp. 262-272
  12. The Last Centuries of Byzantium, 1261-1453 by Donald M. Nicol, Cambridge University Press, Oct 14, 1993, pp. 127-129
  13. Byzantine Battles, Manolis Papathanassiou, 2011-2014
  14. Battle of Bapheus, Wikipedia
  15. Roger de Flor (Your friendly neighborhood mercenary), Wikipedia
  16. Unam Sanctam, Johann Peter Kirsch, The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 15. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912.
  17. Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam, 1302, from Medieval Sourcebook (TEXT)
  18. Pope Boniface VIII, Wikipedia
  19. Papal supremacy, Wikipedia
  20. Philip IV (the Fair) of France, Wikipedia
  21. The Three Estates of the Feudal System of France During the French Revolution by Amy Mimm, Sep 8, 2009
  22. Wikileaks News, from The Guardian News
  23. The Fifth Estate (film), Director: Steve McQueen
  24. Estates of the Realm, Wikipedia

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