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The Black Prince Wins His Spurs

After spanking the French Navy in 1340, King Edward III of England has brought his army to within sight of Paris. The Parisians are in a panic, but King Edward turns away because he lacks the numbers to invade Paris. The French regroup and attack in overwhelming numbers at the Battle of Crécy (pronounced: KREE-see), but English war tactics have evolved. The heroes of the day are the English longbow archers. The French crossbow archers panic. The French cavalry collapses in a hail of arrows. Yet the French forces swarm over the English. As the Black Prince falls, his standard-bearer lifts Prince Edward of Woodstock to his feet. The Black Prince will hew horse and man with his sword, and as his fellows fall around him, he will send a messenger to his father calling for reinforcements.

The King asks the messenger, "Is my son dead or felled?"
"Your son is alive but the numbers are against him."
The King responds, "Return to him, and them that sent you here. Say: they send no more [...]. As long as my son is alive, they suffer him today to win his spurs."[1]

The Black Prince will win his spurs and the French forces will be crippled for the next ten years but the English won't be able to take advantage of victory. The Black Death is coming and no one will remain unscathed by it. [2] [3]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The King's response to the Black Prince's request is a new twist on the old Spartan saying, "Return with your shield or on it." Prince Edward of Woodstock's reputation is made in this battle.


  • The Barons trust the King: Any war across the channel implies that everyone is reasonably confident that England is not falling apart. Otherwise the King would not leave England in the first place.
  • More taxes means more wars: With a change in English tax policy in 1290, the King has more money to spend on wars. The tax on "moveable goods" and wool import/export was passed to replace a more limited tax on the Jews who were expelled in the year.... 1290.

[4] [5] [6]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1346, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Jones, Dan. The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England. Penguin Books. 2014 (BOOK)
  2. Battle of Crécy - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  3. Edward, the Black Prince - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  4. Hoplite - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  5. List of Greek phrases - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  6. 300 (2006) - Quotes - IMDb, imdb.com, 2014 [last update] |quote=Queen Gorgo: Come back with your shield, or on it. (MOVIE)

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