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We Band of Brothers

King Henry the 5th of England has attacked France in what historians call the "100 Years' War". What King Henry calls it is taking back his own. [1] The famous Battle of Agincourt takes place on the festival of St. Crispin. King Henry leads his weary troops in hand-to-hand combat against a much larger and well-rested French force but victory really hinges on the English bowmen. The bowmen kill so many Frenchmen that they have taken to raising their two fingers in "V" salute... an insult to the French saying, "I still have these two fingers to draw back my bow." Some historians consider the "V for Victory" sign to have originated here. Against all odds and common sense, the English are victorious and King Henry will be memorialized in the play "Henry V" by William Shakespeare in 1599. [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

WARNING: King Henry the 5th has a real good sense of public relations, BUT he can't outright lie about this battle. There are too many independent accounts of it. Luckily he did well.

My Take by Alex Shrugged
It is worth quoting a few lines from this inspiring speech from Shakespeare's play, Henry V. Click on this link for the speech in its entity. It is all good.
Henry V, Act 4, Scene 3[8], King Henry the 5th is speaking.
Original Paraphrase
 This story shall the good man teach his son;   The good man shall teach his son this story;
 And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,   And never a St. Crispin celebration shall go by,
 From this day to the ending of the world,   From this day to the end of the world,
 But we in it shall be remembered-   But that we shall be remembered...
 We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;   We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
 For he to-day that sheds his blood with me   For today, he who sheds his blood with me
 Shall be my brother;    Shall be my brother;
 Be he ne'er so vile,   No matter how lowly,
 This day shall gentle his condition;   This day shall raise him to nobility;
 And gentlemen in England now-a-bed   And the noblemen in England, now comfortable in their beds
 Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,   Shall think themselves cursed for not being here,
 And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks   And feel less than a man, should anyone speak
 That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.   That fought with us, upon this Saint Crispin's day.

Great Schism: Going Up in Flames

Jan Hus has been an agitator for Church Reform much like John Wycliffe was before his death due to a stroke. Jan Hus has been called to the Council of Constance which has been attempting to resolve the three-way split in the Church, but the Council is also concerned about heresy. Despite a letter of assurance from the Holy Roman Emperor[9], Jan Hus is taken prisoner by the Council and burned at the stake. The bones of John Wycliffe will be exhumed and burned along with him. The Council will also insist on the abdication of the three existing Popes and will elect a new Pope once everyone calms down. [10] [11] [12]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
It looks like this is coming apart, but the Council of Constance will hold it together long enough to get the main job done... reuniting the Church under a single Pope. But the dispute with the followers of Jan Hus is not over. Those followers will be called Hussites and the Hussite Wars will begin in a few years. The Hussites will not be going away. Eventually the Hussites and the Church will come to an uneasy truce. [13]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1415, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Alex Shrugged notes: King Henry the 5th of England is claiming the kingship of France. King Edward the 3rd of England claimed the kingship of France through his mother, Queen Isabella, the sister of the late King of France. In France, a woman could not succeed the throne but the rules said nothing about the sons of those women, and since Queen Isabella was the last of the line, it made sense TO HER that her son would succeed to the throne of France and unite France and England rather than abandon her dynastic line in favor of some distant cousin. The French nobility did not agree and thus began the 100 Years' War... that will last LONGER than 100 years but who's counting? Also note that Queen Isabella makes Sharon Stone in the movie Basic Instinct look like a cuddly teddy bear in comparison.
  2. Meier, Gabriel. CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Sts. Crispin and Crispinian. NewAdvent.org. The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 21 Aug. 2014.
  3. Battle of Agincourt - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  4. Saint Crispin's Day - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  5. V sign: Origins - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  6. English longbow - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  7. Henry V (play) - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  8. St. Crispin's Day speech (1599) by William Shakespeare - About.com. 2014 [last update]
  9. Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  10. Tuchman, Barbara Wertheim. (Barbara Tuchman, bio). A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century. Ballantine, 1979. p. 484. (BOOK) quote="Taking its doctrine from Wyclif and named for Jan Hus, who was to be burned as a heretic in 1415, the Hussite rising opened the way to the Reformation a hundred years later."
  11. Jan Hus - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  12. John Wycliffe - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  13. Hussite Wars - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]

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