Delenda Est Carthago

Why not delve into a twisted mind? Thoughts on the world, history, politics, entertainment, comics, and why all shall call me master!

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

I plan on being the supreme dictator of the country, if not the world. Therefore, you might want to stay on my good side. Just a hint: ABBA rules!


Totally random history is totally good for you!

Yeah, I'm posting a lot these days. More fun for you!

Okay, so the last time I did this there was much controversy in the comments section. While I appreciate the HUGE ratings spike I got (much like NASCAR after they had badly behaved drivers last weekend), I'm really not trying to piss people off with history from 1500 years ago. So let's see what we find on my bookshelves this week, shall we?

For about a month, certainly not longer, the Prince of Wales remained before Limoges. During that time he allowed no assaults or skirmishes, but pushed on steadily with the mining. The knights inside and the townspeople, who knew what was going on, started a countermine in the hope of killing the English miners, but it was a failure. When the Prince's miners who, as they dug, were continually shoring up their tunnel, had completed their work, they said to the Prince: "My lord, whenever you like now we can bring a big piece of wall down into the moat, so that you can get into the city quite easily and safely."

The Prince was very pleased to hear this. "Excellent," he said. "At six o'clock tomorrow morning show we what you can do."

When they knew it was the right time for it, the miners started a fire in their mine. In the morning, just as the Prince had specified, a great section of the wall collapsed, filling the moat at the place where it fell. For the English, who were armed and ready waiting, it was a welcome sight. Those on foot could enter as they liked, and did so. They rushed to the gate, cut through the bars holding it and knocked it down. They did the same with the barriers outside, meeting with no resistance. It was all done so quickly that the people in the town were taken unawares. Then the Prince, the Duke of Lancaster, the Earl of Cambridge, Sir Guichard d'Angle, with all the others and their men burst into the city, followed by pillages on foot, all in a mood to wreak havoc and do murder, killing indiscriminately, for those were their orders. There were pitiful scenes. Men, women and children flung themselves on their knees before the Prince, crying: "Have mercy on us, gentle sir!" But he was so inflamed with anger that he would not listen. Neither man nor woman was heeded, but all who could be found were put to the sword, including many who were in no way to blame. I do not understand how they could have failed to take pity on people who were too unimportant to have committed treason. Yet they paid for it, and paid more dearly than the leaders who had committed it.

There is no man so hard-hearted that, if he had been in Limoges on that day, and had remembered God, he would not have wept bitterly at the fearful slaughter which took place. More than three thousand persons, men, women and children, were dragged out to have their throats cut. May God receive their souls, for they were true martyrs.

Anyone recognize it? Come on, where are my historians? Ah, I'll end the suspense: it's Jean Froissart's Chronicles, detailing the excellent Hundred Years' War between England and France from 1337-1453. What, you say? That's not 100 years? Well, they weren't real good at arithmetic back in those days. Anyway, this passage is about the siege of Limoges in 1370, and the Prince referred to is Edward, the son of King Edward III, whose death in 1376 not only deprived England of probably a pretty good (if cruel) king, but paved the way for Richard II, his son, who was one of the worst kings in English history and was the last king of the Plantagenet Dynasty that stretched back to Henry II in 1153.

Anyway, Froissart is writing from the French point of view, so naturally he takes a dim view of the siege of Limoges. This was when the French were doing really poorly in the war (something that would change when Edward died prematurely), and he was probably a bit peeved. Even so, his book is chock full o' info and is pretty stinkin' entertaining (no, I haven't read all of it, but I have read a lot). You can buy it here if you're interested. An excellent book on the 14th century and what a mess it was is A Distant Mirror by Barbara Tuchman. The 14th century is awesome.


Blogger Pilgrim/Heretic said...

The 14th century is awesome. Now that's something I could stand to hear more often!!

23/9/05 8:12 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

Ah, the 14th century. The bubonic plague, the 100 Years' War, two deposed English kings, a captured French king, Ibn Battuta, Tamerlane, Crusades in the north against the heathen Scandinavians ... Good stuff. How could it not be awesome?

23/9/05 11:32 AM  

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