mardi 21 octobre 2008

Fighting in the dark

Some people are remembered through the centuries for their actions in life, others by the way they ended.

In XIVth century lived King John of Bohemia, count of Luxembourg. He had the reputation of a man of action, who would not hesitate to travel Europe and take part in campaigns. It so happened that during a crusading trip to Lithuania the King caught an inflammation of the eyes that progressively made him blind, which didn't prevent him from fulfilling his royal duties.

Several years later, in 1346, the brave fifty years old John stands, with one of his sons, on the battlefield of Crécy, on the side of the French. The battle turns awfully bad, and the French army, although considered the best of the time, is getting crushed by the English and their mighty longbows.

Poor King John, who couldn't see the bloody mess, is all battle-ready in his suit of armor, and pretty enthusiastic about going down there with the guys and giving those English bastards a taste of his sword. As soon as he hears the French King (Philip VI) ordering the charge, John draws his sword, turns to his knights and asks them to guide him to the English line, close enough for him to be able to strike one of those pudding-eaters with his blade. The faithful soldiers agreed and tied his horse to theirs. That way they bravely rode into the fury of battle together, and were actually quite successful as they went pretty far into the English side. One can imagine the poor guys being unable to properly move their horses and trying to fight as best as they could while their blind king went berserk on his horse, slashing his sword in any direction around him...

They were, of course, found all dead on the battlefield the next day, their horses still tied together.

John's death can be seen as totaly ridiculous and stupid, or on the contrary powerful, moving and epic... It was, anyway, true to his chivalrous ideals and would mark King John's name into History.

1 commentaire:

Anonyme a dit…

I always got mixed up between that king (the blind one) and Jean le Bon at Poitiers in 1356, whose youngest son, worried for his safety, supposedly kept calling out "Father, watch out on your right! Watch out on your left!" That king John was not blind, though, but the story of that 14-year-old prince (soon to be known as "le Hardi") fighting while watching over his father has always moved me. I'm a sucker for chivalrous bravery I guess...