Monday, January 18, 2010

Wit and wisdom of the Hundred Years War


I am working on my translation of the Chronicle of the Good Duke and am at the part where the author's informant is remembering the Breton campaigns of the 1360s. Some memorable lines seem to have stuck in his mind.

If we are to believe the Chronicle, Bertrand du Guesclin, Constable of France and a Breton himself, used this local proverb to convince Duke Louis of Bourbon ("the good duke") to attack the castle of Jugon early in their joint campaign:
He who has Brittany without Jugon
Has a cloak without a hood.

The Chronicle also describes the siege of Brest, also in Brittany, where both sides were in trouble. The French outside could not find anything for their horses to eat because of continuous heavy rain; the pro-English garrison were worse off -- they were eating their horses.

The garrison commander, the famous Englishman Robert Knolles, made this observation during negotiations with his French counterparts :
You have made me eat my horses here in this castle of Brest, as I made you eat yours at the siege of Rennes; so go the changes of fortune and war.
And he didn't surrender.

Image: Brest, showing surviving fortifications, historic vessels, and modern infrastructure

Labels: , , ,

1 Comments:

Blogger STAG said...

I remember something similar was said by Jean de Vallette upon capturing the man (Abd-ur-Rahman Kust Aly in 1541) who had captured him years before. In this case, the "forfeit" was being a galley slave.

http://www.smom-za.org/grandmasters/49.htm

4:21 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home