Monday, October 25, 2010

St. Crispin's Day

"We few, we happy few, we band of brothers."

Today is Saint Crispin's Day:

Shakespeare wrote this rousing speech for King Henry V prior to the Battle of Agincourt, where a small but plucky English army dealt a severe defeat to a much larger French force.

The battle is notable for the use of the English longbow, which played no small part in the victory.

Popular legend states that the origin of the use of the middle finger as an insult dates from this battle. The English archers could still "pluck" the yew bow, in spite of losing their fingers. Snopes clarifies that this is not true.

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At Wednesday, October 27, 2010 , Anonymous MattBP said...

Its not the American "flipping the bird" which originates with the Anglo-Welsh longbow and its use against the French, but the British two-finger salute that looks like a reversed victory sign. It effectively means "I can still kill you" as it can only be achieved by having your two middle fingers of your right hand - the bow drawing fingers. Definately nothing to do with 'pluck yew' though!


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