600 Years Ago: The Battle of Agincourt

The date was October 25th in 1415. The place was a field outside a small village in Picardy, France.

In August 1415, King Henry V claimed the throne of France and landed an army in Normandy. Two months later, outside the small village of Agincourt in Picardy, he was preparing for certain defeat. On 25 October his exhausted, starving and ailing troops faced a far larger French army, whose soldiers were fresh for combat and determined to destory their opponents. But what was to take place in the following 24 hours, it seemed only the miraculous intervention of God could explain.  “24 Hours at Agincourt” by Michael Jones

This month marks the 600th anniversary of the pivotal battle in the Hundred Years War when King Henry V and the English army whipped the French thereby changing the course of English history.

“The English army had walked 200 miles and was totally exhausted. Henry’s thousand knights had virtually no food left; his 5,000 archers were living off foraged berries. They were two days from Calais, but a French army of (a best-guessed) 25,000 men had camped ahead of them on the road. That night, Henry confessed his sins and heard Mass. The next morning — October 25, 1415 — he and his men lined up for battle a thousand yards in front of the French.”
Read more.

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers

For many of us, we can credit (or blame) Shakespeare’s History of Henry V (1598) for our knowledge of this historical battle.

“Henry was not only marching to one of the most important battles in European history, he was marching toward one of the defining moments in the English language: the Battle of Agincourt, and the Band of Brothers speech.”

Inspired Commemorative for #Agincourt600

First City Shakespeare worked with U.S. veterans to record Shakespeare’s famous “band of brothers” speech for the 600th anniversary of the battle of Agincourt. Some of the vets have acting experience, some do not. The backdrops are military and historic sites in Pensacola, Florida.

It’s humbling to hear retired and active military folk speak the lines beside the chosen location shots. Give it a look. You can watch it here.

Battle of Agincourt Remembered

More to the story than Shakespeare?

Shakespeare wrote his play almost 200 years after the real events. So, although the historical significance and character of King Henry are part of Shakespeare’s dramatization some of the facts are a bit inaccurate.

The good news is that regardless of your love (or hate) of Shakespeare, there’s much that has been unearthed in the 600 years since the famous battle.

*Agincourt* – pronounced “ADGE in court” (English) or “azh een CORE”
(French).

Image of the battle of Agincourt is taken from Wikipedia and is in the Public Domain

The Battle of Agincourt is one of the most famous battles in history and one of the most important English victories.

With much ado on the 600th anniversary you may use all sorts of free resources available on the Agincourt 600 website to learn more about the historical context,  medieval army strategies and weaponry, background on the Crown Jewels and the crystal scepter, geography, battle re-enactments, facts – and secrets!

The Battle of Agincourt still captures the imagination today, but why are stories still told about Agincourt? And do these stories represent what really happened on the battlefield?

Agincourt 1415

Starting Oct. 19th, 2015, you can learn more about the Battle of Agincourt, exploring its history and legacy, with this free online course.  The two week course will be led by the foremost academic expert on the battle, Professor Anne Curry.  The course will coincide with the anniversary of the battle and will feature contributions from a range of experts on Agincourt.

The course content is aimed at both early undergraduate-level students and those with an interest in the Battle of Agincourt, medieval history in general, and medieval guns and other weaponry. It does not require any previous knowledge of the subject and is offered at your own pace.

Course Highlights

  • WHY DO YOU FIND THE BATTLE OF AGINCOURT INTERESTING?

    We asked some researchers into the battle why found Agincourt interesting. This video shows some of their answers. How would you answer the question?

  • HOW DO HISTORIANS FIND OUT INFORMATION ABOUT MEDIEVAL ARMIES?

    Original muster rolls & indentures are primary sources of information about past events. Watch Professor Anne Curry talk about how historians use them

  • TYPES OF TROOPS ON THE MEDIEVAL BATTLEFIELD

    In this article, researcher Dan Spencer describes the types of people who comprised a medieval army.

    To culminate the 600 anniversary festivities…

    On the weekend of October 25th, 2015 if you happen to actually be in England, you are in for a special series of events to commemorate the 600th anniversary of this battle.

    The rest of us will await media coverage. (sigh)

More:
“We Band of Brothers” by Josh Gelernter, National Review, October 17, 2015
History of Henry V (1598)
The long road to Agincourt

The Battle of Agincourt: A Vivid History
AGINCOURT 1415 University of Southampton
Agincourt 600
600th Anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt Conference Recordings

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