Siege of Poitiers, 27 July-7 September 1569

Siege of Poitiers, 27 July-7 September 1569

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Siege of Poitiers, 27 July-7 September 1569

The siege of Poitiers (27 July-7 September 1569) was an unsuccessful Huguenot attempt to capture the wealth city that cost them over 2,000 dead before the Royal army lifted the siege.

1569 began with a Catholic victory at Jarnac (13 March 1569) at which the Prince of Condé, one of the main Huguenot leaders, was killed. The Catholics had then gone on to besiege Cognac, where they suffered as many casualties as the Huguenots had at Jarnac. While this siege was underway the Protestants received reinforcements from Germany, and won a minor victory at La Roche-Abeille (25 June 1569).

Both sides now had to decide what to do next. In the Royal camp a council of war decided to disband most of the army for a short period, partly to allow their volunteers to return home for a time and partly because they believed that the Huguenot army might begin to collapse without an obvious opponent.

In the Huguenot camp Admiral Coligny, now the leading figure, wanted to attack Saumur in order to secure the lines of communication between La Rochelle and the Huguenots in the north, but most of the leaders preferred to attack Poitiers, then one of the richest cities in France.

The Huguenot army appeared outside Poitiers on 24 July, and the formal siege began on 27 July. The defence of the city was commanded by the Comte de Lude, but the city also contained Henry, duke of Guise, soon to become one of the main figures in the Wars of Religion, and his brother Charles, duke of Mayenne, who would become one of the last figures to oppose Henry IV as the wars finally came to an end.

Coligny chose to focus his attention on the eastern side of the city, where the defences were overlooked by high ground, but this mean that the attackers would have to cross the River Clain. The Huguenots had a small amount of artillery during this siege, and were able to make a break in the east wall of Poitiers, but the defenders were able to destroy the bridge they threw across the river.

The Huguenots were made to suffer for their choice of camp when the defenders dammed the river. The resulting lake flooded the Huguenot camp, and disease was rife. Even Coligny was taken ill.

At the start of September Coligny turned his attention to the suburb of Rochereiul, at the south-west of the city and undefended by water. Once again a breach was made in the wall, and a three-part assault was launched on 3 September. The Duke of Guise began to make his name during this assault, fighting in the breach and played a part in the defeat of the assault.

Time was now running out for the Huguenots. The Duke of Anjou (with Tavanne in real command) had reassembled his army, and early in September moved to threaten the Huguenot-held city of Châtellerault. The threat was too serious to be ignored, and on 7 September Coligny lifted the siege. During the seven weeks that the Huguenots had been outside Poitiers they had suffered around 2,000 dead, while the defenders had only lost 300-400. The Royal commanders had been provided right in their belief that the Huguenot army would begin to fade away, although perhaps not for the right reasons.

After leaving Poitiers Coligny moved to lift the siege of Châttellerault. Anjou retreated, having achieved his main objective. Coligny then decided to move into southern Poitou, where he could join up with the Army of the Viscounts, a Huguenot force that had just won a series of victories in Bearn. Anjou managed to intercept the Huguenot army, winning a major victory at Moncontour on 3 October 1568.

Siege of Poitiers, 27 July-7 September 1569 - History

A city in Skagit County in northwestern Washington located on an island in Puget Sound.

(PC-1569: dp. 280 1. 173'8" b. 23'0" dr. 10'10" s. 20.2 k. cpl. 65 a. 13", 1 40mm., 5 20mm., cl. PC-461)

PC-1569 was laid down on 26 September 1944 at Sturgeon Bay, Wis., by the Leathern D. Smith Shipbuilding Co. launched on 9 December 1944 sponsored by Mrs. Nelle I ines, and commissioned at New Orleans, La., on 14 March 1945, Lt. (jg.) John G. Davidson, USNR, in command.

The submarine chaser put to sea on 29 March for postcommissioning tests and for shakedown training out of Miami, Fla. After some repairs at Miami, she put to sea again on 8 May bound for Key West, Fla., and several days of antisubmarine warfare (ASW) training. PC-1569 completed that mission on 12 May and set a course for the Panama Canal. She arrived at Coco Solo on 16 May and, two days later, transited the canal. The small warship left Balboa three days later stop ped at San Diego, Calif., from 27 to 30 May and t en headed For the Hawaiian Islands. She reached Pearl Harbor on 6 June and remained there until the 30th when she sailed, via Eniwetok, for the island of Guam. PC-1569 arrived in Apra Harbor on 15 July and, soon thereafter, began patrolling the Mariana Islands.

That duty lasted through the end of the war in September. On 15 September, the warship departed Guam on her way to the Caroline Islands. She reached Woleai Atoll on 17 September and began superintending the evacuation of Japanese troops and the occupation of the base by American forces. She completed that duty on the 20th, headed back toward Guam, and arrived at Apra Harbor the following day. The subchaser operated out of that port until 10 October when she shaped a course for Okinawa. She stayed at Buckner Bay from 14 to 17 October and then continued on to the coast of China. She remained at Tsingtao only three days, 20 to 22 October, and then shaped a course for the Philippines. She made a two-day stop at Guinan on the island of Samar before heading back toward Guam on 29 October. PC-1569 arrived in Apra Harbor on I November.

For the next six months, the ship continued to visit various ports in the Central Pacific. On 20 November, she departed Guam to escort a convoy of LCT's to sea for a rendezvous with Forster (DE-334). Returning to Apra Harbor on the 26th, PC-1569 remained there until I December when she got underway for Marcus Island which she visited from 4 to 18 December. The submarine chaser returned to Guam on the 21st, but put to sea on 10 January 1946 with a Ulithi-bound Coast Guard unit embarked. She delivered her passengers to Ulithi on the 12th and returned to Apra Harbor on the 14th. The subchaser remained in the Marianas for almost two months. She got underway for Iwo Jima on 6 March and stopped over there from 9 to 13 March. The warship made two round-trip voyages carrying cargo and passengers from Iwo Jima to Chichi Jima between 13 and 26 March. On 1 April, she departed the Bonin Islands to return to Guam. PC-1569 arrived in Apra Harbor on 4 April and remained there until the 20th.

On the latter day, she began the long voyage back to the United States. After stops at Eniwetok Atoll and at Pearl Harbor, she arrived in Astoria, Oreg., on 26 May. She shifted to Portland, Oreg., on the 28th and, on 15 June, began an inactivation overhaul at the Northwest Marine & Iron Works. On 23 July, the submarine chaser was towed back to Astoria where she was placed out of commission on 9 August 1946. The ship remained berthed with the Astoria Group, Pacific Reserve Fleet, for the next 14 years. On 15 February 1956, she was named Anacortes. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 1 June 1960, and she was transferred to the Republic of Vietnam on 23 November 1960.


Childhood Edit

Henry was born at the royal Château de Fontainebleau, the fourth son of King Henry II and Catherine de' Medici. He was a grandson of Francis I of France and Claude of France. His older brothers were Francis II of France, Charles IX of France, and Louis of Valois. He was made Duke of Angoulême and Duke of Orléans in 1560, then Duke of Anjou in 1566.

He was his mother's favourite she called him chers yeux ("precious eyes") and lavished fondness and affection upon him for most of his life. [1] His elder brother, Charles, grew to detest him, partially because he resented his better health. [ citation needed ]

The royal children were raised under the supervision of Diane de Poitiers. [2]

Youth Edit

Henry favourite interests were hunting and riding. [3] Although he was fond of fencing and skilled in it, he preferred to indulge his tastes for the arts and reading. These predilections were attributed to his Italian mother.

At one point in his youth Henry showed a tendency towards Protestantism as a means of rebelling. At the age of nine, he called himself "a little Huguenot", [4] , attended Mass only to please his mother, [5] sang Protestant psalms to his sister Margaret (exhorting her all the while to change her religion and cast her Book of Hours into the fire), [6] and even bit the nose off a statue of Saint Paul. His mother firmly cautioned him against such behaviour, and he would never again show any Protestant tendencies. Instead, he became stauchly Roman Catholic. [6]

In the factional dispute that engulfed France in the wake of Henry II's death in 1559, Henry was solicited by Henry I, Duke of Guise, at the behest of Jacques, Duke of Nemours, to run away from court to be a figurehead for the ultra-Catholics. [7] It was however uncovered before any action could be taken. [7]

Sexuality Edit

Reports that Henry engaged in same-sex relations with his court favourites, known as the mignons, date back to his own time. He was known to have enjoyed intense relationships with them. [8] The scholar Louis Crompton maintains that all of the contemporary rumours were true. [9] Some modern historians dispute this. Jean-Francois Solnon, [10] Nicolas Le Roux [11] and Jacqueline Boucher [12] have noted that Henry had many famous mistresses, that he was well known for his taste in beautiful women, and that no male sex partners have been identified. They have concluded that the idea he was homosexual was promoted by his political opponents (both Protestant and Catholic) who used his dislike of war and hunting to depict him as effeminate and undermine his reputation with the French people. [13] Presumably, his religious enemies plumbed the depths of personal abuse in attributing vices to him, topping the mixture with accusations of what they regarded as the ultimate devilish vice, homosexuality. The portrait of a self-indulgent sodomite, incapable of fathering an heir to the throne, proved useful in efforts by the Catholic League to secure the succession for Cardinal Charles de Bourbon after 1585. [8]

Gary Ferguson found their interpretations unconvincing: "It is difficult to reconcile the king whose use of favourites is so logically strategic with the man who goes to pieces when one of them dies." [14] Katherine Crawford, by contrast, emphasizes the problems Henry's reputation encountered because of his failure to produce an heir and the presence of his powerful mother at court, combined with his enemies' insistence on conflating patronage with favouritism and luxury with decadence. [15]

Elizabeth Edit

In 1570, discussions commenced arranging for Henry to court Queen Elizabeth I of England. [16] Elizabeth, almost 37, was expected by many parties in her country to marry and produce an heir. However, nothing came of these discussions. In initiating them, Elizabeth is viewed by historians as having intended only to arouse the concern of Spain, rather than contemplate marriage seriously. Henry's mother felt the chance of marriage despite differing religious views (Henry was Catholic, Elizabeth Protestant) simply required personal sacrifice. [17] Henry tactlessly referred to Elizabeth as a putain publique (public whore) and made stinging remarks about their difference in age (he was 18 years younger). [17]

Wars of Religion Edit

In November 1567, upon the death of Anne de Montmorency, Henry assumed the role of Lieutenant-General of France placing him in nominal control of France's military. [18] [19] Henry would go on to serve as a leader of the royal army, taking part in the victories over the Huguenots at the Battle of Jarnac (March 1569) [20] and at the Battle of Moncontour (October 1569). [21] At this time he was a rallying point for the ultra-Catholics at court, who saw him as an opposition figure to the toleration line being taken by the King, with Charles, Cardinal of Lorraine guiding his council. [18] Lorraine offered him 200,000 Francs of Church revenue to become a protector of Catholicism, and tried to arrange his marriage to Mary, Queen of Scots however neither project took off. [22]

While still Duke of Anjou, he helped plot the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre of 1572. Though Henry did not participate directly, historian Thierry Wanegffelen sees him as the royal most responsible for the massacre, which involved the targeted killing of many key Huguenot leaders. Henry III's reign as King of France, like those of his elder brothers Francis and Charles, would see France in constant turmoil over religion.

Henry continued to take an active role in the Wars of Religion, and in 1572/1573 led the siege of La Rochelle, a massive military assault on the Huguenot-held city. [23] At the end of May 1573, Henry learned that the Polish szlachta had elected him King of Poland (a country with a large Protestant minority at the time) and political considerations forced him to negotiate an end to the assault. Negotiators reached an agreement on 24 June 1573, and Catholic troops ended the siege on 6 July 1573.

Following the death of the Polish ruler Sigismund II Augustus on 7 July 1572, Jean de Monluc was sent as the French envoy to Poland to negotiate the election of Henry to the Polish throne in exchange for military support against Russia, diplomatic assistance in dealing with the Ottoman Empire, and financial subsidies. [24]

On 16 May 1573, Polish nobles chose Henry as the first elected monarch of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Lithuanian nobles boycotted this election, however, and it was left to the Lithuanian ducal council to confirm his election. [25] The commonwealth elected Henry, rather than Habsburg candidates, partly in order to be more agreeable to the Ottoman Empire (a traditional ally of France through the Franco-Ottoman alliance) and strengthen a Polish-Ottoman alliance that was in effect. [26]

A Polish delegation went to La Rochelle to meet with Henry, who was leading the Siege of La Rochelle. Henry left the siege following their visit. [27] In Paris, on 10 September, the Polish delegation asked Henry to take an oath, at Notre Dame Cathedral, to "respect traditional Polish liberties and the law on religious freedom that had been passed during the interregnum". [28] As a condition of his election, he was compelled to sign the Pacta conventa and the Henrician Articles, pledging religious tolerance in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. [29] Henry chafed at the restrictions on monarchic power under the Polish-Lithuanian political system of "Golden Liberty". [29] The Polish-Lithuanian parliament had been urged by Anna Jagiellon, the sister of the recently deceased king Sigismund II Augustus, to elect him based on the understanding that Henry would wed Anna afterward. [30]

At a ceremony before the Parlement of Paris on 13 September, the Polish delegation handed over the "certificate of election to the throne of Poland-Lithuania". [28] Henry also gave up any claims to succession and he "recognized the principle of free election" under the Henrician Articles and the pacta conventa. [28]

It was not until January 1574 that Henry was to reach the borders of Poland. On 21 February, Henry's coronation was held in Kraków. [31] In mid-June 1574, upon learning of the death of his brother Charles IX, Henry left Poland and headed back to France. [31] Henry's absence provoked a constitutional crisis that the Parliament attempted to resolve by notifying Henry that his throne would be lost if he did not return from France by 12 May 1575. [31] His failure to return caused Parliament to declare his throne vacant. [31]

The short reign of Henry at Wawel Castle in Poland was marked by a clash of cultures between the Polish and the French. The young king and his followers were astonished by several Polish practices and disappointed by the rural poverty and harsh climate of the country. [29] The Poles, on the other hand, wondered if all Frenchmen were as concerned with their appearance as their new king appeared to be. [29]

In many aspects, Polish culture had a positive influence on France. At Wawel, the French were introduced to new technologies of septic facilities, in which litter (excrement) was taken outside the castle walls. [32] On returning to France, Henry wanted to order the construction of such facilities at the Louvre and other palaces. [32] Other inventions introduced to the French by the Polish included a bath with regulated hot and cold water, [ citation needed ] as well as dining forks. [ citation needed ]

In 1578, Henry created the Order of the Holy Spirit to commemorate his becoming first King of Poland and later King of France on the Feast of Pentecost and gave it precedence over the earlier Order of St. Michael, which had lost much of its original prestige by being awarded too frequently and too readily. The Order would retain its prestige as the premier chivalric order of France until the end of the French monarchy.

Henry was crowned king of France on 13 February 1575 at Reims Cathedral. Although he was expected to produce an heir after he married Louise of Lorraine, [33] age 21, on 14 February 1575, no issue resulted from their union.

In 1576, Henry signed the Edict of Beaulieu, which granted many concessions to the Huguenots. His action resulted in the Catholic activist Henry I, Duke of Guise, forming the Catholic League. After much posturing and negotiations, Henry was forced to rescind most of the concessions that had been made to the Protestants in the edict.

In 1584, the King's youngest brother and heir presumptive, Francis, Duke of Anjou, died. Under Salic Law, the next heir to the throne was Protestant Henry of Navarre, a descendant of Louis IX (Saint Louis). Under pressure from the Duke of Guise, Henry III issued an edict suppressing Protestantism and annulling Henry of Navarre's right to the throne.

On 12 May 1588, when the Duke of Guise entered Paris, an apparently spontaneous Day of the Barricades erupted in favor of the Catholic champion. Henry III fled the city.

Following the defeat of the Spanish Armada that summer, the king's fear of Spanish support for the Catholic League apparently waned. Accordingly, on 23 December 1588, at the Château de Blois, he invited the Duke of Guise to the council chamber where the duke's brother Louis II, Cardinal of Guise, already waited. The duke was told that the king wished to see him in the private room adjoining the royal bedroom. There, royal guardsmen murdered the duke, then the cardinal. To make certain that no contender for the French throne was free to act against him, the king had the duke's son imprisoned.

The Duke of Guise had been very popular in France, and the citizenry turned against Henry for the murders. The Parlement instituted criminal charges against the king, and he was compelled to join forces with his heir, the Protestant Henry of Navarre, by setting up the Parliament of Tours.

Overseas relations Edit

Under Henry, France named the first Consul of France in Morocco in the person of Guillaume Bérard. The request came from the Moroccan prince Abd al-Malik, who had been saved by Bérard, a doctor by profession, during an epidemic in Constantinople and wished to retain Bérard in his service. [34]

Henry III encouraged the exploration and development of New World territories. In 1588, he granted Jacques Noël, the nephew of Jacques Cartier, privileges over fishing, fur trading, and mining in New France. [35]

Siege of Poitiers, 27 July-7 September 1569 - History

Portugal, which ruled Goa, established an inquisition which was to last (with one four year break) for almost 250 years.

1560 - 1640 (20 Adar 5400) JOEL SIRKES (the Bach) (Lublin, Poland)

One of the great Polish talmudic scholars. His halachic commentary on the Tur (1270-1343 Jacob ben Asher - the Baal Haturim) called Bait Chadash (New House) traced each law to its source in the Talmud. Sirkes was critical of those who relied solely on the Shulchan Aruch for halachic decisions rather than the Talmud and the Geonim.

1561 EMPEROR FERDINAND I (Holy Roman Empire>

Took an oath to expel the Jews from Prague. They were saved by Mordechai Zemach, who hurried to Rome and convinced Pope Pius IV to release the Emperor from his oath. While he was gone, many Jews were forced to leave or were attacked by robber barons.

1563 December 11, (25 Kislev 5327) IVAN THE TERRIBLE (Belarus)

Captured Polotsk, one of the oldest Jewish communities in Lithuania, and ordered all Jews to be baptized. The 300 Jews who refused were drowned in the Dvina River.

1564 - 1622 BAYLA FALK (Lemberg - Eretz Israel)

Described as a Bat Torah ( daughter of Torah) by Rabbis of her time . She was known for her knowledge and piety. She contributed her opinion in regards to candle lighting and ritual purity. She was the wife of Rabbi Joshua ben Alexander Ha-Cohen Falk (see 1555).

1564 March 22, MANTUA, (Italy)

David Provensalo and his son Abraham asked the Jewish notables to help create a Jewish College. The idea was to allow Jews to learn languages and science and receive a "Jewish education." Although they did establish a talmudic academy, they were opposed by the local Church and did not succeed in opening the College.

1564 March 24, POPE PIUS IV

Permitted the publication of the Talmud - after censorship and the deletion of the name "Talmud".

1564 July 13, BREST LITVOSK (Lithuania)

Abraham, the son of a wealthy and envied Jewish tax collector, was accused of killing the family's Christian servant for ritual purposes. The accusation was encouraged by the local burghers who resented Jewish competition. He was tortured and executed. King Sigmund Augustus forbade future charges of ritual murder, calling them groundless.

C. 1565 - 1630 (11 Nissan 5391) ISAIAH BEN ABRAHAM HA-LEVI HOROWITZ (SheLaH Hakadosh) (Prague, Bohemia-Tiberias, Eretz Israel)

Rabbi, kabbalist, and Jewish leader known as the SheLaH Hakadosh for his major work Shnai Luchot Habrit (Two Tablets of the Covenant) which combines Halacha and Kabbalah as a way of life. He moved to Eretz Israel in 1621 after the death of his wife. In 1625 he was arrested with many other Rabbis and held for ransom by the Pasha. Horowitz served as leader and Ashkenazi Rabbi in Jerusalem. He used his wealth to financially support the community. Horowitz strongly believed that he was privileged to be able to observe the commandments tied to the land of Israel. He was buried next to Maimonides in Tiberias.

The Bishop of Vilna "alarmed" at the rate of intermarriage convinced the King (Sigismund II) to ban the wearing of luxurious clothes, gold jewelry or carry a decorative sword. Instead Jews had to wear special clothes which would differentiate them from the Christians, including yellow hats and head coverings.

1566 - 1574 REIGN OF SELIM II "The Magnificent" (Ottoman Empire)

Selim had been supported by the Jews in his claim to the throne. As a result, many Jews received important positions in his government, including Don Joseph Nasi who was appointed Duke of Naxos. Selim II also allowed Conversos fleeing Portugal to settle in Turkey.

1566 April 19, POPE PIUS V (The Papal States, Italy)

Three months into his reign, he rejected the leniencies of his predecessor and re-invoked all the restrictions of Paul IV. These included Jews being forced to wear a special cap as well as the prohibitions against owning real estate ( see 1567) and practicing medicine on Christians. Communities were not allowed to have more than one synagogue and Jews were confined to a cramped ghetto.

1567 January 19, BULL CUM NOS NUPER "When We Recently")

Was enacted by Pope Pius V, forbidding Jews to own real estate within the papal states.

Expulsion of the Jews. The two prior expulsions of 1515 and 1550 were local. This decree was extended to the entire republic. Within a few years a limited number of Jews, specifically those engaged in money lending and business, were again allowed to live there.

The Paradesi (foreign or non-Indian) synagogue, was built with the support of the rajah of Cochin, despite Portuguese rule. The synagogue is still standing.

The union of the kingdoms of Poland and Lithuania opened the door for Jewish settlement in the Ukraine, which became one of the main centers of Lithuanian Jewry. Up to this date there were no more than 4000 Jews in the area. During the next 80 years the Jewish population increased to more than 50,000.

Ordered the Jews of Bologna expelled. He gave the cemetery to the nuns at the convent of St. Peter the Martyr. He commanded them to " Destroy all (Jewish) graves…exhume the cadavers…and move them to where ever they please".

1569 January 25, Phillip II (Spain)

Issued the order to set up an inquisition in the New World. Five years later, Mexico was the first in the New world to establish one.

1569 February 26, PAPAL STATES (Italy)

Pope Pius V in his Bull Hebraeorum Gens ( Nation of the Hebrews) ordered the eviction of all Jews who refused to convert from all the papal states except Rome and Ancona where he needed them due to their position in trade with the Levant (Mediterranean lands east of Italy). Most of the approximately 1000 Jewish families living there decided to emigrate.rnrn

1569 July 1, THE UNION OF LUBLIN (Poland and Lithuania)

Against the backdrop of a fear of Russian intentions under Ivan IV, the Duchy of Lithuania and the kingdom of Poland decided on a practical merging. Although they were now ostensibly "one common country", Lithuania still kept its own title, army, treasury, and code of law. Jews helped found new towns and villages on the border between the two countries. Unfortunately the general status of Jews in Lithuania now fell more in line with those of Poland. The less then total union resulted in Lithuania retaining its own independent Jewish council that was not connected to the Council of the (four) Lands in Poland.

On this date in 1569, the intrepid Huguenot leader Gaspard de Coligny was hanged in Paris and gibbeted at Montfaucon. Luckily for him, Coligny as these events unfolded was miles away from the executioner, at the head of a large armed host.

One of the towering figures of France’s bloody Wars of Religion, Coligny (English Wikipedia entry | French) hailed from one of the most illustrious families of the realm his father was a Marshal of France as a young man at court in the 1540s he had been fast friends with the Duke of Guise, the staunch Catholic who was eventually the target of the botched Huguenot kidnapping in 1560 that set spark to tinder for sectarian civil war.

An admired battlefield commander, Coligny’s conversion to Protestant put a high card in the Huguenot party’s hand, one whom Catholic ultras increasingly yearned to eliminate.

Coligny frustrated that aspiration over and over. Just in 1569, he had escaped from a Catholic battlefield victory that saw the capture and murder of Protestant France’s other great leader then, he routed the Catholics at La Roche-l’Abeille and, just days before the events in this post, repelled the Siege of Poitiers.

With sectarian hatred running high that season in Paris — and the dwindling treasury in need of the capital infusions only forfeiture can supply — the Parlement summoned Coligny to a trial it knew he would not attend, and there condemned him a traitor in absentia.

The sentence was declared, barbarously ignoring every principle of justice. It denounced him as an outlaw. It forbade him “all defence against the charges and conclusions.” It branded him as a traitor, a conspirator, the disturber of peace, the violator of treaties, the author of rebellion and the like hard names. “Therefore, the said Coligny is deprived of all honours, estates and dignities, and sentenced to be strangled upon the Place de Greve, either in person or effigy, and his body to be hung upon a gibbet at Montfaucon. His arms and effigies to be dragged at the tail of a horse through the towns and fauxbourgs, and then to be broken and destroyed by the public executioner, in token of everlasting infamy. His feudal possessions to revert to the crown, and all his property to be confiscated to the king. His children are declared ignoble villains, plebeians, detestable, infamous, incapable of holding estates, offices and goods in this kingdom … No one shall give to the said Coligny shelter, aid, comfort, food, water, fuel or fire.” And, lastly, a reward of fifty thousand crowns was put upon his head. This was offered to “any person who should deliver the admiral, live or dead, into the hands of justice, with a full pardon if he was concerned in the rebellion.”

This sentence of Tuesday the thirteenth of September was enforced immediately. Nor was the violence confined to Coligny’s escutcheons for a troop was dispatched to the Coligny estates to sack his mansion, root up his vineyard, and put the adjoining town to the torch “so effectually that hardly a trace of it was left.”

Coligny himself fought on … but the ridiculous sentence foreshadowed his real fate, right down to the horrible gibbet.

The gibbet of Montfaucon, from the Grandes Chronique de France by Jean Fouquet (c. 1460).

With both Catholics and Huguenots gathered in Paris for the tense celebration of an intersectarian royal wedding, a Catholic assassin unsuccessfully attempted the life of Coligny on August 22, 1572 — placing the entire city on edge. Fearing the prospect of the now-vigilant Huguenots achieving either escape or revenge, Catholics unleashed on the night of August 23-24 a general massacre of Protestants that will blacken the feast of St. Bartholomew to the ends of recorded history. The injured Coligny was this butchery’s first and signal casualty, as we find from the historian Jacques Auguste de Thou, a witness to events as a young man in Paris —

The duke of Guise, who was put in full command of the enterprise, summoned by night several captains of the Catholic Swiss mercenaries from the five little cantons, and some commanders of French companies, and told them that it was the will of the king that, according to God’s will, they should take vengeance on the band of rebels while they had the beasts in the toils. Victory was easy and the booty great and to be obtained without danger. The signal to commence the massacre should be given by the bell of the palace, and the marks by which they should recognize each other in the darkness were a bit of white linen tied around the left arm and a white cross on the hat.

Meanwhile Coligny awoke and recognized from the noise that a riot was taking place. Nevertheless he remained assured of the king’s good will, being persuaded thereof either by his credulity or by Teligny, his son-in-law: he believed the populace had been stirred up by the Guises, and that quiet would be restored as soon as it was seen that soldiers of the guard, under the command of Cosseins, had been detailed to protect him and guard his property.

But when he perceived that the noise increased and that some one had fired an arquebus in the courtyard of his dwelling, then at length, conjecturing what it might be, but too late, he arose from his bed and having put on his dressing gown he said his prayers, leaning against the wall. Labonne held the key of the house, and when Cosseins commanded him, in the king’s name, to open the door he obeyed at once without fear and apprehending nothing. But scarcely had Cosseins entered when Labonne, who stood in his way, was killed with a dagger thrust. The Swiss who were in the courtyard, when they saw this, fled into the house and closed the door, piling against it tables and all the furniture they could find. It was in the first scrimmage that a Swiss was killed with a ball from an arquebus fired by one of Cosseins’ people. But finally the conspirators broke through the door and mounted the stairway, Cosseins, Attin, Corberan de Cordillac, Seigneur de Sarlabous, first captains of the regiment of the guards, Achilles Petrucci of Siena, all armed with cuirasses, and Besme the German, who had been brought up as a page in the house of Guise for the duke of Guise was lodged at court, together with the great nobles and others who accompanied him.

After Coligny had said his prayers with Merlin the minister, he said, without any appearance of alarm, to those who were present (and almost all were surgeons, for few of them were of his retinue): “I see clearly that which they seek, and I am ready steadfastly to suffer that death which I have never feared and which for a long time past I have pictured to myself. I consider myself happy in feeling the approach of death and in being ready to die in God, by whose grace I hope for the life everlasting. I have no further need of human succor. Go then from this place, my friends, as quickly as you may, for fear lest you shall be involved in my misfortune, and that some day your wives shall curse me as the author of your loss. For me it is enough that God is here, to whose goodness I commend my soul, which is so soon to issue from my body.” After these words they ascended to an upper room, whence they sought safety in flight here and there over the roofs.

Meanwhile the conspirators, having burst through the door of the chamber, entered, and when Besme, sword in hand, had demanded of Coligny, who stood near the door, “Are you Coligny?” Coligny replied, “Yes, I am he,” with fearless countenance. “But you, young man, respect these white hairs. What is it you would do? You cannot shorten by many days this life of mine.” As he spoke, Besme gave him a sword thrust through the body, and having withdrawn his sword, another thrust in the mouth, by which his face was disfigured. So Coligny fell, killed with many thrusts. Others have written that Coligny in dying pronounced as though in anger these words: “Would that I might at least die at the hands of a soldier and not of a valet.” But Attin, one of the murderers, has reported as I have written, and added that he never saw any one less afraid in so great a peril, nor die more steadfastly.

Then the duke of Guise inquired of Besme from the courtyard if the thing were done, and when Besme answered him that it was, the duke replied that the Chevalier d’Angouleme was unable to believe it unless he saw it and at the same time that he made the inquiry they threw the body through the window into the courtyard, disfigured as it was with blood. When the Chevalier d’Angouleme, who could scarcely believe his eyes, had wiped away with a cloth the blood which overran the face and finally had recognized him, some say that he spurned the body with his foot. However this may be, when he left the house with his followers he said: “Cheer up, my friends! Let us do thoroughly that which we have begun. The king commands it.” He frequently repeated these words, and as soon as they had caused the bell of the palace clock to ring, on every side arose the cry, “To arms!” and the people ran to the house of Coligny. After his body had been treated to all sorts of insults, they threw it into a neighboring stable, and finally cut off his head, which they sent to Rome. They also shamefully mutilated him, and dragged his body through the streets to the bank of the Seine, a thing which he had formerly almost prophesied, although he did not think of anything like this.

As some children were in the act of throwing the body into the river, it was dragged out and placed upon the gibbet of Montfaucon, where it hung by the feet in chains of iron and then they built a fire beneath, by which he was burned without being consumed so that he was, so to speak, tortured with all the elements, since he was killed upon the earth, thrown into the water, placed upon the fire, and finally put to hang in the air. After he had served for several days as a spectacle to gratify the hate of many and arouse the just indignation of many others, who reckoned that this fury of the people would cost the king and France many a sorrowful day, Francois de Montmorency, who was nearly related to the dead man, and still more his friend, and who moreover had escaped the danger in time, had him taken by night from the gibbet by trusty men and carried to Chantilly, where he was buried in the chapel.

Print by Flemish-German artist Frans Hogenberg depicts on the lower left the assassination attempt on Coligny of August 22, 1573, and on the right the next night’s bedroom attack upon the wounded man, with the murderers spilling his body out the window. (Click for a larger image)

Siege of Poitiers, 27 July-7 September 1569 - History

The abbey that was there at the time of the Battle of Poitiers, 1356, is the group of buildings in the foreground which was subsequently fortified with a wall and towers and a moat.

The battle that history forgot: Sharpe creator Bernard Cornwell says the little-known victory at the Battle of Poitiers more than 600 years ago was one of the greatest military triumphs in British history

The Battle of Poitiers was a major battle of the Hundred Years' War between England and France . The battle occurred on 19 September 1356 near Poitiers , France. Preceded by the Battle of Crécy in 1346, and followed by the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, it was the second of the three great English victories of the war.

Edward, Prince of Wales (now better known as the Black Prince ), the eldest son of King Edward III of England, began a great chevauchée on 8 August 1356. He conducted many scorched earth raids [3] northwards from the English base in Aquitaine , in an effort to bolster his troops in central France, as well as to raid and ravage the countryside. His forces met little resistance, burning numerous towns to the ground and living off the land, until they reached the Loire River at Tours . They were unable to take the castle or burn the town due to a heavy downpour. This delay allowed John II , King of France , to attempt to catch Edward's army. The King, who had been besieging Breteuil in Normandy arranged the bulk of his army at Chartres to the north of the besieged Tours, dismissing approximately 15,000󈞀,000 of his lower-quality infantry to increase the speed of his forces.Negotiations prior to the Battle of Poitiers

There were negotiations before the battle of Poitiers that are recorded in the writings of the life of Sir John Chandos . He records the final moments of a meeting of both sides in an effort to avoid the bloody conflict at Poitiers. The extraordinary narrative occurred just before that battle and reads as follows:

. The conference attended by the King of France, Sir John Chandos, and many other prominent people of the period, The King (of France), to prolong the matter and to put off the battle, assembled and brought together all the barons of both sides. Of speech there he (the King) made no stint. There came the Count of Tancarville , and, as the list says, the Archbishop of Sens (Guillaume de Melun) was there, he of Taurus , of great discretion, Charny, Bouciquaut, and Clermont all these went there for the council of the King of France. On the other side there came gladly the Earl of Warwick , the hoary-headed (white or grey headed) Earl of Suffolk was there, and Bartholomew de Burghersh , most privy to the Prince, and Audeley and Chandos , who at that time were of great repute. There they held their parliament, and each one spoke his mind. But their counsel I cannot relate, yet I know well, in very truth, as I hear in my record, that they could not be agreed, wherefore each one of them began to depart. Then said the prophetic words of Geoffroi de Charny : 'Lords,' quoth he, 'since so it is that this treaty pleases you no more, I make offer that we fight you, a hundred against a hundred, choosing each one from his own side and know well, whichever hundred be discomfited, all the others, know for sure, shall quit this field and let the quarrel be. I think that it will be best so, and that God will be gracious to us if the battle be avoided in which so many valiant men will be slain. [5]

Nobles and men-at-arms who fought with the Black Prince

Now will I name some of the principal lords and knights (men-at-arms) that were there with the prince: the earl of Warwick , the earl of Suffolk , the earl of Salisbury , the earl of Oxford , the lord Raynold Cobham , the lord Spencer, the lord James Audley , the lord Peter his brother, the lord Berkeley, the lord Basset, the lord Warin, the lord Delaware, the lord Manne, the lord Willoughby, the lord Bartholomew de Burghersh, the lord of Felton, the lord Richard of Pembroke, the lord Stephen of Cosington, the lord Bradetane and other Englishmen and of Gascon there was the lord of Pommiers, the lord of Languiran , the captal of Buch , the lord John of Caumont, the lord de Lesparre , the lord of Rauzan , the lord of Condon, the lord of Montferrand , the lord of Landiras , the lord Soudic of Latrau and other (men-at-arms) that I cannot name and of Hainowes the lord Eustace d'Aubrecicourt, the lord John of Ghistelles, and two other strangers, the lord Daniel Pasele and the lord Denis of Amposta, a fortress in Catalonia. [6]

Edward le Despencer, 1st Baron le Despencer also fought at Poitiers under The Black Prince. [7] Sir Thomas Felton fought not only at Poitiers but also at the Battle of Crécy . [8]

One of the chief commanders at both Crécy and Poitiers was John de Vere, Earl of Oxford, mentioned above. [9]

Another account states that John of Ghistelles perished at the Battle of Crécy.

[ edit ]Nobles and men-at-arms who fought with King Jean II at, or just prior to, the battle

Froissart describes, with less specificity in this passage, some of the nobles that were assembled at, or just prior to the Battle:

. the Englishmen were coasted by certain expert knights of France, who always made report to the king what the Englishmen did. Then the king came to the Haye in Touraine and his men had passed the river of Loire , some at the bridge of Orléans and some at Meung , at Saumur , at Blois , and at Tours and whereas they might: they were in number a twenty thousand men of arms beside other there were a twenty-six dukes and earls ( Counts ) and more than sixscore banners , and the four sons of the king, who were but young, the duke Charles of Normandy , the lord Louis , that was from thenceforth duke of Anjou , and the lord John duke of Berry , and the lord Philip, who was after duke of Burgoyne. [10]

The French army also included a contingent of Scots commanded by Sir William Douglas . [11] Douglas fought in the King's own Battle , but when the fight seemed over Douglas was dragged by his men from the melee. Froissart states that ". the Earl Douglas of Scotland, who fought a season valiantly, but when he saw the discomfiture he departed and saved himself for in no wise would he be taken by the Englishmen, he would rather there be slain". [12]

Others who were either killed or captured at the actual Battle were as follows: King Jean II Prince Philip (youngest son and progenitor of the House of Valois-Burgundy), Geoffroi de Charny , carrier of the Oriflamme , Peter I, Duke of Bourbon, Walter VI, Count of Brienne and Constable of France, Jean de Clermont , Marshal of France, Arnoul d'Audrehem, the Count of Eu , the Count of Marche and Ponthieu Jacques de Bourbon taken prisoner at the Battle and died 1361, the Count of Étampes , the Count of Tancarville , the Count of Dammartin , the Count of Joinville , Guillaume de Melun, Archbishop of Sens. [13] [14]

[ edit ]The battle

The Battle of Poitiers

At the beginning of the battle, the English removed their baggage train leading the French to think they were about to retreat which provoked a hasty charge by the French knights against the archers. [15] According to Froissart , the English attacked the enemy, especially the horses, with a shower of arrows. Froissart also writes that the French armour was invulnerable to the English arrows, that the arrowheads either skidded off the armour or shattered on impact. English history of the battle disputes this, as some claim that the narrow bodkin point arrows they used have been proven capable of penetrating most plate armour of that time. While tests have been done to support this with fixed pieces of flat metal, the result is inconclusive with respect to the curved armour of the period. [citation needed] Given the following actions of the archers, it seems likely Froissart was correct. The armour on the horses was weaker on the sides and back, so the archers moved to the sides of the cavalry and shot the horses in the flanks. This was a popular method of stopping a cavalry charge, as a falling horse often destroyed the cohesion of the enemy's line. The results were devastating. [16] [17] The Dauphin attacked Salisbury and pressed his advance in spite of heavy shot by the English archers and complications of running into the retreating vanguard of Clermont's force. Green suggests that the Dauphin had thousands of troops with him in this phase of the attack. He advanced to the English lines but ultimately fell back. The French were unable to penetrate the protective hedge the English were using. This phase of the attack lasted about two hours. [18]

This cavalry attack was followed by infantry attack. The Dauphin 's infantry engaged in heavy fighting, but withdrew to regroup. The next wave of infantry under Orléans , seeing that the Dauphin's men were not attacking, turned back and panicked. This stranded the forces led by the King himself. This was a formidable fighting force, and the English archers were running very low on arrows the archers joined the infantry in the fight and some of both groups mounted horses to form an improvised cavalry.

At about this time, King John sent two sons from the battlefield. His youngest son, Philip, stayed with him and fought at his side in the final phase of the battle. When the Dauphin and other sons withdrew, the duke of Orléans also withdrew. Combat was hard, but the Black Prince still had a mobile reserve hidden in the woods, which was able to circle around and attack the French in the flank and rear. The French were fearful of encirclement and attempted to flee. King John was captured with his immediate entourage only after a memorable resistance. [19]

Pre-battle manoeuvres

Map of the Battle

[ edit ]The capture of the French king

Froissart again gives us a vivid description of the capture of King Jean II and his youngest son in this passage:

" . So many Englishmen and Gascons came to that part, that perforce they opened the king's battle, so that the Frenchmen were so mingled among their enemies that sometime there was five men upon one gentleman. There was taken the lord of Pompadour and the lord Bartholomew de Burghersh, and there was slain sir Geoffrey of Charny with the king's banner in his hands: also the lord Raynold Cobham slew the earl of Dammartin. Then there was a great press to take the king, and such as knew him cried, ' Sir, yield you, or else ye are but dead.' There was a knight of Saint Omer's, retained in wages with the king of England, called sir Denis Morbeke, who had served the Englishmen five year before, because in his youth he had forfeited the realm of France for a murder that he did at Saint-Omer's. It happened so well for him, that he was next to the king when they were about to take him: he stept forth into the press, and by strength of his body and arms he came to the French king and said in good French, 'Sir, yield you.' The king beheld the knight and said: 'To whom shall I yield me? Where is my cousin the prince of Wales? If I might see him, I would speak with him.' Denis answered and said: 'Sir, he is not here but yield you to me and I shall bring you to him.' 'Who be you?' quoth the king. 'Sir,' quoth he, 'I am Denis of Morbeke, a knight of Artois but I serve the king of England because I am banished from the realm of France and I have forfeited all that I had there.' Then the king gave him his right gauntlet, saying, 'I yield me to you.'" . [20]

[ edit ]Aftermath of the battle

Jean II, the Good, being captured.

As Edward, the Black Prince, wrote shortly afterward in a letter to the people of London:

"It was agreed that we should take our way, flanking them, in such a manner that if they wished for battle or to draw towards us, in a place not very much to our disadvantage, we should be the first . the enemy was discomfited, and the king was taken, and his son and a great number of other great people were both taken and slain[.]" [21]

[ edit ]Aftermath in France

Jean de Venette , a Carmelite friar and medieval chronicler vividly describes the chaos in France which he states he himself witnessed, after the time of this Battle. [22] He states:

. From that time on all went wrong with the Kingdom and the state was undone. Thieves and robbers rose up everywhere in the land. The nobles despised and hated all others and took no thought for the mutual usefulness and profit of lord and men. They subjected and despoiled the peasants and the men of the villages. In no wise did they defend their country from enemies. Rather did they trample it underfoot, robbing and pillaging the peasants' goods.At dawn on September 19, 1356, an English army found itself trapped and facing battle outside the city of Poitiers in central France. The soldiers were so short of water they had given their horses wine to drink just to keep the beasts alive. Even drunken horses were better than dead ones.

There was a river close by, but it was impossible to carry enough water for 6,000 men and thousands of horses up the steep hill to the position where the English were trapped. The enemy, the army of France, was almost twice as strong. But that would not stop the English force from fighting its way to one of the greatest victories in our military history.

It has always seemed strange to me that we remember the Battle of Crecy and we celebrate the Battle of Agincourt, but most people seem to have forgotten Poitiers — the other great victory in the Hundred Years War — yet it was just as remarkable a triumph. In some ways, even more so.

Savage: A 14th century illustration shows the Battle of Poitiers, between the French and the English in 1356

At Agincourt, the English were outnumbered at least five to one, but the fighting at Poitiers was much harder. For the French nobles were desperate to drive their hated foe from the land and back across the Channel after years of bloody conquest.

Their king, Jean II, was a little more circumspect, for he could remember the crushing defeat the English had inflicted at Crecy in northern France ten years earlier. On that occasion, a 16-year-old Edward of Woodstock, the Prince of Wales — son of Edward III — had made a name for himself.

Since then, the French had tended to avoid battle because they feared the deadly accuracy of the English longbowmen. So they shut themselves behind stone walls in castles and fortified towns. The English response was to mount raids known as chevauchees.

The army advanced slowly across the countryside killing, pillaging, raping. In 1355, the prince had led one such assault across southern France, from the English base at Bordeaux to the Mediterranean and back. They had captured castles and towns, burned villages, and taken vast amounts of plunder in a relentless expedition.

Highlighting: We ought to remember Poitiers, says Bernard Cornwell, creator of Captain Richard Sharpe

Such a chevauchee achieved three things: it enriched the invaders, it weakened the enemy’s economy and so reduced the amount he could tax his subjects, and finally, it might, just might, tempt the enemy to come out of their castles and face the English in open battle.

That is what happened in 1356 when the Prince of Wales, by then an accomplished commander in his mid-20s, struck north out of Gascony, which was English territory, and aimed his rapacious army at the heartland of France, a dagger thrust towards Paris.

The plan was to join up with another English army coming out of Normandy, but that plan failed when violent weather forced the prince to retreat back to Gascony. The French king assembled his army and followed.

The English were travel-weary, the French were fresh. The English were weighed down by wagonloads of plunder, and so King Jean II’s army slowly overtook the prince’s army until, on September 17, the two armies were so close that a battle seemed unavoidable.

The prince, knowing the French were close, had taken refuge on a high, wooded ridge close to the village of Nouaille. It was a strong position.

An enemy wanting to attack him would need to come uphill through tangling vineyards and, more importantly, the English had massed behind a thick hedge, which represented a fearsome obstacle for any attacker.

The prince — who came to be known long after his death as the Black Prince — may have taken up a strong position, but the evidence still suggests he would have preferred to avoid battle because of his inferior numbers.

But the French were also wary of those devastating English longbows that unleashed ash-shafted, steel-tipped arrows with fearsome accuracy.

The French crossbowmen were no match.

At Crecy, the French had attacked on horseback and the English arrows had ripped into the stallions, causing dreadful pain, death and horror. So at Poitiers, the French resolved to fight largely on foot, because a man’s armour would be more likely to stop the arrows.

And it was on the morning of September 19 that the French king overcame his doubts and ordered an attack.

Seeking to protect his plunder, the Prince had ordered part of his army and his baggage train to cross the river and march away southwards. But the river crossing went wrong, the planned English retreat was stalled and the French soon saw the commotion in the valley. They sent horsemen to attack the English left wing, and ordered an uphill advance on the main position.

The Battle of Poitiers had begun. The Chandos Herald, the poem written about the life of the Black Prince, describes it thus: ‘Then began the shouting, and noise and clamour raised and the armies began to draw near. Then on both sides they began to shoot there were many a creature who that day was brought to his end.’

The first French attacks were by cavalry mounted on thundering warhorses that would have made the ground shake as they thundered across the field — a terrifying sight for the line of Englishmen waiting to receive them.

The French had collected their most heavily armoured stallions, ridden by plate-armoured men, who made their charges with the intention of shattering the archers on the English wings.

For a time, it worked. The horses were hung with leather and mail, their faces guarded by plate armour, but only the fronts of the beasts were so protected.

As soon as the archers realised the animals’ flanks and rears were unarmoured, they moved to the side and shot the attackers into bloody ruin — as scores of horses collapsed under their masters in floundering terror.

English men-at-arms moved into the chaos and slaughtered fallen riders. And it was a gruesome business. Death came through horrific injuries inflicted by lead-weighted maces and battle-axes, hammers, spikes, poles and knives.

But this was no more than a setback for the French, whose main attack did not depend on the horsemen.

It was made by armoured men advancing on foot, and we know that this attack reached the prince’s line, and that there was savage hand-to-hand fighting that lasted some hours while exhausted men slashed, stabbed and wrestled for their lives.

That French attack on foot was led by the dauphin — the king’s heir — but it failed to break the disciplined English line. Eventually the king, seeing that his eldest son’s attack had not broken the enemy, ordered the dauphin to retreat to nearby Poitiers, where he would be safe from capture.

But King Jean himself was in no mood to abandon the struggle. He marched his men up the slope and through gaps in the thick hedge, where they flung themselves on to the exhausted English line.

The close fighting began again, but the English prince was a master strategist, and chose this moment to unleash a surprise attack that would turn the tide decisively in his favour. He sent about 200 horsemen around the rear of the French army — led by a Gascon lord but including some English archers. They managed to reach the enemy’s rear without being detected, and then they charged. When they slammed into the back of the king’s force of infantry, the French panicked and fled.

Hundreds of English soldiers then mounted their horses and followed, and in a nearby field — called the Champ d’Alexandre — the flower of French chivalry was cut down. It was a slaughteryard, and at its end 2,500 were dead, and half the great lords of France were among the 3,000 prisoners taken by the English, as was King Jean himself.

He was forcibly taken to London and paraded through the streets before being thrown in the Tower, to show what Englishmen had achieved near Poitiers on that September day in 1356.

The tale of the Black Prince’s victory is a magnificent story, unfairly forgotten, but worth remembering. Because there was a battle, long ago, and great deeds were done.

Knight of the Hundred Years War

The closest interpretation of a mid-to-late fourteenth century knight.

The surcoat shortened progressively through the second quarter of the fourteenth century to the short jupon. This style of garment was just coming into vogue at the Battle of Crecy (1346) and Poitiers (1356).

This is transition armor, showing the progression from mail to plate defense. To be completely accurate THEY should be wearing some type of rudimentary brigandine or coat of plates over the mail haubergon.

The articulating arm and leg armor evolved sometime by the end of the 1350s. From about 1320 to 1350 seperately attached plates continued to be added over the sleeve of the mail hauberk which shortened to a three-quarter length. It appears that in the decade between 1350 to 1360 these seperate vambraces, elbow cops, and rear-guards became rivetted together on closely articulating lames that flexed at the elbow. Leg armor followed a similar evolution.

Only rich knights would have such highly developed armor by the 1360s and it was usually forged in Italy. The older style of seperately attached plates probably predominated well into the 1370s to 1380s and remained the style in German kingdoms.

Combatants: An army of English and Gascons against the French and their allies.

Generals: The Black Prince against King John I of France.

Size of the armies: The Black Prince’s army numbered some 7,000 knights, men-at-arms and archers.

Numbers in the French army are uncertain but were probably around 35,000, although Froissart gives the size of the French army as 60,000. The French army comprised a contingent of Scots commanded by Sir William Douglas.
Uniforms, arms and equipment: Depending upon wealth and rank a mounted knight of the period wore jointed steel plate armour incorporating back and breast plates, a visored bascinet helmet and steel plated gauntlets with spikes on the back, the legs and feet protected by steel greaves and boots, called jambs. Weapons carried were a lance, shield, sword and dagger. Over the armour a knight wore a jupon or surcoat emblazoned with his arms and an ornate girdle.

The weapon of the English and Welsh archers was a six foot yew bow discharging a feathered arrow of a cloth metre. The rate of fire was up to an arrow every 5 seconds. For close quarter fighting the archers used hammers or daggers.

Winner: The English and Gascons decisively won the battle.

The Battle of Poitiers from a contemporary account

Account: Edward III, King of England, began the Hundred Years War, claiming the throne of France on the death of King Philip IV in 1337. The war finally ended in the middle of the 15th Century with the eviction of the English from France, other than Calais, and the formal abandonment by the English monarchs of their claims to French territory.

The war began well for Edward III with the decisive English victories at Sluys in 1340 and Creçy in 1346 and the capture of Calais in 1347. In the late 1340s the plague epidemic, called the Black Death, decimated the populations of France and England, bringing military operations to a halt one of the plague’s victims being the French king Philip VI.

Battle of Poitiers

In 1355 King Edward III again planned for an invasion of France. His son, Edward the Black Prince, now an experienced soldier 26 years of age, landed at Bordeaux in Western France and led his army on a march through Southern France to Carcassonne. Unable to take the walled city, the Black Prince returned to Bordeaux. In early 1356 the Duke of Lancaster landed with a second force in Normandy and began to advance south. Edward III was engaged in fighting in Scotland.

King John of France surrendering himself at the Battle of Poitiers

The new king of France, John I, led an army against Lancaster forcing him to withdraw towards the coast. King John then turned to attack the Black Prince, who was advancing north east towards the Loire pillaging the countryside as he went.

In early September 1356 King John reached the Loire with his large army, just as the Black Prince turned back towards Bordeaux. The French army marched hard and overtook the unsuspecting English force at Poitiers on Sunday 18th September 1356.

The local prelate, Cardinal Talleyrand de Périgord, attempted to broker terms of settlement between the two armies but the Black Prince’s offer of handing over all the booty he had taken on his “chevauchée” and maintaining a truce for 7 years was unacceptable to King John who considered the English would have little chance against his overwhelming army, and the French demand that the Black Prince surrender himself and his army was unacceptable to the English. The two armies prepared for battle.

The English army was an experienced force many of the archers veterans of Creçy, ten years before, and the Gascon men-at-arms commanded by Sir John Chandos, Sir James Audley and Captal de Buche, all old soldiers.

The Black Prince arranged his force in a defensive position among the hedges and orchards of the area, his front line of archers disposed behind a particularly prominent thick hedge through which the road ran at right angles.

Edward, the Black Prince, commander of the English army at the Battle of Poitiers

King John was advised by his Scottish commander, Sir William Douglas, that the French attack should be delivered on foot, horses being particularly vulnerable to English archery, the arrows fired with a high trajectory falling on the unprotected necks and backs of the mounts. King John took this advice, his army in the main leaving its horses with the baggage and forming up on foot.

The French attack began in the early morning of Monday 19th September 1356 with a mounted charge by a forlorn hope of 300 German knights commanded by two Marshals of France Barons Clermont and Audrehem. The force reached a gallop, closing in to charge down the road into the centre of the English position. The attack was a disaster, with those knights not shot down by the English archers dragged from their horses and killed or secured as prisoners for later ransom.

The rest of the French army now began its ponderous advance on foot, in accordance with Douglas’ advice, arrayed in three divisions the first led by the Dauphin Charles (the son of the King), the second by the Duc D’Orleans and the third, the largest, by the King himself.

The first division reached the English line exhausted by its long march in heavy equipment, much harassed by the arrow fire of the English archers. The Black Prince’s soldiers, Gascon men-at-arms and English and Welsh archers, rushed forward to engage the French, pushing through the hedgerow and spilling round the flanks to attack the French in the rear.

After a short savage fight the Dauphin’s division broke and retreated, blundering into the division of the Duc D’Orleans marching up behind, both divisions falling back in confusion.

The final division of the French army, commanded by the king himself, was the strongest and best controlled. The three divisions coalesced and resumed the advance against the English, a formidable mass of walking knights and men-at-arms.

Thinking that the retreat of the first two divisions marked the end of the battle, the Black Prince had ordered a force of knights commanded by the Gascon, Captal de Buche, to mount and pursue the French. Chandos urged the Prince to launch this mounted force on the main body of the French army. The Black Prince seized on Chandos’ idea and ordered all the knights and men-at-arms to mount for the charge. The horses were ordered up from the rear in the meantime Captal de Buch’s men, already mounted, were ordered to advance around the French flank to the right.

As the French army toiled up to the hedgerow the English force broke through the hedge and struck the French like a thunderbolt, the impetus of the charge taking the mounted knights and men-at-arms right into the French line. Simultaneously Captal de Buch’s Gascons charged in on the French flank. The English and Welsh archers left their bows and ran forward to join the fight, brandishing their daggers and fighting hammers.

The French army broke up, many leaving the field, while the more stalwart knights fought hard in isolated groups. A mass of fugitives made for Poitiers pursued by the mounted Gascons to be slaughtered outside the closed city gates.

King John found himself alone with his 14 years old younger son Philip fighting an overwhelming force of Gascons and English. Eventually the king agreed to surrender.

The battle won, the English army gave itself up to pillaging the vanquished French knights and the lavish French camp.

Casualties: In his dispatch to King Edward III, his father, the Black Prince stated that the French dead amounted to 3,000 while only 40 of his troops had been killed. It is likely that the English casualties were higher. Among the French prisoners were King John, his son Philip, 17 great lords, 13 counts, 5 viscounts and a hundred other knights of significance.

Follow-up: On the night of the battle the Black Prince entertained the King of France and his son to dinner and the next day the English army resumed its march to Bordeaux.

The effect of the defeat on France and the loss of the King to captivity was devastating, leaving the country in the hands of the Dauphin Charles, escaped from the ruins of his division at Poitiers. Charles faced immediate revolts across the kingdom as he attempted to raise money to continue the war and ransom his father.

The release of King John proved difficult to negotiate as Edward III sought to extract more and more onerous terms from the French. Meanwhile the war continued to the misery of the wretched inhabitants of France.

King John was released in November 1361 against other hostages. Due to the default of one of those hostages John returned to London and died there in 1364.

Edward Plantagenet: The Black Prince

Edward, Prince of Wales (15 June 1330 – 8 June 1376) was called Edward of Woodstock in his early life, after his birthplace, and has, more recently, been popularly known as The Black Prince. He was the eldest son of King Edward III of England and Philippa of Hainault, and father to King Richard II of England. Edward, an exceptional military leader and popular during his life, died one year before his father and thus never ruled as king (becoming the first English Prince of Wales to suffer that fate). The throne passed instead to his son Richard, a minor, upon the death of Edward III.
Early life

Edward was born on 15 June 1330 at Woodstock Palace in Oxfordshire. Edward was created Earl of Chester in 1333, Duke of Cornwall in 1337 (the first creation of an English duke) and finally invested as Prince of Wales in 1343. In England Edward served as a symbolic regent for periods in 1339, 1340, and 1342 while Edward III was on campaign. He was expected to attend all council meetings, and he performed the negotiations with the papacy about the war in 1337.
Edward had been raised with his cousin Joan, "The Fair Maid of Kent."[1] Edward gained Innocent VI's papal permission and absolution for this marriage to a blood-relative (as had Edward III when marrying Philippa of Hainaut, being her second cousin) and married Joan in 10 October 1361 at Windsor Castle, prompting some controversy, mainly because of Joan's chequered marital history and the fact that marriage to an Englishwoman wasted an opportunity to form an alliance with a foreign power.
When in England, Edward's chief residence was at Wallingford Castle in Berkshire (now Oxfordshire).
He served as the king's representative in Aquitaine, where he and Joan kept a court which was considered among the most brilliant of the time. It was the resort of exiled kings, like James of Mallorca and Pedro of Castile.
Pedro, thrust from his throne by his illegitimate brother, Henry of Trastámara, offered Edward the lordship of Biscay in 1367, in return for the Black Prince's aid in recovering his throne. Edward was successful in the Battle of Nájera in which he soundly defeated the combined French and Spanish forces led by Bertrand du Guesclin.
During this period, he fathered two sons: Edward (27 January 1365 – 1372), who died at the age of 6 and Richard, born in 1367 and often called Richard of Bordeaux for his place of birth, who would later rule as Richard II of England. He had at least two illegitimate sons, both born before his marriage: Sir Roger Clarendon and Sir John Sounder.[2]
The Black Prince returned to England in January 1371 and died a few years later after a long wasting illness that may have been cancer.
Edward lived in a century of decline for the knightly ideal of chivalry. The formation of the Order of the Garter, an English royal order of which Edward was a founding member, signified a shift towards patriotism and away from the crusader mentality that characterized England in the previous two centuries. Edward's stance in this evolution is seemingly somewhat divided. Edward displayed obedience to typical chivalric obligations through his pious contributions to Canterbury Cathedral throughout his life.
On one hand, after capturing John the Good, king of France, and his youngest son at Poitiers, he treated them with great respect, at one point giving John leave to return home, and reportedly praying with John at Canterbury Cathedral. Notably, he also allowed a day for preparations before the Battle of Poitiers so that the two sides could discuss the coming battle with one another, and so that the Cardinal of Perigord could plead for peace. Though not agreeing with knightly charges on the battlefield, he also was devoted to tournament jousting.
On the other hand, his chivalric tendencies were overridden by pragmatism on many occasions. The Black Prince's repeated use of the chevauchée strategy (burning and pillaging towns and farms) was not in keeping with contemporary notions of chivalry, but it was quite effective in accomplishing the goals of his campaigns and weakening the unity and economy of France. On the battlefield, pragmatism over chivalry is also demonstrated via the massed use of infantry strongholds, dismounted men at arms, longbowmen, and flank attacks (a revolutionary practice in such a chivalric age). Moreover, he was exceptionally harsh toward and contemptuous of lower classes in society, as indicated by the heavy taxes he levied as Prince of Aquitaine and by the massacres he perpetrated at Limoges and Caen. Edward's behaviour was typical of an increasing number of English knights and nobles during the late Middle Ages who paid less and less attention to the high ideal of chivalry, which would soon influence other countries.
The 1345 Flanders Campaign on the Northern Front, which was of little significance and ended after three weeks when one of Edward's allies was murdered.
The Crécy Campaign on the Northern Front, which crippled the French army for 10 years, allowing the siege of Calais to occur with little conventional resistance before the plague set in. Even when France's army did recover, the forces they deployed were about a quarter of that deployed at Crecy (as shown at Poitiers). Normandy came virtually under English control, but a decision was made to focus on northern France, leaving Normandy under the control of England's vassal allies instead.
The Siege of Calais on the Northern Front, during which the inhabitants suffered worst and were reduced to eating dogs and rats.[3] The siege gave the English personal and vassal control over northern France before the temporary peace due to the Black Death.
The Calais counter-offensive on the Northern Front, after which Calais remained in English hands.
Les Espagnols sur Mer or the Battle of Winchelsea on the English Channel Front, which was a Pyrrhic victory of little significance beyond preventing Spanish raids on Essex.
The Great Raid of 1355 on the Aquitaine–Languedoc Front, which crippled southern France economically, and provoked resentment of the French throne among French peasantry. The raid also 'cushioned' the area for conquest, opened up alliances with neighbours in Aquitaine of which that with Charles the Bad of Navarre is most notable, and caused many regions to move towards autonomy from France, as France was not as united as England.
The Aquitaine Conquests on the Aquitaine Front, which brought much firmer control in Aquitaine, much land for resources and many people to fight for Edward.
The Poitiers Campaign on the Aquitaine-Loire Front, which crippled the French Army for the next 13 years, causing the anarchy and chaos which would inevitably cause the Treaty of Bretigney to be signed in 1360. Following this campaign, there was no French Army leader, there were challenges towards Charles the Wise, and more aristocrats were killed at Crécy and Poitiers than those lost to the Black Death.
The Reims Campaign, following which peace was finally achieved with the Treaty of Bretigny. But, on the same terms, England was left with about a third of France rather than a little under half which they would have received through the Treaty of London. This is due to the failure to take Reims which led to the need for a safe passage out of France. As a result, a lesser treaty was agreed to and Edward III was obliged to drop his claims to the French throne. France was still forced to pay a huge ransom of around four times France's gross annual domestic product for John the Good. The ransom paid was, however, a little short of that demanded by the English, and John the Good was not returned to the French. Thus, this campaign yielded mixed results, but was mostly positive for Edward. One must also remember Edward III never actually dropped his claim to the throne, and that about half of France was controlled by the English anyway through many vassals.
The Najera Campaign on the Castilian Front, during which Pedro the Cruel was temporarily saved from a coup, thus confirming Castilian Spanish dedication to the Prince's cause. Later, however, Pedro was murdered. As a result of Pedro's murder, the money the prince put into the war effort became pointless, and Edward was effectively bankrupt. This forced heavy taxes to be levied in Aquitaine to relieve Edward's financial troubles, leading to a vicious cycle of resentment in Aquitaine and vicious repression of this resentment by Edward. Charles the Wise, king of France, was able to take advantage of the resentment against Edward in Aquitaine. However, the prince temporarily became the Lord of Biscay.
The Siege of Limoges in 1370 on the Aquitaine Front, after which the Black Prince was obliged to leave his post for his sickness and financial issues, but also because of the cruelty of the siege, which saw the massacre of some 3,000 residents according to the chronicler Froissart. Without the Prince, the English war effort against Charles the Wise and Bertrand Du Guesclin was doomed. The Prince's brother John of Gaunt was not interested with the war in France, being more interested in the war of succession in Spain.
King Edward III and the prince sail from Sandwich with 400 ships, carrying 4,000 men at arms and 10,000 archers for France, but after six weeks of bad weather and being blown off course they are driven back to England.
He requested to be buried in the crypt of Canterbury Cathedral rather than next to the shrine, and a chapel was prepared there as a chantry for him and his wife Joan (this is now the French Protestant Chapel, and contains ceiling bosses of her face and of their coats of arms). However, this was overruled after his death and he was buried on the south side of the shrine of Thomas Becket behind the quire. His tomb consists of a bronze effigy beneath a tester depicting the Holy Trinity, with his heraldic achievements hung over the tester. The achievements have now been replaced by replicas, though the originals can still be seen nearby, and the tester was restored in 2006.
Although Edward is almost always now called the "Black Prince", there is no record of this name being used during his lifetime. He was instead known as Edward of Woodstock, after his place of birth. The "Black Prince" sobriquet "is first found in writing in Richard Grafton's "Chronicle of England" (1568). [4] Its origin is uncertain it is usually considered to be derived from an ornate black cuirass presented to the young prince by Edward III at the Battle of Crécy.
In fact, this nickname comes more than probably from his "shield of peace", his coat of arms used during tournaments, which is represented around his effigy at Canterbury. This coat of arms is black with three white ostrich feathers.
It is possible that the name was first coined by French chroniclers in reference to the ruinous military defeats he had inflicted on France or his cruelty in these. Also possible is the idea that Edward garnered the nickname from his explosive temper the legendary Angevin temper being associated with his family's line since Geoffrey d'Anjou.



What is a Doctor of the Church?

This is a very special title accorded by the Church to certain saints. This title indicates that the writings and preachings of such a person are useful to Christians "in any age of the Church."

Such men and women are also particularly known for the depth of understanding and the orthodoxy of their theological teachings.

There are a certain number of "ecclesiastical writers" whose writings and preaching have an application limited to and directed at problems and opportunities their particular age. Such writings and preachings can be difficult to apply to other sets of conditions. Such are never named Doctors.

BISHOP OF MILAN, Italy, a major opponent of Arianism, wrote and preached extensively [named a Doctor of the Church by Boniface VIII on September 20, 1298 ].
Called "Patron Of Veneration Of Mary"

2. Saint Augustine of Hippo
(c. 354-430),

North African bishop, author of Confessions, City of God, and numerous treatises, countered heretical movements, one of the most influential theologians of the Western church.
[ Named a Doctor Of The Church on September 20, 1298 , by Boniface XIII ].
Called "Doctor Of Grace" and
Doctor Of Doctors "

Translated Old Testament from Hebrew into Latin and revised Latin translation of New Testament to produce Vulgate version.
[ Named Doctor Of The Church On September 20, 1295, by Boniface XIII ].
Called "Father Of Biblical Science"

4. Saint Gregory the Great
(c. 540-604),

Pope, strengthened papacy and worked for clerical and monastic reform.
[ Named Doctor Of The Church On September 20, 1295 by Boniface XIII].
Called "The Greatest Of The Great"

5. Saint Athanasius
(c. 297-373),

Bishop of Alexandria, dominant opponent of Arians, called "Father of Orthodoxy"
[ Named Doctor Of The Church in 1568 by Pius V ].
Called "The Father Of Orthodoxy".

6. Saint John Chrysostom
(347 - 407).

Archbishop of Constantinople, homilist, writer of scripture commentaries and letters, patron of preachers
[ Named Doctor Of The Church in 1568, by Pius V ].
Called "The Golden-Mouthed and
Doctor Of The Eucharist"

7. Saint Basil the Great
(c. 329-379),

Bishop of Caesarea in Asia Minor, refuted Arian errors, wrote treatises, homilies, and monastic rules.
[ Named Doctor Of The Church in 1568 by Pius V ].
Called "Father Of Eastern Monasticism"

8. Saint Gregory of Nazianzus
(c. 330-390),

Bishop of Constantinople, opponent of Arianism, wrote major theological treatises as well as letters and poetry.
[ Named Doctor Of The Church in 1568, by Pius V ].
Called "The Theologian" and
The Christian Demosthenes "

9. Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274),

Italian Dominican, wrote systematically on philosophy, theology, and Catholic doctrine, patron of Catholic schools and education, one of the most influential theologians in the West.
[ Named Doctor Of The Church in April 11, 1568 by Pius V ].
Called "The Angelic Doctor"

10. Saint Bonaventure
(c. 1217-1274),

Franciscan, bishop of Albano, Italy, a Cardinal.
[ Named Doctor Of The Church in March 14, 1588, by Sixtus V ].
Called "The Seraphic Doctor"

Archbishop Of Canterbury.
[ Proclaimed a Doctor Of The Church by the Bull Of Pope Clement XI in 1720 ].
Called "Father Of Scholasticism"

12. Saint Isidore of Seville
(c. 560-636),

Spanish bishop, encylopedist, and preeminent scholar of his day.
[ February 3, 1720, by Clement XI ].
Called "Schoolmaster Of The Middle Ages"

13. Saint Peter Chrysologus
(c. 400-450),

Archbishop of Ravenna, Italy, homilist and writer, counteracted Monophysite heresy
[ February 10, 1729 by Benedict XIII ].
Called "The Golden-Worded"

14. Saint Leo I, the Great
(c. 400-461),

Pope, wrote christological and other works against the heresies of his day
[ October 15, 1754 by Benedict XIV ].
Called: "Doctor Of The Unity Of The Church"

15. Saint Peter Damian (1007-1072),

Italian Benedictine and cardinal, ecclesiastical and clerical reformer [ September 27, 1828 by Leo XII ].
Called: "Monitor Of The Popes"

16. Saint Bernard of Clairvaux
(c. 1090-1153),

French Cistercian abbot and monastic reformer.
[ August 20, 1830 by Pius VIII ].
Called "The Mellifluous Doctor,
Oracle Of The Twelfth Century,
Arbiter Of Christendom"

17. Saint Hilary of Poitiers
(c. 315-368),

One of first Latin doctrinal writers, opposed Arianism
[ May 13, 1851 by Pius IX ].
Called "The Athanasius Of The West".

18. Saint Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787),

Founder of Redemptorists, preeminent moral theologian and apologist, patron of confessors and moralists
[ July 7, 1871 by Pius IX ].
Called "Prince Of Moralists,
Most Zealous Doctor,
Patron Of Confessors and Moral Theology"

19. Saint Francis de Sales (1567-1622),

Bishop of Geneva, spiritual writer, patron of Catholic writers and press.
[ November 16, 1871 by Pius IX ].
Called "Doctor Of Charity,
Patron Of Catholic Press,
Everyman's Spiritual Director".

20. Saint Cyril of Alexandria
(c. 376-444),

Bishop, authored doctrinal treatises against Nestorian heresy
[ July 28, 1882 by Leo XIII ].
Called "Doctor Of Incarnation,
Seal Of The Fathers"

21. Saint Cyril of Jerusalem
(c. 315-386),

Bishop, catechist, vigorous opponent of Arianism
[ July 28, 1882 by Leo XIII ].
Called "Doctor Of Catechesis"

22. Saint John Damascene
(c. 675-749),

Syrian monk, doctrinal writer.
[ August 19, 1890 by Leo XIII ].
Called "Doctor Of Christian Art, and
Doctor Of Assumption".

23. Saint Bede the Venerable
(c. 673-735),

English Benedictine.
[ November 13, 1899 by Leo XIII ].
Called "Father Of English History"

24. Saint Ephrem the Syrian
(c. 306-373),

Counteracted Gnosticism and Arianism with his poems, hymns, and other writings [ October 5, 1920 by Benedict XV ].
Called "Harp Of The Holy Ghost,
Mary's Own Singer, and
Father Of Hymnody"

25. Saint Peter Canisius (1521-1597),

Dutch Jesuit, catechist, important figure in Counter-Reformation in Germany
[ May 21, 1925 by Pius XI ].
Called "Doctor Of The Catechism"

26. Saint John of the Cross (1542-1591),

founder of Discalced Carmelites, called.
[ August 24, 1926 by Pius XI ].
Called "Doctor Of Mystical Theology"

27. Saint Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621),

Italian Jesuit, archbishop of Capua, wrote Reformation-era doctrinal defenses, catechisms, and works on ecclesiology and church-state relations.
[ September 17, 1931 by Pius XI ].
Called "Prince Of Apologists
Gentle Doctor Of The Controversies"

28. Saint Albert the Great
(c. 1200-1280),

German Dominican, bishop of Regensburg, teacher of Saint Thomas Aquinas, patron of scientists.
[ December 16, 1932 by Pius XI].
Called "Albertus Magnus,
The Universal Doctor"

29. Saint Anthony of Padua (1195-1231),

first theologian of Franciscans, preacher.
[ January 16, 1946 by Pius XII ].
Called "Evangelical Doctor,
Hammer Of Heretics,
Ark Of Both Covenants".

30. Saint Lawrence of Brindisi (1559-1619),

Italian Capuchin Franciscan, influential post-Reformation preacher [ March 19, 1959 by John XXIII ]
"The Apostolic Doctor"

31. Saint Teresa of Ávila (1515-1582),

Spanish Carmelite, initiated discalced Carmelite movement, prolific spiritual and mystical writer, first woman Doctor of the church. [1970 by Paul VI].
"Doctor Of Prayer"

32. Saint Catherine of Siena
(c. 1347-1380),

Italian Third Order Dominican, mystical author, also active in support of Crusades and in papal politics
[ October 4, 1970 by Paul VI ).
"The Seraphic Virgin,
Mystic Of The Incarnate Word,
Mystic Of The Body Of Christ".

33. Saint Thérèse of Lisieux (1873-1897),

French Carmelite, wrote spiritual autobiography describing her "little way" of spiritual perfection.
October 19, 1997 by John Paul II.
"Doctor Of The Little Way Of Spiritual Childhood,
Doctor Of Merciful Love".

34. St. John of Avila
(1500 - 1569)

St. John of Avila was a priest, mystic, preacher and scholar.
[ October 7, 2012, by Pope Benedict XVI ].
St. John of Avila was “a profound expert on the sacred scriptures, he was gifted with an ardent missionary spirit,” said the Pope, “he knew how to penetrate in a uniquely profound way the mysteries of the redemption worked by Christ for humanity.”

35. St. Hildegard of Bingen
(1098 - 1179)

Among her vast array of talents, St. Hildegard was a writer, composer, philosopher and mystic, as well as an abbess and founder of several monasteries. In May 2012 Pope Benedict formally added her to the Church’s roster of saints, extending her liturgical feast throughout the world.

“The Lord granted her a prophetic spirit and fervent capacity to discern the signs of the times,” explained the Pope to pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square.

[ Proclaimed Doctor Of The Church by Pope Benedict XVI on October 7, 2012 ].

36. St. Gregory of Narek
(951 - 1003)

A Christian poet and theologian who is generally considered the first great Armenian poet and the principal literary figure in Armenia during the 10th century. He was renowned for his mystical poems and hymns, biblical commentaries, and sacred elegies.

[February 21, 2015, Added by Pope Francis.]

St Jerome Emiliani Pilgrimage

Clive Fernandes ‎Catholic Christianity


Though St. Benedict was born in 480 A.D., he is certainly a Saint for our times. He was a man of strength, conviction, and courage. Although he desired to live a life of solitude by choosing the life of a hermit and living in a cave, when word of his holiness and devout life reached the nearby monks, they persuaded him to oversee to become their abbot. Once there, the monks did not like St. Benedict’s strict rule of life and he faced many adversaries (including surviving an attempt to poison him!).

St. Benedict stayed strong in spite of his trials. He gathered his strength from the Lord. He lived in a world that seemed to be crumbling around him, yet St. Benedict stood against the culture of his time with love and faithfulness to the Gospel.

He inspired many people to convert to Christianity because of his devotion. We can look to him as our example of how to reach a generation that often seems far away from God.


C.S.P.B. Crux Sancti Patris Benedict.
C.S.S.M.L. Crux Sacra Sit Mihi Lux.
N.D.S.M.D Non Draco Sit Mihi Dux.
V.R.S. Vade Retro Sataria.
N.S.M.V. Non Suade Mihi Vans.
S.M.Q.L. Sunt Mala Quae Libas.
I.V.B. Ipse Venena Bibas.

Cross of holy Father Benedict.
Let the Holy Cross be my light.
Let not the demon be my guide.
Get thee behind me Satan
Do not persuade me of evil .
What thou dost present is evil.
Drink thy own poison.

The influence of St. Benedict over the powers of darkness was very remarkable, and he is especially venerated as "effugator daemonium". The medal of St. Benedict has been found to be extremely potent against all evil spells. During a trial of witchcraft in 1647 at Nattenberg near the Abbey of Metten in Bavaria, the sorcerers acknowledged that their at attempts against the Monks were foiled by the holy Medal. The possessed of Illfurt (Alsace) 1864-1869 exhibited the utmost dread of St. Benedict's Medal.


The medal is a way to obtain God’s blessings and protection through the intercession of St. Benedict. Wearing it is a way to remind ourselves of our life in Christ and the promises of heaven. It is a form of prayer and yet another way we can incorporate God into our daily lives.

According to the Order of St. Benedict,

“The medal is..
▪ a prayer of exorcism against Satan,
▪ a prayer for strength in time of temptation,
▪ a prayer for peace among ourselves and among the nations of the world,
▪ a prayer that the Cross of Christ be our light and guide,
▪ a prayer of firm rejection of all that is evil,
▪ a prayer of petition that we may with Christian courage ‘walk in God’s ways, with the Gospel as our guide,’ as St. Benedict urges us.”

After reading that powerful description of the prayer of the St. Benedict Medal, I am sure that you will agree it is a “weapon” Christians need in our day and age. We are faced with evil and temptation. Anything we can use to help us in our battle will encourage and strengthen us in our fight!


Most local Catholic bookstores and gift shops sell the St. Benedict Medal because it is a very popular devotion among Catholics due to the effectiveness of protection against evil and temptation.

It is not known when the term Redshank came into general use, but the word began to appear in published works by the mid 1500s. At that time Redshank was a Lowland Scottish term for a Gael from the ‘Highlands.’ Scottish writer John Jamison included the term in his Supplement to the Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language published in 1825. His entry is an interesting summary of early usage of Redshank in English. Jamison includes quotes by the sixteenth-century writers Edmund Spenser, Thomas Stapleton, Raphael Holinshed, and John Elder. In the citations provided by Jamison the term Redshank is consistent in that it always refers to a Scottish Gael. As for the origins of the word Redshank there are two stories one that the name came from the hair-out roe deer buskins (a calf high boot) commonly worn by Gaels and the other being that the name came from the Gaels going bare legged, or ‘rough footed.’

The dress of Scottish Gaels in the 1500s was in general very similar to Irish Gaels. The léine, or linen shirt, and short woollen jacket were worn in both Ireland and Scotland. The léine came down to just above the knee and in warm weather the wearer would be barelegged. But, while this mode of dress was common, various forms of trews were also in wide use. Most contemporary examples of the trews are ankle length, though there is one illustration from the 1570s drawn from life which shows a short trew, or a short pant, similar to a type that was worn in other parts of Western Europe at that time. The use of the kilt, or the féileadh mór, dates to the mid 1500s, and it was worn over the léine. So, during the 1500s when the term Redshank came into common use in Scotland, Ireland, and England, a Scottish Gael would have been dressed various ways, both barelegged and with trews. Of importance perhaps is that the one consistent element of Gaelic dress was the hair out roe deer buskins, which is at least suggestive that this gave rise to the Scottish Gaels being known as Redshanks.

Whatever the origin of the term is, the meaning in the sixteenth century was certainly clear. Raphael Holinshed, in his History of Scotland, describes some of the soldiers with Robert the Bruce as ‘Irish Scots, otherwise called Katerans or Redshanks.’ Holinshed’s work was published 1577 and the word ‘Irish’ meant ‘Gaelic’ in modern usage. Calling Scottish Gaels ‘Irish’ was common in the 1500s. There was a need in the sixteenth century to differentiate between the ‘Irish’ or traditional Gaelic Scots and those Scots in the Lowlands, especially the southeast Lowlands, which spoke Lallans and had developed their own unique society. Additionally, Tudor writers often would describe Highland Scots in Ireland as Scots-Irish or Irish Scots, to give clarification when they were referring to Gaels from Scotland in Ireland and not native Irish Gaels.

The term was used for several centuries. In the 1600s, in both the Wars of the Three Kingdoms (1639-1651) and the Williamite War (1689-1692), Scottish Highlanders from both Ulster and Scotland were commonly referred to as Redshanks in English. Redshanks, sometimes styled ‘Redlegs,’ was also used in the Caribbean to describe poor whites, usually of Gaelic origin, that were the descendants of Highland soldiers exiled there by Cromwell. It was also used to a certain extent to describe all poor whites of Gaelic ancestry, even Irish. In the Caribbean the term ‘Beck e neck’ or ‘baked neck’, meaning ‘red-neck.’ was also used to describe Redshanks. Any possible etymological connection to the Southern USA term Redneck can only be speculated upon, but it is of interest that in the American South this term referred in large part to the descendants of Gaels in Upland and rural areas.

In the 1500s the Gaelic writers in Ireland called the Redshanks, who had settled in Ulster ‘Albanaigh,’ which is Gaelic for ‘Scots.’ The term ‘New Scots’ was also used to describe Redshanks as a way to distinguish them from the ‘Old Scots’ that were the Gallóglaigh clans in Ireland. The Gallóglaigh Scots settled in Ireland circa 1250 AD to 1350 AD and as previously noted, Redshank settlements came later, from 1400 to 1600 AD.

Some consider Redshank as a pejorative term, but many Scottish Gaelic writers when writing in English would describe themselves as a Redshank without any negative connotation. Redshank is still occasionally used to describe people of Highland Scottish ancestry both in Ireland and Scotland.

Redshanks were a common feature of Irish armies throughout the 1500s. Almost all of them came from the western Highlands, primarily Argyll, and from the Hebridean Islands, but there are examples of Redshanks coming from Ayrshire and Gallowayshire in the southwest Scottish Lowlands. In the 1500s the southwest Lowlands still had a sizeable Gaelic speaking population and a culture that was not significantly different from the Highlands. Clann Chaimbeul had lands and alliances in the western Lowlands and they were the largest suppliers of Redshanks. The Caimbeuls drew men and captains from these southwest Lowland connections to serve in their military forces. The Redshanks were also in high demand in both the English Tudor army and with various armies on the Continent. As mercenaries they were considered hardier than English soldiers and superior to Irish soldiers.

The Elizabethan English were very cognizant of the Redshanks in Ireland. The Calendar of the State Papers Relating To Ireland has many letters and reports of English officials in Ulster concerning Redshank activities from the mid 1500s until the early 1600s. English concern and fear of the Redshanks grew greatly when they began to settle in Ulster. The nature of the Redshanks’ function was changing in Irish society. Initially, the Redshanks were only paid for time in service and there was the added benefit that the Irish lords did not need to grant them land to live on. This made them popular with these lords as they were less expensive than Gallóglaigh. However, more Scottish warriors were needed as the wars against the Elizabethan English escalated. The Redshanks were available in much greater numbers than the Gallóglaigh and the broadening scope and changing nature of warfare of the 1500s led some Irish lords, those that could afford it, to have Redshanks settle in strategic areas on their lands.

From the early fourteenth century, the Gallóglaigh were the elite element in Irish armies. They were the armoured heavy infantry and were a warrior caste that functioned much like the samurai did in medieval Japan. The Gallóglaigh were drawn from Hebridean and west Highland kindred groups. Their leaders married into the Irish aristocracy and were granted lands throughout Ireland. These warriors had not changed their basic mode of warfare and accoutrement of battle since the 1200s. They had an iconic dress and weapons which included a conical helmet, coat of mail, and two handed axe. Their accoutrement of war was archaic even in their heyday and was drawn from their mixed Gaelic and Norse heritage. The Gallóglaigh were very effective on the field of battle. They could stand up to the shock of English cavalry and were superior to English infantry. Every Irish lord of any importance had them in his retinue. In the 1500s however, the technology of war was changing along with the scale of warfare in Ulster. Gallóglaigh were expensive to equip and train and it was very hard to organize them in numbers sufficient to counter the growing English threat in Ulster. The Redshanks were available in much greater numbers and became the most effective way to counter the growing English threat.

The Redshanks were very successful soldiers and had distinct advantages over the English soldiers they faced and also over the Irish infantry and Gallóglaigh. The Redshanks were not a structured entity in Gaelic society as were the Gallóglaigh. The Gallóglaigh required very formal, elaborate, training and often the sons of a Gallóglach would follow their father into the profession. In this sense the Gallóglaigh were a bona fide warrior caste and were more than simple mercenaries. The Redshanks were much more flexible. There were some similarities of course and at times there was very little difference between a Redshank warrior and a Gallóglach. The Redshanks were also soldiers for hire and they came from the same Hebridean and Argyll kinships as did the original Gallóglaigh. The Redshanks were trained and hardy, but they were not a Gaelic societal institution as were the Gallóglaigh. As soldiers they were straight forward mercenaries, but they would farm, or fish, or turn to a trade if they tired of a soldier’s life.

The Redshanks were also more flexible even as warriors. They were quick to take up the use of firearms to supplement their two handed swords and bows and they were noted for their excellent marksmanship. They provided the swiftness of Gaelic light infantry, or the Ceithearn, yet also had the dynamic hitting power and shock of the Gallóglaigh. By 1575 Redshank pay was equal to that of the famed Gallóglaigh. An example of their increasing importance in Ireland is found in the 1566 letter to the Elizabethan court by Sir Francis Knollys, an English agent in Ireland. The letter referenced the growing number of Redshanks the English encountered in the Irish armies they faced. Knollys reported to Queen Elizabeth that 300 Redshanks were ‘harder to be vanquished in battle than 600 Irishmen.’

As mentioned, the initial settlement of Redshanks in Ulster was in the Glens of north Antrim. The Biséd family of Scotland had gained control of the Glens circa 1245 AD. The family held the Glens until the end of the 1300s when the head of the clan, Eóin Mac Eóin, failed to produce a male heir. His oldest daughter, Máire Nic Eóin, married Eóin Mór Mac Dónaill of Clann Dhónaill in 1399 AD. The marriage was the beginning of a large migration of Redshanks into north Antrim under Clann Dhónaill’s auspices. These Redshanks settled in the Glens and Route districts that were controlled by Clann Dhónaill. In 1542 John Travers, the Master of the Ordnance in Ireland wrote:

where as a company of Irishe Scottes otherwise called Redshankes daily commeth into the northe parties of Irelande and purchaseth castels and piles uppon the seecoste there so as it is thought that there be at this present above the nombre of 2 or 3 thousande of them within this Realme

In April of 1571 Lord Justice William FitzWilliam wrote to the Privy Council:

The Scots in the North build, manure the ground, and settle, as though they should never be removed.

There is a description of Redshanks found in the early 1600s book Beatha Aodha Ruaidh Uí Dhomhnaill (Life of Aodh Rua Ó Dónaill), written by the seanchaí of Clann Uí Dhónaill, Lughaidh Ó Cléirigh:

They were recognized among the Irish soldier by the distinction of their arms and clothing, their habits and language, for their exterior dress was mottled cloaks of many colours with a fringe to their shins and claves, their belts were over their loins outside their cloaks. Many of them had swords with hafts of horn, large and warlike, over their shoulders. It was necessary for the soldier to grip the very haft of his sword with both hands when he would strike a blow with it. Others of them had bows of carved woods strong for use, with well seasoned strings of hemp, and arrows sharp pointed, whizzing in flight.

Ó Cléirigh’s comments referred to an arrival in Derry of a thousand Scottish Gaels lead by Dónall Gorm Mac Dónaill (presumably from Skye) and ‘Mac Leóid’ of Arran in 1594. These Redshanks were in the service of Aodh Rua Ó Dónaill. Ó Cléirigh was an eye witness of the Redshanks living in west Ulster and his comments provide an accurate assessment of their dress, weapons and characteristics. By the late 1500s the unique Scottish dress of the belted kilt was worn by many Redshanks. The two handed swords and bows described by Ó Cléirigh were favourite weapons of the Redshanks. Ó Cleírigh also notes the Gaelic dialect of the Redshanks, which was unique to the Isles and Argyll. As in Antrim, so many Redshanks settled in west Ulster that they influenced the Gaelic spoken there, giving it many elements of Scottish Gaelic.

The Redshank migration to Antrim came primarily from the Hebrides and Kintyre, which were lands controlled by Clann Eóin Mhóir. The Redshank movement into West Ulster came primarily from mid Argyll and western Lennox and was organized by Clann Chaimbeul. Barry MacCain

Link to purchase book: The Laggan Redshanks, The Highland Scots in West Ulster, 1569-1630

‘The Laggan Redshanks, The Highland Scots in West Ulster, 1569-1630.’ It is the very interesting tale of a migration of Highland Scots from Argyll to Donegal in the 1500s. They were, and still are at times, called Redshanks. My interest in this part of the history of Ireland came to me while working on my family’s DNA project. This chapter posted below discusses the use of the term Redshank.

The Battle of Vienna

The Ottoman forces were mobilized on 21 January 1682 and in August of the year, they declared a war against the Holy Roman Empire, which was, at the time, trying to take control over Hungary. As the Ottomans took a lot of time to attack, the Holy Roman Empire had a lot of time to prepare and organize its allies and the plan of defence.

The Holy Roman Empire concluded an alliance with Poland in 1683’s Treaty of Warsaw, where Holy Roman Emperor Leopold and Polish king John (Jan) III Sobieski promised to help each other out if the Ottomans were to attack them.

In April of 1683 the Ottoman army, with the support of Grand Vizier Merzifonlu Kara Mustafa Pasha, began moving towards Vienna, joined by a Transylvanian army under Prince Mihaly Apafi and a Hungarian force under Imre Thököly - some 150,000 men. On their way, they were also joined by 40,000 Crimean Tatar troops outside of Vienna. Leopold fled Vienna with his court.

Polish king John III Sobieski took to the besieged Vienna, risking tensions with German states, like Austria, mainly because of the matter of the cost of the upcoming war and the payments of the soldiers. He also got no support from Louis XIV of France, who refused to help.

On July 14, the Ottoman army laid siege and Kara Mustafa sent the demand for the surrender of the city. The leader of the remaining troops refused to capitulate, as he heard the news of the surrounding city Perchtoldsdorf and the mass slaughter that happened there even though the city had surrendered to the Ottomans. The houses around the city walls of Vienna were intentionally demolished to leave the Ottomans exposed to the defensive fire. So the Ottomans dug tunnels under the city walls to be filled with black powder to blow up the walls. But it is said that Kara Mustafa wanted to take the city intact to be able to retain its riches.

The Ottomans moved on to cut food supply into Vienna. In August, Imperial forces under Charles V, Duke of Lorraine, defeated Thököly at Bisamberg, 5 km of Vienna. On 6 September, Sobieski and his armies crossed the Danube 30 km away of the city and united with the Imperial troops, along with forces from Saxony, Bavaria, Baden, Franconia and Swabia and were also joined by Zaporozhian Cossacks and the famous Polish hussars. All of these forces were to be lead by John III Sobieski, known far and wide for his expertise as a commander: some 80,000 against the 150,000 of Ottoman’s. The battle was nearing, as the Ottomans progressed into the city.

On 12 September 1683, the relief forces got to action. The attack came from the Ottoman side, at 4 AM, wanting to interfere with the deployment of the troops of the Holy League. The Germans were the first to fight back. By noon, they took control over fortified villages of Nussdorf and Heiligenstadt, weakening the Ottoman army. Mustafa Pasha fought with most of his force, keeping some of the elite troops for a parallel assault he was planning on the city, wanting to create a strong detonation through ten mines - this plan was caught in time and the disaster was prevented.

In the afternoon, Polish infantry advanced on the other side of the battlefield. Instead of fighting back here, the Ottomans focused on making their way into the city. This helped the Poles progres on their side and take over the village of Gersthof. The Ottomans got cornered, finding themselves between the Polish and the Imperial forces. The villages of Unterdöbling and Oberdöbling were taken over, getting them close to the central Ottoman position. Then, at about 4PM, the Polish cavalry appeared - hussars, well known and well respected warriors of the time. This made the vizier retreat to his headquarters, and many Ottomans flee the battlefield. At about 6PM, John III Sobieski ordered the attack of the cavalry, in four groups: around 18,000 horsemen charged down the hills, making this the largest noted cavalry charge in history. This attack broke the lines of the Ottomans, who were already exhausted and demoralized.

Three hours later, the battle was won. It is said that John III Sobieski paraphrased the famous quotations of Julius Caesar, saying: I came, I saw, God conquered.

This battle was one of the most disastrous ones in the history of the Ottoman empire, making them lose about 15,000 men and get another 5,000 captured. The walls of Vienna were ordered to be immediately repaired in case of another siege. In the December of 1683, Kara Mustafa Pasha was executed in Belgrade. Although the war was far from being over, the battle weakened the Ottomans greatly and marked the end of the expansion of the Ottoman Empire into Europe. In 1699, the Holy Roman Empire signed the Treaty of Karlowitz with the Ottoman Empire.

The Three Partitions, (1764-1795)

During the reign of Empress Catherine the Great (1762-1796), Russia intensified its manipulation in Polish affairs. The Kingdom of Prussia and Austria, the other powers surrounding the republic, also took advantage of internal religious and political bickering to divide up the country in three partition stages. After two partitions, the third one in 1795 eventually wiped Poland-Lithuania from the map of Europe.

Stanislaw August Poniatowski (King 1764&ndash1795)

First Partition

In 1764 Catherine dictated the election of her former favorite, Stanislaw August Poniatowski, as king of Poland-Lithuania. Confounding expectations that he would be an obedient servant of his mistress, Stanislaw August encouraged the modernization of his realm's ramshackle political system and achieved a temporary moratorium on use of the individual veto in the Sejm (1764-1766). This turnabout threatened to renew the strength of the monarchy and brought displeasure in the foreign capitals that preferred an inert, pliable Poland. Catherine, being among the most displeased by Poniatowski's independence, encouraged religious dissension in Poland-Lithuania's substantial Eastern Orthodox population, which earlier in the eighteenth century had lost the rights enjoyed during the Jagiellon Dynasty. Under heavy Russian pressure, the Sejm restored Orthodox equality in 1767. This action provoked a Catholic uprising by the Confederation of Bar, a league of Polish nobles that fought until 1772 to revoke Catherine's mandate.

The defeat of the Confederation of Bar again left Poland exposed to the ambitions of its neighbors. Although Catherine initially opposed partition, Frederick the Great of Prussia profited from Austria's threatening military position to the southwest by pressing a long-standing proposal to carve territory from the commonwealth. Catherine, persuaded that Russia did not have the resources to continue its unilateral domination of Poland, agreed. In 1772 Russia, Prussia, and Austria forced terms of partition upon the helpless commonwealth under the pretext of restoring order in the anarchic conditions of the country.

National Revival

The first partition in 1772 did not directly threaten the stability of Poland-Lithuania. Poland still retained extensive territory that included the Polish heartlands. In fact, the shock of the annexations made clear the dangers of decay in government institutions, creating a body of opinion favorable to reform along the lines of the European Enlightenment. King Stanislaw August supported the progressive elements in the government and promoted the ideas of foreign political figures such as Edmund Burke and George Washington. At the same time, Polish intellectuals discussed Enlightenment philosophers such as Montesquieu and Rousseau. During this period, the concept of democratic institutions for all classes was accepted in Polish society. Education reform included establishment of the first ministry of education in Europe. Taxation and the army underwent thorough reform, and government again was centralized in the Permanent Council. Landholders emancipated large numbers of peasants, although there was no official government decree. Polish cities, in decline for many decades, were revived by the influence of the Industrial Revolution, especially in mining and textiles.

Stanislaw August's process of renovation reached its climax on May 3, 1791, when, after three years of intense debate, the "Four Years' Sejm" produced Europe's first modern codified constitution. Conceived in the liberal spirit of the contemporaneous document in the United States, the constitution recast Poland-Lithuania as a hereditary monarchy and abolished many of the eccentricities and antiquated features of the old system. The new constitution abolished the individual veto in parliament provided a separation of powers among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government and established "people's sovereignty" (for the noble and bourgeois classes). Although never fully implemented, the [[Constitution of ]] gained an honored position in the Polish political heritage tradition marks the anniversary of its passage as the country's most important civic holiday.

Destruction of Poland-Lithuania

Passage of the constitution alarmed nobles who would lose considerable stature under the new order. In autocratic states such as Russia, the democratic ideals of the constitution also threatened the existing order, and the prospect of Polish recovery threatened to end domination of Polish affairs by its neighbors. In 1792 domestic and foreign reactionaries combined to end the democratization process. Polish conservative factions formed the Confederation of Targowica and appealed for Russian assistance in restoring the status quo. Catherine gladly used this opportunity enlisting Prussian support, she invaded Poland under the pretext of defending Poland's ancient liberties. The irresolute Stanislaw August capitulated, defecting to the Targowica faction. Arguing that Poland had fallen prey to the radical Jacobinism then at high tide in France, Russia and Prussia abrogated the Constitution of 3 May, carried out a second partition of Poland in 1793, and placed the remainder of the country under occupation by Russian troops.

The second partition was far more injurious than the first. Russia received a vast area of eastern Poland, extending southward from its gains in the first partition nearly to the Black Sea. To the west, Prussia received an area known as South Prussia, nearly twice the size of its first-partition gains along the Baltic, as well as the port of Gdańsk. Thus, Poland's neighbors reduced the commonwealth to a rump state and plainly signaled their designs to abolish it altogether at their convenience.

In a gesture of defiance, a general Polish revolt broke out in 1794 under the leadership of Tadeusz Kosciuszko (Kosciuszko Uprising), a military officer who had rendered notable service in the American Revolution. Kosciuszko's ragtag insurgent armies won some initial successes, but they eventually fell before the superior forces of Russian General Alexander Suvorov. In the wake of the insurrection of 1794, Russia, Prussia, and Austria carried out the third and final partition of Poland-Lithuania in 1795, erasing the Commonwealth of Two Nations from the map and pledging never to let it return.

Much of Europe condemned the dismemberment as an international crime without historical parallel. Amid the distractions of the French Revolution and its attendant wars, however, no state actively opposed the annexations. In the long term, the dissolution of Poland-Lithuania upset the traditional European balance of power, dramatically magnifying the influence of Russia and paving the way for the Germany that would emerge in the nineteenth century with Prussia at its core. For the Poles, the third partition began a period of continuous foreign rule that would endure well over a century.