Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Barrels of Fish and the Rise of a Maid

      Today marks the anniversary in 1429 of the so called "Battle of the Herring," of itself an unimportant event in that misnamed contest of wills identified as the 100 Years War (by the accepted measure it lasted 116 years).

      English forces were laying siege to Orleans (they already held Paris), and a supply convoy was brings additional armaments and food. A joint French and Scottish force attempted to intercept, but in the ensuing battle they took significant casualties.  In that the food supplies were made up in part of herring, the battle received its rather non-illustrious name.  Crecy and Agincourt have come down thru history as momentous events; not so Herring.

       Still, this small battle would have a significant impact upon the path of the war.  It was at this time that the young woman who would come down through his tory under the name Joan of Arc was first seeking an introduction that would lead to meeting the Dauphin.  She was making little headway, and the illiterate peasant was not likely to have found her way through the byzantine rules of the French court.  That is, until, one of her visions allowed her to tell of the losses at the Battle of the Herring, news that had not yet reached that part of France.  With that revelation she began her journey to the head of the French army and the ultimate relief of Orleans. 

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