The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0541  Thursday, 29 October 2009

From:       Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Thursday, October 29, 2009
Subject:    Battle of Agincourt Reassessed

Historians Reassess Battle of Agincourt
By James Glanz
October 25, 2009

Agincourt Was an Even Fight, Claim Historians
By Ian Johnston

October 25 is the anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt. Articles in 
the New York Times and in the Guardian as well as other newspapers are 
reporting that the English forces may not have been AS outnumbered on 
St. Crispin's Day, October 25, 1415, as Shakespeare reports. Henry V and 
his "band of brothers," as Shakespeare calls them, devastated a force of 
heavily armored French nobles with his English longbowmen and their much 
lighter gear. However, the British victory and key to its military 
self-image may have been over an army more evenly matched, twice as 
large as opposed to five times as large, as is traditionally believed.

Professor Anne Curry, of Southampton University, concluded the French 
army had no more than 12,000, while Henry had at least 8,700 troops at 
the battle. "Professor Curry said of the claims the English were 
severely outnumbered: "It's just a myth, but it's a myth that's part of 
the British psyche."

"However Professor Clifford Rogers, a historian at the US Military 
Academy at West Point, said he thought Shakespeare's portrayal was 
accurate. He said the English had only 6,000 troops, consisting of 1,000 
men-at-arms in heavy steel armour and 5,000 longbowmen. Professor Rogers 
puts the French army at more than 24,000, which would have given them a 
numerical advantage of four to one. He said there were 10,000 French 
troops, but each would have had an attendant servant who would also 
fight, along with 4,000 crossbowmen and other troops."

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