Anglo-centrism in "Western" medieval history in regards to battles like Agincourt

Dan Howard

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
4,759
Australia
But to be fair, that only became an issue after the two cavalry charges against the English flanks failed. If either of those attacks succeeds and Henry is suddenly in for an extremely bad day.
The French battle plan for Agincourt actually exists and, if it was followed, they would easily have beaten the English. The French worked out how to counter English archers after Crecy. France's main problem during the HYW was its weak central authority and the hothead barons who refused to obey orders on the battlefield.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,827
SoCal
There is such a thing as honorable or noble defeat to be sure, but we are painfully aware of the outcome of those conflicts. The French victory in the Hundred Years War is treated as an act of god. My point is that not enough attention is paid to what happens after Agincourt.
I think that Englishmen might simply prefer not to focus on events in the HYW after 1422 because they might believe that the French simply lucked out as a result of Henry V's early death.
 
Oct 2019
37
U.S.
I think that Englishmen might simply prefer not to focus on events in the HYW after 1422 because they might believe that the French simply lucked out as a result of Henry V's early death.
I just find it tiresome when i buy a book on something and its the English "spin" on things and not both sides neatly presented to get a full picture. There's so many bad history books out there but to be fair they are seemingly getting better. Its hard not to romanticize history, i get it, but to me at least, adding the French side does nothing to subtract from the English.
 
Oct 2019
37
U.S.
The French battle plan for Agincourt actually exists and, if it was followed, they would easily have beaten the English. The French worked out how to counter English archers after Crecy. France's main problem during the HYW was its weak central authority and the hothead barons who refused to obey orders on the battlefield.
Joan of Arc and the Scottish expedition did alot to save France. The French aristocracies contempt for their enemies got them in trouble alot. Nicopolis of 1396 comes to mind, French knights insulted their allies and charged wreaking havoc and much death only to be Flanked and surrounded and killed.
 

aggienation

Ad Honorem
Jul 2016
9,745
USA
The French battle plan for Agincourt actually exists and, if it was followed, they would easily have beaten the English. The French worked out how to counter English archers after Crecy. France's main problem during the HYW was its weak central authority and the hothead barons who refused to obey orders on the battlefield.
What was the battle plan?

Who conceived it? The Marshal? The Dauphin? One of the great dukes?

What was the technique to counter archers?

When was it created? By whom?
 
Dec 2014
441
Wales
I mentioned Patay in the same sentence. Providing examples from online articles doesnt change the focus of most of the books that are available on the subject. Much more time is always spent on the English experience and it would be nice to hear the other side too when presenting a history of any subject
Oddly enough that is not my experience. In my experience most books on medieval warfare - especially the more historical ones - tend towards more general views of medieval history, with the crusades being one of the more significant factors. If we limit reading more towards the 100 years war then yes, Agincourt comes up a lot. But Agincourt is simply something unique, much like Waterloo. It has entered into almost folklore status - mainly thanks to WS. You mention that books don't cover Patay, yet a quick count suggests nearly 60 battles in the 100 years war. Why should Patay get a mention but not Verneuil (often called the second Agincourt)? Even Crecy and Poitiors, equally important English victories, are almost unknown outside their names. How many documentaries on them have you seen? But on the other hand how about Joan of Arc? A semi-mythical figure who English history seems to have credited with almost single-handedly defeating the English . There are numerous books and documentaries on her - how is that Anglo-centric?

Are the bulk of English language books, written about English history, English orientated? I think I would regard it as odd if they were not, Just as I would expect French books, written in French, to focus mainly on French history.

I'm not arguing that English language books aren't slanted towards English victories - that is the audience they are written for after all. I am merely suggesting that if you want to find books covering all of these battles it's not really difficult, and using a cultural phenomenon such as Agincourt to claim Anglo-centrism is hardly an argument.

Following this example I could show how all World War 2 history is German-centric by pointing to all the books and documentaries on German tanks/general etc. and ignoring everything written or shown on D-day, Stalingrad amd the like.
 
Sep 2016
1,271
Georgia
Why should Patay get a mention but not Verneuil (often called the second Agincourt)?
Why should they get mentioned but not Pontvallain, La Rochelle, Bauge, Orleans, Patay, Gerberoy, Formigny or Castillon ? All were English defeats.
 

Kevinmeath

Ad Honoris
May 2011
14,030
Navan, Ireland
"Fair?" where did i say history was fair? The study of history is an ever growing and evolving science. In science, bias and conjecture is frowned upon why should it be accepted in the study of history? I just think it strangely reeks of historical propaganda to bask in the glow of a victory in a war your side lost. Its not telling the whole story. The whole story needs to be told, that's the difference between real history and story telling and myth making.
Sorry history is not a science and can not be treated as such. We all have bias and conjecture is common in history, a historical event can have many differing and relevant interpretations.

Henry V won the war? how is it propaganda to say so? that subsequent kings lost land does not alter that. Why on earth should the English celebrate French victories? Do the French celebrate English ones?
 
Dec 2014
441
Wales
Why should they get mentioned but not Pontvallain, La Rochelle, Bauge, Orleans, Patay, Gerberoy, Formigny or Castillon ? All were English defeats.
But that is my point. English defeats or English victories, they don't. Almost all of the battles of the 100 years war get roughly the same amount of coverage in English history which is next to nothing. Sluys, Verneuil, La Rochelle, Formigny, good luck finding any of these in your average book on English history regardless of whether they victories or defeats. Crecy, Poitiers, Orleans (thanks to Joan of Arc) and Castillion the name might be generally known but almost nothing else. Agincourt is unique, an aberration which has nothing to do with history and everything to do with literature, and using it to claim anything is simply incorrect.

The reality is that unless you are digging into such history, most medieval history is virtually unknown, and the exception of oddities such as Agincourt - or Joan of Arc - have more to do with random cultural perceptions than Anglo-centralism.
 

Peter Graham

Ad Honorem
Jan 2014
2,625
Westmorland
Does is seem that much of the English speaking world in regards to history dwells overmuch on victories such as Agincourt?
Possibly, but we all have our myths. Agincourt may not have been half as important in the English mindset were it not for Shakespeare's Henry V, but the fact remains that there is no less hogwash spoken about Scottish or French victories as English ones.

Your name, I suspect, is a reference to the little river that marks the Anglo-Scottish border and which is now somewhat overshadowed by the horrors of the Gretna Gateway outlet village. If so, you'll know about the battle of Solway Moss, which is arguably far better material for the myth makers (scratch force of irregular horsemen defeat enormous Scottish army and save the north of England from yet another harrying). Yet most English people haven't even heard of it. So notwithstanding that we are collectively quite keen on a small number of victories and 'heroic' defeats (Dunkirk being the obvious example), I don't think that we dwell on them any more than (for example) Scottish people dwell on Bannockburn.

i would like to see more coverage of other nations when this period is brought up
Fine. But we all have our interests and you can't expect other people to advance your interests over their own. If you want more coverage, you are free to go ahead and provide it.