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Lazy, arrogant cowards: how English saw French in 12th century
The Telegraph ^ | 1/17/2010 | Jonathan Wynne-Jones

Posted on 01/17/2010 12:08:03 AM PST by bruinbirdman

Twelfth-century poem newly translated into English casts fresh light on the origin of today's Francophobic stereotypes

Although it is meant to be an 'entente cordiale', the relationship between the English and the French has been anything but neighbourly.


Poet Andrew de Coutances, an Anglo-Norman cleric, describes the French as godless, arrogant and lazy dogs

When the two nations have not been clashing on the battlefield or the sporting pitch they have been trading insults from 'frogs' to 'rosbifs'.

Now the translation of the poem has shown just how deep-rooted in history the rivalry and name-calling really is.

Written between 1180 and 1194, a century after the Norman Conquest united England and Normandy against a common enemy in France, the 396-line poem was part of a propaganda war between London and Paris.

Poet Andrew de Coutances, an Anglo-Norman cleric, describes the French as godless, arrogant and lazy dogs. Even more stingingly, he accuses French people of being cowardly, and calls them heretics and rapists.

It has taken David Crouch, a professor of medieval history at Hull University, months to complete the translation of what is one of the earliest examples of anti-French diatribe.

The poem was written at a time when Philip II of France was launching repeated attacks on Normandy, taking advantage of in-fighting within the English royal family.

Prof Crouch says that the poem is of great interest to historians because of its "racial rhetoric", which was deployed by Anglo-Norman intellectuals in support of their kings' bitter political and military struggle.

While rivalry between the English and their Gallic neighbours now only tends to surface at sporting occasions and European summits, the poem recalls battles between the two countries and describes the vices of the French in detail.

In one passage, it claims that

(Excerpt) Read more at telegraph.co.uk ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: france; worldhistory

1 posted on 01/17/2010 12:08:05 AM PST by bruinbirdman
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To: bruinbirdman

Plus ça change...


2 posted on 01/17/2010 12:10:56 AM PST by rightwingcrazy
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To: bruinbirdman; Salamander; Slings and Arrows; Markos33

Rumsfeld said it best,

“Going to war without the French is like going duck hunting without an accordian.”


3 posted on 01/17/2010 12:11:29 AM PST by shibumi (" ..... then we will fight in the shade.")
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To: bruinbirdman

What’s changed since then? /s


4 posted on 01/17/2010 12:14:00 AM PST by cranked
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To: bruinbirdman
"describes the French as godless, arrogant and lazy dogs. Even more stingingly, he accuses French people of being cowardly, and calls them heretics and rapists"

Just substitute "the Democrats" for "the French"......

[yes, yes, I do have French ancestry but the best parts escaped to North America all those years ago..... and I know I used a French word as my screen-name all those years ago, so sue me.......]
5 posted on 01/17/2010 12:14:32 AM PST by Enchante (Martha Croak-y: Larry Bird = Lakers fan, Bobby Orr loves the Canadiens, &Tom Brady prefers the Jets)
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To: bruinbirdman
Things have changed


6 posted on 01/17/2010 12:19:18 AM PST by philetus (Keep doing what you always do and you'll keep getting what you always get.)
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To: bruinbirdman
“Written between 1180 and 1194...a time when Philip II of France was launching repeated attacks on Normandy, taking advantage of in-fighting within the English royal family.”

Anyone who's seen The Lion in Winter will recognize the situation.

7 posted on 01/17/2010 12:20:31 AM PST by decal (The Key To Flexibility is Indecision)
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To: shibumi

They haven’t won a war since Napoleon.


8 posted on 01/17/2010 12:24:31 AM PST by RedStateRocker (Nuke Mecca, Deport all illegals, abolish the IRS, DEA and ATF.)
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To: bruinbirdman

Even Julius Caesar held the Gauls in contempt.


9 posted on 01/17/2010 12:26:23 AM PST by ffusco (The President will return this country to what it once was...An arctic wasteland covered in ice.)
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To: bruinbirdman

First Ambassador

Thus, then, in few.
Your highness, lately sending into France,
Did claim some certain dukedoms, in the right
Of your great predecessor, King Edward the Third.
In answer of which claim, the prince our master
Says that you savour too much of your youth,
And bids you be advised there’s nought in France
That can be with a nimble galliard won;
You cannot revel into dukedoms there.
He therefore sends you, meeter for your spirit,
This tun of treasure; and, in lieu of this,
Desires you let the dukedoms that you claim
Hear no more of you. This the Dauphin speaks.

KING HENRY V

What treasure, uncle?

EXETER

Tennis-balls, my liege.

KING HENRY V

We are glad the Dauphin is so pleasant with us;
His present and your pains we thank you for:
When we have march’d our rackets to these balls,
We will, in France, by God’s grace, play a set
Shall strike his father’s crown into the hazard.
Tell him he hath made a match with such a wrangler
That all the courts of France will be disturb’d
With chaces. And we understand him well,
How he comes o’er us with our wilder days,
Not measuring what use we made of them.
We never valued this poor seat of England;
And therefore, living hence, did give ourself
To barbarous licence; as ‘tis ever common
That men are merriest when they are from home.
But tell the Dauphin I will keep my state,
Be like a king and show my sail of greatness
When I do rouse me in my throne of France:
For that I have laid by my majesty
And plodded like a man for working-days,
But I will rise there with so full a glory
That I will dazzle all the eyes of France,
Yea, strike the Dauphin blind to look on us.
And tell the pleasant prince this mock of his
Hath turn’d his balls to gun-stones; and his soul
Shall stand sore charged for the wasteful vengeance
That shall fly with them: for many a thousand widows
Shall this his mock mock out of their dear husbands;
Mock mothers from their sons, mock castles down;
And some are yet ungotten and unborn
That shall have cause to curse the Dauphin’s scorn.
But this lies all within the will of God,
To whom I do appeal; and in whose name
Tell you the Dauphin I am coming on,
To venge me as I may and to put forth
My rightful hand in a well-hallow’d cause.
So get you hence in peace; and tell the Dauphin
His jest will savour but of shallow wit,
When thousands weep more than did laugh at it.
Convey them with safe conduct. Fare you well.

Exeunt Ambassadors


10 posted on 01/17/2010 12:26:41 AM PST by Straight Vermonter (Posting from deep behind the Maple Curtain)
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To: RedStateRocker
"They haven’t won a war since Napoleon."

They surrendered twice in WWII?

Once to the Nazis and again to the U.S.A.?

yitbos

11 posted on 01/17/2010 12:31:01 AM PST by bruinbirdman ("Those who control language control minds.")
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To: bruinbirdman
It is good but someone needs to add in they smell bad.
12 posted on 01/17/2010 12:47:46 AM PST by Berlin_Freeper (Obama dithered while the Serpent slithered.)
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To: bruinbirdman

Francophobic?

A phobia is a fear. Good grief. The English and Normans had many a strong feeling about the Gauls — fear wasn’t one of them.


13 posted on 01/17/2010 12:54:45 AM PST by Arthur Wildfire! March (Ayers unimportant? What about Robert KKK Byrd or FALN pardons? DNC -- the terrorism party.)
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To: bruinbirdman

So, I’m taking it they didn’t have hate speech laws or diversity training back then?


14 posted on 01/17/2010 1:36:35 AM PST by BipolarBob (My bodyguard is a 6'3" pooka named Harvey.)
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To: ffusco
"Even Julius Caesar held the Gauls in contempt."

At the time we are speaking of - 12th century,

the following had already occurred:

From around 395 onwards the Goths, Vandals, and Burgundians, Germanic peoples who had long inhabited the area east of the Rhine, came under pressure from invasions of nomadic peoples from further east, and began to migrate westwards over the Rhine. The Burgundians were the first to settle, and they founded a kingdom that stretched down the Rhine valley from the Vosges to the sea (see Burgundy (ancient)). The Vandals founded a Visigothic kingdom in Spain, a kingdom that also stretched into southwest France. In 451, at the great battle of the Catalaunian Fields, Aëtius, the last of the Roman generals in Gaul, defeated the Huns of Attila.

The most important of the ‘barbarian’ invaders of Gaul was Clovis I, the king of the Franks (481–511). The Franks were a Germanic tribe who had lived in what is now Belgium (the Salian Franks) and on the banks of the rivers Sambre and the Meuse (the Ripuarian Franks). United by Clovis, the Franks invaded Gaul and quickly overran it, advancing rapidly towards Paris, which they made their capital.

http://encyclopedia.farlex.com/France:+history+to+1515 Though there is much more to the tale, before the 12th century, it is from that point, from "the Franks", that the nation and the people took and retained their name - France. By then the Gauls were a long-ago over-run minor remnant strain in the make-up of the people.

15 posted on 01/17/2010 2:39:44 AM PST by Wuli
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To: Straight Vermonter

Excellent !


16 posted on 01/17/2010 2:51:49 AM PST by Patton@Bastogne (Angels and Ministers of Grace, Defend Us ....)
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To: bruinbirdman

The English had problems with all their neighbors. That was the nature of Kingdoms back then. The Irish, the Scottish, the French and the Spanish. Granted, sometimes England itself was the one that was attacked and it was just defending itself. But for many of the conflicts, England was the aggressor. And I say that with a very trace of amount British ancestry in my bloodline, according to my father. Mostly Scottish.


17 posted on 01/17/2010 3:14:59 AM PST by justa-hairyape
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To: justa-hairyape

Forgot the Danes (Vikings), but I think the Vikings were always the aggressor. Do not recall England attacking Norway or Denmark.


18 posted on 01/17/2010 3:16:54 AM PST by justa-hairyape
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To: RedStateRocker
Sorry, wrong. They beat Austria in 1859, Russia in the Crimea (more forces in the Crimea were French than English), and the First World War is a French victory. Remember the commander of the coalition was Foch.

The defeat of the French armies has never been caused by the cowardice of the poilu, but some bad generalship.

19 posted on 01/17/2010 5:42:25 AM PST by GAB-1955 (I write books, love my wife, serve my nation, and believe in the Resurrection.)
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To: Wuli

*** “the Franks”, that the nation and the people took and retained their name - France. By then the Gauls were a long-ago over-run minor remnant strain in the make-up of the people. ***

Maybe it is something in the soil of the area.;-)


20 posted on 01/17/2010 8:46:08 AM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar (Are my guns loaded? Break in and find out.)
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To: justa-hairyape

*** And I say that with a very trace of amount British ancestry in my bloodline, according to my father. Mostly Scottish.***

What was it Edward Gibbon said about the land of the Picts and Scotts north of Hadiran’s Wall? ;-)


21 posted on 01/17/2010 8:54:43 AM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar (Are my guns loaded? Break in and find out.)
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To: GAB-1955
Sorry, wrong. They beat Austria in 1859, Russia in the Crimea (more forces in the Crimea were French than English), and the First World War is a French victory.

Worth remembering that - in particular Verdun; where, at enormous cost, the French successfully withstood the most powerful assault in the history of warfare up to that time.

22 posted on 01/17/2010 9:42:59 AM PST by Winniesboy
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To: bruinbirdman

23 posted on 01/17/2010 9:44:46 AM PST by dfwgator
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To: Winniesboy
Worth remembering that - in particular Verdun; where, at enormous cost, the French successfully withstood the most powerful assault in the history of warfare up to that time.

And if it was not for Charles Martel, Western Europe would have been Islam a long time ago. Some of my surname Scottish ancestors were convicted of treason by the English. A couple for conspiring with the French. Back then, the Scottish Guards were an elite unit guarding the French King.

24 posted on 01/17/2010 3:27:01 PM PST by justa-hairyape
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To: Ruy Dias de Bivar
What was it Edward Gibbon said about the land of the Picts and Scotts north of Hadiran’s Wall? ;-)

Here is a link to his chapter about the Picts and Scotts from The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire. Don't know exactly what you are referring too ? Perhaps a quote outside this work ?

Link

25 posted on 01/17/2010 3:43:02 PM PST by justa-hairyape
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To: justa-hairyape

Sorry - The above link is from his book The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. 4


26 posted on 01/17/2010 3:44:51 PM PST by justa-hairyape
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To: justa-hairyape
"...Back then, the Scottish Guards were an elite unit guarding the French King..."

When I went to Scotland for a family reunion I was excited for several reasons*, but the cuisine was not one of them.

It turns out that Scottish food is pretty good and has a big French component (cream sauces, for instance); one of the reasons is the cultural diffusion between the two countries: Back in the olden days when they had a common enemy, there was much traffic and diplomacy between them.

27 posted on 01/18/2010 7:04:03 AM PST by I Buried My Guns (* that was trip where I proposed to my now-wife on top of brittania's tallest mountain.)
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To: justa-hairyape

“The English had problems with all their neighbors. That was the nature of Kingdoms back then”

To hear it from a friend of mine that’s the way it is in a lot of gated retirement communities down in Florida.


28 posted on 01/18/2010 7:27:13 AM PST by Rebelbase
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To: Winniesboy
"Worth remembering that - in particular Verdun; where, at enormous cost, the French successfully withstood the most powerful assault in the history of warfare up to that time."

French Fort Douaumont on the Verdun line. The walls of the fort are almost a mile across from each other.

...
........Before the battle........................................................................After the battle.

Gives the term "waffle" a new meaning.

29 posted on 01/18/2010 7:38:03 AM PST by Rebelbase
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To: I Buried My Guns
The one time I visited England, could not make it up to Scotland, had a great lunch in a English Pub in central England. Ordered the Scottish Salmon Salad, I think it was called. Very nice and the English ale went with it very well. The worse thing I had was a boxed lunch. There was a meat paste sandwich that was very interesting. Worse then spam. Saw a food vendor in London one night outside a pub that was selling sausage on the street. Had no idea what kinda meat it was and did not sample it. The low end scale food in the region is pretty bad, but if you can afford the good stuff, it is very good. The Kings and Queens eat very well. There is a famous food dish that comes from a home my surname ancestors held in Scotland for a long time. Apparently it was also a favorite of the Queen. She spent some time as a child in the area. Might try making it someday, but I am a terrible cook.
30 posted on 01/18/2010 4:56:48 PM PST by justa-hairyape
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To: Rebelbase

Reminds me of those Seinfeld shows where Kramer retires down in Florida.


31 posted on 01/18/2010 8:36:49 PM PST by justa-hairyape
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To: justa-hairyape
The Kings and Queens eat very well.

As do most of us these days, I'm happy to assure you. If I had a bit more time, I might give you a sample week's menus for my home cooking here in south-west England. You might be surprised.

32 posted on 01/19/2010 1:01:47 AM PST by Winniesboy
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To: bruinbirdman

Oh I thought this was about the RNC/GOP DC elites and the Republican “leadership”.....


33 posted on 01/19/2010 1:18:23 AM PST by rrrod
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To: Winniesboy
When I was flying into London from Los Angeles, an older English gentleman was seated next to me. He had just spent a few weeks on vacation driving a rental car all over the southwest US visiting airplane museums. He was interesting in old World War II planes. Any way, he wanted to know what part of England I would be visiting on my first trip. Told him I would be traveling and visiting London and the Leicester area. He told me that those areas were not really England and I should really see the southwest area of England.
34 posted on 01/19/2010 2:37:11 AM PST by justa-hairyape
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