>From: "bruno" <bruno>

>To: <[email protected]>

>Subject: daily fact correction

>Date: Tue, 9 Dec 2003 18:21:54 +1000


>Heya Todd,


>Long time listener first time writer. Anyhoo your piece on "flipping

>the bird" was somewhat inaccurate, there has been much debate over this

>period of history and unfortunately the camp who has put forward the

>crossbow/middle finger angle has gotten more and more publicity of late

>(most likely American historians ;p). It is infact dead wrong (that's

>not to say that middle fingers weren't removed but the bird was never a

>common English taunt until recent times).


>Anyway the deal went like this, crossbows had been around for donkeys

>(and in fact the French were more famous for crossbows than the

>English, search Genoese you should see lots of info).


>Now, at Crecy in the mid 1300's the English showed up almost

>overwhelmingly outnumbered. The battle began and the French started

>using their crossbowmen. In the back ranks of the English force were a

>new type of soldier, the longbowman (not true really, It was an

>adaptation of a welsh weapon which they had used against the Scottish

>before). Longbows used physics and economics rather than an ease of use

>method. Because of the large frame you could draw back much further

>(thus more force) and the arrows were much heavier with large iron

>heads. These arrows could pierce armor from over 250 yards away (and

>they say 4 inch hardwood from close range). Archers could also load up

>to 20 arrows per minute, about 5 times that of crossbows and as such

>sit back and basicly murder the opposition.


>So the poms sat back, fired their arrows, firstly at the French

>crossbowmen and then the cavalry. The casualty ratio at the end of the

>battle was about 80:1 in the favour of the English, which was one of

>the biggest surprises in the history of medieval European combat. The

>longbow changed the political landscape in Europe, bringing England to

>the top of the pile, they were the most feared army in all of Europe

>because of their bows. When did this end? When the French introduced

>artillery, initially with the single purpose of annihilating English

>longbowmen, they underestimated their own newfound power.



>The "ups" gesture became a source of English pride from this and other

>battles (most famously Agincourt), when the French captured an English

>longbowman they would remove the middle AND index finger before

>releasing them, ensuring that they could never use a longbow again.


>So from Agincourt onward the longbowmen would raise their middle

>fingers meaning I still got em, and your dead. And ever since it has

>been a way of the English to remind the froggies of how crap they are.


>Oh it has also been argued that the "peace" gesture originated here as

>well, imagine an Englishman standing behind a crossbowman about to

>begin battle, the longbowman raises his 2 finger salute to the French.

>What do the English behind him see, the reverse which essentially said

>"you are safe, peace for you behind the wall of longbows". This I

>cannot find any direct evidence of, but it sounds good. ;p


>I hope this has been of interest for you todd, keep up all the good



>Kind Regards,




You've got the finger thing completely and utterly confused.

The story you've told is for the origin of the English V sign, not the bird.

If you raise your first and second fingers in a V, while crossing your third and fourth fingers and your thumb into a fist (like the victory sign only with your hand the other way round) it is a insult in Europe. These two fingers are used to draw back a long bow, the weapon used by the English to destroy the French armored knights at Agincourt (famous battle in 1415).


>From: "Darren" <>
>To: <[email protected]>
>Subject: Daily fact for 12/8
>Date: Tue, 9 Dec 2003 08:32:12 -0800
>I dont mean to picky but it should read longbow not crossbow. :)