Friday, May 01, 2009

Kortrijk - part II

In 1302 the French were attacking the Flemish near Kortrijk. The poor Flemish farmers were way outnumbered and very over powered. The French were on horses and the Flemish had no weapons. There were at least three things that gave the Flemish the break that they needed.

First of all they had a hero named Jan Breydel. He was a very ferocious fighter and he rallied the Flemish. Jan was so ferocious in fact that he later came to be known as the Leeuw van Vlanderen, which translates to "The Lion of Flanders".

The second thing the Flemish had going for them was the "goedendagen". That translates to "good day" which just goes to show that the Flemish people have a real sense of humor. Let me explain. You see, the French soldiers had suits of armor and they were well protected by chain mail. To combat this the Flemish made a steel ball with spikes sticking out of it. They then tied this spiked ball to a wooden stick with a length of chain. They would swing this ball and hit the French driving the spikes through the armor into their bodies.

The third lucky break (or perhaps wise decision) was the Flemish meet the French soldiers in a very boggy area where the horses couldn't maneuver very well. The Flemish victory was very decisive. The French soldiers were all about show and they had flashy banners and armor and they all wore golden spurs. To celebrate their victory, the Flemish took all of the golden spurs off the dead soldiers and hung them from the roof of this old church. I suppose the church was new in 1302 but it was sure old when I was there. The battle came to be known as the battle of the golden spurs. I actually saw these spurs still hanging from the roof. I tried to find a picture of them on the internet but all I could find was a picture the spur itself, I couldn't find any pictures of them hanging from the roof. That is how the Flamse Leeuw came to be famous. The Flemish are a proud people and I'm kind of fond of the Lion myself.

1 comment:

Justin, Kira and Evan said...

that church would be awesome to see!