Recent Blog Posts

Blog Post Archives

Subscribe to Blog via Email (Version 1: Wordpress)

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog via Wordpress and receive notifications of new posts by email. You will receive emails every time—and as soon as—a new post is made.

Subscribe to Blog via Email (Version 2: Feedburner)

Use this link to subscribe to this blog via Feedburner and receive notifications of new posts by email:

You will receive just one email at the end of the day (around 11:00 PM Eastern Time) summarizing all the posts made during the day.

You may also use the “By Email” link in the upper right hand corner of the page.

On the Kalendar: Crispin and Crispinian, Martyrs

Crispin and Crispinian were cobblers in 3rd-century Rome who fled to Gaul because of persecution. Born to a noble family, they wound up in Soissons, in the north of France, where they preached the Gospel by day and made shoes by night, in imitation of Saint Paul. They were brothers, and they may have been twins.

The brothers’ success, both as evangelists and cobblers, brought them to the attention of the local Roman authorities. Rictus Varus (also referred to as Rictiovarus or Rictius Varus), a possibly fictitious governor of Belgic Gaul, had the brothers tortured and thrown into a river with millstones around their necks. In the true manner of saints, the brothers survived. (Varus killed himself in despair, possibly after having converted.) The brothers had come to the attention of Emperor Maximian (who in one version of the story had been the one to send them to Varus), however, and the emperor had the pair beheaded.

Crispin and Crispinian achieved particular prominence in England because the battle of Agincourt, one of the greatest English victories in the Hundred Years’ War, was fought on their feast day, October 25. The English were vastly outnumbers, and their unexpected victory boosted English morale and prestige, crippled France, and started a new period of English dominance in the war.[1] In Henry V, Shakespeare gives Henry on of the most rousing speeches he ever wrote, the famous Crispin’s Day speech:

This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be rememberèd—
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

^1 The English victory was due, in large part, to the English and Welsh archers’ use of the longbow, a new invention whose use was protested by the French. According to legend, the French threatened to cut off the forefingers of any captured archers, so they could never draw a longbow again. After the English victory, holding up the two fingers of the right hand in a V sign (back of the hand outwards) became a taunting sign of disrespect. Known as the Agincourt sign, this V sign is the British equivalent of flipping the bird.

Comments are closed.