Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Saturday, 5 November 2022

The gruesome fate of a Gotland soldier from 1361

The battle of Visby or Gotland on July 27th 1361 is well known to students of medieval armour because of the examples left behind with the dead when they were hurriedly buried after the battle. This fact, together with the impressive medieval walls of Visby, have made it now the centrepiece of an important Medieval Festival. The story of the battle and something about the modern festival and re-enactment can be found on Wikipedia at Battle of Visby

There is a biography of King Waldemar IV of Denmark, the victor of the battle, and an impressive example of a fourteenth century ‘state-builder’ monarch at Valdemar IV of DenmarkHis assertive policies can be understood as a reaction to the calamitous reign of his father King Christopher II of Denmark

Live Science has a report on an investigation of one victim of the battle and the facial reconstruction that has been made of him by a graphic artist. This aims to present his facial features and also the axe blow to his lower face that almost certainly killed him.

As the report says this points to the grim realities of hand to hand combat in medieval warfare - and indeed of any warfare.

No comments: