August 26, 1346
John the Blind, King of Bohemia and blind for a decade, dies in battle against the English
King John had allied with King Philip VI of France in 1337 and was placed in control of Philip’s advance guard during the Battle of Crécy. Knowing his end was near and his legacy secured by his son, John requested his men help him die valiantly in battle. The men tied their horses to his to help guide him into the English forces with John swinging his sword blindly, attempting to bring down as many as possible.
A record of John’s final day, written by Jean Froissart, reads:
…for all that he was nigh blind, when he understood the order of the battle, he said to them about him: ‘Where is the lord Charles my son?’ His men said: ‘Sir, we cannot tell; we think he be fighting.’ Then he said: ‘Sirs, ye are my men, my companions and friends in this journey: I require you bring me so far forward, that I may strike one stroke with my sword.’ They said they would do his commandment, and to the intent that they should not lose him in the press, they tied all their reins of their bridles each to other and set the king before to accomplish his desire, and so they went on their enemies. The lord Charles of Bohemia his son, who wrote himself king of Almaine and bare the arms, he came in good order to the battle; but when he saw that the matter went awry on their party, he departed, I cannot tell you which way. The king his father was so far forward that he strake a stroke with his sword, yea and more than four, and fought valiantly and so did his company; and they adventured themselves so forward, that they were there all slain, and the next day they were found in the place about the king, and all their horses tied each to other.
Horrific history from today:
1890: Unrequited love ends in murder (2017)
2000: Doctor kills parents after psychotic episode (2017)
2015: Disgruntled reporter kills former coworkers (2017)
2012: Woman flags down motorist and names attackers after choked, beaten, set on fire (2018)
Today in Horror History: August 26
Happy National Dog Day! (U.S.)