Blind King Jan/John
- Now I know this is going to surprise people, but this actually refers to
something AFTER the year 1100...
I'm in the middle of re-reading Barabra Tuchman's take on 14th century
Western Europe "A Distant Mirror" - mostly not on-topic, but highly
recommended anyway! This snippet concerns the character and the death of
Blind King John of Bohemia... loved fighting for its own sake, not caring
whether the conflict was important. He missed hardly a quarrel in Europe and
entered tournaments in between, allegedly receiving in one of them the wound
that blinded him. His subjects, on the other hand, said the cause was Divine
punishment - not because he dug up the old synagogue of Prague, which he
did, but because, on finding money concealed beneath the pavement, he was
moved by greed and the advice of German knights to dig up the tomb of St
Adalbert in the Prague cathedral, and was stricken blind by the desecrated
As an ally of Philip VI [of France], at the head of 500 knight, the
sightless King fought the English through Picardy, always rash and in the
avant-garde. At Crecy he asked his knights to lead him deeper into the
battle so that he might strike further blows with his sword. Twelve of them
tied their horses' reins together and, with the King at their head, advanced
into the thick of the fight, "so far as never to return". His body found
next day among his knights, all slain with their horses still tied together.
A far-away country of which we know little:
"Bohemia: a desert country near the sea"
[Shakespeare: Winter's Tale, III.iii, stage direction]