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John of Bohemia

Czech king and warrior
Far from it that the King of Bohemia flee.

John of Bohemia (10 August 129626 August 1346), also called John of Luxembourg and John the Blind, was the Count of Luxembourg from 1309, King of Bohemia from 1310, and titular King of Poland. He was the eldest son of the Holy Roman Emperor Henry VII and his wife Margaret of Brabant. He is famous for having died while fighting in the Battle of Crécy at age 50, after having been blind for a decade.

QuotesEdit

 
I require you bring me so far forward, that I may strike one stroke with my sword.
 
They adventured themselves so forward, that they were there all slain … ~ Jean Froissart
  • Absit, ut rex Boemie fugeret, sed illuc me ducite, ubi maior strepitus certaminis vigeret, Dominus sit nobiscum, nil timeamus, tantum filium meum diligenter custodite.
    • Far from it that the King of Bohemia flee, but to get there lead me where there is greatest uproar of the fight in vigor; the Lord is with us, we must fear nothing, only keep my son diligently.
    • Variants and paraphrases:
    • Let it never be the case that a Bohemian king runs from a fight.
      • As quoted in The Mammoth Book of Losers (2014) by Karl Shaw
    • Let it never be the case that a Bohemian king runs.
    • God willing, it will never happen that a Bohemian king runs from a fight!
    • With God's help it will never be that a Bohemian king would run from a fight!

Quotes about JohnEdit

 
Ich Dien (I serve)
  • The valiant king of Bohemia called Charles of Luxembourg, son to the noble emperor Henry of Luxembourg, 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.
  • The manner of his death gave rise to the obsolescent idiom, “to fight like King John of Bohemia”, meaning “to fight blindly”
    • Frank Joseph Goes, in The Eye in History (2013), p. 287
  • Before he set off, he was reported to have said, “Let it never be the case that a Bohemian king runs from a fight.” His gesture was not entirely in vain. According to tradition, the King of England's son, the "Black Prince", was so impressed by this display of lunacy that he decided to adopt King John's personal crest of three white ostrich feathers and his motto "Ich Dien" (I serve) as his own. It is the Prince of Wales's motto to this day.
    • Karl Shaw, in The Mammoth Book of Losers (2014)

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