Did Generals Really Give Battle Speeches? DOCUMENTARY

Did Generals Really Give Battle Speeches? DOCUMENTARY

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In this history documentary we ask the question, did generals really give pre-battle speeches. The answer is quite complicated and involves us looking at a wide variety of historical sources ranging from Herodotus to Thucydides, Xenophon, Livy, Caesar, Tacitus, and more. We begin by looking at the general speeches recorded through history as being delivered by commanders to greek, roman, persian, carthaginian, gallic, and medieval armies. This includes speeches by Themistocles to the Greeks at the Battle of Salamis, Hannibal to the Carthaginians at the Battle of Cannae, Henry V to the English at the Battle of Agincourt, and Queen Elizabeth 1 to the troops at Tilbury. There is ample evidence here for generals speeches. However the question arises of just how accurate such quotations are.

We therefore turn to an analysis of the historiography behind these battlefield speeches. It turns out that there is in fact quite the tradition of making up or embellishing the words of generals spoken to their armies. Finally we then look at how the generals speech was delivered to the troops in a practical sense.

Bibliography and Suggested Reading
“The Battle Exhortation in Ancient Historiography. Fact or Fiction?” By Mogens Herman Hansen
“The General's Exhortations in Greek Warfare” by W.K. Pritchett
“The General's Pre-Battle Exhortation in Graeco-Roman Warfare” by Edward Anson
“Battle Exhortation: The Rhetoric of Combat Leadership” By Keith Yellin
"The History of the Peloponnesian War" by Thucydides
“Thucydides Between History and Literature” by Antonis Tsakmakis
“A Commentary on Thucydides” by Simon Hornblower

The History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides
https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=6LW3nCDvVCIC&hl=en&pg=GBS.PA1
Brasidas Speech
http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0247%3Abook%3D4%3Achapter%3D126
St. Crispin’s Day Speech by William Shakespeare
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Crispin%27s_Day_Speech
Henry V’s St. Crispin’s Day Speech
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Crispin%27s_Day_Speech
Queen Elizabeth’s speech at Tilbury
https://www.rmg.co.uk/discover/explore/queen-elizabeth-i-speech-troops-tilbury
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35djJpYpP7k
“Acoustic Simulation of Julius Caesar’s Battlefield Speeches” by Braxton Boren
https://www.mdpi.com/2624-599X/1/1/2/pdf

#History
#Documentary