Philippa Gregory

“I have heard ballads of great battles, and poems about the beauty of a charge and the grace of a leader. But I did not know that war was nothing more than butchery, as savage and unskilled as sticking a pig in the throat and leaving it to bleed to make the meat tender. I did not know that the style and nobility of the jousting arena had nothing to do with this thrust and stab. Just like killing a screaming piglet for bacon after chasing it round the sty. And I did not know that war thrilled men so: they come home laughing like schoolboys after a prank; but they have blood on their hands and a smear of something on their cloaks and the smell of smoke in their hair and a terrible ugly excitement on their faces.

I understand now why they break into convents, force women against their will, defy sanctuary to finish the killing chase. They arouse in themselves a wild vicious hunger more like animals than men. I did not know war was like this. I feel I have been a fool not to know, since I was raised in a kingdom at war and am the daughter of a man captured in battle, the widow of a night, the wife of a merciless solider. But I know now.”


Philippa Gregory
tags: history, humanity, war
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