April 27, 1578

On April 27, 1578, the Duel of the Mignons happened and claimed the lives of two of the favorite retainers of Henry III of France and two of the favorite retainers of Henry I, Duke of Guise. What was a Mignon? It was a term used for the favorite retainers of Henry III, as these young men were considered effeminate and weak and their proclivity to adopt the latest frivolous fashions did not help their reputations. Which didn’t matter to them, as they only really cared about what Henry III thought of them. They were known to spend the money Henry gave them on clothes, food, and whores and swear at a drop of a laced hat. They were metrosexual before metro even knew sex. They were also thought to be gay, or at the least, bi-curious. Oscar Wilde would have fit right in. The Duel of the Mignons was a reenactment of the Battle of the Horatii and the Curiatii, which happened in ancient Rome. Three of Henry III’s Mignons engaged in a mock battle with three of Henry I’s Mignons. Someone obviously forgot to tell these six young men it was a mock battle, as four of them died from the wounds they received. These young men might have been considered gay and effeminate, but they turned into cold-blooded killers when swords were put in their hands. If you thought the loss of life would have impressed the common people of France, you’d be wrong. It angered them that these young men would use real swords in a mock battle just to try and impress their liege lords. This event is believed to have quicken the eventual assassination of Henry III as he was oblivious to the underlying anger of his nobles and common people. They would have tolerated his proclivities if he’d just run the kingdom competently.

About Joel Byers

Born in North Georgia and educated at some very fine public institutions. Real education started after graduating from college and then getting married and raising two boys. Has the ability to see the funny and absurd in most things and will always remark on it, even if it means getting the stink-eye from his victims.
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