Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Historical Badasses: Götz of the Iron Hand

Gottfried 'Götz' von Berlichingen was this knight-turned-mercenary in Germany in the late 1400s who fought in a ton of crazy campaigns, including the Peasants' War of 1524. Throughout his life he was regularly employed, wanted as a war-criminal, pardoned, exiled, pardoned, and wanted again by a slew of different factions throughout Germany and beyond, including two German emperors, only to die an old man at 82 in his own castle. Tolkien fans will rejoice over the fact that the castle was called the Hornberg.

Oh, and he had a fucking MECHANICAL IRON ARM.

That's right. While leading his own mercenary band he lost his arm when enemy canon-fire knocked his sword back towards his body. So he gets a goddamned metal arm made. Which reportedly worked well enough to grip something as large as a sword and as dainty as a quill. It's currently on display in Jagsthausen Castle. Jesus.

Goethe wrote a play about his life, and from that play, we get the first recorded instance of a now incredibly popular phrase: Kiss my ass. Or, more specifically, 'lick me on my arse,' uttered by Goethe's version of Götz to a bishop he didn't like very much.

This guy's badass factor is way off the charts.

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