Cry Havoc! The Dogs of War
Many people have heard the term Cry “Havoc!” and let slip the dogs of war! Not as many understand the full context, but that’s the way of such phrases (and doubly so for aphorisms).
In any event, Nikita Orlov has produced some brilliant imagery – he calls them “Battle Doges” – that reminds us of Shakespeare’s phrase. (It’s brilliant if you ask us, and it’s okay if you didn’t, because this is our blog anyway, so bugger off if you disagree.)
If you don’t think this is badass, there is something wrong with you.
And Caesar’s spirit, raging for revenge,
With Ate by his side come hot from hell,
Shall in these confines with a monarch’s voice
Cry “Havoc!” and let slip the dogs of war,
That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
With carrion men, groaning for burial.
Cry Havoc! is best known for its use in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar (Act 3, Scene 1), but it was an actual term used to order soldiers (and routiers, etc.) to pillage and ravage an area. In fact, it was around at least as far back as the 14th century, likely earlier.
A collection of contemporary laws governing the ToE of the English Navy called The Black Book of the Admiralty you’ll find the Ordinances of War of Richard II. In that you’ll find the phrase, “…qe nu soit si hardy de crier havok sur peine davoir la teste coupe.”
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