12th century poem calls French "arrogant cowards"

A century after the Norman Conquest, the relationship between the French and the English was anything but cordial, if you can believe a 396-line poem written by an Anglo-Norman cleric.

The poem, newly translated, was written between 1180 and 1194 by Andrew de Coutances, an Anglo-Norman cleric, describes the French as godless, arrogant and lazy dogs.

One particular aspect of French character insulted by de Coutances was their eating habits. "A man who dines with the French/ should grab whatever he may/ as either he will end up with the nuts/ or will just carry off the shallots," the poet writes.