The Treaty of Arras of 1435: the end of the civil strife in France

The Treaty of Arras, signed on the 21st of September 1435, ended the enmity between King Charles VII of France and Philippe the Good, Duke of Burgundy.  It was a huge diplomatic victory for Charles VII: his Burgundian cousin finally recognized him as the rightful French monarch.  The alliance between...

Unfit to rule: the merry captivity of King Jean II of France after the 1356 Poitiers catastrophe

King Jean II of France, called the Good (le Bon), was the second Valois monarch, and, as some historians say, ‘The shame of France’.  How could the ruler who also has the nickname ‘the Good’ deserve such an epithet?  The clue to the understanding of this reasoning is in the...

Charles V of France: kingship based on clever governance and education

Born on the 21st of January 1338, King Charles V of France, known as the Wise (le Sage), died on the 16th of September 1380 at the age of 42 at Beauté-sur-Marne, France.  He was the eldest son of King Jean II of France, called the Good (le Bon), and...

Jean the Fearless : assassination in vengeance and for political reasons

Jean (John) the Fearless (Jean sans Peur) , a member of the Valois Burgundian house, ruled the Duchy of Burgundy from 1404 until his death in 1419.  He succeeded his father – Philippe the Bold (le Hardi), who was the youngest son of King Jean II of France and his first...

Philippe III of France: an imitation of Saint Louis’ kingship based on favoritism

Philippe III of France (born on the 30th of April 1245 and died on the 5th of October 1285) ascended to the throne upon the death of his father – Louis IX known as Saint Louis – on the 25th of August 1270.  His father passed away of dysentery in...

A heroic death of John the Blind, King of Bohemia, at the Battle of Crécy

John (or Jean) the Blind, Count of Luxembourg from 1313 and King of Bohemia from 1310, heroically fell in the Battle of Crécy at the age of 50.  He commanded the left wing of the French forces together with Count Jean d’Aumale, Count Guy de Saint-Pol, and Jean de Hainault....

The Battle of Crécy: in the Footsteps of Edward III of England and Philippe VI of France

The Hundred Years’ War…  Doesn’t this sound daunting?  Frightening for everyone, indeed.  It lasted more than 100 years and was one of the most bloodthirsty and longest military conflicts in history.  Jean Froissart (a French-speaking medieval author from the Low Countries) became the most famed chronicler of this war, and...

The She-Wolf of France: Isabella of France as a product of an avaricious and ruthless age

Born in 1295, Isabella of France, who was Queen of England as the spouse of King Edward II of England, died on the 22nd of August 1358.  The youngest surviving child and only surviving daughter of Philippe IV of France and Jeanne I of Navarre, Isabella is frequently described as...

Guillaume Dufay: a renowned Franco-Flemish composer

Guillaume Dufay was born on the 5th of August 1397 near Brussels, Burgundian Netherlands (modern Belgium).  Becoming a renowned Franco-Flemish composer, he lived a long life and died on the 27th of November 1474 in Cambrai (modern France).  Being probably the illegitimate son of a priest and Marie Dufay, Guillaume...

King Henri I of the Franks: the weak royal demesne of France

King Henri I of the Franks, born c 1008 in Reims, died on the 4th of August 1060, in Vitry-aux-Loges in France.  He was crowned at Reims in 1027 in his father’s lifetime, following the sudden demise of his elder brother Hugh Magnus.   Son of Robert Capet (King Robert II)...

King William II of England: shot by an arrow while hunting

On the 2nd of August 1100, King William II of England, the second surviving son of William the Conqueror and his wife, Matilda of Flanders, passed away.  Their two other surviving sons were Robert II Curthose, and Henry (the future King Henry I of England).  William I was known as...

King Philippe I of the Franks known as the Amorous

King Philippe I of the Franks, born on the 23rd of May 1052, died on the 29th of July 1108.  He was the eldest son of King Henry I and his second wife, Anne of Kiev.  At the time, the name ‘Philippe’, which Anne gave him, was unusual for Europe,...

A Forgotten Confrontation: the Battle of Bouvines of 1214

Nowadays, few people heard about the Battle of Bouvines fought on the 27th of July 1214 near the town of Bouvines in the County of Flanders.  Nonetheless, many remember the Battles of Crécy, of Poitiers, and of Agincourt.  This battle was the decisive confrontation of the Anglo-French War that lasted...

Eleanor of Aquitaine and Louis VII of France: an ill-fated royal match

On the 25th of July 1137, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Duchess of Aquitaine in her own right, and the future Louis VII of France married in the Cathedral of Saint-Andre in Bordeaux.  The marriage between was arranged by Louis VII’s father – King Louis VI of France known as the Fat....

King Charles VII: from the ‘King of Bourges’ to the King of France free from the English

King Charles VII of France, known as the Victorious (le Victorieux), died on the 22nd of July, 1461 at Mehun-sur-Yèvre at the age of 58.  His main legacy is the freedom of the French and the end of the Hundred Years’ War.  Nonetheless, Charles VII’s reign started in the atmosphere...