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About this book

The conflict between England and France in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries never ceases to fascinate. This stimulating edited collection, inspired by the Problems in Focus volume originally published in 1971, provides a fresh and accessible insight into the key aspects of The Hundred Years War. With chapters written by leading experts in the field, based on new methodologies and recent advances in scholarship, this book places the Anglo-French wars into a range of wider contexts, such as politics, the home front, the church, and chivalry. Adopting a sustained comparative approach, with attention paid to both England and France, The Hundred Years War Revisited provides a clear and comprehensive synthesis of the major trends in research on the Hundred Years War.

Concise and thought-provoking, this is essential reading for undergraduate and postgraduate students of medieval history.

Table of Contents

1. English Politics and the Hundred Years War

Abstract
Politics directly affected the course, and ultimately the outcome, of the Hundred Years War. In the pre-modern era, and particularly in late medieval England, the relationship between politics and warfare was sharpened by the fact that the political system was highly evolved and the government greatly centralised. Crucially, ‘politicians’ were often also the commanders and captains on the battlefield. This meant that the fortunes of war significantly influenced the domestic political environment. But it also meant that the ability of the English to prosecute a successful war against the French was hugely dependent on the political leadership of the king and his nobles, as well as (and increasingly so, as time passed) on the broader support of the general populace. This points to an important truism: that the military effectiveness of a medieval kingdom must be measured not just in terms of the fighting capability of its armies, but also how effectively its resources (especially money and manpower) were mobilised in support of the war effort. These were the considerations which formed the basis of much of the discussion and internal political negotiation between the rulers and ruled of England during the Hundred Years War.
Anne Curry

2. French Politics during the Hundred Years War

Abstact
It has become something of a commonplace to explain the political development of late medieval Europe in terms of the impact of warfare, nowhere more so than in French historiography A hundred years of war followed ‘le beau siècle de Saint Louis’ (Louis IX, 1226–70), and confounded the upwards trajectory of Capetian achievement. Warfare led to the weakening and recasting of royal power thereafter, a process interpreted variously by scholars as one of fragmentation, decentralisation or, most recently, ‘deconcentration’
Anne Curry

3. Financing the Hundred Years War

Abstract
Cicero’s dictum that ‘money is the sinews of war’ was well understood in the Middle Ages and only became more relevant as state capacity increased from the thirteenth century onwards in both England and France, driven by the pressures of interstate competition.In particular, the English kings needed to mobilise the resources of their kingdom effectively in order to compete with the larger and wealthier French kingdom. This chapter will consider three key aspects of the financing of military activity. First, it will gauge the scale of royal financial resources in the two countries and how these changed during the period. Second, it will consider how kings raised this money. Third, it will investigate how this money was transferred to where (and, vitally, when) it was needed, introducing the key role played by financial intermediaries, with special reference to England.
Anne Curry

4. The Hundred Years War and the Church

Abstract
The European Middle Ages have often been described as an ‘age of faith’, but in truth historians know very little about the personal beliefs of the vast majority of medieval men and women. This is not to say that faith or, perhaps more accurately, religion was unimportant: far from it. The Middle Ages was a period in which institutionalised religion, in the shape of the Latin Church, played a central role in European society. The Church and its constituent elements – clergy, doctrine, law, property, administration, finances – touched upon all aspects of medieval daily life and was a fundamental force in shaping the attitudes and actions of peasants and nobles, civilians and soldiers.
Anne Curry

5. The Hundred Years War ‘At Home’

Abstarct
Traditional approaches to the Hundred Years War favoured battles, sieges and heroic deeds. Over the last four decades, an increased understanding of the impact of the war for non-combatants has emerged, as will be shown in an examination of the experiences of both urban and rural populations. French towns and villages suffered devastating chevauchées which destroyed lives and livelihoods. England did not escape unscathed, with raids, the needs of defence and military readiness, as well as financial demands, helping towns to develop a sense of their own communities. Beyond immediate destruction, war had implications for law and order for both countries, even playing a role in popular protests. Women were, of course, part of these civic and rural responses, but their role as both victims and agents merits analysis to avoid older interpretations that medieval warfare had little impact on and relevance to the female experience. Finally, and perhaps hardest to quantify, the lasting influence of the conflict in both England and France was a new sense of national awareness, even an emotional engagement, with royal actions. In looking at royal communications with the population, which could be called – to use a modern term – propaganda, scholars have debated the extent to which war became a truly national endeavour, no longer linked simply to the dynastic ambitions of kings.
Anne Curry

6. Chivalry and the Hundred Years War

Abstract
The subject of ‘Chivalry’ is conspicuous only by its absence from the contents page of Kenneth Fowler’s volume of essays The Hundred Years War. In 1971, when it was published, prevailing views of late medieval chivalry were still shaped largely by the work of the Dutch scholar Johan Huizinga, whose immensely influential Herfsttij der Middeleeuwen was first published in 1919, and translated into English as The Waning of the Middle Ages in 1924Written in the shadow of the First World War, it depicted chivalry as a decadent charade, a fantastical ritual which had been emptied of meaning, serving merely to distract from the brutality and shortness of life The longevity of this interpretation owed much to the gulf between twentieth-century perceptions of chivalry – viewed through the distorting lens of a Victorian romanticism purveyed by the likes of the Pre-Raphaelites and the French architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc – and the brutal realities of the conduct of late medieval warfare It was not until the 1980s that this orthodoxy was challenged, by Maurice Keen’s seminal work Chivalry, among others, which sought to understand chivalry on its own terms, and to examine what it meant to contemporaries, and how it influenced their conduct.
Anne Curry

7. First-Hand Accounts and Reports of Warfare

Abstract
Historians of modern warfare have becomingly increasingly interested in first-hand and eyewitness accounts of war that offer important information regarding the face of battle. For example, Joanna Bourke has explored the psychology and emotions of soldiers in warfare, drawing in significant part upon first-hand accounts of the protagonists themselves, recorded in ‘ego documents’ such as letters, diaries and memoirs. Behind such research lie questions of great importance for contemporary military culture. Between 1943 and 1945, two American researchers serving in the Intelligence Section of the Psychological Warfare Division of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force questioned 443 deserters from the German army. Drawing upon the direct testimony of these soldiers from the Wehrmacht, the two sociologists examined the importance of unit cohesion, arguing that such ties of comradeship were a decisive factor in providing good morale, unity and organisational framework. Their research paved the way for modern studies into the role of the bonds between soldiers in sustaining their will and commitment to each other, the unit, and the accomplishment of their mission in the face of combat and the stress of warfare
Anne Curry

8. Navies and Maritime Warfare

Abstract
In August 1371, an English naval force commanded by Humphrey Bohun, earl of Hereford and the two admirals, Guy, Lord Brian and John, Lord Neville, encountered a large Flemish fleet in the Bay of Bourgneuf. The Anonimalle Chronicle offers the fullest contemporary English narrative of the assembly of Hereford’s fleet and the sea battle that it fought; yet it neither identifies the ‘enemy’ nor locates the battle. It provides no strategic background to the action and describes the fighting in only the most general of terms. We learn nothing of manoeuvres or tactics, only that it was a long drawn-out affair involving lances, swords and archery in which, owing to divine favour, the outnumbered English prevailed. What precision there is concerns the spoils of victory: that twenty-seven of the eighty Flemish ships were captured, of which twenty-five were taken back to London, the remaining two being burnt for want of mariners to crew them. But, for all its limitations, the Anonimalle account of the ‘Bay of Flemings’ is to be welcomed because encounters fought at sea captured the attention of mainstream chroniclers far less often than those fought on land, and their engagement with other aspects of maritime warfare was also, at best, selective. The brutality – or commendable bravado – of coastal raiders would often be commented upon; a storm-wrecked fleet would come under the spotlight if contrasting fates of the villainous and the virtuous could be attributed to divine intervention; as was his wont, Jean Froissart was often able to discern chivalry amidst the salt spray. Such morsels are certainly worth having: Diaz de Gamez’s eyewitness account of the Castilian coastal raids on southern England in 1405 is a veritable feast, but in general the naval historian will not find his staple fare, let alone his richest pickings, in the narrative sources.
Anne Curry

9. Armies

Abstract
The organisational structures and methods of recruitment employed by the English crown at the beginning of the Hundred Years War had changed little since the eleventh and twelfth centuries. Armies consisted of two martial arms operating largely independently – peasant infantry and ‘heavy’ cavalry – with occasional recourse to continental mercenaries and foreign allies. The cavalry, known collectively as men-at-arms, were the numerically smaller element, but were considered of greater martial value because they included men from the highest echelons of society. As the leaders of political society, which was intrinsically entwined with martial obligations and ‘chivalric’ mentality, war was the raison d’être of the nobility. The core of any royally led army was the contingent of mounted royal household troops: this remained a constant throughout the war. The majority of the cavalry – knights and sub-knightly men-at-arms (the latter of heterogeneous socioeconomic origins) known by a variety of names including ‘sergeants’ or ‘esquires’ – were recruited as required via systems of ‘feudal’ obligation, whereby men owed their lord military service for forty days, usually in return for land, or in some cases for pay.
Anne Curry
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