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Has anybody recommended Barbara Tuchman's 'A Distant Mirror'? It's practically required reading for the 14th century, an extremely well written narrative history of the crisis of the late Middle Ages using the life of an upper-middle "French" noble named De Coucy as a touchstone. It's on Audible with an excellent narrator.
Thanks for the reply. As a Boston bred American, I'm coming from an external viewpoint, and am glad to get your perspective as an Englishman. I'm willing to agree to differ, though I always prefer a friendly debate. So, I'll debate a bit more below, and you can feel free to amicably ignore it you so wish. (Or, amicably shoot down anything you find preposterous!) I still think nearly all claims of nationalism are anachronistic. 'Patriotism' existed (though I might not use that exact word), but the loyalty I see was dynastic, regional or local, with dynastic superseding the latter and subservient to what I'd call 'Latin Christendom'. Imagine the Plantagenet claims had been pressed successfully, utterly, and the dynasty or its legitimate descendants had kept both groups of regions (modern England and France) for an extended period. The immediate changes would be small. The specific characters at the top would be different, but you'd still have nearly the same nobility running things. They'd still be speaking the same language and living the same culture, while ruling over disparate areas where the humbler people spoke several other, non-mutually intelligible languages (much as with France and the langue d'oc). Now let time pass. If one runs with that hypothetical, that the Plantagenets etc. won totally that version of the 100 Years War, would a modern Parisian say that France lost Agincourt? Would a man from London say England had won it? It seems to me, rather, they'd talk about how one family superseded another in their joint history of England/France, how a duke-king overthrew his liege, or something to that effect. It's only our intervening history that retroactively makes Poitiers an English victory, or Joan a French heroine.
Toggle Commented Oct 16, 2013 on 105 Crecy at The History of England
Toggle Commented Oct 11, 2013 on 105 Crecy at The History of England
I always find it fascinating that modern English view battles like Crecy, Agincourt etc. as great victories of the English over the French. They were of course no such thing; the very concept is an anachronism. Crecy was a *French* victory, over other French. (The use of "French" here is a looser one than the modern.) These were French, or Frankish, nobles and Frankish families (Capetian and Plantagenet et. al.)fighting over Frankish lands and titles. And I don't just (or even) mean that the fighting was in what is now France. I mean that England *was* France. It was, and remained for centuries, a fundamental part of the larger Frankish lands and culture. It wasn't just the nobility, either. Yes, the English peasants spoke a Germanic language, but one that soon merged with French to become Middle English. Even before, it was simply a patois like the many different dialects spoken throughout the regions of what is now France. England was no more separate from "France" than, say, Guyenne or Anjou, or Aquitaine. It's sad how how much of the Frankish heritage of England has been subsumed and (deliberatley, at least initially) forgottenin the past few centuries.
Toggle Commented Oct 11, 2013 on 105 Crecy at The History of England
Any chance of making the maps scroll more slowly? It's annoying to have to watch the whole thing a dozen times through because you can only take in a fraction of each screen in the few seconds it's visible. :)
Toggle Commented Oct 8, 2013 on 105 Crecy at The History of England
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Oct 8, 2013