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The Great Battle of Peace: Brignais, 6 April 1362

Abstract : The aim of this paper is to highlight the interregional consequences of the Battle of Brignais and how the authorities handled the problem of the routiers after having been exposed to Petit Meschin and Seguin du Badefol, the leaders of the winning army. I will also discuss Arnaud de Cervole, another mercenary captain, who was one of the leaders of the losing royal army. However, I will mainly focus on how the magnates and ordinary people reacted to the threat, what deals they entered into to survive. The captains of the Great Companies became the most decisive figures in France in the 1360s. As a consequence of the complete disintegration of the administration in the French countryside after the Battle of Poitiers, there were only a few provinces in France that could fight back these companies. The Treaty of Brétigny (8 May 1360) did not improve the situation, on the contrary it resulted in the activities of the companies and brought destruction to Champagne, Barrois, Burgundy, and Alsace. The unprecedentedly high number of routiers in the spring of 1362 in the proximity of Lyon resulted in the third most catastrophic defeat of the French chivalry after Poitiers and Crecy. Different aspects of the Battle of Brignais have been discussed at great length in the literature, but not its consequences. In my research I have encountered new sources in the archives of Lyon, Dijon, Bar-le- Duc, Colmar, and Metz and they reveal how the unique alliance of the free Imperial cities of Alsace, called the Décapole, prepared for the arrival of the Magna Societas. In the literature on the mercenary companies participating in this battle, the emphasis is on Enrique of Trastámara’s attempt to return to Castille. However, there is only little information about what happened in Burgundy, which had not yet fully been integrated into France, and in the Duchy of Barr, or on the other side of the border: in Alsace, and Lorraine. It requires an integrated approach to compile the different types of sources in Latin, French and Mittelhochdeutsch and to describe the interrelated events. My sources include receipts for military services, treaties of alliances against the routiers, accounts of different bailiffs in Burgundy and the Barrois, as well as contemporary chronicles. As a result of this paper an in-depth insight of this exceptionally violent era of peace will be provided by bringing the contemporaries close to the observer, as the mercenaries were “proud disciples of Lucifer, priding themselves in their perverse multitude, thinking stupidly that nobody could resist their audacious and furious attacks.”
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https://hal.univ-lorraine.fr/hal-02946282
Contributor : Tamás Ölbei <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, September 23, 2020 - 7:42:37 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, October 14, 2020 - 4:08:53 AM

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Tamás Ölbei. The Great Battle of Peace: Brignais, 6 April 1362. Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Letras, Biblioteca Digital. Incipit 8 Workshop de Estudos Medievais da Universidade do Porto, 2019, 8, pp.106-125, 2020, Incipit 8 Workshop de Estudos Medievais da Universidade do Porto, ISBN: 978-989-8969-38-5. ⟨hal-02946282⟩

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