The illusion of the Burgundian state

On 25 January 1474, in Dijon, Charles the bold, robed in silk, gold and precious jewels, wearing a headpiece giving the illusion of a crown, expressed cryptically in front of his subjects his desire to become a king. Three years later, the battle of Nancy, taking Charles to his death, plunged the Great Principality of Burgundy into the drama of its split. This book, innovative and essential, not only explores Burgundian historiography and history but offers a complete synthesis about the nature of politics in this space considered from both the north and the south. Focusing on political ideologies, the book’s scope is wide-ranging and raises a number of important issues about the nature of the medieval state, the signification of the nation under the Ancien Regime, the role of warfare in the creation of political power, the impact of political loyalties in the exercise of government and even the place of symbolic communication and geographical knowledge in a wide territory lying from northern county of Holland to the southern grapevines of Mâcon. In examining all these issues, the book challenges a number of existing ideas about the Burgundian state. Questioning the means to create a viable political community, it offers a completely new interpretation of Burgundian history in the later Middle Ages, and new ideas also relevant to the historians of other European states in the later Middle Ages.

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