Jean Froissart's Chronicles

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FROISSART’S CHRONICLES This paper will discuss the view of Jean Froissart (c. 1337-1410), his place in history as well as his weaknesses and strengths. Froissart’s Chronicles is his best known work and looks at a period in European history during the first half of the Hundred Years War, which was a war between England and France that took place from 1337 to 1453. Froissart was a Frenchman, born in Valenciennes, which is now a part of Belgium, but he also spent some time serving in the English court among nobility.1 Froissart was neutral in his account of the events of the Hundred Years’ War. Froissart’s view was focused on a love of nobility and the chivalry, he also focused on God’s role in human affairs. In his Chronicles, Froissart…show more content…
Froissart glorified these things, despite the fact that the institution of chivalry was actually in decline at the time. As Rosenwein points out, the growing use of mercenary troops and the rise of modern weaponry caused knights and nobles to be less important than they had been before. Yet, because of the writings of Froissart and others, “the end of chivalry was paradoxically the height of the chivalric fantasy.”4 In certain parts of his Chronicles, Froissart hints at the idea of courtly love, which was central to the chivalric ideal. This can be seen, for example, in his reference to the love of Sir Eustace for his “young lady.”5 However, Froissart’s interest in chivalry is particularly seen in how he emphasizes exciting stories and heroic deeds, as opposed to such “boring” details as “the financial and administrative burdens of continuous warfare, or the unchivalric actions of court…show more content…
This rebellion was a more-or-less spontaneous uprising of peasants and townspeople against the nobility of Paris and other regions of France. Over the course of two weeks, bands of rioters ran amok, killing knights and their families, and burning down their castle homes. Froissart graphically depicts the “vile deeds” committed by the rioters. For example, he describes how one knight was tied to a post and forced to watch while several men forcibly raped his wife and daughter. According to Froissart, “then they killed the wife, who was pregnant, and the daughter and all the other children, and finally put the knight to death with great cruelty and burned and razed the castle.”12 Froissart also describes another incident, in which, “among other brutal excesses, they killed a knight, put him on a spit, and turned him at the fire and roasted him before the lady and her children.” Furthermore, “after about a dozen of them had violated the lady, they tried to force her and the children to eat the knight’s flesh before putting them cruelly to death.”13 The reader is left wondering, however, if Froissart’s description of these horrific acts is accurate, or if they reflect the condescending view that he held in regard to the peasantry and other
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