The only volume available in English to trace the development of France and its identity from the early 13th century through to the eve of the Reformation.
The three centuries from 1200 to 1500, from the Albigensian Crusades, though the catastrophic defeats of Crecy, Poitiers and Agincourt, to the beginnings of the Italian Wars, were crucial in the development of the identity of France as a kingdom and as an idea in the minds of its people. They saw sharp upheavals both in the material fortunes and in the cohesiveness of the country, with an initial period of consolidation under the later Capetian kings followed bypolitical disintegration, war, and the economic crisis of which the Black Death was an integral part. These years witnessed not only the development of the main institutions of the monarchical state but also the growth of regional principalities which paralleled the power of the crown, and only towardsthe end of the fifteenth century were the contradictions between the two resolved. Concentrating on central themes such as the tensions between the crown and the regions, the growth of political institutions, noble identity, and socio-economic crisis, the expert contributions in this book trace the development of the French kingdom from the struggle to exert monarchical authority in the south of the country through to the opening chapters of the French monarchy's struggle for supremacy in Italy.
Introduction ; 1. The political world of France, c. 1200-1336 ; 2. Society and the economy, part 1: on the eve of the crisis ; 3. The crown and provinces in the fourteenth century ; 4. France and the Hundred Years War ; 5. Society and the economy, part 2: the crisis and its aftermath ; 6. The crown and the provinces in the sixteenth century ; 7. The king and his government under the Valois ; 8. The later medieval French noblesse ; Conclusion