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Deconstructing the chronicles : rumours and extreme violence during the siege of Meaux (1421-1422)

Abstract : What does a careful re-examination of the terrifying crimes of an Armagnac captain during the siege of Meaux in 1421-22, as reported in the Journal d'un bourgeois de Paris, tell us about the reality of the crisis of the late Middle Ages? It is evident that these crimes should be understood in the context of the discourse widely used by contemporary chroniclers, who emphasize the extreme violence of the time, and are often taken at face value by historians. The account of the 'bourgeois de Paris' is in fact a complex and intricately woven tale full of stereotypes intended to discredit the enemy; comparison with the same events reported in numerous other chronicles shows that the anecdote that he recounts is pure fantasy. This case leads us to conclude that the final centuries of the Middle Ages were marked by waves of fear linked to repeated bouts of civil unrest, rather than by the customary drama of extreme violence.
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00638663
Contributor : Boris Bove <>
Submitted on : Friday, November 11, 2011 - 7:43:01 PM
Last modification on : Saturday, October 31, 2020 - 5:24:35 PM
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  • HAL Id : halshs-00638663, version 2

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Boris Bove. Deconstructing the chronicles : rumours and extreme violence during the siege of Meaux (1421-1422). French History, Oxford University Press (OUP), 2010, 24 (4), pp.501-523. ⟨halshs-00638663v2⟩

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