The Beginnings of Modern Europe (1250-1450)

By Ephraim Emerton | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VI
THE HUNDRED YEARS' WAR

( 1328--453)

The long conflict between France and England, to which historians have given the name of "The Hundred Years' War," interests us chiefly as an illustration on a great scale of the transition from the mediæval, feudal order of society to the modern, national idea of political organization. Its nearer causes were largely feudal, and its methods were still, to a great extent, those of the earlier period. Its remoter causes, however, and the motives that kept it alive are to be sought on both sides in a steadily growing sense of national unity and national honor. Under the feudal régime it may fairly be said that it mattered little to the landholding aristocracy whether it were under the sovereignty of one king or another. The thing it really cared about was whether its privileges were such as it had a right to expect, and whether these privileges were likely to be fully and honorably maintained. So long as this was the case the barons found their profit and their glory in standing by their king in those undertakings which had a certain national character. But if their rights were tampered with, or if another sovereign offered equal guaranties of privilege, they easily took advantage of the flexible feudal arrangements to shift their allegiance.

Character of
the Struggle

While this is true of both the countries engaged in this desperate struggle, there is evident by the close of the thirteenth century a very marked difference between them. English feudalism had always differed from that of France in its relation to the overlord. The impulse given to the royal power by William the

-252-

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The Beginnings of Modern Europe (1250-1450)
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Preface v
  • Contents xiii
  • LIST OF MAPS xiv
  • The Beginnings of Modern Europe 1
  • Chapter II- The New Empire 47
  • Chapter III- (1300-1409) 106
  • Chapter IV- The Rise of a Middle Class 164
  • Chapter V- The Italian Republics to 1300 215
  • Chapter VI- The Hundred Years'' War 252
  • Chapter VII- The Age of the Councils 311
  • Chapter VIII- The Age of the Despots in Italy 358
  • Chapter IX- The Renaissance in Italy 461
  • Chapter X- The Northern Renaissance 509
  • Index 535
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