The illusion of the Burgundian state

By Élodie Lecuppre-Desjardin

Translated by Christopher Fletcher

The illusion of the Burgundian state

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-4433-1
  • Pages: 368
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £90.00
  • Published Date: January 2022
  • BIC Category: Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: classical, early & medieval, Medieval History, History, France: Historical and cultural regions, 15th century, c 1400 to c 1499, European history: medieval period, middle ages, Humanities / Medieval history, HISTORY / Europe / France, LITERARY CRITICISM / Medieval, HISTORY / Medieval, Humanities / European history
  • Series: Manchester Medieval Studies


On 25 January 1474, Charles the Bold, duke of Burgundy, appeared before his subjects in Dijon. Robed in silk, gold and precious jewels and wearing a headpiece that gave the illusion of a crown, he made a speech in which he cryptically expressed his desire to become a king. Three years later, Charles was killed at the battle of Nancy, an event that plunged the Great Principality of Burgundy into chaos. This book, innovative and essential, not only explores Burgundian history and historiography but offers a complete synthesis about the nature of politics in this region, considered both from the north and the south. Focusing on political ideologies, a number of important issues are raised relating to the medieval state, the signification of the nation under the 'Ancien Regime', the role of warfare in the creation of political power and the impact of political loyalties in the exercise of government. In doing so, the book challenges a number of existing ideas about the Burgundian state.


1 The splendours of the Burgundian court, or the limits of symbolic communication
2 Nobles in need of love and recognition
3 Opportunism and ethics in politics
4 The jewels in the crown
5 Awake, Picards and Burgundians!
6 Measuring and imagining: reflections on territorial consciousness
7 'Burgundianisation' or the fantasy of a Burgundian nation


Elodie Lecuppre-Desjardin is Professor of Medieval History at Lille University (IRHiS, IUF)

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