Ancient history

The time of truce (1388-1411)

Last updated:2022-07-25

Admittedly, the cessation of hostilities is far from being fully respected. Several times, serious “truce attacks” occur on both sides. But, until 1404, neither of the two protagonists brought together large forces intended to strike the adversary. Richard II of England champions this reconciliation. He admired the Valois monarchy, free from any popular or seigniorial control, and dreamed of introducing a similar regime in his own country. However, to shake off the tutelage of the barons and the parliament, it seems useful to him to rely on his adversary of the day before. In France, Charles VI, then 20 years old, decides to set aside the tutelage of his uncles and to govern himself with the help of his brother Louis, future Duke of Orléans, and former advisers of his father. who are recalled (November 1388). With the king's first fit of madness in 1392, his uncles regained the power they had lost for a while. A reversal of the situation which will not modify relations with England.

However, a peace treaty cannot be reached between the two countries. Mutual hatred has become too great and litigation is now too heavy. In addition, distrust was reborn with the accession to the English throne of Henry of Lancaster who proclaimed himself king under the name of Henry IV after having made Richard 11, his cousin, disappear. The new king owed much of his popularity to his belligerent declarations and, in 1404, the Valois monarchy, taking advantage of a serious uprising in Wales, took the initiative to resume hostilities. The first French operations are totally unsuccessful. The rivalries that divide and desolate the kingdom are not unrelated to these failures. Since the death of Philip the Bold, in 1404, the fight has become open between the new Duke of Burgundy, Jean sans Peur, and the king's brother, Louis d'Orléans. Both pursue the same goal:to enlarge and consolidate their possessions and to take the first place in the government of the monarchy. The assassination in Paris of Louis d'Orléans by killers in the pay of the Duke of Burgundy, on November 23, 1407, made any reconciliation impossible.

Jean sans Peur's gesture seems to be fatal to his cause. But, standing up, he presents an apology for crime in which the Duke of Orléans is depicted as a tyrant whom it was legitimate to put down. He also stands as a champion of monarchical reform against abuse and embezzlement. As a result, his popularity grew, especially with the Parisian bourgeoisie, and he was able to take over the leadership of the government. But the Orleanist faction, headed by the new Duke of Orleans, Charles, and his father-in-law, Count Bernard VII of Armagnac, still controls half of the kingdom. Jean sans Peur must therefore consolidate and expand his position. He thinks to achieve this by asking for English intervention.