Prisoners of War in the Hundred Years War: Ransom Culture in the Late Middle Ages

Prisoners of War in the Hundred Years War: Ransom Culture in the Late Middle Ages

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Rémy Ambühl
Cambridge University Press, 2013-01-17
EAN 9781107010949, ISBN10: 1107010942

Hardcover, 316 pages, 23.2 x 22.8 x 15.8 cm

The status of prisoners of war was firmly rooted in the practice of ransoming in the Middle Ages. By the opening stages of the Hundred Years War, ransoming had become widespread among the knightly community, and the crown had already begun to exercise tighter control over the practice of war. This led to tensions between public and private interests over ransoms and prisoners of war. Historians have long emphasised the significance of the French and English crowns' interference in the issue of prisoners of war, but this original and stimulating study questions whether they have been too influenced by the state-centred nature of most surviving sources. Based on extensive archival research, this book tests customs, laws and theory against the individual experiences of captors and prisoners during the Hundred Years War, to evoke their world in all its complexity.

Advance praise: 'This book offers an important and sustained analysis of the culture of ransoming in England and France during the Hundred Years War. Building upon an unrivalled knowledge of the archival sources, Ambühl highlights the practical circumstances that shaped the development of practices of ransoming amongst the soldiers themselves. This is an essential corrective to modern romantic assumptions that interpret ransoming through the lens of chivalric literature or the writings of royal lawyers and propagandists.' Craig Taylor, University of York