Useful Notes: The Hundred Years War

aka: Hundred Years War
Battle of Castillon (1453) - John Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury is seen falling from his wounded horse.

"(The) war was called the Hundred Years' War, because the troops signed on for a hundred years or the duration."

The Hundred Years War (in French, La Guerre de Cent Ans) was a 116-year period of conflict (of which 79 were active periods of war) between The House of Plantagenet who ruled England, Ireland, Wales and much of French territory, and France's House of Valois, who owned what was the remainder of the lands. Traditionally set between 1337 and 1453, although the peace was really acknowledged only with the Treaty of Picquigny (1475), in which Louis XI bought off the Yorkist king Edward IV to abstain from his plans to renew the war in France.

The conflict was a large-scale Succession Crisis, which came about after the death of the last French Capetian king, Charles IV the Fair. Originally Edward III grudgingly accepted the succession of Philip VI of Valois, paying homage to him in 1329 and 1331 as feudal overlord for Aquitaine (Guyenne), England's main source of salt and Bordeaux wine. (The English have always loved their claret.) However, when Philippe confiscated Guyenne in 1337, Edward reacted by claiming the French throne for himself (by descent through the female line he was more closely related to Charles IV than Philippe VI was) and adding the arms of the Kingdom of France to those of England. (This claim and its heraldic manifestation were not renounced until the treaty of Amiens in 1802, a decade after France ceased being a kingdom). Because in the early phase of the war the duchy of Guyenne was the main bone of contention, some historians say that it actually began in 1294, when Philippe IV the Fair of France confiscated the duchy for the first time (he had to give it back to Edward I in 1297), leading to an uneasy peace, during which the English burned and razed a newly erected French fortress in 1323.

The war was split into multiple periods and offshoots, and saw knights from both sides make a name for themselves, including England's Prince Edward, aka The Black Prince, and later France's Joan of Arc, as well as many major battles, including Sluys, Agincourt, Orléans and Castillon. The conflict also saw multiple Crowning Moments of Awesome (some usually involving the aforementioned Black Prince or Jehanne d'Arc).

As feudal levies were being replaced by professional soldiers and advances in military technology (chain mail being phased out in favour of plate armour, ever more and bigger cannons, etc.) necessitated ever larger expenses for the monarchs, the Hundred Years' War was probably the first European war in which financiers, such as Jacques Coeur, played a crucial part. In 1340 the debts incurred by Edward III caused the bankruptcy of a number of important banks in Florence. While the French gradually developed a more efficient system of regular taxation, the English throughout the war tended to run short of cash despite windfalls such as the three million écus paid out as ransom for King Jehan II of France, captured in the battle of Poitiers, mostly because the English had got it into their heads that taxation required the consent of Parliament, and any attempt by the King to do otherwise would be political suicide. The King's increasing desire to see tax revenues as good as his French counterpart became quite important about 200 years after the end of the war...

The war ended with the majority of the English being forced out of France. However, 100 years of war, pillaging, epidemics and famine had reduced France to a third of its pre-war population. Meanwhile, England lost half of its pre-war population and all its holdings on the continent save for Calais, becoming an island nation again for the first time since before the Norman Invasion, which affected its outlook and development for the rest of the millennium. But first, it had to deal with the Wars of the Roses.

The war also had a cultura impact on the development of Renaissance Music, because France went into decline after the war, giving way to the rise of Italy and Flanders. Technically, the peace treaty signed after the Agincourt campaign in 1415 was the kickstarter, because the English and Burgundian courts all brought their musicians with them - and many interesting new ideas were discussed. Some influential composers of the century were also present there at a young and formative age.

Tropes applied Concerning the Period include:

  • Action Girl: Jehanne d'Arc.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Archibald Douglas was insistent that the Franco-Scottish army make a stand on the field against the English at Verneuil, forgetting both the lessons of Agincourt, as well as his own defeat at the hands of Hotspur twenty years earlier at Humbleton Hill.
  • And This Is for...: At the Battle of Verneuil, the reserve that Bedford had posted to guard the English baggage train charged at Buchan's Scottish division shouting "A Clarence! A Clarence!" Thomas of Clarence had been previously slain at the Battle of Baugé.
  • Anyone Can Die: Not just in the fighting, but also due to the Black Plague, dysentery and various other diseases. Notable "unexpectedly early" deaths include those of Edward, the Black Prince, who died before he could inherit the crown of England, and Henry V, who died before his father-in-law and thus did not inherit that of France. Henry V's younger brother, Thomas was slain in battle by the Scots at Baugé. Also d Charles VII had two elder brothers who died childless in quick succession, leaving him the heir.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Due to the special mystique surrounding the cathedral of Rheims as the traditional coronation church and its flask of holy oil, it was very important for a king of France to be crowned there. In 1364 the royal army under Bertrand du Guesclin had to defeat an Anglo-Navarran one at Cocherel in order to enable Charles V to get to Rheims and be crowned there. Even more notable was the coronation of Charles VII (17 July 1429) in the presence of Jehanne d'Arc, which for many Frenchmen (including perhaps Charles himself) removed lingering doubts as to his legitimacy.
    • Subverted in the coronation of Henry VI as king of France in 1431, because that took place in Notre Dame de Paris, which did not have the necessary prestige.
  • Back from the Brink: The Siege of Orléans, the first major French victory since their crushing defeat at Agincourt, and it was won during the height of English power in France. Had the English won, John of Lancaster, Duke of Bedford, the regent at the time, would have likely succeeded in realizing Henry V's dream of conquering all of France.
  • Badass: It's to be expected. Quickly: the Black Prince, Henry V, Bertrand du Guesclin, Jehanne d'Arc, the Bastard of Orléans (Count of Dunois), La Hire (Étienne de Vignolles). John Talbot, nicknamed the "English Achilles", deserves a mention: he was still fighting at age 69. John of Bohemia also fought at the Battle of Crécy at fifty years old, while blind in one eye. Also Jehan de Grailly, the Captal de Buch - whose career as one of the Black Prince's commanders was spent mostly by making cavalry charges against bigger hosts and capturing Jehan III of France and the aforementioned Bertrand du Guesclin.
    • Badass Army: The average English army of the day was better trained and more skillfully deployed than the French. Other factors were involved in several English victories (weather, French tactical stupidity), but for an idea of what an evenly-matched head-to-head engagement would have been like, take a look at the Battle of Verneuil.
    • Badass Family: This war was the House of Lancaster's Glory Days.
  • BFG: Jehan Bureau's siege artillery.
    • One of the bigger cannons of the era, Mons Meg (a present of Duke Philip the Good de Bourgogne to James II of Scotland) can still be seen at Edinburgh Castle.
    • A medieval English longbow has a draw weight of about 200lbs and a bodkin can punch through half an inch of steel. It wasn't until after the raising of the Mary Rose that anyone believed that medieval English longbows actually were as powerful as what historical accounts said they were. Those longbows were also the personal property of the yoemen who used them and each one was custom made.
  • Bling of War: Heraldry, in general, which was not only bling but also had function of distinguishing between friends and enemies. Also the English Order of the Garter, its French imitation, the Order of the Star, and the Burgundian Order of the Golden Fleece were instituted during this war.
  • Boring but Practical: The strategy of King Charles V the Wise of France of avoiding big pitched battles, instead relying on strengthening his own castles and fortified towns, attacking enemy communications and successfully besieging enemy strongpoints. He and his Constable Bertrand du Guesclin thus managed to regain most of the territories lost through the defeats at Crécy and Poitiers. However this period of successful recovery and its mastermind never fired the popular imagination the way the French stupid bravery at those two battles or even the madness of Charles VI did.
    • It helps that most of the popular history and fiction about this period is Anglocentric. It makes sense that they wouldn't devote entire chapters to talking about John of Gaunt's Epic Fail military expeditions into France. In contrast, the period between Bedford's death and Talbot's death, with a string of French victory after French victory, has a lot of French historical writing behind it, because Charles VII and La Hire were the folk heroes of the day.
    • On the English side the stakes (palisades) and ditches used to protect the archers against direct attacks. Often not mentioned when talking of the superiority of English archery, their presence or absence could mean the difference between glorious victory (Crécy, Poitiers, Agincourt) and ignominous defeat (Patay, Formigny).
  • Briefer Than They Think: Jehanne d'Arc first saw King Charles VII in February 1429 and was captured by the Burgundians in May 1430, so her active involvement in the war lasted little over a year.
  • A Child Shall Lead Them: Richard II (aged 10) and Henry VI (9 months) of England; Charles VI the Mad (aged 11) of France.
    • When it comes to actually leading, Charles, Duke of Normandy (later Charles V the Wise of France), also applies, as he had to assume the regency at age 18 after the defeat and capture of his father at Poitiers/Maupertuis, in the midst of two wars - against England and Navarra - and Etienne Marcel's rising in Paris and the peasants' rising known as the Jacquerie. At eighteen, Charles was younger than Richard II and Charles VII were when they attained majority and emancipated themselves from their councils of regents.
    • Richard II is probably the best example because during the Peasants' Revolt he confronted Wat Tyler's peasants and displayed an unexpected degree of decisive leadership at age 15.
  • The Caligula: Charles VI of France known as "the Mad." In his mid-twenties, Charles began suffering from bouts of psychosis that hampered his ability to function, let alone rule. Power was taken away from him by the Princes of the Blood, but it didn't take long until they started quarreling about who should serve as his regent. This lead to:
  • Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys: Completely averted. The French had some bad defeats and threw a lot of the final battles of the war, but at the end of the day, France did win the war.
  • Civil War: 1407-1435, the Armagnac-Burgundian Civil War (Guerre des Armagnacs et Bourguignons) for France (and no, it's not between brandy-lovers fighting wine connoisseurs). It originates in the assassination of Louis d'Orléans, the younger brother of the king Charles VI, on behalf of duc de Bourgogne Jehan the Fearless.
    • Also Etienne Marcel's rising in Paris and the Jacquerie in France in 1358, the Peasants' Revolt of 1381 and the Jack Cade's revolt of 1440 in England, and the Praguerie of 1440 in France (which pitted Charles VII against his heir, the future Louis XI).
    • Given that the Plantagenets were a French family, the entire war could be viewed as a French Civil War that one side was able to rope England into.
  • Conspicuously Public Assassination: The killing of Louis, Duke of Orléans. He was attacked on the streets of Paris, by 15 masked assailants bought and paid for by Jehan Sans Peur, Duke of Bourgogne. Jehan Sans Peur publicly admitted to the crime, and paid one of his lackeys in the Church to pass a writ regarding the killing as a justifiable assassination of a "tyrant"
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Although knights still wore their individual coats of arms, the foot-soldiers and men-at-arms made first steps towards uniformity: In the later part of the war, English soldiers wore red crosses, French soldiers white ones and Bretons black ones. Burgundians wore saltires (St. Andrew's crosses).
    • The supporters of Etienne Marcel wore caps in the colours of the city of Paris, red and blue, which prefigured the colours and bonnets of the French Revolution.
    • During the war between the Armagnacs and Bourguignons, partisans of the former often wore red caps, those of the latter white or light blue ones.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Charles VII of France was a spindly neurotic whose own mother claimed he was a bastard, and had a deathly fear of wooden floors after the floor of an overcrowded inn collapsed on him, and bridges after he saw Jehan the Fearless murdered on one. Despised by virtually everyone, for much of his early reign he was taken advantage of by a succession of "favorites" who would use the borrowed authority to acquire wealth and power. Thing is, they would also centralize power in France—thinking they'd be the ones to enjoy it—then get killed by the next "favorite", allowing Charles to gradually increase his power while everyone was busy despising him. The end result—by the time the English collapsed into civil war, Charles was the ruler of a powerful, fairly united France, with a large, loyal army. And that resulted in Charles winding up with the nickname "Charles the Victorious". It wasn't exactly Obfuscating Stupidity, as he really was a neurotic mess, but he was a lot smarter than people realized. And his son, Louis XI was even more badass.
  • Les Collaborateurs: Some French people worked for the English. The most infamous is probably Pierre Cauchon, the bishop of Beauvais, who presided over Jehanne d'Arc's unfair trial.
    • To be fair, a lot of them might not have thought of themselves as "French" at the time, but as subjects of their Feudal Overlord. Most European nations had not taken a cohesive form then.
      • To be precise, it was only because of the war that people came to think of "English" and "French" as mutally exclusive. Also, it was a bit more complicated under the feudal aspect as well, since from the French point of view (accepted by Edward III until he started the war) the King of France was the King of England's Feudal Overlord as far as the latter's French territories were concerned.
    • Similarly, the "English" kings were largely linguistically and culturally French.
    • Though they definitely became more English as the war went on. It was during the Hundred Years War that Henry V stopped sending his reports in French and instead wrote them in Middle English. By the end of the war in 1453, English was the official language of the English court.
      • Edward III probably already was too English for the French greats when they decided to exclude him from the succession to the French throne in 1328. Their choice to insist on male succession only by all appearances was coloured by their wish to prevent a "foreigner" from becoming their ruler.
    • Also, many parts of modern day France, such as the Bordeaux region, had been English for over 150 years (see Henry II's father and wife).
    • The war was also in ways responsible for both stirring up French nationalism tangibly (especially towards the latter years) and solidified English exceptionalism.
  • Cool Sword: The longsword. Knightly longsword could be used single-handedly when fighting on horseback, or two-handed when fighting on foot.
  • Crowning Moment of Awesome: In 1380, the garrison of Châteauneuf-de-Randon promised to surrender the place in two weeks to Bertrand du Guesclin if help did not arrive within that time. In the meantime Bertrand died, but at the appointed time the garrison marched out and the governor deposited the keys of the place on his bier.
    • The Battle of Agincourt is generally considered one for Henry V and the English longbowmen.
    • The Battle of Verneuil was basically a second Agincourt, and was won by Henry V's younger brother, John of Lancaster, the Duke of Bedford.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Partly to the effects of new weapons and the fact that soldiers for whom you could not expect a decent ransom tended to be killed, a lot of battles had very lopsided numbers of casualties, justifying Schiller's dictum from Die Jungfrau von Orléans: "Ein Schlachten war's, nicht eine Schlacht zu nennen" ("A butchery it was, not to be called a battle").
    • English vs. French: Three of them, Crécy (1346), Poitiers (1356), and Agincourt (1415). French knights charge outnumbered English longbowmen; English fire lots of arrows; French knights die; English rout the French army. But in spite of winning these battles, the English still lost the war.
      • The worst French defeat was actually the naval battle of Sluys (1340), in which they lost roughly 20,000 men, mostly by drowning.
    • English vs. Scottish: Neville's Cross (1346), very similar to Crécy.
    • French vs. English: Patay (1429), where the French knights caught the archers with their pants down and all senior English commanders but one were captured (including the aforementioned John Talbot), and Formigny (1450; the English lost 3774 dead, the French a handful). At Castillon (1453) the English charged a heavily fortified French camp and were mown down by dozens of cannons firing a medieval form of grapeshot.
    • Nobles vs. Peasants: On 10 June 1358, the army of the French nobles led by Charles the Bad of Navarre along with its Flemish and English allies defeated the rebelling Jacques near Creil. The pursuit is said to have resulted in the slaughter of ca. 20,000 peasants.
    • English vs. French and Scottish: Verneuil. The Duke of Bedford consolidated Lancastrian Normandy and the gains made at Agincourt, with La Hire retreating east and a plan to take Rouen scrapped as a result. 1600 Englishmen were killed, while the Franco-Scottish army, more numerous than the English, lost anywhere from 6000-10000. This battle effectively ended Scotland's active participation in the war.
    • Scottish and French vs. English: Bauge. Prince Thomas (Henry V's younger brother and heir) is tricked about the number of enemy troops and charges ahead of his archers with 1500 men-at-arms and knights. The Scots then rallied and absolutely demolish the English men-at-arms (killing around 1000 and taking the rest captive) whilst taking only light casualties themselves - English dead included Thomas who was either cut down by a Scottish Knight or a Highlander (sources differ)
  • Darkest Hour: In two parts, for France: crippling defeat at Agincourt (1415), leading to treaty of Troyes (1420). One can argue it got better for the French when Henry V died before Charles VI the Mad. However, things did not truly get better for France until they won at Orléans, a battle fought in 1429 at the peak of English power in France. Had it been lost, John of Lancaster, Henry VI's regent, would have likely succeeded in conquering the whole country.
  • Distant Finale: The war was pretty much finished in 1453, with the English only retaining Calais. Yet, it only officially ended in 1475 with the Treaty of Picquigny.
    • And the kings of England did not relinquish their claim to the French throne until the Peace Treaty of Amiens in 1802 - by which time France was a republic.
  • Everyone Is Related: Most of the nobles were.
  • Evil Cripple: Jehanne de Bourgogne, wife of Philippe VI, was called "the lame evil Queen." Whether she actually fit the trope or not is up for debate.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Only it was 116 years long war.
  • Fan Nickname: The appellations "the Black Prince" for Edward, Prince of Wales, and "Charles the Bad" for Charles of Navarre were not recorded before the 16th century. The war itself was first called the Hundred Years' War by French historians of the early 19th century (before that they had called it "the English War").
  • Faux Action Girl / Technical Pacifist: Jehanne d'Arc claimed at her trial that she never actually killed anybody. She had stated at some point that she "loved [her] banner one hundred times more than her sword" and held her banner in both hands so as to not actually fight.
    • The only recorded use of her sword was when she used the flat of it to beat a prostitute camp-follower over the back, as a result of which the sword broke.
  • Feuding Families: Though technically, they were usually rival branches of the same family: Valois vs. Plantagenet, Blois vs. Montfort, Armagnac vs. Bourgogne, Lancaster vs. York
  • Fisher King: Played with. French king Charles VI became insane and it affected badly his country, leading to a Civil War. When Henry V and his brother John died, the English war effort was stymied by increasingly catastrophic and humiliating defeats.
  • Frivolous Lawsuit: A lot of the arguments used by lawyers and theologians to justify their party qualify. For instance, the French rejected Edward III's claim to the French throne by invoking the ancient Salic Law (which however only dealt with the inheritance of property, not royal succession), as well as a court decision from 1316 (which only prevented a woman from actually being France's ruler, not from transmitting the title). A French theologian retroactively declared the murder of the Duke of Orléans justifiable tyrannicide.
    • Fun fact: In the Breton War of Succession, England and France took the exact opposite positions to the ones they took in the main war re male and female succession. And when Henry IV took the English throne the Mortimer succession (through the daughter of an elder brother of Henry's father John of Gaunt) was passed over.
    • Although French lawyers had excluded female succession and succession through females during the various succession crises of the first half of the 14th century, it was only in the second half, when the war was already underway, that they "discovered" the Salic Law. And they only began to invoke it during the reign of Charles VI, early in the 15th. However, they then claimed the succession of Edward III had been excluded earlier on grounds of the Salic Law.
  • General Failure: John of Gaunt, during the forgotten Caroline phase of the war, where none of his expeditions into southern France made any progress, except to get thousands of his own men killed by disease. And while such casualties were expected in the 1350s, his ill-advised campaigning had a part in knocking the air out of England's war effort for the rest of the century. Later on, Suffolk, Talbot, and Somerset were standout examples of failures in military leadership. Somerset lost Normandy so badly that Richard of York concluded he must have been a traitor.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Jehanne de Bourgogne and Isabeau of Bavaria were less than popular with the nobility and the common people.
  • Going Native: The Plantagenets, despite being a family from Anjou and Normandie, was more English than Angevin by the time this war started and thoroughly Anglicized by the time it ended. Henry IV was the first to speak English as his primary language.
  • Handicapped Badass: King Johann of Bohemia. Despite being blind in one eye, he still fought at the frontlines in the Battle of Crécy on the side of the French. It's said that his last words were "Let it never be the case that a Bohemian king runs from a fight."
  • The Heavy: John of Lancaster, the Duke of Bedford, was not the king of England, but after Henry V's death, led England's military efforts in France on behalf of Henry VI and was the Man Behind the Man involved in Jehanne d'Arc's execution.
  • Hegemonic Empire: Henry V's dual monarchy was built on soft power. While his military victories crushed the French resistance, what helped him keep his territory was a delicate framework of alliances. When that arrangement broke down, England was left friendless in a country far too large for it to hold on its own.
  • Henpecked Husband: Philippe VI. His wife Jehanne de Bourgogne was often said to have been the real power behind the throne.
  • Heroic Bastard: The Bastard of Orléans, later Jehan, count of Dunois. His legitimate brother, Duke Charles d'Orléans (father of king Louis XII), is best remembered as a writer of poetry. However, Charles did have the misfortune of spending nearly a quarter of a century in English captivity after Agincourt.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York spent the early part of his career as a military governor in Normandie. The perception that his efforts were being sabotaged by corrupt courtiers close to the King was one catalyst for the Wars of the Roses. Jacquetta of Luxembourg was Bedford's wife before she married Richard Woodville. Her daughter became Edward IV's queen.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: In France: Charles VI the Mad's queen Isabeau of Bavaria for her part in the Treaty of Troyes (1420).
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Edward III's argument that female line of succession was more valid than a junior male line bit The House of Plantagenet in the ass hard when the the House Of York used that same argument to justify their seniority to the House of Lancaster in the Wars of the Roses.
  • Hold the Line: What won the Battle of Agincourt was not simply a Rain of Arrows, but the steadfast line of English knights, forcing the French into a disorganized mess which was flanked and then routed.
  • Honor Before Reason: Two Johns: King Johann the Blind of Bohemia fought at Crécy on the French side and was unsurprisingly killed. King Jehan II the Good of was captured at Poitiers (the French call it Maupertuis) and released when in the treaty of Brétigny (1360), he ceded large parts of France and promised a huge ransom, leaving his son, the duke of Anjou, in England as a hostage. When the duke managed to escape before the ransom was fully paid, John II felt duty-bound to return to London himself in 1364, where he died the same year.
    • King Jehan II was only captured at Poitiers because, as a member of the Order of the Star (which he himself had created), he was not allowed to retreat more than four steps in battle.
    • The charge of Johann II, King of Bohemia, in the battle of Crécy. He was killed along with fifteen knights who escorted him.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: The Duke of Bedford to Henry VI. He died before he had a chance to salvage England's war effort, and command was handed over to the incredibly incompetent Suffolk and Somerset. Joan of Arc and La Hire to Charles VII, achieving what seemed like the impossible, reversing all of Henry V and Bedford's gains in about ten years.
  • I Have No Son: In the treaty of Troyes, Charles the Mad and his queen Isabeau of Bavaria repudiated their son Charles's claim to the French throne, Isabeau even contributing to the spreading of rumors that the future Charles VII was the result of an adulterous affair.
  • In the Blood: In retrospect, Edward III's declaration of war after being turned down for kingship was not the least bit surprising when you consider what his mother and grandfather were like.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats : The English archers. Besides having the legendary longbows, some archers often were well armored (mail shirt, gambeson or brigandine; some even had plate leg armor) and carried two-handed swords to be used in melee when having exhausted their arrows.
    • Most however just had a dagger for close fighting and they tended to fight better when they were behind some kind of protection against cavalry, such as palisades or a ditch. Where they didn't, such as at Patay or Formigny, they could be slaughtered in a cavalry charge.
  • Jeanne d'Archétype : The Trope Maker / Trope Namer / Trope Codifier
  • Kangaroo Court: Jehanne d'Arc's trial was headed by Bishop Pierre Cauchon, who was on the payroll of both the English Earl of Warwick and the duc de Bourgogne, and handpicked the judges himself from University of Paris who also hated Jehanne's guts. She never stood a chance.
  • Kingmaker: The ducs de Bourgogne were unavoidable in determining the outcome of this conflict.
    • Philip The Good's troops held Paris in Henry V's name and captured Jehanne d'Arc. When it became apparent that political control over England was split between Henry VI's multiple regents, he untimely stabbed Bedford in the back.
    • His son and successor, Charles the Bold, refused to support Edward IV's renewed invasion, meaning that Louis XI was secure in his throne after buying off Edward.
  • Lady of War:
    • Jehanne de Flandre, duchess of Bretagne. When Charles de Blois besieged Hennebont, Jehanne took charge of the town's defense. She even donned armor and lead soldiers on a charge. Not for nothing was she known as "Jehanne le Flamme" (Fiery Joanna.)
    • Jehanne de Clisson. After her husband was accused of treason and executed, she turned against Charles de Blois and Philippe VI and became a privateer against their forces with the approval of Edward III.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: The French knights. The Brits used it for their great advantage.
  • Lightning Bruiser : Knights, whether on horseback or on foot
  • Long Runners: Well, duh.
  • Man on Fire: In 1393, when Charles VI had just barely recovered from his first bout of insanity, he and five friends dressed up as "wild men" at an occasion that came to be called the bal des ardents ("Ball of the Burning Men") when their costumes accidentally caught fire, killing four of the six. The king narrowly escaped death because one of his aunts had the presence of mind to wrap him in her skirt. Needless to say, the shock of this incident propelled Charles VI further on the way from being Charles le Bien-Aimé (Charles the Well-Beloved) to Charles le Fou (Charles the Mad).
  • Military Coup: The Lords Appellant rebellion in England, one of the reasons why the reigns of Richard II and Henry IV did not feature much fighting in France.
  • The Mole: William de la Pole, the Duke of Suffolk, and Edmund Beaufort, the Duke of Somerset, were accused of being this by Richard of York. Both succeeded the hyper-competent Bedford as commander-in-chief in France and proceeded to lose almost all of English territory there in displays of such astounding incompetence that Parliament reprimanded them publicly. Moreover, the marriage arranged between Henry VI and Margaret of Anjou was Suffolk's idea, and directly weakened England's position. With all that considered, Parliament, and the English people, though York made a very good point.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast:
    • King Charles "the Bad" de Navarre, who in the mid-1300s was the third claimant to the French throne (if you allow female succession, he had a better claim than Edward III). Note that it's the people of his own country who nicknamed him so (Carlos el Malo), although only since the 16th century.
    • Etienne de Vignolles, nicknamed "La Hire", which is said to come from English soldiers calling him "la Hire-Dieu" (God's anger).
    • Also the Merciless Parliament (1388) in England.
    • The Black Prince - Edward Plantagenet, Prince of Wales
      • Although the first recorded use of that appellation is from Grafton's Chronicle (1569). To his contemporaries the Black Prince was usually known as Edward of Woodstock or the Prince of England. Some rather optimistically called him Edward IV.
    • Jehan "the Scourge of the English", duc de Bourbon
    • Jehan "the Fearless", duc de Bourgogne.
    • King Pedro "the Cruel" de Castilla.
    • The "Hundred Years War" could be considered one itself - of course, they didn't know how long it would last at the time.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: The Plantagenets were closely linked to the Valois, Richard II, Henry V and Henry VI all marrying French princesses. And Edward III was the son of Capetian princess Isabelle de France.
    • Inverted by Charles VII's mother-in-law Yolanda of Aragon, who supported him and did her best to put a bit of steel into his spine after his parents disowned him in the Treaty of Troyes.
  • Occupiers out of Our Country: As Jehanne d'Arc said:
    Of the love or hatred God has for the English, I know nothing, but I do know that they will all be thrown out of France, except those who die there.
    • Subverted by the people of Bordeaux. Even to the very end, they considered themselves English subjects. The Battle of Castillon was prompted because they pleaded for the King to assist them against Charles VII.
  • Odd Friendship: Jehanne d'Arc and La Hire; she was a celibate, intensely religious teenage peasant girl and he was a brash, hard swearing, professional old war horse and near bandit whose normal prayer was "Fair Sir God, I pray You this day, do for me what I would do for You, if I were God and You, La Hire." They got on very well.
  • One Steve Limit: Thoroughly averted: it seems like almost everyone is named Charles, Edward, Henri/Henry, Jehan/John or Philippe.
  • Only in It for the Money: This is true for a lot of the simple rankers of the English and French armies of the era, who besides their regular pay hoped to make a profit from plunder or by capturing a rich nobleman for whom they could expect to be paid a large ransom. During periods of armistice jobless French soldiers turning to pillaging French towns and villages or holding Frenchmen to ransom became a real problem, which Charles V tried to alleviate by sending off a lot of them to Spain to fight in the Castilian war.
    • King Jehan II became so disgusted by the bickering between his captors at Poitiers over who was entitled to what share of the expected ransom that he finally shouted out: "I am rich enough to pay you all out."
  • The Plague: The first part of the Hundred Years' War was interrupted by the Black Death, which spared no one.
  • Please Spare Him, My Liege!: The Burghers of Calais is a very famous example.
  • Prequel: Piéronne la Bretonne, another visionary and for a brief time one of Jehanne d'Arc's companions, proclaimed that Jehanne was God's messenger after the latter's capture. She was then herself captured by the English at Corbeil and burned at the stake in Paris in September 1430 - five months before Jehanne's trial was opened in Rouen.
  • Private Military Contractors: "Free companies" composed of mercenaries were hired from Italy to serve France, repeated warfare over a period of time, made them into bands of brigands who raped and pillaged with impunity. They played a major role in depopulating France.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Knights on both sides were part of the old warrior nobility of Europe, but the English longbowmen beat them both, having been training weekly with one of the most powerful but difficult-to-master weapons in history for at least a century before the war began. It's actually possible to identify the skeletons of longbow archers from their bone spurs and oversized left arms.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: France technically wins by forcing out the English and concluding the conflict with slightly more territory than at the start, but in the process they lost very nearly their entire population.
    • Although that was more due to a series of epidemics starting with the Great Black Plague (1348-1350). (England, which was largely untouched by the war and also had fewer and smaller cities, saw its population halved). And subverted in that the war forced France to modernize its military and civil institutions (including e. g. a more efficient system of taxation) that left France much more powerful in a European context after the reigns of Charles VII and Louis XI.
    • Oddly inverted for the English: it was the need to appeal to their common soldiers and unite them against the French that led to their Norman rulers first calling themselves English and speaking English rather than French. If the "English" had won, "England" wouldn't be very English now.
  • Rain of Arrows: The main tactic of the English.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: Edward III and Edward the Black Prince were notorious for their chevauchée strategy. Chevauchée meant "Horse promenade" and it involved sending groups of mounted soldiers to terrorize the countryside, often burning several villages and killing people at random. It was intended to terrorize and demoralize the population into believing that the French would not protect them but the conquering English would.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: John Talbot, the Earl of Shrewsbury and Sir John Fastolf were the Duke of Bedford's top commanders, but were as different as day and night. Shrewsbury was brash and confrontational, while Fastolf was methodical and strategic. Unfortunately, they were constantly at odds and, during the Battle of Patay, Shrewsbury's rashness lost the English the battle. Fastolf was saddled with the blame, accused of cowardice for refusing to continue fighting a losing battle, and degraded by Bedford from the Order of the Garter.
  • Refuge in Audacity: The Assassination of Louis, Duke of Orléans. Jehan Sans Peur, Duke of Bourgogne, was transparently responsible for his death but unlike most chessmasters in history and fiction, he didn't bother with token allibis and polite disavowals, no. He had a theologian Jean Petit present a case before a Church Committee that the death of Duke of Orléans was a justifiable act of tyrannicide since Louis was deeply unpopular among Parisiens and painted as an Asshole Victim. Then he arrived in Paris and publicly admitted to killing Louis and even insisting he be rewarded for it. His argument, backed by soldiers, actually won the day, at least until the Orléans faction regrouped under the Armagnac faction which formed a bitter Civil War against the Burgundians. Years later, Jehan Sans Peur would himself be assassinated on his way to discuss peace.
  • La Résistance: The French reconquest of Normandie (1449-1450) was facilitated by a series of popular insurrections of Normans discontent with the rigours and financial impositions of the English occupation since 1417.
  • Right Makes Might: How the Valois liked to interpret Charles VII's transformation from puny "King of Bourges" to mighty "Charles the Victorious". Some historians see the spreading of a kind of "royal theology", that the Valois legitimately were God's chosen etc., as an important factor in their ultimate victory. From that perspective, Jehanne d'Arc was the ultimate embodiment of the success of the spreading this theory.
  • Royally Screwed Up: The French almost lost when their king, Charles VI, became insane. Later, the English did lose when their king, Henry VI, became insane. Henry VI was Charles VI's grandson. Coincidence? I think not.
    • However, Henry VI did not display signs of madness before 1453, the year hostilities were ended by the French victory of Castillon, so you could also say that Henry became insane when the English lost.
    • Averted by Charles' son, Charles VII and his other grandson, Louis XI aka "The Great Spider".
    • Jehan II the Good was not insane, but did bring France and the Valois to the brink of total defeat by giving total precedence to his screwed up and outmoded code of honour.
  • Self-Made Man: Jehan II le Maingre, aka Boucicaut the Younger, was a commoner who became one of Charles VI's top generals. He commanded the French vanguard at Agincourt, where he was captured.
  • Sequel: The Wars of the Roses (1455-1487), which doubles as a spin-off.
    • Some historians classify the global conflicts between France and England from 1688 to 1815 as the "Second Hundred Years' War."
    • Other historians see the war of 1337-1453 as the sequel to the "First Hundred Years' War", which ran from the accession of Henry II of England (1154) to the peace treaty of Paris (1258).
  • Sheltered Aristocrat: Henry VI.
  • Sibling Team: Henry V and his three brothers, the Dukes of Bedford, Clarence, and Gloucester.
  • The Siege: Besides that of Orléans, three stand out:
    • Calais 1347, with the episode of the Six Burghers.
    • Harfleur 1415, commemorated by Shakespeare in the "Once more into the breach" speech in Henry V.
    • Mont Saint-Michel, the only place in Normandy not to be captured by the English after 1418.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Jehanne d'Arc? Jeanne d'Arc? Joan of Arc? All valid, all used in various media (and various places on this wiki!) This wasn't helped by the tendency of writers of the time to use whatever spelling they themselves thought most phonetically appropriate.
  • Spinoff: There were five spin-offs: the Breton War of Succession in Brittany, the Castilian Civil War in Spain, the War of the Two Peters (again in Spain), the Crisis of 1383-1385 in Portugal.
    • Not to mention various conflicts on the British Isles. Thus the Scottish forces were defeated at Neville's Cross in 1346 when David II tried to relieve pressure on his ally Philip VI after Crécy, Richard II was preoccupied with his expeditions to Ireland and Henry IV with campaigns against his English and Welsh enemies during one of the "quieter" phases of the Hundred Years' War.
  • Spirited Young Lady: Jehanne de Flandre
  • The Strategist
    • On the French side: Charles V and VII, Bertrand du Guesclin, Etienne de Vignolles (La Hire), and Joan of Arc.
    • On the English side: Edward III, The Black Prince, Sir John Chandos, Henry V, and the Duke of Bedford.
  • Succession Crisis: The war began due to the French one, but then the deposition and (probable) murder of Richard II caused one in England as well, which was ultimately settled only at the end of the Wars of the Roses.
    • The war was also intermingled with an earlier succession crisis in Scotland between David II and Edward III of England's man Edward Balliol and with the spinoff wars of succession in Bretagne and Castilla.
  • Take Up My Sword: John of Lancaster did after Henry V's death; the Dauphin Charles did after Charles VI's capitulation and later his death.
  • This Cannot Be!: Allegedly, Henry VI experienced his first nervous breakdown after hearing of the English defeat at Castillon.
  • Tomboy: Women in combat in Jehanne d'Arc's time was unheard of in that day. She wore male combat gear since it was practical as well as to keep her safe from leers of her own troops. Her use of wearing male clothing would be used against her in her trial.
  • Tragic Mistake: The killing of Jehan the Fearless de Bourgogne in 1419. It will likely never be clear if it was a murder ordered by the future Charles VII or an unpremeditated act of his followers (who wanted to avenge the murder of the duc d'Orléans), but the consequences for Charles were disastrous as it drove the Burgundians into the arms of the English. Talleyrand's "It was worse than a crime, it was a blunder" eminently applies.
  • War Hawk: The battle lines of the Wars of the Roses were drawn based on opinions of this conflict in the 1440s. The House of York was the hawkish faction, while the Lancastrians sought peace.
  • War Is Hell : When you have 100 years of rape, pillage and looting, it is to be expected.
  • We Have Reserves: A big reason why France won. England alone did not have the manpower to hold the country. Once the French changed their strategy and started strengthening their infrastructure to bring their superior population and deeper economy to bear against the English, the war turned around.
  • Wicked Stepmother:
    • Averted with Valentina Visconti, the wife of Louis d'Orléans, who raised Jehan, the Bastard of Orléans, as her own child. There even exists a form of the arms of the latter where the Orléans arms are quartered with the Visconti arms.
    • Jehan III, duc de Bretagne saw his stepmother Yolande de Dreux this way and wanted to bar her children from succeeding him. This helped lead to the War of the Breton Succession.
  • Wild Card: Dukes of Bourgogne allied to England, then to France when it suited more their best interests. Some consider the real reason behind England's defeat wasn't Jehanne d'Arc, Henry VI or their last's commanders military ineptitude, but the loss of the Burgundian alliance. Note though that the Dukes were cousins of the French kings.
  • Won the War, Lost the Peace: The reason why the English kings ultimately lost the war. They won most of the fights, but never managed to:
    • 1) effectively become King of France (Henry V died too soon, Henry VI lost (almost) every mainland territories he had)
    • 2) get the French to really and definitely surrender (so much for the Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys trope). As soon as the ink of the treaties was dry, they went back to war. Best exemplified by Charles V and Charles VII utter refusal to comply with Brétigny and Troyes treaties.
    • 3) digest what they had conquered. This is hard enough in the modern era, but now throw in the limitations of medieval logistics, and resistance leaders like Jehanne d'Arc.
  • The Woobie: Jehanne d'Arc again.

Tropes as portrayed in fiction:

  • Historical Villain Upgrade: The less than pleasant portrayal of Jehanne d'Arc in Shakespeare's Henry VI.
  • Written by the Winners: Inverted. Save for Jehanne d'Arc's story, one may forget France actually won the war, given the only things people seem to remember are crippling defeats at Crécy, Agincourt and Poitiers, and generally France's most demeaning and humiliating moments. Thank you, Mr. Shakespeare!

Works about the Hundred Years War include :

Anime and Manga
  • Axis Powers Hetalia has a brief moment showing Joan of Arc fighting alongside France against England. France cared about her and seemed to be filled with regret after her death (until he meets and befriends a young girl named Lisa... who is implied to be Joan's reincarnation).
  • Maria The Virgin Witch shows the life of a witch who uses her powers and those of a succubus to "calm down" French and English soldiers because she doesn't want to see a battlefield near her home.
  • The Puella Magi Madoka Magica spinoff Puella Magi Tart Magica: The Legend of "Jeanne D'Arc"

  • Too many statues and paintings of Joan of Arc to mention.
  • Rodin's "Six Burghers of Calais".

  • Crecy, the 2007 graphic novel by Warren Ellis and Raulo Cáceres, in which the victors of "England's greatest battle" are the good guys, with a little social romanticism (plucky British working-class heroes laying low the snooty Frenchy aristocrats) thrown in.

  • Jeanne d'Arc (1900) by Georges Méliès - silent and coloured by hand. Not the first film on the subject of Joan of Arc, there was at least one earlier one.
  • Joan the Woman (1917), directed by C. B. De Mille.
  • The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) by Carl Dreyer: a film centered on Jeanne d'Arc's trial and death.
  • Das Mädchen Johanna (The Girl Joan, Germany 1935), directed by Gustav Ucicky.
  • Joan of Arc (1948), directed by Victor Fleming, starring Ingrid Bergman.
  • Giovanna d'Arco al Rogo (Joan of Arc at the Stake, 1954), directed by Roberto Rossellini, also starring Ingrid Bergman.
  • Jeanne la pucelle (1994), a two-part movie directed by Jacques Rivette and starring Sandrine Bonnaire.
  • The 1999 movie The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc, directed by Luc Besson. Notable for being Darker and Edgier and leaning on Deconstruction at times. A fairly polarizing movie.
  • The 1944 and 1989 film adaptations of Shakespeare's Henry V (and by extension, the 2012 adaptation of Henry V in The Hollow Crown), all climaxing in the Battle of Agincourt

  • La Pucelle ("The Maid") by Voltaire: An anti-clerical burlesque on Joan of Arc.
  • Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc, by the Sieur Louis de Conte by Mark Twain: In which the French are the good guys, but just barely. Twain's favorite of his own works.
  • World Without End is set in the middle of the 14th century and its plot include the war witnessed by English characters.
  • The Accursed Kings tells how, on the course of several decades, France and England eventually went to war. The Hundred Years War itself begins in the end of the sixth book and is the setting of the seventh.

Live-Action TV

  • Henry V and Henry VI by William Shakespeare: In which the English are the good guys and mst of the French characters are portrayed as cowards, effete braggarts or comic relief. Joan of Arc? In Henry VI Part 1, she is portrayed as an evil actual witch.
  • Die Jungfrau von Orleans ("The Maid of Orléans") by Friedrich Schiller: In which the French are the good guys. This play was written as a rebuttal of Voltaire's La Pucelle and romanticises Joan to a large extent, even having her die in battle instead of being burned at the stake.
  • Saint Joan by George Bernard Shaw: In which the French are the good guys.
    • Debatable. Many of the French are not portrayed that sympathetically (after all, the cast includes Gilles de Rais, the historical Bluebeard); perhaps it is true to say that Shaw adopted Saint Joan's own position of not seeing the English as evil, but wanting English and French to stay in their own countries.
  • Die Bürger von Calais (1913) and Gilles und Jeanne (1923) by German expressionist author Georg Kaiser. The latter play is about Joan of Arc's association with Gilles de Rais.
  • L'Alouette by Jean Anouilh, a play heavily indebted to Shaw's Saint Joan.

Video Games

Western Animation
  • An episode of The Simpsons had Lisa as Joan of Arc. The Hundred Years' War was originally called "Operation Speedy Resolution."
    • Groundskeeper Willie appears as the soldier who captures Joan, which is a bit surprising given the Auld Alliance and the fact that Charles VII's army contained many Scottish soldiers.

Alternative Title(s):

Hundred Years War