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Useful Notes / The Hundred Years War

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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 Philippe 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 awesome moments (some usually involving the aforementioned Black Prince or Jeanne 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 Jean 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 cultural 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: Jeanne d'Arc. Even if you believe her claim at her trial that she never actually killed anyone, she still went on the battlefield as the standard-bearer— a role far more dangerous than it sounds— and survived, so her accomplishments were still impressive.
  • 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.
  • Antagonistic Offspring:
    • The future Louis XI to his father, Charles VII.
    • Earlier, the future Charles V was not on good terms with his father, Jean II, and participated in a plot against him with the help of Charles II de Navarre.
    • Gaston III, comte de Foix and his only legitimate son, Gaston. Supposedly the younger Gaston tried to poison his father at the behest of his maternal uncle, Charles II de Navarre.
  • 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.
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing:
    • Charles de la Cerda was assassinated in 1354 by Charles II de Navarre and his brothers. The constable was so unpopular that few people much cared.
    • Later, this was the general response after Charles II de Navarre was burned to death in his own bed.
  • 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 Jeanne 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 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.
    • The d'Arc family. Not only Jeanne, but also her three brothers - Pierre, Jean and Jacquemin, who all gained nobility on their own achievments. Pierre d'Arc ended up commanding one of the royal compagnies d'ordonnance in the late war.
  • Bash Brothers: After 1370, Bertrand du Guesclin and Olivier IV de Clisson. They were opposites in many ways (starting with the fact that Guesclin was a Self-Made Man and Clisson a Blue Blood) but worked extremely well together.
    • Jeanne, Pierre, Jean and Jacquemin d'Arc.
  • Badass Grandpa:
    • John Talbot, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury was either 66 or 69 when he died in the Battle of Castillon.
    • Arnaud Guillaume de Barbazan was 71 when he died in the Battle of Bulgnéville.
  • The Berserker: Whichever of the French knights it was who launched the outright-suicidal attack at the Battle of Agincourt that killed Edward, 2nd Duke of York, wounded Humphrey of Gloucester, and attacked Henry V with an axe, striking one of fleur-de-lys from his crown before being overpowered and killed shortly afterwards. note 
  • BFG: Jean Bureau's siege artillery.
    • One of the bigger cannons of the era, Mons Meg (a present of Philippe le Bon, duc 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 yeomen 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 ignominious defeat (Patay, Formigny).
    • The Genoese crossbowmen had their pavises, enormous shields with wheels to protect themselves from enemy arrows. Being forced to engage the English archers (whose longbows had similar range and a superior rate of fire) was among the reasons for their defeat in the opening phase of the battle of Crécy (the others being that they were tired by days of march and their crossbows were wet due a recent rain, losing the range advantage they would have normally had).
  • Born Unlucky: The three legitimate sons of Louis d'Orléans—Charles d'Orléans, Philippe de Vertus, and Jean d'Angoulême— were all so catastrophically unlucky it almost defies belief. Their father was brutally assassinated when the eldest of them was only 13, his killer got caught away with it scot-free, their mother succumbed to Death by Despair shortly after, Charles' first wife fell to Death by Childbirth, Jean and Charles were both held prisoner by the English for nearly half their lives because as members of the royal family they were considered too important to be ransomed, Charles' second wife and daughter both died while he was held captive, and Philippe died suddenly at the age of 24.
  • Briefer Than They Think: Jeanne 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 Étienne 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 Casanova:
    • Louis d'Orléans, by reputation. This wasn't treated as a good thing.
    • Philippe the Good of Bourgogne had at least 24 mistresses and some 18 illegitimate children.
  • 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 the duc de Bourgogne, Jean sans Peur.
    • Also Étienne 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, duc d'Orléans. He was attacked on the streets of Paris, by fifteen masked assailants bought and paid for by Jean sans Peur, duc de Bourgogne. Jean 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 Étienne 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.
  • Les Collaborateurs: Some French people worked for the English. The most infamous is probably Pierre Cauchon, the bishop of Beauvais, who presided over Jeanne 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 wife).
    • The war was also in ways responsible for both stirring up French nationalism tangibly (especially towards the latter years) and solidified English exceptionalism.
    • It should be noted that the "English" parts of France had been "English" longer than England had. In 1066 the French successfully invaded England thus making England a "French" vassal. This made the 100 years war more of a French civil war than an Anglo-French war since both sides where "French" with allies.
  • Cool Sword: The longsword. Knightly longsword could be used single-handedly when fighting on horseback, or two-handed when fighting on foot.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Charles VII de France was a spindly neurotic widely rumored to have been 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 Jean 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 so.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Charles II of Navarre was burned alive in his own bed after a freak accident.
  • 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.
  • Death by Childbirth: Jeanne de Bourbon, wife of Charles V. Isabelle and Catherine de France, both daughters of Charles VI and Isabeau of Bavaria, also died this way.
  • Death by Despair:
    • Jean III de Grailly, being held captive by the French, lost the will to live after hearing of the death of his close friend, Edward the Black Prince.
    • Valentina Visconti died in part of grief after the assassination of her husband, Louis d'Orléans, which went unpunished because of the political situation at the time.
  • 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: Jeanne de Bourgogne, wife of Philippe VI, by reputation. She became known as "the lame evil Queen" and was portrayed as a scheming Master Poisoner, because of the prejudice at the time about disabled people as well as her demonstrated ruthlessness toward enemies and Philippe VI's obvious reliance on her.
  • 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: Jeanne 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, Orleans vs. Bourgogne, Lancaster vs. York.
    • A lesser known one was the Armagnac-Foix feud in Gascony and Languedoc. This feud pre-dated the Hundred Years' War and was rooted in the disputed will of Gaston VII de Bearn, who died with only daughters for heirs, two of whom (Marguerite and Mathe) were married to Roger-Bernard III, count of Foix and Géraud V, count of Armagnac, respectively. After Gaston died, Roger-Bernard and Marguerite claimed Bearn, but Géraud and Mathe disagreed vehemently. They'd warred with each other before the Hundred Years' War, but when the war started, both families often chose different sides and would make war on each other.
    • In Normandy, the Harcourts and Tancarvilles were also constantly at each other's throats.
  • 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 duc d'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.
  • Genius Cripple: By the beginning of his reign, Charles V of France was too sickly to ride a horse and had gout in his right hand and an abscess in his left. Yet he was known as Charles the Wise (Charles le Sage.)
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Jeanne de Bourgogne and Isabeau of Bavaria by reputation. Jeanne clearly had more political influence than Isabeau ever did as Philippe VI left her as the uncontested regent while he was away fighting with Edward III or something else.
  • Going Native: The Plantagenets, despite being a family from Anjou and Normandie, was more English than Angevin or Norman 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.
  • Gonk: The first thing everyone mentions about Bertrand du Guesclin is that he was incredibly ugly.
  • 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, 1st 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 Jeanne 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 first wife, Jeanne de Bourgogne was often said to have been the real power behind the throne.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade:
    • Charles VI the Mad's queen Isabeau of Bavaria gets it big time in France for her part in the Treaty of Troyes. This is owed in large part to 19th century French historians who saw her as a traitor. Realistically, by that point, Isabeau was out of options: she had never been particularly politically influential in the first place and the killing of Jean "sans-Peur" by her son's companions was a catastrophic mistake on their parts.
    • The less than pleasant portrayal of Jeanne d'Arc in Shakespeare's Henry VI.
  • 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:
    • King Johann the Blind of Bohemia fought at Crécy on the French side and was unsurprisingly killed.
    • King Jean II the Good 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, Jean II decided to return to London himself in 1364. He claimed that it was his duty, but his actual motives are somewhat elusive. Oddly, though, Jean's departure was probably a blessing in disguise.
  • 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 dukes of 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
  • It Runs in the Family:
    • In retrospect, Edward III's declaration of war after having the Aquitaine confiscated was not the least bit surprising when you consider what his mother and grandfather were like.
    • Mental illness was common among the Bourbons, one of the Capetian branches. Pierre I de Bourbon and his son Louis II both suffered from nervous breakdowns throughout their lives and his daughter Jeanne suffered from what sounds a lot like post-partum depression. In Jeanne's son, Charles VI (Valois), however, mental illness took the form of violent psychosis. Charles VI's grandson, King Henry VI (Plantagenet) of England, seems to have inherited the Bourbon predisposition toward mental illness as well, as he suffered from nervous breakdowns and schizophrenia-like symptoms for over a year after the fall of Bordeaux. His illness was one of the causes of the Wars of the Roses.
  • 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.
    • It should be noted that English daggers from that time period had a 12-18 inch long double edged blade and English archers, even though at best lightly armoured with no shield, weren't supposed to be trifled with in hand-to-hand combat by anyone but an armoured knight.
  • Jeanne d'Archétype : The Trope Maker / Trope Namer / Trope Codifier
  • Kangaroo Court: Jeanne 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 Jeanne's guts. She never stood a chance.
  • Kill 'Em All: Infamously, Edward the Black Prince ordered this to be done to the inhabitants of Limoges after its fall in 1370.
  • Kingmaker: The ducs de Bourgogne were unavoidable in determining the outcome of this conflict.
    • Philippe the Good's troops held Paris in Henry V's name and captured Jeanne 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:
    • Jeanne de Flandre, duchess of Bretagne. When Charles de Blois besieged Hennebont, Jeanne took charge of the town's defense. She even donned armor and led soldiers on a charge. Not for nothing was she known as "Jeanne la Flamme" (Fiery Joanna.)
    • Jeanne de Clisson. After her husband was accused of treason and executed, she turned against Charles de Blois and Philippe VI and supposedly funded pirate ships against their forces with the approval of Edward III. Her son, Olivier IV de Clisson, was a brutal but effective soldier and politician who lost an eye and survived two assassination attempts.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: In general, the French knights were prone to it. The Brits used it for their great advantage. More specifically, though:
    • Charles II, comte d'Alençon, the younger brother of Philippe VI, was a known Leeroy Jenkins as far back as 1324. It finally proved fatal to him at the Battle of Crécy: he was responsible for the first cavalry charge that ran down numerous Genoese mercenaries.
    • One of the reasons for the outcome of Agincourt were the Leeroy Jenkins antics of the three royal dukes—Jean I of Alençon, Jean I of Bourbon, and Charles of Orléans—who were extremely eager for battle and overruled the caution advised by the nominal commanders, Charles d'Albret and Boucicaut.
    • Thomas, 1st Duke of Clarence at the Battle of Baugé. He ignored the advice of John Holland, Thomas Beaufort, and Gilbert de Umfraville and led a cavalry charge against a Franco-Scottish army, without even bothering to use archers. It ended poorly for him.
  • Lightning Bruiser : Knights, whether on horseback or on foot
  • Long-Runners: Well, duh.
  • The Man Behind the Man:
    • John, 1st Duke of Bedford to Henry VI.
    • Bernard VII d'Armagnac to Charles d'Orléans during the first few waves of the Armagnac-Burgundian Civil War. This was so widely recognized at the time that the Orléans faction instead became known as the Armagnacs.
  • 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).
  • Marry for Love:
    • Two of the children of Edward III both married for love—Edward the Black Prince to his cousin Joan of Kent and Isabella of England to Enguerrand VII de Coucy. Isabella and Enguerrand's marriage later collapsed due to political troubles.
    • Possibly the case for Humphrey, 1st Duke of Gloucester and Jacqueline, countess of Hainaut. At any rate, their marriage certainly wasn't arranged. Like the marriage of Isabella and Enguerrand, it also ended badly.
  • 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.
  • Mind Game Ship: The relationship between Charles II de Navarre and Charles V de France, particularly in the 1350s when Charles V was still only the Dauphin.
  • The Mistress: Most French and English nobles and royals had them, but they generally had no public role and so are thinly documented. There were, however, a few exceptions, such as:
    • Alice Perrers, the mistress of Edward III. She was widely loathed due to her wealth and portrayed as a greedy, scheming Vamp in contrast in the image of Queen Philippa as The High Queen. She was banished and stripped of her property twice, but managed to return both times and regain some of her property.
    • Katherine Swynford, the mistress of John of Gaunt. She was the daughter of a minor Flemish knight who became the governess to John's daughters and his lover following the death of his first wife, Blanche of Lancaster, from plague. They married in 1396 following the death of Gaunt's second wife and their four children were legitimized.
    • Odette de Champdivers, the mistress of Charles VI. It is sometimes said that she was chosen because of her physical resemblance to the Queen, Isabeau of Bavaria, who was terrified of her husband's violent behavior toward her during his periods of madness. Odette returned to Bourgogne after Charles' death, but her fate after 1424 is obscure.
    • Eleanor Cobham, the mistress of Humphrey, 1st Duke of Gloucester. She was originally a lady-in-waiting of Humphrey's first wife, Jacoba van Beieren, and became his mistress following Humphrey's failed attempt to secure Hainaut, Holland, and Zeeland for his wife. Following the annulment of his and Jacoba's marriage by the Pope, Humphrey married Eleanor and left Jacoba to her fate. Eleanor, however, was accused of consulting with astrologers and witches for evil purposes, which Humphrey's political enemies seized on with glee. Found guilty of the charges, Eleanor's marriage to Humphrey was dissolved and she was condemned to spent the rest of her life under house arrest.
    • Agnès Sorel, the chief mistress of Charles VII. She had great influence on him and may have been poisoned by his son, Louis XI.
  • The Mole: William de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk, and Edmund Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, were accused of being this by Richard, 3rd Duke 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 Marguerite d'Anjou was Suffolk's idea, and directly weakened England's position. With all that considered, Parliament, and the English people, though Richard made a very good point.
  • Murder by Inaction: As early as the time of Charles Dickens, popular historians have alleged that Charles VII, who had become King of France thanks to Jeanne d'Arc, didn't lift a finger to save her from the English. After all, according to these historians, Jeanne, as a peasant girl, should have been less than worthless to Charles as soon as he was crowned, even if her death could be used as an excuse to drive the English out of France. The truth of the matter, on the other hand, contrary to popular belief, is a lot more complicated, to say the least, as French historian Pierre Champion will tell us here:
    "Charles VII has often been accused of ingratitude to Jeanne, who had him crowned at Reims. He was certainly mistaken in believing in the sincerity of the Burgundian truce, and in not attempting to take Paris in September, 1429. In brief, Charles VII did not see an immediate advantage in prosecuting energetically the conquest of his kingdom. He did not know how to profit by all the consequences of the national movement that was aroused by Jeanne's advent. Abandoned in this fashion, the Maid could not but run the risks of every captain of the time, without the benefit of the power of being ransomed from implacable enemies.
    But it is not just to pretend that Charles VII did nothing to get her out of the hands of her enemies. In the Morosini correspondence we find, under the date of December 15, 1430, that the news that the Maid had fallen into the hands of the Duke of Burgundy was so widespread that Charles, informed of it, had sent an embassy to Philippe te Bon to say to him that if there was nothing he could offer him to induce him to set her free, then he would exact vengeance for her upon his men that he had captive. Under the date of June 21 , 1431, correspondents of the same banker affirm that "The English wished to burn her (Jeanne) as a heretic, in spite of the Dauphin of France who tried to bring threatening forces against the English." The King felt a "very bitter grief" upon the death of Jeanne, "promising to exact a terrible vengeance upon the English and women of England."
    These last words show sufficiently what was felt and said by the good people of France. We know, too, that during the winter of 1430-1431, La Hire, master of Louviers, made frequent expeditions into the neighborhood of Rouen, and that he worried the English government. In March, 1431, an expedition against Rouen by Dunois was paid for by the King. Another attempt was made against the Chateau d'Eu."
  • My God, What Have I Done?: After the Battle of Crécy, Geoffroy d'Harcourt, one of the principle strategists for the English victory, discovered the body of the body of his brother, Jean IV d'Harcourt, and was overcome with remorse.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast:
    • Bertrand du Guesclin, known as "The Black Dog of Brocéliande." Doubles as "Awesome McCool" Name.
    • Charles II de Navarre, known as the "The Bad", 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.
    • Also the Merciless Parliament (1388) in England.
    • Edward of Woodstock, Prince of Wales, known as "The Black Prince."
      • Although the first recorded use of that appellation is from Grafton's 1569 Chronicle. 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.
    • Étienne de Vignolles, known as "La Hire", which is said to come from English soldiers calling him "la Hire-Dieu" (The Wrath of God).
    • Jean II, duc de Bourbon, known as "The Scourge of the English."
    • Jean V de Bueil, comte de Sancerre, known as "The Plague of the English."
    • Olivier IV de Clisson, known as "The Butcher", because of his take no prisoners approach to warfare.
    • King Pedro de Castilla, known as "The Cruel" and his half-brother and enemy, Enrique de Trastámara, known was "the Fratricidal."
    • The "Hundred Years War" could be considered one itself - of course, they didn't know how long it would last at the time.
  • Non-Action Guy:
    • Charles V of France took part in the Battle of Poitiers, but never participated in a battle afterwards, due to his numerous physical ailments.
    • Philippe the Good, duc de Bourgogne. He spent most of the war in Bourgogne and the Low Countries.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws:
    • The Plantagenets were closely linked to the House of Valois, as Richard II, Henry V and Henry VI all married French princesses. And Edward III was the son of Capetian princess, Isabelle de France, and his wife, Philippa de Hainaut, was a sororal niece of Philippe VI.
    • Charles II de Navarre was married to Jean II's daughter, Jeanne, and a frequent thorn in his father-in-law's side.
    • Averted by Jeanne de Valois, the mother-in-law of Edward III and sister of Philippe VI. At the behest of the Pope, she both begged them for peace and it worked... at least, for a little while.
    • Averted by Johann the Blind of Bohemia and his son, Karel. They were the father and brother of Philippe VI's daughter-in-law, Jitka/Bonne, and his firm allies. Philippe VI's brother-in-law, Eudes IV de Bourgogne, was another aversion.
    • Also averted 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 Jeanne 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: Jeanne 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.
  • Offing the Offspring: Gaston III, comte de Foix stabbed his own son, also named Gaston, to death during an argument.
  • Old Man Marrying a Child: Not considered unusual at the time, and yet...
    • Philippe VI and Blanche of Navarre married when he was 56 and she was 19.
    • Charles II of Navarre and Jeanne of France married when he was 19 and she was 8.
    • Jean, duc de Berry and Jeanne d'Auvergne married when he was 48 and she was 11.
    • Boucicaut the Younger and Antoinette de Turenne married when he was 29 and she was 13.
    • Richard II and Isabelle of France married when he was 23 and she was 7.
    • Henry V and Marguerite d'Anjou married when he was 23 and she was 15.
    • John of Bedford and Jacquetta of Luxembourg married when was 44 and she was 17.
  • One Steve Limit: Thoroughly averted: it seems like almost all the men are named Charles, Edward, Henri/Henry, Jean/John, Louis, Philippe, or Richard and most of the women are named Blanche, Isabella/Isabelle, Jeanne/Joan, or Marguerite/Margaret.
  • 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 Jean 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 Ophelia: Jeanne de Bourbon, the wife of Charles V of France, suffered from what sounds like clinical depression, as did her father and brother. Her son, Charles VI, most likely inherited his mental illness from her.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage:
    • Edward III and Philippa de Hainaut. Their marriage was arranged to solidify an alliance between England and the county of Hainaut, but they became devoted to each other. She served as regent during his absences and they had thirteen children. Edward did not take a mistress until after Philippa was on her deathbed.
    • Charles V and Jeanne de Bourbon, whom he called ma belle lumière et le soleil de mon royaume (my beautiful light and the sun of my kingdom).
    • Charles VI and Isabeau of Bavaria, at least at first. Things changed after Charles started suffering from periodic attacks of madness and would violently attack his wife or be unable to recognize her.
    • John of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Bedford and Anne de Bourgogne. Arranged to solidify the alliance between England and the Burgundians, but was nonetheless happy. Until Anne died of plague.
    • Boucicaut the Younger and Antoinette de Turenne.
  • The Plague: The first part of the Hundred Years' War was interrupted by the Black Death, which spared no one. Edward III's daughter, Joan, and daughter-in-law, Blanche of Lancaster, both died of the plague as did Philippe VI's wife, Jeanne de Bourgogne; brother-in-law, Eudes IV de Bourgogne; and daughter-in-law, Bonne of Bohemia. Other prominent victims were Margaret Wake, 3rd Baroness Wake of Liddell (the mother of Joan of Kent); Foulques de Chanac (the bishop of Paris); John de Ufford (the Lord Chancellor); Thomas de Beauchamp, 11th Earl of Warwick; Jeanne II de Navarre (the mother of Charles the Bad); and Joan of Lancaster.
    • Later outbreaks of plague carried off Thomas de Beauchamp, 11th Earl of Warwick; Isabel of Beaumont; Henry of Grosmont, 1st Duke of Lancaster; Edward of Angoulême (the elder son of the Black Prince and Joan of Kent); Anne of Bohemia (wife of Richard II); and Thomas de Mowbray, 1st Duke of Norfolk.
  • 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 Jeanne d'Arc's companions, proclaimed that Jeanne 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 Jeanne'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.
    • Genoese crossbowmen in the French armies. Being actually part of the regular military of the Republic of Genoa (that would rent out his troops to their allies), they were the one mercenary force that didn't turn into brigands in the peace periods, as they would simply go back home.
  • The Promise: On her deathbed, Valentina Visconti made her three sons and her husband's bastard promise to avenge their father, Louis' assassination by the Burgundians.
  • 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 won 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.
    • Henry V came extremely close to conquering France. His son ended up losing all of it but Calais and then lost England as well when he was overthrown by the House of York.
  • 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.
    • During one of the waves of the Armagnac-Burgundian Civil War, Bernard VII d'Armagnac recruited bands of Gascons, Languedocians, and Provençals to do this to the area around Paris, in hopes that Jean sans-Peur would come to an agreement with him and the other Armagnac lords. It didn't really work.
    • Whenever a stage of the war died down, the Free Companies or Routiers hired by the French and English would, like clockwork, rampage through the French countryside killing, robbing, and raping and it would take years to get rid of them all. In Italy, where they were known as the Condottieri, they did much the same thing. This kind of behavior is a big part of why Niccolo Machiavelli had nothing good to say about mercenaries.
  • 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, Talbot'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, duc d'Orléans. Jean sans Peur, duc de 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, oh no. He had a theologian, Jean Petit, present a case before a Church Committee that the death of the duc d'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, Jean sans Peur would himself be assassinated on his way to discuss peace.
  • Remarried to the Mistress:
    • After the death of his second wife, Constanza de Castilla, John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, married his longtime mistress Katherine Swynford; their bastard children were then legitimised by Act of Parliament and given the surname Beaufort, though excluded from the royal succession.note 
    • After his marriage to Jacqueline de Hainaut was dissolved by the Pope, Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester quickly remarried to his mistress, Eleanor Cobham.
  • 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, Jeanne 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.
    • Jean II the Good was not insane, but did bring France and the Valois to the brink of total defeat through his misrule.
    • Averted by Jean's son Charles the Wise and Charles VI's son ''the Victorious''; and his other grandson, Louis The Great Spider.
  • Runaway Fiancé: In 1346, the cloth weavers of Flanders tried to attempt to force Louis II, comte de Flandre, to marry Isabella of England, the eldest daughter of Edward III. Louis was far from enthusiastic about the idea because his staunchly pro-French father had been killed in the Battle of Crécy by the English. He fled to the court of Philippe VI in Paris around 1347 and quickly married Marguerite de Brabant instead.
  • The Savage South: At the time, Gascony, Languedoc, and Provence were perceived by the English and northern French as violent, lawless places packed with nobles who spoke strange, incomprehensible languages. The exploits of Bernard VII d'Armagnac, Gaston III de Foix, Raymond de Turenne, Jean de Foix-Grailly, and the numerous mercenaries from these regions did nothing to help this perception.
  • The Scapegoat: Isabeau of Bavaria and Valentina Visconti were both blamed for having such extravagant tastes that they singlehandely bankrupted France. They both made easy scapegoats because they were foreigners. While it's true that both of them liked fancy clothes and jewels, the notion that they'd drained the treasury singlehandely is not: near-constant warfare and the Princes of the Blood did a far better job.
  • Self-Made Man:
    • John Chandos was a member of the gentry who gained great fame because of his skill as a military tactician.
    • William and Richard de la Pole were wool merchants who became major moneylenders to Edward III and common fixtures at his court. William's son, Michael de la Pole, was granted the title of Earl of Suffolk in 1385.
    • Bertrand du Guesclin was the son of a minor Breton noble family who rose to become the Constable of France because of his military talents.
    • Jean II le Maingre aka "Marshal Boucicaut" and his brother, Geoffroy aka "Le Petit Boucicaut." Their father was a member of the minor gentry who had became the Marshal of France, but they inherited nothing from him other than his somewhat peculiar byname. The two brothers won renown mostly because of their military talents. Marshal Boucicaut was one of the commanders of the French vanguard at Agincourt, alongside Charles d’Albret. However, despite their experience, the lower social status of Albret and Boucicaut meant that most of the French nobles didn't really care to listen to anything they had to say, much less to follow orders.
    • Jean and Gaspard Bureau were the second and third sons of a merchant who entered the service of Charles VII as artillery experts. The brothers assisted in the recapture of Normandy and Gascony, with Jean even serving as one of the commanders of the English's disastrous defeat at the Battle of Castillon in 1453.
  • 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 in 1347, with the episode of the Six Burghers.
    • Harfleur in 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.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Pierre de Craon, twice over. First he was entrusted with money to help Louis I, duc d'Anjou seize Naples from his cousins, but instead used it all on Hookers and Blow in Venice. Later on, Craon decided that Olivier IV de Clisson was responsible for him getting expelled from court, so he decided to try to assassinate Clisson. The result of that was Charles VI declaring war on Bretagne, going mad on the way, Charles' uncles blaming Clisson for their nephew's madness, Clisson fleeing back to Bretagne and getting into yet another war with Jean IV, duc de Bretagne.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Jeanne d'Arc? Jehanne 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.
  • The Strategist
    • On the French side: Charles V and VII, Bertrand du Guesclin, Étienne 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 Jeanne 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 Jean sans Peur 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.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Bertrand du Guesclin and his first wife, Tiphaine Raguenel.
  • Vengeful Widow: The aforementioned Jeanne de Clisson who turned viciously on Charles de Blois and Philippe VI after Philippe ordered the execution of her husband.
  • Waif Prophet: The astrologer Tiphaine Raguenel who predicted in 1359 that Bertrand du Guesclin would triumph over the English at the Siege of Dinan.
  • 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.
  • Warrior Poet: This was the ideal of the times, so a lot of the nobles fit it. Namely:
    • Charles, duc d'Orléans, who wrote around five hundred poems.
  • Warrior Prince: It was expected during the time that royalty would lead troops into battle, so this was common.
    • Edward III, Philippe VI, Edward the Black Prince, Charles II d'Alençon, and Johann the Blind all fought in the Battle of Crécy.
    • Jean II, Edward the Black Prince, the future Charles V, Louis d'Anjou, Jean de Berry, Phillipe de Bourgogne, and Phillippe d'Orléans all took part in the Battle of Poitiers.
    • John of Gaunt, Edmund of Langley, and Thomas of Woodstock both led raids.
    • Charles d'Orléans fought in the Battle of Agincourt.
  • 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.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Philippe VI of France and Robert III d'Artois. They fell out after Robert was caught trying to forge his father's will and fled to England. Edward III's sheltering of Robert was one of the main causes of the war in the first place.
  • Wicked Stepmother:
    • Averted with Valentina Visconti, the wife of Louis d'Orléans, who raised Jean, 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.
    • Jean 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 Jeanne 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 Jeanne d'Arc.
  • The Woobie: Jeanne d'Arc again.
  • World's Most Beautiful Woman:
    • Blanche de Navarre, sister of Charles the Bad and second wife of Philippe VI, was considered one of the loveliest women of her time.
    • Joan of Kent, the wife of Edward the Black Prince, was considered the most beautiful woman in England.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Charles the Bad of Navarre hired Seguin de Badefol to help him conquer Normandie and Bourgogne. Seguin went AWOL in Bourgogne instead and the conquering attempt fell flat. When Seguin came to Navarre to collect his payment, Charles had him poisoned with figs.
  • You Killed My Father:
    • Louis II, comte de Flandre refused a marriage alliance with Isabella, the daughter of Edward III, for this reason: his father was killed in the Battle of Crécy by the English.
    • Charles d'Orléans, Philippe de Vertus, Jean de Dunois, and Jean d'Angoulême hated Jean the Fearless and the Burgundians for this reason.
    • Later, Jean the Fearless's son, Philippe the Good, chose to back the English for the same reason.
    • Possibly one of the motivations of both Jean II d'Alençon and Charles II d'Albret to fight against the English, as their fathers were both slain during the Battle of Agincourt.

Tropes as portrayed in fiction:

  • Historical Villain Upgrade: The less than pleasant portrayal of Jeanne d'Arc in Shakespeare's Henry VI.
  • Written by the Winners: Inverted. Save for Jeanne 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, Poitiers, and Agincourt 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" has Joan as one of the magical girls. The series proper includes a cameo of Joan when she's about to be burned at the stake, implying that she's one of the girls that Madoka herself spirited away to a sort-of Heaven to save them from becoming Witches.


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


  • Crécy, 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.


  • 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
  • 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.
  • Jeanne la pucelle (1994), a two-part movie directed by Jacques Rivette and starring Sandrine Bonnaire.
  • Joan the Woman (1917), directed by C. B. De Mille.
  • 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.
  • Das Mädchen Johanna (That Girl Joan, 1935), directed by Gustav Ucicky, starring the Austrian actress Angela Sallocker. Notable for being produced by Nazi Germany and including "heavily underlined" political parallels between the June 30 purge and that of Trémoille, and between the Reichstag fire and the execution of Joan in Rouen.
  • 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 Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) by Carl Dreyer: a film centered on Joan's trial and death, with Maria Falconetti as Joan. It's one of the better known works of the silent era of cinema, despite almost being lost after the original negtive's destruction in a fire.


  • 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.
  • In A Dark Wood Wandering by Hella S. Haasse concerns the life of Charles d'Orléans. The Armagnac-Burgundian civil war and Lancastrian phase of the war are written as Grey and Gray Morality.
  • 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.
  • La Pucelle ("The Maid") by Voltaire: An anti-clerical burlesque on Joan of Arc.
  • World Without End is set in the middle of the 14th century and its plot include the war witnessed by English characters.
  • In Die Pilgerin, set in the 1370s, several major characters fight in the war on the side of France and Castile.
  • In the Gothic Horror novel Dove Keeper, one of the main characters is Joan of Arc, and she has been resurrected by her war companion, Gilles de Rais. There are flashbacks of the war.

Live-Action TV


  • Henry V and Henry VI by William Shakespeare: In which the English are the good guys and most 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, or at least the protagonists. 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 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.
  • Il était une fois... dedicates its thirteenth episode to the Hundred Years War, and finishes with the regular characters mourning for the recently executed Joan of Arc.

Alternative Title(s): Hundred Years War


Example of: