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The status of prisoners of war was firmly rooted in the practice of ransoming in the Middle Ages. By the opening stages of the Hundred Years War, ransoming had become widespread among the knightly community, and the crown had already begun to exercise tighter control over the practice of war. This led to tensions between public and private interests over ransoms and prisoners of war. Historians have long emphasised the significance of the French and English crowns' interference in the issue of prisoners of war, but this original and stimulating study questions whether they have been too influenced by the state-centred nature of most surviving sources. Based on extensive archival research, this book tests customs, laws and theory against the individual experiences of captors and prisoners during the Hundred Years War, to evoke their world in all its complexity.Read more
- Develops an Anglo-French perspective on the subject, introducing English-speaking readers to French sources and literature
- Tests laws, concepts and theories against individual examples and experiences, uncovering previously unknown cases
- Reveals how ransoming developed as a private arrangement between individuals and how procedures evolved for managing these relationships
Reviews & endorsements
"This book offers an important and sustained analysis of the culture of ransoming in England and France during the Hundred Years War. Building upon an unrivalled knowledge of the archival sources, Ambühl highlights the practical circumstances that shaped the development of practices of ransoming amongst the soldiers themselves. This is an essential corrective to modern romantic assumptions that interpret ransoming through the lens of chivalric literature or the writings of royal lawyers and propagandists."
Craig Taylor, University of YorkSee more reviews
"[Ambyhl] studies the customs and practices surrounding the capture and ransom of prisoners of war during the Hundred Years’ War, particularly in the 1370s and the 1420s to 1440s. … Detailed archival work in France and England undergirds this study. … For the most part, experience must be extrapolated from what the actors did, what the sources tell us most about is what they did with money. The book is thus at its strongest in dealing with financial questions, and the chapters on the setting and payment of the ransom itself are its most important contribution. The author gestures throughout, however, at a wide range of debates about war and society in the later Middle Ages, and thus the book merits a broad readership."
Adam J. Kosto, Renaissance Quarterly
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- Date Published: October 2015
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9781107529304
- length: 316 pages
- dimensions: 229 x 152 x 17 mm
- weight: 0.42kg
- contains: 1 b/w illus.
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
1. Law, ransom and the status of the prisoner of war
2. Princes, masters and prisoners
3. Status and politics in Lancastrian Normandy
4. The process of ransoming (I) from capture to captivity
5. The practice of ransoming (II) the price of freedom
6. Merchants, banking and trade
7. Assistance to prisoners I: vassals and subjects - the end of customary aids?
8. Assistant to prisoners II: kings and princes - first or last resort?
9. Assistance to prisoners III: the social circle of the prisoner
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