The Chronicles of Jean Froissart

The Chronicles of Jean Froissart
The Chronicles of Jean Froissart

One of the best documents to learn about the Hundred Years' War are the Chronicles written by the clergyman Jean Froissart. A text he composed very shortly after theBattle of Creçyin the middle of the 14th century. Although the illustrations that we are going to talk about today were made for this book more or less a century later, between the years 1450 and 1475, and are the work of the miniaturist Loyset Liedet.


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These drawings by Liedet can be seen today thanks to the fact that they are preserved in the National Library of France, in Paris. And the truth is that they are quite faithful to Froissart's text, which in turn is supposed to be quite faithful to what really should have happened, since it was not only based on documents of the time, but also took into account the accounts of combatants and witnesses of these clashes. And we can even say that he took into account the points of view of the opposing sides, since Froissart worked both for the British court and for one of the closest allies of the French, the Duchy of Luxembourg.

Thanks to this closeness to the facts, the text gives Liedet all the keys to correctly draw both the weapons, the clothes and the tactics of that time. For example, we see that the English usually carry a very long bow, their favorite because it was more manageable and lighter, although less deadly than the crossbow, for which the French troops had a greater predilection, in which it is known that a group of mercenary crossbowmen originally from Genoa participated.

Even the specialists think that the defeat in the battle of Cerçy by France could be due to an abuse of this weapon, which was very heavy and for each shot it needed of quite a lot of preparation time, something that did not exist when the fight was almost melee.

On the other hand, thanks to the continuous arrows of the archers of England the cavalry was prevented from arriving. A military body that for Froissart was the most important, but that somehow he himself realized that those chivalric ideals of past times were being abandoned with the new forms of warfare.

All of this is what the text tells us about and it is what the illustration by Liedet has magnificently managed to represent with outstanding quality. For all these reasons, this set of the Chronicles of Froissart with their respective miniatures is a document tremendously valued by historians, regardless of its artistic quality. What also has it!

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