Armagnacs and Burgundians

Armagnacs and Burgundians,

opposing factions that fought to control France in the early 15th cent. The rivalry for power between Louis d'OrléansOrléans, Louis, duc d'
, 1372–1407, brother of King Charles VI of France, whose chief counselor he was from 1388 to 1392. After 1392, when Charles VI suffered his first attack of insanity, Louis became involved in a long struggle for control with his uncle, Philip
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, brother of the recurrently insane King Charles VI, and his cousin John the FearlessJohn the Fearless,
1371–1419, duke of Burgundy (1404–19); son of Philip the Bold. He fought against the Turks at Nikopol in 1396 and was a prisoner for a year until he was ransomed.
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, duke of Burgundy, led to Louis's murder in 1407. In the conflicts that followed, the partisans of Charles d'OrléansOrléans, Charles, duc d'
, 1391–1465, French prince and poet; nephew of King Charles VI. After the assassination of his father, Louis d'Orléans, he became (1407) titular head of the Armagnacs (see Armagnacs and Burgundians).
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, son of Louis, were led by Charles's father-in-law, Bernard VIIBernard VII
, d. 1418, count of Armagnac, constable of France. As father-in-law of Charles d'Orléans he led the Armagnac faction (see Armagnacs and Burgundians) and from 1415 to 1418 was virtual ruler of France.
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, count of Armagnac, after whom they were named. The followers of the duke of Burgundy, or Burgundians, were allied with members of the lower classes, notably the CabochiensCabochiens
, popular faction in Paris in the early 15th cent. Composed largely of small tradespeople and members of the butchers' and skinners' guilds, it was named after one of the leaders, Simon Lecoustellier, called Caboche, a skinner.
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, who were particularly strong in Paris. Open civil war between the two groups broke out in 1411. John the Fearless at first held control of the government, but in 1413 the Cabochiens were ousted by another Parisian faction and John was forced to flee the city. The Armagnacs came into power and conducted the defense of France against King Henry V of England, who invaded the kingdom in 1415. John gave tacit approval to the invasion. The conflict between Armagnacs and Burgundians thus became part of the Hundred Years WarHundred Years War,
1337–1453, conflict between England and France. Causes

Its basic cause was a dynastic quarrel that originated when the conquest of England by William of Normandy created a state lying on both sides of the English Channel. In the 14th cent.
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. John took advantage of French defeats to return to Paris and seize the king (1418); in the ensuing massacre of the Armagnacs, Bernard VII and numerous followers were killed. Subsequently John attempted to negotiate with Charles VI's son, the young dauphin (later King Charles VII). During the negotiations John was assassinated (1419). His son and successor, Philip the GoodPhilip the Good,
1396–1467, duke of Burgundy (1419–67); son of Duke John the Fearless. After his father was murdered (1419) at a meeting with the dauphin (later King Charles VII of France), Philip formed an alliance with King Henry V of England.
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 of Burgundy, immediately concluded a treaty with the English (see Troyes, Treaty ofTroyes, Treaty of,
1420, agreement between Henry V of England, Charles VI of France, and Philip the Good of Burgundy. Its purpose, ultimately unsuccessful, was to settle the issues of the Hundred Years War.
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), by which he recognized the succession to the French throne of Henry V. This alliance remained in force until 1435 when Philip signed the Treaty of Arras with Charles VII. Although the terms Armagnacs and Burgundians ceased to have their original meanings, the struggle between the French crown and Burgundy continued until the death (1477) of Charles the Bold of Burgundy.


See study by C. A. Armstrong (1983).

Armagnacs and Burgundians


two parties of great feudal lords in France in the first half of the 15th century who competed in a struggle for power during the reign of the mad King Charles VI (1380–1422). The Armagnacs were allies of the house of Orléans (their real leader was Bernard VII, count of Armagnac; hence the name). The Burgundians were the dukes of Burgundy (John the Fearless; Philip III the Good) and their allies. After the murder of Duke Louis of Orléans by John the Fearless in 1407, the Burgundians took control of the government but the Armagnacs broke into Paris with armed detachments in 1413, seized power, and held it until 1419. John the Fearless tried to use the Cabochien movement in the struggle with the Armagnacs but betrayed it at a decisive moment. This bloody feudal civil strife played into the hands of the English, who resumed military activity. After the Battle of Agjncourt (1415) and the Treaty of Troyes (1420), the English concluded an alliance with the Burgundians. This enabled the Armagnacs to pose as defenders of national interests. The Treaty of Arras (1435) put an end to the struggle between the Armagnacs and the Burgundians.


Avout, J. d’. La querelle des Armagnacs et des Bourguignons. Paris, 1943.