Comines, Philippe de

Comines, Philippe de

(fēlēp` də kōmēn`), c.1447–c.1511, French historian, courtier, and diplomat. In 1472 he left the service of Charles the Bold of Burgundy to enter that of Louis XI of France, who rewarded him richly. After Louis's death he plotted against Charles VIII and was banished from court. He later regained favor, accompanied Charles to Italy, and was briefly ambassador to Venice. His Mémoires sur les règnes de Louis XI et de Charles VIII (available in many editions and translations) is a historical and literary work of the highest rank. It contains striking portraits of Charles the Bold, Louis XI, and Charles VIII and is penetrating in its analysis of men, motives, and institutions. His name is also spelled Commines and Commynes.


See his memoirs, ed. by S. Kinser (2 vol., tr. 1968 and 1973).

Comines, Philippe de


(also Commynes). Born in 1447, in Renescure; died Oct. 18, 1511, in Argenton. French statesman and writer.

Comines belonged to a Flemish gentry family. He was in the service of the dukes of Burgundy after 1464, becoming a counselor to Charles the Bold, who entrusted him with important diplomatic negotiations, especially with England and Spain. After betraying Charles the Bold in 1472, he entered the service of Louis XI of France and became his most trusted adviser. After Louis’s death in 1483, he was a member of the regency council during the minority of Charles VIII. In 1489 he was arrested and exiled to his estate for participating in intrigues against the government by the Duke of Orleans (the future Louis XII). In 1491, Comines returned to court as one of Charles VIII’s chief advisers. He was out of favor during the first years of Louis XII’s reign, but in 1505 he once again returned to court and in 1507 accompanied Louis on his campaign against Genoa.

Comines’s Mémoires cover the period 1464–98 and are a very important historical document, especially for the reign of Louis XI. He maintained that France needed strong royal authority and a unified, centralized state. The work offers realistic portrayals of statesmen and a vivid portrait of Louis XI. The Mémoires enjoyed great popularity: first published in 1524, they were reprinted in the original French and in translation more than 120 times.


Mémoires. Paris, 1952.


Roginskaia, A. E. “Filipp de-Komin kak politik i istorik.” Izv. ANSSSR: Seriia istorii i filosofii, 1946, vol. 2, no. 6.
Roginskaia, A. E. “Istoricheskie vzgliady Komina.” In Srednie veka, issue 2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1946.
Vainshtein, O. L. Zapadnoevropeiskaia srednevekovaia istoriografiia. Moscow-Leningrad, 1964. Pages 216–19.
Charlier, G. Commynes. Brussels, 1945.