Burgundians

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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'Orléans, brother of the recurrently insane King Charles VI, and his cousin John the Fearless, duke of Burgundy, led to Louis's murder in 1407. In the conflicts that followed, the partisans of Charles d'Orléans, son of Louis, were led by Charles's father-in-law, Bernard VII, 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 Cabochiens, 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 War. 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 Good of Burgundy, immediately concluded a treaty with the English (see Troyes, Treaty of), 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.

Bibliography

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

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Burgundians

 

an east Germanic tribe. The Burgundians, who are assumed to have lived originally on Bornholm Island, moved to the Continent in the first centuries A.D. In 406 they founded a kingdom on the Rhine with Worms as its center. (The kingdom was destroyed by the Huns in 436.) In 443 the Burgundians were settled, with the status of Roman colonists, on the territory of Savoy. In 457, taking advantage of the weakening of the empire, they occupied the Rhône River basin, where they founded a new kingdom with Lyon as its center; this was one of the first so-called barbarian kingdoms on the territory of the western Roman Empire, which was disintegrating at that time. The Burgundians who settled among the Gallo-Romans witnessed a rapid disintegration of clan relations and the beginning of the development of feudal relations through a synthesis of the institutions of the Gallo-Roman (slaveholding) and so-called barbarian societies (with late Roman elements predominating). The process of feudalization among the Burgundians was largely promoted by the seizure and division of the Gallo-Roman lands, which was carried out on a particularly large scale in the late fifth and early sixth centuries under King Gundobad. A later source for the study of the Burgundian social system in the sixth century is the so-called Burgundian law (lex Burgundionum).

The Burgundians adopted Catholicism in the early sixth century; before that they had been Arians. In 534 the Burgundian kingdom was definitively incorporated into the Frankish state. Subsequently the Burgundians became part of the developing southern French nationality.

REFERENCES

Gratsianskii, N. P. “O razdelakh zemel’ u burgundov i vestgotov.” In Iz sotsial’no-ekonomicheskoi istorii zapadnoevropeiskogo srednevekov’ia. Moscow, 1960.
Serovaiskii, la. D. “Izmenenie agrarnogo stroia na territorii Burgundii v V v.” In Srednie veka, part 14. Moscow, 1959.

IA. D. SEROVAISKII

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.