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Froissart: Reporter Of The Middle Ages

1354 words - 5 pages

Froissart: Reporter of the Middle AgesThe Chronicles written by Jean Froissart is a first hand account of life and society in the middle ages. In The Chronicles, Froissart documents many historical events from about 1322-1400. Two events reported in The Chronicles are the causes of the Hundred Years War and the Jacquerie Revolt. Many historians agree that Froissart's reporting of the Hundred Years War is accurate, but that his reporting of the Jacquerie Revolt is not because it does not address all of the issues, such as the brutality of the nobility against the peasants. Froissart was not able to report impartially about both events due to the ingrained social bias that resulted from his upbringing and status, and from his sources of information, some of which were unreliable and biased.Jean Froissart had a social bias in favor of the nobility due to his background. He was born about 1337 and, although his family was not noble, it was believed that Froissart's family had ties to the court of the Count of Hainault (Wages 169-170). Froissart received a clerical education and then entered the service of Margaret of Hainault sometime between 1350-1356 (Frail 760-765). After her death he went on to serve as secretary to the daughter of the Count of Hainault, Queen Philippa. This is important because it shows that even though Froissart was not an actual member of the nobility he was raised in and around it, and most likely related more with the nobles than the peasants. An example of his bias against the peasants is that Froissart refers to the peasants in the Chronicles as "small people," (Froissart 216, 222) reflecting his opinion of their low value. This bias affected Froissart's ability to report impartially on events between the nobility and peasants, especially when relying on information from other sources.Froissart's ties to the noble class would also expose him to a military based class. At this time the nobility, especially in France, still served as soldiers for the king. Although the idea of vassalage was changing, it was still the responsibility of the nobles to have a force of knights and foot soldiers. This meant that Froissart was quite possibly exposed to war tactics. Furthermore, it gave him the chance to actually be where events happened, and allowed him access to knights, soldiers, and nobles who fought in the battles he reported. This accessibility allowed him to report fairly accurately the military events he experienced first-hand.Froissart starts the Chronicles with the events that precede the Hundred Years War including the over-throw of King Edward II and the crowning of King Edward III. Edward III believed he had a better claim to the French throne than King Philip because he was a direct descendant of King Charles through his mother. Yet Edward had to travel to France twice to pay homage to Philip for his French dukedoms of Gascony and Aquitaine. Froissart reports that having to pay homage to the King of France created...

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