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King Richard Brought to Heel

King Richard the 2nd of England has been parceling out lands and titles to his friends without substantial sacrifice or deeds to justify them and passing over long-time supporters of the crown. The laws concerning treason have been loosened so that simply disagreeing with the king has become dangerous. King Richard has centralized power and has defied Parliament. The Duke of Gloucester now seeks to "instruct the king" and King Richard has asked Robert De Vere and the Earl of Derby to raised a force to "instruct the Duke" at the Radcot Bridge but the Duke overwhelms those forces. The King will face the Merciless Parliament next year where the King's powers will be curtailed. [1] [2] [3]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The King has alienated his most powerful political (and armed) support. It seems foolish in the extreme. He is acting in the old Roman role as tyrant... an absolute ruler... the very antithesis of liberty. His grandfather, King Edward III couldn't pull that one off in his prime and he was a powerful king. Richard is looking a lot more like Edward II who cared very little about a stable government and became an ineffective king, hobbled by the barons who no longer trusted him. It's looking bad for King Richard II for now but he still have some fight in him. [4] [5]

For Glory, Fear or Greed: The Tree of Battles

This book proposes a new ethic for war. "The Tree of Battles" is not chivalry but a set of rules that should be familiar to all since they reflect many of the principles set out in the Bible: don't hurt people who are not direct participants in war, pay ransoms for those under your protection, pay knights when sick or on leave, and other common sense rules. The book is also a criticism of king and clergy... pointing out that the main reason for war in the Middle Ages is to win glory, fear of one's enemies or simple greed. Honoré Bonet is the Benedictine Prior of Salon and he believes that war-making needs limits. The King of France honors this work as do many of the nobles but they do nothing to implement its suggestions. [6]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
You are seeing the development of a disdain for the aristocracy that will survive into the modern day. The decisions of the aristocracy and clergy were accepted because they were God's representatives on Earth, but with the Black Death, war taxes and plundering everyone is having doubts, though to be clear... it's not going to stop them.

Additional History: A tailor's drunken lament stated clearly what the average people felt at the time:

"We have no King but God. Do you think they got honestly what they have? They tax me and re-tax me and it hurts them that they can't have everything we own. Why should they take from me what I earn with my needle? I would rather the King and all kings were dead than that my son should be hurt in his little finger." [7]

The tailor was thrown in prison but later pardoned by the Governor of Orléans. [8]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1387, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Jones, Dan. The Plantagenets: the Kings who made England. Harper Press. 2012. (BOOK)
  2. Battle of Radcot Bridge - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  3. Alex Shrugged notes that he is writing from memory of his reading of "The Plantagenets" the Kings who made England" by Dan Jones.
  4. Richard II of England - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  5. Tyrant - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  6. Tuchman, Barbara Wertheim. (Barbara Tuchman, bio). A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century. Ballantine, 1979. pp. 412-415. (BOOK) quote="The cost of war was the poison running through the 14th century."
  7. Tuchman, Barbara Wertheim. (Barbara Tuchman, bio). A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century. Ballantine, 1979. pp. 413. (BOOK) note: The tailor's name was Guillaume le Jupponnier.
  8. Douët-d'Arcq, Louis. Choix de pièces inédites relatives au règne de Charles VI. Paris, Mme. ve. J. Renouard. 1863. (BOOK IN FRENCH) note: I include this as a cross reference to the Barbara Tuchman quote of the tailor.

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