George Chastelain and the Shaping of Valois Burgundy

George Chastelain and the Shaping of Valois Burgundy

Political and Historical Culture at Court in the Fifteenth Century

Graeme Small

Chastelain's chronicle and career supply the context for a reappraisal of the political aspirations of Philip the Good and Charles the Bold, 15c dukes of Burgundy.
Few texts offer as many insights into the history of Valois Burgundy as the work of George Chastelain (c.1414-1475), official chronicler to the dukes Philip the Good and Charles the Bold. Chastelain, a trusted courtier, closely observed his masters' authority in the many dominions they ruled in the Low Countries and France, and the role they played in the political life of neighbouring kingdoms and principalities and in Christendom as a whole. This is the first historical study of Chastelain in over half a century. An account of his life and career is followed by a study of the chronicle, Chastelain's interpretation within it of ducal actions and aspirations, and the role it played in the historical culture of the governing classes in the Netherlands after the death of the last duke in 1477. Overall, Dr Small offers a complete reappraisal of the political ambitions of the ducal elite, particularly with regard to the supposed evolution of the ducal dominions into a `Burgundian state' quite distinct from the Kingdom of France.

Dr GRAEME SMALL is lecturer in medieval history, University of Glasgow.

An e-book version of this title is available (9780585210698), to libraries through a number of trusted suppliers. See here for a full list of our partners.


A solid, thorough...scholarly work, firmly rooted in the manuscripts and in Chastellain's chosen genre... The last work, at least for a while, on Chastelain. SPECULUM Small shows himself as fine a master of codicology as of prosopography and the operation of patronage networks... dense, rewarding, and often fascinating reading. The importance of the book derives from the subtlety, novelty, and sustained vigour of its quest to site accurately Chastelain and his chronicle in their contemporary cultural perspective, and from the light thus thrown on the issue of the evolution of a `Burgundian state'... Emphatically, an important and original study. MEDIUM AEVUM [M H Keen] This important book significantly revises our understanding of George Chastelain's career and achievement... A work of careful, exact research that must be read by all students of late medieval state formation and historical writing in the Burgundian domains and France. AMERICAN HISTORICAL REVIEW Unquestionably warrants inclusion in all serious libraries. EUROPEAN STUDIES JOURNAL

Also by Author

Also in Series