The Warrior King and the Invasion of France: Henry V, Agincourt, and the Campaign that Shaped Medieval England
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Presenting a radical new look at Henry V―as a brilliant and brutal warmonger―this dynamic historical narrative will change our modern attitudes toward this warrior king.
In the course of the Hundred Years War, Henry V was the English figure most responsible for the mutual antipathy that existed between France and England. His art of attacking an opponent by making total war on civilians, as well as soldiers, created tremendous distrust and enmity between the two countries, which survives even to this day. He was a man of many contradictions, a perverse mix of rigorous orthodoxy―exemplified by his fanatical and intolerant religion―and of neurotic insecurity, stemming in part from the dubious nature of his claim to the English throne.
Henry V owed his popularity at home to victories against the French that gratified an emerging English nationalism. A tremendously ardent military strategist who experimented with ballistics and built the first English navy, at the time of his early death at the age of thirty-six he controlled one-third of modern-day France.
Utilizing new discoveries from local French historical societies, Desmond Seward draws a portrait of Henry V that shows him as a brilliant military strategist, ambitious conqueror, and, at least briefly, triumphant warrior king.
16 pages of color and B&W photographs
received at Paris by Charles VI, who presented them with a golden helmet – worn only by sovereigns – for his ‘brother’. Next month the Welsh and the French signed a treaty of alliance against ‘Henry of Lancaster’. Prince Henry was given the Duke of York (Rutland) as his lieutenant in South Wales and the Earl of Arundel as his lieutenant in the north. His Welsh foes were heroic but scarcely formidable; although their great gentlemen went armed like English men-at-arms, most were bowmen or
whom the Order was still at war. The man whom Henry used most for diplomatic missions was Sir John Tiptoft, the former speaker and treasurer. He played an invaluable part in the negotiations to isolate France before the campaign of 1417, visiting the emperor and many German princes, the Kings of Aragon and Castile, and the republic of Genoa. He was among the commissioners who tried to manoeuvre the French into accepting Henry’s terms in 1419. During all this time he was also Seneschal of
When English ladies tried to undress her, she ordered ‘the accursed English’ to leave her – ‘I have plenty of folk from my own country to serve me.’ Yet when it came to midnight she was still awake and yielded to her husband. The seal of Queen Catherine Retourne-toi, embrasse-moi, Mon cher Anglois! Puisque Dieu nous a assemblés, Faut nous aimer.1 Perhaps the Manage anglois really does convey what Catherine of Valois felt about Henry. It certainly provides a clue to how some Frenchmen
was simply that he was determined to find the resources to pay for his conquest of France – resources which only existed in his imagination.9 His desperation at this date is understandable. Parliament had refused to grant more money at a moment when still more bad news was coming out of France. Dauphinist morale had soared after Baugé while that of the English sank correspondingly. The latter no longer seemed invincible, as they had ever since 1415, a consideration of vital importance for scanty
we know that in Normandy, for example, the population had fallen by a half after eight years of English occupation, partly because of famine but principally because of emigration by all classes – whether dispossessed seigneurs, ruined bourgeois, starving peasants or despairing beggars. Admittedly the misery from which they fled was partly due to dauphinist raiders and brigands but neither would have come but for Henry’s invasion. Most of the Normans, Picards and Champenois who emigrated did so