A QUESTION OF CONTROL: VIOLENCE AND LATE MEDIEVAL SOCIETY DURING THE HUNDRED YEARS WAR
The military communities operating within the scope of the Hundred Years War have received significant attention in recent years. Nevertheless, the study of violence—both state-sanctioned and otherwise—during the late-medieval period is still largely incomplete. Existing studies of statehood and the development of “proto-fiscal military states” during the fourteenth and fifteenth century are often limited, overwhelmingly in their focus upon exclusively royal-seigniorial powers and the economic limitations of European monarchs. Incorporating a wide range of ecclesiastical and common perspectives, alongside traditional examinations of royal centralization, allows one to expand studies of the monopolization of violence beyond royal-seigniorial power and into a broader context. My analyses of attempts to monopolize violence are centered on two facets of authority during the late-medieval period: ecclesiastical authorities and a combination of urban burghers and rural commons, known as popular authorities. I argue that royal-seigniorial power—despite its incredible influence—was not the only impetus for an effective monopolization of violence during the Hundred Years’ War, but rather one part of a complex and often contradicting myriad of competing political, economic, social, and religious motivations, propagated by all aspects of medieval society. Furthermore, I demonstrate how military communities operating independent of royal power—primarily, though not limited to, the routiers—served as a catalyst for extensive societal change and the evolution of professional military service.