Bertrand du Guesclin: Careerist in Arms?
Kenneth Fowler examines the motives and connections of an upwardly-mobile 'bon Breton' in the Hundred Years War.
Like the reputation of Napoleon, that of the constable of France, le bon Breton, Bertrand du Guesclin, subsists despite his evident defeats at the hands of the enemy and several episodes in his long career as a soldier which cast their shadow over his motives and his actions. Eulogised for his patriotism by nineteenth- and early twentieth-century historians, he had already become a legend within his own lifetime (c. 1320-80), and in the decades immediately following his death his fame was widespread. Who was the person behind this enigma? What were his springs of action? Can he in any sense be described as a patriot, and if so a patriot for whom?
This article is available to History Today online subscribers only. If you are a subscriber, please log in.
Please choose one of these options to access this article:
- Purchase an online subscription
- Purchase a print and online subscription
- If you are already a print subscriber, purchase the online archive upgrade
Call our Subscriptions department on +44 (0)20 3219 7813 for more information.
If you are logged in but still cannot access the article, please contact us
- Middle East
- North America
- South America
- Central America
- Early Modern
- 20th Century
- 21st Century
- Economic History
- Environmental History
- Historical Memory
- Science & Technology