Chasing a Sphinx: Charles the Bold's Burgundy

Despite his passion for fame and a formal crown, Charles the Bold's Burgundy was a patchwork of territories and not a modern state. Richard Vaughan investigates.

In the fateful Battle of Poitiers, on September 19th 1356, that worst of medieval French kings, John the Good, was taken prisoner by the English in spite of the alleged presence in the French army of nineteen other people dressed exactly like him. His fourteen-year-old son Philip had stood by him in the battle shouting warnings and encouragement; he accompanied his father to England as 'a prisoner and whiled away the time there playing chess with the Black Prince and practising falconry. His stalwart bearing on the field of Poitiers not only earned for this Philip the sobriquet Bold, it also brought him in 1363 the gift of the duchy of Burgundy from a grateful father.

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