Thursday, April 30, 2009

Question from Analisa - Help pick a battle for a project


For my final we have to write a report and do a poster on a famous battle, in any period of our choosing. (For those who are curious, I am in a military history class) I, of course, chose the Tudors :)

But what battle should I do? Of course there is the War of the Roses and the Battle of Flodden Field, but are there any more suggestions out there.

Oh, and to note, it doesn't have to take place in England. If there are any neat battles fought by Charles V or Francis I for example, please let me know!

Thank you so much for your help,
Analisa



8 Comments:

Anonymous Analisa said...

Just wanted to give a quick thanks to Lara for posting this question so quickly :)

April 30, 2009 8:10 PM  
Anonymous Kathy said...

Well, the most definitive Tudor battle by far was Bosworth. That put the Tudors on the throne in to begin with, so it was crucial in English history. And because Henry VII won and married Elizabeth of York, it ended the War of the Roses.

If you would like a good English rout, I'd pick the Battle of the Spurs (1513). There are really a lot of good battles to chose from.

April 30, 2009 8:14 PM  
Anonymous PhD Historian said...

Does it have to be a land battle? Can it be a sea battle instead? Perhaps the Spanish Armada? There lots of great material available on that, including guess-timations of the movements and encounters of ships at sea.

Or you could chose Sir Francis Drake's Battle of Cadiz in the year before the Armada.

Or if you need or want to stick with land battles, how about the various seiges of French cities during Henry VIII's wars in France? The Siege of Tournai in 1513, The Seige of Therouanne and the Battle of the Spurs in 1513, the Siege of Boulogne in 1544, and others.

Those are just the ones that pop immediately to mind.

April 30, 2009 8:30 PM  
Blogger Foose said...

It doesn't involve Tudors directly, but I'd recommend Pavia, 1525. Not only did the Emperor's soldiers wipe out the French army, they permanently ended French aspirations to rule Italy and captured the French king, Francois I -- a feat comparable to the English capturing King John of France a couple of centuries previous. The great struggle over Milan that had dominated the early part of the century was over and the city, the key to controlling northern invasion of the peninsula, would remain under Spanish rule.

Plus, Pavia had dramatic implications for the Tudor dynasty. Henry had just decided to drop the Imperial alliance (he was affronted by the Emperor's repudiation of his daughter Mary, and already possibly considering annulling his marriage to Catherine) and join ranks with the French when news of Pavia came like a bombshell. Quickly attempting to re-embrace the Imperial alliance, Henry found out that Charles V was completely uninterested in letting him pursue his ancestral claim to France.

Pavia consolidated the Emperor's grip on Italy to such an extent that the Imperials were able to sack Rome two years later. The end result was that Charles V had his boot on the throat of the Pope, who was therefore never able to feel safe enough to annul Henry's marriage.

On the other hand, the "White Rose" -- Edmund de la Pole, the last real Yorkist threat -- was killed fighting on the French side during the battle, so it wasn't a complete dead loss for Henry.

Plus Pavia produced many wonderful historical vignettes:

-The incredible overconfidence of the French, which led to the destruction not only of the army but of Francois' reputation as a commander and the death of his best friend, Lautrec, and the famous chevalier Bayard.

-The grim situation within the besieged city of Pavia, where the Spanish general Antonio da Leyva quelled mutiny among his mercenaries by quickly poisoning their commander, robbing the city's churches of plate and paying the troops with the melted-down proceeds.

-The heroic efforts of the French king's mother, Madame Louise, when she received his message after his surrender -- "All is lost save honor" -- who rallied a stunned nation, rounded up the necessary ransom, negotiated up a whirlwind with Charles' aunt, Margaret of Austria, and was finally able to retrieve her son from captivity. With Francois imprisoned in Spain and the Emperor preoccupied by his responsibilities and delegating peacemaking authority to his aunt, Pavia resulted in key European issues being resolved by women -- the "Paix aux Dames" of 1529.

-The touching journey of Francois' devoted sister Marguerite to Spain, where she tended her brother during his prolonged illness and did her best to allure the generally impervious emperor so that he might soften his demands for ransom and Burgundy.

-The drama and pathos of two French princes, mere boys, winding up as hostages in Spain for several years in exchange for their father -- and when he repudiated his deal with the Emperor, they apparently were made to suffer for it. One of those boys, Henri II of France, grew up with an intense hatred of Spain, which had ramifications during his reign as he renewed the Valois struggle against Hapsburg.

It's also interesting from a military viewpoint, as both armies made use of the latest military technology but at the same time stayed fixated on medieval ideals of chivalry.

The French novelist Jean Giono wrote a nonfiction account of Pavia that's available in English but difficult to find. There are a couple of recent books available on Amazon; just type in "Pavia" into the book search. Any book on Renaissance warfare will feature Pavia, as will biographies of Charles V and Francois I.

April 30, 2009 11:37 PM  
Anonymous Tracey said...

This isn't to give you some idea about which battle to chose as you've already been given several great ones.

This is to ask if you know how many other people in your class chose the Tudor period. If others did, as a former teacher I'd say try to find a battle that isn't over-the-top famous, like the Armada. I could just about guarantee that most students will cover a 'biggee', and originality goes a long way.

Have fun with the project :)

May 01, 2009 4:46 AM  
Anonymous Analisa said...

Thank you for all the comments! This certainly helped me narrow down my choices!

And to Kathy, I doubt anybody in my class, besides my teacher, even knows who the Tudors are lol

May 01, 2009 5:34 PM  
Anonymous Kathy said...

Analisa, that's kind of sad. I hope you use this opportunity to teach them who the Tudors are!

May 01, 2009 9:24 PM  
Blogger Foose said...

More clarification on my post -- it was Bonnivet, Francois I's other best friend (the one who tried to sexually assault his sister, but this is the Renaissance and it's all in good fun, you know), who was killed at Pavia; Lautrec lasted until 1528, when he died of plague during an ill-fated expedition to conquer Naples.

Also, Bayard, peerless paladin of the late Middle Ages, actually died six months beforehand, in September 1524, in one of the battles leading up to the confrontation at Pavia. He got in a good snurly final confrontation with the traitorous Constable de Bourbon, however, who came up to condole with the chevalier sans peur et sans reproche as he lay dying under a tree: "Weep not for me, but for thyself. I die as I have lived, an honest man, and faithful to my sovereign. But I pity you you whom I behold in arms against your prince, your country, and your oath." [Various versions of this speech are recorded.] Kings loved this kind of stuff.

Still, I highly recommend Pavia. It's full of color and great personalities and magnificent gestures.

May 02, 2009 1:19 AM  

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