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Before the death of his father in , he bore the title of Count of Charolais ; afterwards, he assumed all of his father's titles, including that of "Grand Duke of the West". Charles was brought up under the direction of Jean d'Auxy [2] and early showed great application alike to academic studies and warlike exercises. His father's court was the most extravagant in Europe at the time, and a centre for the arts and commerce.


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While he was growing up, Charles witnessed his father's efforts to unite his far-flung and ethnically diverse dominions into a single state, and his own later efforts centered on continuing and securing his father's successes in this endeavor. She was five years older than her husband, and she died in at the age of They had no children. In , at the age of 21, Charles married a second time.

His father chose Isabella of Bourbon , who was three years younger than he was. Isabella died in Charles was on friendly terms with his brother-in-law Louis, the Dauphin of France, who had been a refugee at the court of Burgundy from until he succeeded his father as king of France in But Louis began to pursue some of the same policies as his father, for example Louis's later repurchase of the towns on the Somme River that Louis's father had ceded in to Charles's father in the Treaty of Arras, which Charles viewed with chagrin.

When his father's failing health enabled him to assume the reins of government which Philip relinquished to him by an act of 12 April , he initiated a policy of hostility toward Louis XI that led to the Burgundian Wars , and he became one of the principal leaders of the League of the Public Weal , an alliance of west European nobles opposed to policies of Louis XI that sought to centralize the royal authority within France.

The wife he ultimately chose, however, was his second cousin Margaret of York who was also a great-grandchild of John of Gaunt. Upon the death of his father in , Charles was no longer bound by the terms of the Treaty of Arras, and he decided to ally himself with Burgundy's old ally England. Louis did his best to prevent or delay the marriage with Margaret he even sent French ships to waylay her as she sailed to Sluys , but in the summer of , it was celebrated sumptuously at Bruges , and Charles was made a Knight of the Garter. The couple had no children, but Margaret devoted herself to her stepdaughter Mary.

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After Mary's death many years later, she kept Mary's two infant children as long as she was allowed. On 12 April , Philip relinquished control of the government of his domains to Charles, who spent the next summer prosecuting the War of the Public Weal against Louis XI. During the negotiations for the treaty, his wife Isabella died suddenly at Les Quesnoy on 25 September, making a political marriage suddenly possible. As part of the treaty, Louis promised him the hand of his infant daughter Anne , with the territories of Champagne and Ponthieu as a dowry , but no marriage ever took place.

In the meanwhile, Charles obtained the surrender of Ponthieu. On 25 August , Charles marched into Dinant, determined to avenge this slur on the honour of his mother, and sacked the city, killing every man, woman and child within. After deliberating for four days on the best way to deal with his adversary, who had foolishly placed himself at his mercy, Charles decided to respect the promise he had given to guarantee Louis's safety and to negotiate with him. The town was captured and many inhabitants were massacred. Louis chose not to intervene on behalf of his former allies.

The duke retaliated by invading France with a large army; he took possession of Nesle and massacred its inhabitants. He failed, however, in an attack on Beauvais and had to content himself with laying waste to the countryside as far as Rouen. He eventually withdrew without attaining any useful result. Charles pursued domestic policies that assisted the growth of his military establishment. To this end, he relinquished at least some of the extravagance that had characterized the court of Burgundy under his father, if not the magnificence of ceremonial events.

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Since the beginning of his reign, he employed himself in reorganizing his army and the administration of his territories. While retaining the principles of feudal recruiting , he endeavored to establish a system of rigid discipline among his troops that was strengthened by the employment of foreign mercenaries, particularly Englishmen and Italians , and the augmentation of his artillery. The economic power that Charles inherited from Philip would lead to an independent judicial system, a sophisticated administration, and the establishment of local estates.

Charles constantly sought to expand the territories under his control. In , Archduke Sigismund of Austria sold him the County of Ferrette , the Landgraviate of Alsace , and some other towns, reserving to himself the right to repurchase.

Charles the Bold

In —, Charles bought the reversion of the Duchy of Guelders i. Not content with being "the Grand Duke of the West," he conceived the project of forming a kingdom of Burgundy or Arles with himself as independent sovereign and even persuaded the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III to assent to crown him a king at Trier. The ceremony, however, did not take place owing to the emperor's precipitate flight by night in September , which was occasioned by his displeasure at the duke's ambitions.

At the close of , the duchy of Burgundy was anchored in France and extended to the edges of the Netherlands. This made Charles the Bold one of the wealthiest and most powerful nobles in Europe. Indeed, his landholdings and revenue base rivalled those of many of the royal families. In the year , Charles began to involve himself in the series of political struggles that would ultimately bring about his downfall. He first came into conflict with the Archduke Sigismund of Austria , to whom he refused to restore his possessions in Alsace for the stipulated sum. Then, he quarreled with the Swiss , who supported the free towns in the Upper Rhine in their revolt against the tyranny of the ducal governor Peter von Hagenbach who was condemned by a special international tribunal and executed on 9 May All of these enemies readily joined forces against their common adversary Charles.

Charles suffered a first rebuff in endeavouring to protect his kinsman Ruprecht of the Palatinate , Archbishop of Cologne , against his rebel subjects. He spent ten months July — June besieging the little town of Neuss on the Rhine the Siege of Neuss , but was compelled by the approach of a powerful imperial army to raise the siege.

He was more successful in Lorraine, where he seized Nancy on 30 November From Nancy he marched against the Swiss. He saw fit to hang or drown the garrison of Grandson in spite of its capitulation. Grandson was a possession of Jacques of Savoy, Count of Romont , a close ally of Charles, that had been captured recently by the forces of the Swiss Confederacy. Some days later, on 2 March , Charles was attacked outside the village of Concise by the confederate army in the Battle of Grandson and suffered a shameful defeat; he was compelled to flee with a handful of attendants and abandon his artillery along with an immense booty including his silver bath.

Charles succeeded in raising a fresh army of 30, men that he used to fight the Morat on 22 June He was again defeated by the Swiss army, which was assisted by the cavalry of the Duke of Lorraine. On this occasion, unlike the debacle at Grandson, little booty was lost, but Charles did lose about one third of his entire army.

The defeated soldiers were pushed into the nearby lake, where they were drowned or shot at while trying to swim to safety on the opposite shore.

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Making a last effort, Charles formed a new army and arrived in the dead of winter before the walls of Nancy. Having lost many of his troops through the severe cold, it was with only a few thousand men that he met the joint forces of the Lorrainers and the Swiss, who had come to the relief of the town, at the Battle of Nancy 5 January He himself perished in the fight, his naked and disfigured body being discovered some days afterward frozen in the nearby river. Charles' head had been cleft in two by a halberd , lances were lodged in his stomach and loins, and his face had been so badly mutilated by wild animals that only his physician was able to identify him by his long fingernails and the old battle scars on his body.

She died at The marriage was a happy one and produced his only offspring, Mary of Burgundy 13 February The marriage was solemnized at Damme , near Bruges , by the bishop of Salisbury. Burgundian chroniclers described the personality of the duke as austere, virtuous but without pity, pious and chaste, and with an exacerbated sense of honour. These bynames, however, in the 15th century were used as qualifications of his character, but not yet in any systematic fashion, the duke being simply known as Charles de Bourgogne.

In the 18th century, Dom Plancher still mentions him as Charles le Hardi. Charles left his unmarried nineteen-year-old daughter, Mary , as his heir; clearly her marriage would have enormous implications for the political balance of Europe. Both Louis and the Emperor had unmarried eldest sons; Charles had made some movements towards arranging a marriage between Mary and the Emperor's son, Maximilian , before his own death.

Louis unwisely concentrated on seizing militarily the border territories, in particular the Duchy of Burgundy a French fief. This naturally made negotiations for a marriage difficult. He later admitted to his councillor Philippe de Commynes that this was his greatest mistake.

In the meantime the Habsburg Emperor moved faster and more purposefully and secured the match for his son Maximilian, with the aid of Mary's stepmother, Margaret. Due to this marriage, much of the Burgundian territories passed to the Holy Roman Empire. His use of language is so rich that you savor every sentence rather than glide through it like a Beach Read. I would stop reading from time to time to jot down a memorable sentence. The only fault is the author's use of geography, Thomason fails to give adequate description to the terrain his characters travel -- which is necessary to help you get a good grasp on the plot, such as the climactic battle which I could never accept as being fought in a forest.

The author also breezily describes the mythical creatures that roam this land of the Bould. I am more inclined to forgive him for these chimera-esque sketchings because they allowed my imagination to build my own monster. With so much spoon-fed to us today in this hyperlinked world, it was pleasant experience to have the old Mind's Eye exercising. My rompu will look differently from yours and we will both be the better for it. May Thomason continue writing, though not necessarily sequels -- unless the muse compels.

He has a strong grasp of the English language and I would hate to see it wasted on rehashing old ideas. Maybe someday, we will read one of his detective stories. This is a fine first effort from a rising star of the literary world. He gives us a glimpse into a world that feels similar to our own but turns out to be very different. The author has the ability to make us see what he sees, both the scenery and the hearts of the characters. His style reminds me of Louis L'Amour in that he could paint a beautiful picture of all the pretty views, but he had rather move you along to the action and there is plenty of action for anyone to enjoy.

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