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The house of Valois ruled France for 250 years, playing a crucial role in its establishment as a major European power. When Philip VI came to the throne, in 1328, France was a weak country, with much of its modern area under English rule. Victory in the Hundred Years' War, and the acquisition of Brittany and much of Burgundy, combined with a large population and taxable wealth, made the France of Francis I the only power in Europe capable of rivalling the empire of Charles V. Francis displayed his power by spectacular artistic patronage and aggressive foreign wars. Following the death of Henry II in a tournament, the problems of two royal minorities and the divisive forces of the Reformation led to the temporary eclipse of royal power. When the last Valois, Henry III, was stabbed to death by a Dominican Friar in 1589, the dynasty was already discredited but the monarchy survived intact.
|1||A new dynasty||1|
|2||The Hundred Years' War||23|
|4||Armagnacs versus Burgundians||51|
|5||From Bourges to Paris||65|
|6||The 'universal spider'||87|
|7||The end of Breton independence||107|
|8||The lure of Italy||119|
|9||Valois versus Habsburg||133|
|10||A Renaissance court||153|
|12||The challenge of Heresy||177|
|13||Mother and sons||193|
|14||The last Valois||211|
Posted January 4, 2009
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This an outstanding book on understanding what was taking place in France for the centuries preceding Mary, Queen of Scots and clearly helps in understanding what France was like at the time. The Valois were supported by othere royal houses in France to include Guise (Mary's family, Lorraine, Navarre, Bourbon, Burgundy and others. It is a difficult book to read because it is a presentation of cold, unfeeling data but no less enjoyable. It clearly discusses how the concept of sanctification of the King's person began with Charles V and the christening. It discusses, in detail, hereditary rights and how those are considered under both canonical and secular laws. This will significantly increase your better understanding of all subsequent reading on France, England, Scotland, and many other of the smaller and surrounding reas i.e., Brittany, Normandy, Aquitaine, etc.
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