The Memoirs of Philip de Commines

The Memoirs of Philip de Commines, Lord of Argenton:

containing the histories of Louis XI & Charles VIII,

and of the Scandalous Chronicle, or secret history of Louis XI by Jean de Troyes.

Edited with life and notes, by Andrew R. Scoble.

"The Father of Modern History", Philip de Commines was an important figure at the court of the Dukes of Burgundy, until he was later "poached" by Burgundy's enemy, Louis XI of France. He was involved in many of the key events of the period: acting as ambassador to Florence, Venice, Milan, and to the English at Calais.

Although he fought in some battles, he writes from the point of view of the politician rather than the soldier. He describes the characters of the great men he knew, and analyses their flaws. He writes of the treachery of allies, and of powerful subjects — not only in Europe, but also in the civil wars in England between Henry VI and Edward IV. He shows the cruelty of the times, and how easily the favour of the powerful could be lost.

This edition contains both volumes of the Memoirs plus the "History of Louis XI King of France, and of the memorable occurrences of his reign, from the year 1460 to 1483; otherwise called The Scandalous Chronicle". Its authorship is ascribed to Jean de Troyes, though the title page claims only that it was "written by a Clerk in the Hotel de Ville of Paris". Unlike Commines' Memoirs, this includes minor events that have come to the writer's notice, such as the condemnation of a female thief, who claimed to be pregnant to put off her execution. The two chronicles are complementary.

The texts of a number of Treaties are given at chapter ends; direct links to these have been added to the contents pages.

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