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Started by Tadagee on Jun 26, 2019 10:29:34 PM
British Civil Wars: which side are you? Any why?

The Anarchy: Stephen or Matilda?

The Wars of the Roses: York or Lancaster?

The Civil War: Royalist or Parliamentarian?

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Maverickvoice - 13 Jan 2020 08:24:06 (#141 of 153)

"Actually, the real reason I prefer Henry VII is I found all the whole rehabilition of Richard III thing a bit tedious, especially those twats who dug him up."

Actually the digging up of Richard III was an important piece of archaeological work.

I would agree that the Richard III lot go well over the top in their attempts to rehabilitate this guy. I have even heard some people claim Richard III had he lived would have been a "great king".

My view of the guy is simply that he was a product of his times - neither especially better or worse than many of his peers. I personally don't rate him as highly as his brother Edward IV - he was not as competent a field commander and his objection to Edward's treaty with Louis XI of France shows a lack of pragmatism.

He pretty much did murder the princes in the Tower (although I very much doubt that he personally did it himself - but I think he ordered it).

That said, the alternative would have been to, effectively, surrender to the Wydville faction.

As terrible as killing a couple of boys aged under 13 was (made worst by the fact they were family). In Richard's defence I would point out that there are double standards at work here in the popular reading of English history.

Richard III as we know got cast as villain by Shakespeare (which is, let's face it, where the common popular image of Richard III originates).

Henry V, by contrast, is bigged up by Shakespeare as the great English hero. Agincourt, of course, did the most to promote Henry V to English hero status - but it was Shakespeare who truly immortalised him.

Richard III may have killed his nephews but, if we want to talk about murdering children - the reality is that good old Henry V murdered far more. The fact that those boys were French and poor means that (in medieval and tudor terms) the didn't count. At Caen alone, Henry V personally ordered and oversaw the massacre of at least 2000 people - soldiers, civilians, men, women, children. He was recorded as riding through the streets of Caen shouting "Havoc!" to encourage his men to rape and pillage. So much for good King Harry!

Funny isn't it. How the death of two posh boys is considered such a heinous crime. But the death of countless poor foreign kids is quickly and conveniently forgotten.

Maverickvoice - 13 Jan 2020 08:51:39 (#142 of 153)

On another note I have recently been reading a book on the Italian wars (which began shortly after the War of Roses ended) and, it has to be said that the war of the Roses was a bit of a Teddy Bears picnic compared to that.

Neither the Yorkist nor Lancastrian leaders were especially bloodthirsty or badly behaved compared to the French in Italy. Ludlow gets looted a bit, St Albans gets looted a bit. There was some pillaging and looting but no massacres or large scale killing of civilians by either side. It is a wonder the English armies of both sides were as well behaved as they were!

Compare that with the French in Italy just a few decades later:

Sack of Mordano, Fivizzano & Castel Fiorentino 1494, Sack of Monte Fortino, Monte San Giovanni, Gaeta & Toscanella 1495, Sack of Rocca d'Arazzo 1499, Sack of Capua 1501, Sack of Peschiera 1509, Sack of Legnano 1510, Sack of Ravenna & Brescia 1512, Sack of Pavia 1527.

If you put the war of the roses into contemporary perspective it was a fairly civilised affair.

TRaney - 13 Jan 2020 09:46:55 (#143 of 153)

It was essentially civil war

SinnerBoy - 13 Jan 2020 09:49:50 (#144 of 153)

Funny isn't it. How the death of two posh boys is considered such a heinous crime. But the death of countless poor foreign kids is quickly and conveniently forgotten.

Still, things are so different today. Oh...........

Arjuna - 13 Jan 2020 09:50:55 (#145 of 153)

The same comparison could be made with the English Civil War and the Thirty Years War. There was a Royalist massacre at Bolton but even the New Model Army's capture of Drogheda and Wexford didn't really compare to the slaughter at Madgeburg.

ReverendBlueJeans - 13 Jan 2020 10:06:59 (#146 of 153)

First one - whatever Cadfael says

Second one - too confusing

Third one - Covenanters

Arjuna - 13 Jan 2020 10:08:27 (#147 of 153)

too confusing

just change sides a lot, nearly everyone else did.

ReverendBlueJeans - 13 Jan 2020 10:11:51 (#148 of 153)

Probably because they were confused.

Tadagee - 13 Jan 2020 12:17:35 (#149 of 153)

A big difference between The War of the Roses and those that preceded it, such as the Hundred Years War was the treatment of noble captives. Contemporary writings of events of the time were primarily interested in the rich and powerful of state and church, everyone else being a big smelly pox ridden cast of largely irrelevant extras.

A knight in full armour in battle was, while not invulnerable, a lot safer than your average man at arms. Rather than being killed, it was much more likely they would be captured after e.g. being dismounted and not being able to get up as their armour was so heavy. In the French wars a captured knight or noble had a ransom value so they were more valuable alive. As knights basically had to pay for their own kit, war was expensive. The value of a captured opponent was the accepted way of cashing in. The killing of the French captives at Agincourt caused shock as much for the financial consequences as much as for the actual killing.

The Wars of the Roses were different in that there was little interest in keeping people alive as there was far more political value in killing the opposition. It was also far more personal as revenge was heaped on revenge.

So, while the WotR are depicted as being particularly bloody (and often were, the general massacre of fleeing Lancastrian troops after Towton was very bloody indeed) they are seen as particularly vicious, this was mainly due to the numbers of nobility killed. As mentioned above, there wasn’t much in the way of massacring the general populace

Tadagee - 13 Jan 2020 12:46:43 (#150 of 153)

ps. Anyone interested in the War of the Roses should try 'The Brothers York; An English tragedy '. I'm about 100 pages in and already the best book on the period I've read.

Obviously written from a very Yorkist perspective but Edward and family were so much more interesting anyway.

Maverickvoice - 14 Jan 2020 17:48:40 (#151 of 153)

'The Brothers York; An English tragedy '

I may go for that at some point. I would love to see an in-depth up-to-date work on Margaret of Anjou at some point. I know people like Helen Maurer have publish more up-to-date stuff since 2000, but they are selective in their coverage and few and far between.

Maverickvoice - 21 Jan 2020 12:44:56 (#152 of 153)

"just change sides a lot, nearly everyone else did."

It is hard to think of too many people who did not change sides at some time or other during the wotr.

Even George of Clarence changed sides - and he was a York family member! Mind you he was so untrustworthy that even Warwick preferred to follow Margaret of Anjou rather than him. That is after being Margaret's sworn enemy for about 16 years by that time! Just how untrustworthy must George have been?!

FGBFGB - 21 Jan 2020 14:13:59 (#153 of 153)

Clarence was like Fredo Corleone. Vain, weak, useless, jealous, ambitious and faithless.



Today we'd make him PM.

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