Welcome to Grand Dukes of the West

The story of Valois Burgundy is one of the most exciting of the Late Middle Ages. The four Valois Dukes of Burgundy used political intrigue, calculated splendor, economic power, and good old-fashioned violence to forge a state out of the many Duchies and Counties between France and the Holy Roman Empire. During Burgundy’s height its Dukes were seen by many as the equals of Kings and Emperors and their court was at the center of Western Europe’s cultural and political development. And then it all fell apart. Please join me as I explore the history and legacy of this forgotten kingdom.

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  • Supplemental Episode 2: Jeanne VS Jeanne

    Franco-Penthievre forces led by Charles of Blois face off against Anglo-Montfortist forces led by John of Montfort near the town of Auray in 1364. The Battle of Auray was the final major confrontation of the War of the Breton Succession. Charles of Blois died in the fighting and his cause collapsed leading to a peace treaty between John of Montfort and France a few months later.

    Last episode we saw Olivier de Clisson and John of Montfort at each other’s throats. In this Supplemental Episode we’ll explore the conflict that drove the two Breton Nobles apart. What could have been a minor conflict got tangled up with the Hundred Years War and the War of Breton Succession, also known as the War of the Two Jeannes, saw the Duchy of Brittany wracked with violence and chaos for decades.

    Time Period Covered: 1341 – 1388

    Notable People: John of Montfort, Jeanne of Penthievre, Jeanne of Flanders, Charles of Blois, Jeanne de Clisson, Olivier de Clisson, Philip VI of France

    Notable Events/Developments: The War of Breton Succession, Outbreak of the Hundred Years War, English Control of Brest

    John of Montfort and his wife Jeanne of Flanders enter Nantes at the beginning of the War of Breton Succession. Montfort was the half-brother of the previous duke of Brittany whose inconsistent policy towards succession triggered the conflict.


    The Hundred Years War: Trial By Battle by Jonathan Sumption

    The Hundred Years War: Trial by Fire by Jonathan Sumption

    The Hundred Years War: Divided Houses by Jonathan Sumption

    The Creation of Brittany by Michael Jones

    Princely Power in Late Medieval France: Jeanne de Penthièvre and the War for Brittany By Erika Graham-Goering

    The War of the Two Jeannes: Rulership in the Fourteenth Century by Katrin E. Sjursen

    The Valois: Kings of France 1328-1589 by Robert Knecht

    The Hundred Years War by Robin Neillands