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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  • Episode 22: A Cousins’ Quarrel

    John the Fearless (far left) and Louis of Orleans (far right) entered into a fierce competition for control of the royal court upon the death of Philip the Bold. The Duke of Orleans soon found a political partner in Queen Isabeau (left) and the two were able to effectively box the Duke of Burgundy out. John eventually decided to come to Paris with an army, prompting the Queen and Orleans to flee the capital with the Dauphin, Louis of Guyenne (right) in an episode known as the Kidnapping of the Dauphin.

    After Philip the Bold’s death, Louis of Orleans took no time establishing his dominance in Paris. But Philip’s son John wasn’t willing to cede the Burgundian position. Shortly after coming into his inheritance he headed to Paris in order to claw back a share of power.

    Time Period Covered: 1404 – 1406

    Notable People: John the Fearless, Louis Duke of Orleans, John Duke of Berry, Queen Isabeau, Dauphin Louis of Guyenne, Anthony of Burgundy Duke of Brabant

    Notable Events/Developments: The Kidnapping of the Dauphin, Orleanist Dominance in Paris, Alliance between the Queen and Duke of Orleans


    John the Fearless by Richard Vaughan

    The Hundred Years War: Cursed Kings by Jonathan Sumption

    Royal Intrigue Crisis at the Court of Charles VI 1392-1420 by R.C. Famiglietti

    The Chronicles of Enguerrand De Monstrelet

    The Life and Afterlife of Isabeau of Bavaria by Tracy Adams

    The Promised Lands by Wim Blockmans and Walter Prevenier

    Medieval Flanders by David Nicholas

    Magnanimous Dukes and Rising States by Robert Stein

    The Golden Age of Burgundy by Joseph Calmette