Episode 4: Flanders and the Rise of Towns

The Cloth Hall of Ypres was originally build in the 13th Century. Cloth dominated medieval commerce, and Flanders and its towns dominated the cloth industry.

If there was one good that dominated medieval commerce it was cloth, and if there was one region that dominated the production and trade of cloth it was Flanders. Flanders, tucked right between France, The Holy Roman Empire, and England, was the commercial center of medieval Northern Europe. It’s cities were rich and powerful and at times brought the flower of French Chivalry to their knees.

Time Period Covered: 1100s-1346

Notable People: King Philip IV, King Philip VI, Guy of Dampierre, Robert of Bethune, Louis of Nevers

Notable Events/Developments: Cloth Trade in Flanders, Urbanization in Medieval Europe, City Rights, Rise of Guilds, Battle of the Golden Spurs

Map of Flanders in the 14th Century.


Medieval Flanders by David Nicholas

A History of the Low Countries by Paul Arblaster

The Burgundians by Bart Van Loo

Lotharingia by Simon Winder

Medieval Europe by Chris Wickham

An Historical Geography of Western Europe before 1800 by C. T. Smith

The Fair Face of Flanders by Patricia Carson

The Hundred Years War: Trial by Battle by Jonathan Sumption


2 thoughts on “Episode 4: Flanders and the Rise of Towns

  1. Very impressed by the first few episodes, you have a confident style, and an engagement with the more academic literature that is appreciated.

    Some notes on pronunciation (to the best of my knowledge):
    Ypres – EE-pruh
    Douai – doo-AYY
    Vosges – VOW-zh (vow rhyming with row)
    Francia – fran-KEE-ah

    As for the matter of episode length, the more content the merrier imo! Even if it means splitting episodes into multiple episodes and thus progressing more slowly.


    1. Thanks so much! I appreciate the note on pronunciation and am always trying to improve with that. I’m a few episodes ahead script-wise and think that in general they’re going to be 30-35 minutes on average.


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