Edward, Prince of Wales and Aquitaine : A Biography of the Black Prince, Paperback

Edward, Prince of Wales and Aquitaine : A Biography of the Black Prince Paperback

4 out of 5 (1 rating)


Edward, prince of Wales and Aquitaine, known as the Black Prince, is one of the legendary figures of English history, victor of three great battles and a model of chivalry and courtesy.

Behind this image, which many of his contemporaries accepted and eagerly believed in, it is difficult to get at the realities of his character and of the life that he led.

Most of his biographers have based their work on the splendid vision of chivalry conjured up by Froissart, but the present book deliberately shuns this approach, to see what can be found in official records, particularly from the prince's household and those who campaigned with the prince.

Special attention has been paid not only to the confusing and confused accounts of the great battles, but also to the prince's early years, his close companions who contributed so greatly to his successes, and to his government of Aquitaine, an obscure but very important part of his career.

A number of minor but persistent errors in early histories, deriving from Froissart, are corrected.

A concluding chapter examines how the legend of the Black Prince (and his curious nickname) came into being. By separating the image and the reality, a clearer picture of the prince emerges.

Dr RICHARD BARBER is the author of The Arthurian Legends, King Arthur: Hero and Legend, Tournaments, a biography of Henry II, The Penguin Guide to Medieval Europe, and the recently revised seminal study of The Knight and Chivalry.




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Barber steps outside the romantic mythology that casts our image of the Black Prince. While the narrative is sometimes difficult, the author tells the story of Edward's successes, chiefly as a soldier. He also paints of picture of the prince as practical statesman, perhaps undone by his luxurious lifestyle and a misunderstanding of Gascon statecraft. In the end we see him as tragically helpless, undone by terrible wasting disease. As I said, the book is not an easy read. Barber doesn't embellish his story with digression or anecdote. However, if you wish to skip past Froissart and develop a truer picture of this important 14th century figure, this is a valuable addition to your library.

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