Froissart: Reporter of the Middle Ages

Essay by pyrokid3University, Bachelor'sB+, March 2009

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Froissart: Reporter of the Middle AgesThe Chronicles written by Jean Froissart is a first hand account of life and society in the middle ages. In The Chronicles, Froissart documents many historical events from about 1322-1400. Two events reported in The Chronicles are the causes of the Hundred Years War and the Jacquerie Revolt. Many historians agree that Froissart's reporting of the Hundred Years War is accurate, but that his reporting of the Jacquerie Revolt is not because it does not address all of the issues, such as the brutality of the nobility against the peasants. Froissart was not able to report impartially about both events due to the ingrained social bias that resulted from his upbringing and status, and from his sources of information, some of which were unreliable and biased.

Jean Froissart had a social bias in favor of the nobility due to his background. He was born about 1337 and, although his family was not noble, it was believed that Froissart's family had ties to the court of the Count of Hainault (Wages 169-170).

Froissart received a clerical education and then entered the service of Margaret of Hainault sometime between 1350-1356 (Frail 760-765). After her death he went on to serve as secretary to the daughter of the Count of Hainault, Queen Philippa. This is important because it shows that even though Froissart was not an actual member of the nobility he was raised in and around it, and most likely related more with the nobles than the peasants. An example of his bias against the peasants is that Froissart refers to the peasants in the Chronicles as "small people," (Froissart 216, 222) reflecting his opinion of their low value. This bias affected Froissart's ability to report impartially on events between the nobility and peasants, especially when relying...