- Primary position:
- Leverhulme Early Career Fellow
I studied in Belgium (Louvain-la-Neuve), France (Lille), and England (Nottingham), before completing a PhD in Scotland, at the University of St Andrews, in 2009. My past research at the University of Lille 3 concerned the French crown and the aristocracy which led to the publication of a book on the exile of Dauphin Louis, future Louis XI, at the court of the duke of Burgundy, 1456-61 (2002). I have since developed a strong interest in chivalry, the conduct of war and its impact on society in the Anglo-French wars, better known as the Hundred Years War. I am in the process of publishing a monograph on the ‘Prisoners of war in the Hundred Years War: Ransom culture in the late Middle Ages'. Pursuing this interest, I now hold a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at the University of Southampton to carry out a research project on ‘The crisis of capitulation: surrender of castles and urban communities (1400-1450)'.
The University of Southampton's electronic library (e-prints)
Conference or Workshop Item
1. ‘Prisoners of war in the Hundred Years War. Ransom culture in the late Middle Ages'
The initial purpose of this project is as simple as it is important: filling the huge gap in the historiography left by the absence of any research monograph on prisoners of war in the Middle Ages covering a broader chronological framework such as the Hundred Years War. From the outset of my research, the accent has been placed on the exploration of habits, practices, individual experiences and mentalities, drawing on a wide range of sources, rather than on the more technical and legal aspects which have already attracted much scholarly attention. The relevance of this project has increased as I worked on it, and as it became more obvious to me that the private nature of the matter of ransoms and prisoners of war has never been properly investigated, even though it is central to the understanding of the topic. It has all too often been simply acknowledged, taken for granted, believed to have received too much attention, or to have been credited with too much significance at the expense of political interference. This lack of an in-depth study of this private nature of the business of ransoms and prisoners of war and an over-emphasis on political interference can eventually lead one to believe that ransoms were a ‘political fact'. It is the crucial need to reconstruct the private world of captors and prisoners in the Hundred Years War which has given this work its main thesis, cohesion and structure. The final draft of this book has been recently submitted to Cambridge University Press.
2. ‘The crisis of capitulation: surrender of castles and urban communities (1400-1450)'
Surrender - a key concept to the ‘culture of war' - has a controversial issue across history and cultures, representing a sustained threat to the safety of civilians and soldiers. Surrender is central to international and civil wars in fifteenth-century France and England, which were arguably not lost or won on the battlefield (e.g. Agincourt) but before or within the walls of towns and castles through negotiation. The hypothesis lies at the heart of the project which will fill a gap in our understanding of the conduct of war and make significant contribution to the psychology of surrender.
Hist 2036 : The Hundred Years War.
Dr Rémy Ambühl
Faculty of Humanities
University of Southampton