Rumors, propaganda and public opinion during the Civil War (1407-1420)
Between 1407 and 1420, the Armagnacs and Burgundians fought a ruthless war, and
their men at arms devastated the Île-de-France. Yet, the abominable crimes usually
attributed to them (arson, pillage, murder, rape...) are mostly unrecorded. This discrepancy, a major historical problem, can be understood by the spread of rumors
and the immoderate use of propaganda. Indeed on both sides it proved essential to
manipulate public opinion through manifestos, ballads or sermons, just as it became
necessary to keep individuals under observation and control, for every stranger could
be a spy or a propagandist. Rumor fed public fears, and one finds village communities
taking the initiative and defending themselves against the misdeeds of men at arms.
Banditry, far from being the actions of ruffians on the prowl, was in fact presented,
in judicial sources, as an act of self-defense.
English abstract on Cairn International Edition
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