The Order of the Golden Tree : the gift-giving objectives of Duke Philip the Bold of Burgundy
This thesis explores the policy objectives underlying the gift of this Order, to sixty men, on amiaxyjl 1403. Drawing primarily on Philip's household accounts, it undertakes complementary iconographical and prosopographical analyses (of the Order insignia's nature, form, materials, design and motto and of distinguishing common features in recipients' careers, strengths, relationships with Philip, and activities in 1402-3), refined by reference to his policy concerns around the occasion of its bestowal, rigorously to test seven hypotheses. Three, posited by earlier historians, that the Order was purely decorative a courtly conceit or crusade-related, are shown no longer to be tenable. A further three, suggested by contemporary practice, that it was a military chivalric order a livery badge or a military alliance, prove to offer insufficient explanation. The evidence from the analyses points strongly to the final hypothesis, that the Order was a specific policy alliance, designed in fashionable form, to obscure its politically sensitive purpose. This was to create an unconventional, but significant, core military force, with an overriding commitment to Philip, loyally to support any action, including civil war, he deemed necessary to protect his dynasty's overall power by securing its control, and even inheritance, of the French Crown. This conclusion revises Philip's role in history, showing that rather than planning an independent Burgundian state, he initiated a co-ordinated propaganda campaign, of slogan, badge, and supporting literature, to legitimise and popularise his plans to control France. The analytical approach adopted also offers insights into the significance of decorative, material gift-giving the identification of networks and their members the meaning of Christine de Pisan's earlier political writings and the origins of the Order of the Golden Fleece.