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Title: From war to peace : archery and crossbow guilds in Flanders c.1300-1500
Author: Crombie, Laura
ISNI:       0000 0004 2317 6279
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2010
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This thesis engages with a broad range archival source from across Flanders to analyse poorly understood urban groups, the archery and crossbow guilds. The development and continuing importance of the guilds, as military and social groups, and as agents of social peace, will be analysed over six chapters. Chapter one traces the guilds’ origins and continuing military service. Proving a foundation date or a definitive origin for most guilds has proved impossible, but their enduring military importance can be established. In contrast to the assumptions of Arnade (1996), stating that after 1436 the guilds rarely served in war, I have shown that guilds served across the fifteenth century. Chapter two examines the guild-brothers themselves, through a prosopographical study of the members of the Bruges guilds. Many writers have assumed guilds to be ‘elite’ but no study to date has attempted to prove the status of guild-brothers. My use of several hundred different sources reveals numerous important details about guilds’ composition. Many ‘elites’ were present, but so too were members of all crafts and, in comparison with the militia records of 1436, many richer crafts were greatly underrepresented, but crucially no profession was excluded. Chapters three and four analyse respectively the devotions and community of the guilds. Both show the centrality of choice; that guilds were reactive and complex groups changing in response to the needs of members, who could include women, children and priests. Chapter five steps back from the guilds to examine their relationships with authorities. The rulers of Flanders granted privileges to guilds, but they also socialised with them. Great lords patronised and joined guilds, helping them gain rights and lands, but such relationships were mutually beneficial. Urban authorities also supported their guilds, through money, wine, cloth and even land the towns cherished their guilds not just as defenders, but as representatives of civic ideology. Chapter six demonstrates the guilds’ displays of honour and civic prestige at their best, through a study of their competitions. Competitions brought hundreds of armed men together, yet they did not provoke violence, rather, through the language of brotherhood and symbols of commensality, competitions rebuilt damaged communities. A study of competitions is far more than a study of spectacles; it is an analysis of the greatest forms of civic representation and the guilds becoming agents of social peace.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: D111 Medieval History