Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Monday, 24 April 2017

France - Ancient and Modern

Earlier today a friend sent me a version of this map illustrating the election results in the first round of the latest French political beauty contest.

Élection présidentielle de 2017 par département T1.svg

 Results of the first round by department
     Emmanuel Macron      Marine Le Pen      François Fillon
     Jean-Luc Mélenchon

Image: Wikipedia

As my friend pointed out it bears a not inconsiderable resemblance to a map of twelfth century France indicating the extent of the Angevin Empire under King Henry II and King Richard I.

Here, to compare and contrast with it, is the result from 2012 ( with a larger scale map of Paris transposed onto Switzerland)

Related image

In this case France looks not entirely dissimilar to the arrangements made by the Treaty of Bretigny-Calais concluded in 1361 between King John II and King Edward III. There's even a hint of the Avignon Papal state in the Rhone valley. Another similarity might be to the aims, but not the reality south of the Loire, of the Anglo-Burgundian alliance after 1419

The survival of regional political allegiances across departmental boundaries and across the centuries is striking.

Both maps also point to a nation deeply divided both socially and culturally and also geographically. However one may also enquire as to what is new therein for France, but the fracture within the north, of the Ile de France and its neighbouring regions, the heartland of the Capetian monarchy, and the foundation of French unity, should attract notice and concern.

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