The political will and the administrative won't? Mathieu Thomassin and his dauphins (Charles III and Louis II)

Daly, Kathleen (2007). The political will and the administrative won't? Mathieu Thomassin and his dauphins (Charles III and Louis II). Journal of Medieval History, 33(3) pp. 217–232.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmedhist.2007.07.003

Abstract

The delphinal counsellor Mathieu Thomassin composed a Breviere des anciens droys ... du Dauphine de Viennoys (c.1453) after a career of 30 years in the service of Charles III (the French king Charles VII) and Louis II (the future Louis XI). This was his first major historical text in French, but has been overshadowed by his better-known Registre delphinal, commissioned by Louis II in 1456. This article analyses the historical culture and the conception of history revealed in the Breviere. It notes how Thomassin's careful definitions of frontiers in the past and present reflect his experience of territorial disputes. History and geography are imbued with polemic, however, allowing Thomassin to override competing claims to territory or autonomy by delphinal opponents within and outside the Dauphine. The principles set out in the Breviere were refined and extended in the Registre. However, it is unlikely that either work was ever intended for wide circulation; rather, they were written to provide 'authentic' texts which could be consulted primarily by other delphinal officers. As such, they reflect on occasion the divergence of views between a proto-professional administrator, with a concern for the long-term, and his preoccupied (if not dilettante) prince, much more subject to the requirements of realpolitik. (C) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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