Great book on Burgundy

Sum Burgundus ego, sed non me poenitet hujus Nominis; quondam hoc Aquilas tremefecit et ipsos Pendere Romanos insueta tributa coegit." Pierre de Saint Julien, De l'Origine des Bourgongnons (Paris, 1581)

I need to poke my squire (who's Roman) to translate that. It's a fantastic quote which begins a book my wife got me for Christmas entitled "Dijon and the Valios Dukes of Burgundy" by William R. Tyler, and I've been devouring it like a chocolate chip cookie straight out of the oven. It burns a little, but it's so yummy it's worth it. The burning comes from the fact that the guy doesn't seem to know how to footnote anything, so references to other works are mostly limited to a pretty good bibliography. What he does do well is take the reams of accounting records the dukes left behind due to their Germanic flavor of OCD and turn it into something you can really read. Richard Vaughn wrote a good series on the dukes but fell on the side of being too dry, frequently cataloging inventories over several pages. If you skim those parts the series is still worth it. Tyler also ties together a number of works and facets of their lives particularly in their patronage of the arts to make a more compelling image of the men and those they ruled. He leans a lot on Oliver de la Marche's account of the ducal household during the siege of Neuss in 1475, though if you're into that era it's a goldmine.
Some neat things I've learned from this books and a few others:
The Burgundian tribe is believed to have originated in southern Sweden, and is named for the island of Bornholm, which is about 25 miles off the Swedish coast.
They migrated southward during the first millennium BC because of climactic change. Their dry and warm pastureland became cold and wet.
They are first mentioned by Pliny the Elder and Tracitus as members of the Vandal federation.
Much of the Burgundian infiltration was peaceful, as they worked with both the Celts of the region and the Romans, except when the Burgundians expanded too quickly and against a Roman injunction. This led the Romans to unleash the Huns on them which led to a Burgundian defeat, and the death of their King Gunther in 436. This was commemorated in the Song of the Nibelungs, which is the name of the Burgundian clan to which his family belonged.
Dijon's population was surprisingly small. In 1436 it was estimated at 6000. By 1460 it had grown to 12000.
The university there had a peak of about 2000 students in this era.
King Renee of Sicily was Philip the Good's prisoner.
Burgundy was a major source of monks. They had large numbers of Cluniac, Carthusians (Philip the Bold built a Carthusian monastery to be buried in), Dominicans (who ran a theology school in Dijon) and Cistercians (which was founded near Dijon, and later had the Trappists split off with their tasty, tasty beer.)
Dijon had four public bath houses.
The royal family had its own bath house, which also housed Duches Margaret of Flanders' pet hedgehog.
Louis Courajod, a 19th century French professor discussed the idea of a Burgundian school of art in his lectures. He believed the style was naturalistic rather than formal, and that Claus Sluter (who began the construction of Philip the Bold's tomb which I used as a reference for my sabatons) was the father of the style.


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