Punished and corrected as an example to all. On the treatment of rebellious nobles during and after the Flemish Revolts (1482-1492)

by Joey Spijkers

Institution: Leiden University
Year: 2015
Keywords: Flemish Revolt; Nobility; Late middle ages; Maximilian of Austria; Order of the Golden Fleece
Record ID: 1273881
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/1887/32074


After the death of duchess Mary of Burgundy in 1482, the Netherlands faced a regency crisis as her heir Philip the Handsome was still a minor. For the better part of a decade, the boy's father, Maximilian of Austria combatted alternative governments erected by a coalition of the unruly Flemish cities and the most important members of the Netherlandish aristocracy. This being the first time in the Netherlands that the nobility took part in what is ostensibly an urban revolt, it is worth examing what the relationship between Maximilian and the nobility was. The punishments doled out afterward are an ideal way to assess such a relationship, since they show clear results and allow for direct comparisons. In this thesis, I argue that the severity of a punishment depended mostly on the prospect of a nobleman's utility afterwards, where ties to major urban centres and to the Burgundian dynasty were prime qualities. Furthermore, I attempt to show that beyond the actual punishment, the narrative form in which events are recounted and made by rhetoric and ritual involved in the surrenders and trials constitute a vital part of the conflict and its peace negotiations for these honour-focused nobles.