Historie – Otázky – Problémy

„Luxembourg, thou art a photophobic bat, a squinting owl with ears too long“. Struggle for the heritage of the Luxembourg dynasty seen by the „author of farce and amusement“ Michault Taillevent


Abstract: From the twenties until the fifties of the 15th century, Michault Taillevent, courtier at the court of Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, was known not only as the author of witty observations and lyrical poetry, but also of politically engaged works. One of the latter is a vast collection of poems on the topic of the conquest of Luxembourg by the Duke of Burgundy in 1443. The underlying idea is that of defending the rights of Elizabeth of Görlitz, described as a „poor and oppressed widow“. The author, who advocated traditional knightly values, found it very convenient to describe the duke as a protector of a weak and oppressed woman.
This work is an important source of information how war, peace and knightly duties were regarded at that time. Michault Taillevent emphasized the play of contrasts based on the name of the city of Luxembourg being allegedly derived from the Latin word „lux“. In his view, Luxembourg was therefore supposed to be a stronghold of light, but did not stand up to its name. Taillevent draws many of his comparisons and symbols from ancient mythology as well as from flora and fauna. Equally, his use of puns is remarkable. Poems by Michault Taillevent celebrating the events of 1443 give us an insight into the less explored spheres of political propaganda in the Middle Ages.

Key words: Luxembourg, medieval symbolism, political propaganda, Burgundy, concept of war

Doc. PhDr. Martin Nejedlý, docent na Ústavu českých dějin Filozofické fakulty Univerzity Karlovy, se zaměřuje na dějiny 13.–15. století, historickou antropologii, literární díla středověku jako historický pramen a na česko-francouzské vztahy ( martin.nejedly@ff.cuni.cz).