The of the roses
• The war of the Roses was a civil war within a larger political war
(Hundred Years’ War).
• The civil war involves the descendants of Edward III. It began
with the struggle between Richard II and Henry of Bolingbroke in 1399
was ultimately resolved by a change of dynasty (Plantagenet Tudor) in
• The first step in this civil war was in 1400 when Henry IV took
power from Richard II and established the Lancaster (red rose) branch
of the family on the English throne.
• Throughout both the political war over Edward III claims to the
throne of France and during the internal conflict in the royal
family, the stress on the English nobility as a whole was considerable
as faction s developed and resources were stretched.
The Wars of the Roses were
intermittent civil wars fought by
members of the House of Lancaster
and the House of York. Both houses
were branches of the Plantagenet
royal house, tracing their descent
from King Edward III.
What was the
cause of the Why were they
Wars of the called the Wars
Roses? of the Roses?
The rivalry between the house of York
The White Rose was the
and the House of Lancaster started symbol of Yorkers
when King Richard II was overthrown supporters who opposed the
rival House of
by his cousin, Henry Bolingbroke, Lancaster, whose symbol
Duke of Lancaster, in 1399. But the was the Red Rose of
Lancaster. The opposition
Wars of the Roses actually began on of the two
May 22th, 1455 with First Battle of St parties, symbolized by the
red and white roses gave the
Albans when Richard, Duke of York wars their name - the Wars
and his ally, Richard, Earl of Warwick of the Roses. The Wars of
the Roses ended with King
defeated the Lancastrians under Henry VII who started the
Edmund Beaufort who was killed. Tudor dynasty and
symbolically united the
York captured Henry VI. White and Red Roses to
create the Tudor Rose.
Henry VII (1457 - 1509)
Edward IV Richard III
Henry IV Henry V Henry VIII
( 1312 – 1377) reigned 1327 – 1377
Son of Edward II (deposed_ and
Isabella, a princess of France who would
have inherited the French if it were not for
Hundred Years’ War (1337 – 1453) was
fought in part to pursue Edward’s III claims
to the French throne. He won major battles
at Crecy (1346) and Poitiers (1356), but in the
end lost much of the English territory in
France that had been held since the time of
Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine.
Black Death (bubonic plague) devastated
the English population during his reign (1348
– 1349) and the country suffered major
economic and social upheaval.
13 children, including 4 sons who survived
The Burghers of Calais
Edward III, after a victory in the Battle
of Crecy, laid siege to Calais and Philip
VI of France ordered the city to hold
out. Philip failed to lift the siege and
Starvation forced the city to parley for
surrender. Edward offered to spare
the people of the city if any six of its
top leaders would surrender themselves
to him, Presumably to be executed.
One of the wealthiest of the town
leaders, Eustache de Saint
Pierre, volunteered first and five other
burghers soon joined him. Although the
burghers expected to be
executed, their lives were spared by
the intervention of England’s
Queen, Philippe of Hainault, who Augusta Rodin, the Burgher of Calais,
persuaded her husband by saying it 1885
would be a bad omen for her unborn
child. This incident weighing royal
authority against mercy would have
been an example for Henry V.
(1367 – 1400); reigned 1377 – 1400
Son of Edward, the black prince and Joan, the “ Fair maid
“ of Kent Richard II (1377 – 1400)
During his childhood the country was ruled by a council
of nobles headed by his uncle, Joan of gaunt, duke of
With the help of his council the reign began well. During
the peasants’ Revolt in 1381 young Richard showed poise.
However the social divide between landowners and
peasants would continue to fester throughout the 14th
century. Richard was not a warrior king like his
grandfather, and gave too much attention to a small group
of favorite Coutiers. This created tension between Richard
and his royal uncles (dukes of Gloucester and Lancaster).
Richard turned his attention from the long standing war in
France to Ireland, where English overlords were
in 1399 Richard became a tyrant, executing his uncle
Gloucester and stripping his cousin Henry of Bolingbroke of
money and lands he should have inherited from his father
(John of gaunt, Duke of Lancaster ), and exiling him. Henry
raised an army to reclaim his lost estates. Army nobles
rallied to his cause, including Henry Percy, the earl of
Northumberland (father of Harry “Hotspur” Percy).
Richard delayed too long in returning from Ireland, was
unable to counter Henry’s challenge, and was forced to
Deposed by Henry of Bolingbroke, and Richard was
imprisoned in Pontefract Castle in 1400, where he “Died”.
The Wilton Diptych
The Wilton Diptych : Explained
• A diptych is a hinged, portable
• On the left, the world of the
living, it is drab. And the colors are
• A forest provides a margin
between this world and the world of
heaven, which is filled with color.
• On the left are 3 saints, all dead,
who have come from heaven to be
with Richard II, the kneeling figure,
as he presents himself and England to
Century 1395 the virgin and Christ child.
National Gallery of • The 3 figures are an allusion to
the “Wise Men” and the Feast of the
Art, London Epiphany (Jan 6th), which was Richard
International Gothic style II’s birthday. So this is an “Adoration
of the Magi” symbol.
• The two English kings, Edmund
the Martyr and Edward the
confessor, support Richard as a
Explanation . . . continued
• The right panel is vibrant with
• Edmund the martyr (reigned c. 841) was
defeated by the Vikings in 870 and taken color, signifying that heaven is spiritually
prisoner. He refused to give up his
Christian faith and was executed, possibly richer than earth.
by an arrow (his symbol).
• Edward the Confessor (reigned 1042 – •The banner of the red cross is both the
1066 ) was a simple man of faith who give emblem of St. George, the patron saint
his ring to a beggar when he had nothing
else to offer. The ring was later returned of England, and of the crusades in
to him through the intervention of St.
John the Evangelist. The ring is a symbol which Plantagenet kings had
of his piety and character. He built
participated. In kneeling before the
• John the Baptist is generally shown on Virgin and Child as the banner is
art as wearing an animal skin and carrying
a lamb (a symbol of Jesus as the Angus offered, Richard II is dedicating himself
Dei, or Lamb of God). His presence gives
Richard II religious support. to a chivalrous ideal. This is in keeping
• Richard II’s personal badge was the with both the International Gothic style
white hart and he wears it. He was born
on January 6th and with the concepts of Realism where
. The Feast of the Epiphany, so the 3
“Wise Men” flanking him are symbolic of ideas/ideals are the only things that truly
the pilgrimage to the Christ Child; the
implication is that Richard II seeks
support (as England) from the Holy Family.
• (1366 – 1413); eldest son of John of
Henry IV (Bolingbroke)
Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster and Blanche of
Grossmann, a major English heiress; father
of Henry V.
• While a first cousin and childhood
playmate of Richard II, Henry of
Bolingbroke participated in a rebellion of
nobles against Richard. Although spared at
that time, he was later banished and his
estates confiscated on his father’s death.
• Leads a rebellion to reclaim his own
estates; captured Richard and forces his
abdication and imprisonment.
• Takes the throne, bypassing the Richard’s
designated heir, Roger Mortimer (House of
• Warrior king; crusader; suppresses the
Lollard movement (followers of Wycliffe);
puts down the rebellion of Henry “Hotspur”
Percy, the Earl of Northumberland, with
the help of his eldest son, Henry of
Monmouth (Henry V).
• (1386 – 1422); Eldest
•t son of Henry IV; born in
Monmouth, Wales, so called Henry of
Monmouth as a youth
• Treated kindly by Richard II during Henry of
Bolingbroke exile; went to Ireland with
Richard; returned to England when his father
took the throne.
• As a young man he was both personally
riotous in behavior and a very capable soldier.
• Different in domestic policy from his father
and was more decisive in foreign affairs.
Unification of the body of Richard II with
honor, reconciled with the heirs of those
nobles who had suffered under his
father, and brought young Edmund Mortimer
into royal favor. He was practical and took a
wider view on issues, being both expedient
• Consolidated power as the King of England
Henry V and effectively accomplished what
generations of his ancestors had failed to
achieve through decades of war: the
unification of the crowns of England and
France in a single person.
What happened to the concept of the English monarch between
Richard II and Henry V ?
• Medieval philosophy moved from Realism to Nominal's and the
monarch becomes valued as a man as well as a head of state.
• The Richard II of the Wilton Diptych is an embodiment of the
concept of realism in medieval philosophy. Ideas (such as honor or
humanity) exist in their own right and are important generalization.
Ideas exist; particulars do not exist independently of ideas. As
monarch Richard stands for the honor of England and maintains its
• Henry V is a monarch who works within the concepts of Nominal's.
This philosophical school says that particulars exist for themselves ,
not as manifestation of ideals. Each situation or individual has its
own value. So Henry V is not the concept of honor, but an honorable
man, he can, therefore, give value to other particulars (his subjects,
specific battles) and be a role model as well as a monarch.
How does all this relate to the War of the Roses which began in 1453?
• When Henry V died young, he left an infant son, Henry VI. During his childhood the
• When Henry V died young, he left an infant son, Henry VI. During his
government was in chaos with fiscal instability, corruption, lack of law and order, and the loss
childhood the government was in chaos with fiscal
instability, corruption,of much of Henry V’s lands in France. of much of
lack of law and order, and the loss
Henry V’s lands in France.
• As an adult Henry VI was not a strong king and suffered from mental illness. Disaffected
• As turned to the York was not a strong been the suffered heirs mental
nobles an adult Henry VIline who would haveking and legitimate from had not Henry IV
illness. Disaffected nobles turned to the York line who would have been the
taken the throne from Edmund Mortimer in 1400. A civil war was the result, as the York's
legitimate heirs had not Henry IV taken the throne from Edmund
(white rose) tried to take the throne from Henry, the last surviving Lancaster (red rose).
Mortimer in 1400. A civil war was the result, as the Yorks (white rose)
Edward to takeRichard III are kings from the York branch if the family who twice took the
tried IV and the throne from Henry, the last surviving Lancaster (red
rose). throne from HenryRichard III are kings from the York branch if war.
Edward IV and VI and his wife Margaret of Anjou during the civil the
family who twice took the throne from Henry VI and his wife Margaret of
• Anjou during the civil war. the first part of this family conflict (Richard II, Henry IV,
Shakespeare tells the story of
Henry V) in four of his histories. He completes the saga of the actual War of the Roses in
• Shakespeare tells the story of the first part of this family conflict
three early plays about Henry VI and in his great Richard III, thus covering the whole period
(Richard II, Henry IV, Henry V) in four of his histories. He completes the
saga of the actual War of the Roses in to 1485.
1399 three early plays about Henry VI
and in his great Richard III, thus covering the whole period 1399 to 1485.