Battle of Roosebeke

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Battle of Roosebeke
Battle of Roosebeke;  from the chronicle of Jean Froissart
Battle of Roosebeke ; from the chronicle of Jean Froissart
date November 27, 1382
place near Westrozebeke
output French victory
Parties to the conflict

Blason Nord-Pas-De-Calais.svg County of Flanders Kingdom of France Duchy of BurgundyBlason France modern.svg
Blason for Bourgogne.svg

Insurgent citizens of Ghent and the County of Flanders


Blason France modern.svg Charles VI Enguerrand VII. Olivier V de Clisson Louis de Sancerre Jean IV. De Mauquenchy
Blason Enguerrand VII, Seigneur de Coucy.svg
Blason Clisson.svg
Blason Maison de Sancerre.svg

Philipp van Artevelde

Troop strength
about 12,000 men 20,000 men

no information

no information

In the Battle of Roosebeke (today Westrozebeke ) on November 27, 1382 the French defeated Flemish guilds .


The situation in Flanders in the 14th century was explosive. The Flemish nobles supported the French king, while the Flemish bourgeoisie (because of the lively wool and textile trade with England ) supported the English king. The Flemings had defeated the French as early as 1302, but they succeeded in regaining influence in the following years. In 1337 France tried to have the English traders kicked out of Flanders. As a result, the Flemish traders rose up first in the city of Ghent under the leadership of Jakob van Artevelde . Despite initial success, this revolt failed and Jakob van Artevelde was finally murdered in 1345. The Count of Flanders Louis van Maele managed to maintain a fragile balance between the two opponents for a long time. Finally, in 1381, a new revolt broke out. At that time there was famine in Flanders and the plague had raged. Again the city of Ghent rose first, this time under the leadership of Philipp van Artevelde , the son of Jacob. The count wanted to put down the rebellion quickly with the help of the city of Bruges and Flemish nobles, but was decisively defeated and was only able to escape death with a narrow margin and flee to France. Shortly afterwards, Bruges and with it control of the whole of Flanders fell into Artveldes hands.

Since Artevelde concluded an alliance with England and the English King Richard II promised him military support, the French King Charles VI decided. to act. The English expedition army first had to be set up while the French one was ready for action. In addition, there had also been isolated revolts in France, encouraged by the Flemish success, so that the French king had to fear for his power in the event of defeat. He was supported by Duke Philip of Burgundy , who had married the only descendant of the Flemish count and would thus be the future sole heir of the county.

The preparations dragged on until 1382 and the conflict also got a religious note because France and Burgundy supported the antipope in Avignon, while the Flemings and the English supported the (regular) Roman Pope Urban VI. stood.

The battle

The French army consisted of about 12,000 men, including the best knights of France under the command of the king himself, as well as his adjutant Olivier V. de Clisson . Even on the march to Flanders, the army had to contend with numerous problems. The autumn weather was cold and it was pouring rain. In addition, the cities (including the French) refused to support them. On the one hand, many sympathized with the Flemings, on the other hand, some cities themselves went hungry.

The first contact took place on the Leie river near the village of Komen. The Flemings had destroyed the bridge and placed an additional 700 crossbowmen there to prevent the French from building a replacement bridge. However, a few knights managed to cross the river a little further downstream in boats and drive away the Flemish crossbowmen. This enabled the French to build a makeshift bridge and cross the river. It also invalidated Artevelde's plan to avoid open combat and wait until winter and hunger had hit the French.

On November 27, the French army of knights met the Flemish army near Roosebeke. The Flemish army consisted of about 20,000 men, mostly poorly trained militiamen , but also a considerable number of crossbowmen. The day before the battle, Clisson had also been replaced as Commander-in-Chief of the French and replaced by Enguerrand de Coucy .

The French plan was to split the army into three parts. The first part, under the command of the king, was to form the center and attack the other two from the flank.

The battle began with heavy crossbow fire from the Flemings and a subsequent assault on the center of the French. The French center was surprised by the severity of the attack, suffered heavy losses and was soon surrounded by the Flemings, including the king. However, the left wing under Coucy surprised the Flemings with its flank attack and managed to relieve the center and trap the Flemings in a cauldron in which they were more and more crushed and suffocated. The bodies of the fallen showed surprisingly little bleeding.


Philip van Artevelde was killed during the battle and Flanders sacked. The city of Ghent was able to hold its own, but eventually fell to the Duke of Burgundy through bribery . Philip of Burgundy thus obtained rule over all of Flanders.


Web links

Commons : Battle of Roosebeke  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Bart Van Loo (author), Andreas Ecke (translator): Burgundy - the vanished empire - a story of 1111 years and one day . CH Beck, Munich 2020, ISBN 978-3-406-74927-8 , p. 113 ff .