Edward, prince of Wales and Aquitaine, known as the Black Prince, is one of the legendary figures of English history, victor of three great battles and a model of chivalry and courtesy. Behind this image, which many of his contemporaries accepted and eagerly believed in, it is difficult to get at the realities of his character and of the life that he led. Most of his biographers have based their work on the splendid vision of chivalry conjured up by Froissart, but the present book deliberately shuns this approach, to see what can be found in official records, particularly from the prince's household and those who campaigned with the prince. Special attention has been paid not onlyto the confusing and confused accounts of the great battles, but also to the prince's early years, his close companions who contributed so greatly to his successes, and to his government of Aquitaine, an obscure but very importantpart of his career. A number of minor but persistent errors in early histories, deriving from Froissart, are corrected. A concluding chapter examines how the legend of the Black Prince (and his curious nickname) came into being.By separating the image and the reality, a clearer picture of the prince emerges. Dr RICHARD BARBER is the author of The Arthurian Legends, King Arthur: Hero and Legend, Tournaments, a biography of Henry II, The Penguin Guide to Medieval Europe, and the recently revised seminal study of The Knight and Chivalry.
Richard Barber has published widely on medieval history. The Knight and Chivalry won the 1971 Somerset Maugham Award. His other major interest is historical biography with books on Henry Plantagenet and the Black Prince.