Why did Caesar conquer France in 8 years but the English failed after 112 years?

Ichon

Ad Honorem
Mar 2013
3,759
If you look at the map, it's more accurate to say that he conquered half of France and the capital which is like conquering 3/4ths of the nation.



Yes, it's true that technology does speed up the rate of taking land but I was using that as an example that population alone does not predict the speed of conquest.
Caesar didn't exactly conquer ALL of Gaul or modern area of France as many tribes were already dependents or friends of Rome.




 
Apr 2017
756
Lemuria
The yeoman longbowmen would like to have a word. Also, without the English peasants and merchants, how are you going to equip and feed the noblemen? I would agree that the nobility was mainly of Norman extraction, although there were also Welsh and Anglo-Saxon blood coming in. For instance, Henry I's wife, Matilda of Scotland, and through her, Empress Matilda and the Plantagenet Kings.

As for the old Angevin Empire, that was long gone by 15th century. The Kings of England could not hold onto even the lands restored in the Treaty of Bretigny, and by the start of 15th century, the lands in France were again hemmed back to Guyenne (and Calais). The taking of Rouen was a lengthy and a bloody affair, not a cheered restoration of the ancient Duchy of Normandy.

The alliance of Burgundy happened formally in 1419, just a year prior to the Treaty of Troyes. Although I am happy to admit that the alliance did benefit Henry V a lot, and that the Burgundians and the Armagnacs feuding with one another was beneficial to the English even before the formal alliance; for instance the Burgundians did not come to Agincourt in 1415.
This is why I said the old Angevin empire. The first thing the Angevins (not Normans; the Norman house was extincted by now) of England did was restoring the old Angevin empire in France. Normandy itself fought mostly on the side of the "Francilien" kings while Gascony supplied many of the "English" men-at-arms.
 
Jan 2009
1,285
The first thing the Angevins (not Normans; the Norman house was extincted by now) of England did was restoring the old Angevin empire in France.
I guess you mean the Treaty of Bretigny, 1360, which did restore much of the old Duchy of Aquitaine. However, Anjou itself was not included. (Nor were Maine, Brittany and Normandy, which were part of the Angevin Empire.) Peace lasted for 9 years after which it took mere 8 years for the English to be pushed back to a sliver of land around Bordeaux again.

Also, you can compare this map:
to this map:
And you can see that most of the old Duchy of Aquitaine was controlled by Charles VII. The Angevin Empire was dead and buried in the century and a half between John and Edward III.
 

Haesten

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
2,930
After reading all of the posts my new oversimplified explanation is as follows:
1. Gaul was more divided in 50 BC than France 1339 - 1451.
2. Rome was a better trained and more disciplined army.
3. Caesar was probably the greatest general of all time.
4. England had half the population of France and the logistical problems of the channel were harder to surmount than crossing the Alps.
5. Gaul also to deal with attacks from the Germans, though to be fair Rome also had other fronts to worry about.
6. Both the English and the French suffered from a lack of military tactical genius, Henry V being an exception but he only participated for 7 years.
It was Edward III and the Black Prince who developed the longbow tactics used so successfully by Henry V. First used at the Battle of Halidon Hill in the Second War of Scottish Independence. The archers were arrayed in wedge formations with men-at-arms on foot between the archer formations, the longbows forcing the oncoming troops to compress.
 
Jan 2019
34
Northumberland-England
Just to point out that the total population of England at the time of Agincourt was approx. 2.3 million. The population of France was around 16 million IIRC. Although this would include those regions loyal to England. The majority of Henry's army was of Anglo Saxon origin (mainly the archers, although I'll bet some of the men at arms would also be of Saxon origin).
 
Last edited:
Aug 2018
697
london
The Gauls were divided into different nations or tribes, some of which were allied with Rome.
 

Haesten

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
2,930
Well, he fought in Gaul for 8 years and then the civil war for I think it was about 4 years. Right there that's 12 years. Nathan Bedford Forest by comparison during the 4 years of the American Civil War came under fire 150 times give or take 10 according the Jack Hurst. If Caesar is conflating skirmish with battle then I think 300 is certainly possible. And perhaps he meant 300 victories and just failed to disclose the number of losses. As for the actual quote it's in Stacy Schiff's Cleopatra: A life, so you'll have to take it up with her.
Caesar's family was on the wrong side of a civil war and he had to join the army as a common soldier aged 19.
Just to point out that the total population of England at the time of Agincourt was approx. 2.3 million. The population of France was around 16 million IIRC. Although this would include those regions loyal to England. The majority of Henry's army was of Anglo Saxon origin (mainly the archers, although I'll bet some of the men at arms would also be of Saxon origin).
You can search the muster records here.