Honoré Bonet

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15th century manuscript of L’arbre des batailles by Honoré Bonet

Honoré Bonet (c. 1340 – c. 1410) was a Provençal Benedictine, the prior of Salon near Embrun.

Bonet studied at Avignon University where he received a doctorate and traveled around France and Aragon. He wrote on philosophy, law, politics, and heraldry. In his work Arbre des Batailles (c. 1382--87) Bonet deals with war and the laws of war, written in the form of scholastic dialogue: each chapter starts with a yes/no question, proceeds with a dialogue, and ends with a conclusion. The book was written to obtain favour of Charles V of France, but without much effect. However, it became a manual for commanders and a lot of European rulers and gentlemen had this book in their libraries as well. In 1456 it was translated to English in the Rosslyn castle for Gilbert de la Haye, Chancellor of Scotland, Earl of Orkney and Caithness.

Bonet was deeply influenced by Bartolo de Sassoferrato and Bonet himself was very influential in the 15th century. Christine de Pisan copied liberally from him, quoting him as one of her sources: her writing was popularized by William Caxton in England. Jean Courtois, herald of Alfonso V of Aragon, also used Bonet extensively in his Blason des Couleurs.

Other works by Bonet are L'Apparicion maistre Jehan de Meun and the Somnium super materia scismatis (1394).

Editions and Translations[edit]

  • The first French edition Lyon 1481. Thereafter it was published several times, including Bruxelles 1883.
  • The Tree of Battles of Honoré Bonet, trans. G. W. Coopland, Liverpool: At the University Press, 1949.

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