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A Franc-archer was the first attempt at the formation of regular infantry in France. They were created by the ordinance of Montils-les-Tours on the 28th of August 1448, which prescribed that in each parish an archer should be chosen from among the most apt in the use of arms; who was to be exempt from the taille and certain obligations, to practise shooting with the bow on Sundays and feast-days, and to hold himself ready to march fully equipped at the first signal. Under Charles VII the francs-archers distinguished themselves in numerous battles with the English, and assisted the king to drive them from France. During the succeeding reigns the institution languished, and finally disappeared in the middle of the 16th century.[1]

Franc-archers in literature[edit]

The franc-archers was a stock figure of fun in literary satire as early as the late 15th century. In these satires the franc-archer is portrayed as vainglorious, cowardly and militarily useless.[2] The francs-archers were nicknamed francs-taupins, meaning either "free-moles" [3] or "free-beetles".[4]


  1. ^ Arthur Augustus Tilley, Medieval France: A Companion to French Studies, Volume 5 (CUP Archive, 1964), pp. 159-61.
  2. ^ Potter, David (2008). Renaissance France at War. Woodbridge: Boydell. pp. 324–7. ISBN 9781843834052. 
  3. ^ William Duane (1810): A Military Dictionary
  4. ^ Dr Faustroll (2007):Pataphysica 4: Pataphysica E Alchimia 2,pub iUniverse,ISBN 9780595426102, p.61

Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "article name needed". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.