Recent studies on how so-called modern states are run have demonstrated that fiscal levies constituted the essential resource in the genesis of the modern state in Mediaeval Europe. The increase in tax revenues and in the Mediaeval princes' financial resources proved crucial in the development of the States. Yet, this evolution was neither linear nor general in Mediaeval Europe. Moreover, in certain specific cases, a mediaeval Lord's or Monarch's decision to borrow money or to increase taxes jeopardized the stability of dynasties. We will concentrate in this article on the destabilizing, if not outright destructive, aspect of the dukes of Burgundy's financial policy (1384-1506). It is doubtless that the credit policy of the dynasty, one of the richest in late Middle-Ages' Europe, resulted in masses of cash flowing into the State's coffers ; it brought punctual political benefits and permitted to gain military positions on the ground. But, at the same time, this resorting to credit also built up a large-scale debt for the Duke's treasury, and submitted the dukes to both financial and administrative obligations that hindered considerably their political freedom.
- Middle Ages