Battle of Gavere

Battle of Gavere
Part of the Revolt of Ghent
15th-century painters - Surrender of the Burghers of Ghent in 1453 - WGA15789.jpg
The burghers of Ghent surrender to Philip the Good after the Battle of Gavere. Illustration from a contemporary manuscript.
Date23 July 1453

Burgundian victory:

  • Peace of Gavere
Duchy of Burgundy Ghent rebels
Commanders and leaders
Philip the Good (WIA)
Louis de Gruuthuse
30,000[citation needed] 30,000(exaggeration)[1]
Casualties and losses

The Battle of Gavere was fought near Semmerzake in the County of Flanders (now Belgium) on July 23, 1453, between an army under the Philip the Good of Burgundy and the rebelling city of Ghent. The battle ended the Revolt of Ghent with a Burgundian victory.


Ghent was the most populous, rich and powerful city in the Burgundian Netherlands. The battle was a consequence of Ghent's opposition against a new salt tax.[2] When the city openly declared its rebellion, the Duke assembled an army of around 30,000[citation needed] from neighbouring lands, including southern Flanders,[3] and attacked three fortifications; Schendelbeke, Poeke, and Gavere.[1]

Schendelbeke and Poeke were both taken with little effort and both garrisons were executed.[1] The Burgundian army began its bombardment of Gavere on 18 July.[1] The Ghentenaar relief army arrived on 23 July, not knowing the fort had fallen the day before.[1] Philip, aware of the approach of the Ghentenaar army, drew up his army into battle lines.[1] Finding Philip's army battle ready, the Ghentenaar army formed up.[1]


The battle began with an artillery exchange, a first for the Burgundian army,[4] and due to the superior range of the Ghentenaar artillery, Philip was forced to move his cannons closer to the enemy.[1] Once in range, the Burgundian artillery began to weaken Ghentenaar morale, and numerous Ghentenaar soldiers fled.[1] A Ghentenaar contemporary source claims a spark ignited an open sack of gunpowder causing an explosion which caused the Ghent cannoners to rout.[4]

Seeing the enemy flee, the Burgundian army charged.[1] Some Ghent soldiers regrouped to counter the charge, but their efforts were useless and casualties were high.[1]


It was feared the Duke would destroy the city completely, but when asked to show mercy he is said to have replied "If I should destroy this city, who is going to build me one like it?"

The battle broke the power of Ghent only temporarily, as in 1539 there would be another revolt against the high taxes under Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor (see Revolt of Ghent (1539)).


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Rogers 2010, p. 149.
  2. ^ Smith & DeVries 2016, p. 127.
  3. ^ Crombie 2016, p. 47.
  4. ^ a b Smith & DeVries 2005, p. 28.


  • Crombie, Laura (2016). Archery and Crossbow Guilds in Medieval Flanders, 1300-1500. The Boydell Press.
  • DeVries, Kelly (2010). "Battle of Gavere". In Rogers, Clifford J. (ed.). The Oxford Encyclopedia of Medieval Warfare and Military Technology. Oxford University Press.
  • Smith, Robert Douglas; DeVries, Kelly (2005). The Artillery of the Dukes of Burgundy, 1363-1477. The Boydell Press.
  • Charles Terlinden, Histoire militaire des Belges, Brussels, La Renaissance du Livre, 1931.

See also

External links

Coordinates: 50°56′00″N 3°39′00″E / 50.9333°N 3.65°E / 50.9333; 3.65

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