During 1359 to 1360, Chaucer served with the English army in France and was taken prisoner near Reims. He was released for ransom — toward which Edward himself contributed sixteen pounds — and returned to England. Later that same year, Chaucer traveled back to France, carrying royal letters, apparently entering the service of Edward as the king's servant and sometimes emissary. Although he again served with the English army in France in 1369, by 1370 Chaucer was traveling abroad on a diplomatic mission for the king. Having been commissioned to negotiate with the Genoese on the choice of an English commercial port, Chaucer took his first known journey to Italy in December of 1372 and remained there until May 1373. He probably gained his knowledge of Italian poetry and painting during his visits to Genoa and Florence. Chaucer's high standing continued during the reign of Richard, who became king in 1377.
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