Woodcut from the Nanceidos, a 16th century book about the battle of Nancy. Found it online somewhere.
Just an update on the Bold this time. For the pretty/funny pictures I refer to the Chicken site. Link on the right. [I wasn’t really planning on publishing this post today but I hit the wrong button apparently, so here goes… I am still updating this, though]. This is a work in progress.
First a follow-up on the two movies Le miracle des loups.
It seems there is a fictional novel by Walter Scott, Quentin Durward, in which the Bold plays a role. Somebody uploaded a 7-part tv series with the same name on YouTube. I try to watch it every now. It’s in French but they speak fairly slowly. Also, major disappointment, the tv series The Bold and the Beautiful has nothing to do with Charles the Bold.
The latest addition to the Burgundian reading pile is consists of a many-hand bio of Louis XI – his arch enemy -, a book in good condition about the history of Bruges and a worn book about the history of Burgundy. The French region, not the wine. I draw the line there. I haven’t had time to read them as I am trying to keep up with NaNoWriMo in the evenings.
Tracking the remains
The past couple days I have been trying to track the remains of the Bold. Oddly enough, none of the books I have read so far seem to have the complete information so I am reconstructing it from various sources, mostly Wikipedia and other online sources to start with. I’ll correct them as I go along. I will add this to the relevant page. It’s one of main objectives of the quest so I want to devote enough time to this.
In the winter of 1476-77 – being the stupid and reckless little shithead he was – the Bold kept attacking the French and the Swiss. On the 5th of January 1477, majorly overpowered, he was killed in the battle of Nancy by a half deaf, half blind soldier who didn’t recognise him. According to the code of war kings and leaders were usually not killed but captured for ransom money. So he had a bit of bad luck or met his well deserved fate, depending on your point of view.
Charles fell from his horse, shouted who he was but the soldier misunderstood him and split his head in two. C was basically reduced to mincemeat because when he was found he had multiple wounds apart from his split skull. I read somewhere that the soldier who didn’t recognise him died a few months later because of remorse, but that’s just a legend, I suppose.
A couple days after the chaotic battle C still hadn’t turned up in his camp so they went looking for him. The soldier who had last seen him alive led a search party to the borders of a lake near Nancy. They finally found him a little apart from the other dead bodies. The bold’s body was lying face down at the edge of the lake, his face frozen to the ground. He was stripped of all his clothes and belongings and was identified by a number of characteristics, including his missing front teeth, several old scars including the one on his throat from the battle of Montléry, a wound in the groin, ingrown toe nail and his long nails. He was said to have been partially eaten by wolves but that’s probably also a legend.
He was brought to a house in Nancy. They dressed him in a white satin shirt and a red satin coat (other source says they put a red velvet cloth over his face and put him on a black bed of state. On both sides were two seats for heralds and in the four corners seats for servants holding burning torches. The body remained there for six days. Even if he had been a bitch to many people including his own half-brothers, there were enough tears apparently
he next Sunday he was buried in a fir coffin in the St Sebastian chapel of St George church at Nancy (the church is no longer there).
His wife and daughter only learned after a month or so that he was dead, by the way.
He was exhumed on 22 September 1550 (I also saw 24 somewhere) by Christina of Denmark by request of Charles V, his great grandson. The remains were brought from Nancy to Luxemburg where they stayed at the convent of the Minderbroeders. In 1553 the remains were brought to Bruges.
On the 7th June of 1553 they were placed in the vault of his daughter.
In 1563 he got his own tomb next to Mary’s.
During the French Revolution the tombs were damaged and plundered. His remains were probably lost (I presume it was a skeleton by then).
In 1806 both tombs were reconstructed somewhere else in the church.
In 1979 the floor of the church was dug up and the tombs were removed and reconstructed in the original place. Mary’s skeleton was found and identified but that of Charles was not there.
There are two additional elements that I found in other places:
Firstly, usually in those times the intestines are removed and placed in little boxes or other more fancy containers to keep at home (this is something that has always fascinated me). I read in a book that Charles’ intestines remained at Nancy. Doesn’t say where and how, so must check this.
Secondly, I read somewhere but I can’t remember where, that the remains that were taken to Bruges weren’t those of Charles to begin with as that body still had all its front teeth. Apparently when they opened the coffin in Nancy, the remains were in ad condition and just a big mess. They could be from his chamberlain, Jean de Rubempré, who also died at Nancy. Must check this but it’s late and I’ve got other work to do.
Maybe he is a DNR (Do Not Resurrect).
Oh my, those ER Hughes paintings are still haunting me…