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Valentina Visconti, Charles VI, and the politics of witchcraft.

In 1396, Valentina Visconti, Duchess of Orleans (1368-1408), fled the French royal court under suspicion of bewitching her brother-in-law, King Charles VI (1368-1422), and causing him to suffer periods of insanity. Many historians have blamed the rumours that forced Valentina's flight on the King's wife, Isabeau of Bavaria (1371-1435), regarding the Queen as a spiteful tormenter, jealous of her husband's obvious preference for his sister-in-law when he was insane. (1) Although I have attempted elsewhere to revise Isabeau's black legend on numerous counts, in this article I suggest, based on an examination of the women's activity in 1395-96, that Isabeau may well have been involved in Valentina's departure, but that her motivation would have been political rather than romantic jealousy. (2) Representing competing branches of the Visconti family at court, the women promoted their families' causes, and the descent of the star of Valentina's branch of the family in the mid-1390s would have given Isabeau the chance to move against her rival. Because charges of witchcraft often were deployed for political gain in medieval France, as we shall see, making such charges against Valentina would have been typical political behaviour.

But this is only part of a complex story, for Valentina's experience was also embedded in the struggle for power between her husband, the King's brother Louis, Duke of Orleans (1372-1407), and the royal brothers' uncle, Philip, Duke of Burgundy (1342-1404). In 1393, Philip seems to have begun accusing Louis of using magic to cause the unfortunate King's intermittent madness, which had begun in 1392. Philip's aim would have been to discredit Louis so as to justify his own grab for the power that he had lost in 1388 when the young king assumed control of his own kingdom and dismissed his uncle from the Royal Council. Although Philip seems genuinely to have believed that someone was bewitching the King, it is clear that the accusations he made against his nephew were politically motivated. The rivalry between Valentina and Isabeau resulted from an unrelated Visconti family dispute, but their story must be regarded as a part of this larger picture of political factionalism at the court of Charles VI.

Beyond political intrigue, the story offers a tantalising glimpse of contemporary efforts to make sense of the King's madness through the prism of magic. Chronicle versions of the story illustrate how different groups examined the King's symptoms, seeking a taxonomy that would make them comprehensible. When conventional medical interventions failed, many at court turned to witchcraft as an explanation. Still, not everyone believed the accusations of witchcraft against Valentina to be true. We see observers testing the charges against alternative explanations, sometimes accepting them as valid and sometimes discounting them. In the conclusion of this article, I insert Valentina's story into the longer history of sorcery in France, where it corroborates other studies of the phenomenon more generally in the years just preceding the great witch-craze.

I. Witchcraft and Political Rivalry

In 1374, King CharlesV (1338-1380) had assigned regency to his oldest brother, Louis of Anjou, in case of, what he feared would be, his early demise. At the same time, he had created a council that included his youngest brother, Philip of Burgundy, to oversee guardianship of the young king and the other royal children. He further placed everyone under the surveillance of his closest advisors, known by their detractors as the marmousets, giving veto power to his closest advisor, Bureau de la Riviere, 'lequel scet pleinement nostre volente et entencion sur le fait de noz enfanz dessuz diz' ('who fully knows our will and intention regarding our said children'). (3) And yet, despite this careful planning, Philip of Burgundy seized power over the government after the King's death, assisted in this by his brother, Jean of Berry. Louis of Anjou yielded, departing for Italy, while Philip then held power until 1388, when the twenty-year-old Charles VI reclaimed his throne from his uncles. (4) At the same time the King greatly enhanced the role and power of his own brother, Louis. But in August 1392, while leading a military expedition to Brittany, the King suffered his first known episode of the insanity that would plague him for the duration of his life. Although Charles recovered within a few days of his initial attack, raising hopes that the incident was a one-off, the hope was dashed within the year by another episode. (5) Philip in the meantime re-established himself at the head of the government, attempting to push aside Louis, then twenty years old. (6) But Louis, the closest male relative to the King (except the dauphin, born in February 1392), was the natural choice for regent when his brother was incapacitated, and, in 1393, the King declared by royal ordinance that should he die Louis would serve as regent until the heir was an adult.

Philip never accepted Louis's primacy, and, backed with all the resources available to the second most powerful man in the kingdom after the King himself, he conducted himself as if he were the legitimate head of the government until his death in 1404. Thus the stage was set for the eventual Orleanist--Burgundian (later known as the Armagnac--Burgundian) feud, which would result in the assassination of Louis at the order of Jean of Burgundy (Philip's son and heir) in 1407 and of Jean of Burgundy himself in 1419 at the order of the dauphin, Charles. Given the suddenness and severity of the King's illness, suspicions of sorcery were inevitable. True, the chronicler known as the Monk of Saint Denis, Michel Pintoin, reports that doctors initially believed the attack to have resulted from a release of black bile brought on by anger. Another explanation offered was that God had sent the episode as a sign to the sinful French. However, Pintoin continues, most of the nobility and the masses ('nobilium et ignobilium major pars') believed that the episode had been caused by a magical spell. (7) Inevitable, too, under the circumstances was that Philip would turn the suspicion that sorcery lay behind the King's condition into a political weapon to wield against the nephew. The roots of the feud often are traced to 1398 or even 1401, when the Dukes nearly came to arms in Paris. (8) An examination of the incidents of witchcraft at court, however, indicates bad blood long before this date.

It was furthermore inevitable that witchcraft would be deployed to cure the King. Pintoin describes the first recorded official attempt in 1393, writing that anguished counsellors summoned a charlatan magician named Arnaud Guillaume who possessed a book called Smagorad, which had been given to Adam by an angel and contained knowledge that would allow the possessor to master the stars and restore the King's health. (9) When questioned about his visible lack of success, Arnaud assured the Queen and the nobility of the kingdom ('regni obtimatibus') that his cure was being prevented by certain actors ('auctores') who were bewitching the King. Who were these? Earlier in the passage, Pintoin had indicated that Valentina was a prime suspect. According to Pintoin, when mad, the King preferred Valentina above all others, particularly the Queen, whom he appeared not to recognise. Valentina went to see him daily, which many interpreted in a negative way ('multi in partem interpretabantur pejorem'), because in Lombardy, where the Duchess came from, poisons and spells thrived more than anywhere else ('intoxicaciones et sortilegia vigebant plus quam aliis partibus'). (10)

Although Pintoin indicates that the finger was pointed at Valentina, I suggest that Louis was actually the main target of an accusation waged by Philip of Burgundy, with Valentina serving as a convenient stand in for her husband. Attacking a powerful lord through his wife was a time-honoured practice, one that reappears in chronicles over the years. Genevieve Buhrer-Thierry and Pauline Stafford have documented for the early Middle Ages the symbolic reciprocal relationship posited between order in a queen or princess's personal life and order in the kingdom, showing that to question her virtue was to challenge her spouse's authority. (11) A man could attack a rival he dared not confront directly by accusing his wife of malfeasance. A later example is furnished by Philip Augustus engaged in a fight against Flanders: the king announced his intention to divorce his wife, Isabella of Hainaut, a move that amounted to a 'disavowal of the count of Hainaut', Isabella's father, and 'through him, an attack on the Flemish party'. (12) Anne Boleyn offers a still later example. Caught up in a battle between her clan and that of the increasingly powerful Seymours, Anne was executed on what historians agree to be a false charge of adultery. (13)

To return to Valentina, an episode reported by the chronicler Jean Froissart for the early 1390s in which the Duchesses of Burgundy and Orleans sparred over rank illustrates how the Dukes' quarrel was reported through stories about the duchesses. Froissart depicts the outraged reaction of Valentina when the Duchess of Burgundy assumed the position just behind the Queen. (14) Rank was a matter of utmost importance at court, a tribally encoded protocol, calculated according to the nearness of relation to the reigning king: Louis as brother preceded the uncle, Philip. (15) The Duchess of Burgundy's assertion of priority is the analogue of her husband's repeated attempts to establish his priority over the Duke of Orleans. Priority would have been an increasingly pressing issue for Philip around the time of Arnaud Guillaume's appearance at court and the first accusations against Valentina, which occurred sometime between Easter and August 1393, to judge by his story's place in Pintoin's chronicle. In January 1393, Charles, recently recovered from a long bout of madness, had promulgated the royal ordinance that named Louis regent in the case of his death. Philip, in contrast, was named to a council of guardians for the dauphin and royal children, as he had been by his brother Charles V. Thus he had a motive to challenge Louis. Just as the Duchesses of Burgundy and Orleans fought over precedence, Philip frequently accused his nephew of monopolising power over the years. (16)

The episode offers one further clue that Philip was behind the accusation. As we have seen, Pintoin claims that 'nobilium et ignobilium major pars' believed the King to be the victim of magic. Philip of Burgundy's popularity with the Parisians is well attested with numerous chronicles depicting his letters opportunistically denouncing taxes being read aloud to various crowds. (17) He was thus in a position to arouse the Parisians against the Orleanists, and Valentina, whose Milanese background made her a likely suspect, would have been an easy target.

The next case of witchcraft recorded by chroniclers is Valentina's flight from Paris. Pintoin opens the episode with a moving description of the continuing anxiety at the court--doctors were called upon and then chased away when they failed to offer a cure. (18) At the same time, he writes, many others throughout the kingdom began to suffer from the same disease, blaming magical spells. Once again, suspicion fell on Valentina.
   Multi in Francie nobiles et ignobiles morbido simili laborabant, ut
   vulgus asserabat, maleficii et sortilegiis detenti, hiisque et
   regem illaqueatum, et verissimile erat hoc a dominio Mediolani
   procedebat. Hanc apparenciam ad confirmandum suum stultum
   propositum adducebant, quia ejusdem filia Aureliaennsis sola regi
   sic detento cognoscibilis erat, nec durasset nisi eam cotidie
   familiariter visitasset, hanc absentem et presentem vocans
   dilectissimam sororem.

   (Many nobles and non-nobles in France were suffering from the same
   malady, so that the people claimed that this was caused by
   witchcraft and spells and that the king had been bewitched and it
   was likely the Lord of Milan had caused this. To support this
   foolish proposition they pointed out that the King recognised only
   the Lord of Milan's daughter, the Duchess of Orleans, when he was
   deranged and that he could not bear for her not to visit him daily
   and that whether she was absent or present he called her his
   beloved sister.) (19)


And, once again, Pintoin explains that the people and the nobility shared this belief. At court, too, both men and women circulated gossip targeting the Duchess of Orleans: 'Ob occasionem istam multi utriusque sexus contra ea murmurabant' ('On this pretext, many of both sexes, murmured against her). (20) Pintoin insists that the charges against the Duchess were without foundation, dismissing popular opinion regarding magical spells ('sentenciam vulgalem de sortilegiis'), which he attributes to fools, necromancers, and the superstitious. The chronicler professes to believe, along with doctors and theologians, that the King's state was the result of his youthful excesses. Still, the Duke of Orleans finally was persuaded to send his wife away from court to avoid scandal, ushering Valentina from Paris in a magnificent cortege to another of their properties. (21)

Froissart, who in contrast with Pintoin was not at all sympathetic towards Valentina, describes the political ambition attributed by some rumourmongers to the Duchess of Orleans. The word was that, coveting the throne for her husband, she was bewitching the King with spells. (22) Froissart reports that Valentina's father, Lord of Milan Giangaleazzo Visconti, apprised of his daughter's danger, sent messengers to the King and his council to plead on her behalf. However, even though the King was in good health, he paid no attention to their words and answered them very curtly, Froissart reports. The King, as we shall see in the following section, had withdrawn his favour from the Visconti and therefore from Valentina. (23)

Another text, known today as the 'Justification of Jean Petit' written in 1408, suggests yet more forcefully that Valentina was made to serve as a lightning rod for her male kinsmen's quarrels. To justify his 1407 assassination of Louis, Jean of Burgundy engaged the aid of Franciscan Jean Petit, who offered a long discourse before the court on Louis's crimes, chief among them being that Louis had used magical spells and poisons for the purpose of becoming king himself. As corroborating evidence, Petit details examples of Louis's alleged involvement with witchcraft dating from the early 1390s. (24) As we have seen, the chronicles report only that accusations were aimed at Valentina. However, in citing Louis rather than Valentina, the 'Justification of Jean Petit' indicates that Louis was the real target behind the charges against his wife.

The next episode of witchcraft recounted by Pintoin depicts the conflict between the dukes in 1398 at a yet more advanced and dangerous point. Pintoin explains that the Constable of France, Louis of Sancerre, sent two Augustinians called Pierre and Lancelot to cure the King through magic. Before proceeding to the magic, they mixed distilled water with powdered gems ('aque cum pulverisatis gemmis distillate') into his food and drink. Many protested against the magicians, saying that the King could only be cured through divine intervention. And indeed, the Augustinians' methods did not achieve much success. Pintoin describes the King feeling his illness return a week after the attempted cure and crying out that he would rather be dead than continue to suffer such torments. (25)

Not only were Pierre and Lancelot unsuccessful, they made the fatal mistake of blaming Louis of Orleans for their failure, insisting that their own attempts at a cure were being blocked by magic from outside. Pintoin is oblique, but he lets it be known that the Augustinians were in the pay of Philip of Burgundy. First, the statement that they often visited the Duke of Burgundy ('ducis Burgundie sepius accedentes') is suggestive. Second, Pintoin notes that they alleged that the King's illness issued from some outside magic ('firmiter asserebant quod infirmitas regia non naturaliter, sed per extrinseca maleficia procedebat'). Finally, he explains, when questioned, the pair claimed the magic destroying the King to have been supplied by Louis. (26)

Pintoin's version of the story must be compared to that recounted in the chronicle of Jean Juvenal des Ursins, which claims, on the contrary, that some believed the magicians were in the pay of Louis of Orleans. However, the point of Juvenal des Ursins's chronicle was to make Philip look like the bad guy: according to this strongly committed Orleanist chronicler, rumour had it that because the Augustinians claimed themselves to be the Duke of Orleans's men, the Duke of Burgundy had them arrested. The reason? Revenge, according to Juvenal des Ursins. It seems that a certain Jean de Bar, necromancer, summoner of devils, and man of the Duke of Burgundy ('qui estoit nigromancien et invocateur de diables, et estoit au duc de Bourgogne'), earlier had been burned at the stake on Louis's order. (27) According to Juvenal des Ursins, the arrest of the Augustinians was one more blow in a cycle of attack and counterattack. The chronicler adds that much was done out of jealousy between the two Dukes ('pour les envies qui estoient entre lesdits deux ducs'). (28)

However, Jean-Patrice Boudet argues convincingly that Pintoin's version is more likely to be accurate than that of Juvenal des Ursins. (29) Because Pintoin, well known for his Burgundian bias, nonetheless allows us to read between the lines to see Philip behind the Augustinians' accusation of Louis, this version has the ring of truth. Moreover, as Boudet points out, if it had been commonly believed that the Duke of Orleans had hired the two Augustinian necromancers, surely Jean Petit would have drawn upon the affair for evidence in his justification of Jean of Burgundy's assassination of Louis, where he lists Louis's supposed sorcery against the king as one of the reasons that Louis had to be done away with. Finally, in his rebuttal of Jean Petit's justification, Thomas du Bourg, the abbe of Cerisy, reminds listeners that Louis had been responsible for the arrests of both Jean de Bar and the Augustinians, a charge that corroborates Pintoin and is never refuted by the Burgundians.

This incident of 1398 suggests that Louis interfered in Philip's attempts to cure the king through magic, and that Philip, in retaliation, once again used charges of witchcraft against his nephew. Such antics caused contemporary nervousness. (30) The accusations of witchcraft at the highest levels of court came to be regarded as an urgent problem. Indeed, the practice was deemed so socially disruptive that in 1398 the Faculty of Theology at the University of Paris under Chancellor Jean Gerson intervened, publishing a solemn determinatio condemning twenty-eight articles related to magic and forbidding the use of magic, even for ostensibly positive reasons. As Boudet and Jan R. Veenstra have shown, the determinatio targets the same practices of which Jean de Bar was accused, strongly suggesting that the document was a response to that tumultuous incident. (31) The effects of the determinatio, however, were limited, for in 1403 Philip was back at work. The Duke of Burgundy's accounts show that for a period of seven months beginning in October 1402, he paid a pair of magicians called Ponset du Solier and Jean Flandrin to discover who was guilty of bewitching the King and to cure him. (32) But, incapable either of discovering who was responsible or of curing the King, they were both eventually burned.

Philip of Burgundy seems to have been convinced that his nephew was responsible for the King's illness, attempting again and again to prove with the aid of sorcerers that this was the case. But surely he was motivated as much by his desire to be rid of his younger rival for power as by a disinterested concern for the King. AsVeenstra writes of the early fifteenth century, charges of 'sorcery and magic (all involving the notion of the devil's pact) proved an expedient means of slandering, condemning and eliminating one's political adversaries'. (33) Indeed, other members of Valentina's family had already been accused of witchcraft for political motives. Her great-great-grandfather, Matteo Visconti, along with his sons and Dante of Divine Comedy fame, had been charged in a trial instituted in 1320 in Avignon with attempting to kill Pope John XXII (1249-1334) by means of wax puppets. (34) The Ghibelline Matteo, who held authority over Milan as imperial vicar for Emperor Henry VII, became embroiled, after the Emperor's death in 1313, in the battle between candidates for the imperial throne and Pope John XXII, who was hoping to win back some of what he had lost to the emperor. In 1321, the Pope excommunicated Matteo and his sons, accusing them of heretical opinions, maleficia, and being in league with demons; in 1322 Matteo was degraded from all honours and offices and his property targeted to be confiscated. However, in a papal bull of 1341, Pope Benedict XII acknowledged that actions against the Visconti had been motivated by partisan politics and declared them void. In another example, Jeanne of Navarre, wife of Henry IV, is widely believed to have been falsely accused of using black magic to poison the king for the most banal of all motives: to save the kingdom the dower money that they owed her. Convicted in 1419, Jeanne was imprisoned in comfort in Pevensey Castle for four years before being released. (35)

Philip's accusations of witchcraft must be seen as both cause and effect of the power struggle. The Burgundians, notorious for a propaganda machine that has coloured the history of the conflict between them and the Orleanists to the modern era, were particularly successful at promulgating the story that Louis was a sorcerer. (36) As we have seen, after Louis's assassination, Jean of Burgundy had his act justified by theologian Jean Petit, who claimed that the Duke of Orleans had 'resorted to black magic to the kill the king by some slow disorder that would not arouse suspicion of murder'. (37) In addition, in a work of 1409, Pierre Salmon reports that Richard II of England, who had married Charles VI's daughter in 1396, believed that Louis of Orleans had caused the king's illness 'par art dyabolyque'. (38)

II. Valentina and the Politics of Witchcraft

Valentina's flight from Paris was in part the result of the dispute between Louis and Philip: Valentina served as a scapegoat for the tensions at court raised by their dispute. Still, she was herself deeply involved in court politics, and her own political rivalry with the Queen adds a layer of complexity to the charges against her. The tense relationship between the Queen and the Duchess of Orleans has been treated as faintly amusing, a sort of 'cat fight'. As I have noted, nineteenth- and early twentieth-century biographers believed that the Queen, by planting rumours that the Duchess of Orleans was poisoning the King, had caused the poor woman to be chased from court. More recently, with the rehabilitation of the once-notorious Isabeau, the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction, to the extent that the conflict between the women has tended to be ignored or denied. (39) Yet, Isabeau and Valentina belonged to competing branches of the Visconti family, and, in a society where women in positions of power served as spokespersons and mediators for their families' interests, they were political rivals. They also lived together at the royal residence, the Hotel St Pol, in the closest possible proximity, exchanged gifts and letters even during Valentina's exile, and came together as allies after the assassination of Louis of Orleans in 1407. When Charles VI began in 1392 to suffer from episodes of insanity that responded neither to medical, including astrological, interventions, nor prayers, sorcery was quite naturally suspected. As recent historians have shown, accusations of witchcraft were waged most frequently among close neighbours. (40) Given the situation, that Isabeau would have been among those accusing Valentina of witchcraft seems entirely predictable.

Isabeau and Valentina were daughters of first cousins: Isabeau's mother, Thaddea Visconti, who married Stephan III, Duke of Bavaria, and Valentina's father, Giangaleazzo Visconti, Lord, then Duke, of Milan, shared a grandfather. Together, Giangaleazzo and Isabeau's grandfather, Bernabo, had ruled over Milan. However, just weeks before Isabeau's marriage to Charles VI in July 1385, Giangaleazzo had Bernabo captured and imprisoned; the older man quickly and mysteriously expired. In the face of this treachery to her kinsman, Isabeau did everything possible to thwart Giangaleazzo's goal of creating a single united kingdom in northern Italy. Because Giangaleazzo's plans required the aid of the French against his enemies in Italy for their realisation, Isabeau's marriage to Charles VI represented a serious obstacle to him. For this reason, the Lord of Milan sought to marry his daughter to the King's brother, Louis, at the time Duke of Touraine, later Duke of Orleans. (41) The marriage took place in late July 1389. Long before the King's first fall into madness and the subsequent rivalry for regency, the two women were political enemies.

Under other circumstances, they might have been close friends and allies. Both were noteworthy for their love of books. Isabeau possessed a personal library of thirty-nine books, enormous for the time. (42) Susan Groag Bell explains that for the fifteenth century only thirteen women owned between 11-50 books and only thirteen owned more than that; for the fourteenth century, the numbers who owned 11-50 drop to seven and only one owned more. (43) As for Valentina, her library at Blois formed the core of that which later belonged to her son, poet Charles of Orleans. (44) Also, Valentina may have spoken German, Isabeau's mother tongue. Of the books that she brought with her from Italy when she first came to France, three were written in that language. (45) Isabeau, with an Italian mother, may also have spoken Italian.

And yet, their family positions placed them on opposite sides in all political dealings at court, including the Orleanist--Burgundian conflict when that first began. Isabeau's marriage to Charles VI had been the work of Philip. Moreover, she was Philip's natural ally because his family's interests matched closely with those of her own family. However, at the time of Valentina's flight, the women were entangled in what to them would have been the yet larger quarrel between the two branches of their family. Valentina and Isabeau were solicited for support from the opposing sides: the Milanese, Valentina's family, on the one hand, and, on the other, the Florentines, victims of the aggression of Valentina's father, Giangaleazzo. The principal Milanese supporters at court of course were Valentina and Louis of Orleans. As for the Florentines, they recognised Isabeau as their ally because she supported any effort to thwart her grandfather's murderer. In 1389, year of the marriage between Valentina and Louis, the city of Florence created a set of instructions detailing how to convince the Queen to intervene with Charles VI to persuade him to assist the Florentines in staving off Giangaleazzo's advances. (46) But as the only vehement supporter of the Florentines at court at that moment, Isabeau was unable to help their cause. At that moment, the Florentines had little to offer the French. They were neutral regarding the Schism, and, although they offered to turn over to the French any land that they might confiscate from Giangaleazzo if the French came to their aid, the possibility was too tenuous to tempt Charles VI. Thus Isabeau was unsuccessful in pleading their case, and a treaty between Paris and Milan was signed in 1391.

For a number of reasons, the situation shifted over the next several years. A plan promoted by Louis and Giangaleazzo for the French to invade Italy to overthrow the Roman pope and enthrone the Avignon pope failed to materialise, postponed to a later date after Charles decided to pursue peace with the English, who favoured the Roman pope. The hope of establishing a kingdom for Louis of Orleans in Italy with the support of Giangaleazzo was abandoned as well. When the Avignon pope Clement VII died in 1394, the French cardinals in Avignon elected another, Benedict XIII, from whom the French decided to withdraw obedience. This decision in turn had consequences for France's Italian policy, which had depended on Giangaleazzo's support of the Avignon pope. Moreover, in 1395, the French acquired Genoa. Giangaleazzo, wanting the city for himself, did his best to prevent the transaction, acting in an underhanded way, according to the French chroniclers. As Pintoin explains, the Duke of Milan intrigued with the Genoans, pretending to support the King of France's claim while all the time stirring up Guelf and Ghibelline animosities to create an obstacle to the French's attempts to establish authority over the city. (47) From that point on, as far as the French were concerned, Giangaleazzo was no longer their ally. In 1396, the marriage between princess Isabelle of France and Richard II of England further reduced hope of a reconciliation between Charles VI and Giangaleazzo. Pintoin reports that the King held the Duke of Milan in hatred and decided to destroy him with the help of the English. (48) The King made his hatred of Giangaleazzo manifest during a dinner celebrating the wedding between King of England Richard II and Isabella, daughter of Charles VI and Isabeau. On catching sight of a herald bearing Giangaleazzo's arms, Pintoin writes, Charles VI, infuriated by the intrigues of Giangaleazzo, had the arms torn from the herald and chased him from the court, threatening to throw him in prison if he ever returned. (49)

This change in the political environment gave Isabeau the chance to promote the Florentine cause against Giangaleazzo's. She initiated negotiations with the Florentine ambassador, Buonacorso Pitti, in 1396. In his memoir, Pitti reports that the Queen first summoned him in May of that year to ask him to persuade the Florentines to send ambassadors to the King of France to solicit an alliance against Giangaleazzo. This time she had the sway necessary to realise her Florentine policy, and, on 29 September 1396, an alliance was signed between France and Florence against Milan. (50) Behind the straightforward records of the political events that signalled Isabeau's success, we see another trace of the political skirmish that developed between her and Valentina throughout 1395-96. For the New Year of 1395, the Duchess of Orleans presented etrennes, sumptuous New Year's gifts traded among an elite group at the royal court to secure allies, placate enemies, and reinforce deals, for the first and only time to Isabeau's grand maitre d'hotel, Philip de Savoisy and to seven of the Queen's ladies. (51) Isabeau and Valentina had exchanged etrennes before and would exchange them later, but this large-scale appeal to Isabeau's closest associates reveals that an issue of special magnitude was being addressed.

Valentina fled Paris sometime prior to April 1396, just before Isabeau summoned Pitti. Although no chronicler reports that Isabeau was involved in Valentina's exile, it is difficult to believe that it could it be coincidence that Valentina was forced to flee just as the Queen achieved her goal of a political alliance with long-term enemies of the Duchess's father. And yet, Isabeau acting on her own could not have forced Valentina's exile against Louis's will. Louis of Orleans was a far more powerful figure than she. Referring to the 'Bal des ardents' where Louis accidentally lit a number of revellers on fire by leaning too close to them with a torch, killing several and barely avoiding the incineration of the King, Pintoin remarks that afterwards no one even dared ask Louis what he thought he had been doing, because he possessed such power ('magnitudinem'). (52) Isabeau's power, in comparison, would have been relatively paltry, and based solely on her ability to influence the powerful. She possessed no army of her own, in 1396 she had no independent treasury, nor had she yet been assigned special authority to mediate between the Dukes, as would later be the case. (53)

And yet, Pintoin tells us that the Duke of Orleans himself ordered the departure. He was reluctant to send his wife away, the charges being unfounded, but he finally agreed when a group of his men persuaded him avoid trouble by doing so. Writes Pintoin, 'Quapropter ne inde scandalum oriretur, dominus dux Aurelianensis, consilio domini marescalli Sacri Cesaris et aliorum illustrium acquiescens, ordinavit ut elongaretur a rege' ('So that no scandal would arise from this, the Duke of Orleans agreeing with the counsel of the Marechal of Sancerre and other illustrious men, ordered that she be separated from the King'). (54) He had her escorted out of Paris in great pomp.

Valentina's exile can only have resulted from a convergence of events. First, it can be viewed as a way of deflecting outrage and blame onto one who, in the way of the traditional scapegoat, was both central and peripheral to courtly politics, who inhabited a space both inside and outside of the group riven by such social strife that it was nearing disintegration. As we have seen, in 1395-96, the struggle between the Dukes was growing ever more intense. The exile, I believe, was aimed at defusing the tensions that threatened to erupt into social disorder. Through her elimination, the courtly community attempted to regain its lost harmony. It might be argued that Valentina was removed from court for the practical reason that it was hoped that she would be less able to bewitch the King from afar. However, the way Pintoin describes the incident provides a reason for believing that the Duke of Orleans sent his wife away to appease the court, to prevent a terrible event--the word that Pintoin uses to describe it is 'scandalum', which was related to 'fall' or 'stumbling'. Louis's concern was for something more serious than what we understand today by 'scandal'. He was worried that war would break out, and, in the worst-case scenario, that Philip would gain power and that he, Louis, would fall. I believe that Valentina's story reveals, as Robin Briggs has argued for a slightly later period, that accusations of witchcraft sometimes served as much a means of handling social tensions as a form of persecution, showing that accusers tended to be motivated more by the desire for relief from harm than the desire for blood. (55)

But it was also the case that Isabeau had influence, even if that influence could not have been decisive on its own. Women in late medieval France exercised power largely behind the scenes, and Isabeau's position in the government, as laid out in the royal ordinances relating to rule of the realm during Charles VI's periods of insanity, conforms to this model. In the regency ordinances, she was first assigned tutelle over the dauphin and the other royal children in the case of the King's death. However, regency ('gouvernance, garde et defense de nostre royaume') was assigned to Louis of Orleans. In later years, Isabeau was assigned the role of mediating between the King's unruly male relatives and of presiding over the royal council. But in all cases, her role was envisioned as supplementary: she substituted for her husband when he was too ill to be present. In short, Isabeau was never awarded a straightforward political role during the King's absences, which meant that she had to wield power from an in-between position. Valentina wielded her power in a similar way, promoting her father's and husband's compatible interests whenever she could. To remove Valentina from court, Isabeau needed allies. In this case, she was able to help turn the King against Giangaleazzo Visconti. At the same time, Louis of Orleans was persuaded by some of his men that distancing Valentina from the court would ease an unacceptably incendiary situation. To return to Briggs's point, the witchcraft charges look like a means of fighting a battle that threatened to explode. Attempts to distance enemies from court without resorting to warfare, they offered a way of concretising vague blame for the state of the kingdom.

III. Contemporary Views of Witchcraft and the King's Insanity

In this final section, I consider Valentina's story as a product of a particular moment in the history of witchcraft, what Richard Kieckhefer has designated the third phase, 1375-1435, of the earliest stage of the witch-craze, the period during which 'prosecution of witches first gained real momentum', with the full-blown witch hunts of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries explicable as later 'outgrowths of an earlier obsession'. (56) In the case that we have just examined, although even those using the charge of witchcraft for political gain seem to have believed that the unfortunate Charles truly was bewitched, sorcery was regarded as just one of several possible explanations for the King's illness, and, moreover, the use of magic was not condemned per se, but judged according to its efficacy.

According to Pintoin, although many concluded that Valentina was the cause of the King's illness, the well-educated tended to take a more measured approach, weighing the possibilities and arriving at a different conclusion. As Pintoin explains, when the King was first stricken, three principal diagnoses were floated: medical (a superfluity of black bile that had been heated by the King's anger); (57) divine (God often chastises those whom He loves); and magical (the King was believed by the major portion of nobles and non-nobles to be held under a spell of magic or poison ('maleficiis et veneficiis detentum') because the use of these were very common among both men and women of all walks of life). (58) Pintoin makes it clear that doctors were most likely to assume the cause to be medical, while theologians tended toward a religious explanation. Regarding the third diagnosis, those who believed in a magical cause included both the nobility of the court and the people. The King's malady attracted a series of magicians to the court, Pintoin and other chroniclers reported. Still, Pintoin describes those who believed in magical spells as the 'vulgus', regarding their opinions as foolish. (59) Explaining their superstitions at the time of Valentina's exile, he writes:
   Et sentenciam vulgalem de sortilegiis a fatuis, nigromanticis et
   supersticiosis viris procedentem negare in animo est, cum phisici
   cum theologis activitatem ipsorum nullam penitus dicant, addentes
   et quod infirmitas regia ex excessibus in juventute commissis
   nascebatur

   (And the vulgar opinion regarding spells held by fools, magicians,
   and the superstitious must be denied; doctors and theologians
   insist that this activity has no effect, adding that the royal
   illness arose from youthful excesses). (60)


Valentina's story is further interesting in that it shows that magical cures were not necessarily associated with demonic intervention. Rather, they were evaluated primarily on the basis of their efficacy: the failure of an attempt to cure through magic, not the use of magic in itself, was cause for prosecution. As we have seen, magicians were solicited actively to heal the mad King. Failing, they were treated severely, but in this they were handled no differently from the King's physician, Renaud Freron, who was chased from court for his inability to relieve the King's symptoms. (61)

But change was coming: Valentina's case captures a society in flux. Historians have noted that in Europe beginning around the middle of the fifteenth century, magical practice became the focus of an educated elite interrogation. (62) Instigated by the burgeoning interest in ancient occult works as well as a new and avid interest in the devil, the belief that sorcerers were no longer guilty simply of casting spells, but of consorting with demons, became prevalent. In this shifting environment, a copious literature on witchcraft as a dangerous practice associated principally with uneducated women developed. (63) This literature became the intellectual support for the great witch-hunt, which, between 1450 and 1750 produced some one hundred thousand trials resulting in forty to fifty thousand executions. (64)

To return to the University of Paris's determinatio against witchcraft, issued in 1398, the document is typical of the developing association between magic and diabolism. It begins by expressing alarm at the 'emergens noviter feda colluvio' ('recently emerging, teeming jumble of errors'). (65) It then goes on to state unequivocally that it is an error to believe that it is not idolatry to summon intimacies and friendships and aid of demons through magical arts and spells and nefarious invocations ('per artes magicas et maleficia et invocationes nefarias querere familiaritates et amicitias et auxilium demonum'), linking sorcery to diabolism and heresy and calling for the prohibition of all witchcraft, even that intended to do social good (in this context, heal the King's malady). This attempt to put a halt to the practice of magic by the determinatio surely arises in part from the desire for social order. As we have seen, Philip of Burgundy's accusations of witchcraft fuelled the rivalry between him and Louis of Orleans, creating the danger of violence between their factions, and the University played an active role in mediating between the Dukes to restore the peace. The determinatio in this context seems aimed to restore peace by eliminating one principal cause of argument. But the ideology it manifests can be traced to the decision of Pope John XXII, who was fearful, as we have seen, of being done away with by sorcerers, to appoint a commission to determine whether summoning up the devil constituted heresy. (66) Alain Boureau has recently signalled the importance of this decision to the development of the witch-hunt in France. Magicians, even foolish ones, came to be perceived as serious threats to orthodoxy and therefore worthy of the institution's attention already in the early fourteenth century. Indeed, the foolish came to be imagined as even more penetrable by demonic forces than the intelligent, and therefore, all the more dangerous. Boureau follows the result of the inquiry, noting the immediate influence in the Super illius specula (1326) of John XXII.

The University's warning determinatio had little or no effect on the Dukes, as we have seen. The incidents of witchcraft at court continued, while an educated observer like Pintoin continued to regard witchcraft as a practice of harmless fools. But treatises on witchcraft began to transform attitudes in the decade immediately following Valentina's episode. Although the strongest impetus eventually would come from Germany, such treatises were also composed in France, with Gerson expanding on the issues originally laid out in the determinatio in a 1402 work entitled 'De Erroribus circam artem magicam'. (67) As Veenstra has shown regarding the 1411 treatise of Laurens Pignon, Contre les devineurs addressed to Philip of Burgundy's son and heir, Jean the Fearless of Burgundy, the seeds of the ideology within which the extensive persecution of witches would take place are present in the early fifteenth century. Contre les devineurs, like the determinatio of 1398, is subtle in its critique of a powerful lord. Still, the target is clear. In his prologue, Pignon warns against employing magicians using the example of Saul, whose downfall originated in his consultation with a witch. Veenstra writes that Pignon takes care not to accuse his lord of encouraging witchcraft or divination outright: 'any references to potential malpractices on the part of Jean the Fearless are oblique, to say the least.' (68) And yet, the treatise betrays an acute anxiety that 'recent events had taken a turn for the worse and become serious enough to parallel Saul's trespass and inevitable doom'. (69) The comparison is 'ominous in regard to the personal history of John the Fearless, who was killed in 1419, but unfortunately it is not unique', writes Veenstra. (70)
   Other authors had used the same texts to rebuke their kings and
   princes for their interest in prophecy, necromancy, and
   soothsaying. These texts clearly testify to an increasing interest
   in divination, but texts such as Contre les devineurs are more than
   mere censures regarding royal curiosity regarding the future. They
   address a variety of themes ranging from ritual magic to astrology,
   and they may take either the form of moralistic attacks on
   superstition or philosophical criticism of complex divinatory
   techniques such as geomancy and judicial astrology. In addition to
   this a number of texts owe their existence to social and cultural
   pressures that are not limited to courtly dabblings in the occult,
   and have, be it sometimes on a modest scale, made a contribution to
   the theological reflection on superstition, magic, and demonology.
   This theological interest was slowly but decisively (such is the
   advantage of historical hindsight) moving in the direction of that
   great demonological obsession known as the great witch-craze. (71)


Martine Ostorero and her team have concluded recently that the fantasy of the witches' sabbath, developed in a number of treatises composed between 1430 and 1440, was responsible for a series of trials in what is today the eastern region of Switzerland beginning near the middle of the century. (72) These witch trials targeted Vauderie, an amalgamation of magical practice and heresy. Arras, in Burgundy, also saw trials against the same crime in 1459 and 1460 that resulted in a dozen executions. Pertinent to my reading of Valentina's persecution, Franck Mercier has argued recently for a political motive to these trials, seeing the Duke of Burgundy's desire to consolidate power in a region of fragmented authority. (73) The witch trials offered a way of bringing local authorities together to fight with the Duke against a common enemy. Treatises like the Malleus Maleficarum (1486) composed in Germany by an inquisitor of the Catholic Church, Heinrich Kramer, manifest a total conflation of magical practice with diabolism. (74)

Like Contre les devineurs, the story surrounding Valentina as pieced together from the chronicles, offers a glimpse of the set of attitudes that would result in the great witch-craze before they coalesced and of magic at just the moment it was coming to be 'reinterpreted, rivalled, absorbed, usurped, and condemned to fit new contexts and new religious settings'. (75) The political motivation behind the episodes of sorcery at the court of Charles VI is clear. Yet, the development of the link between the practice and heresy throughout the fourteenth century and the seriousness with which theologians examined apparent cases of the former forms an integral strand of the story. Subcultures with differing agendas participated in the events leading up to Valentina's exile: as was the case later during the witch-craze in France, sceptics acted as a counterweight to the accusers who acted with varying levels of urgency, while political actors seeking personal gain took advantage of an incident that seemed inexplicable by anything other than witchcraft.

The Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies

The University of Auckland

(1) This is the view of Valentina's biographer and champion, Emile Collas. See his discussion of the incident in Valentine de Milan: Duchesse d'Orleans (Paris: Plon, 1911), pp. 219-30; see also Marcel Thibault, Isabeau de Baviere: Reine de France. La Jeunesse (1370-1405) (Paris: Perrin et Cie, 1903), pp. 340-44. Most recently, see Jan R. Veenstra, Magic and Divination at the Courts of Burgundy and France (Leiden: Brill, 1998), p. 81.

(2) Isabeau of Bavaria has long been viewed as a villain, although in recent years her black legend has been revised. See Heidrun Kimm, Isabeau de Baviere, reine de France 1370-1435. Beitrag zur Geschichte einer bayerischen Herzogstochter und desfranzosischen Konigshauses (Munich: Stadtarchiv, 1969); Yann Grandeau, 'Les Dames qui ont servi la reine Isabeau de Baviere', Bulletin philologique et historique (1975), 129-239; Yann Grandeau, 'Le Dauphin Jean, duc de Touraine, fils de Charles VI (1398-1417)', Bulletin philologique et historique (1971), 665-728; R. C. Famiglietti, Royal Intrigue: Crisis at the Court of Charles VI, 1392-1420 (New York: AMS Press, 1986); Rachel C. Gibbons, 'The Active Queenship of Isabeau of Bavaria, 1392-1417' (unpublished PhD dissertation, University of Reading, 1997); Rachel C. Gibbons, 'Isabeau of Bavaria, Queen of France (1385-1422): The Creation of an Historical Villainess', Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 6th ser., 6 (1996), 51-74; and Tracy Adams, The Life and Afterlife of Isabeau of Bavaria (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010).

(3) See Francois Autrand, 'La succession a la couronne de France et les ordonnances de 1374', in Representation, pouvoir et royaute a la fin du Moyen Age, eds Joel Blanchard and Philip Contamine (Paris: Picard, 1995), pp. 25-32. All the regency documents can be read in Marie-Luise Heckmann, Stellvertreter, Mit- und Ersatzherrscher: Regenten, Generalstatthalter, Kufursten und Reichsvikare in Regnum und Imperium vom 13. bis zumfruhen 15. Jahrhundert, 2 vols (Warendorf: Fahlbusch, 2002), II, 758-87. See also the detective work of Yann Potin, which adds further nuance to the scenario, 'Le coup d'Etat "revele"? Regences et tresors du roi (septembre--novembre 1380)', in Coups d'Etat a la fin du Moyen-Age? Aux fondements du pouvoir politique en Europe occidentale, eds Francois Foronda, Jean-Philippe Genet, and Jose Manuel Nieto Soria (Madrid: Casa de Velazquez, 2005), pp. 181-213. All translations are the author's own.

(4) Francois Autrand, CharlesVI: lafolie du roi (Paris: Fayard, 1986), pp. 20-21.

(5) On the king's madness, see Bernard Guenee, La Folie de Charles VI, roi bien-aime (Paris: Perrin, 2004).

(6) Froissart recounts the story of Philip's coup in Chroniques, ed. Joseph-Marie-Bruno Constantin Kervyn de Lettenhove, 26 vols (Osnabruck: Biblio Verlag, 1967), III, 164.

(7) Michel Pintoin, Chronique du Religieux de Saint-Denys contenant le regne de CharlesVI, de 1380-1422, ed. and trans. Louis Bellaguet, 6 vols (1839-52; Paris: Editions du Comite des travaux historiques et scientifiques, 1994), II (1844; 1994), 24. Veenstra (Magic and Divination, pp. 59-76, 81-84) gives a summary of each of the episodes of witchcraft, including this one.

(8) The major histories of the period include Bertrand Schnerb, Les Armagnacs et les Bourguignons. La maudite guerre (Paris: Perrin, 1988); Famiglietti, Royal Intrigue; Autrand, Charles VI; and Michael Nordberg, Les Ducs et la royaute: etude sur la rivalite des ducs d'Orleans et de Bourgogne 1392-1407 (Uppsala: Svenska Bokforlaget, 1964).

(9) Pintoin, Chronique du Religieux de Saint-Denys, II, 88.

(10) Pintoin, Chronique du Religieux de Saint-Denys, II, 88.

(11) Genevieve Buhrer-Thierry, 'La Reine Adultere', Cahiers de Civilisation Medievale, 35 (1992), 299-312; and Pauline Stafford, Queens, Concubines and Dowagers: The King's Wife in the Early Middle Ages (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1983). Christiane Marchello-Nizia makes a similar argument, that men could confront each other through their wives, in 'Amour Courtois, Societe Masculine et Figure du Pouvoir', Annales ESC, 36 (1981), 969-82.

(12) John W Baldwin, The Government of Philip Augustus: Foundations of French Royal Power in the Middle Ages (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986), p. 18.

(13) Eric Ives, The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn: 'The Most Happy' (Oxford: Blackwell, 2004), p. 315. For different interpretations of what happened, see ibid., pp. 291-356; Greg Walker, 'Rethinking the Fall of Anne Boleyn', Historical Journal, 45 (2002), 1-29; G. W Bernard, Anne Boleyn: Fatal Attractions (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2010); G. W Bernard, 'The Fall of Anne Boleyn', English Historical Review, 106 (1991), 584-610; and Retha M. Warnicke, The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn: Family Politics at the Court of Henry VIII (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), pp. 163-90.

(14) Froissart, Chroniques, xv, 96.

(15) Bernard Guenee, 'Le Roi, ses parents et son royaume en France au XIVe siecle', Bulletino dell'Istituto Storico Italiano per il Medio Evo et Archivio Muratoriano, 94 (1988), 439-70.

(16) See Pintoin, Chronique du Religieux de Saint-Denys, III (1994), 12; Pierre Cochon, Chronique normande de Pierre Cochon, ed. Charles de Robillard de Beaurepaire (Rouen: A. Le Brument, 1870), p. 203.

(17) See, for example, the self-serving letter he had read to discountenance a tax levied at the order of the Royal Council: 'Il est venu a nostre congnoissance que grans tailles et excesivez sunt mises su ou roiaume et que le peuple dit que c'est par nous, et par notre accort. Si sagent tous que ce n'est pas par nous, conseil ne consentement, et l'avons tousiours debatu en notre pover' ('It has come to our attention that great and excessive taxes have been collected in the kingdom and that the people are saying that it is because of us and by our accord. Let everyone know that it is not because of us, our advice or consent and that we have always fought it to the utmost of our power'; Cochon, Chronique normande, p. 205). In another letter read before the Parlement of Paris, Philip explains that he had heard bad things about the way that the kingdom was being governed: 'C'est grant pitie et douleur de oir ce que j'en oy dire, et ne cuidasse point les choses estre en l'estat que on dit qu'elles sont' ('It was a great pity to hear what he had heard, and he could hardly believe that things were in the state that they were in'; Louis Claude Douet-d'Arcq, Choix de pieces inedites relatives au regne de Charles VI, 2 vols (Paris: Renouard, 1863), I, 213).

(18) Pintoin, Chronique du Religieux de Saint-Denys, II, 404-06.

(19) Pintoin, Chronique du Religieux de Saint-Denys, II, 404-06.

(20) Pintoin, Chronique du Religieux de Saint-Denys, II, 406.

(21) Pintoin, Chronique du Religieux de Saint-Denys, II, 406. For more on the accusations made against Valentina of poisoning the King, see Franck Collard, Le Crime de poison au Moyen Age (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2003), especially pp. 120, 222-23.

(22) Froissart, Chroniques, xv, 352-55. See also Enguerran de Monstrelet, La chronique d'Enguerran de Monstrelet, 1400-1444, ed. Louis Claude Douet-d'Arcq, 6 vols (Paris: Renouard, 1857-62), which reports that Jean Petit made the same accusation during his justification of Jean of Burgundy's assassination of Louis (I (1857), 228-29).

(23) Froissart, Chroniques, XV, 355.

(24) Monstrelet, La chronique, I, 217-21, 224-34; Richard Vaughan (John the Fearless (1966; Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2002), pp. 70-72) offers a summary of Jean Petit's main charges.

(25) Pintoin, Chronique du Religieux de Saint-Denys, II, 544.

(26) Pintoin, Chronique du Religieux de Saint-Denys, II, 542.

(27) Jean Juvenal des Ursins, Histoire de Charles VI, roy de France, et des choses memorables advenues durant quarante-deux annees de son regne: depuis 1380 jusqu'a 1422. Nouvelle collection des memoires pour servir a l'histoire de France, eds Joseph-Francois Michaud and Jean-Joseph-Francois Poujoulat, 3 series, 34 vols (Paris, 1836-39), 1st series, II (1836), 415.

(28) Juvenal des Ursins, Histoire de Charles VI, II, 415.

(29) Jean-Patrice Boudet edits the relevant documents in 'Les Condamnations de la magie a Paris en 1398', Revue Mabillon, 12 (2001), 121-57 (pp. 127-28); see also Veenstra, Magic and Divination, pp. 67-69, on Jean de Bar.

(30) Boudet, pp. 146-57.

(31) Boudet, p. 123.

(32) See Pintoin, Chronique du Religieux de Saint-Denys, III, 114-17; Juvenal des Ursins, Histoire de CharlesVI, II, 425-26; Leon Mirot, 'Un essai de guerison de CharlesVI en 1403', Revue des questions historiques, 91 (1912), 96-101. Mirot prints the accounts; for a summary of the incident, see Veenstra, pp. 73-77.

(33) Veenstra, p. 23. On witchcraft as a political weapon in France and England of the fifteenth century, see William R. Jones, 'Political Uses of Sorcery in Medieval Europe', Historian, 34 (1972), 670-87; and Benedek Lang, Unlocked Books: Manuscripts of Learned Magic in the Medieval Libraries of Central Europe (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2008), pp. 209-40.

(34) For what follows, see Franciscus A. Van Liere, 'Witchcraft as a Political Tool?: John XXII, Hugues Gerard, and Matteo Visconti', Medieval Perspectives, 16 (2001), 165-73; and Norman Cohn, Europe's Inner Demons: An Enquiry Inspired by the Great Witch-Hunt (New York: Basic Books, 1975), p. 192.

(35) See A. R. Myers, 'The Captivity of a Royal Witch: The Household Accounts of Joan of Navarre, 1419-21', in Crown, Household and Parliament in Fifteenth-Century England, ed. Cecil H. Clough, intro. R. B. Dobson (London: Hambledon, 1985), pp. 93-133.

(36) On the effectiveness of Burgundian propaganda, see Charity Cannon Willard, 'The Manuscripts of Jean Petit's Justification: Some Burgundian Propaganda Methods of the Early Fifteenth Century', Studi Francesi, 13 (1969), 271-80.

(37) Vaughan, John the Fearless, pp. 70-72.

(38) As reported by Charles VI's counsellor and Louis's man, Pierre Salmon. See Les demandes faites par le roi Charles VI, touchant son etat et le gouvernement de sa personne avec les reponses de son secretaire et familier Pierre Salmon, ed. Georges Adrien Crapelet (Paris: Crapelet, 1838), p. 56.

(39) For example, Gibbons ('Active Queenship', pp. 80-81) defends Isabeau against the charge that she accused Valentina of witchcraft.

(40) Robin Briggs, Witches and Neighbours: The Social and Cultural Context of European Witchcraft (New York: Viking Press, 1996), pp. 3-4.

(41) See David Meredith Bueno de Mesquita, Giangaleazzo Visconti: Duke of Milan (1351-1402) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1941), p. 63.

(42) On Isabeau's library, see Auguste Vallet de Viriville, 'La Bibliotheque d'Isabeau de Baviere: Reine de France', Bulletin du Bibliophile, 36 (1858), 663-78.

(43) See Susan Groag Bell, 'Medieval Women Book Owners: Arbiters of Piety and Ambassadors of Culture', Signs, 7 (1982), 742-68.

(44) Collas, Valentine de Milan, pp. 129-30.

(45) See Jules Camus, La Venue en France de Valentine Visconti, duchesse d'Orleans, et l'inventaire de ses joyaux apportes de Lombardie (Turin: Francois Casanova, 1898), p. 5.

(46) Recorded in Paris, Bibliotheque nationale de France, fonds italiens 1682, fols 25-29. Instructions from the 'Dieci della Babia del Comune di Firenze' to ambassador Filippo Corsini exhort him to assure the King of France of the Florentines' fidelity and remind him of the services that the Commune of Florence has rendered his house. If the King refuses aid, the ambassador will go to the Queen, niece of Bernabo, and ask her to speak to the king on behalf of Florence (fols [29.sup.r]-[29.sup.v]).

(47) Pintoin, Chronique du Religieux de Saint-Denys, II, 463-65.

(48) Froissart, Chroniques, XV, 308.

(49) Pintoin, Chronique du Religieux de Saint-Denys, II, 464-66.

(50) See the account of the ambassador Buonaccorso Pitti, Two Memoirs of Renaissance Florence: The Diaries of Buonaccorso Pitti & Gregorio Dati, ed. Gene Brucker (Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press, 1991), pp. 54-55.

(51) See Jan Hirschbiegel, Etrennes: Untersuchung zum hofischen Geschenksverkehr im spatmittelalterlichen Frankreich der Zeit Konig Karls VI (Munich: Oldenbourg, 2003), p. 383.

(52) Pintoin, Chronique du Religieux de Saint-Denys, II, 72.

(53) See, for example, Famiglietti, Royal Intrigue, p. 28.

(54) Pintoin, Chronique du Religieux de Saint-Denys, II, 406.

(55) Robin Briggs, The Witches of Lorraine (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), pp. 384-86.

(56) Richard Kieckhefer, European Witch Trials: Their Foundations in Popular and Learned Culture (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1976), p. 16.

(57) See Karen Jillings's article in this volume for a description of humoral medicine.

(58) Pintoin, Chronique du Religieux de Saint-Denys, II, 24.

(59) Pintoin, Chronique du Religieux de Saint-Denys, II, 86.

(60) Pintoin, Chronique du Religieux de Saint-Denys, II, 406.

(61) Pintoin, Chronique du Religieux de Saint-Denys, II, 404.

(62) There are many excellent introductions to the great European witch-hunt. See The Historical Dictionary of Witchcraft, eds Jonathan Durrant and Michael D. Bailey (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2012); and Jonathan Pearl's introduction to Randy Scott's recent translation of Jean Bodin's Demononamie, On the Demon-Mania of Witches (Toronto: CRRS, 1995), pp. 9-34. The first chapter of Pearl's The Crime of Crimes: Demonology and Politics in France, 1560-1620 (Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1999) offers a useful summary of recent scholarship on witchcraft in France.

(63) See Pearl, Crime of Crimes, p. 1.

(64) Briggs, Witches and Neighbours, p. 8. On the numbers overall and in different regions, see Brian P. Levack, The Witch-Hunt in Early Modern Europe, 3rd edn (Harlow: Pearson Longman, 2006), pp. 20-24.

(65) Boudet, 'Les Condamnations', p. 148.

(66) Alain Boureau, Satan the Heretic: The Birth of Demonology in the Medieval West, trans. Teresa Lavender Fagan (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006).

(67) On the treatises of Jean Gerson and other theologians of the period, see Francoise Bonney, 'Autour de Jean Gerson. Opinions de theologiens sur les superstitions et la sorcellerie au debut du XVeme siecle', Le Moyen age, 77 (1971), 85-98.

(68) Veenstra, Magic and Divination, p. 9.

(69) Veenstra, p. 9.

(70) Veenstra, p. 9.

(71) Veenstra, pp. 9-10.

(72) See their edition of these texts in Martine Ostorero, Agostino Paravicini Bagliani, and Kathrin Utz Tremp, eds, Limaginaire du sabbat: Edition critique des textes les plus anciens (1430 c.-1440 c.) (Lausanne: University of Lausanne Press, 1999). See also Ostorero s 'Folatrer avec les demons'. Sabbat et chasse aux sorciers a Vevey (1448) (Lausanne: University of Lausanne Press, 1995).

(73) Franck Mercier, La Vauderie d'Arras: Une chasse aux sorcieres a l'Automne du Moyen Age (Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2006).

(74) See The Hammer of Witches: A Complete Translation of the 'Malleus maleficarum', trans. Christopher S. Mackay (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009).

(75) Jan N. Bremmer and Jan R. Veenstra, 'Introduction: The Metamorphoses of Magic', in The Metamorphosis of Magic from Late Antiquity to the Early Modern Period, eds Bremmer and Veenstra (Peeters: Leuven, 2002), p. ix.
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Author:Adams, Tracy
Publication:Parergon
Article Type:Essay
Geographic Code:4EUFR
Date:Jul 1, 2013
Words:10046
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