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 John the Fearless (Photo credit: Wikipedia) 

The painting above is a fine portrait of John the Fearless. The Wikipedia entry does not give the name of the artist, but it could be Rogier van der Weyden. Would that I could explain the symbolism. Why the brooch, the necklace, and, especially, the ring? This is a portrait to remember.

The Armagnac-Burgundian Civil war (1407 -1435)

  • The Civil War begins in 1407, when Louis I, Duke of Orleans is assassinated
  • John the Fearless is assassinated in 1419
  • the Civil War ends in 1435, at the Congress of Arras

Although, we are changing topic after this post, a correction is needed. I found a tiny mistake, a detail, while researching the Armagnac-Burgundian Civil War. It has to do with dates. The correction is that the Armagnac-Burgundian Civil War did not start when John the Fearless was assassinated in 1419. It started in 1407, when John the Fearless ordered thugs to assassinate Louis I, Duke of Orleans, King Charles IV’s brother.

In an earlier post, I wrote that, rumour has it that Louis, Duke of Orleans fathered Charles VII, his nephew, which could be the case. Isabeau de Bavière was married to Charles VI, the ‘Mad’ King of France, and Louis of Orleans, was a profligate prince. It would appear, that Charles VI knew he had been betrayed.

As we have seen, in an earlier post, Charles VI disinherited Charles VII (22 February 1403 – 22 July 1461), twice. Charles VII was disinherited after the assassination of John the Fearless and was again disinherited by virtue of the Treaty of Troyes, signed in 1420. Under the terms of the Treaty of Troyes, not only did Charles VI disinherit his son, but he also agreed to marry his daughter, Catherine de Valois, to Henry V, King of England.

Charles was ‘mad,’ but how mad can one be?

Had Henry VI’s (b. 1421) succeeded in claiming the throne of France, he would have been a legitimate King of France, but not in the eyes of the people of France. They looked upon Charles VII as the rightful successor to Charles VI.

In short, the Armagnac-Burgundian Civil War started in 1407, when John the Fearless had masked men assassinate Louis I, Duke of OrleansLouis I, Duke of Orleans was the King’s brother and Charles, Duke of Orleans’ father. In 1410, Charles married Bonne d’Armagnac, the daughter of Bernard VII, Count of Armagnac (1360 – 1418) who was also Constable of France (connétable). Charles d’Orléans was captured at the Battle of Agincourt, fought in 1415, and detained in England for 25 years. (See Related Articles, below.)

The Civil War ended at the Congress of Arras, in 1435, when the Burgundians recognized Charles VII as King of France.


Assassination of the Duke of Burgundy, John the Fearless, on the Bridge of Montereau, in 1419. — facsimile of a miniature in the “Chronicles” of Monstrelet, manuscript of the fifteenth century, in the Library of the Arsenal of Paris.



Charles VII by Jean Fouquet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Tale of Two Kings

  • Joan of Arc
  • Charles VII, King of France, crowned on 17 July 1429
  • Henry VI of England, heir to the throne of France, but crowned in December 1431

In 1429, after La Hire, Dunois, and other officers lifted the Siege of Orleans, Joan of Arc took Charles VII to Reims Cathedral, where he was crowned on 17 July 1429. Charles VI had died in 1422, so there had not been a King of France for seven years. Henry VI, however was crowned at Notre-Dame de Paris on 26 December 1431, which means that, by 1431, there was a second King of France who was also King of England. He had been crowned at Westminster Abbey on 6 November 1429.

The people of France looked upon Charles VII as their King because he was the son of Charles VI, or so it seemed. Joan of Arc did save France. Had she not intervened, France could have become an English kingdom.[1]

Maître de Boucicault (Charles VI)
Anon. (Philip the Bold)
Rogier van der Weyden (Philip the Good)
Rogier van der Weyden (John the Fearless)
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Support for the Treaty of Troyes; Misery for Charles VII

  1. Charles VII was disinherited because he assassinated John the Fearless, his uncle and his father’s (Charles VI) cousin. Moreover, if the rumour is true, and it seems to be true, Louis d’Orléans was Charles VII‘s son, not Charles VI. Historically, Charles VII was disinherited by virtue of the Treaty of Troyes, signed at Troyes (France) in 1420.
  2. Isabeau de Bavière, his mother, was in attendance when the Treaty of Troyes was signed. She disinherited her son. 
  3. The Estate General ratified the Treaty of Troyes when Henry V, King of England and heir to the throne of France entered Paris.
  4. Charles VII was found guilty of treason, lèse-majesté, in a 1421 lit-de-justice, a court, he did not attend. The court “sentenced him to disinheritance and banishment from the Kingdom of France, losing all privileges to land and titles.” (See Charles VII, Wikipedia.)
  5. The terms of the Treaty of Troyes were later confirmed by the Treaty of Amiens (1423), when Burgundy and Brittany confirmed the recognition of Henry VI of England as King of France and agreed to form a triple-defensive alliance against the Dauphin (heir) Charles VII.
  6. Despite his being duly-crowned King of France at Reims, on 17 July 1429, Charles VII was called, pejoratively, “roi de Bourges.

Rogier van der Weyden miniature 1447-8. Philip dresses his best, in an extravagant chaperon, to be presented with a History of Hainault by the author, flanked by his son Charles and his chancellor Nicolas Rolin. (Caption and photo credit: Wikipedia)


There would be further claims to the kingdom of France, based on the Treaty of Troyes, but the Armagnac-Burgundian Civil War improved the relationship between two French Royal Houses. During the Midde Ages, Burgundy and surrounding areas were the hub of European culture, particularly in the area of music: the Franco-Flemish School. One Burgundian was Jean de France, duc de Berry (d. 1416) who loved the arts and commissioned the Belles Heures du duc de Berry and the Très Riches Heures de Jean de France, duc de Berry.

The Burgundians who ruled during Charles VI minority were: Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy; John, Duke of Berry; Louis I, Duke of Anjou; and Louis II, Duke of Bourbon. They were Charles V‘s brothers and the children of John II of France. Philip the Bold was  John the Fearless’ father, and John the Fearless was succeeded by Philip the Good.



My kindest regards to all of you.

[1] (See Treaty of Troyes and The Dual-Monarchy of England and France, Wikipedia.) (See Britannica)


© Micheline Walker
6 February 2016