1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Boucicaut, Jean

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

BOUCICAUT, JEAN [Jean le Meingre, called Boucicaut] (c. 1366–1421), marshal of France, was the son of another Jean le Meingre, also known as Boucicaut, marshal of France, who died on the 15th of March 1368 (N.S.). At a very early age he became a soldier; he fought in Normandy, in Flanders and in Prussia, distinguishing himself at the battle of Roosebeke in 1382; and then after a campaign in Spain he journeyed to the Holy Land. Boucicaut’s great desire appears to have been to fight the Turk, and in 1396 he was one of the French soldiers who marched to the defence of Hungary and shared in the Christian defeat at Nicopolis, where he narrowly escaped death. After remaining for some months a captive in the hands of the sultan, he obtained his ransom and returned to France; then in 1399 he was sent at the head of an army to aid the Eastern emperor, Manuel II., who was harassed by the Turks. Boucicaut drove the enemy from his position before Constantinople and returned to France for fresh troops, but instead of proceeding again to eastern Europe, he was despatched in 1401 to Genoa, who in 1396 had placed herself under the dominion of France. Here he was successful in restoring order and in making the French occupation effective, and he was soon able to turn his attention to the defence of the Genoese possessions in the Mediterranean. The energy which he showed in this direction involved him not only in a quarrel with Janus, king of Cyprus, but led also to a short war with Venice, whose fleet he encountered off Modon in the Archipelago in October 1403. This battle has been claimed by both sides as a victory. Peace was soon made with the republic, and then in 1409, while the marshal was absent on a campaign in northern Italy, Genoa threw off the French yoke, and Boucicaut, unable to reduce her again to submission, retired to Languedoc. He fought at Agincourt, where he was taken prisoner, and died in England. Boucicaut, who was very skilful in the tournament, founded the order of the Dame blanche à l’écu vert, a society the object of which was to defend the wives and daughters of absent knights.

There is in existence an anonymous account of Boucicaut’s life and adventures, entitled Livre des faits du bon messire Jean le Meingre dit Boucicaut, which was published in Paris by T. Godefroy in 1620. See J. Delaville le Roulx, La France en Orient: expéditions du maréchal Boucicaut (Paris, 1886).