[Arthur gets betrothed to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marie_of_France,_Duchess_of_Brabant
Angers castle was the foundation of Angevin power1. It was built on the banks of the Mayenne River. It east wall was 660 blank paces long along the west bank of the Mayenne River, the sixty foot wall face of only [opened] by slit windows used by archers. Three of the remaining five walls had towers bristling with archers and boiling oil. Its two remaining walls – away from the River – had 4 towers. each. The towers were 6 paces in diameter [its walls were] 60 feet high [, and its] The towers were crenellated, to accommodate archers and other counter-seige weapons, like devices to heat and pour boiling oil. There were 50 archers per tower, more or less.
[Marie, Duchess of Brabant and daughter of Philip II, is betrothed to Arthur in 1202. She is 4 years old.]
The Princess’ face could barely be seen because of the spray of tafetta which exploded out of her shoulders, and the flower-laden bonnet which covered her head. Her three attendants were dressed in clean linens. They each wore an accessory which indicated their affiliation to House Capet. The Lady in Waiting, Marie-Anne de Chambord, twelfth child of the Count, wore a blue sash emblazoned with white fleurs de lys. Her two assistants – the thirteen year old twin daughters of a cousin of Burgundy – wore blue bonnets.
“Why did you tell me he’s a king?!”, she stamped her foot impetuously.
“At least he’s Duke of Brittany.”
“I don’t want least, I want most!”
“Many people think Arthur is King.”
“But his uncle John was crowned in Winchester!”
“Do you even know what Winchester, is Princess Marie?”
This stumped her. She had no idea and made a wild guess. True to nature, she answered confidently, “Its a boat!”
The Burgundian twins tittered. This enraged the Princess, who said. “Flog them!”
The twins immediately stopped laughing and came to attention. In other circumstances they would have been flogged. But in those circumstances they would not dared to have laughed.
The Lady in Waiting was annoyed, “Princess Marie, this is the first time I’m going to say this, but I will say it again and again. There are boundaries. Do you know what a boundary is?”
“A … divider.” The Princess hestitated, not from ignorance but awe.
“For example …?”
“Chateau Gaillard. On one side are our people, on the other side are … enemies.”
“Burgundy is on our side.” She nodded sternly at the twins. “They were wrong to laugh at you, but you were equally wrong to talk about something you didn’t understand. ”
“If they were enemies it wouldn’t matter. But flogging – violence – turns friends to enemies.”
“Flog them any way. They can’t harm me.”
Arthur and de Roches were on the opposite side of the large room, watching the Princesses entrance.
Arthur said, “She shows great potential.”
De Roches shot back, “What the fuck does that mean? She doesn’t have potential, she is the daughter of the King of France. That’s just a fact.”
“I mean that she is a lovely girl. She will be beautiful when she grows up.”
“She’s four years old! Have you chosen a mistress yet?” De Roches grabbed Arthur and faced him head on. “You know the rules. Noble widows with their own income, and the daughter of any commoner you can afford to pay off. No merchants’ or lawyers’ lasses. They’re too expensive.”
“I will take care of all of my children, legitimate or not and regardless of the cost!”
“Arthur, knocking up some squire’s daughter will get you killed. Do you understand?”
“No you don’t! No lad does. Hear this, if nothing else, Arthur Plantagenet Duke of Brittany: tread carefully. King John and King Philip would rather you were dead.”
“What? I know John wants to kill me, but my betrothed is King Philip’s daughter.”
“Philip doesn’t love you. He thinks John will kill you first.”
Arthur began to speak but was interrupted by Marie Capet’s Lady-in-Waiting. She was more persistent than usual, eager to cut off her discussion with the vindictive Princess.
She said, “If I may?”
Arthur, glad to end his conversation with de Roches, turned his full attention to her.
“Welcome mi’lady”. He picked up her right hand and kissed it. She twittered. De Roches and Chambord scowled at each other.
“Shall I call you King or Duke?”
“I love you already. I must confess, I am not yet King of England, but under Salic law I should be.”
“Norman”, de Roches corrected.
Arthur continued, ignoring de Roches, “I love you already.”
“Can I give you a token. Our marriage is the decision of others. I’d like to make it personal. Is there anything here you would like?”
He laughed. “I cannot do that. It is a special present to me. What what about the belt that holds the knife?”
“It is a boy thing.”
“That is appropriate. It is to remind you of me. Look at it? Isn’t it …”
He took [the knife] out of the holster and then unlatched the belt it hung on and said, “Its unlike anything found it Christendom”.
“What is this symbol?”
She pointed at a circle within a circle.
“That is the design of an ancient Greek priest named Pythagoras”
“The ancient Greeks didn’t have priests! They were pagans!”
“You are very wise.”
“I have good teachers, though I have a lot to learn. I thought Winchester was a boat!”
They all smiled, even the twins.
“What does the symbol mean?”
“I was told it means that one thing – anything – is part of everything. And everything is God.”
“That sounds Christian … ”
“No need to talk about religion, child. Thank Duke Arthur.”
She curtsied and thanked him.
She turned the strange belt over. On the reverse side, in tiny beads was a picture of a white bull and a black scorpion, in a circle. The bull chased the tail of the scorpion, which chased the tail of the bull. She began to ask what it meant when Lady Chambord said, “Time to go, pup. There will be plenty of time later to catch up.”
The allied/Ithilen army had three counterweight trebuchets, which were positioned along the east bank of the River, just out of range of the defender’s arrows.
These devices were quickly set up but were not armed, because the [boulders] used for ammunition were too heavy to float, so took longer to move. The ammunition was several days behind the main force.
The project was complicated by the refusal of the Lady Ithilaen to use slaves.
Burgundy provided two mangonels, which were similar to the trebuchets but required twenty men to operate. These arrived with the first load of ammunition.
Time was against the attackers, because the Plantagenets controlled the bridge and the river, and all of the countryside west to Nantes and south to Bordeaux, an area that could easily muster enough soldiers to outmatch the allied force.
Arthur Plantagenet was unknown. The French/Ithilaen party knew he had mustered but did not know where he was going to attack. He was the liege of Mayenne and Touraine, but their loyalty was ultimately to a Capet – Philip Augustus – not to a Plantagenet pretender.
Were there were ways out for Arthur? If he accepted John as King perhaps John would let him live. Corrupted by the Ring, few expected this to happen.
While the besiegers assembled and tested their engines, the Angevins stockpiled grain and weapons. They were able to do so because a company of Norman knights controlled the west side of the bridge. The French / Ithilaen force was fixing a bridge upstream, which had been destroyed. Laden carts and men on horseback to pass through the opened portcullises. Only one gate was open at a time, in the event of a surprise attack.
The passage was controlled by an iron-grated door, which was now noisily being raised. Fifty pikemen formed a half-circle around the exit to the gate.
Peasants flocked around the gates. The were being allowed in to the inner keep, but slowly. The food carts took priority. Bribes were being taken.
The French force camped just out of reach of the Norman arrows along the north and eastern walls. They did not have the forces to hold the western side of the Mayenne River, which was where the Normans held their reserves, [two cohorts of pikemen] and five more of infantry, who could be supported by archers and knights from the fortress. A full siege would be impossible unless the western shore of the Mayenne could be taken.
De Blois, Damartin, and a nephew of Burgundy had arrived. De Blois, who considered himself the actual leader of this expedition, both because of seniority and power, said, “Tell the Bactrians to rescue him from the English. They must not let him go free. He is valuable.”
War Council …
We must attack. They grow stronger daily.
You must breach the wall. That is the only way.
The power of the Ring did not exist independently of human vice. It mattered who bore it. A weak person would do little with it, or conversely, the Ring could do little with a weak person. Despite his drinking and his lazyness Robert was not weak. When the time came to fight he was always suited up and ready. He had inflicted far more wounds than he had received. In part that was because he chose his enemies carefully, but even that was part of his strength.
For days he had been overwhelmed by the Ring’s power. He had moved and acted like a marionette, but he was not. The Ring was trying to propel him to do things, but it did not yet know what he could do. And he resisted because he did not understand its power, so shielded himself.
The Ring was not an agent. It had to act through its bearer. It needed an agent.
“The London men refuse to attack. They say death is certain unless they defy your orders.”
“What do you think?”
“I agree. With due respect we should back off before we destroy ourselves. Focus on controlling the rivers, rather than dying attacking castles.”
The frankness of the man impressed the Seneschal (de Mayenne), but nevertheless his words enraged him. Not because they were false, but because he hated defeat. If this had been a game of chess he would have turned over the table at this point.
“If we take this castle we defeat the Plantagenets. Do you understand?!”
His anger was like something he’d never experienced before.
The sergeant’s eyes started to bulge. His skin became flushed; his face puffy. He floated slowly into the air. The man began to struggle wildly against the air and then clutched his throat as he began to suffocate.
“Take me to these London men.” The force of John’s thought flung the hapless soldier forward until he hit a tree. He crumpled and then was animated by the force of John’s will.
His megalomania fed on his anger and he grew more powerful still.
When no answer was forthcoming Robert probed the man’s mind and learned where the reluctant soldiers were. They were around the corner from the south-east gate, in the protection of a copse of trees.
He was enraged yet denied what he knew to be true. He had been defeated. But he could control these farm boys. He might not be able to win, but he could inflict damage.
The attack began at dawn.
Despite brutal efforts to clear the field, there were hundreds of local farmers just out of range of the main battle. They were all armed crudely, with scythes and forks. These were a slight deterrent to a knight, but no one mistook them for participants as long as they did not get in the way. When the Mayenne boys, who were local, stormed the south east tower a wail went up and a dozen women ran in to the battle field shouting, “Stop! This is madness! Run!” Several were immediately trampled by mistake, the rest stopped and carefully began to retreat. Except for one lithe young woman with golden red hair who ran through the entire tumult unscathed, and stopped beside the one man from the London companies who had resisted his will.
John tried to control this couple, but the effort caused the rest of the attacking men to waver and fall back – or down, if on ladders and turrets. Robert gave up trying to control them, but remembered what they looked like, because they were either haffen-aelf or saint, either way an enemy.
For all other men, if they had a single breath in them he could propel them. So most of the three companies made it to the crown of the towers that controlled the south-east gate even though they were mostly dead. Soldiers were pierced by quivers of arrows in each limb
The Ring cautions, Stop.
The first wave of soldiers attacked hesitantly. The main body of the reluctant soldiers were three companies from Mayenne. Locals. Duke Robert read their minds. They knew all the stories about failed attacks on Angers castle. Many had seen previous armies, from Touraine and Burgundy try to breach the castle walls and die.
Farm boys rushed in first, with shields over their heads. Their job was to protect the archers, who rushed in behind them.
The pikemen held back, just out of range of the Angevin arrows, protection in the event the Angevins released their knights.
To their surprise the Angevins allowed them to raise siege ladders and begin climbing before fighting back, save for arrows, which were sparingly being shot at the attackers from the two keeps, which guarded the wall the attackers were trying to breach.
There was a loud creaking sound. No one could see what was happening. Suddenly wooden cranes moved cauldrons directly above the French ladders. The cauldrons were filled will boiling pitch which was spilled onto the hapless French soldiers, who fell screaming to their deaths.
When the cauldrons were emptied they were quickly and squeakily pulled away, and replaced by two rows of Angevin and Norman archers. As this happened, a magonel sent a rock crashing into one of the cranes. This was followed in short order by two more rocks, which fell short, killing several French soldiers when they ricocheted off the wall and fell to the ground. A fourth shot took out one of the crenellation and several Angevin bowmen.
But the battle was one-sided. The attackers had the better vantage, and were relentless. His fortress was mighty, but not prepared.
John could feel his men wavering, so he held them in place with his will, to fight and certainly die. He moved his reinforcements into the breach caused by the massacred first wave, to the base of the tower where the oil had been spilt, accompanied by squires with shields to protect them.
[Alienor turns things around She sensed the power of the Ring. It was more powerful than she was. At least for now. Her magic was rusty. It had not been used for an age.]
The Ring was more powerful than she was. But John was a weak vessel, so the power of the Ring was leaky / dispersed. The Bactrians assisted her. The animated corpses exploded into dust.
The gates open and John, surrounded by English Knights, Winchester, X, Y (who?) charged south-west, on the Nantes Road, abandoning the castle.
Alienor – I know where he is going. Do not destroy this castle. Reinforce it. Hold it. You know how to take it. She dashed across the river. She blasted the few knights who guarded the crossing and raced south unopposed. But she did not take the Nantes Road. John was headed to Mirbeau. She raced due south, along a path cut out through a field of wheat.
[Alienor turned to face them, her back to the now open gate. She said, “Mayenne, Touraine, de Blois destroy nothing. You want to take this castle and keep it. Fortify it. Do this and you will never fear House Plantagenet again.”]
The haffen aelves were left with the problem of breaching the walls. They could sense that the defenders felt defeated. But there were thick oaken doors reinforced by steel and protected by archers between them and their goal.
The French prepared a direct assault. The haffen aelves bade them back. “Let us work on the weakest points, the portcullises and doors.”
Aelven magic depended on the presence of life. There was so very little in the rock, mortar, timber and iron that supported the gate. The haffen-aelves, solemn expressions on their faces, approached the gate – now closed – that John had just raced from. It began to vibrate.
The thick oaken wood caught fire. The mortar crumbled. The stones cracked.
And the gate fell open.
The Bactrians gave way to the Duke de Mayenne, the senior member of the French Party. De Blois – everyone’s senior – had declined to participate on account of his gout. The French Knights gathered round.
A voice – amplified by a conical tube – shouted out, “We will surrender without terms to the Duke de Mayenne. Save us from the Norman sorcerer!”
A meets with Mayenne. “
Alienor to her Marshall – I must get to Mirbeau before John does.
To Chateau Gaillard
Outtakes Historical Background
Perhaps skip the marriage and have this take place afterward and focus on how Isabella is OK with being Queen and how John plans to attack Arthur. [http://professor-moriarty.com/info/thisday/john-england-marries-isabella-angoul%C3%AAme-1200]
Un Dieu, un Roy, une Foy, une Loy.
The Life Summary of Isabelle
When Isabelle d’ Angoulême, Queen of England was born on 19 February 1188, in Angoulême, Charente, Poitou-Charentes, France, her father, Aymar Taillefer Comte d’Angoulême, was 27 and her mother, Alice de Courtenay, was 27. She married John King of England on 24 August 1200. They were the parents of at least 2 sons and 3 daughters. She died on 31 May 1246, in Fontevrault-l’Abbaye, Maine-et-Loire, Pays de la Loire, France, at the age of 58, and was buried in Fontevrault-l’Abbaye, Maine-et-Loire, Pays de la Loire, France.
August 1200 to marry Isabella of Angoulême. In order to remarry, John first needed to abandon Isabel, Countess of Gloucester, his first wife; John accomplished this by arguing that he had failed to get the necessary papal permission to marry Isabel in the first place – as a cousin, John could not have legally wed her without this
Isabella is crowned Queen on October 8, 1200
Makes John an enemy of Hugh de Lusignan, an important member of a key Poitou noble family and brother of Raoul de Lusignan, the Count of Eu, who possessed lands along the sensitive eastern Normandy border.
Backstory to Britany Rohan: En 1162, Henri II oblige le puissant seigneur breton Raoul, baron de Fougères, à lui céder la châtellenie de Combourg-Dol dont il vient juste d’être nommé tuteur. Raoul, excédé de l’emprise grandissante du monarque anglais, forme une coalition de grands seigneurs sous la conduite d’Eudon II de Porhoët et d’Hervé de Léon. Proclamé duc en 1156, Conan IV doit abdiquer en 1166 quand Henri II envahit la Bretagne à la tête d’une armée et dévaste les villes insurgées dont Fougères et son château, fief de Raoul. Le duc, trop affaibli pour pouvoir continuer à régner, se voit imposer par Henri II des alliances matrimoniales. Pour mieux contrôler la Bretagne, Henri II fiance deux enfants : son fils Geoffroy âgé de 7 ans et l’héritière Constance, fille de Conan IV et âgée de 4 ans. Henri II se fait reconnaître comme gardien du duché jusqu’à la majorité de Geoffroy.
In 1196 Arthur becomes duke. He’s 9 years old (b1187-1203). His mother Constance is co-Duke.
Son prénom est rare pour l’époque mais témoigne de la popularité croissante du mythe d’Arthur chez les Plantagenêts3. Enfant, Arthur est élevé dans le duché de Bretagne sous la garde de sa mère Constance et avec l’accord des souverains Henri II, son grand-père, puis de Richard Cœur de Lion, son oncle. Pendant l’hiver 1190, ce dernier, sans enfant, fait savoir qu’il considère Arthur comme son héritier légitime au trône4. En mars 1191, Richard obtient du roi de France la reconnaissance de son autorité sur la Bretagne, en tant que duc de Normandie et le droit de recevoir l’Hommage lige du duc breton5.
Jean sans Terre signe son triomphe en mai 1200 au Traité du Goulet : Philippe Auguste le reconnaît comme l’héritier de la totalité de l’empire Plantagenêt13. Abandonnés par le capétien, Arthur et sa mère n’ont d’autre choix que de prêter hommage au souverain anglais pour la Bretagne14. En septembre 1201, la duchesse Constance meurt. Arthur devient le nouveau duc de Bretagne. Il ne semble pas hériter par contre du comté de Richmond que sa mère détenait en Angleterre, qui revient à sa demi-sœur Alix de Thouars15.
En avril 1202, Philippe Auguste rompt la paix faite avec Jean sans Terre et par conséquent, favorise à nouveau Arthur. Le jeune prince participe à la campagne du roi de France en Normandie. Après la prise de Gournay-en-Bray, il est armé chevalier par Philippe16. Ce dernier va jusqu’à le fiancer à sa fille Marie. Il est proclamé duc de Bretagne, comte d’Anjou, du Maine, de Touraine et de Poitou. À charge pour lui de s’emparer de ces territoires17. Âgé de 15 ans, Arthur peut maintenant jouer un rôle plus actif. Toutefois son élan est vite interrompu : en août 1202, alors que l’adolescent assiégeait la ville de Mirebeau (près de Loudun) où était réfugiée sa grand-mère Aliénor d’Aquitaine, principal soutien de Jean sans Terre contre Philippe Auguste, Guillaume de Briouze le capture. Ce dernier le détient sous sa garde à Falaise puis à la Tour de Rouen.
But John’s success quickly unravelled, in part because of the way he treated his prisoners. The king took the knights he had captured at Mirebeau back to Normandy in carts, heavily shackled and chained. ‘He kept his prisoners in such a horrible manner and in such abject confinement’, commented the author of The History of William Marshal, ‘that it seemed an indignity and a disgrace to all those with him who witnessed his cruelty’. Some, like Arthur, were imprisoned in Normandy, but John had so many captives that he sent dozens of them across the Channel to be kept in castles in England.
Because the king refused to enter into negotiations with Arthur’s supporters about the possibility of their lord’s release, they continued in their rebellion. In October 1202 they succeeded in capturing two of his principal cities, Angers and Tours, and by the end of the year John was forced to withdraw to Normandy. Becoming increasingly desperate, John first seems to have given orders for Arthur to be mutilated – orders which were not carried out. Then, in January, he apparently tried a different tack, and visited the castle at Falaise where Arthur was being held. According to the chronicler Roger of Wendover, the king promised his nephew many honours if he would abandon his struggle, but Arthur replied defiantly, saying he would not desist until John gave up all of the Angevin empire, including England. Wendover’s story draws some support from the fact that John did visit Falaise at the start of 1203 – his enrolled letters show that he arrived there on January 30th and stayed for three or four days.
The powerful Anjou nobleman William de Roches was persuaded to switch sides from Arthur to John; suddenly the balance seemed to be tipping away from Philip and Arthur in favour of John
At the Battle of Mirebeau later that year (1202) John captured Arthur and 200 other knights.
1203 he murders Arthur
Saer de Quincy and wife Margaret, younger sister of the Robert de Beaumont, Earl of Leicester. Friend of Robert Fitzwalter, Together they lose the castle at Vaudreuil in 1203.
Corfe Castle in Dorset, today a hulking ruin, was in its day one of the most splendid royal palaces in England, and a particular favourite of King John. The Plantagenet monarch spent more time there than any at other castle apart from Marlborough, and invested vast sums in redeveloping it, adding spectacular new chambers and royal apartments for his own enjoyment. It was also at Corfe that the king committed one of the most infamous acts of his reign, by having 22 knights starved to death.
This incident has been surprisingly overlooked by historians of John’s reign, who either mention it only in passing, or fail to mention it at all. Yet at the time it clearly ranked as one of the king’s most detestable crimes, alongside his more famous decision to starve to death the wife and son of William de Briouze, and the murder of his own nephew, Arthur.
Although John was the Count of Poitou and therefore the rightful feudal lord over the Lusignans, they could legitimately appeal John’s actions in France to his own feudal lord, Philip. Hugh did exactly this in 1201 and Philip summoned John to attend court in Paris in 1202, citing the Le Goulet treaty to strengthen his case. John was unwilling to weaken his authority in western France in this way. He argued that he need not attend Philip’s court because of his special status as the Duke of Normandy, who was exempt by feudal tradition from being called to the French court. Philip argued that he was summoning John not as the Duke of Normandy, but as the Count of Poitou, which carried no such special status. When John still refused to come, Philip declared John in breach of his feudal responsibilities, reassigned all of John’s lands that fell under the French crown to Arthur – with the exception of Normandy, which he took back for himself – and began a fresh war against John
John initially adopted a defensive posture similar to that of 1199: avoiding open battle and carefully defending his key castles. John’s operations became more chaotic as the campaign progressed, and Philip began to make steady progress in the east. John became aware in July that Arthur’s forces were threatening his mother, Eleanor, at Mirebeau Castle. Accompanied by William de Roches, his seneschal in Anjou, he swung his mercenary army rapidly south to protect her. His forces caught Arthur by surprise and captured the entire rebel leadership at the battle of Mirebeau. It was also probable that Eleanor, elder sister of Arthur, also with a better claim to England, was captured in the battle as well. With his southern flank weakening, Philip was forced to withdraw in the east and turn south himself to contain John’s army.
“Though John defeated the Lusignans, he was still contested by Philip II of France. At some indeterminate point soon afterwards, it is presumed that Arthur was murdered. With Eleanor, Fair Maid of Brittany strictly imprisoned in England, John had secured his throne, but his controversial removal of Arthur turned the support of local counts against him. For the next two years, John dealt so arrogantly with the counts of Anjou and Poitou that large numbers switched sides to support Philip II, who continued to incrementally advance from one hilltop castle to the next in Normandy. This culminated in the Siege of Château Gaillard, which ended in 1204. John’s relief attempts were defeated, the castle fell, and his position in France was destroyed.
The forces of King John surrendered at Chateau Gaillard on March 6, 1204.
But starvation was a technique that John used time and again after his experiment in 1203. In 1210 he famously used it to destroy Matilda de Briouze and her son, William, who were said to have wasted away in the dungeons of either Corfe or Windsor. He may have used it again in 1212 to punish Geoffrey, archdeacon of Norwich, who was said by several writers have perished in a royal castle after a long and severe confinement.
The alternative explanation is that John was simply sadistic. One of the repeated refrains of chroniclers who lived through his reign is that he was cruel. As the quotes above show, the charge of excessive cruelty was levelled against him by both the History of William Marshal and Ralph of Coggeshall. The Anonymous of Béthune, who wrote for a Flemish lord who had fought on John’s side in 1215–16, describes him as ‘a very bad man, more cruel than all others’. Contemporaries, in short, regarded King John as a villain – a criminal (felun) in the words of William Marshal’s biographer.