Biographical notes on War Captains and Mercenary Leaders operating in Italy between 1330 and 1550

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Enguerrand VII de Coucy: A French Nobleman’s Chronicle in Medieval Italy

A great lord and valiant warrior. His presence is noted as a fighter in France, England, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Tunisia, and Bulgaria. On this last occasion, he takes part in a crusade against the Turks. Captured in the Battle of Nicopolis, he falls into a deep depression and dies shortly after in Bithynia. According to the French historian Prosper de Bonante, "Qui était le plus sage et le plus aimable chevalier de son temps"

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Last Updated on 2024/02/23

Tracing Enguerrand de Coucy’s Impact on Italian Condottieri History.

Enguerrand VII de Coucy (1340 – 1397) was the last Lord of Coucy, known for his marriage to Isabella of England, daughter of King Edward III. He fought in the Battle of Nicopolis in 1396, was captured, and died of the bubonic plague in Bursa in 1397. With no male heirs, his lordship of Coucy became part of the crown lands of France.

Enguerrand de Coucy, whose name in Provençal translates to Don Guerrano. French. From Coucy-le-Chateau, in Aisne. Lord of Coucy, Count of Soissons and Marle, Duke of Bedford. Lord of Mortague-sur-l’Exaut and Fleuras. Nephew of Count Amedo of Savoy.

Born: 1340
Death: 1397 (February)

Year, monthState, Comp. venturaOpponentConductActivity AreaActions taken and other salient facts
1347FranceHe spends his early years under the guardianship of his mother and his uncle Jean de Coucy (Giovanni de Coucy), who live at the court of the King of France, John the Good (Giovanni il Buono).
……………He inherits the Duchy of Austria from his mother. His aspirations are thwarted by Albert the Wise.
1355FranceAt the age of fifteen, he fights alongside the Picardy barons in the battalion of Moreau de Fiennes.
1356FranceWhen the King of France is captured by the English in the Battle of Poitiers, Enguerrand de Coucy is among the 40 hostages handed over to the English as a guarantee for the payment of the ransom.
1358
MayFranceHis territories are at the center of the peasants’ revolt, the Jacquerie. Enguerrand de Coucy gathers many armed men who mercilessly and pitilessly quell the social uprising.
1363EnglandHe is hosted in his lands located in Lancashire, Yorkshire, Cumberland, and Westmorland, which are claimed by his grandmother, Caterina di Balliol.
1366EnglandDuring his stay in England, he earns the esteem of King Edward III. In mid-July, he marries in Windsor Castle, Berkshire, with the sovereign’s daughter, Isabella Plantagenet, who brings him a rich dowry including the Barony of Bedford and other lands, adding to those already inherited from his paternal grandmother. He is awarded the Order of the Garter.
1367FranceHe receives the County of Soissons from Guy I, Count of Blois (Guido di Blois), whose release he secured from the King of England.
1368
Apr.France, LombardyHe is present in Paris at the festivities given by the Dukes of Berry and Burgundy in honor of Duke Lionel of Clarence, his brother-in-law, who is about to travel to Milan to marry Valentina Visconti, daughter of Galeazzo. He follows the latter to Milan.
JuneFranceThe King of France gifts him 1000 francs to cover the expenses he had borne as a hostage and for compensation of the damages suffered. He is invited to return to France.
Aug.FranceHe frees the serfs of the glebe in the territories under his control.
1369
JuneBelgiumIn the middle of the month, he is reported to be in Ghent for the marriage of Margaret III, Countess of Flanders (Margherita di Fiandra) with a son of the King of France, Charles V, named Philippe.
……………FranceHe does not take sides in the conflict arising between the kings of France and England, preferring instead to recover his maternal inheritance located in Alsace, Breisgau, Aargau, and Sundgau. He begins to gather troops.
Sept.CoucyDuke of AustriaFranceHe enters Alsace at the head of a small contingent of Picardy, Breton, and Norman cavalry. He also enlists the help of the Count of Montbéliard to aid against the Dukes of Habsburg. Soon, he is forced to postpone the expedition due to the lack of support from the cities of Strasbourg and Colmar.
1370
Jan.BohemiaHe is reported to be in Prague. He asks Emperor Charles of Bohemia to intervene in his favor against the Dukes of Austria.
……………FranceThe renewal of the war between the French and the English convinces him to return to France, leaving his wife and one or two daughters in England.
1371
……………Count of SavoyMilan100 lancesFrance, PiedmontHe is led by his uncle, Amedeo di Savoia. He crosses the Alps at the head of 100 lances.
Sept.ChurchMilanHe passes 6000 florins to the wages of the papal legate, Cardinal Pietro di Bourges, to fight against the Lord of Milan, Bernabò Visconti, and his allies. He devastates the Marquisate of Saluzzo. Between November and March, he conquers three cities and besieges a fourth.
1372
JulyPiedmontHe clashes with the White Company led by John Hawkwood (Giovanni Acuto), which is engaged in the siege of Asti.
Sept.LeagueMilanGeneral captainEmiliaHe commands the troops of the Count of Savoy engaged against the Viscontis. He is reported at the camp of Scandiano.
1373
Jan.TuscanyIn Tuscany with Count Amedeo di Savoia.
Feb.Pope Gregory XI supports him in the dispute he has with his cousins in Austria over the possession of the same duchy.
Apr.ChurchMilanEmilia, LombardyHe leaves Ferrara with John Hawkwood (Giovanni Acuto) commanding 800 lances. They cross the Po at Stellata, touch Cento preceded by Galeotto Malatesta, traverse through Mantua (passing Ostiglia and Borgoforte) with apparent disregard for Ludovico Gonzaga, who has remained neutral in the conflict; they head towards Brescia. Jacopo Dal Verme forces him to fall back on Cremona.
MayLombardy, EmiliaAccompanied by John Hawkwood (Giovanni Acuto) and the General Captain of the league, Amerigo del Pomerio, he clashes with the Viscontis on the Chiese River, at Gavardo. Subsequently, in the continuation of his action, leading 600 lances, 700 archers, and numerous foot soldiers and provisions, he confronts the opponents again at Montichiari. He attacks with the usual French fury; is repelled; then Hawkwood advances, who, with his Englishmen, after a long struggle, puts to flight Anichino di Baumgarten, Bernabò, and Gian Galeazzo Visconti. The future Duke of Milan barely manages to save himself on a hill, abandoning his lance and helmet amid the enemies. Among the Viscontis, there are 700 dead and 500 prisoners. Of these, 50 Italians are imposed a collective ransom of 100,000 ducats. After the battle, Enguerrand de Coucy reaches Modena with Raymond of Turenne. Some French soldiers provoke a tumult in the city with their conduct. The rapid intervention of Amedeo di Savoia is requested to limit the damage.
June – Aug.EmiliaHe is reconfirmed in the command of the papal troops. In August, he unsuccessfully besieges Piacenza.
1374
Jan.He is dismissed following the disbandment of the papal army. At the end of the month, he can return to France at Coucy-le-Chateau.
……………FranceMercenariesFranceHe serves under the King of France, Charles V; along with the Duke of Burgundy, Philip the Bold, and the Burgundian Marshal, Guy de Pontailler, he disperses bands of mercenaries who, from Mancheville near Chartres, are devastating the neighboring territories. Robert Canolles, who has long ravaged Picardy, receives orders from King Edward III not to touch his lands.
Aug. – Nov.FranceThe King of France has 6000 francs delivered to him; in November, he is appointed Marshal of France but refuses the title.
1375
June – Aug.CoucyDuke of AustriaFranceHe prepares to claim the possession of some Swiss territories at the expense of the Duke of Austria. Thanks to a loan of 40,000 pounds from the King of France, Charles V, he hires the principal captains of the mercenary companies operating in France for this enterprise, a large number of whom are Bretons (including Silvestro di Budes and Olivier du Guesclin). Even Pope Gregory XI, eager to have them leave France, contributes to his venture with 5000 francs. The fury of the mercenaries descends upon Dombes; Enguerrand de Coucy then moves into Burgundy and Champagne; by mid-August, he bursts into the Duchy of Bar.
Sept.CoucySwiss Cantons, Duke of AustriaSwitzerland, FranceHe penetrates into Sundgau, occupies Waldenburg and the Castle of La Cluse, and seizes Buren. He is repelled by the inhabitants of Bern towards Alsace and Lorraine.
Oct. – Nov.SwitzerlandHe gathers armed men to take to his mother’s territories. He commands 22,000 English and Breton mercenaries known as “gugler” (named after the type of helmet they used, the Gugel, from the Latin cuculla). Such is the fame of his men, among whom the Welshman Owen Lawgich is notable, that he virtually meets no opposition. The Duke Leopold of Austria offers him 20,000 francs a year and the possession of Ferrette. Enguerrand de Coucy refuses, considering the offer far below his expectations.
Dec.France, SwitzerlandHis men plunder Alsace. The bishop and magistrates of Strasbourg recognize him with 3000 florins to avoid the city’s sacking. Alongside him are his uncle Raoul de Coucy, the Viscount of Meaux, the Baron of Roye, Pierre de Bur, and many nobles from Artois, Hainault, and Picardy. He invades Switzerland again, challenging the Cantons and Duke Leopold of Austria. Forty villages in Sundgau are sacked; about a hundred inhabitants of Wattweiler are mercilessly killed; the Franciscan monastery of Thann and the convent of Schoenensteinbach are set aflame. He crosses the Jura and reaches the plains of Aargau. The Duke of Austria barricades himself in the fortress of Breisach after having crops and forages destroyed and burnt to the Danube. Mid-month, the Swiss defeat a part of his army at Buttisholz; days later, Owen Lawgich is attacked by surprise at night in the abbey of Fraubrunnen. His men, mostly English, are caught off guard in their sleep. Owen Lawgich suffers a heavy defeat, barely escaping with his life.
1376
Jan.FranceHe must retreat due to the lack of provisions and forage, and for fear of disorder and mutinies by his disillusioned and discontented soldiers. He falls back into Alsace; the company of the gugler is again defeated at Altkirch. Mid-month, he reaches an agreement with the Duke of Austria. He is granted the fiefdom of the Count of Nidau, including the city of Buren.
Feb.The King of France orders him, Olivier de Clisson, and the Marshal of Sancerre to oppose the mercenary companies that are plundering Champagne after being abandoned by the same de Coucy.
Apr.FranceHe asks in vain to be able to return to England with his wife.
Summer/
Autumn
BelgiumHe carries out a diplomatic mission on behalf of the French sovereign to the Countess of Artois and the Count of Flanders. He becomes a member of the royal council; an annual commission of 1000 francs is paid to him. During this period, his daughter Maria lives at the French court.
Oct.A treaty is concluded between de Coucy and the Duke of Austria: for the time being, Nidau and Buren remain under his control, which he will hold until 1378 when he must cede these locations to the inhabitants of Bern.
……………EnglandHe returns to England on the occasion of the death of the Black Prince. He returns to France and assumes the role of advisor to King Charles V.
1377
Jan. – JuneFranceIn April, King Edward III dies and Richard II ascends to the throne. He remains neutral. Due to the death of her father, his wife returns to her homeland with their younger daughter; however, his eldest daughter named Maria remains by his side. He purchases many bows for the defense of his castles in case of war. Throughout the semester, he shuttles between Boulogne and Calais in an attempt to renew the peace treaties between France and England.
Aug.FranceAt the end of the month, he writes to King Richard II expressing his desire to fight for the French; he thus returns the Order of the Garter. He refuses every act of feudal homage and all his assets located on English soil are confiscated. His wife and his second-born daughter Philippa remain in England.
Sept.FranceHe confronts the English. He joins forces with the troops of the Duke of Anjou. He seizes Bergerac and threatens Bordeaux.
Dec.FranceIn Cambrai with Bureau de la Rivière to pay homage to Emperor Charles of Bohemia and his son Wenceslaus before their entry into France.
1378
SpringFranceNavarreFranceAt the orders of the Duke of Burgundy, he joins forces with Bureau de la Rivière in Normandy to counter the militias of the King of Navarre, Charles the Bad. He participates in the siege of Bayeux, Carenton, Moulineaux, Couches, and Passy. He conquers Evreux and by the end of 1378 also Cherbourg. The war concludes with the conquest of all Norman territories controlled by the King of Navarre.
……………During the same period, the Lord of Milan, Bernabò Visconti, promises him his daughter Elisabetta in marriage.
1379
Mar.FranceKing Charles V visits Coucy-le-Chateau; the court poet Eustache Deschamps composes a ballad in his honor. He is also noted alongside the king at the castle of Vincennes: he supports the antipope Clement VII against the partisans of Pope Urban VI.
Apr.FranceWith Bureau de la Rivière, he leads new negotiations with the English at Boulogne. The negotiations continue without result until March 1380. In that year, his wife Isabella dies in England.
……………FranceAt the invitation of the Duke of Turenna, he tries to dissuade Giovanni d’Armagnac from moving to Italy to fight Gian Galeazzo Visconti on behalf of the Florentines.
1380
July – Aug.FranceEnglandFranceHe is offered the command of the troops following the death of Bertrand du Guesclin earlier in the month. However, Olivier de Clisson is ultimately preferred because Enguerrand de Coucy does not speak Gascon. Conversely, he is appointed General Captain of Picardy and is given the castellany of Mortague-sur-l’Exaut; he is also called to be part of the regency council of the Dauphin. He prepares the defense of Picardy from English attacks: his action is particularly skillful at the time of the landing of the Duke of Buckingham, Thomas of Woodstock, at Calais at the head of 5060 men, half of whom are archers. Following a skirmish that lasts an hour at Troyes, the enemies enter Champagne; they sack and set fire to everything. The French do not accept open battle, preferring to closely follow the adversaries. The Duke of Buckingham, arriving in Brittany, finds the political situation changing.
Sept.FranceKing Charles V dies and is succeeded by his young son Charles VI. Mid-month, Enguerrand de Coucy is present at his coronation.
……………FranceHe supports a landing in Scotland to aid the Scots against the English.
1381
Jan.FranceHe is part of the royal council that governs France under the presidency of Louis d’Anjou. He initiates peace negotiations with the Duke of Brittany, Jean de Montfort. These conclude in the following March. He is also engaged in Montreuil to negotiate a peace treaty with the English as well.
Mar.FranceThe English are forced to re-embark.
……………FranceHe sets up a spy network in Calais, Guines, and other locations controlled by the adversaries.
1382
Jan.FranceParis is convulsed by the Maillotins’ revolt against taxes. He negotiates with the promoters of the sedition.
Nov.FranceFlandersBelgiumHe defeats the Flemish communes at Roosebecke where, along with Louis de Bourbon, he commands the third squadron. He distinguishes himself in combat for his bravery. When the central part of the French army begins to yield to the pressure of the opponents, Enguerrand de Coucy seizes a hill initially in Flemish hands. From here, he is able to attack the enemy’s rearguard. Philippe van Artevelde dies; the Flemish are defeated. Among the enemies, between 16,000 to 18,000 men are killed. After the victory, he pursues the fleeing Flemish with Albret and 400 men-at-arms, mostly Bretons. More than 1,000 of them are killed; among these, many more die drowned in the nearby marshes while seeking a way of escape.
1383
Jan.FranceWith the victory, he heads towards Paris where he definitively quells the Maillotins’ revolt. He is given 13,200 francs: a third of this sum is allocated by him to strengthen the city’s defenses and the castle under his control.
……………FranceFranceHe conducts, with Thierry de Blois, an arbitration between the city of Valenciennes and Thierry de Dixmunde.
……………FranceFranceHe participates in the war against the Duke of Deux-Ponts.
Sept.FranceEnglandFrance, BelgiumBishop of Norwich, Henry Spencer, lands at Calais with 5000 men to attack the partisans of the antipope Clement VII. De Coucy confronts the English who invade Flanders.
1384
……………CoucyBarFranceHe is involved in a private war with the Duke of Bar. The affair concludes in December with the marriage of his daughter Maria to Henry of Bar.
May – JulyAnjouNaplesLombardyHe endows the abbey of Saint Médard, near Soissons, with a large sum of money so that a perpetual mass may be said for him and his family members. In the same month, he leaves for Italy to support Louis d’Anjou in his attempt to reconquer the Kingdom of Naples. Accompanying him are the Bishop of Beaucaire, Milou de Dormans, Louis d’Enghien, the Count of Brienne and Conversano (20,000 horses, plus numerous infantry; according to other sources, the contingent is smaller, consisting of 1500 lances, which means about 5000 horses, and more infantry). The King of France provides him with 78,000 francs, of which 8000 are paid by the pope; another 4000 francs are granted to him as compensation for his credits from the previous year. He crosses the Alps at the Mont Cenis Pass; he goes to Milan to take into custody Lucia Visconti, daughter of Bernabò, who is to marry the Angevin claimant. In July, he arrives in Milan. Visconti goes to meet de Coucy outside Porta Vercellina. The procession enters the city; a bridge breaks under the weight of the armed men crossing it.
Aug.Lombardy, TuscanyHe attends the proxy marriage between the daughter of the Lord of Milan and Louis d’Anjou. He continues his march towards the Kingdom of Naples at the head of 8000 horses. The Florentines, to keep him away from their territories, prepare provisions for him in Romagna and the March of Ancona on the Adriatic coast. He declares himself their ally, enters Lucca, and camps at San Piero in Campo. Bernabò Visconti, who has provided him with Ruggero Cane as a guide, entrusts him with 45,000 florins and promises another 20,000 for any new developments he can bring about in Tuscany. The Pisans send him gifts and horses. Enguerrand de Coucy goes to Lucca; the Pistoiese, on the other hand, ally with the Florentines and hand over 12,000 florins to them to be aided in case of invasion of their countryside. De Coucy assures everyone that his intentions are peaceful.
Sept.AnjouFlorence, Pisa Siena, Perugia, Cortona, NaplesTuscanyHe sends his ambassadors to the commune of Florence to request a loan of 25,000 florins. His request is not accepted; instead, he is invited to the city for a solemn banquet. From Lucca, his troops move at night towards Empoli and Elsa, reaching Castelfiorentino where they stop for three days; they aim for Poggibonsi; are at San Miniato and Montespertoli. During their march, the soldiers sack everything, take prisoners, kill those who try to resist, and seize some small castles. Subsequently, Enguerrand de Coucy enters the Pisan and Sienese territories. Arriving at Abbadia a Isola, he asks the Sienese for the same sum: he is granted passage, provided with provisions, but the response remains essentially the same. His people, in retaliation, begin to sack the surrounding territory and steal everything they find. The Sienese eventually hand over 7,000 florins for him to leave their countryside; he reaches Bigozzo, Rapolano Terme (where he stops for eight days), and Gracciano. He tries in vain to enter the Perugian territory; he joins with Giovanni Acuto and Giovanni degli Ubaldini to target the territory of Cortona. He divides his troops into two columns; at the end of the month, he enters Arezzo at night with Marco da Pietramala and Giovanni degli Ubaldini. He goes to Alboreto, plants the Angevin king’s banners on the walls, breaks through the Porta di San Clemente, and sacks the city, first the houses of the Guelfs and then those of the Ghibellines. A silver bust with the head of Saint Donatus is also taken. The relic will later be found in Romagna in the hands of Sinibaldo Ordelaffi and will be donated by the Florentines to the inhabitants of Arezzo. Only the fortress does not fall into the hands of the Angevins; in it takes refuge the Durazzo governor of Arezzo, Giacomo Caracciolo, with some Guelfs.
Oct.AnjouFlorenceTuscanyNews arrives of the death of Louis d’Anjou. Enguerrand de Coucy finds himself isolated in central Italy in an extremely dangerous situation. Giovanni Acuto abandons him; Perugia, Pisa, and Lucca ally with the Florentines, committing to enlist 800 lances in fifteen days. Such militias are gathered under a single blue flag bearing the word “Pax” in golden letters. The Bolognese also join this league. He is attacked in Arezzo by the Florentines commanded by Giovanni degli Obizzi and Acuto. He offers the city to the Sienese for 20,000 florins; at the same time, he meets with the Florentine ambassadors Rinaldo Gianfigliazzi, Andrea Minerbetti, and Giovanni Ricci. At the end of the month, an envoy of the commune enters the fortress and convinces Giacomo Caracciolo to surrender on terms. 110 soldiers come out.
Nov.Tuscany, RomagnaAt the beginning of the month, disregarding agreements with the da Pietramala, Enguerrand de Coucy reaches an agreement with the Florentines at the castle of Laterina; he sells them Arezzo for 50,000/60,000 florins, of which 40,000 are allocated to his men, 5,000 to himself, and another 5,000 to cover other expenses. Upon hearing this, Carlo da Pietramala and his followers angrily leave Arezzo, because although their properties previously confiscated by the Florentines are returned to them, they do not obtain permission to reside in the city. Mid-month, he is given 47,000 florins by Giovanni Giugni and Piero del Palagio. De Coucy passes through Pontremoli and Forlì with his people and, after a few days, is able to leave Italy to return to France within two weeks.
1385
Feb.PiedmontIn Pinerolo. He invites Ruggero Cane to join him.
MayComp. venturaUmbriaHe moves along the Tiber Valley up to Fratta (Umbertide). He joins forces with Boldrino da Panicale.
JuneEmilia, LombardyAlong with other condottieri, he forms a company of 4,000 cavalry to liberate Bernabò Visconti, who has been imprisoned by his nephew Gian Galeazzo. He attacks the Bolognese territory; the commune recognizes 35,000 florins for the mercenaries. The company (called “della Rosa”) is blocked by the Visconti forces and dissolves. De Coucy moves to Tuscany at the end of the month with Acuto and Ubaldini. He enters the territory of Cortona; he is invited to leave by the lord of the city, Uguccione Casali. He returns to France.
JulyFranceIn Amiens, for the celebrations of the marriage of King Charles VI.
……………FranceHe falls from his horse in Avignon, sustaining multiple leg fractures: he remains immobilized for four months.
……………Belgium, FranceHe accompanies La Trémouille to aid the Duchess of Brabant. He convinces the Duke of Brittany to reconcile with the King of France and his uncles.
1386
SpringScotlandHe supports Olivier de Clisson and the Marshal of Sancerre in Scotland with 1500 infantry and 800 cavalry. The disputes among the various Scottish clans soon lead the French to a swift return to their homeland.
……………FranceDuring this period, he marries Isabella di Lorena, the sister of the Duke of Lorraine, who is thirty years his junior. The woman brings with her the lordship of Fleuras near Liège as her dowry.
1387
……………He reaches an agreement with Duke Albert of Austria, pledging Buren and Nidau as collateral.
Mar.FranceWhile King Charles VI visits Coucy-le-Chateau, he grants de Coucy permission to establish annual fairs there. Plans for the invasion of England are also discussed.
MayFranceThe topic of an upcoming conflict with the English is addressed in the royal council.
JuneFranceGiovanni di Montfort captures Olivier de Clisson. For the following months, de Coucy will work diligently to secure his release.
……………France, BelgiumHe fights in the Flanders and Picardy regions under the command of Duke Philip the Bold of Burgundy. He moves along the Norman coast and attacks English ships there.
1388
……………FranceA new truce is established with the English. De Coucy once again becomes part of the royal council and strengthens his friendship with the king’s brother, Louis of Turenne (later Orleans).
Nov.He is appointed as the Grand Bottler of France.
1389
……………FranceHe attends the solemn entry of the Queen of France into Paris. During this period, he holds the position of Captain of Guienne, a territory stretching from Dordogne to the sea, which includes Auvergne and Limousin. He is challenged to a duel by Thomas Mowbray, the Earl of Nottingham and future Duke of Norfolk, but he does not accept the challenge.
Oct.FranceBy the side of the sovereign in Dijon.
Nov.FranceHe travels to Avignon for the coronation of Louis of Anjou as the King of Provence.
Dec.FranceHe sends 100 men-at-arms to assist Louis of Bourbon in his expedition to Tunisia, conducted against the local king and other prominent Berber leaders.
1390
Apr.FranceAt the end of the month, he founds the monastery and church of the Celestines in Villeneuve, on the banks of the Aisne, near Soissons.
MayFranceTunisiLiguria, TunisiaParticipating in the expedition to Tunisia alongside Louis of Bourbon and de Coucy are also John Beaufort, the bastard of the Duke of Lancaster and progenitor of the Tudors in England, Jean de Vienne, Philippe d’Artois, Count of Eu, Jean d’Harcourt, Philippe de Bar, his brother-in-law, Geoffrey Boucicaut, brother of the more famous Jean. They depart from Marseille, embarked on Genoese ships, with 1400 to 1500 horses, totaling 5000 men, including infantry and archers. They make a stop in Genoa and then transfer to Africa with 22 galleys. De Coucy commands the vanguard and is among the first to land, engaging in numerous skirmishes with the enemy. He assaults Tunis with the siege engines provided by the Genoese. The siege is short-lived, as a counterattack forces them to retreat after suffering significant losses.
He then confronts the Berber Sultan Abou-‘l-Abbas in his fortress of Mehedia. After a nine-week siege, instigated by the Genoese who were behind the enterprise, the Crusaders are pushed to withdraw. Negotiations commence, and de Coucy and Bourbon cross the Alps together, reaching Paris in six weeks.
……………Sardegna, Sicily, Lazio, TuscanyAfter re-embarking, he arrives at the island of Conigliera and then heads to Sardinia. On behalf of the Genoese, he secures the castle of Cagliari in a single day, followed shortly by the surrender of Anguillastra. He proceeds to Messina, where he is hosted by Manfredi Chiaromonte. Upon departing for France, Manfredi Chiaromonte gifts two couriers to the Duke of Bourbon and one to de Coucy. Their journey, still by sea, takes them to Terracina, Piombino, the island of Elba, Portofino, and finally Genoa.
……………FranceUpon his return to France, under the pressure of the new ruler of Milan, Gian Galeazzo Visconti, he is sent by the Duke of Turenne, who is also a son-in-law of Visconti, to meet with Giovanni d’Armagnac, in an attempt to dissuade him from accepting the money from the Florentines to fight against the Viscontis. However, he receives a negative response.
1391
Feb.FranceHe is engaged with English negotiators in an effort to reach an agreement that satisfies both parties. A nine-month truce is subsequently established.
Oct. – Dec.FranceHe negotiates a treaty with Giovanni di Montfort in Tours.
1392
……………FranceThe Dukes of Lancaster and York arrive in Amiens for a peace treaty. On this occasion, de Coucy is able to reunite with his daughter Filippa after seven years. However, no agreement is reached after two weeks of negotiations.
Aug.FranceHe follows the king to Paris and stands by the sovereign’s side in Le Mans when Charles VI begins to show the initial signs of mental instability.
……………FranceHe travels to Brittany with La Trémouille to inform the local Duke that the king has become temporarily insane. When Charles VI temporarily regains his faculties, de Coucy accompanies him on pilgrimages to Notre Dame-de-Liesse and Saint-Denis. He also serves as the Captain-General and strives to enforce the truces signed with the English in Guyenne. Upon returning to Paris, the royal council decides to launch an expedition to Italy.
1393
Jan. – Apr.FranceHe is sent by Duke Louis of Orleans to Avignon along with two other envoys. In April, he is still reported to be in Avignon.
MayFranceHe meets with the Antipope, along with the Bishop of Noyon, the Duke of Bourbon, and the Admiral of France, Jean de Vienne, to discuss the papal bull creating the Kingdom of Adria, granted to Louis of Anjou in 1379 by Clement VII.
1394
……………PiedmontHe becomes the promoter of a treaty between the Marquess of Montferrat, the Prince of Savoy-Achaia, and the Count of Savoy.
JulyFranceGenoaGeneral captainPiedmontHe is elected as Lieutenant, Attorney, and Captain-General by Louis of Orleans. He enters into agreements with Antoniotto Adorno and Carlo del Carretto to the detriment of the Genoese. He establishes himself in Asti, which belongs to the Duke.
Sept. – Oct.Piedmont, LiguriaHe is tasked with finalizing the alliance with Gian Galeazzo Visconti and commencing operations in the Ligurian Riviera. He is joined in Asti by Ramazzotto della Niella with 250 cavalry. Under his command are other Italian condottieri such as Ottone Rusca, Bertolino da Verona, and Facino Cane. These forces are joined by French troops led by Amedeo di Mirabel, Jean de Pin, and bands of the Armagnacs, including le Bourc de Verduzan, Garsic de Frespailles, Jean Dudain, Huguenin de Marmignan, Motin de Foujolles, and Armand de Caupane (1257 mounted crossbowmen and 191 archers). Their objective: Savona.
Nov.LiguriaHe conquers Savona and lays siege to Genoa. During these operations, he is accompanied by Jean de Roye with 200 men-at-arms and 50 archers, as well as Jean de Trie, Pierre de Vieuville, and Guillaume de Bracquemont with 100 men-at-arms and 50 archers. During the same period, there is talk of a new expedition of his in central Italy. Bernardo della Serra offers to surrender the cities, fortresses, and castles under his control in the Patrimonio on behalf of the Duke of Orleans. In gratitude, Enguerrand de Coucy sends him a gift of 100 florins the following month on behalf of the duke.
Dec.Piedmont, LombardyHe leaves Asti to go to Pavia. In this city, he signs an agreement regarding the possession of Genoa with the Lord of Milan, but it ultimately has no effect. He faces significant financial difficulties caused by the high expenses of the war against the Genoese, which force him to pawn his jewels and tableware. The war costs the French 25,000 gold francs per month, rising to 31,000 francs when including pensions.
1395
Mar. – MayPiedmont, LiguriaBack in Asti, he learns that King Charles VI of France has accepted the offers of the Genoese and decided that the Duke of Orleans should cede Savona to the king for the sum of 300,000 florins. He is instructed to dismiss Facino Cane and Bertolino da Verona, who remain in the area for a few months, waiting for their salaries from the French. He is ordered to join the ambassadors sent from Paris to negotiate with the Genoese the terms under which they offer the lordship of the city to Charles VI. Disheartened by these events, Enguerrand de Coucy does not go to Genoa. Instead, he reinforces the defenses of Savona, which is under siege by land and sea by Doge Antoniotto Adorno. He takes the road to Savigliano, Cherasco, Dogliani, Ceva, Garessio, ascends the Tanaro valley, occupies Pornasio and the basin of the Arozia stream, crosses the Alps, and seizes Diano Marina, Porto Maurizio, and Lingueglia. Adorno is compelled to lift the siege. Finally, in May, he leaves the service of Louis of Orleans to return to the service of the King of France.
JuneFranceGenoaPiedmontWith the money borrowed from Gian Galeazzo Visconti and additional funds collected through taxes, levies, various contributions, and requests to the municipalities and vassals in the Asti region, he recruits 1234 light cavalry, 122 lances, 27 archers, and 400 infantry.
JulyPiedmont, LiguriaHe departs from Cherasco, heads towards Savona, and liberates the city from the siege. However, he gets wounded during the siege of Laigueglia and returns to Cherasco as he is unable to lead the troops. Afflicted by fever, he stays in Piedmont to consolidate the position of Savona.
Aug.Genoese ambassadors offer the lordship of the city to the King of France.
Oct.PiedmontHe leaves Asti for good.
Dec.Lombardy, FranceIn Pavia for the ratification of the alliance pact between the Duke of Orleans and the Viscontis. He returns to France and has the Duke reimburse him for the expenses he incurred on his behalf during the campaign.
1396
Apr.FranceHe leaves Paris to respond to the call of Emperor Sigismund of Hungary against the Turks of Sultan Bayezid. He meets with Boucicaut in Dijon to devise a joint plan.
MayLombardyHe arrives at the castle of Pavia with Henry of Bar and urges the Duke of Milan not to hinder the French action in Genoa.
……………EmpireOttoman EmpireBulgariaHe is part of an army of 7,500 to 9,000 men, but in reality, there is no unity of command. The allies are in conflict because the Hungarians want to confront the Turks on their borders, while the French aim to march on Constantinople. Moreover, their arrogance and the plundering they commit along their way irritate their allies. The Crusaders conquer Vidin in western Bulgaria, and they take control of Rachova (Ozyekova) after a night attack, during which de Coucy, d’Eu, Boucicaut, Jean de la Marche, and Philippe de Bar manage to capture the drawbridge. The city is brutally sacked and set on fire. A thousand prisoners are selected for ransom, which greatly annoys the Hungarians, who perceive these actions as an insult to their king, Emperor Sigismund of Hungary.
Sept.BulgariaThe army advances on Nicopolis Ad Istrum (Nicopolis). The city is under siege, defended by Toghan Beg. A column of Turks is ambushed in an attack planned by de Coucy with 500 lances, resulting in a massacre of the opponents. This victory boosts the French confidence in their abilities, but it also leads to discord within the allied camp and a general relaxation of discipline. At the end of the month, the Turks attack the Crusaders. Despite de Coucy’s contrary opinion, the French decide to fight at the forefront and engage the Ottomans with heavy cavalry. Eventually, the emperor also approves this decision.
The French are defeated, leading to a general rout among the other troops. Among the Crusaders, 12,000 men remain on the battlefield, while more than 20,000 Turks are left dead. De Coucy is taken prisoner along with Jean de Nevers, Boucicaut, Jean de la Marche, and other captains. He is brought naked before the sultan, who orders that all prisoners over the age of twenty (except Nevers and Boucicaut, who can afford substantial ransoms) be killed in his presence. This is in retaliation for the Crusaders, who, during the conquest of Rachova, had similarly put 2,000 prisoners (including Christians) to the sword, as they were obstructing their operations. Consequently, 3,000 men are beheaded, while the younger ones are forced to serve in the Ottoman army. De Coucy is imprisoned and, when taken to Gallipoli, falls into a deep depression.
1397
Feb.TurkeyHe dies in the middle of the month in Bursa, in Bithynia. He orders that his body be transported to France to be buried in Villeneuve in the Celestine monastery. Only his heart and bones will reach his homeland to be interred in the monastery of the Holy Trinity. The bones, on the other hand, will be cremated at the abbey of Nogent-sous-Coucy, while the rest of the corpse has already been cremated in Turkey. In his will, he bequeaths substantial sums to the monastery of the Holy Trinity, 21 churches and chapels, 5 choirs, the poor of Paris, and those in his lands. Eustache Deschamps writes a funeral song in his honor. He is remembered in a work by Montoliou titled “Les grottes de Lindenthal ou le chateau de Thorberg.” Walter Scott mentions him in “Anne of Geierstein or the Maiden of the Mist.” Lastly, Barbara W. Tuchman writes his biography in “A Distant Mirror.”

Sources

-“Qui estoit un moult vaillant chevallier et bon capitaine.” D’ORRONVILLE

-“Qui estoit grand seigneur et vaillant chevalier.” J. DES URSINS

-“Gran signore in soe contrade.” CORPUS CHRONIC. BONOMIENSUM

-“Capitano energico e risoluto.” GALLI

-“Fu uomo quanto valoroso, altrettanto modesto.” PITTI

-“Enghiramus quidam Gallus, vir domi potens et militia clarus.” BRUNI

-“Qui était le plus sage et le plus aimable chevalier de son temps..C’était le seigneur le plus rempli de grace et de persuasion de toute la chrétienté; partout où il était allé, en France, en Angleterre, en Allemagne, en Lombardie, nul n’avait su plaire tant que lui; c’était son naturel, et de plus il avait vu beaucoup de pays, beaucoup d’hommes et beaucoup d’affaires..En lui finit l’illustre maison de Coucy, descendant des anciens comtes de Guines….(Con la morte in prigionia) Ainsi finit chez les infidèles, loin de sa famille et de la France, ce noble et vaillant Enguerrand de Coucy, grand bouteiller de France, qui, simple baron, avait tant de loyauté, de vaillance et de merite, qui nul n’était plus grand seigneur, et qu’on disait communement: Je ne suis roi, ni prince aussi,/ Je suis le sire de Coucy. ” DE BARANTE

-“Vir domi potens et militia clarus.” SANT’ANTONINO

-“Belli clarus in Italiam.” BUONINCONTRI

-“Il gran sir di Cousi che di presente/ Con sue gente Francesca e Taliana/ Passava i monti vigorosamente,/ Per Lombarda venendo in la Toscana/ per danneggiar i nemici del Duca/ E fare a Carlo la speranza vana/ Che gente di Toscana non conduca/ In suo aiuto e che promessa fatta/ Dal Fiorentin a lui fosse caduca/…  (Riguardo il sacco di Arezzo) “Così fermò el mercato el Sir con loro/ et ricivé fiorin sexanta milia/ con la brigata di suo concistoro.” B. DI GORELLO

-“C’est le bon segneur de Couci/ Qui m’a vouvent le poing fouci/ De beaux florins à rouge escaille.” FROISSART

-“St. Lambert, Coucy, La Fère/ Marle, Oisy, and St. Gobain,/ Weep for your lord, the good seigneur/ Who seved so well his sovereign/ With prowess great in many lands/…/Who for the faith in Turkey died,/ Let us pray God to pardon him.” Dechamps. Riportato da THE MEDIEVAL COMBAT SOCIETY

-“A French nobleman who had travelled to England as a hostage after Brétigny, stayed to marry Edward III’s daughter, and become known to the English as Sir Ingelram. Hero of Barbara Tuchman’s doleful history of the fourteenth century, “A Distant Mirror”, Coucy was known in Italy as Inghiramo, or as the Siri di Così.” COOPER

-“Since he had first marched at fifteen against the English, and eighteen hunted down the Jacquerie, the range of Coucy’s experience had extended over an extraordinary variety of combat, diplomacy, government, and social and political relationships. As son-in-law of Edward III, holding double allegiance to two kings at war, his position had been unique. He had seen war as captain or one of the command in eleven campaigns – in Piedmont, Lombardy, Switzerland, Normandy, Languedoc, Tuscany, northern France, Flanders, Guelders, Tunisi, Genoa: he had commanded mercenaries, and fought as ally or antagonist of the County of Savoy, Gregory XI, Hawkwood, the Visconti, the Hapsburgs, the Swiss, Navarrese, Gascons, English, Berbers, the Republic of Florence and nobles of Genoa. As diplomat he had negotiated with Pope Clemente VII, the Duke of Brittany, the Count of Flanders, the Queen of Aragon, with the English at peace parleys, and the rebels of Paris. He had had one temperamental and extravagant wife eight years his senior, and a second approximately thirty years his junior. He had served as adviser and agent of the two royal Dukes, Anjou and Orléans, as Lieutenant-General of Piccardy and later of Guienne, as member of the Royal Council, as Grand Bouteiller of France, and had twice been the preferred choice for Constable. He had known and dealt with every kind of character from the ultra-wicked Charles of Navarre to the ultra-saintly Pierre de Luxembourg.” TUCHMAN

-“Enguerrand VII, le dernier des membres de l’illustre maison de Coucy qui ait porté le titre de sire de Coucy, est assurément l’un des plus grandes figures de notre histoire  nationale pendant la seconde moitié du XIV° siècle. Gendre du roi d’Angleterre Edouard III, allié à toutes les familles souveraines, il joue comme homme de guerre et comme diplomate un role préponderant: son nom se trouve melé à la plupart des hautes questions politiques qui sont alors débattues; les missions les plus délicates, les commandements le plus périlleux lui sont confiés. On le voit percourir avec gloire les champs de bataille de l’Europe entière, s’illustrant en Ecosse, en Fiandre, en Allemagne, en Italie er jusq’en Afrique, avant d’aller mourir prisonnier des Turcs en Asie-Mineure. Sa valeur et son habileté sont encore rehaussées par la grandeur de son caractère: il sacrifie ses intérets au désir de servir son roi, en renonçant à tous les avantages que lui assurent ses liens de parenté avec la famille royale d’Angleterre, et donne un magnifique exemple de désintéressement en refusant, à la mort de du Guesclin, l’épèe de connétable de France, dont il trouve Olivier de Clisson plus digne que lui.” DURRIEU

SPECIFIC BIOGRAPHIES

-The Medieval Combat Society. Historical information. Enguerrand VII de Coucy, 7th Earl of Bedford, Count of Soissons, seigneur of Coucy and Montmirial.

P. Durrieu. La prise d’Arezzo (1384) par Enguerrand VII sire de Coucy.

Featured image: wikimedia

https://www.geni.com/people/Enguerrand-II-de-Coucy/6000000004533150728

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Roberto Damiani
Roberto Damiani
Roberto Damiani è l'autore del sito Condottieri di ventura.