Monday, September 14, 2009

A Melusine Sighting, A Brand-New Theory, and a Father's Love

In 1445, Margaret of Anjou was present at Nancy at the wedding of her sister, Yolande, to Ferry de Vaudemont. It was a grand occasion, marked by days of jousting, and King Charles VII himself showed up. But what image was on his shield, pray tell? None other than Melusine, the fairy that with a little help from Warwick the Kingmaker and Richard III launched dozens of historical novels claiming that Elizabeth Woodville and her mother practiced witchcraft.

Now, the naive might suppose that Charles VII bore Melusine on his shield because he thought it was a nice story, but this would violate the Two Chief Rules of Fifteenth-Century Revisionist History: (1) if an action has a sinister explanation and an innocent one, the sinister explanation must prevail, and (2) no historical figure can ever be given the benefit of the doubt about anything except for Richard III. We can safely assume, then, that Charles VII's shield was a clear statement that the entire French court was no more than one giant witches' coven. When we consider that the year before, Charles of Maine, uncle to Margaret of Anjou, married Isabella of Luxembourg, sister to the witchy Jacquetta Woodville, and that both the houses of Anjou and Luxembourg were knee-deep in Melusine, our case is closed. In fact, we can probably say that witchcraft, not diplomatic and military bungling, would eventually cost the English the territories that they had gained in France. (I'm proud of this theory, so if anyone tries to steal it, remember you heard it here first.)

What is truly amazing, though, is that long before Edward IV fatally entangled his house with the descendants of Melusine by marrying Elizabeth Woodville, his own father was attempting to match him with the French royal family! In 1445, Richard, Duke of York, tried to arrange a marriage between little Edward and one of Charles VII's daughters. The marriage never took place, possibly because of rising tensions between England and France but more likely because a horrified Duke of York, having learned of Charles VII's allegiance to Melusine and the Forces of Darkness in general, wisely drew back from the abyss yawning before his innocent son. Unfortunately, his fatherly concern could do nothing to save his son from the eventual fate that awaited him at the hands of the sinister Jacquetta and Elizabeth and their ancestress, Melusine.

Sources:

Because I said so. And lots of Novocaine at the dentist's office.

(But yes, Charles VII is recorded as wearing a shield with Melusine on it in 1445, and the Duke of York did indeed try to marry his son Edward to one of Charles's daughters.)

8 comments:

zquilts said...

Works for me. Personally I have become rather attached to to Melusine legacy - and your theory is more plausible than many - even without novacaine! Ouch!

Anne Gilbert said...

Melusine figures, in a way, in my Great Medieval Science Fiction Masterpice, and there is a (sort of) rational explanation. The principal female figure is compared to Melusine, on the grounds that she has some um, rather unusual abilities, and also there are references to the fact that the original Melusine belonged to the same group of people as the principal female character, and also had some rather unusual abilities, which got rather distorted with the passage of time.

Alianore said...

Works for me, too! :-)

Carla said...

It's as good a theory as many :-) Hope you've recovered from the dentist visit!

Lady D. said...

Yuop - maybe we should all visit the dentist and DEMAND novocaine before doing any writing - then the possibilities should be endless ;-)

Mimi said...

Brilliant! I'm so tempted to steal this part Two Chief Rules of Fifteenth-Century Revisionist History: (1) if an action has a sinister explanation and an innocent one, the sinister explanation must prevail, and (2) no historical figure can ever be given the benefit of the doubt about anything except for Richard III. (properly credited, of course) for some usage - like a signature or something!

Susan Higginbotham said...

Thanks, all! It's amazing how many conspiracy theories one can spot in the dentist's chair. Mimi, feel free to borrow!

Anonymous said...

Hi,
As a descendent of Jacquetta i find the Melusina theory fascinating -could it really be true?