Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V10, Page 499 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ROBERT FLEURANGES (III.) DE LA MARCK, SEIGNEUR DE (1491-1J37), marshal of France and historian, was the son of Robert II. de la Marck; duke of Bouillon, seigneur of Sedan and Fleuranges, whose uncle was the celebrated William de la Marck, " The Wild Boar of the Ardennes." A fondness for military exercises displayed itself in his earliest years, and at the age of ten he was sent to the court of Louis XII., and placed in charge of the count of Angouleme, afterwards King Francis I. In his twentieth year he married a niece of the cardinal d'Amboise, but after three months he quitted his home to join the French army in the Milanese. With a handful of troops he threw himself into Verona, then besieged by the Venetians; but the siege was protracted, and being impatient for more active service, he tejoined the army. He then took part in the relief of Mirandola, besieged by the troops of Pope Julius II., and in other actions of the campaign. In 1512 the French being driven from Italy, Fleuranges was sent into Flanders to levy a body of 1o,000 men, in command of which, under his father, he returned to Italy in 1513, seized Alessandria, and vigorously assailed Novara. But the French were defeated, and Fleuranges narrowly escaped with his life, having received more than forty wounds. He was rescued by his father and sent to Vercellae, and thence to Lyons. Returning to Italy with Francis I. in 1515, he distinguished himself in various affairs, and especially at Marignano, where he had a horse shot under him, and contributed so powerfully to the victory of the French that the king knighted him with his own hand. He next took Cremona, and was there called home by the news of his father's illness. In 1519 he was sent into Germany on the difficult errand of inducing the electors to give their votes in favour of Francis I.; but in this he failed. The war in Italy being rekindled, Fleuranges accompanied the king thither, fought at Pavia (1525), and was taken prisoner with his royal master. The emperor, irritated by the defection of his father, Robert II. de la Marck, sent him into confinement in Flanders, where he remained for some years. During this imprisonment he was created marshal of France. He employed his enforced leisure in writing his Histoire des choses memorables advenues du ragne de Louis XII et de Francois I, depuis 1499 jusqu'en l'an 1521. In this work he designates himself Jeune Adventureux. Within a small compass he gives many curious and interesting details of the time, writing only of what he had seen, and in a very simple but vivid style. The book was first published in 1735, by Abbe Lambert, who added historical and critical notes; and it has been reprinted in several collections. The last occasion on which Fleuranges was engaged in active service was at the defence of Peronne, besieged by the count of Nassau in 1536. In the following year he heard of his father's death, and set out from Amboise for his estate of La Marck; but he was seized with illness at Longjumeau, and died there in December 1537. See his own book in the Nouvelle Collection des memoires pour servir a l'histoire de France (edited by J. F. Michaud and J. J. F. Poujoulat, series i. vol. v. Paris, 1836 seq.). FLEUR-DE-LIS (Fr. " lily flower "), an heraldic device, very widespread in the armorial bearings of all countries, but more particularly associated with the royal house of France. The conventional fleur-de-lis, as Littre says, represents very imperfectly three flowers of the white lily (Lilium) joined together,the central one erect, and each of the other two curving outwards. The fleur-de-lis is a common device in ancient decoration, notably in India and in Egypt,where it was the symbol of life and resurrection, the attribute of the god Horns. It is common also in Etruscan bronzes. It is uncertain whether the conventional fleur-de-lis was originally meant to represent the lily or white iris—the flower-de-luce of Shakespeare—or an arrow-head, a spear-head, an amulet fastened on date-palms to ward off the evil eye, &c. In Roman and early Gothic architecture the fleur-de-lis is a frequent sculptured ornament. As early as 1120 three fleurs-de-lis were sculptured on the capitals of the Chapelle Saint-Aignan at Paris. The fleur-de-lis was first definitely connected with the French monarchy in an ordonnance of Louis le Jeune (c. 1147), and was first figured on a seal of Philip Augustus inr180. The use of the fleur-de-lis in heraldry dates from the 12th century, soon after which period it became a very common charge in France, England and Germany, where every gentleman of coat-armour desired to adorn his shield 18th and 19th centuries. with a loan from the shield of France, which was at first d'azur, seine de fleurs delis d'or. In February 1376 Charles V. of France reduced the number of fleurs-de-lis to three—in honour of the Trinity—and the kings of France thereafter bore d'azur, d trois fleurs de lis d'or. Tradition soon attributed the origin of the fleur-de-lis to Clovis, the founder of the Frankish monarchy, and explained that it represented the lily given to him by an angel at his baptism. Probably there was as much foundation for this legend as for the more rationalistic explanation of William Newton (Display of Heraldry, p. 145), that the fleur-de-lis was the figure of a reed or flag in blossom, used instead of a sceptre at the proclamation of the Frankish kings. Whatever be the true origin of the fleur-de-lis as a conventional decoration, it is demonstrably far older than the Frankish monarchy, and history does not record the reason of its adoption by the royal house of France, from which it passed into common use as an heraldic charge in most European countries. An order of the Lily, with a fleur-de-lis for badge, was established in the Roman states by Pope Paul III. in 1546; its members were pledged to defend the patrimony of St Peter against the enemies of the church. Another order of the Lily was founded by Louis XVIII. in 1816, in memory of the silver fleurs-de-lis which the comte d'Artois had given to the troops in 1814 as decorations; it was abolished by the revolution of 183o.

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