Jean d’Auffay : culture historique et polémique à la cour de Bourgogne

Daly, Kathleen (2006). Jean d’Auffay : culture historique et polémique à la cour de Bourgogne. Le Moyen Age, 12(3-4) pp. 603–618.



Jean d’Auffay, lawyer and counsellor of Mary of Burgundy, was the author of a treatise justifying Mary’s rights to the inheritance of her father Charles the Bold, which he composed around 1477-1479, before leaving Burgundian service after Mary’s death to serve a rival claimant, Louis XI, king of France. The treatise is well known, having survived in nearly seventy manuscripts dating from the late 15th to the early 18th century, although it was not published until 1700, by G. Leibnitz. Although the legal arguments in the text have been analysed, little attention has been paid to d’Auffay’s skill as an historian. This article considers the connections between historical culture and polemic at the Burgundian court in the late fifteenth century through d’Auffay’s text.

Using the evidence of previously unknown dossier of historical materials preserved in Lille, Archives départementales du Nord 9B 241, this article demonstrates the resources available to d’Auffay and his colleagues, put together to defend Mary’s claims c. 1478-1479. It suggests intriguing links between former Burgundian servants, as it contains a treatise by Jean Jacquelin, former governor of the ducal chancellery who was rewarded for his change of allegiance with the presidency of the parlement of Burgundy. The whole dossier later came into the possession of a third former Burgundian, Jean de la Vacquerie, who was appoointed first president of the Paris Parlement. Turning to d’Auffay’s treatise, it shows how d’Auffay ued documentary and chronicle evidence, and turned myths such as the Salic Law and the return of the heirs of Charlemagne to the French throne, against Mary’s adversaries. It presents a list of 69 manuscripts of the text, including 16 that have not previously been identified.

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