🗺📍France • 1368 -
🇫🇷 The world Charles VI was born into an age where the previous 50 years falling apart, and most of the horrible things we today associate with the Middle Ages – plague, famine, ignorance, bandits roaming the countryside, constant war – really date to this period alone.
🗡 Growing up, Charles VI had never shown signs of mental or emotional instability, though we know now that schizophrenia usually manifests for the first time during people’s teens and early 20s. In 1392, at the age of 23, Charles went completely berserk during a hunting trip with his retinue. Seizing a sword, he suddenly cut down one of his knights, killing him on the spot, and threw himself onto the rest of the hunting party. The king managed to kill three more knights before he could be restrained.
🌀Things went from bad to worse during the rest of Charles’ reign. While sources all agree that he was a fine leader during his lucid periods, those moments became increasingly rare over the years. In 1393, one year after the hunting trip, Charles appeared to forget his own name and didn’t recognize his wife when she was brought to him.
🛡 Charles spent much of the winter of 1395-96 claiming to be Saint George and insisting that his family crest be redesigned to reflect that.
🛁 According to Pope Pius II, Charles VI spent several months in 1405 refusing to bathe and threatened to kill anyone who touched him, as he was made of glass and might break.
💸During Charles’ reign, the affairs of France unsurprisingly went to hell. The treasury was empty, despite the crushing taxes, the war was going as badly as it possibly could, and forces were gathering to pull the plug on the king.
🤴🏻 Charles VI, once known as Charles the Beloved, later known as Charles the Mad, died of what were probably natural causes in 1422, at the age of 61.