599 Years Ago Today

Today, 24 January, five hundred and ninety-nine years ago. The future pseudo-cardinal of S. Onofrio told those guys to pay the wine bill, for pete's sake!  Proof lies in this library's Smith Documents 0300, and here's a picture of it.  (Click on the image to see a larger size.)

It's signed, "J., evesque de Saint Brieuc," and has his mark, the faint swirls that look something like a number 8 with a line through the middle; the small red bits to the right of his mark are what is left of his seal.  The date of the document is in the last line, "le xxiiii jour de janvier l'an mil quatre cens et quatorze."  

The "J." is  Jean III de Malestroit who was bishop of Saint-Brieuc between 1404 and 1419, before he climbed an ecclesiastical ladder to become bishop of Nantes.  He kept climbing after that, and in 1440, he was named Cardinal of S. Onofrio.  It should have been his dream job; who knows? Higher than a cardinal, there is only the step upwards to pope.   But Jean was unwise enough to take the side of the anti-popes, and sadly it was one of them, Felix V, who elevated Jean to the purple.  But "pseudo cardinal"?  Well, such was the wording on fr.wikipedia (accessed last night):  Jean de Malestroit goes down in history, accompanied by that terrible adjective.

For more items like this, see Digital Scriptorium and search on call number beginning with the words:  Smith Documents.

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