Jean de Vienne

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Bust of Jean de Vienne in the Galerie des Batailles in the Palace of Versailles. Bust of Jean de Vienne (Versailles) 01.jpg
Bust of Jean de Vienne in the Galerie des Batailles in the Palace of Versailles.
The coat of arms of Jean de Vienne
Crest La tête de l'aigle dans un vol banneret de gueules, sur une couronne d'or.
Blazon De gueules à l'aigle d'or chargée en coeur d'un croissant de sable, borne upon an anchor.
Order(s) Order of the Knights of the Holy Spirit
Other elementsThe mantling, gules doubled or.

Jean de Vienne (1341 – 25 September 1396) was a French knight, general and Admiral of France during the Hundred Years' War.


Early life

Jean de Vienne was born at Dole, in what is now Franche-Comté. As a nobleman, he started his military career at the age of 19, and was made a knight at 21. At 1366-1367 he took a part of a Savoyard crusade lead by Amadeus VI of Savoy against Bulgaria.


Raids by Admirals de Vienne and Tovar against England 1374-80 Ofensivas Tovar-Vienne contra Inglaterra 01.jpg
Raids by Admirals de Vienne and Tovar against England 1374-80

By the age of 24, de Vienne was made Captain-General for the Franche-Comté. In 1373, Charles V made him Amiral de France. Working with determination, de Vienne reorganised the navy, started an important programme of construction, created an effective coast guard, navigation police, organised watches along the coasts, and attributed licences for building and selling of ships.

Jean de Vienne was one of the first to understand that only by naval operations could serious harm be done to England. To this end he petitioned for strong support from the French monarchy and conducted several expeditions to Wight and the southern ports of England.

Between 1381 and 1385, de Vienne fought against the Flemish, notably during the Battle of Roosebeke. In pursuit of his dream of threatening the English at home, in 1385 he used a 180 ship fleet to land an army in Scotland with the intent of invading England, but the force had to withdraw. [1] After Charles VI succeeded his father Charles V to the Throne of France, the navy was allowed to decay, since Charles VI did not share his father's concern for naval affairs. Disappointed, de Vienne participated in the Barbary Crusade and joined in the crusade of King Sigismund of Hungary against the Turks. He was killed during the battle of Nicopolis, in Bulgaria.


Several ships of the French Navy were named after Jean de Vienne, most notable of which include:

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  1. Jager, Eric (2004). The Last Duel. London: Century. ISBN   0-7126-6190-5.