In the midst of the Hundred Years War between England and France, an enraged French noblewoman turned pirate named Jeanne de Clisson took to the sea with a fleet of warships. She mercilessly hunted down the ships of King Phillip VI to avenge her husband’s death. For her ferocity, she eventually became known as the Lioness of Brittany.
Jeanne and her crew were ruthless in their goal and would slaughter almost all of the crew of the King’s ships, leaving just two or three sailors alive, so that the message would get back to the King that the Lioness of Brittany had struck once again.
A painting by Elsa Millet depicting Jeanne de Clisson, also known as Jeanne de Belleville. (amandakespohl)
Who was Jeanne de Clisson?
Jeanne de Clisson was born into an affluent French family in 1300 and spent most of her life as a noblewoman. She was married off to a wealthy man, Geoffrey de Châteaubriant at the age of 12 and had two children. Sometime after his death, Jeanne remarried, this time to Olivier de Clisson, who was an important Breton noble that spent years in service defending Brittany against the English.