Concino Conini, a noble Florentine, entered the French court as a favorite of Marie de Médicis, queen consort of Henry IV of France. His wife, Léonora Galigaï, was a lady-in-waiting and confidante of the queen. Concini had great influence over Marie de Médicis and assumed a great deal of political power after the assassination of Henry IV in 1610. By 1613 Concini had amassed the titles of marquis d’Ancre, first gentleman-in-waiting, superintendent to the queen, governor of Perone, Roye, and Montdidier, and maréchal de France. Through Marie de Médicis’ patronage Concini became a powerful political figure and drew hatred from the French nobility and people. There was a great distrust of the foreign queen and her foreign favorite. Some modern literature compares his influence on the queen to that of Rasputin.
Concino Concini (1575-1617).
Henry IV’s assassination by François Ravaillac in 1610 raised his young son Louis XIII to the throne at the age of 8. As Louis was too young to rule his mother Marie de Médicis ruled as regent. Even though Louis came of age in 1614 the queen refused to give up her ruling power, citing that Louis was ‘too feeble’ to rule. On 24 April 1617 Louis and his supporters, particularly his favorite Charles d’Albert duc de Luynes, led a coup d’etat to seize the throne. Louis ordered the assassination of Concini and exiled the queen to Blois. Concini was shot by Nicolas de l’Hospital, baron de Vitry, captain of the garde des corps, and Concini’s body was discreetly buried at the church of Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois. The body was soon exhumed and drug through the streets of Paris where it was lambasted by the citizens and raised on the pont Neuf. Concini’s widow was put to trial for sorcery, found guilty and executed a few months later on 8 July 1617. With the death of Concini there was “an outpouring of pamphlets [that] rejoiced at France’s liberation from the Italian tyrant…the ritual mutilations performed on [Concini's] body were equated with the havoc his opponents claimed he had caused within the body of France” (Exploring cultural history : essays in honor of Peter Burke, 125-126).
Case folio BX4060.A1 S25 ser. 1 v. 4 contains nine pamphlets regarding Concini’s death. Pamphlets nos. 6, 7, and 12 are of particular interest because they are satirical treatments of Concini’s death including commentary by Concini’s ghost.
Case folio BX4060.A1 S25 ser. 1 v. 4 no. 6, Inventaire des pieces, memoires et instructions du proces intente par pissant haut & redoutable saigneur Messire Concino Coyon, coquefredouille, marque d’Ancre, pretendant a l’empire francois, recalls the political events surrounding Concino’s assassination, and presents 92 points regarding Concino’s political acts, and the diabolical intrigues and subterfuges of Concino’s followers to vilify Concio. The introductory letter by the author, Happeloppin procuereur d’enfer (p. 6-8), is addressed to ‘Messieurs moldy-bread, & bad-wine, councilors of Beelzebub, in his grand smoky and twisted chamber of hell’ (A messieurs messieurs moisy-pain, & gaste-vin, conseilleurs de Beelzebuth, en sa grand chambre enfumee & entortillee d’enfer).
The following inventaire casts the account of Concino’s political actions as a plot of Beelzebub beginning with Philip II of Spain ‘troubling the kingdom of France’ and including a political events leading up to Louis XIII’s coup and assassination of Concino. Throughout the pamphlet Concino is equated with Cain, Judas, the Jesuite Pierre Coton, and Henry IV’s assassin Ravaillac; mention of the devil, his minions, and the fires of hell fill Happeloppin’s writing.
Case folio BX4060.A1 S25 ser. 1 v. 4 no. 6
Case folio BX4060.A1 S25 ser. 1 v. 4 no. 6 - A Messieurs moisy-pain, & gaste-vin, conseilleurs de Beelzebuth
InCase folio BX4060.A1 S25 ser. 1 v. 4 no. 7, Le testament et derniere volonte du sieur Concini de Conchino, iadis pretendu mareschal de France, apporte en se monde par un des ses gentilshommes, qui fut tue aupres de Nanterre, leque s’adresse au villageois qui le tua : plus est comprins un discours de la rencontre dudit Conchio & de Ravaillac, en form de dialogue, Concini’s ghost appears to those who killed him and gives his last will and testament through one of his gentlemen who were killed with him. In his dialogue with the villageois Concini’s gentleman reveals details about Concini’s life in hell and states that ‘already he has stirred up wars in hell and would like to take Pluto’s place and has had a long dispute with Ravaillac’ (…qu’il a desja esmu beaucoup de guerres aux enfers, & mesme vouloit prendre la place de Pluton: puis a long-temps dispute avec Ravaillac, scavoir qui auroit le premier lieu).
Last but not least is my favorite Concini pamphlet, Case folio BX4060.A1 S25 ser. 1 v. 4 no. 12, Dialogue de la Galligaya et de Misoquin esprit follet, qui luy ameine son mary : la rencontre dudit esprit avec l’ange gardien de Monsieur le prince, which features two full-page wood-cut engravings of Concini’s demon and phantom. The text opens with the speaker (the guardian angel of the title?) encountering Léonora Galigaï in prison and witnessing her call forth the demon, Misoquin, that had protected her husband. The demon (depicted on the following page in a wood-cut engraving) is described thus:
I was the strange figure of a spirit, its eyes deceptive , a mouth or rather an abyss, without a nose, having the body of a caterpillar, its without arms or legs, I believe that it was one of the demons that are named aquatic.
(Je voy un esprit de figure estrange, les yeux esgarez, une bouche ou plustost un goufre, sans nez, ayat le corps comme une chenille, des aisles, sans bras ny jambes, je croy que c’estoit de ces daemons qu’on nomme aquatiques… p. 7)
Case folio BX4060.A1 S25 ser. 1 v. 4 no. 12 - Concini's demon
- Saint-Sulpice ser. 1 v. 4 no. 12 – Portraict du mauvais demon, gardant Conchini
In dialog that follows between Leonora and Misoquin, the demon calls forth the spirit of Concini to speak to his wife. Concini’s phantom (again represented by a wood-cut engraving) appears without hands or feet. When his wife points out his missing hands and feet Concini explains that Pluto removed his hands in fear of his riches, and his feet were worn away when his regiment was defeated.
Case folio BX4060.A1 S25 ser. 1 v. 4 no. 12 - Fantosme de Conchini
These three pamphlets demonstrate the anti-Concini rhetoric that was rampant in political pamphlets of the era and highlight the common belief that Léonora Galigaï (and perhaps Concini himself) was engaged in sorcery to preserve the Concini’s political power.