as Coquillards (German: Coquillarden, often also with „shell brothers “translated) called themselves in 15. Century the members of a criminal gang in north France, for which 1455 in Dijon the process was made.

Table of contents

to word history in the old and central French

the old-French word coquillard is derived from coquille (out Latin conchyila), shell (flat) and/or. Snail housing means. In the old French coquillard the betrogenen married man or on the contrary the lover of a married woman, in in the female form the coquillarde woman , who her married man amounted to, designates according to the sexually transferred meanings of old-French coquille, male or female sex part.

In the old-French and centralFrench meaning development crossovers are possible with coquin (vagrant, beggar), coquinaille (gang of “coquins”), coquinerie (Landstreicherei, Bettelei, fraud), more coquelarder (schmarotzen, than parasites pierce themselves), coquellerie (to-gelless way of life, Libertinage), more coquelier (as apron hunters work).

In 17. Century occupies Cotgrave (1611) vendre ses coquilles („its shells sell “in the sense of would amount to, for stupid sell, worthless sell), and Cheneau (1628) finally coquillard as Jakobspilger or a beggar, which spends themselves as Jakobspilger (see below).

the Coquillarden the documents

from the process of 1455, received from Dijon, was edited by Lazare Sainéan (1912) and to form essentially already the whole historical excessive quantity to the Coquillarden of Dijon. Afterwards the members maintained among themselves a secret language (certain langaige de jargon), which outstanding ones could not understand (un langaige exquiz que of aultres gene ne scevent entendre), and secret registration numbers. They called themselves in their jargon as „coquillards “or „compagnons de la coquille “and their head as a king of the Coquille (roy de la coquille), which in correspondence to the latemedieval Organissationsformen of the driving dealers probably ständisch korporativen and beggar („gueux “, Geusarden) is to be seen. Their headquarters in Dijon, where they had become apparent for approximately two years, is to have been the brothel of a certain Jacquot de la Mer, where their driving is described as follows:

They do nothing else as drink, eat and to much money spend, play cubes,
maps, board plays and other plays; they constantly hold, and particularly at night, in
the brothel meetings, where they lead a dirty, verächtliches and to-gelless
life of Kupplern and Wüstlingen and loses and spends their whole money; and
they drive this, until no more Pfennig and no copper coin remain remaining for them.
And then, after they removed everything that they can do of them wars,
from their poor joy girls, who maintain them in the mentioned brothel, it breaks open
some from them and nobody white where, and sometimes two weeks remain
away and other times one month or six weeks. And the one come along to
horse again, others to foot, well dressed and attraction, finely decorated gold
and silver, and then they begin their used plays and dissipations again with some different
, which waited for them, or with newbeen added.

In their criminal activities they are described as burglars („crocheteurs “, so designated after the hooks used for breaking open doors and crates), cheat (Falschmünzer, change cheat, cheat with wrong Preziosen), trick cheats (in the lodging their own things and those of the landlord secretly to take away and then as bestohlen spend themselves), Wegelagerer, robbers and murderers. 27 persons, among them also several Gaskogner, a Spaniard, an Italian, a Savoyarde and a Scot, were made considerable during the process and several from them to death or other heavy punishments condemned. Although the Coquillarden in the area of Dijon did not evidently only operate and at least to Paris (S. and) Relations maintained, is them nevertheless only with modern man of letters to to most feared gang of robbers of France, with an alleged headquarters in Paris, is promoted, for which the received historical sources give however nothing.

François Villon and the Coquillarden

in a relationship with the Coquillarden stood also the most important poet of the French late Middle Ages, François Villon. Villon are attributed altogether eleven Balladen in the jargon. Second this Balladen addresses its public expressly as “coquillars” and refers in addition anspielungsweise to the execution of two persons, Regnier de Montigny and Colin de Cayleux, of whom the name first in the sources is called to the process of Dijon and which belonged second to “crocheteurs”, with whom Villon as a burglar became on record.

Regnier de Montigny is mentioned by Villon also in already in the so-called small will (around 1456) and apostrophiert there as nobleman or a “noble man” (“noble homme”), bequeathed to that Villon of three hunting dogs. It was born around 1429 in Bourges and came of to an outstanding aristocracy family with high-ranking representatives and. A. in that Paris law. His father, Jean de Montigny, royal bread master and member Paris city councils, had lost by the introduction of the Burgunder into of Paris a large part of his fortune and had early deceased. Regnier completed a study and received the low consecrations. It will have been not without means, saw themselves however by the fortune loss of the family and high dowry payments to two daughters of its father from second marriage disadvantaged and closed, like it is called, “different societies of young people” (“plusieurs compaignies de of jeunes gene”, “jeunes gene par lesquelx s'est gouverné autrement qu'à POINT”) on, with which it committed a set of crimes, among them church robbery, break-down, trick fraud and wrong play. After different arrests in route, Bordeaux and Paris as well as again a condemnation waived by pardon because of murder he is arrested 1457 because of church robbery and other offenses in Paris and converted again for the second time condemned to death, on a request for grace of its relatives the judgement however in September 1457 by a royal amnesty into a one year's dungeon punishment, with the edition that he is to undertake afterwards a Pilgerreise to the grave of holy Jakob and to prove this by a certificate of the there church. The amnesty was contested of the facts taken as a basis by the complaint representative of the city because of incompleteness, and it is to be accepted that the process led last nevertheless still to that execution at the Galgen, on which the second Jargonballade anspielungsweise refers.

Colin de Cayeux, Sohn of a fitter and, like Regnier and Villon themselves, study and unmarried “clerc”, had brought the 1450er since - years a set of arrests in Paris, Bayeux and Rouen behind itself and its technical fate as “crocheteur” and. A. also by an outbreak from the prison of the archbishop proven by Rouen. Together with Villon, Guy Tabarie and a cathedral Nicolas he had committed a break-down in the Christamas Eve 1456 into the Collège de Navarre, with whom 500 gold Franconias one captured. Its participation and the Villons came out 1458, when Guy Tabarie was arrested and a confession put down. In the summer 1460 Colin de Cayeux was seized in the Diözese by Beauvais and transferred to Paris. The exit of the process, during which it should be pulled for different offenses, under it also the break-down from 1456, to the account, did not document, but in the “large will” (around 1461) it suggests Villons allusion on Colin that Colin had been already executed at this time.

the Coquillarden with Ollivier Chereau

Ollivier Chereau, cloth dealer from route, gives in its 1628 anonymous and since that time several times again printed writing appeared to “Le jargon de l'argot reformé” an outline of the history, language and organization form of the Bettelkönigtums of the Geusarden and describes here as one of the different sub-groups also the “Coquillards”: that are in most cases the pilgrims of holy Jakob and honest people, but it gives also such, which would spend themselves fraudulent as Jakobspilger, homeless ones, which neither ever were at the grave of the Apostels nor for a long time in their Heimatpfarrei and its tribute the “Grand Coesre”, which king of the Geusarden, paid. In the relationship on pilgrim or Jakobspilger, who does not seem themselves avowed thereby that such pilgrims carried the Jakob shell as registration numbers at the hat or garb and as souvenirs of their journey along-brought and sold shells, the expression “coquillards” however before Chereau to have been common, so that is questionable whether one its explanation for the interpretation of the Coquillarden 15. Century and its name to consult can.


  • Lazare Sainéan (Lazar Saineanu), Les SOURCEs de l'argot ancien, Paris: Champion, 1912, Reprint Geneva: Slatkine, 1973

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