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Gilles de Rais

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Artist's interpretation of de Rais, c.1835

Gilles de Rais (1405 ?–26 October 1440)[1] was a Marshal of France, Joan of Arc's comrade in arms, and a murderer.[2] He was the son of Guy de Laval/Rais and Marie de Craon. He became rich when a relative died. He was made a Marshal of France in 1429.[3] He spent much of his money putting on a play that he wrote. He dabbled in alchemy.[4] His criminal career began in 1434. In 1440, he was arrested, tried, and hanged.[5] De Rais may have killed 140 people. Most of his victims were young boys. He may have been the inspiration for the 1697 fairy tale "Bluebeard" by Charles Perrault.[2]


  1. Matei Cazacu, Gilles de Rais, Paris: Tallandier, 2005, pp.11 ; pp.23-25 (in French)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Opie pp. 104-5
  3. Benedetti p. 198
  4. Benedetti p. 199
  5. Benedetti p. 200


  • Benedetti, Jean. 1971. Gilles de Rais. Stein and Day.

    Template-specific style sheet:

    ISBN 978-0-8128-1450-7.
  • Opie, Iona and Peter. 1974. The Classic Fairy Tales. Oxford UP.

    Template-specific style sheet:

    ISBN 0-19-211559-6.