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Catherine Ségurane from Nice, myth or reality?

Catherine | Myrabella / WikimediaCommons / CC-BY-SA
Statue Siege Catherine Segurane's monument

Catherine Ségurane is the Joan of Arc from Nice! The heroin of the siege suffered by the city in 1543, a terrible battle between Turkish and pirate Barbarossa, friends of François I, and the French led by duke d’Enghien.

The 1543 heroin

The siege

In fact, some historians doubt about Catherine real identity! Did she really exist, that’s the question... But, what happened, during that siege?

Nice siege took place after the 10 years truce signed in Nice by king of France François I and emperor Charles the Fifth. On August 2th 1543, a 300 boats fleet, led by Barbarossa, arrived on Provence coasts. They headed for Nice!

The city was defended by Odinet de Montfort and duke of Savoy. The battle could begin!

Cannons and culverins began to bomb walls. Without respite, blows exploded everywhere. They fought, they resisted!

Turkish were numerous, and people from Nice lost lot of soldiers. But they fought like things possessed! And yet, breaches were made on the evening of August 14th: the Sincaïre tower started to collapse.

Here’s Catherine!

In the first light of dawn, on August 15th, the Turkish started to besiege the tower and entered in the city!

But Catherine suddenly emerged, with her beetle on her hand. She was born in 1520, and she was a laundrywoman.

A pretty big mouth, reckless, too! She wasn't afraid of anything, no one: during the siege, she often brought fresh water to soldiers, at the top of the fortified city walls.

But on August 15th 1543, she found a ladder put against the wall! And the Turkish army was launching an attack on that wall!

She saw the standard bearer, with a flag on his hand... too late for a reaction? No! People of Nice would not admit defeat yet. Catherine jumped on the bearer and knocked him out with her beetle.

Then, she took the flag and wagged it in front of the enemies, before she broke it in two. Intoxicated by this, people from Nice succeeded in driving back Turkish! But that wasn’t enough, Nice surrendered one week later, on August 22th 1543...

Catherine's tribute

Lots of statues!

Now, the legend of Catherine Ségurane started: they nicknamed her donna mau facia or mala facia, which means "Mrs. Ugly face"!

But whether she was ugly or not, people from Nice didn’t care, they had their own heroin, a real one!

About the the author

I'm fond of strolls and History, with juicy and spicy details!