From 1427 to 1435, Rais served as a commander in the
Royal Army, and in 1429 fought along with Joan of Arc in
some of the campaigns waged against the English and
their Burgundian allies.
Although a few authors have
tended to exaggerate the position he held during the
latter campaigns, surviving bursary records show that he
only commanded a personal contingent of some 25
men-at-arms and 11 archers, and was one of many dozens
of such commanders.
Nor did he serve as Joan of Arc's
bodyguard, a position actually held by Jean d'Aulon.
Rais' greatest honor during these campaigns came when he
joined three other commanders in holding the
quasi-ceremonial title of Maréchal, a subordinate
position under the Royal Connétable. This honor was
granted him at the coronation of Charles VII on July 17,
In 1435 Rais retired from military service to his
estates, promoting theatrical performances and
exhausting the large fortune he had inherited.
during this period that, according to trial testimony
given by Rais and his accomplices, he began to
experiment with the occult under the direction of a man
named Francesco Prelati, who promised Rais that he could
help him regain his squandered fortune by sacrificing
children to a demon called "Barron;" however, this story
may have been encouraged at his trial as a contemporary
attempt to find a rational explanation for the crimes he
Gilles de Rais - Investigation and