Summer 1515. François the 1st, crossed the Alps with 40,000 men to take the duchy of Milan. A feat. More than five centuries later, a trio of courageous and passionate, he decides to imitate. The 6 and 7 July next, Stéphane Gal, a historian and researcher at the university of Grenoble, Patrick Ceria, cyclist, triple paralympic champion Cameron O’reilly, contractor australian-irish enfileront heavy chainmail, armor and helmet. “This project aims to restore the physical conditions and the human crossing of the Alps in order to scientifically measure the performance,” says Stéphane Gal, at the initiative of this project, called Presence Alp.
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The procession will cross the col de Mary, bivouaquera to 2000 meters altitude in Italy, before making the return journey ; or 28 km with 17 kilos on the back. The three adventurers train for seven months to familiarize themselves with their outfit, which makes mobility particularly difficult. “We will observe the rhythm of the heart, the physical suffering, the injury caused, or even if we will be forced to remove some parts of the armor depending on the difference in altitude, or to get off the horse,” says the historian Stéphane Gal in the magazine Science and Future . A rider riding a horse harnessed as they were in the Sixteenth century, students of history with two mules for logistics and sixty people in period costume to complement the troupe.
It took two years for this project of experimental archaeology to come to fruition, carried out by the laboratory of research Labex ITEM (Innovation in mountain Territories), the national research Institute dedicated to digital sciences of the Rhône-Alpes and the laboratoire Grenoble Image Speech Signal Automatic.
In August 1515, Francis 1st, king for seven months, crossing the Alps to conquer the duchy of Milan, held by the Confederation of swiss. Its 40,000 men, deriving 372 artillery pieces, cross in the scorching heat of the summer the mountain passes of Vars and Larche. “It makes us angry safe to wear the harness among these mountains,” complains the sovereign in a letter sent to his mother Louise of Savoy. The swiss troops attacked the French by surprise at Marignan, near Milan. The battle rages on and quickly turns to the advantage of the young monarch, who comes out victorious. 12.000 soldiers lose their lives.
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Ten members of the 27th infantry brigade of mountain will accompany this crew. A presence that has a meaning according to general Pierre-Joseph Frost, commander of the brigade: “During operations, a soldier in mountain gate 40kg.” The fate of our trio is not so different. This original breakaway scientific, a documentary will be done. And prove that historians do not write to the PUF and give lectures…