The Bal des Ardents
(Ball of the Burning Men
) was a masquerade ball
held on 28 January 1393 in Paris
at which Charles VI of France
performed in a dance with five members of the French nobility
. Four of the dancers were killed in a fire caused by a torch brought in by a spectator, Charles' brother Louis, Duke of Orléans
. Charles and another of the dancers survived. The ball was one of a number of events intended to entertain the young king, who in the previous summer had suffered an attack of insanity. The event undermined confidence in Charles' capacity to rule; Parisians considered it proof of courtly decadence and threatened to rebel against the more powerful members of the nobility. The public's outrage forced the king and his brother Orléans, whom a contemporary chronicler accused of attempted regicide
and sorcery, into offering penance for the event.
The event was chronicled by contemporary writers such as the Monk of St Denis and Jean Froissart, and illustrated in a number of 15th-century illuminated manuscripts by painters such as the Master of Anthony of Burgundy.
Alain Marie Pascal Prost
, Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur
is a French
racing driver. A four-time Formula One
Drivers' Champion, Prost has won more titles than any driver except for Juan Manuel Fangio
(five championships), and Michael Schumacher
(seven championships). From 1987 until 2001 Prost held the record for most Grand Prix
victories. Schumacher surpassed Prost's total of 51 victories at the 2001 Belgian Grand Prix
. In 1999, Prost received the World Sports Awards of the Century
in the motor sport category.
Prost discovered karting at the age of 14 during a family holiday. He progressed through motor sport's junior ranks before joining the McLaren Formula One team in 1980 at the age of 25. He finished in the points on his Formula One début in Argentina and took his first race victory at his home Grand Prix in France a year later, while he was driving for the factory Renault team.
During the 1980s and early 1990s, Prost formed a fierce rivalry with mainly Ayrton Senna, but also Nelson Piquet and Nigel Mansell. In 1986, at the last race of the season, he managed to pip Mansell and Piquet of Williams to the title. Senna joined Prost at McLaren in 1988 and the two had a series of controversial clashes, including a collision at the 1989 Japanese Grand Prix that gave Prost his third Drivers' Championship. Before the end of a winless 1991 season Prost was fired by Ferrari for his public criticism of the team. After a sabbatical in 1992, Prost joined the Williams team. With a competitive car, Prost won the 1993 championship and retired from driving at the end of the year.