Describing the opening of Charles’ reign as ‘competently-executed’, as we did on Wednesday, seems a bit damning-by-faint-praise for such an interesting and intelligent monarch. Happily, though, Charles’ next diploma does something a little more out of the ordinary:
DD CtS no. 11 (13th February 898, Compiègne)
In the name of the holy and indivisible Trinity. Charles, by the gracious favour of divine clemency king.
If We bestow advantageous benefices on places given over to divine worship for love of God and of those who serve in the same places, We are not doubtful that We will be repaid with the prize of eternal repayment before the Lord.
Therefore, let the sagacity of all those faithful to the holy Church of God and to Us, both present and future, know that Our venerable mother Queen Adelaide approached the presence of Our Dignity, devotedly asking that We might for love of God deign to consign through a precept of Our authority certain goods of the holy archangel Michael, which are known to have formerly been given over as benefices for certain people, to the stipends of the brothers serving the Lord therein.
Favouring her petitions with pious love, We concede and consign them to the brothers of the holy archangel Michael for their use and stipends, that is, in the district of Verdunois, the estate of Buxières-sous-les-Côtes with Heudicourt-sous-les-Côtes, with all their dependencies, meadows, fields, woods, buildings and bondsmen of both sexes pertaining thereto; and in the estate of Vaux, the chapel of Saint-Rémi with all its dependencies; and in Refroicourt one manse with a mill; also, in the district of Scarponnais, in the estate of Essey, one chapel with all its dependencies.
Whence We decreed this precept of Our Magnitude be made for them concerning this, through which We order and command that from this day forth the monks should hold and possess the goods here enrolled for their advantage in their entirety, and do whatever is necessary for them therewith, disturbed by no-one.
And that this edict of Our precept might in God’s name be conserved inviolably through times to come, We confirmed it with Our own hand and We commanded it to be sealed with the impression of Our signet.
Sign of Charles, most glorious of kings.
Heriveus the notary witnessed and subscribed on behalf of Archbishop and Head Chancellor Fulk [of Rheims].
Given on the ides of February [13th February], in the 1st indiction, in the 6th year of the reign of and 1st year of the restoration of the kingdom’s unity by of Charles, the most glorious of kings.
Enacted at the palace of Compiègne.
Happily in the name of God, amen.
Any of this looking familiar? Yes, Charles the Simple is getting his claws out. This diploma basically overwrites Zwentibald’s diploma from Trosly-Loire – “Now I’m the king you damn well go to”. There is, methinks, some bitterness here. Even more, though, Charles is confirming lands in Zwentibald’s own kingdom. This is surely a precursor to Charles’ invasion of Lotharingia, which we have discussed on the blog before. It’s certainly a good sign about Charles’ regime, though, that he was after so little time sufficiently well-entrenched that he could launch a credible attack on another king.
That king’s days were themselves numbered. This will be our last encounter with King Zwentibald – enough is happening in the West in 899 and 900 that none of his diplomas made the cut – but Charles’ involvement was not finished. Zwentibald bungled his patronage – switching from supporting Reginar Long-Neck to throwing him to the wolves might have made sense in theory, but somehow he failed in practice – and ended up with most of his nobility arrayed against him. Charles had a hand here. In 899, Zwentibald held a major colloquium at Sankt Goar, on the Rhine. Present were Bishop Anskeric of Paris and Count Odoacar, both Charles’ men. Privately, Charles’ men, the men of Zwentibald’s dying father Arnulf, and the Lotharingians, were probably conspiring to overthrow Zwentibald, something which happened in 900 and which led to Zwentibald’s death in battle. In the end, Charles go the last laugh over his once-so-overbearing cousin.