This week, the south. We haven’t seen much of Louis the Blind since his election in 890. So far, things have been going pretty well for him. In 900, he was asked to become king of Italy and a little later, emperor. This is going to go very badly for him (see: Louis the Blind), but for the moment it’s still working out. Winter 902 sees him back in Provence, giving a diploma to a very familiar figure…
In the name of the holy and indivisible Trinity. Louis, by grace of God emperor augustus.
Let the industry of all Our followers, to wit, present and future, know that William [the Pious], the famous duke and margrave, approaching Our Excellence, earnestly requested that We might concede to some of Our followers, to wit, Bernard and Theobert, what seemed just and legal, that is, an abbey named in honour of Saint Martin, which is named Ambierle, pertaining to the county of Lyon, lying in the district of Roannais, with everything justly and legally pertaining to it, and there are in total thirty manses along with dependents of both sexes, completely and entirely, which could be legally done through a precept of Our authority.
Proffering assent to his prayers, We decreed this precept of Our Serenity be made, through which let Our aforesaid followers Theobert, and also Bernard, be able to possess in future times all that which is covered above, which is just and legal, along with male and female serfs, vineyards, meadows, cottages, pastures, woods, fields, waters and watercourses.
We concede all of the aforesaid to Our aforesaid followers and We give it into their dominion, as can be legally done, so that they might have power hereafter to do whatever they wish, that is, sell, cede, donate, exchange and freely bequeath to their heirs, remote from disturbance from any power.
And that this might be held more truly, We confirmed it with Our own hand, and We commanded it be signed by Our seal.
Sign of lord Louis, most serene of august emperors.
Arnulf the notary witnessed on behalf of Archbishop and Archchancellor Ragemfred [of Vienne].
Given on the 3rd ides of November [11th November], in the year of the Lord 902, in the 5th indiction, in the second year of the imperial rule of lord emperor Louis.
Enacted publicly at Vienne.
Happily in the name of God, amen.
Yes, it’s the Trans-Ararian Fluidity Zone again. William the Pious, who is count in Lyon, shows up in almost as many diplomas of Louis the Blind as of Charles the Simple (which is to say, one versus two). To some extent this is inevitable: William, not least, is married to Louis’ sister Engelberga. As count in Mâcon as well, William is plugged into that network of Burgundian bishops we’ve seen before – and in fact this will become very evident in a few years time. For the moment, though, what we are seeing is William operating as much in one kingdom as in another, and helping his followers do the same. The Theobert in the diploma is generally accepted to be Count Theobert of Apt, who had been an important figure in Louis’ court but is on the way out. He will, however, find a new life in William’s domains, helped along not least by his possession of Ambierle as per this act. There’s more to say about how things go on the borderlands between Provence, Transjurance Burgundy and the West Frankish kingdom – but that will wait for a later blog post.