Charter A Week 76: Charles Constantine in the Viennois Void

…so, erm, when I said that 948 was the last we’d see of Provence for a while, ‘a while’ in this instance turned out to mean ‘a bit over three weeks’. There are a couple of reasons for this U-turn: first, I wanted to go a little more into Louis IV’s 951 trip to Aquitaine that we spoke about last time; and second (it occurred to me as I sat down to write this), it might provide an interesting illustration of some of the ‘mandala polity’ stuff from last week. For those of you concerned about consistency in the one-year-per-week thing, incidentally, there will be a 952 act; but for reasons which will become clear in the next of these posts I’m covering it alongside the 953 charter.

With that out of the way, a brief reminder of what happened in 951. With peace in the north fragile, Louis went south to shore up his alliances in southern Burgundy and Aquitaine. Last time we looked at the Aquitanian side of this; this time, I want to talk a bit about Provence. The last time we met Count Charles Constantine of Vienne, son of Louis the Blind, he had been low-key compelled to submit to the Transjurane king Conrad the Pacific. Now, though, he went back to Louis IV and submitted to him. This was not a sham, either:

CC no. 1.797 (January 952)

It is clear to all reasonably considering it that the dispensation of God has looked out for certain rich men such that from the goods which are possessed in this passing world, if they use them well, they can earn prizes which endure forever. Divine speech shows this to be possibly, saying ‘The riches of a man are the redemption of his soul’, and also ‘give alms, and everything shall be made clean unto thee’. I, Count Charles, solicitously thinking of this, decided it was necessary that from the goods which have been, by Christ’s largess, bestowed on me in this world, I should impart a little bit for the improvement of my soul, so that – in accordance with Christ’s precept – I might make for myself friends of His poor, so that in future they might receive me in eternal tabernacles. 

Therefore, let it be known to all the faithful that I, the aforesaid Count Charles, donate something from the goods of my right, for love of God, to His holy apostles, that is, Peter and Paul, at the monastery of Cluny, in alms for the brothers dwelling there and assiduously serving them: that is, my allod and estate in the district of Viennois which is called Communay with its churches, one in honour of the blessed Lazarus, and the other in honour of St Peter; in addition with all appendages, to wit, vineyards, fields, meadows, woods, waters and watercourses, serfs of both sexes and all ages, incomes and renders, visited and unvisited, cultivated and uncultivated, in its entirety. 

I donate all this to God Almighty and His said holy apostles for the remedy of my soul and the salvation of the souls of my parents, and also of all my kinsmen, and finally for all the faithful of Christ, living and dead; on the condition, to wit, that as long as I live, I might hold and possess it and each year, on the feast of St Peter, I should pay 12 shillings in rent. After my death, though, let the rulers of the aforesaid place immediately receive it into their uses without any contradiction. 

If anyone, then, might endeavour to inflict a calumny against this donation, unless they make amends, let them be subjected to every curse. And let this charter of donation endure stable and undisturbed. 

Sign of Count Charles, who asked this donation be made and confirmed; of Count Leotald [of Mâcon], Narduin, Iter, Hugh, Rather.

Andrew wrote this. 

Given in the month of January, in the 16th year of the reign of King Louis, who commanded a precept be made concerning the same donation and signed it with his seal. 

That last line is interesting, isn’t it? Louis’ diploma doesn’t survive aside from this one mention. There are a few lines like this in Cluniac charters, and they’re key evidence for a proposition I hold dear to my heart: that absence of evidence for late Carolingian royal diplomas is far from being evidence of absence. The Cluniac archives, after all, are massive; and even here they don’t preserve everything. This has serious repercussions for our understandings of the sphere of action of West Frankish kings. Analysis of the mentions of non-surviving diplomas in Cluniac charters indicate that royal influence in the region was intense, and that Burgundy remained a royal heartland in the tenth century much as it had been in the ninth.

Charles Constantine himself, lest we forget, had history with Louis. Ten years earlier, when Louis had made his last support-seeking southern trip, Charles had received him in Vienne and given him his support. Now, Louis’ presence offered Charles a way to shore up his position against what I have argued was an unfriendly Transjurane court. Intriguingly, when Archbishop Sobbo of Vienne died in 949, he doesn’t seem to have been replaced. The next archbishop, Theobald, is traditionally assigned to the late 950s. (You know, whilst writing this post I was wondering if anyone had written on the archbishopric of Vienne between Sobbo and Theobald; and, hey, sometimes the system works!) Theobald’s Vita says that there was significant dissension between the clergy and laity of the region on Sobbo’s death; but Conrad the Pacific wasn’t able to intervene and ensure that a new bishop was appointed. Instead, there was stalemate. This strongly suggests that Conrad’s power in the Viennois was in fact weakened in the years around 950. Turning to Louis IV to shore up his position would have come naturally to a politician such as Charles Constantine whose power-base lay in the Trans-Ararian Fluidity Zone.

At this point, it occurred to me: this is another case where the ‘mandala polity’ model can come in handy. After all, what is the Fluidity Zone if not a region pulled in different directions by the ‘gravitational pull’ of multiple different realms? James C. Scott has discussed cases where such overlapping sovereignties cancelled each other out, and that seems to be what’s happening in the Viennois at this time. The Viennois, within the pull of the West Frankish kingdom and Transjurane Burgundy, ended up being functionally part of neither.


Source Translation: The Breviary of Erchanbert and the Continuation of Notker the Stammerer

Recently, I updated the Translated Primary Sources page. I know that translating charter material is kind of our gimmick on this blog, and I know that the inevitable progression of chronological time means that if you started at a given point heading towards another you’re going to have more of the earlier material if you haven’t finished yet; but I was nonetheless a bit put out to find how much it skews towards late ninth-century material rather than tenth-century stuff proper, and I also thought that some non-diplomatic sources wouldn’t go amiss. All of which is a long-winded way of saying that I decided, now that we’ve paused translating wills, that it wouldn’t go amiss to translate some smaller non-diplomatic sources. The fact I’m doing all this for free in my spare time is going to impose limits on what I deal with – an English translation of the acts of the Council of Saint-Basle is something I’d like very much, but I personally don’t feel incentivised to go through all sixty-odd pages of it – but plenty of material on the shorter side is important and can be overlooked.

Today’s source is certainly the former, although I don’t think it’s the latter. (Ironically too given my concerns, it’s also late ninth century!) It comes in two parts, the first being a breviary written by one Erchanbert around 826. I’m translating this part from the MGH edition, which is an abbreviated version of the text, which is fine by me because the part I’m more interested in is the Continuatio Erchanberti, written by Notker the Stammerer in 881. Between them, these texts cover the history of the Franks from the Merovingians down to the end of the ninth century.

Breviarium Erchanberti

  1. The Breviary of Erchanbert from the Fifth Century Up to AD 827

With the death of King Faramund, who was the first king over the Franks, etc…

King Theuderic, son of Clovis, brother of Chlothar, reigned for 19 years. His mayor of the palace was Berthar; when he was killed, the younger Pippin, son of Ansegisl, coming from the Austrasians, succeeded in the leadership of the mayors of the palace.

Thereafter, the kings began to have the name and not the honour; wherever they were established, they had lots to eat, and they were held under constant oversight in order that they could not do carry out any act of power. In those times and thereafter, Gotfrid, duke of the Alemannians, and other dukes all about were unwilling to obey the dukes of the Franks, because they could not serve the Merovingian kings as they had previously been accustomed. And so each of them carried on, until finally, a little after the death of Duke Gotfrid, Charles [Martel] and the other princes of the Franks little by little endeavoured to bring them back into the fold as tightly as they could…

The Franks established Daniel, formerly a cleric, who had let his hair grow, as king, and they named him Chilperic; because the line of kings had failed, they established him whom they could found to be the closest relation to the Merovingians, because the Merovingians (as they say), just like the Nazarenes of old, never cut their hair; and he reigned for 6 years…

Therefore, the aforesaid prince, with the counsel of his best men, having asked and persuaded the king and receiving in the end his unwilling consent, divided the realm of the Franks between his two sons Carloman and Pippin, and following an illness immediately ended his life in the year 741. 

Carloman, therefore, and his brother Pippin, having divided the realm between themselves, held the leadership of the Franks together for 10 years. Meanwhile, as they say, the aforesaid King Theuderic held the name but not the realm, and only that minor dignity which previous kings had held, nothing except solely that when the aforesaid princes made charters of gift, they put his name and year at the end of the page.

Prince Carloman, in the sixth year of the aforesaid, commending his realm and sons to his brother, in order that he might raise them to kinship when they came of age, went to Rome, was tonsured at St Peter’s, went to the monastery of St Benedict, and subjected himself to be surrendered to the discipline of the Rule.

Before Pippin was elevated to the kingship, a pope named Stephen came from Rome to the borders of the Franks in order to seek out the aforesaid prince so that he could help him with Haistulf, king of the Lombards, because he had seized both cities and other places and borders from St Peter. The aforesaid prince is said to have responded ‘I have a lord king, and I do not know what he wants to rule on this matter’. But the pope beseeched help from the king with the same words. Then the king said ‘Do you not see, O pope, that I do not enjoy royal dignity and power? How can I do any of this?’ The pope said ‘That sounds right, because you are unworthy of such an honour’. Returning to Prince Pippin, he said, ‘By the authority of St Peter I command you to tonsure him and send him to a monastery. How can he hold land? He is useful neither to himself nor to others.’ He was immediately tonsured and thrust into a monastery, and the pope said to the prince: ‘the Lord and the authority of St Peter chooses you to be prince and king over the Franks’. And he immediately established and blessed him as king, and consecrated his two sons – who were still immature – Charles and Carloman as kings. But King Pippin promised that he would do everything as pleased him, and afterwards he did. And King Pippin reigned 17 years after his consecration.

Kings Charles and Carloman, the sons of Pippin, held the realms together for 4 years. King Charles reigned by himself for 45 years, and Pope Leo consecrated him as emperor in the thirtieth year of his reign. Louis, king and emperor, has reigned happily, with God propitious, for 19 years at this point. From King Chlothar to the present 13th year of Emperor Louis, there are 232 and ten years in total. 

Notker the Stammerer, allegedly (source)

2. The continuation of a monk of Reichenau for the years 840-881

Emperor Louis died in the 27th year of his reign, in the year of the Lord’s Incarnation 840, in the third indiction, on the 12th kalends of July.

In the second year after his death, his three sons, after a terrible battle which raged between them over the sharing out of the realm, divided up Europe in this fashion. The first-born Lothar received Italy, Burgundy and part of Lyonnais Gaul, the province of the Moselle, and the part of those who are called the Old Franks. His brother, the most glorious King Louis, received the whole of Germany, that is, the whole of East Francia, Alemannia or Rhaetia, Noricum, Saxony and many barbarian nations. Again, Charles, who was yet a boy, by the efforts of his mother, the most cunning Judith, accepted five provinces: the Viennois, the province of Autun, Gallia Narbonnenis, and part of Belgica or Lyonnais. Their fourth brother, named Pippin, retained Aquitaine, Spain and Gascony and Gothia, which he had received whilst his father was alive (against the will of his father and his brothers), until the end of his life. Provence, which is simply called ‘the Province’, is known to have passed between this party and that party.

The sons of Lothar, that is, Louis and Lothar, divided the realm of their father in such a way that Louis received Italy and the name of emperor and Lothar the cisalpine portion of his father.

Louis, king of Germany, many years before his death, providing for peace, took care to divide his realm between his three very illustrious sons born of Queen Emma in such a way that he committed Noricum and part of the barbarian nations to his first-born, the very warlike Karlmann, to be ruled; he made his like-named son Louis co-heir of his realm, that is, of the Franks and the Saxons, with tribute from the foreign-born. Again, he sent the most mild Charles as ruler into Alemannia, Greater Rhaetia and also Chur. He did this in such a way that his sons should hold these specificestates while he was still alive, and take care to determine minor cases, and that all the bishoprics and monasteries and counties and the public fiscs and all the higher justices should be beholden to himself. 

Therefore Louis, king of Germany, died at Frankfurt on the 5th kalends of September in the thirty-sixth year after the death of his father Emperor Louis, and was buried in Lorsch in the basilica of St Nazarius, and left his three aforesaid sons as heirs to his realm, having also added to his realm about half a part of Lotharingia.

Meanwhile Louis, Lothar’s brother, had died in Italy the year before King Louis of Germany. Their brother Karlmann occupied Italy up to the Po. Charles of Gaul invaded it beyond the Po, and then returned to Gaul from there and died on the journey. He left the government of the empire to Karlmann, since he had previously added the realm of Pippin (who had died without living offspring except only one, Bishop Charles of Mainz) to his own realm.

And so, Karlmann, after holding Italy for a short time, returned to Noricum, attacked by a terrible and incurable disease, whilst he was still alive, conceded Italy to his most pious and faithful brother Charles to be governed. 

He, having gathered a large army, occupied it completely unexpectedly, and came to Ravenna, and commanded the Roman pope, named John, to be summoned to him, and the patriarch of Friuli too, and the archbishop of Milan, and all the bishops and counts and the other leading men of Italy, and he was established king there by them, and all of them besides the bishop of the apostolic see bound themselves with oaths to his devoted service. Liutpert, bishop of Mainz, was present at this gathering at the command of King Louis.

In the same year, the fourth after his father’s death, Karlmann put an end to dwelling in this life. The following year, that is, the 881st from the Incarnation, in the 14th indiction, the same most clement Charles, equal to his grandfather the great emperor Charlemagne in all wisdom and industry and success in war and overcoming him in the tranquillity of peace and the prosperity of affairs, went to Rome with all the rulers of Italy and many from Francia and Swabia, and was consecrated as emperor by the Roman pontiff, who placed on his head a crown from the treasury of the holy apostle Peter, and was called Augustus Caesar, and now by favour of divine clemency rules the most peaceful empire, and lady Richgardis was elevated together with him to the consortship of the realm by the same apostle.

Charles of Gaul left one surviving son, named Louis. He lived a very short time after the death of his father, and left this life by an early death, leaving two surviving sons, that is, Louis and Carloman, who are now growing into the first flower of youth as the hope of Europe. Karlmann, son of the great Louis, had no sons except one named Arnulf, born from a certain very noble woman who was not legally betrothed to him. He still lives and O! Let him live so that the light of the great Louis be not extinguished in the house of the Lord!

Similarly, Louis king of Francia had one son named Hugh, a very attractive and warlike youth, from a concubine of very high nobility, who this year was killed in battle against the barbarians alongside the most religious bishops Thierry and Markward and Bruno, brother of Queen Liutgard, to the ruin of the Franks, since not long before the son of this Liutgard received from lord Louis was killed by a sudden death on the journey to Noricum whilst Karlmann yet lived, I know not from what cause, and indeed various opinions are bandied around about this by the fickle mob.

Now, therefore, it rests in the hand of God Almighty alone, by Whose will the universe is ruled, whether He will deign to awaken the seed of the lord emperor Charles, who is still young but excels all the old in good habits, and from the most religious queen and augusta Richgardis, through which the tyrants, or rather bandits, who (although the most serene emperor Charles and his brother the lord king Louis yet lived) presumed in secret to raise their head, might be suppressed by divine help. In the meantime, having respect for human shame, we will pass over them in silence until either they come over to the princes of the world and seek pardon for their stupidity or (as is appropriate that men who disturbed the commonwealth should suffer) until they are burned to ashes and blown away in the wind and condemned with their names – or, better, their ignominy and memory – forever.

I’m not going to comment on the original Breviarium here, although there’s some pretty darn interesting stuff on it out there. But there’s enough to talk about in Notker’s comments on his own time! First of all, Notker is already starting to get really concerned about the shape of at least the East Frankish descent line. Noteworthily, whilst he comments on whether or not children are legitimate, he’s not completely ruling at least some illegitimate offspring out of the royal succession. Notker’s view on Arnulf of Carinthia would only get sharper as the 880s wore on, but his apparent interest in Hugh, son of Louis the Younger, is also interesting. Noteworthy too is the fact that Charles the Fat’s illegitimate son Bernard doesn’t get a mention here – possibly he was too young? Even more, it’s only 881 – there are still four legitimate, crowned Carolingians rocking around.  I suppose, from his point of view, there have been four major deaths in just the last two years; but I think the main clue is that final paragraph.

Who are the ‘tyrants’ whom Notker is talking about? The text’s editor mentions Boso of Provence, but as always when talking about the early 880s we also have to consider Hugh of Alsace as well. Both these figures raise interesting questions about Notker’s ideas about rulership. Hugh of Alsace, illegitimate though he might have been, was a son of a Carolingian king, but if it is him about whom Notker is talking he clearly doesn’t envisage him as throne-worthy. (For the record, I think Notker does mean Hugh of Alsace, so from here on out I’ll stop with the qualifiers.) My guess is that Notker thinks he missed his window: he might be in a descent line, but he’s not an ‘heir to the realm’ and there’s already qualified kings. This makes his comments as applied to Boso equally interesting, as he mentions Charles the Fat and Louis the Younger, not Carloman II or Louis III, as the relevant kings. Boso did pose a threat to territory under the control of the East Frankish kings, but that wasn’t the primary objective. One of Boso’s justifications for becoming king was that there was no king otherwise after Louis the Stammerer’s death. I wonder if the argument that Carloman and Louis for whatever reason didn’t count could actually have found wider purchase? Louis the Younger, of course, was trying his hardest to come after the West Frankish kingdom as well…

More broadly, despite Notker being more-or-less contemporary the shape of the wider array of the Carolingian family is starting to get fuzzier. He mis-identified Pippin II of Aquitaine as a brother rather than a nephew of the sons of Louis the Pious – something even more noteworthy because he’s apparently familiar with Pippin’s brother (not son) Archbishop Charles of Mainz. He also manages to completely forget about Lothar I’s third son Charles of Provence. I can’t think of any particular sinister motivation for this, but it’s a useful reminder that the endless array of Charles’ and Louis’ were confusing for contemporaries as well.

A final note is about Louis the German’s division of his realm between his sons. If you remember our discussion of the provisions of the 877 Capitulary of Quierzy regarding Louis the Stammerer, you may also recall that Charles the Bald’s refusal to allow his son any quote-unquote ‘real power’ whilst he was in Italy is an important plank in the argument that Charles was uniquely contemptuous of Louis. Yet a simple look at Notker’s statements shows Louis doing the same thing with his sons. This is a strong plank in the case that Quierzy is just business as usual for power sharing between fathers and sons in the late ninth century.

Charter A Week 75: New Peace, Old Tricks

In early 950, Louis IV and Hugh the Great finally agreed to an Ottonian-brokered peace deal. One of the effects of this was a de facto division of the West Frankish kingdom into spheres of Carolingian and Robertian influence. However, this peace was fragile. Part of the reason was that Louis’ and Hugh’s subordinates were not necessarily compliant: they had their own personal interests, and a peace between their masters did not always affect their behaviour. Flodoard, for instance, tells us that in 950 both one of Louis’ subordinates (Ragenold of Roucy) and one of Hugh’s (Theobald the Trickster) infringed the peace deal. Notably, whereas Louis persuaded Ragenold to step back, Hugh was unable to do the same with Theobald. Louis responded by rattling sabres, displaying public support for Hugh’s enemy Arnulf the Great of Flanders and – going back to his strategies of the 940s – seeking to strengthen his alliances in the south.

In 951, Louis set out for Aquitaine. As we’ve seen in previous weeks, there were reasons to think he’d find a good reception there. Bishop Stephen of Clermont, the big cheese of the Auvergne, had probably been appointed by Louis, and had certainly backed him over Hugh when Louis was imprisoned in 945. However, this doesn’t appear to have translated into concrete support in the key years of the late 940s, and it makes sense that Louis would have wanted to renegotiate his relationship with central Aquitaine. Moreover, a little before 951, Stephen had reorientated his strategies of legitimacy:

CC no. 1.792 (c. 950)

In the name of Lord God Eternal.

Stephen, by grace of the Holy Spirit bishop of Auvergne.

If it can be done, I want it to be known to all Christ’s followers in common how I and my father Robert and his wife Hildegard endeavoured to summon to the place which is called Sauxillanges the abbot named Aimard from the monastery of Cluny, who delegated monks therein to build up the same place in accordance with the Rule, both for the salvation of our souls and also for the remedy of Count Acfred [II of Aquitaine], who bestowed that allod on God Almighty, of whom my same father was also an almsman; and for the soul of William [the Pious], the first and greatest duke; and as well for the younger William [the Younger], and for the rest of all our relatives, and all the Christian faithful living and dead, such that they might busy themselves to offer prayers to God Almighty there. 

Therefore, we established concerning this matter that from this day forth for all time the same place should be held and disposed and ordained, with God’s help, legally and in accordance with the Rule by the aforesaid abbot and after his death by his successors and by the monks of Cluny.

If, perchance, anyone is displeased that we have so ordained the goods which were given to God Almighty (as is written in the aforesaid place’s charter), they should remember that Lord Jesus gave His Church, which He deigned to call His bride, and which He bought with his own and precious blood, to the blessed Peter, prince of the apostles, commanding not merely once but also twice and three times that he should nourish this flock. And thus, because of this, we prohibit and call to witness in God and through God and through Lord Jesus that no prince, no bishop succeeding me in this episcopal office, nor any invader should presume to prey upon, devastate, or diminish the goods of this place, nor exact any service or dues from the power of this place with any trickeryor ordain anything unjustly using episcopal authority as an excuse, nor exercise dominion over anything by the power of his situation.  

Witnesses: Stephen, bishop of the Auvergne. Viscountess Hildegard. Bishop Otgar [unknown see, probably southern Aquitanian]. Viscount Robert [of Clermont]. Viscount Eustorgius. Stephen, abbot of Mozac. Abbot Robert [of Mozat]. Gilbert. William. Hector. Godo. Andrald. Albion. Desiderius. Hugh. Eliseus. Bernard. Roger. Prior Bernard. Keymaster Stephen. Archdeacon Deodatus. Stephen son of Theotard. Theotard. Eldin. Another Eldin. Gulfer. 

Stephen, like a number of central Aquitanian elites in the first part of the tenth century, kept alive the memory of the Guillelmid dukes, and Sauxillanges became a lieu de memoire par excellence, even if Acfred II wouldn’t have appreciated it. In fact, subordinating Sauxillanges to Cluny would have particularly galled him… In any case, though, this charter shows Stephen and his family, the viscounts of Clermont, putting Sauxillanges into a Cluniac orbit. My best reading of this is that it was an act of ideological reconciliation: with Ralph of Burgundy out of the way, the two halves of the Guillelmid monastic legacy could finally team up, and Stephen and his family, who – as you can see here – claimed to follow in Guillelmid footsteps, could present a past of central Aquitanian regional hegemony where troubles had been smoothed over.

In 951, Louis showed up with an army, evidently expecting trouble. However, the major magnates of Aquitaine – Charles Constantine of Vienne (on whom more next time), William Towhead of Poitiers, and Stephen II of Clermont – appeared and submitted to him. There were several meetings. Stephen’s submission took place, significantly, at Pouilly-sur-Loire, a traditional meeting place for meetings between Aquitanian magnates and West Frankish kings going back to the ninth century. The only surviving documentary evidence for this is the following charter:

D L4 no. 37 = CC no. 1.763 = ARTEM no. 1604 = D.Kar VIII.8 (3rd February 951, Pouilly-sur-Loire)

In the name of the holy and indivisible Trinity.

Louis, by propitiation of divine mercy king of the Franks.

If in giving work to divine worship We endeavour to raise God’s Church to the highest state of holy religion, We use royal custom and the privileges of Our predecessors.

Wherefore let the skill of all the faithful of the holy Church of God both present and future know that the venerable Bishop Stephen [II] of Auvergne, approaching Our Presence, reverently asked that We might deign to confer by a precept of Our Regality certain goods, the same goods which the late Count Acfred [II of Aquitaine] bestowed on God and His saints from the right of his property in the district of Auvergne for the remedy of his soul and that of his relatives to build up the Rule of St Benedict there, for the monastery of Cluny and its abbot, and this We did. 

Whence We commanded this decree of Our Highness to be made and given to Aimard, abbot of the aforesaid monastery, through which the same abbot and his successors might perpetually hold the aforesaid goods in their entirety just as is contained in the charter of the aforesaid Count Acfred, disturbed by no-one.

And that this emolument of Our authority might be inviolably conserved through the course of times to come, confirming it below with Our own hand, We commanded it be signed with the impression of Our signet.

Sign of lord Louis, the most glorious king.

Odilo the notary re-read and underwrote on behalf of Archbishop Artald [of Rheims].

Enacted at the estate of Pouilly-sur-Loire, on the 3rd nones of February [3rd February], in the 6th indiction, in the 15th year of the reign of the glorious King Louis. 

The original diploma (source linked above).

Whilst this diploma is significant, it is also straightforward. Despite everything which had happened over the years, despite the many shocks the realm had undergone since the foundation of Sauxillanges in 927, the fundamental dynamic of early medieval kingship had changed little. Stephen of Clermont led a regional aristocratic group, to which he gave Louis access; in return, Louis legitimised Stephen’s position at the head of that group. Way back in my original series of posts on Aquitaine, I noted how important this royal connection was to Stephen, and this was a key link in the chain, next to 945 and 962. This significance came down to the place itself: as Stephen stood in Pouilly, where Aquitanian rulers from Charles the Child to Bernard Plantevelue had met their West Frankish overlords, he must have felt the symbolic resonances empowering his rule. However, Stephen was not there alone. Probably at Pouilly with him was William Towhead, count of Poitiers. The Poitevin counts did not normally come that far east, and one wonders how many plans occurred to William along the journey…

Source Translation: The ‘Cartulary of Ratbod’ and the Post-Viking Church of Utrecht

In a couple of previous posts on this blog, we’ve looked at the impact the vikings had on the see of Utrecht over the course of the ninth century. I’ve argued that the impact was different and less inherently disruptive than is normally supposed – the fact that the bishops spent most of the latter half of the century at Sint-Odiliënberg then Deventer has rather more to do with the long-term impact of Bishop Hunger mismanaging his relationship with Lothar II than of the plundering of the area by vikings. Today, I want to look at one of the main sources we have for the church of Utrecht during this time: the so-called Cartularium Radbodi, a property inventory from the time of Bishop Ratbod in the early tenth century. Here’s the text:

Dip. Belg. no. 195

A memorial of the goods of the church of Sint-Maarten of Utrecht, which were formerly given there by the faithful.

In Dorestad, the church called Bovenkerk with all its appendages, lands, meadows, pastures, waters and watercourses, fisheries. All this with the island which lies next to the church of Sint-Maarten with the Rhine and the Lek all around; and the island which is next to Beuzichem which is closer to the estate of Rijswijk. All of this is Sint-Maarten’s. In addition from the above-said trading place, the tenth part of Sint-Maarten’s on all goods; and the land of Sint-Maarten between Holle Weg and Fengrimahusonham, and what is commonly called Rec

In the estate of Rijswijk, churches with the lands pertaining to the same, and three other manses.

In De Loet, three churches with the lands pertaining to the same, and 7 other manses excepting the royal tithe; and in Haastrecht a third part of the whole estate, and moreover 1 manse which Hagabard gave; the estate of Doorn with a church and the whole of what is Sint-Maarten’s; similarly the estate of Galana

In the estate of Werse 1 manse.

In Buurt three manses.

In the estate of Opburen 1 manse.

In Geestdorp 1, and the wood lying there. 

In the estate of De Zemelen 1 manse.

In the estate of Houten, whatever Herlulf had there, and the church with five manses.

In Lanthem 1 next to the river Laca.

In the abovesaid estate of Buurt, 1 manse which Herlulf gave. 

In Helspenni, 4 and a half manses.

In Loerik, 3 houses.

In Ruigenhoek everything of Sint-Maarten’s.

Similarly in Rumst. 

In Werkhoven, two churches with lands pertaining to the same, and eight other manses. 

In the estate of Odijk a third part of the estate.

In Fresdore a church with 4 manses.

The whole of Bunnik is Sint-Maarten’s. Similarly Vechten. Similarly Nederhorst [?]. Similarly Zwezereng.

In Rudinhem 4 parts of the whole estate. Similarly Zwezereng. Similarly Maarsen.

In Loenersloot, two parts of the whole estate are Sint-Maarten’s. 

In Marsch [?], similarly 4 partes of the whole estate.

 In the district of Germepi, 5 parts both in lands and also pastures and fisheries and of all goods are Sint-Maarten’s, also as the IJssel flows, in woods and in pastures or fisheries, 5 parts are Sint-Maarten’s. 

In Woerden, everything is Sint-Maarten’s.

In Poederoyen [?], 5 manses. 

In Woudrichem, 5 parts of the estate. In Harmelen [?], 4 parts.

The estate of Ginnele is the property of Sint-Maarten.

In Calmere, 4 parts of the whole estate.

In Alphen, two parts of the estate. Similarly in Braacanhem.

In Wilnis, 7 manses.

In Macteshem, 2 manses.

In Upuuilcanhem, three manses. In Zwieten similarly. In Hanatce, similarly.

In Holland [?], 4 manses. In the first place in Leiderdorp, 2; in the second, 1; in the third, 1.

In Roodenburg, five manses. In Leiderdorp, 5. In Lopsen, two. Similarly in Ter Lips. In Ter Wadding, three. Similarly in De Veur. 2 in Voorburg. Three in Voorschoten. 1 in Galinghem

In Hosteppinheri, one manse. In Uuesteppinheri, 2.

In Corscan, three manses.

Thiatlind, daughter of Aldbert, with her son Reginbert, gave to Sint-Maarten whatever they had in Uphuson.

The church which is called Holtsele, with all its appendages, is Sint-Maarten’s.

In Maasland, all the tithes are Sint-Maarten’s, and all of Zwijndrecht. All of Oostbuurt.

Similarly the church which is called Valkenburg, with all its appendages, is Sint-Maarten’s wholly and entirely. 

The whole of Houerathorp.

Four manses in Suthrem. 5 in Hillenaer. Three in Uabbinghem. 2 in Gintasstrip. 1 in Pillinghem. 1 in Marandi. 2 in Epbaradum. 2 in Elfnum. 2 in Uuirthvm

In Monster whatever Elegswind had as an inheritance there, and was seen to be her possession she gave entirely to Sint-Maarten.

In De Lier, 3. In Ruiven, 3. In Hustingest, 3. In Litiongest, 3. In Langongest, a  manse and a half.

 In Houarathorpa, half of the whole estate, whatever Erulf and Ralph [= Heriolfr and Rudolf?] gave there and held as an inheritance. 

In Rijnsburg, half of the whole estate is Sint-Maarten’s, and also Aldburga’s inheritance, whatever she had there.

The fishery which Gerulf had in the furthest part of the river Rhine, 6 parts pertain to Sint-Maarten.

5 Manses in Helsem. 2 in Osbragttashem. 3 in Heslemaholta. 3 in Lisse. 5 in Sassenheim. 2 in Schoot.

In Osfrithhem taglingthos, a third part and 6 manses.

In Sassenheim, everything except 2 manses. 

5 in Lisse. 3 in Warmond. 2 in Oegstgeest. 2 in Poelgeest. 3 in Husingesgest. 2 in Oslem.

In Uuilkenhem with all its appendages, it’s Sint-Maarten’s; similarly in Burem with all its appendages and in Teilingen similarly everything is Sint-Maarten’s. 

2 in Broek [?]. 

In Limmen, a church with 10 manses.

7 in Noordwijk.

In Leeuwenhorst, it is wholly and entirely Sint-Maarten’s, with woods and all adjacencies. 

Similarly Akersloot, everything is Sint-Maarten’s.

3 in Haarlem. 2 in Velzen. 10 in Suattingabvrim. 10 in Scranaholt.

In De Vennep, everything is Sint-Maarten’s.

2 in Texel. 2 in Breem. 2 in Bakkum. 3 in Laan. 6 in Beinhem [?]. 5 in De Westen [?]. 2 in De Waal [?]. 1 in Broek [?]. 3 in Cunulfhem. 2 in Godolfhem. 1 in Pischem. 7 in Gank. 

In Gnisingo, everything is Sint-Maarten’s.

5 in Wittinggeest [?]. 3 in Huisduinen. 2 in Lidum. 2 in Algarener. 3 in ‘t Torp. 2 in Petten.

In Suhthusum, everything is Sint-Maarten’s.

In Hargen, 3. In Suhtrem, 2. In Brechtdorp, 2. In Schoorl, 4. In Bergen, 5. In Bentveld, 2. In Camperduin, 1. In Beccanburen, 1. In Vroon, 1.

In Texel, a third part in Sint-Maarten’s. In Wieringen, two parts of the whole land are Sint-Maarten’s, with the churches of both parts of the land; and similarly in Vatrop. Also, the tithes from the ships which are wrecked there by storm winds, and the discovery of which pertains to Sint-Maarten, because the toll is not had of them. 

Regarding tolls, and regarding business or anything which the right of the fisc ought to take as renders for the king’s part, the whole tithe is Sint-Maarten’s; similarly concerning the tribute which is called huslotho.

In Overmeer, all the fisheries; and in Uitermeer, all of the right to set up nets which is called tragal and half of the fisheries pertains to Sint-Maarten.

In Dalmersce, the whole fishery is Sint-Maarten’s.

In Getzeuuald, on the river Vecht, all the fishery is Sint-Maarten’s.

In Muiden, seven weirs for fishing.

In IJsselmeer, the tithe of the royal render which is called cogsculd.

In Nes, the estate with all the fisheries.

Moreover, in IJsselmeer the tithe from the drag-nets is Sint-Maarten’s; but now the other nine parts are the property of Sint-Maarten. But also the other fishery on the river Vecht is entirely Sint-Maarten’s, with all the ponds adjacent to it; and all the water in Nifterlake with all the fisheries is Sint-Maarten’s.

From Wieringen in Elft, a dominical manse with salt-producing land is Sint-Maarten’s, with the serfs dwelling in the same estate, of whom these are the names: Fulcheric, Hoffo, Redbald, Saxger, Thietmar, Redgar, Redulf, Sinath, Reingerd, Saxbraht, Aldo, Ricbald the deacon, Wibald, Tiebo, Huno, Wulfbald, Aldolf, Geldulf, Hildulf, Oatbald, Garhelm, Betto, Saxger, Everbald, Oslief, Osbruht, Tatto, Edo: whatever they have there is now calculated as 12 manses, of which Poppo has 1. 

6 in Noorden [?]. 6 in Luddingem and in Stene. 3 in Huuuido.

There are 3 king’s manses in Eddingem, and what is left over is entirely Sint-Maarten’s, which makes 32 manses.

In the place which is called De Westen, 25 manses.

In Stroe, sixty and 12 manses, which belonged to God, SS Martin, Boniface, Willibrord, Liudger, Landbert and the lord king in Bante

Abbo, Aldchrafan, Thrudlaf, Liudrad, Gerard, Siburg, Refnulf, Bulo, Fulculf, Garburg, Saxbald and his brother, who held Thangburgam: they are Sint-Maarten’s with the land which they have. 

13 manses in Wittinggeest [?].

2 manses in Noorden.

5 manses in Wanbays.

3 manses in Laan [?].

4 manses in De Westen [?]. 2 in De Waal [?].

9 manses in Beverwijk [?].

3 manses in Hlithum.

In Hrothaluashem, which is now called Rijnsburg, 12 manses are Sint-Maarten’s. And concerning the inheritance of Ralph and Aldburga, which they gave to Sint-Maarten, and the manses lying at De Vliet; also the settlements which are called ofstedi, at De Vliet, which also the abovesaid people dwell.

In Beverwijk [?], Gytha [Gutha] gave a church which was not yet consecrated into the right and dominion of Sint-Maarten, on the condition that after the consecration of the same church tithes should go to the same church from the estates called by these names: Beverwijk [?], Gisleshem, Hegginghem, Schupildhem

Besides which, there are bondsmen who ought rightly to be the property of the blessed Martin next to Velsen: Tetta and her son Abbo and her three daughters, also Betto and his sister, and Fritheswind and her sister Erinburg with their children. 

In Texel, all the churches are Sint-Maartens, and a third part of all the land which pertains to the king is Sint-Maarten’s, excepting other lands which Christ’s faithful gave for love of Him. These all endured undisturbed until the time of Bishop Odilbald of good memory, in whose time there was also a certain priest named Sigbrand, who at the command of the aforesaid bishop ruled all the churchs on the same isle of Texel, whose brothers were named with these names: Othrauan and Liutrauan. 

In Norhtuualde, the royal tithe, as in other places; and in addition all of Akersloot is Sint-Maarten’s.

In Medemblik, the royal tithes; and in addition everything as is contained in the water which is called Uiuuuarflet is all Sint-Maarten’s; and also in addition Vreeswijk is entirely Sint-Maarten’s in lands, woods, pastures, waters and fisheries. 

The oldest manuscript for this is in the British Library, but it isn’t digitised; so I’ve grabbed a picture of a manuscript of this text from this site here.

Before we go further into this document, a bit of housekeeping. I’ve put as many place names into a modern form as I can, but you shouldn’t necessarily take them too seriously. (This is why I haven’t put a map here.) Even where not marked with questions marks, several of them are of uncertain validity. In other cases, I’ve picked one of several possibilities. If you’re really interested in identifying the names, there are easily Google-able web resources, and I’d also recommend going to the sources, the Diplomata Belgica edition I’ve used, or the Oorkondenboek of Utrecht, which is freely available on the open web. On the flip side, although specific place names may be more or less plausible, there are also studies indicating that even where we can’t pinpoint them, most of the unidentified place-names are in the northern part of the modern-day Netherlands, particularly in what is now Holland.

So, moving on to the text, we’ve got a pretty substantial list of properties here. How many of them did the church of Utrecht actually control by the early tenth century? The minimum reading here is probably that the church held only the documentation. Notably, this list is organised roughly geographically, describing a curve heading first west and then north, and no property east of the area of Dorestad is mentioned. That is, no property in the vicinity of the bishop of Utrecht’s then-current seat at Deventer is included in this list, which suggests that it was held more securely and didn’t need to have a record made of it. It is possible to reverse this logic, though: we know that Ratbod was interested in moving the see back to Utrecht itself, and this list could well have been to prepare a reorganisation of the lands in the immediate vicinity. That is, lands in (say) Deventer were not more secure, but less relevant. Certainly, as you can probably guess from the tenor of my previous posts on this question, I am something of a maximalist here. Part of the reason is that there is evidence from elsewhere that estates from this area were under the control of Frankish churches during this period. In particular, an estate survey from the abbey of Werden clearly shows that they had a man on the ground at this time in this area, and in some cases (such as Zwezereng) in precisely the same estates. I can’t see any reason that Werden’s control of its lands around Utrecht would be easier to implement than Utrecht’s.

Admittedly, we are clearly dealing with a moving target here. There’s something almost cubist about the Cartularium Radbodi. Take the case of Houerathorp, for example, which as listed as being half-owned and entirely owned by Utrecht at the same time. Presumably, we are dealing here with unmarked change over time. This comes through a bit more clear in the case of the church’s fishing rights at IJsselmeer, the entry for which is more clearly from two separate time periods. Ditto the entry regarding landholding at Wieringen: the reference to Poppo holding the estates ‘now’ is probably, although not certainly, contemporary. Nonetheless, it’s interesting that the only entry to be given anything like a full historical context is the reference to Utrecht’s church on the island of Texel. Here, we are told that Utrecht controlled this church until the reign of Bishop Odilbald. That is, they controlled it through the supposed disruption period under Roric of Dorestad, which is what we’d expect. Another thing we might expect is that they lost it in the 880s. Around the year 880, northern France, Germany and the Benelux were subjected to several years worth of severe and sustained viking attacks, which do seem to have been more disruptive than their mid-century equivalents; and Texel would have been right in the firing line. Even then, though, it’s only Texel which is explicitly noted as having been lost at this time…

In fact, there are hints that mid-century vikings may have patronised Utrecht. I’m not sure how confident I am in this argument – it’s certainly not what you’d call clinching – but hear me out. There were two sets of personal names which caught my attention. The first is the pairing of Erulf and Ralph at Houerathorp. Ralph (Radulfus), of course, is one of the most common Germanic names out there; but Erulf (Erulfus) is a bit less common. It’s still a good Frankish name, of course – except that it rung a bell at the back of my head. There’s are a few oblique references in Irish sources to a Northman named Herjolfr (=Erulf) whose floruit would have been in the mid-to-late ninth century. Radulfus is the same name as Rodulf, a Frisian viking leader who was killed in Ireland. Houerathorp clearly contains the place-name element –thorp, which in England is diagnostically Scandinavian, but which does exist in Old Frisian, although the work I’ve read on this have very differing views on whether or not it can still be taken as probably Scandinavian in this context. So we have two names associated with vikings with Irish associations and in one case definitely Frisia, who own an estate which may have an Old Norse place name element. There’s a lot of maybes in this, but it intrigues me. More convincing, I think, is the case of Gutha. I have never encountered this name in a Frankish context, and I can’t find it for looking except as a version of the Old Norse female name Gytha. Moreover, the estate Gytha gave, Beverwijk (if Beverwijk it was) is on the Kennemerland coast, a short walk from Egmond where – as we’ve seen in a previous post – Roric of Dorestad patronised the cult centre. Here, I feel like I’m on more solid ground in suggesting that this is a person of Scandinavian background.

The Cartularium Radbodi, then, is a really interesting and helpful text which supports the points I made in previous posts. It suggests that there was little global disruption to Utrecht’s property and – if my speculations are right – may even hint that Northmen acted as Utrecht’s patrons.

Charter A Week 74: Sobbo and Charlieu

More on Burgundy! We did some of this last week, I know. However, the Cluniac archives are such a rich source that it’s hard not to succumb to the temptation to highlight some of the gems they contain. Moreover, the historiographical emphasis on the north-east as both a hub for royal power and, more generally, the cockpit of the West Frankish kingdom is so prevailing; and the historical importance of Burgundy so significant, that it’s really important to emphasise and re-emphasise the point. Burgundian support was key to West Frankish rulers from Charles the Bald onwards, and despite how fragmentary our evidence is, it’s clear that it remained so into the tenth century. As a case in point, this charter:

CC no. 1.730 (c. 950) 

Unless it is defeated either by love of an eternal homeland or frightened off by the terror of future judgement, the insatiable greed of this world is – far from doubt – in no way able to extinguish misery; it happens for this reason that people do not fear to transfer not only the goods of the poor, but also churchly goods, into their own uses. I, Sobbo the sinner, confess myself to have done this. But returning now to my right mind, and considering the most exacting judgment of divine reproach, I wish and desire that both the sublimity of princes and the priestly dignity and also the generality of everyone should know that until now I unjustly kept hold of the abbey of Charlieu, and I render myself culpable thereby. The same place was the inheritance of the late Robert, bishop of Valence, who build a monastery there, and took care to solemnly dedicate it in honour of the blessed martyrs Stephen, Felix, Fortunatus and Achilles, and delegated brothers to live there in accordance with the Rule. Once his praiseworthy vow had been put into effect, he did not neglect to give it over to the holy Roman church, to that it might endure under the perpetual tutelage of the same.

Later, lord Odo [of Cluny], whose memory is fittingly celebrated with praise, through King Hugh [of Arles], by the ordination of apostolic authority, obtained through a privilege that the aforesaid place be bestowed on the monastery of Cluny; the most glorious King Louis [IV] as well deigned to confirm it by a precept of his regality.

Therefore, overcome by such authorities, breaking asunder the bridle of greed, I restored and surrendered the aforesaid abbey in its entirety to lord Aimard, venerable abbot of the abbey of Cluny, for the remedy of my soul, and cast myself out from there forever. To destroy all calumnies, I prayed the testament of this notice of restoration be made, through which let the said abbot and his successors perpetually possess the aforesaid place, hold it as their own, and ordain it legally and in accordance with the Rule.

If any of my heirs, or anyone else, might presume to calumniate this testament, let them be subject to every curse unless they quickly come to their senses.

Sobbo. Maimbod, bishop of the holy church of Mâcon. Guy, bishop of Soissons. Gibuin, bishop of Autun [recte Châlons]. Anskeric, son of Sobbo. Roland. Bernard. Guy. Walo. Prior Humbert. Aimoin. Abbot Robert. Ragenold [of Roucy], count of Rheims. Hugh. Odalric. Theodoric. Ingobrand. Richer. Aimo. Stephen. Aldin. Bernard. Otard.

In the reign of King Louis.

Charlieu today (source)

A small thing to start with: there was a protracted (and frankly interminable) debate amongst older scholarship as to whether Ragenold of Roucy was count of Roucy or count of Rheims. Personally, I don’t think his comital status derived from specific comital office at all – Flodoard says pretty explicitly that it derived from his Königsnahe and whatever administrative jurisdiction he possessed was probably irrelevant to it – but this charter is decent evidence that he did have lay jurisdiction at Rheims. It’s not perfect evidence, though – this is an eleventh-century copy that gets other things wrong (Bishop Gibuin’s see, for example), and we’ve seen in the pastthat later scribes were not averse to giving people erroneous titles based on what held true in their own day.

Regardless of that, if last time we saw Burgundians communicating with the royal court, here we can see a fairly hefty delegation of northerners going south. We don’t know exactly when this happened (beyond ‘around 950’), but it’s evidence of continuing and ongoing ties between Burgundy and West Frankish kingship. Particularly interesting is the reference to a royal precept referring to Charlieu. This is one of the Chevrigny diplomas we saw a few weeks ago, and it’s therefore intriguing that we have this private charter later and separately. I think what’s happening here is that, both practically and symbolically, Louis’ delegation is confirming this transaction now that the king is out of Hugh the Great’s thumb. As that specific diploma was also the one granting to Cluny property pertaining to Saint-Martin of Tours, I wonder if we might not also be seeing a kind of show of force in front of Sobbo, reminding him who’s boss?

On a bigger picture, despite the fact that by now Conrad the Pacific was fully set up in Provence, this is yet another occasion where the Trans-Ararian Fluidity Zone is in effect! Sobbo refers to precepts from both Louis and Hugh of Arles, and although the abbey is in the Mâconnais it was founded by the bishop of Valence; and Sobbo himself probably has kinship ties to several archbishops of Lyon and Vienne. There’s a bit of a parallel between this and the Lotharingian networks we were looking at last week: whatever the nominal borders were, cross-border networks were really important for actual on-the-ground politics.

Charter A Week 73: A New Beginning

Not one but two charters for you today! As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, after Louis IV’s imprisonment in 946, Otto the Great came to help his brother-in-law, and the tide turned in Louis’ favour. By 949, it was clear that Louis was going to win the war – or, rather, that Otto was, as the East Frankish king’s interests weighed heavily in the balance. However, Louis’ own authority was substantially repaired, and we can see that in our documentary evidence, including both of today’s documents. Our first comes from the north-east, from a very small abbey called Homblières that I wrote about in one of my very first articles. The backstory here is that the materially poor community also had a holiness problem. Most of the time monks replace nuns, the nuns’ character is slandered by the community which replaced them to justify the replacement. At Homblières, the opposite is true: the new abbot, Berner, wrote hagiographical works lauding his predecessor Abbess Bertha, trying to establish that Homblières always had been a holy centre of true religion – which strongly suggests that, in this case, it was perceived as genuinely problematic by some of its neighbours. Anyway, we have a community of badly behaving nuns – what now?

D L4, no. 32 (1st October 949, Rheims)

In the name of the holy and indivisible Trinity.

Louis, by God’s grace king of the Franks.

If, by paying attention to divine worship, We endeavour to raise the Church of God to the highest state of holy religion, We use royal right and the privileges of Our progenitors.

Wherefore, let the skill of all the followers of the holy Church of God both present and future know that, approaching the presence, Count Albert [the Pious of Vermandois] of famous character, along with the noble man Eilbert [of Florennes] and his wife Hersind, suppliantly entreating Our Munificence that Our Clemency might deign to hep a certain little place sited in the district of Vermandois, which is vulgarly called Homblières, where the most sacred bride of Christ Hunegund awaits the day of blessed remuneration, because certain nuns were not living entirely honourable therein and, being unwilling to be subject to the governance of the Rule, were removed therefrom, and monks were put in their place who would obey the Rule and an abbot, because, with the assent of Our authority, the aforesaid Elibert restored the aforesaid abbey to his lord the count, that is, Albert, and the same count bestowed the same on Our rule, to wit, on the condition that We might command it be defended by a precept of Our authority in such a way that, without any diminution at all, and without any subjection to anywhere else, it might remain conceded to a regular abbot inviolably and in perpetuity.

Therefore, by the favour of Our wife [Queen Gerberga] and the venerable Archbishop Artald [of Rheims], with Bishops Guy [of Soissons] and Gibuin [of Châlons] and the most splendid Abbot Hincmar [of Saint-Remi de Rheims] and the monks of the same congregation, and Counts Albert (the aforesaid) and Ragenold [of Roucy], and by the prayers and praises of all Our followers who were present, We decreed it be so done. With the counsel of all of them, We established that the said abbey in its entirety should be held in perpetuity by a regular abbot for the observation of the Rule in the same place.

And that this emolument of Our authority might be conserved inviolably through the course of times to come, confirming it below with Our hand We commanded it be corroborated by Our seal.

Seal of lord Louis, most glorious king of the Franks.

Odilo the notary witnessed on behalf of Artald, archbishop and high chancellor.

Enacted at the city of Rheims in the monastery of Saint-Remi, on the kalends of October, in the 6th indiction, in the 14th year of the reign of the glorious King Louis, in the year of the Lord’s Incarnation 948 [sic]. 

There’s a lot going on here. Albert the Pious is a significant figure to show up at this time. He was a son of Heribert II of Vermandois, one of Hugh the Great’s nephews, and in 949 he had jumped ship to Louis’ side. As we saw back in 946, the Heribertians were key allies of Hugh the Great, so Albert’s loss was emblematic of the significant blows his cause was suffering. Albert’s place amongst Louis’ supporters is validated here by the presence of a coterie of people who were now Louis’ main supporters in the north-east: Artald of Rheims (on whom more in a couple of months), Guy of Soissons, and the young Gibuin of Châlons, probably not older than his early twenties and at the start of fifty years of being a major prop of the Carolingian regime. (The main missing figure here is Louis’ half-brother Roric, formerly a royal notary but recently installed as bishop of Laon.) We also have Ragenold of Roucy, now one of Louis’ key lay followers, who at this time also probably became Albert’s brother-in-law: Ragenold was married to one of Gerberga’s daughters and likely at this time Albert married another.

Some of the little left of the abbey of Homblières (source)

Yet purely material concerns aren’t the only thing happening in this document. The arenga there, which I think of as following the operam dantes formula after the opening words, is a new development which is significant. This arenga would be used in almost all Louis’ acts until the end of his reign. It coincides with the emergence of this new court circle and the renewed importance of Queen Gerberga and her Lotharingian and Lotharingian-facing allies. The sentiment of the arenga, emphasising the need for Church reform and the specifically royal privilege and duty to carry it out, spoke to this new circle and suggested a new, or at least newly emphasised, basis for royal authority (again, we’ll come back to this when we talk about Rheims in 953).

The north-east wasn’t the only important place, though. Our second diploma comes from Burgundy:

D L4 no. 33 (10th November 949, Autun)

In the name of the holy and indivisible Trinity.

Louis, by propitiation of divine clemency king of the Franks.

We wish it to be known to all of the faithful of the holy Church of God that, in the year of the Lord’s Incarnation 949, when the lofty margrave Hugh [the Black], son of Richard [the Justiciar], Our follower, and Count Gilbert [of Burgundy], and the magnates of the realm of Burgundy had convened in the city of Autun to deliberate over the holy Church of God and to deal with the utility of the realm, amongst other things, Hildebod, bishop of Chalon, and the monks of Cluny, made a complaint concerning the failure of religion at the monastery of Saint-Martin [d’Autun], sited in the suburbs of the same city, which was once special with all religion and honour, but is now completely deprived of the status of its dignity and the patronage of an abbot. Therefore, whilst they were seeking in turn a person on whom this salubrious burden could be imposed, the monks of the same place stood by with a privilege of Pope Gregory, asking that, as is contained in the same document, the election might be conceded to them. This was conceded, and they unanimously elected one of their own, named Humbert, whom they brought with them not many days later, that is, on the feast of St Philibert, and presented to the same princes. Rejoicing in their choice, and proffering assent to their petitions, they committed the aforesaid abbey in its entirety on Our behalf to the same Humbert.

But because the same place should be given by the king’s hand, the aforesaid man approached the presence of Our Highness as quickly as he could. Whence, on account of the intervention of Our wife, and with the leading men of Our realm, to wit, Archbishop Artald [of Rheims], Bishops Gozlin [of Toul] and Achard [of Langres], and the venerable Abbot Hincmar [of Saint-Remi] and Counts Ragenold [of Roucy], Bernard and Theodoric standing by and approving with Our other followers, for the remedy of Our soul and Our progenitors, We conceded the same place to him for the repair of religion.

Wherefore, We ordered a precept of Our Highness to be made and given to the aforesaid Abbot Humbert, through which he might hold the aforesaid abbey with the cell which is called Anzy-le-Duc and all its appendages in accordance with the Rule.

And that this concession of Our authority might be conserved inviolably, confirming it below with Our own hand, We commanded it be corroborated by the image of Our signet.

Sign of lord Louis, the most glorious king.

Odilo the notary witnessed and subscribed on behalf of Bishop and High Chancellor Artald.

Given in the city of Autun, on the 4th ides of November, in the 7th indiction, in the 14th year of the reign of the glorious King Louis. 

The diplomatic of this document is peculiar, and appears to have been formed out of a mash-up of a synodal document and a royal diploma per se. There’s no reason to doubt its authenticity, despite how weird it is: what I suspect happened is that Abbot Humbert bought the synodal document and it was just copied wholesale by the royal scribe (although it’s quite possible that this is a later mash-up of two separate but still genuine documents).

Anyway, second verse same as the first: we see here once again the importance of sponsoring monastic reform to Louis’ re-established authority; and we also get another sense of that new court circle. Counts Bernard and Theodoric’s spheres of influence are unknown, but were probably in the forested regions to the east of Rheims, on the West Frankish-Lotharingian border. Ragenold of Roucy we’ve already met. Gozlin of Toul – Charles the Simple’s old notary – is a particularly interesting case, and his presence illustrates the importance of Lotharingians to Louis’ new regime. With Louis now acting as (in essence) Otto’s underking, there was a kind of merging of the West Frankish and Lotharingian kingdoms at the highest level after a 940s where the two realms looked in different directions. Finally, as always, we have the Burgundians. Achard of Langres’ presence is a major indicator of how important this see was – in fact, Achard’s predecessor Heiric had acted as Louis’ archchancellor in the past. Overall, though, the importance of Burgundy to West Frankish royal power at this time can’t be understated, and definitely shouldn’t be minimised – and we’ll see more of this next week.

Charter A Week 72: Manasses of Arles

Another short one this week, as I’ve discussed the background to this one extensively in a previous post. Just to give a little bit of context, though: in 947, Hugh of Arles, king of Italy and overlord of southern Provence died. Provence had already been in a political vacuum since the death of Louis the Blind in 928, and this further disrupted the balance of power. Who would take better advantage of the situation: Louis IV or Conrad the Pacific? The machinations which took place are invisible to historians, but there are tantalising hints. Hints such as:

CC 1.726 (September 948)

While one lives in the difficult pilgrimage of this world, since it is permitted during this time and whilst an acceptable time and the days of salvation are seen to be imminent, the highest care should be taken that, if we can do any good, putting aside all delay, we should not hesitate to act in making our debtors those whom we truly know and little doubt look after the safety of bodies in the present and will be judges of the soul in future. Because, indeed, we can do no good after death, we believe that before we are led to that subtle judgement beyond understanding, to satisfy the hidden Judge, we should not cease to cleanse with the work of prayers and the hand of penitence in this brief life however we can what we have negligent committed.

Therefore I, the unworthy archbishop Manasses, considering the enormity of my sins, and, which is more salubrious, adoring the sweetest voice of our lord Jesus Christ, who said ‘give alms and behold, the whole world shall be made clean unto thee’; ‘store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt’, and ‘the riches of a man are the redemption of his soul, give and transfer wholly and entirely in perpetuity these which are my goods which lie in the county of Chalon, which fell to me from paternal inheritance, which my father [Count] Warner [of Troyes] possessed by right of dominion, to God Almighty and St Mary mother of God and as well His holy apostles, to wit Peter and Paul; and I ultimately entrust this deed to the monastery of Cluny and establish it as preceptor and vicar, so that from this day and hereafter lord abbot Aimard, who now, by God’s assent, administers the governance of the aforesaid abbey with pious rule, and all his successors, might rule and ordain and dispose the same goods for all time as pleases them in God’s service. This place, indeed, is consecrated in honour of God and in veneration of the blessed Mary ever-virgin and the same apostles, and is sited in the district of the Mâconnais. These goods are, as already mentioned above, sited in the county of Chalon, in the vicariate of Buxy, that is, Jully, with all its appurtenances pertaining to it, that is, a church consecrated in honour of St Maurice and a church of the holy mother of God Mary, and of St John, and also another of St Martin, in their entirety, as was written above, with male and female serfs and all buildings, vineyards, meadows, fields, woods, pastures, waters, mills, incomes and renders, orchards, cultivated and uncultivated lands, sought and to be sought, I donate and wish to be donated in perpetuity to Lord God, for the remedy of my soul and also for the soul of my father and my mother Teutberga, and my brothers, that is, Hugh and Richard and also Boso and all my other relatives, and in addition for the salvation of the living and the rest of all the dead, so that the rulers of the said monastery and those serving God there might without any challenge always hold them firmly and solidly in perpetuity.

If, though, anyone (God forbid!), I myself or any person, might endeavour to inflict any calumny against this donation, let them be subject to every curse, unless they come to make amends.

Sign of Manasses, who commanded this donation be made. S. Gunther. Airard, humble bishop of the holy see of Avignon, confirmed. S. Countess Bertha. Abbot Warner. Lambert. Odilo. Pons. Ado. Warmund. Ragembert. Archembert. Rostagnus. Boniface. Hildegar. Madalgaud. Arnulf. Hugh.

Given in the month of September, in the 13th year of Louis, king of the Franks.

Ralph the levite wrote this.

This cannot have been a private party. Hugh of Arles’ niece Countess Bertha (wife of Raymond III of Toulouse) and the bishop of Avignon are a delegation if ever there was one. Manasses must have spoken to Conrad, and probably to Hugh the Black as well. At the time, moreover (and we’ll see more of this next time), Louis was also talking a lot to Hugh. Something must have been going on – but, as I said in the original post, it’s really not clear what.

This is the last we’ll see of Provence for a while, so it’s worth giving a little epilogue. After the late 940s, Louis IV and, eventually, Lothar lost all control of northern Provence, and the whole kingdom minus the east bank of the Rhône passed under the sway of Conrad the Pacific. It would remain part of the Transjurane kingdom until there wasn’t a Transjurane kingdom anymore – but that’s a story for much, much later.

Where There’s A Will There’s A Way 6: Archdeacon Ingelbert of Cahors

This is another in our series of Carolingian and post-Carolingian wills. It’s also likely to be the last one for a while. It’s unlikely to be the last one ever, because I’ve got about five or six scratch translations cluttering up the blog’s drafts folder. However, writing commentaries for these things is increasingly tricky, it’s pretty clear that I’m not going to get anything further out of these right now and I need to concentrate on doing things with more immediate results; and, frankly, given the geographical bias towards the Midi it’s becoming less interesting to work on them.

This will is, admittedly, also from the south of France; but a) a bit further north than we’ve been dealing with; and b) it has the novelty of being from a slightly different social class than the people we’ve seen thus far. This isn’t to say we’re looking at the peasantry or anything, today’s figure is still at the very top of society, he’s just not an archbishop or a count. Today’s testator is Archdeacon Ingelbert of the church of Cahors, who flourished in the early tenth century, and whose will goes as follows:

Testament d’Ingelbert, c. 925

I, Archdeacon Ingelbert, 

  1. Donate to Berald my nephew and godson, to the son of Rainard, my dominical house which is in the palace of Lemmar, which is in the territory of Pommeyriol; for borders, it has:
    1. on one side the land and vineyard which goes to the vineyard which he bought from Hildebert and goes up to Macefonte then goes up to Birdo and to Montebedisso and then goes to the land of Aunarius and to the land which he was seen to buy from Christian, and that goes to the public road which is called Roca and then goes to the land which he was seen to acquire from Leutar and then goes to the land of Saint-Caprais [de Mechmont] and goes to the land of Benjamin and Hildegard and their heirs, except another vineyard which is called […] 
  2. and my manses in Pommeyriol with lands and vineyards; for borders, it has:
    1. through the street which comes from Ussel and goes to Terre Rouge and the vineyard which […] was seen to buy with the farmland which goes to the estate which goes from the road which comes from Ussel and through the stream and through the valley and through this border until it comes to the land of Calsanus of Mechmont and his heirs and through Longavollo which goes to that border and comes to the fount of Boissoles; 
    2. I cede to you as much as is contained within these limits in lands or vineyards, lands, meadows, pastures, woods, garricks, waters and watercourses, everything entirely, what has been sought and what should be sought after, wholly and entirely, as it is my possession or judgement,
    3. On the condition that while Ingelbert lives he might hold it and after his death they should go to the aforesaid Berald and his father Rainald along with the rent, and after their deaths it should go to the church of Saint-Étienne the martyr [of Cahors]; and on the feast of St Stephen they should pay two shillings for the stipends of the brothers.
  3. And to Imbert, one mill and it is at Albospino.
  4. And I donate to my nephew Theocharis in the territory of that estate which is called La Roque lands and vineyards; which have as their borders:
    1. on two sides, the land of Berald, on on the other place Blandin’s land to which the street goes; on the fourth side, land of Saint-Étienne and of Berald;
    2. I cede and donate to you as much as I am seen to have and possess within these limits wholly and entirely, so that you may hold them as long as you live and after your death let them go to Saint-Étienne along with the rent; and let them pay on the feast of St Stephen twelve pennies into the stipends of the brothers;
    3. And I donate to Elias the priest a manse with vineyard in that estate; this manse and this vineyard which I am seen to have bought from Wirard, which has land of the donor on three sides and on the fourth side the public road;
    4. I cede to you as much as is contained within these limits wholly and entirely, along with the rent; let them pay twelve pennies on the feast of St Stephen into the stipends of the brothers; and after his death let it go to Saint-Étienne;
  5. And I donate to my godson Winard my manse where he dwells, that half and another vineyard which is in Garonis and another vineyard which is called La Garnède, this vineyard is that which is below that which he bought from Dirard. You may hold these lands and said vineyards as long as you live along with a rent; he should pay six pennies on the feast of St Stephen and after his death let it go to Saint-Étienne for the stipends of the brothers;
  6. And I donate to Winard the priest my relative my vineyard which he holds from Aradeus the priest and I ceded it to you and his heirs totally and entirely along with a rent; let him pay twelve pennies on the feast of St Stephen and after his death let it go to Saint-Étienne;
  7. And I donate to Benjamin and I donate to Stephen my manses which I was seen to buy off Vinscammus, the whole, which is called Illas Bordas; and I cede to you my vineyard which is in the territory of Cassonolas. It has borders on two parts of Berald’s land, on the third side of land of Benjamin himself; and on the fourth side the public road; and that whilst one of them lives it should remain with him, as long as they live they may hold it with a rent; let them pay on the feast of St Stephen (twelve) fifteen pennies into the stipends of the brothers; and after their death let it go to Saint-Étienne. 
  8. And I donate to Amalgar and his son Ragenfred the lands and vineyards which are in Bellonaco and in Campo Labedio and in Ventaillac and in Camp Mèges per illo rivvo curte, as much as ais beholden or seen to be beholden in these named places I cede entirely to you; may you hold it as long as you live along with a rent: he should pay twelve pennies on the feast of St Stephen and after their death let it go to Saint-Étienne in the stipends of the brothers.
  9. And I donate to that Amalgar my allod which he bought from Rainald in Mediano entirely, which he bought from Blandin; and I cede in that named place in Daucio until it goes to the vineyard of Archembald the priest. You may hold it as long as you live along with a rent: they should pay on the feast of St Stephen twelve pennies into the stipends of the brothers; and after your death let it go to Saint-Étienne.
  10. And I donate to Archembald the priest whatever I was seen to buy from Fortbacana his mother and the inheritance which he had from him [sic] I donate to you; may you hold it as long as you live along with a rent: you should pay twelve pennies on the feast of St Stephen and similarly let it go to Saint-Étienne.
  11. And I donate to Ansfred my son my manse which is in the estate of Montamel, with lands and vineyards,
    1. Which have borders on one side of Ismo’s land and that of Ingelald and Erdrubald, and the donor;
    2. And I cede to you one dinnirada of vines which he had from Guimard, and the vineyard which he bought from Amalgar;
    3. I cede these lands and the said vineyards entirely to you with a rent: they should pay twelve pennies on the feast of St Stephen.
  12. Similarly I donate to my cantor Dodo (Dieudonne) my manse which is in Montamel, the lands and vineyards which he bought from Grimald and Quodbald entirely, with a rent: let them pay twelve pennies on the feast of St Stephen. Similarly let it go to Saint-Étienne.
  13. And I donate to Armenrad the priest half of Gornaco except that vineyard which was Blandin’s; as much as is beholden or seen to be beholden to that estate, what has been found and what should be sought, I cede to you; you may hold it as long as you live with a rent on the feast of St Charity: you should pay twelve pennies into the stipends of the brothers; and after his death let it go to Saint-Charité [du Vigan].
  14. And to my godson Archdeacon Guimard I cede to you the other half of that estate similarly;
  15. And to my son Bonus I cede the vineyard at Orniac which I bought from Blandin, and the vineyard which is in Avita. Let him hold these vineyards entirely whilst he lives, and let him pay twelve pennies into the stipends of the brothers on the feast of St Charity; and after his death let it go to Saint-Charité.
  16. And I similarly donate to my son Erchambald the deacon my estate which is called Mas d’Apriac, half above and below; let him hold it whilst he lives, with a rent: let him pay twelve pennies on the feast of St Charity and after his death let it go to Saint-Charité.
  17. And I donate to Ramon, to the son of Allo, similarly the other half.
  18. And I donate to the venerable Archdeacon Benedict, which has limits on one side of land of Saint-Étienne, on the other side… and of Saint-Avit, on the third side, the stream called Déganhac, on the fourth side, the land of Saint-Vincent; whatever I am seen to have and possess within these limits I cede wholly and entirely to you with a rent: he should pay twelve pennies on the feast of St Stephen and after his death let it go to Saint-Étienne into the stipends of the brothers.
  19. And I donate to Viscount Frothard of [of Cahors] and his wife Adalberga my church which is founded in honour of St Amantius, as much as I am seen to have by my right and in… and Curbito as much as is in that named place with my manses with lands, with vineyards, with woods, with garricks, with waters and watercourses, with all their appendages which have been found and should be sought after; let them hold it as long as they live, with a rent: let them pay two shillings on the feast of St Stephen; and after their deaths let it go to Saint-Étienne into the stipends of the brothers. 
  20. And I donate to my son Guimard Calvignac and Courbous and Roche de Liauzu, as much as I am seen to have and possess in these named places, I cede entirely to you with a rent: let him pay twelve pennies on the feast of St Stephen and after his death let it go to Saint-Étienne into the stipends of the brothers;
  21. And I donate to Archdeacon Alcuin and my nephew Gauzfred the lands and vineyards which are in Cras and in the territory of Cras, as much as I am seen to have and possess therein in the estate and in its territory of that estate, what is sought and should be sought after, such that when one of them outlives the other it should go to that one, with a rent: let them pay twelve pennies on the feast of St Stephen, and after their death let it go to Saint-Étienne in the stipend of the brothers.
  22. And I donate to Adrald the priest the church which is founded in honour of St Peter, as much as I held from his uncle Adrald I cede to you entirely with a rent of eight pennies on the feast of St Stephen;
    1. Similarly let the mill of Dégagnac with Combe de Saint-Vincent go to him, and the lands of Parnac de Saint-Charité to him.

Sign of Archdeacon Ingelbert and Leotard and Theocar and Rainard and Guimard and Wifred.

24. And I cede to Everard and Elias my nephews the lands and vineyards which are from Golmar and Berald; I cede their inheritances to you to have;

25. And I donate to my follower Adalrand two estate centres in Arpiac with lands, with vineyards, and in Puy-l’Évêque and in Albas much as I am seen to have, I donate to you on the condition that as long as you live you should hold them; and he should pay six pennies on the feast of St Charity; after his death, let it go to Saint-Charité.  

The first thing to say here is that if this seems oddly stilted and badly written: yep, that’s accurate. This testament is written in very poor Latin: cases are used incorrectly, the document switches at random between first, second and third person; verbs sometimes aren’t declined correctly, making plural people out of single people; et (‘and’) is often replaced by est (‘it is’), and so on. It’s hard to tell where the problem lies here. This charter was recorded in the cartulary of the cathedral of Cahors, but is only known from an eighteenth-century copy, and so it’s unclear whether it was written badly or copied badly…

Anyway, the main thing to note here is just how small-scale all of this is. When medieval historians talk about ‘local elites’, this is the kind of person we’re thinking of. Ingelbert may actually be on the larger-scope side of these things due to his association with the cathedral, but it’s still not very big. (This is, of course, a relative statement: it’s not big in a West Frankish context but these properties are still scattered over an area only a little smaller than Bedfordshire.) I presume that Ingelbert’s properties reflect his office and his geographical powerbase, because as you can see from the map they’re pretty much all of the river Lot.

Finally, rather like in Gersindis’ will, we seem to have a relatively flat society, at least as far as lay power goes. There’s a reasonable amount of Church officeholders here, presumably Ingelbert’s colleagues/allies, but otherwise the main connections are family ties. This includes no fewer than four of Ingelbert’s sons, although the poor quality of the Latin does make me wonder here if we could be dealing with ‘godsons’ or similar instead of actual biological children. Either way, we have four sons and several nephews, suggesting Ingelbert was at the head of some kind of family network, which may also indicate how he was able to exercise local power…

Charter A Week 71: Posturing Over Lotharingia

In 946, Otto the Great came to help Louis IV. He brought an army bigger than any force Western Europe had seen in a long time, and… well, it didn’t do that much. The main achievement – which is not a small one – was to retake Laon for the king, but attempts to take Senlis, Laon, and Rouen failed, in the latter case embarrassingly. Still, despite that, it was a game-changer. Hugh the Great was forced completely on to the back foot, and Louis IV was forced into a dependent relationship with the East Frankish ruler. This wasn’t expressed in terms of direct subordination (as with Otto’s relationship with King Berengar II of Italy, at least as he himself saw it), but in terms of subtle ritual and ceremonial reminders that Otto was the bigger dog. Reminders such as:

D O1, no. 88 (18th April 947, Aachen)

In the name of the holy and indivisible Trinity. 

Otto, by help of divine clemency king.

Let all Our followers present and future know that We, for the remedy of Our soul and also that of Our most beloved spouse of blessed memory Edith, conceded certain goods of Our property to the stipends of the brothers worthily soldiering for God in the place of Chèvremont as property: that is, two holdings sited in the estate of Hermalle and 1 church with all its appendages justly and legally beholden there; besides which, We gave to them 1 church built in the estate of Reng in the district of Hainaut, and another built in the estate of Vilvoorde; and again in the estate of Budel with all tithes and all commodities justly and legally pertaining to the aforesaid churches. 

And We commanded this present gift to be written thereof, through which We wish and firmly order that they should obtain this donation of Our gift firmly and securely without the obstacle of any contradiction, having confirmed it with Our own hand and strengthened it with Our signet.

Sign of lord Otto, the invincible king.

Chancellor Bruno [of Lorsch/Cologne] witnessed on behalf of Archchaplain Robert [archbishop of Trier].

Given on the 14th kalends of May, in the year of the Lord’s incarnation 947, in the 6th indiction, in the 11th year of the reign of the pious king Otto.

Enacted at Aachen.

Happily in the Lord, amen.

The big threat Louis IV posed to Otto was in Lotharingia. The West Frankish kings had only held Lotharingia entirely during the reign of Charles the Simple, but they had proven difficult and tenacious competitors for a much longer period, and Louis himself back in 939 had been chosen as king by the area’s noblemen. This diploma was issued in Easter 947, when Louis was visiting Otto at Aachen, and was one of several diplomas issued at various places in Lotharingia for Lotharingian recipients where Louis was present to really rub in that Otto was, and by right ought to be, king of Lotharingia. (One of these diplomas, issued at Douzy in August, had Bishop Gozlin of Toul, Charles the Simple’s old notary, as an intercessor, which really does add insult to injury.) This week’s diploma, then, is not tremendously complicated, but it is important: it’s a sign of growing Ottonian hegemony across Europe.

One of the reasons for that is also in this diploma (and Simon MacLean has written about it at various points): the death of Queen Edith, Otto’s wife, in 946. Edith was Louis’ aunt, and her death represented a shift from a network of alliances centred around English women to one centred around the Ottonians. With Edith’s death and the side-lining of Louis’ mother Eadgifu, Queen Gerberga was able to rise to prominence, and her mediation played a key role in drawing Otto in to his in-law’s problems in the West.

Courtesy of the Magdeburg Cathedral Museum, it’s Otto and Edith mugs!

Charter A Week 70/2: Restoration

Last time, things were going badly for Louis IV. He was being kept in prison by Hugh the Great, whilst the duke of the Franks decided what to do with him. It’s probable that Hugh wasn’t trying to depose the king, although not certain; but what seems likely is that Hugh was trying to work out just how tightly he could put the screws on. And so, by July 1st, two weeks after Hugh’s charter for Chartres, Louis was released. The price? The price was Laon, which had been held by Louis’ wife Queen Gerberga. Laon was the most powerful and important fortress of the north-east, and by holding both it and Rheims, Hugh could make a reasonable claim to have won the war which he, his late brother-in-law Heribert II of Vermandois, and various kings had been fighting since the late 920s about control in the region.

In return, Louis got to be king again, having his status and honour fully restored to him. This was marked by a ceremony at Chevregny, just south of Laon. No fewer than three diplomas to Cluny were issued on this occasion, but all three are textually similar so – in an experiment with the format – I’ve translated them all side-by-side, so that you can see where they are similar and different.

D L4 no. 27

D L4 no. 28

D L4 no. 29

In the name of Lord God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.

In the name of the holy and indivisible Trinity.


by ordination of divine providence,

by propitiation of divine clemency,

king. (no. 29: king of the Franks).

If We indeed proffer assent to the prayers of servants of God


and as well

their advantage, We far from doubt conserve (no. 27: exercise) royal dignity (no. 28: in all things) and We decree (no. 27: wish) that it should endure in future with the firmest (no. 29 and inviolable) right (no. 28: inviolably).

Therefore, let the industry of all the followers of the holy Church of God and Us, to wit, present and future, know that


most illustrious

most celebrated

princes of Our realm, that is, Hugh [the Great], duke of the Franks, and another Hugh [the Black], (no. 27: to wit,) duke of the Burgundians, and Count Leotald [of Mâcon], approached


the excellence of

Our Royal Serenity, deprecating that We might concede through a royal precept to the monastery of Cluny, consecrated in honour of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul,

certain goods, that is, a church dedicated in honour of St Jon sited in the suburbs of Mâcon, with all the goods pertaining to the same church, and also the estate of Vésines and Ozan, and the woods and estate of Senozan,



a certain little estate, from the rule of the viscount of Lyon. This estate is sited in the same district of Lyon, on the river Saône, which We donate with all the goods pertaining to it, to wit, vineyards and fields,

a certain monastery consecrated in honour of St Stephen, which is named Charlieu, and the cell of Rigny pertaining to it, dedicated in veneration of St Martin; also a church pertaining to the rule of the blessed Martin of Tours, sited in the suburbs of Mâcon. We concede these places named above, sited in the district of Mâconnais, with all the goods pertaining to it, that is, churches, estates, bondsmen of both sexes, vineyards, fields, meadows, woods, waters and watercourses, in their entirety.

with lands, meadows, woods, (no. 28: waters and) great water(no. 28:course)s and little streams, parks, ditches and the port

of the abovesaid Ozan, and other ports


With (no. 27: pastures,) incomes and renders, (no. 28: with pastures) and all adjacencies, and all fisheries (no. 28: and fishers, and all male and female serfs and colonis with their children and their whole kin-group,) sought and to be sought after,

and with Arnulf and his wife and their sons and daughters and all the male and female serfs and children beholden to the aforesaid goods, and their allods within and without, wherever they are, except a third part of Osan which pertains to Saint-Vincent [of Mâcon], and also Sigebert of Davayé with his wife, sons and daughters, with all their allods and goods, and everything which he holds in the said county.

I cede and transfer wholly and entirely

(nos 27, 29: We did this freely both) for love of (no. 28: God) (no. 29: the divine) and of the (no. 28: His) blessed apostles (nos 27, 29: and for Ourself, and also) for the state (no. 28: and stability) of Our realm, and at the same time the salvation of Our princes and all the (no. 27: Christian) faithful (nos 28, 29: of Christ) (no. 28: to wit, the living and the dead.) (nos 27, 29: and We freely assented to their pious and devoted petition.)

Commanding, therefore, We order that hereafter the aforesaid witnesses of Christ (no. 28: judges of the age, that is) the blessed Peter and Paul, and their abbot (no. 28: the abbots and rulers of their aforesaid abbey) and (no. 28: also) the monks serving the same apostles of Christ should hold and possess (no. 29: the aforesaid goods) with the firmest right through


this Our authority,

this authority of Our sublimity,

and whatever they wish to do or judge concerning it, they may enjoy (no. 28: use) free judgement in everything to do (no. 28: and ordain) whatever they choose.

And that this

Our authority

authority of Our Highness

authority of Our Sublimity

might be held more firmly and conserved better through future (no. 28: coming) times, We commanded it be sealed below with Our signet.

Sign of King Louis.

Chancellor Roric witnessed on behalf of [Bishop] Achard [of Langres].

Enacted at the estate of Chevregny, on the 1st July, in the 11th year of the reign of King Louis, when he also recovered Francia.

So everything’s hunky dory now, right? Not quite. You’ll note these acts all have the same intercessors: not just Hugh the Great, but Hugh the Black and Leotald of Mâcon. Hugh the Great – finally – got to be re-acknowledged, for the first time since 936, as dux Francorum in a royal diploma, but this had to be balanced out. Hugh the Black is called dux Burgundionum, a title he had not previously claimed in any of his own acts or any royal diplomas, and which he would not claim in the future. It seems that he, too, agreed with Raymond Pons’ analysis of the problem posed by Hugh the Great: ‘duke of the Burgundians’ meant that he remained Hugh the Black’s equal and not his superior. Equally, the presence of Leotald of Mâcon is interesting. Cluny was of course in the Mâconnais, but there’s more to it than that. Leotald’s presence reminded Hugh the Great that the Burgundians mattered, that they were watching and – bluntly – that they outnumbered them.

The content of the diplomas is also carefully balanced in this regard. The first deals with property in Mâcon itself.  The second, however, deals with land pertaining to the viscounts of Lyon, in the kingdom of Conrad the Pacific, where Hugh the Black was count.  This, though, was counterbalanced by the gift of a church in Mâcon under the rule of the abbey of Saint-Martin of Tours, over which Hugh the Great ruled. That is, we have three different acts speaking to the interests of the three different magnates, rather than having Hugh the Great clearly dictating terms. For all that Hugh the Great might have had his title recognised, after almost a decade of hard fighting, he had not been able to overawe the kingdom’s other leading magnates, and these tense acts were the result.

This makes Louis’ ‘recovering Francia’ somewhat ironic. Hugh’s stripping him of key fortresses meant that the Chevregny acts didn’t convince everyone. For all Flodoard says that he had the royal name and power restored, East Frankish sources were more cynical: Adalbert of Magdeburg said that Louis was ‘expelled from the kingdom’. The reason that Adalbert knew this was that Queen Gerberga spent a big chunk of 946 in her brother Otto the Great’s kingdom trying to call for his help. Next week, we’ll see how that went.