None of the charters for the actual year of 944 were particularly inspiring, so I’ve taken something from a broader date range. This week’s act comes from ‘the reign of King Louis’, almost certainly meaning Louis IV. (There is a tiny, tiny chance it could mean Louis V as king of Aquitaine, but I doubt that very strongly.) Christian Lauranson-Rosaz dates it to 951 specifically, but I’m not sure of his reasoning. Realistically, this charter can’t be dated more precisely than ‘the middle of the tenth century’.
Grand Cartulaire de Brioude, no. 449
It is written, ‘it is seen to be in no few places as though the angel of greed were urging people on’, and thus it has come to pass that recently Dalmatius [II], viscount of the same place, subdued all this through the force of his own power or by his own kinsmen: a church which is within the cloister of Saint-Julien, named in honour of Notre-Dame; and in the place called Brioude, another consecrated in honour of the holy martyr Praejectus, and in that county of Brioude, in the place which is called Champagnac, the church which is founded in honour of St Peter, and within the confines of the land the manse which is called Feuvetulus, and in the region the estate which is called Teinat and in the county of Brioude the church which is called Blassac with all its appurtenances, taken from the community of canons serving Christ therein.
On which account, the aforesaid brothers, when they heard, showed him how he had done this injuriously to the holy martyr Julian and his servants. However, the mercy of God Almighty, which wishes that none should perish but that all should be saved, at length sent to him such a counsel: that, to wit, at his request the aforesaid clerics should write a privilege and lord Dalmatius should confirm it with his very own hands, and that he should render what he unjustly possessed there. Indeed, when they had done this, the aforesaid lord Dalmatius, with everyone who was there in the church of Saint-Julien looking on, holding this authority in his very own hands, restored the said churches in their entirety and with all the abovewritten goods in their entirety to the dominion of that holy martyr and his servants.
Therefore, we in turn, seeing his great love in the Lord and fervent love of the holy martyr Julian, and the benefits to be earned in future, cede the abovewritten things to him, that is, to Viscount Dalmatius, such that as long as he lives he might hold and possess them and each year at Easter should pay in census to the canons one peck of the best wine. After his death, let the aforesaid goods remain in the common rations of the canons soldiering for the Lord there without any perturbation or delay.
Therefore, thereafter, lord Dalmatius, supported by God’s providence, for love of God and remedy of his soul and of his father and mother and his grandfather and all his relatives, ceded to God and Saint-Julien a church in the country of Brioude which is called Saint-Cirgues with all its adjacencies which pertain to it; and in another place, in the estate which is called Auzat, he parted with as much as he was seen to have and possess wholly and entirely; and in the vicariate of Auriac*, in the estate which is called Volvige, he ceded that estate without any contradiction after his death, on the condition that Ebbo should hold all of the abovewritten in obedience.
This charter made in the reign of King Louis.
Sign of Viscount Dalmatius who asked this charter be written and confirmed. Sign of Stephen, son of Bertrand. Sign of Gerald. Sign of Hildegar. Sign of Leotard. Sign of Achard. Sign of Bertrand. Sign of Stephen.
*My own ID based on looking at the map, dubious.
I know, I know: a dispute settlement record which isn’t from Saint-Martin at Tours? Absurd. But in the context of our previous discussions of Martinian material, there are certainly parallels here. The brief introduction reminds me of the arenga of the 930 charter we looked at months ago, putting the dispute into a wider picture of human greed. With that wider perspective, we can address the place of this charter in historiography.
This charter has attracted some scholarly discussion, above all from Lauranson-Rosaz whom I mentioned above. For him, this is a primary symptom of a thoroughgoingly orthodox case of feudal revolution. Lauranson-Rosaz sees Viscount Dalmatius II of Brioude as a predatory local noble, taking advantage of a dissolving public power to enrich himself at the expense of the local Church through violence. Indeed, it is to specifically this background that Lauranson-Rosaz places the emergence of the Peace of God in Auvergne.
However, to us, this looks rather less dramatic. We’ve already seen similar chains of events befall Robert of Neustria and Hugh of Arles, for instance. One thing this charter doesn’t mention is that Dalmatius was actually Brioude’s lay abbot at this time. This means that, even before we consider the place of the abbey within its local milieu, this is already a dispute within the abbey’s own community. Sure, Dalmatius is a layman, but he’s also an abbot; it might mean he’s not there all the time, but see Odo of Cluny, who was a monk and definitely wasn’t at the dozens of abbeys over which he presided all the time! What this means in turn is that, because monastic communities aren’t monoliths, Dalmatius likely had supporters within the abbey. This, I think, helps explain compromises like this and others we’ve seen: at least part of what the winning side gets here is the acknowledgement that they were in the right, and temporarily giving up the goods in question is part of the price for that acknowledgement.
What we are dealing with here, ultimately, is therefore not a symptom of sudden and dramatic change in the mid-tenth century. We’ve seen too many other things that resemble it for too long. Rather, this document is evidence that, when it came to resolving disputes, mid-tenth century Auvergne was firmly embedded in a Late Carolingian milieu.