Charter a Week 27, part 1: Robert’s Back!

The split between Robert and Charles didn’t last forever. In 903, the Neustrian ruler was back in the West Frankish king’s good graces. Quite why then is a little bit open to question. My preferred answer is that there are hints in the sources that 903 was a time when Viking attacks were starting up again – in that year, Tours was burned down by two leaders named Bard and Eric – and Charles, being basically unable to lead an army out of a wet paper bag, needed his most experienced anti-Viking commander to help. This doesn’t really explain why he wouldn’t turn to Richard, who had form fighting Vikings as well, but it’s the best answer I’ve got. Another possibility is that the death of Charles’ mother Queen Adelaide in around 902 had opened the way to reconciliation. But what did the reconciliation look like?

DD CtS no. 47 (5th June 903, Melay) = ARTEM no. 3043 = DK 6.xiv

In the name of the holy and indivisible Trinity. Charles, by the gracious favour of divine clemency king.

If We pay heed to the petitions of servants of God and things advantageous to churches, and bring them into effect, We are confident that the Lord will make repayment for it.

Therefore, let the profit and skill of people both present and future know that the venerable Count Robert, truly beloved of Us, abbot of the monastery of the holy martyr of Christ, the champion and Our special patron Dionysius and his companions came before Our Clemency and made known a certain little abbey in the realm of Our most beloved kinsman Louis, that is, Lièpvre in the Vosges, which the late venerable abbot Fulrad of the aforesaid monastery had bestowed on the most holy Dionysius and the brothers serving him by charters’ firmness and the authority of precepts; and which the aforesaid brothers had always held from then for their own uses with one salt-pan and one saline in the township of Marsal; and he humbly appealed to Our Clemency that We might deign to renew and confirm the aforesaid goods through a precept of Our authority against abbots to come, so that the brothers might be able to hold the aforesaid goods for all time without any disturbance or invasion or division from any abbot.

And thus, assenting to the prayers of the aforesaid Count Robert, in accordance with what is contained in the testament of the venerable abbot Fulrad and in the privilege of the apostolic lord Leo [III], We perpetually confirm by a precept of Our authority the aforesaid goods for the monks of the aforesaid monastery of Saint-Denis, both for food stipends and for the lighting and for the reception of the poor, reminding and invoking future abbots that they should guard inviolably what We have conceded and strengthened. May he who hears and observes this precept receive an eternal reward, but let anyone who violates it, if they do not come to their senses, remain bound by the chains of the anathema concerning the confirmed goods in the privilege of the apostolic lord Leo.

But that this precept, written after the fashion of a privilege, might be more truly believed and more fully observed, We confirmed it below with Our own hand and We commanded it to be sealed by Our ring.

Sign of Charles, most glorious of kings.

Ernust the notary related and subscribed on behalf of Bishop Anskeric [of Paris].

Given on the nones of June [5th June], in the 6th indiction, in the 11th year of the reign of Charles, most glorious of kings, in the 6th of his restoration of unity to the kingdom.

Enacted at the estate of Melay.

Happily in the name of God, amen.

CW 27 903
Original diploma taken from dMGH as above.

Once again, this charter has been analysed by Koziol, and in this instance he’s basically right. The Saint-Denis diploma came as the culmination of a series of acts for Robert (I didn’t translate them because there are some minor questions of authenticity over their surviving versions), where he was restored to Charles’ grace over the course of the Easter celebrations. The big difference between my reconstruction and Koziol’s is that I don’t think Robert had prior claim to any of the abbeys he received, so when Charles presented him with the major Parisian abbeys of Saint-Denis and Saint-Germain-des-Prés, these were bribes not restorations.

This diploma is also a reminder of how wide-spread these abbey’s resources were. When anyone talks to you about ‘narrowing horizons’ and ‘territorial consolidation’ in the tenth century then, well, they might have a point, but it’s evidently not in terms of the extent of landholding. As you can see if you click through to the map, the cell of Liepvre is in the middle of Alsace; but Robert has to take it into account along with the closer-to-home estates in the Paris Basin. Also interesting is that Charles apparently has no problems confirming an estate in Louis’ kingdom. Unlike when he did the same to Zwentibald, though, here Louis is marked as being the king and being, officially at least, well-regarded. The dynamics at play here are a little shadowy to me, honestly. Maybe it’s something as simple as Charles keeping his hand in re: claims to Lotharingia…

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Charter a Week 22, part 1: KING Charles the Simple

He did it! After five years of struggle and, let’s be real, very limited practical success, Charles the Simple finally became West Frankish king. Most of the reason for this appears to have been the fact that Odo was remarkably willing to deal with Charles despite his generally holding the upper hand. Charles’ legitimacy, as the son of a king, is probably the key factor here. Odo was childless (there is a reference in a Breton charter to a man named Guy, son of King Odo, which is strange and probably interpolated), and there’s no reason to think that merely being a king’s brother gave Robert of Neustria any claim on the throne.

And so, early in 898, Odo died, and was buried in Saint-Denis. A month or so later, Charles the Simple came there and issued this diploma.

DD CtS no. 10 (8th February 898, Saint-Denis) = ARTEM no. 3042 = DK 6.x

In the name of the holy and indivisible Trinity. Charles, by grace of God king.

If We lend Our ears to the petitions of servants of God for places given over to the saints, We in no way doubt that this will benefit Us in obtaining both prosperity in the present life and blessing in the future life.

Wherefore let it be known to all the faithful of the holy Church of God, to wit, present and future, that the venerable brothers of Our special patron lord Dionysius and his companions, coming before Our presence, appealed to Our Clemency that We might command the immunity within the castle of the same place, which has been newly constructed, concerning land which the brothers have been seen to hold from olden times for divers offices and needs to be reinforced by a precept of Our authority.

Lending the ears of Our Clemency to their fitting petition, because it appeared to be valid and advantageous, with the consent of Our followers, that is, venerable bishops, the venerable bishop Honoratus [of Beauvais] and the equally-illustrious pontiff Ralph [of Laon], and also Our most beloved mother Adelaide, We established through this precept of Our Royal Dignity for the same greatly devoted worshippers of that venerable place that, from the gate of the castle which overlooks the chapel of Saint-Rémi up to the gate which was of old established in front of the paupers’ hospice, to wit, the paupers’ hospice itself and the land which is seen to pertain to their bakery and the whole little grange of the brothers with the rear gate which they made to allow egress from divers offices, and also as well the land which is seen to pertain to the lighting of Saint-Denis, and, on the side beyond the Crould, from the guest’s dormitory which has been there for a long time up to the cobblers’ workshop, no-one should ever presume to inflict any disturbance or trouble upon them, nor should any lodging manager offer lodging to anyone therein. Rather, let it quietly persist under the power of the same servants of God without being dominated by anyone, so that, having removed all excuse for disturbance or violence from anyone, they might be able to soldier for the Lord more freely in the same sacred abbey.

Moreover, because they have in the aforesaid castle endured no small shortage of wood, which they were once accustomed to bring from the woodlands of Brie by boat, they also humbly appealed to Us through Our said followers that We might bestow on them the wood which is named Coye to supply wood for needs of these sort, and the homestead which is seen to lie there, with bondsmen of both sexes, and vineyards, meadows, pastures, fields, waters and watercourses, and whatever is recognised as being beholden to that homestead.

Not denying that petition in any way either, We voluntarily bestowed on them them that for which they importuned, for love of God and because of their no small advantage, concerning which largess of Our Highness We decreed this precept of Our authority be made. Also, so that through the course of times to come it might in the name of God obtain a greater vigour of firmness, We confirmed it below with Our hand and We commanded it be signed with the impression of Our signet.

Sign of Charles, most glorious of kings.

Heriveus the notary witnessed and subscribed on behalf of Archchancellor Fulk [of Rheims].

Given on the 6th ides of February [8th February] in the first indiction, in the fifth year of the reign of Charles, the most glorious of kings, in the first of his restoration of the kingdom’s unity.

Enacted at the monastery of Saint-Denis.

Happily in the name of God, amen.

CW 22.1 898
The diploma, taken from the dMGH as given above.

To start with, the petitioners, who are a delicately-selected bunch. The significance of Queen Adelaide, Charles’ mother, is fairly self-apparent: she was Charles’ closest supporter and had stayed with him during the wilderness years. Ralph of Laon, on the other hand, had been one of Odo’s supporters and had probably been in Laon when Charles and Zwentibald attacked it. Honoratus is, in this reading, a mediating figure: although loyal to King Odo, he had been quite close to Charles’ backer Archbishop Fulk of Rheims. What we have here, then, is a spectrum of petitioners from across the political spectrum of the last few years.

Even more, this diploma was issued at one of the core royal monasteries, Saint-Denis, a short while after the previous king was buried there. We must, I think, see this diploma in terms of Charles visiting his predecessors’ tombs and, finally, getting that link to St Dionysius he’d wanted years previously. This diploma therefore stands as a performative statement of Charles’ kingship.

It has even previously been analysed that way by Geoff Koziol. Koziol, however, gets the context of this diploma wrong by reading it as Charles’ insult to Robert, usurping Saint-Denis from the control of the Robertian family. This seems implausible. Koziol assumes that Robert would have thought that Saint-Denis should have gone to him, which seems unlikely – equivalent royal sites such as Compiègne and Verberie passed uncontroversially from King Odo to King Charles rather than to Odo’s brother Robert, and given Saint-Denis’ importance to kingship, why should it have been different? In fact, a new king setting himself up at Saint-Denis was an entirely normal thing to do. Charles’ regime was off to a competently-executed start.

Charter a Week 20: Peace, Saint-Denis, and Who’s King, Again?

A two-for-one special today, folks, as once again we pick apart the tangled relationship between Charles the Simple and Zwentibald of Lotharingia. Let’s start with the recipient of both these diplomas: the priory of Salonnes, in Lotharingia. Salonnes was a priory of Saint-Denis, originally given to that abbey by Abbot Fulrad in the time of Charlemagne centuries earlier. One particular winter’s day, a group of Sandionysian monks, accompanied by the magnates Reginar Longneck and Odoacer of Bliesgau, petitioned Zwentibald to restore to the Parisian abbey the cell of Salonnes, which had apparently been lost to Saint-Denis in the mid-ninth century.

What’s going on here? Ultimately, this is all part of the fallout from the failed seige of Laon we mentioned last week. Having originally agreed to help Charles the Simple, Zwentibald managed to alienate Charles’ camp, who sent peace envoys to Odo. Zwentibald himself made a truce with Bishop Dido of Laon and withdrew back to Lotharingia. And then he issued this diploma:

DD Zw no. 7 (22nd January 896, Schweighausen) = ARTEM no. 3041 = LBA no. 8310

In the name of the holy and indivisible Trinity. Zwentibald, by the procuration of divine clemency king.

It is therefore meet for Us, who enjoy royal power, to above all place the fear of God before all mortal business, and to love and build up the places which Our ancestors built in honour of God before other worldly things, because, as We believe, for this reason God, for love of Whom We do this, be more pleased with Us, as well as his saints, whose service We worthily venerate.

Wherefore let it come to the notice of the whole Church trusting in God that the congregation of the blessed martyr Dionysius and his companions sent one of their brothers to make a claim for the goods which are sited in Our realm, which Our ancestors and religious men had given to the aforesaid martyrs for their salvation to be used for the lighting and for the advantage of the brothers and to take care of the poor and for the honour of that place.

We, hearing their claim, because of the intervention of Our followers Odoacer [of Bliesgau] and Reginar [Long-Neck], restore to them a certain little abbey sited in the district of Saulnois, named Salonnes, for the abovesaid uses with all its appendages. Concerning this little abbey, they asked Us to concede two estates specially for the lighting and the care of the poor, that is, Suisse and Baronville, with all their appendages. We consented to this for the salvation of Our soul and Our ancestors, and We decreed it be done, and also We conceded all the demesne of the tithes of that little abbey, as is done throughout the abbey of Saint-Denis, for the use of the paupers and the poor pensioners who serve Saint Privatus each day and offer offerings daily, at their request, for common advantage; and let no-one ever come as a dominator who might dare to infringe this.

If anyone should begin to violently infringe this alms, first let them incur the wrath of God and His saints, to whose places We decreed this concession be made and – that I might shortly conclude – let them remain bound by the chains of anathema now and forever unless they come to their senses, and let the present edict endure firm and stable. And that it might be more credible to everyone who sees it, in God’s name, We confirmed it with Our own hand and We commanded it be signed with the impression of Our signet.

Sign of lord Zwentibald, most glorious of kings.

Waldger the notary witnessed on behalf of Archbishop and High Chancellor Ratbod.

Given on the 11th kalends of February (22nd January), in the year of the Incarnation of the Lord 896, in the 14th indiction, in the first year of the reign of lord Zwentibald.

Enacted at Schweighausen.

Happily in the name of God, amen.

zwent 896
Zwentibald’s diploma, from the Marburg Lichtbildarchiv älterer Originalurkunden linked above.

This diploma represents a sign of peace between Odo and Zwentibald. The petitioners, Reginar and Odoacer, are Zwentibald’s “western specialists”, particularly involved with West Frankish affairs, and their role in petitioning for the diploma probably is a symbol that the relevant parts of Zwentibald’s court are behind the deal. Odo and Zwentibald never seem to have been what you’d call ‘friendly’, but Zwentibald’s active engagement outside his own kingdom was over.

896 was a rather more turbulent year for Charles. His supporters tried hard to make peace with Odo, but their efforts were thwarted by Baldwin the Bald, count of Flanders, who disrupted the assemblies at which Odo was trying to make peace. One by one, Charles’ supporters abandoned him and went over to Odo, probably to get protection from Baldwin. Charles’ supporters had spent the winter of 895/896 ravaging Baldwin’s land, and Baldwin was out for revenge – later (we’re not quite sure when), he had one of them, Heribert I of Vermandois, murdered. Given that, as we are told at several points, Odo had taken all of Charles’ supporters lands and fortresses, going back over, in the absence of a peace treaty, was probably a necessity.

This left Charles in a pickle. As more and more of his men defected, his cause began to look weaker and weaker, and so more and more of his men defected. Eventually, even Archbishop Fulk of Rheims left Charles’ side, and Charles withdrew to Lotharingia. There he issued this diploma:

DD CtS no. 7 (25th July 896, Gondreville) = ARTEM no. 204 = DK 7.xx

In the name of the holy and indivisible Trinity. Charles, by God’s mercy king.

Certainly, if We lend the ears of Our Piety to the petitions of Our followers of Our Highness and especially those soldiering for God, We do not doubt that whatever We bestow on that which is given over to divine worship (*) will benefit Us in every way, and through this We believe God on High will establish and ennoble the garland of Our realm.

Wherefore, We wish it to be known to all of those faithful to the holy Church of God and Us, to wit, present and future, that, for the increase of Our reward and for the remedy of Our soul and Our relatives, and through the appeal of Our venerable and dearest mother Adelaide on behalf of the brothers of the monastery of Salonnes, for veneration and love of the most holy martyrs resting therein, that is, the nourishing Privatus, Frodoald and Iddo, and Dionysius, most blessed of martyrs, Our lord and patron, to whom as well the same place is subject, because the same brothers are seen to be afflicted with the poverty of want, and their prebends are known to have been completely destroyed and taken away, it pleased Us and seemed just to honour the same holy place and the brothers strenuously serving God therein through a precept of Our authority concerning the goods of the abbey, so that they might hold them more freely and firmly, and so that they might more fully delight in exhorting the Lord for the peace and stability of the realm.

These goods, then, are in the district of Chaumontois, to wit, the estate of Loromontzey with a church in honour of Saint Martin on the river Loro, with the small estates nearby, as follows: Vicherey, Morelmaison, Maconcourt and Gironcourt-sur-Vraine; and in the district of Charmois, in the place which is called Montenoy, 1 manse with a vineyard beholden to it, and in Pompey 1 vineyard of 10 pecks, and next to the aforesaid monastery, in the estate named Courcelles [since destroyed], 2 manses with a vineyard of 40 pecks, [{interpolated:} and in Ancy-sur-Moselle, 12 manses with a vineyard of 100 pecks, and in Bey-sur-Seille, 7 manses, 1 church].

We commanded this precept of Our Highness concerning these to be made and given to the same brothers, through which We order and command and in God and because of God witness that no king, no abbot or anyone endowed with any dignity should dare to steal, alienate or by any trick purloin the aforesaid goods from the aforesaid holy place or the brothers assiduously serving God there. Rather, let the same brothers without any contradiction have, hold and possess the same goods with everything pertaining to them, with bondsmen of both sexes dwelling therein or justly and legally pertaining to the same, with lands cultivated and uncultivated, meadows, woods, vineyards, pastures, waters and watercourses, roads out and in, and with all legitimate borders as prebends or for their necessary uses, and let them have free and very firm power in everything, by canonical authority, to do whatever henceforth they might elect to do.

And that this largess of Our authority might endure stable and undisturbed through times to come, We confirmed it below with Our own hand and We commanded it be signed with the impression of Our signet.

Sign of Charles, most glorious of kings.

Robert the notary, at the request of King Charles, wrote and subscribed this.

Given in the year of the Lord’s Incarnation 896, in the 15th indiction, and in the 4th year of the reign of King Charles, on the 8th kalends of August [25th July].

[Adelaide and Rothildis [daughter of Charles the Bald] appealed for this.]

Enacted at Gondreville. Happily in the name of God, amen.

(*) There’s no way around the fact that the opening lines of this diploma don’t actually make grammatical sense, so I’ve done the best I can.

cts 896
Charles’ diploma, from the Diplomata Karolinorum linked above.

I admit, if I were in Charles’ shoes here, I’d be a bit worried. If all my supporters had abandoned me, and I were stuck at Gondreville, I might get to wondering about the fate of the bastard son of Lothar II, Hugh, who had tried to become king in the 880s and who had been arrested and imprisoned at Gondreville. This diploma is, it’s fair to say, issued at a low ebb. Note that there isn’t even an archchancellor here…

In relation to the last one, this diploma has caused confusion. Is it expressing alliance with Zwentibald or rivalry? Well, first of all, I don’t believe for a second Charles is living off Gondreville without at least Zwentibald’s tacit approval. More relevantly, I don’t actually think it’s primarily related to the Lotharingian king at all. Koziol has looked at this diploma as Charles’ way of connecting himself to Saint Dionysius without actually controlling Saint-Denis, and I’m sure that’s part of it; but Koziol’s analysis assumes as its base that Charles is trying to rival Odo here. Certainly the king and the anti-king are not best buds, but by this point attempts at compromise and peace-making have been ongoing for a year. What I think Charles is actually doing here, therefore, is trying to appeal to Odo. He might have no supporters, but he’s still a king, he’s still got a connection to one of the premier royal saints, and if you can negotiate with Zwentibald, why not with him? This diploma, slightly weirdly-redacted as it is, is a message to Odo saying Charles is still a legitimate king and can’t be ignored.

 

The Spread of a Charter Prologue

“Not back on it, Joe, still on it.”

Yep, it’s back once again to the wonderful world of arengae and indeed back again to the specific arenga we’ve already covered on this blog. One thing which happened at the recent International Medieval Congress was that it occurred to me that this arenga, in its ninth-century form, is a nice little illustration of something I bang on about a fair bit, which is the portability of Carolingian ideology. So let’s revisit the spread of this prologue to illustrate that.

In 862, King Charles the Bald’s long-standing ally Abbot Louis of Saint-Denis was looking to make a very substantial settlement of his abbey’s administration, fixing the revenues available to the monks versus those available to the abbot. To mark the occasion, someone in the royal chancery – over which Louis presided as archchancellor – came up with a new prologue to the royal diploma formalising the split, as follows:

If We confirm by Our edicts that which Our predecessors, by the ordination of divine providence endowed with regal sublimity and illuminated with celestial honour and stirred up by the devoted admonition and prayers of those faithful to the holy Church of God and to them, decreed be established for the state and convenience of churches and servants of God, and if We consent to their most devoted dispositions and carry out the same most pious gifts to the Lord, We believe that this will far from doubt benefit Us in eternal blessing and the tutelage of the entire realm committed to Us by God, and We are confident that the Lord will repay Us in future…

K//13/10/1
I found a colour version of this; and having not seen it in the flesh before, gosh, I’m impressed. [source]

It’s pretty fancy, fancy enough to be recognisable, but the sentiment is conventional. It served its purpose for a more-literary-than-usual introduction to a particularly solemn act, and there it rested for five years. At that time, in 867, with Louis dead, his successor as archchancellor, who also happened to be his half-brother, Gozlin, was doing something very similar at the abbey of Saint-Vaast, in Arras. Evidently he, or a member of his entourage, decided this was an appropriately formal occasion to dust off the old prologue, and so it shows up again here.* Five years after that, Gozlin did the same for another one of his abbeys, Saint-Germain-des-Prés. The final diploma with this prologue, that to the cathedral of Rouen we mentioned before, was also issued around this time.

Not a huge number, but a revealing case. What we have here is an example of a prologue invented for one particular circumstance at Saint-Denis being re-used for no fewer than three other institutions, one also Parisian but the other two in what would become Normandy and southern Flanders. We can see (except perhaps in the Rouen case) fairly clearly how they spread, but what’s more striking is that they could. Charles the Bald and his court could issue diplomas for recipients in such diverse areas in the same language with no problems.

A century or more later, this would not be the case. Normandy, Flanders, and Paris spoke about how and why their rulers were legitimate in very different ways – you couldn’t easily port something as regionally-specific as Norman identity to the heartland of Capetian rule at Saint-Denis. In the ninth century, by contrast, there is a much more coherent idea of legitimate rule at play, which speaks to people in all these different places, and means that a king and his followers can talk to Saint-Vaast like it’s Rouen and Rouen like it’s Paris.

*Actually many of these have minor variations, but they’re all recognisably from the same stem.

Top 10 Charters: The House Selection, pt. 1

Well, my list of the #top10charters has now come to an end, so here and in an upcoming post I’ll list them for posterity, and for those of you not following me on Twitter. It was a fun little experiment. What makes a charter top ten material is wildly subjective: some of them show interesting things about the way documents were used, others about specific historical moments, others about longer-term trends; some were the most elevated of politics, and others snapshots of individual life. Into this latter category falls:

No. 10: Adalelm the knight donates some land and a silver crucifix to the abbey of Fleury, 975.

“… I offer to our Lord and Saviour… an exquisite silver cross… with the wish and desire that He who, by his death hanging on the wood of the Cross, destroyed death and defeated the Devil might deign to wipe out the weight of my crimes…”

It goes without saying that the Cross has always been important for Christians, and this was no less true for tenth-century Christians. The abbots of Saint-Martin of Tours – who, by 975, had also been the Robertian rulers of Neustria for almost a century, and whose contemporary representative Hugh Capet was Adelelm’s lord and hosted the assembly at which this gift was made – had as one of the key visual representations of their authority the fact that they signed their documents, explicitly, with the sign of the Holy Cross. Nonetheless, Adalelm is doing something interesting here. He’s participating in a renewed Cross-focused spirituality, and he’s also picking up on an artistic trend for making large, monumental crucifixes, which at this time were becoming more common in the Ottonian empire. This was quite important for the Church in the area around Orléans – this 975 charter is actually the first evidence for monumental crucifixes in the Orleanais. And it was pretty substantial – thanks to a later description of it, it seems likely that this cross was made of about ten kilos of silver.

In light of the solemnity of the occasion, the charter offers a meditation on the role of the Cross in the salvation of mankind, and it’s this which makes it worthy of a spot on this list. The role of charters was to communicate information, but this information wasn’t just legal. A charter was as much a sermon as a notification of donation – in the charter, Adalelm communicates to the audience not just that he’s given Fleury some holy bling and land near Sens, but why he’s done it and how the sacrifice of Jesus works for him and the whole world.

No. 9: Albert III of Habsburg donates a hunting horn to the abbey of Muri, 1199.

“Let everyone who sees this horn know that Count Albert… enriched this horn with sacred relics…”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Photo by author.

As the picture indicates, this is not a single sheet of parchment, or a cartulary copy of a text. This is in fact an ivory horn. But it is no less a charter – the text inscribed on it uses the formulae of charters, albeit in this case of a short charter. What’s particularly interesting about this one is that the donation and the text recording it are identical. This isn’t how we use documents nowadays, but it was much more common in the earlier medieval period. At least in some cases, the issuance of a (parchment) charter text served itself as a symbol of the donation, aiding in the performance of handing over property from one party to another. This horn is probably the epitome of this way of using the written word.

No. 8: Robert of Neustria donates land to the abbey of Saint-Denis, 923.

“…by divine clemency, because the situation made it necessary, with the support of all the princes, We took up the sceptre of royal majesty to steer the ship of the kingdom…”

This is the only charter on this list that isn’t important to me because of work I’ve done on it, but rather because, if it weren’t for Geoffrey Koziol’s work on this charter, I’d never have worked on any of the others. We’ve mentioned here before how Robert of Neustria rose in rebellion against Charles the Simple; and, as Koziol, demonstrates very clearly, this document is not simply a donation, but a manifesto very specifically justifying Robert’s actions and his claim to the throne. I don’t agree with everything Koziol says, but his article is fantastic.

 

No. 7: Geoffrey Grisegonelle confirms his reformation of Saint-Aubin d’Angers, 966.

“…so that the mercy of the pious Redeemer might be well-disposed to concede His help and aid to me, Geoffrey, caught up in the whirlwinds of worldly wars…”

I’m going to be a bit less fulsome with these last two. Here, it’s because I wrote about this charter for my thesis and when that eventually becomes a book, this document is going to feature prominently; so, you know, spoiler warning…

What I will say about it is, whatever my own very particular theories, this charter commemorates what may be the single most cynical ‘reform’ of a monastery in the tenth century. Saint-Aubin had been ruled by Geoffrey’s ancestors as count of Anjou as lay abbots, but by the 960s it was under the rule of his brother Guy, who might have been a cleric but probably wasn’t a monk. A very strange charter exists in which Guy appears to say that he tried and failed to be a good abbot, and so turned it over to monks out of Saint-Remi de Rheims. However, Geoffrey appears to have used the opportunity to assert his control over the abbey, and Geoffrey’s son Fulk Nerra even more so: the counts of Anjou appear to have disposed of Saint-Aubin’s land to reward their own followers. This lack of interest in reform for its own sake comes through in the document itself: ‘Supposedly,’ Geoffrey says,  ‘monasticism flourished in the monastery once upon a time; but because there’s no obvious proof, We don’t care whether it flourished or not’.

No. 6: Liutgard of Vermandois and Godeleva make a bequest of land to the abbey of Saint-Père de Chartres, 979.

“I myself, and another woman dedicated to God, Godeleva by name, joined to me in both body and soul…”

This one I won’t say anything about at all, because I have promised a whole blog post about the Lesbian Nun Property Magnate Commune of Chartres before, and by thunder, a whole blog post you will get… Possibly soon, although not this week. The week after is a possibility, though. Also, I’ll be posting part 2 of this countdown soon, outside my normal schedule for posts – so stay tuned!