Chronique des Comtes d'Anjou
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Medieval Sourcebook: 
Chronicle of the Counts of Anjou, c. 1100

© Trans. Steve Lane []

de Louis Halphen and René Poupardin, Chroniques des Comtes d'Anjou et des Seigneurs d'Amboise (Paris: Picard 1913).

Ce texte a été écrit entre les années 1100-1140 par un moine Angevin.

C'est un récit à caractère légendaire qui raconte l'ascension des Comtes d'Anjou du Xème jusqu'à la fin du XIème siècle. Le récit ci dessous s'arrete à la mort de Foulques Nerra en 1040.

Les notes de bas de pages sont celles de Halphen and Poupardin.

Vous pouvez aussi lire l'Histoire réelle des Comtes d'Anjou :

La Première Dynastie jusqu'aux Plantagenets

Présentation des Comtes d'Anjou  

Les Premiers Comtes d'Anjou |  Foulques Nerra |  Geoffroy Martel et ses successeurs  

Les Plantagenets 

Arbre Généalogique des Comtes d'Anjou

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Chronicle of the deeds of the consuls of Anjou


Since I believe I have made clear the things which it was necessary to know about the kings of the Franks, necessary for the foregoing work and especially for this one which follows, I will now explaining detail, briefly and appropriately, in a few words, as best I am able, the things concerning the consuls of Anjouwhich I discovered written down confusingly and in an uneducatedstyle. For, since our own life is short, we must renderas long-lived as possible the memory of those whose virtueis held to be distinguished and eternal.[1]Since military prowess proceeds from the apex of physicaland spiritual virtue, it has been customary to transferthe wise government of the ancient cities, from less good rulers,to some of the very best. Therefore, in the time ofCharles the Bald, some new men, not of noble rank, moreinclined to good and honorable deeds than the nobles, roseto positions of power and eminence. Those men, whom hesaw thirsting for martial glory, he did not doubt would throwthemselves into danger and do battle with fate. [2]There were also in those days men of ancient lineage, with many portraits [of ancestors] who prided themselves rather on the deeds of their ancestors than on their own.These men, whenever they were given any important post or position,would choose some commoner to tell them how to do their job;when the king had ordered them to give commands to others,they looked for someone to command them in turn. So, fromthis whole troop of nobles, king Charles had only a few withhim; to the new men he kindly offered the spoils of war, and estateswon through great labor and peril. From that stock [i.e. the new men] there was Tertullus, from whom the line of the consulsof Anjou took its beginning, a man who knew how to wound theenemy, sleep on the bare earth, put up with hunger, suffer winterand summer with equal patience, and fear nothing but a bad name.Doing these things and others, it is said that he brought forthnobility for himself and his line. Concerning his father, I will say what it necessary. I beseech the readers to put faith in thesewords, and not to think that I have written untruths.

On Tertullus

There was a certain man of Armorica Gallia called Torquatius,whose race [genus] was of old expelled from Armoricaby the Bretons at the order of the emperor Maximus. This man wasgiven the corrupt name of Tortulfus by the Bretons, who were ignorantof the proper use of the old Roman name. Charles the Bald, inthe year in which he expelled the Normans from Anjou and fromhis whole realm, made this man the forester of the forest calledBlackbird's Nest. As many relate the story, his race [genus]lived for a long time in the forests, despite the opposition ofthe Bretons. This man was a countryman who had grown up in thepays de Redon [pagus Redonicus, an area of southwestBrittany], lived off of his hunting skills and the abundance ofthe wild: men of this sort (as some tell it) the Bretons callbirgi, while we Franks call them "huntsmen."There are also others who think this man lived in villages withthe peasants of Redon. Which of these two is more accurate isnot very important, since those who pass the stories on are notin much disagreement, and no wonder: for we have often read ofsenators who were working in the fields and were snatched awayto become emperors.[3] In thisman, since he was plainly great by birth, the weapons of oldage, namely the skill and exercise of virtues, brought forth wondrousfruit, and the knowledge of a life well spent and the memoryof his good deeds was extremely pleasing to him.[4]

Now this man brought forth Tertullus, reckoned by the ancientgenealogies of the tale-tellers [relatores] as thefirst of the stock [progenies] of the counts ofAnjou. It is know that this Tertullus, a man of keen mind, overcominghis own lot and unstable circumstances by the bigness of his spirit,began to desire greater things for himself, and dared to strivefor them. Now around the time in which Charles the Bald, son ofLouis and nephew of the emperor Charlemagne, was made a king,one of the triarchy, though he did not reign for long, the sameTertullus, leaving the confines of his father's holdings, and,trusting in his own resources, wishing and hoping to make moreof himself, came from the western regions into France proper andwent to bear arms in the king's clientele. At that time a greatmany others, well aware of their own strength in arms, hungryfor fame and honors and hoping to better themselves through theirown strength, converged from many diverse regions, beckoned bythe bounty of the royal munificence, and incited by the opportunitiesof the age.

Now when the same king Charles, after long dissensions, aftersevere wars waged against his own brothers, emerged as victorand survivor, an emulator of his grandfather's uprightness andglory and the survivor of many struggles; nor would he have beenmuch short of filling the void [that is, exercising unhindered kingship] had the briefness of life not caught up with him:for he was hastening to patch up, with a wondrous wisdom and goodness,all the evils which had fallen on the kingdom and the republicduring the earlier struggles with his brothers. He had destroyedthe tyranny of Nominöe, pseudo-king of the Bretons, sincethe latter was already powerfully opposed by the will of God andof his saints, especially by the aid of St. Florentius; and hetamed the treacheries of many other enemies as well. For God,glorious and wondrous in his saints, shows Himself to be morewondrous and glorious still when he works wonders through them.

Charles also pressed back the hostility of the Normans, a hostilitywith which they had first devastated, then violently possessed,that fringe of our land of Gaul which touches upon Ocean. He avengedtheir violence, and reduced their power to naught. On this account,soldiers flocked to him from all quarters: these men he took tohimself and held them dear, and whomever he esteemed above theothers he honored, and lauded him in proportion his strength andhis faithfulness.

Among these men he held Tertullus dear, of whom we are speaking,for his merits, and gave him a wife and a piece of a fief in thecastle of Landonense, and gave him a holding made up of some otherlands, both in the Gâtine and in other places of France.But at that moment the king, with the greater part of his undertakingsinterrupted by the sudden destruction of his kingdom, before thepeace and reconstruction he had envisioned [could be accomplished],according to the permission of God, in whose hand lie all powersand kingdoms, was taken from wordly affairs by a premature death,bringing on France a calamity which would endure a long time.

He left behind a son, heir to his kingdom, called Louis, who hadretained only the name of his grandfather.[5]Now this one was vastly inferior in character to his father andgrandfather, and indeed to all of his royal ancestors, and livedsuch a useless life that his inertia won him the nickname Do-Nothing.In the time of his wretched rulership the Normans and some othermen of an evil and tyrannical disposition, having regathered theirstrength, flared up into malice again, and reveled for a longtime in a land deprived of its governor. The Normans, having welland cruelly outstripped the limits of their earlier invasion andplunder, depopulated Neustria and much of Aquitaine with theft,arson and murder.

On Ingelgerius

Around this time, when Tertullus had died in France, his son, Ingelgerius by name, who had been born under Charles the Bald, remained in possession of his father's estates. For Tertullushad taken a noble wife, a relative of the duke of Burgundy, namedPetronilla, who had given birth to the boy. This one was madea knight [miles] in the presence of the aforementionedLouis. This youth was nimble, the best of knights, not only hisfather's equal in strength but his better; he acquired many estates,and did bold and daring deeds. Even when he was young, when acertain noble matron, his godmother and an inhabitant of the Gâtine,had been falsely accused of adultery by her enemies, who wished(on account of her "crime") to confiscate her goods,he defended and freed this woman by a determined battle againsther accuser. When he had done this he was greatly loved by allof her family, and indeed by all the nobles who bemoaned the stainon such a noble lady, and so his holdings around his father'scastle of Landonense were greatly augmented.

After this the king gave him the viscounty of the city of Orléans as a benefice. Later, having become the royal representative atTours, he defended that area vigorously from the Normans. Twonobles and priests of Tours, Adalaudus and Raino, brothers whowere born nobly as citizens of Orléans, conferred on Ingelgerius,who was performing his duties wisely and justly, their niece Aelindisas a bride, handing over their own estates along with her by thepermission of the king and nobles, goods which had come to themin the areas of Tours and Orléans by legitimate inheritance.Their ancestral estate was at Amboise, a small town near the hilltopruins of an old castle destroyed some time ago by the wiles ofthe Normans. At the request of these priests, Louis had the castlerebuilt and fortified for Ingelgerius. These priests also gotfor him, by their intercession, half the count-ship of the cityof Angers, because there was another count in Anjou, across theMayenne. But each part of that territory, suffering the attacksnow of the Normans, now of the Bretons, had been reduced to agreat wasteland, along with the city. But since the king and thetwo bishops, and the other priests of France who were being compelledby the king to garrison the city, were all worn out by defendingthe city, Ingelgerius, in whose strength they all trusted, tookup arms against the marauders in order to defend the city andits region, and was there made count. The things he then did wereno less than had been hoped for; he waged many wars and won greatvictories over the enemy.

For a long time, as long as he lived, he turned back the furyof those who were growing fat, and restored peace to Anjou, exceptin the areas across the Mayenne. He commended Amboise to Robert,son of Haimo, a strong man and one who was faithful to him; thisman held part of the fortress through heredity, and was Ingelgerius'liege-man. In the midst of all these affairs Ingelgerius died;his son Fulk, surnamed the Red, succeeded him. He did deeds whichwere the very image of his father's, and even greater, againstthe enemies.

On Fulk the Red

On the death of his father, in the time of king Louis Do-Nothing,Hugo duke of Burgundy was summoned and elected by the common counselof the Franks to be the guardian of Louis' son Charles, who wasstill in wardship and unfit to rule the kingdom, since Louis himselfwas weakened by illness; Hugo was the boy's relative on his mother'sside, as the histories say. This Hugo, a man noteworthy for hisfaith and virtue, was more fitted for this guardianship than theprevious prince had been, and he hoped and wished to administerthis duty for the liberation of his own country: and had the lengthof his life permitted it, he would have done so. Having takenup with Christian devotion and fidelity that power which at thattime was called abbacomes[6],but which was later converted by his successors into the morearrogant word "dukedom," that prince received a sharein the royal estates as a reward for his work. This was done bythe bishops and the nobles of the whole realm, who gave him Neustriawith the consent of the young king Charles. This name [Neustria]comprised all the lands between the Loire and the Seine, fromthe zone between Paris and Orléans down to the ocean. Whenthis piece of land had been given to him whole, together withits cities and counties, abbacies and castles, excluding onlythe dioceses, which were retained as part of royal holdings, hewanted to strengthen the zeal of his counts and other chief mentoward the defense of the area. For this reason he enriched themall with honors and rewards.

Now this man bestowed the whole of the county of Anjou, whichhad formerly been bipartite, upon Fulk the Red, joined to himin kinship through his grandmother, as it has been told to us.He also conferred on him the monasteries of St.-Aubin and St.-Lézin,both of which had formerly been royal possessions. All of thesethings Charles the Simple, son of Louis Do-Nothing the Stammerer,gave to him.

[A long passage follows in which Fulk the Red is describedin terms drawn from Sallust's work on Catiline.]

This Fulk then took a noble wife from the country of Tours, Roscillaby name, daughter of Warnerius, who at that time owned three castlesin the Touraine, the ones called Loches, Villentrasti and Haia,two of which Fulk thereafter acquired by unjust means. That Warnerius,whose daughter Fulk had married, was the son of Adelaudus, thatis, of the man to whom Charles the Bald had given Loches. [...]

This Fulk lived a long time and saw his sons grow to adulthood;one of them, named Guido, who had been made bishop of Soissonsby the abbacomes Hugh, did some peculiar things, but alsoa particularly noble and outstanding deed. Charles the Simple,whom we have said was the surviving son of Louis Do-Nothing, hadbeen captured by the Normans: Guido offered himself as hostagein Charles' place, and freed him from his imprisonment.[7]Fulk the Red had another son, named Ingelgerius, a stong and martialyouth. [Ingelgerius is then described in terms drawn from Sallust'swork on Jugurtha]. In resisting the Normans he fought a numberof excellent battles; by these men he was captured and killed,losing thus the light of his youth. And Fulk the Red had a thirdson, younger than the others, of whom we shall speak later. NowFulk the Red, having reached old age, with the marauding of theNormans now calmed somewhat, sensing the nearness of death (sincethe light of his eyes was weakening), was suddenly pricked andmade remorseful for the excesses of his life (for he is said tohave been a weak man as far as concerned the wantonness of hislusts); through the lord Hervey bishop of Angers, a religiousand God-fearing man, he made amends for his sins before God: forhis redemption he bequeathed his entire treasury to the poor,and gave in perpetual alms to the monasteries of St.-Aubin andSt.-Lézin, both of which had clerics living in them atthe time, the excellent estate of Chiriacum, located by the Loire[929-930]. The clergy of St. Martin [of Angers],after this donation, were admitted to a sixth share of the revenuesof the estate by the other two congregations.

Of Fulk who was surnamed "The Good"

After these things had happened, when Fulk the Red had died, anotherFulk, his youngest son, who was surnamed "the Good,"succeeded him. For one reads that he [Fulk the Red] hadthree sons: bishop Guido, Ingelgerius and this same Fulk. He wasof a peaceful, calm and mild temperament. That best ofmen preferred to hear his own good deeds praised than to recitethe deeds of others: he cultivated his good character bothinpeace and in war: a sense of justice, a great concord, and theleast greed distinguished him.[8]He fought no wars, because in his time peace had already beenmade with the Normans. For once their duke Rollo had been baptizedwith all his men, duke Hugo and the king of France granted tothem the land they had held up to that time, once the Normanshad sworn to serve France and to keep the peace. For Rollo, havingbeen made a catholic Christian, took to wife Gilla, the daughterof Charles the Simple, and began to call the land which had beengiven to him Normandy. Furthermore, the Bretons were made tributariesof these Normans by order of the king and the duke.[9]These Bretons, on account of the treacheries they had committedpreviously, were so oppressed by the Normans that they could makenone of their usual attacks and raid against their neighbors,the people of Anjou, Poitou, and Maine.

Now in those times, Fulk the second, the lover of all goodness,lived in peace, and was diverted by his studies of ecclesiasticalpiety and religion. He gave liberally to the church from his ownpocket, as he greatly esteemed the cult and the honor of the Churchof God. He had a special love and reverence for the church ofSt. Martin. He was enrolled in the college of the brethren ofSt. Martin's monastery at Tours, and rejoiced to be known as acanon there; on that saint's feast-days he stood in the choirwith the singing priests, in clerical robes, following their discipline.On the occasions when he arranged to go there to celebrate certainof the yearly feasts, he would offer up a rich array of liturgicalitems; he lodged with the humblest of the priests, and alwaystook care that the house where he was going to stay should bemade beautiful with a splendid outlay of adornments; the ideabeing that, after he had departed, his host, formerly of modestmeans, should be enriched by the remains of the things which wereleft behind; he is known to have done this in not a few cases.Whenever he caught sight of the monastery, while approaching fromthe direction of Tours, he would at once get down from his horseand pray devotedly, prostrate on the ground, reminding himselfof how lucky he was to enjoy the blessings of the saint's intercession.

So, in the time of that peace which had been granted by divineblessing, as was said above, to the country of Anjou, the samecount worked as hard as he could to repair churches, the cityand the territory. He saw to the improvement of livestock andcultivation and, desiring also to incite others by his example,he made recompense for the shortages of former times, which constantwar had aggravated, with a great abundance of the fruits of theearth. At that time, many from foreign countries and from theprovinces which lay nearby migrated into that country to live,both because of the merciful nature of the prince and the fruitfulnesswhich was called forth from the earth there. For that land, becauseit had long lain fallow and had no crops sown there, had grownmost rich, and at that time shone forth and responded with a marvelousfertility in its fruits and other goods of all kinds. That landwas covered in many of parts by the increase of the forests. Thenew settlers cut down these forests and used the lands which wereopened, and the land thus rewarded them with an easy labor.

Chronicle of Geoffrey Greymantle

This Fulk the Pious had three sons, of whom the eldest, Geoffrey,ruled as consul. Another, named Guido, was bishop of Puy. Theyoungest, called Drogo, was well-loved by Fulk, who had fatheredhim in his old age; he was trained in letters and the liberalarts, and succeeded his brother Guido as bishop of Puy, with theblessing of king Hugh. The consul Geoffrey, trained as a knightin the French style, a man full of martial vigor in arm and breast,proved himself outstanding over the course of many expeditions.He glowed with a special serenity, mercy flourished in him; hecultivated a special generosity, opposed his enemies fiercely,and protected his own people vigorously, all of which things befitthe best of princes. Because of his outstanding and singular merit,the king made him and his heirs standard-bearers in battle andcup-bearers at the royal coronation; the count, wearing the nicknameGreymantle, won the highest rewards for his uprightness.

In those days[10] the Dane Huastenraided the coastal regions of Gaul for three years, and finallywent to his brothers Edward and Hilduin, who were consuls of Flanders,with fifteen thousand Danes and Saxons, having with him Hethelulf,a man of great size and strength, called Hautuin in the Frenchlanguage. The Danes and the Sueves ran all through the lands ofthe Franks, and did great harm to the towns and castles with theirplunder and arson. When, with fire and sword and the aid of theFlemish, they had passed thorugh nearly all of the depopulatedland near Flanders which the Franks inhabit, they decided to passover to Paris and scatter terror all through that area. They thencame into that pleasant and lovely valley called Montmorency,the castle of which they captured and fortified, and decided tostay for a while in the area of Paris. Out of fear of their daringthe king ordered his nobles to gather from all quarters at thetime of Pentecost at Paris, seeing that he himself had no resourcesto fight back with, since the Franks who had been compelled totake refuge within the walls of Paris did not dare try to breakout. Day by day Hethelulf the Dane harangued the Frankish armies,and came before the city of Paris like another Goliath, lookingto fight a single combat with one of the Franks. He vanquishedand killed many knights from among the noblest and mightiest ofthe Franks; the king, stirred up with grief, forbade anyone elseto venture forth to fight with him.

Geoffrey count of Anjou, when he had heard the royal messenger who was summoning him to come to the king's Pentecost court, madehis arrangements for the castle of Landonense, which was his,before the appointed day, and came to Orléans a few daysbefore the Ascension. There, when he had heard all about the strengthand cruelty of the Dane, like a magnanimous man who hides hisanger when talking with a friend, ordered his men to go beforehim to the castle of Landonense and await him there. Keeping onlya single knight and two squires with him, he withdrew from hismen in secret and stopped at Êtampes, warning his comradesto reveal themselves to no one.

The next day the consul set out secretly on his journey. He turnedaside at the castle of St.-Germain, not far from the city of Paris,and ordered the miller who watched over the mills on the Seineto make him a fitting boat at [Geoffrey's] expense. Wishingto stay hidden, the consul spent the night in the miller's house.In the morning, with a single knight and his horse, he went acrossthe Seine in the company of two millers. When he had seen andheard the Dane, the count growled and quickly mounted his horseand, leaving his friends in the boat, went forth alone to meetthe Dane in an open field; the Dane road towards him, urging hissteed on with his heels. The count pierced him through the breast,so that the lance came out through his armor, and thus struckhim to the earth. The count withdrew unharmed, but the Dane, whohad received a tremendous blow which had split his shield andbreastplate, and whose lance was broken, withdrew the count'siron lodged in his left side and wounded the count's horse inits back leg. The count, seeing the Dane groaning and strugglingto rise, savage-eyed and still full of menace, drew his own swordand cut off the Dane's head, like another David. Then he swiftlymounted his horse again and huried with the enemy's horse andhis head, to the boat. On the other side, the count handed overthe head to be brought into the city [Paris]. He himselfreturned in secret to his men at Landonense, ordering his friendsalong the way not reveal who he was.

Many were watching from the lookouts of the walls and rampartsand from the church-spires [of Paris]; though they didnow know who he was, they envied his good fortune. The citizens,though, rejoiced in their lord Christ, and giving great thanksthey scattered outside the city walls. The head-bearer then enteredthe city and, in the presence of the king, swore he did not knowthe knight's identity, as one he had never seen. But, if he wereto see him, he was sure he would recognize him. The king, forminga plan in his heart, remained silent for the moment. Now the Danes,grieving and roused to great anger, fiercely beset the Franksand would on no account stop their attacks against them. Theyleft Montmorency despoiled and aflame, and ravaged all the placesof Senlis and Soissons up to Laon. Now on the appointed day theprinces who had been summoned, namely the dukes and consuls andthe magnates of all France, and all of those of high birth, knownfor their skill, gathered in the royal hall. Geoffrey count ofAnjou, garbed in a tunic of that cloth which the French call grisetum[11],and we Angevins buretum, seated himself among the princes.Now the miller, who had been summoned for this purpose by theking, knew Geoffrey the moment he laid eyes on him and, with theking's permission, approached the consul with a joyous expression.On bended knee, having grasped the count's tunic, he said to theking and the others, "this man, in this grey shirt, struckdown the Dane and lifted away the shame of the Franks, and struckterror into their army." The king proclaimed that thereafterhe should be called Geoffrey Greymantle, and the whole assemblygave its assent.

While this was going on, messengers suddenly appeared, anouncingthat the Danes had made camp in the valley of Soissons; innumerableFlemish knights had joined them, since they have a great manypeople in the duchy. When the king heard this, he addressed thenobles thus: "You see, best of men, that I cannot recountwithout great weeping the many calamities and difficulties withwhich the Frankish people have been beset. What can I say to thecommon people, when many of you, sprung from noble bloodlines,grow pale with hunger, and the plague of the Danes contaminatesyour labors? Already your fields, laid waste, are rarely if evertouched by the plow. Let not, I beseech you, the praise of theFranks be debased by our own negligence. O unbroken race [genus]!O unconquered people [gens]! Be not afraid. Thingsare at their worst, the battle at its most fierce, the enemy inhis numbers is close by. Go forth, mightiest of knights! Behold,the hour of battle is at hand; stir up your warlike strength andshow your ancestral might when the time comes. What good are words?Let each man now take counsel with himself." The nobilitynow worried over what the king had said. Some of them answered:"We can give no opinion about the battle at present, butwe recommend that for the moment a truce be made, and battle bepostponed until our strength is greater." But Geoffrey Greymantle,adding his own advice, spoke his opinion: "You, consularlords and illustrious men, light and flower of victorious France,honor and mirror of a battle-ready knighthood, fight on your ownbehalf, and lay down your souls for your brothers. Shall we watchthe people, which committed itself to us and to the king, dieunavenged? I see that you are all of one spirit, thanks be toGod, and that none of you disagrees with his fellow. How doesthe lord differ from the serf, the noble from the commoner, therich man from the poor, the knight from the footman, unless theadvice of we who watch over them is of some good, unless our ownaid protects them? If the Danes are to rule over me unpunished,I no longer want to live. Dying ingloriously is worth the sameas being compared to stupid beasts, being likened to brute animals.All of you should hunger for battle, because you all believe thiswill be necessary for the common good. This is the course I myselfsuggest, and earnestly demand; I ask that we not die like slothfulor imbecilic creatures, that we not be a disgrace and an infamyto all peoples."

At these words they all went forth, not without great sorrow onthe part of those they were leaving behind. Neither these northe ones who were leaving thought they would ever again enjoythe sight of the other; they rushed together in the kisses ofloved ones, and all were moved to tears. They came then to thevalley of Soissons and entered a valley, lovely in its levelness;there, each one disposed and decorated his own troops. The chiefmen discussed how the battle was to be fought, and this they entrustedto the Angevin Geoffrey. "Well," said Geoffrey, "eachof you go and gather your men, and come to the battle with yourtroops when the sign is given. Then, where it is necessary, conductthe battle with lances and swords, and remember the deeds doneand the blows struck by our fathers." Six lines were setup: five went out to sustain the brunt of the battle and to fendoff the enemy's army with a fierce fight. The king came afterward,with his own troop, to see how the battle went, and to give aid,and to take up the battle if the Danes were winning out.

The trumpets blared, the horns resounded, a great cry from eachside was heard; shield was thrust back by shield, boss was repelledby boss; once lances had been shattered, swords themselves werebeing notched and scarred. The ranks of the Danes and Flemishcame up into hand-to-hand battle, overtook the French and beganto drive them back. They were unable to withstand the rush ofso many nations [nationes], but, staggering, beganinstead to contemplate retreat. So great was the [size]and noise of the cloud of missiles that the air itself seemedto grow dark. The king began to moan: he looked around at allhis men like one gifted with second sight and said "O Christ,come to the aid of your Franks!" and to Geoffrey, who wascarrying the king's standard, he added (by means of a messenger),"Geoffrey, spur on your swift steed and come to the aid ofthe tottering Franks. Be mindful, I beseech you, of your ancestors,that you in no way besmirch the reputation of the Franks."Geoffrey, guarded by the sign of the holy cross and surroundedby his followers, was quick among the armies, and was opposedby one of the bravest of the Danish knights. Geoffrey had riddenup against the heathen, to make the pennons of the royal standarddance in the faces of the Danes, and to put some fear into themwith his loud battle-cry. With this advance by their chief centurion,[12]the Franks, taking courage again, rushed wildly on the Danes allat once with their weapons drawn. there was a great shatteringof armor and weapons, and a clear fire flared from the bronzehelms. Wounds were dashed against wounds and the fields were darkenedwith much blood. You would have seen hanging intestines, headscut off, dismembered bodies on all sides. The Danes were seizedwith a swift and sudden terror; tottering in their ranks, theygave themselves up to flight. The Franks followed them, strikingthem down, slaying them, trampling them underfoot. Many knightsand footmen died there, and their leaders were found thereafter,dead in the midst of five thousand of their troops. Having wona great victory, the Franks returned rejoicing to their own people,bring with them many captured horses and much plunder which theyhad taken in the battle. Then there was great rejoicing in France,and all gave the proper thanks to God.

Now it was from the regions of Germany that a new war arose. Acertain Teuton of Swabia, called Edelthed, who was of the stock[genus] of Faramund and Clovis, was seeking thekingship of the Franks by hereditary right. With the aid of Otto,king of Italy, he assaulted Lotharingia and the upper parts ofFrance. He complained publicly about the agreements king Hughhad made in a conference in the presence of Henry, duke of Lotharingia,Richard count of Normandy, and Geoffrey of Anjou, namely thatHugh should give up the kingdom of the Franks to him [Edelthed];Edelthed felt that king Hugh should at least give him the leadershipof France, as Hugh had possessed it once. He said that the restof the princes and many of the magnates had pledged their faithto this. The others hesitated, and Geoffrey Greymantle got upand said : ... "I will not permit that you should rule overus. I deny that the king, or I or my colleagues has given an untrueoath." Bertold, brother of the duke of Saxony, a man perfectlymade, offered to fight on the Teuton's behalf, and said "letour peers and equals judge what is best, for this is a disputewhich cannot be quelled." The great men of each side werebrought together, and heard the complaints of each party. A messengerwas sent to one party and this answer came back to the waitingjudges: "we have agreed among ourselves that whoever winsthe case will hold the kingdom in peace; the other will leavethe kingdom and live his life in peace." This was all granted,and put in writing by the bishop's hand, with the parties preparedto accede to it.

The queen, a kinswomen of Geoffrey of Anjou, sent him a part ofthe girdle of the blessed virgin Mary, which she had in her chapel,an item Charles the Bald had brought back from Byzantium; sheordered him to tie it around his neck, and assured him this wouldbring him victory. Geoffrey went forth to do battle, animatednow by an even greater faith. Berthold was a man of such strengthand hostility that it was believed no one would dare to come outagainst him. He said: "let him come, send him out. I shallsmother him like a wretched puppy who has dared to enter a battle."Battle was joined, and the fight raged fiercely. Neither fellat the first onslaught, but Berthold was gravely wounded by thecount between the shoulder blades, as he was turning his horse;his blood poured forth. Both fought fiercely and relentlessly,their brazen helms echoed, and no quarter was given them. Bertholdfell from his horse, and got to his feet at once; the consul,full of zeal, got down as well. You would have seen their bodiesdrenched in blood and sweat, hands beating against hands, feetagainst feet, bodies against bodies. In the end Bertold's breastplatewas broken and his entrails spilled, and that mightiest of warriors,Geoffrey Greymantle, was victorious. The Franks gave thanks toChrist, and they held a solemn celebration and offered fittingpraises to God. The Theutons with their duke Edelthed returnedin confusion to their own lands. Geoffrey sought permission fromthe king and queen to return to his own lands; the girdle wasgiven to him, as he deserved, and he had it placed in the churchof the blessed Virgin Mary in Loches, where he installed canonsto live there and at the same time endowed the church richly fromhis own goods. After these things, with the enemy turned backand beaten down with God's favor, Geoffrey lived many years andruled his lands in peace. [d. 987]. No one dared muttera word against him. He brought forth many sons, of whom the youngest,called Maurice, outlived the others while their father was stillalive.

Chronicle of the Consul Maurice

Maurice, the son of Geoffrey Greymantle, a prudent and honestman, a lover of peace and of the good, held his consulate morethrough wisdom than through wars. He knew well that the fruitsof skill and virtue are at their best when conferred on one'sclose friends. For that reason he conferred many gifts [beneficia]on his family and those who were bound to him by true friendship,gifts concerning which Cicero says[13]that he who receives them should remember them, and he who gavethem not bring them up. Maurice affirmed that superiors sometimesmust sometimes bring themselves to the level of inferior friends,and that inferiors should not grieve to be surpassed by Maurice'smen in skill, fortune or dignity. On these grounds he raised upmany of his men and brought them to the highest honors. [Apassage describing Maurice in terms from a classical text follows].He took to wife a woman from the countryside of A., daughter ofHaimo consul of Saintonge, niece of Raymond count of Poitou; fromthis woman Fulk Nerra was born.[14]

Against Maurice there rose up a certain scoundrel, full of guileand every evil, Landric of Dun (?), who had hatched many plotsagainst the consulate of Anjou, and he unjustly beset the faithfumen of the count in Loches and Amboise with many labors. The consulGeoffrey, the father of Maurice, had bequeathed Amboise on thisLandric, and had also given to him a well-fortified house in thesouthern part of Chateauneuf. This man gave back to Geoffrey'sson Maurice a recompense which God never knew, namely bad thingsfor good. He thought he would take Amboise from the consul, trustingin the advice of Odo of Champagne, who held Blois, Tours, Chartres,Bria, and Champagne, with the city of Troyes, all the way up toLotharingia. Coming down through Tours and Langeais, he besiegedValeia, with the help of Gelduin of Saumur, who held Saumur, Ucceum,and many other holdings in the territory of Tours and Blois, infief from the aforesaid Odo. Two brothers, Archenbaud of Buscenschaicus and Supplicius the treasurer of St. Martin, opposed Landric; they were both well-trusted by the consul, and held part of the fort of Amboise by hereditary right. They had a fortified house in Amboise, in a place where the treasurer, after his brother's death, had built a stone fortress. He often attacked Landric and his allies from this property and from that of the count.

Maurice was troubled by a grave illness, and so he spoke to his son Fulk, already grown up and a powerful knight, in this way:"My son, no house is tiny which has many friends. Let meurge you to hold dear those who have been faithful friends toboth of us, lest otherwise you spare the evil men who would loveto escape their punishment. The evil are always jealous of thegood. As Seneca says, it is easier for a poor man to escape contemptthan a rich man to escape envy: he who spares the bad people harmsthe good ones.[15] I can seethat you, thank God, have all the uprightness of your ancestors.For this I now rejoice, and order you to take over the treasury,and your brother." With this the distinguished man bowedto nature [and died].

Of Fulk Nerra

Fulk Nerra ... a youth of no modest build, began to defend theconsulate vigorously from its many enemies. New wars were alwaysemerging out of nowhere against the new prince. At the admonitionof that most evil Landric, Odo of Champagne and Gelduin of Saumurtried to expel Fulk from Tours, thinking they could wrest Amboiseand Loches from the count. The opportunities of the present timesuggested this plan to them, for the treasurer Supplicius, hisbrother newly dead, ruled Amboise by himself, responsible onlyto the consul. Nor did this wise hero [Fulk] delay in hasteningto expose himself to danger and to punish the enemy. When he hadgathered as much of an army as he could, he boldly entered theland of his enemies, and, going beyond Blois, he arrived at Chateaudun.The inhabitants of the castle, girt with the knightly belt andprotected by armor, began to prepare themselves like a garrison;gathering together quickly they assaulted the consul and his men.The Angevins held off their frequent charges until evening. Whenthey tried to withdraw they were unable to fend off the enemy'srushes, since the men of Chateaudun were pressing at the backsof those who were trying to flee. The consul's men, since theycould no longer sustain the battle nor put the others to flight,gathered together and tried to go back and fight. The men of Amboisehad been sent ahead, and the Angevins now completely surroundedthem and defeated them. The men of Chateaudun now were taken byfear and, scattering, tried to flee. The count, fighting in hisown castle put them to flight. Many of the commoners were captured,while others were put to the sword. They rested there for thenight, holding twenty knights captive, tied up with the rest ofthe prisoners, under guard. The next day they plundered the landand did great harm to its serfs. Having experienced the joy ofvictory, they returned to Amboise on the third day.

At Amboise the consul besieged the house of Landric; his men gatheredand beset the house so fiercely that they forced those in thehouse to give up all hope of resistance. Knowing they could notresist, and knowing they could not evade the punishments and deaththey deserved if captured, they began to negotiate via messengers:they would give up the house, if the count spared their lives.When counsel had been taken, it seemed good to all that so greata danger be removed without any risk to the besiegers. So lifewas granted to them and the house, once it had been handed over,was completely destroyed. Landric and his men were expelled fromthe castle. From there the count, crossing the Loire, stoppedat a house he hasd secured, once called Caramantus, now Villa Moranni. From there he entered Valeia, going through Semblenchiacum,which he had also secured for himself, and through the land ofhis vassal and friend Hugh of Alvia, who was said to be lord ofthe castle called Castellum and also of St.-Christophe; finallyhe descended into Anjou, to the displeasure of the citizens ofTours. Fulk took Mirebeau and Loudun, as well as Chinon, whichbelonged to Odo, as well as Saumur and Monsorellum; from therehe made war on the men of L'Isle-Bouchard, and returned to Lochesthrough the land of Guenon, which belonged to lord Noaster. Thencount Fulk, having finished his business, installed a warlikeman, exceptionally skilled at arms, Lisois of Basogerio (Baugé?),nephew of the viscount of St.-Susanne, at Loches and Amboise,and ordered the knights, greater and lesser alike, to obey him.This man [Lisois] had brothers, kinsmen and many relations,all of whom stayed with him of their own will.

For whoever, as Boethius says, "leaves an established rank,will not have a happy end."[16]

Conan, count of Brittany, wanting to exceed the bounds of hisconsulate,[17] scorned Fulk and,trusting in the strength of his four sons, did not cease to ravagethe borders of Anjou. There was a river, the Mayenne, not lastamong the rivers of the west, which washed Anjou withits gentle waters, which a bridge of stone embraced, ready tosuffer the waters of winter.[18]Conan and his sons wanted their consulate to extend to this river.When Conan realized that Fulk had left Anjou, he himself wentto the royal court at Orléans; meanwhile he ordered hissons to hurry to Anjou and search out milder lands. When his sonsheard that Fulk was absent they were overjoyed, sure they wouldprevail over the Angevins, whom they thought were few and unarmed.While the consuls awaited the king at Orléans, Fulk withdrewinto a house to relieve himself. Conan came into the main chamberof the house, so that Fulk was separated from him only by thewidth of a wall, and told his men that in four days his sons wouldbe at the gates of Angers, destroying all before them. When thecount had heard this he rushed off to their aid, pretending hewas going to the castle of Landonense, and rode night and day,changing horses often; he ordered those of his men whom he meton the way to follow him. At evening of the second day he enteredAnjou secretly, and gathered together many knights and footmenoutside the city. On the appointed day the Bretons rushed impetuouslyup to the gates of the city. Fulk and his men rushed swiftly downon them from hiding; they killed some, and chased after the others,whom they had put to flight. For when they [the Bretons]realized the consul had returned, the enemy no longer had thecourage to resist. In this manner, being dispersed, each fledas quickly as he could. Two of Conan's sons died in the battle,and innumerable footsoldiers; the other two sons were captured,along with many knights, barons and footsoldiers. Fulk returnedat once to the royal court, and, on the day the king arrived,he and one of his knights, riding the dappled horse of Alan, Conan'seldest son, dismounted before the king's hall. The Bretons askedwhere the horse had been gotten: the truth was made known, andannounced to Conan. Then Conan bewailed his fate and wept beforethe king, and sought peace from the bishops; with the interventionof king Robert, and Richard duke of the Normans (who was marriedto Conan's daughter Judith), peace was made. Conan's eldest sonAlan was redeemed, together with his brother. All the captiveswere freed after the payment of a fit price, and Fulk possessedin peace the consulate of the land over the Mayenne.

By his wife Fulk fathered Geoffrey Martel and a daughter calledAdela. Fulk, a God-fearing man, went to Rome on a pilgrimage,and, having accepted with blessings a papal letter, set out againfor Jerusalem, which at that time the Gentiles held. When he gotto Constantinople he met Robert duke of Normandy, who was makingone and the same journey. Now Richard, duke of Normandy, had twosons by Judith, daughter of Conan count of Brittany, named Richardand Robert. Richard, the eldest, was poisoned by his brother Robert.Robert, to make satisfaction to God for this crime, set off barefooton this journey in the seventh year of his dukedom. Before thisevent Robert had fathered William, the worthy man who acquiredEngland, by a concubine. When Fulk had found Robert and joinedup with him, he handed the papal letter over to the emperor. Thesetwo were then led at the emperor's order through the lands ofthe Saracens by the men of Antioch, who had been present thereby chance and joined them. Robert died while traveling throughBithynia. Fulk came to Jerusalem under a safe-conduct. He wasunable to enter the city gate, where pilgrims were vigorouslyurged to give up their money to gain entry. When he had paid thefee both for himself and for other Christians who were lingeringin the area of the gate, unable to enter, he and these otherswent swiftly into the city; but the cloisters of the tombs werealso closed to them. For [the Saracens], knowing him tobe a man of quick temper, mocked him, and said he would neverget to the tomb he wanted to see unless he were to urinate uponit and upon the holy cross. The prudent man, though unwilling,agreed to this. A ram's bladder was found, cleaned and washedand filled with the best wine and then placed between the count'sthighs. Shoeless, he approached the Lord's Sepulchre, and letthe wine flow forth upon it; he freely entered the tomb with hiscompanions, and prayed there with an outpouring of many tears.Soon, when the hard stone had grown soft, he sensed the divinepower, and, kissing the tomb he was able to tear out a piece ofit with his teeth and hide it; unbeknownst to the gentiles, hetook it away with him. Fulk, giving large gifts to the poor, wasworthy of receiving a piece of the Lord's cross from the Syrianswho were guarding the tomb. Returning then to Loches [ France], he built a church to the honor of the Lord's Sepulchrebeyond the river A., namely at Beaulieu, and installed monks andan abbot there. At Amboise, in the church of the virgin Mary,he placed a piece of the True Cross and a pair of thongs withwhich Christ's hands were bound. In that church, in Fulk's time,the body of the blessed Florentinus, which had been brought fromthe countryside of Poitou, was placed. There he installed canons,as well as Supplicius, the treasurer of St. Martin.

Men at that time were complaining about Odo of Champagne, Gelduinof Saumur and Geoffrey the young, lord of St.-Aignan, who hadafflicted Fulk's land and men with many insolences during theyear and a half Fulk spent abroad. Gelduin, in fact, had fortifiedthe court of St.-Pierre of Pontlevoy as though it were his ownproperty; there were not yet monks there. Fulk, though, went andbuilt a fortress called Montrichard on a mountain near the riverCher, which was part of the personal estate of Gelduin and thefief of the archbishop of Tours, once the towns of Reabblus Nobilisand Nanteuil (?), which lay between Montrichard and the river,had been destroyed; both towns were part of Gelduin's fief. Heset up Roger Diaboler, lord of Montresor, as guardian of Montrichard.Meanwhile Odo had gathered a great host of knights and footsoldiersin Blois to destroy Montrichard. When Fulk heard this he tookhis best knights and footsoldiers, joined up and allied with Herbert,consul of Le Mans, and went out to meet Odo. Odo, as was his way,trusted in the great numbers of his troops, and so crossed theBrenne River. Fulk, leaving Amboise, came to a place near Pontlevoy.Herbert rode up to the bank of the Cher and made camp there. Whatmore is there to say? Odo, thunderstruck, stood with his heartfrozen, not believing the Angevins would dare to fight withhim. To his men he said briefly: "Pour out all your strength;let each one who wishes to see his homeland and his dearkinsmen, his offspring and his chambers and his abandoned goods,look to his sword ..."[19]Battle was joined. Fulk and his men were hard pressed; Fulk, fallingfrom his horse, was heavily struck. The men of Blois had almostattained the victory, and would have if a messenger had not gonestraight to Herbert and warned him that Fulk had been beaten andcaptured. After this rumor had run through the whole army countHerbert, an extremely fierce warrior, flew with his fellow warriorsto the battlefield. There were some unexpected friends whom hehad summoned, who were keeping the enemy busy on the left wing.For a long time the Angevins bore up under the blows of battle;it pleased Christ to confer strength on them, and riddle theirenemies with confusion. Odo's knights could not withstand theferocious blows of the men of Le Mans and Anjou, and were putto flight, leaving their footsoldiers in the camps to be slaughtered.When the Angevins had dismembered these men at will, they pursuedthe fugitives as far as they were able or dared, striking downall the knights whom they could catch. When about six thousandhad been killed or captured, the remainder escaped, each one goingwhere he could. When the enemy had been put to flight and slaughtered,the victors proceeded to despoil their castles, collected thebest of the plunder and returned to Amboise, enriched by the numberand ransom of their captives.

The following year, when Odo of Champagne was being attacked bythe duke of Lotharingia, Fulk, that modest and prudent man, builta fortress at Montboyau to put pressure on the city of Tours,which he greatly desired to possess. Odo on the other hand soonbesieged this fort, bringing with him a great multitude, drawnfrom different peoples [gentes], with Gelduin ofSaumur rushing up with all of his men as well. Fulk likewise gottogether as many men as he could in Valeia and, taking some goodadvice, since he neither dared nor was able to fight, crossedthe Loire and rode the whole night; he found Saumur empty of defendersand entered it at the crack of dawn, taking the whole town upto the fortress itself. Those within the fortress had no hopefor relief, no place to flee to, only the indignity of surrender.They knew the Angevin race was fierce and warlike, and that theywould not give up something they had undertaken until they hadgained everything they wished for. They knew further that theywere utterly without mercy. Therefore they made satisfaction tothe consul under the law of surrender. They said: "You mustlet us leave the fortress unharmed, protect us from those butchers,and let us serve you and remain alive." When he had heardthis the count accepted them with the honor of liberty, and honoredthem with a great festival. When it became known that he had donethis and that he had joined the freed men to himself, this inducedothers to surrender as well. When the fortress was taken and itsattendants sent away, he ordered that watchful men be found toguard the castle.[20]

Fulk, having gained Saumur as he had wished, later got ready togo, and went over to near Chinon, crossing the Vienne betweenNoaster and L'Isle Bouchard on a bridge made of boats, and besiegedMontbazon. Odo withdrew from the siege of Montboyau and set hispath toward Fulk's army. The clever Fulk, abandoning the siege,withdrew to Loches and made camp in a field. So each one rested,having sent his army home. When Odo was at Blois, his messengertold him that Germans, with the duke of Lotharingia, had besiegedBar-sur-l'Aube. Hastening home, Odo pursued the Germans, who hadalready come up into Lotharingia. He fought with them and, thoughgravely wounded, came out the victor; but he died on the battlefieldnot long after, and his son Thibaut succeeded to his lands [1037].Menawhile Fulk besieged and captured Montbazon, and handed itto Guillaume de Mirebeau to guard. Arraud of Breteuil (?) andother traitors handed over their lord Geoffrey, prince of St.-Aignan,to Fulk; later, when Fulk was absent, the same man was strangledin prison in Loches by his betrayers. The count then gave to hisseneschal Lisois as a wife the niece of Supplicius the treasurer(towhom he had given the fortress of Amboise with all its lands)and also gave him Virnullium and Maureacum and the "vicarage"of Champagne. Thus, retaining his lands, he passed them on tohis son [Geoffrey] Martel. The land was quiet and in peacethen up to the death of Fulk, who in truth did not live much longer[d. 1040]. 


[1]Much of this introductory peroration is drawn from the writing of the Roman historian Sallust,specifically his works on Catiline and Jugurtha (1st century BC).Sallust's words are indicated by italics here; our author hasoften pieced them together in a way which completely reversesSallust's meaning.

[2]The "he" here is notidentified.

[3]A reference to Cicero's DeSenectute XV.

[4]The italiziced passage isfrom De Senectute III, 9.

[5]The boy's grandfather was Louisthe Pious, son of Charlemagne.

[6]That is, a count who is alsoa lay abbot, that is, has control of a monastery.

[7]Here the author confuses Charlesthe Simple with king Louis IV; the events described took placein 945.

[8]The italicized words are fromSallust's work on Catiline.

[9]This is a Norman tradition,but there is no good evidence that this happened, since Brittanywas outside the control of the French king in the early 10th century.

[10]The following story is perhapsdrawn from old epic poems, now lost, in which Geoffrey Greymantleappears as the hero; the tale is similar in tone and style to12th century chansons de geste, such as the Song of Roland.

[11]A coarse woollen cloth.

[12]The author here and elsewhereseems to rely on classical texts and terms for description ofthese battles.

[13]Cicero, De Amicitia20.72.

[14]The woman's genealogy isprobably made up, in order to justify later Angevin claims onSaintonge.

[15]Seneca, De moribus114 and 133.

[16]Boethius, Consolationof Philosophy 2/6:21-22.

[17]A curious phrase which suggeststhe author tended to refer to a variety of territorial lords as"consuls."

[18]Italicized text from Lucan,Pharsalia IV.13-16.

[19]Italicized material is fromLucan, Pharsalia 339, 344-349.

[20]Saumur was captured ca. 1026.

This text is part of the Internet Medieval Source Book.The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permittedtexts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

Unless otherwise indicated the specific electronic form of the document is copyright. Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source. No permission is granted for commercial use.

Paul Halsall May 1997

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