Sunday, 31 May 2009

Chapter 20

How Hugh was set free

Meanwhile[1] there occurred the death of Odo, count of Corbeil, a man yet not a man for he was irrational and brutal. He was the son of Bouchard, that most arrogant of counts, tumultuous leader of brigands, of such amazing self-importance that he aspired to the throne. One day, as he took up arms against the king, he refused to accept his sword from the man holding it out to him, and said insolently to his wife who was standing by him. ‘Noble countess, confer this splendid sword on your noble count with joy, for he who receives it from you as a count will today return it to you as a king.’ But by God’s will it came about quite differently; for at the end of the day he was neither what he had been nor what he wished to be. Struck that very day by the lance of count Stephen[2], who was fighting on the king’s side, his death strengthened the peace of the kingdom and took him and his war to the lowest pit of hell where he fights to eternity.

After the death of his son count Odo, count Theobald, his mother, Miles, Hugh[3] and their allies did what they could by gifts and promises to obtain his castle, in order to discomfort the king. On the other hand, the king and his men, rebutting their claims, sweated with great ardour to obtain it for themselves. But it was quite impossible to do this without consulting Hugh, because he was Odo’s nephew.[4]

A day and place - Moissy[5], a domain of the bishop of Paris, of evident ill-omen - were appointed to settle the affair. When we[6] met together, Hugh’s decision was in part against us, and in part in our favour, for since we could not have what we wanted; we wanted what we could have. He renounced his claim to the castle of Corbeil, to which he had boasted of being the heir and he also swore to stop all harassment, taxes and exorbitant charges on all churches and monasteries. Then after hostages had been given to guarantee these arrangements and after he had sworn he would never fortify Le Puiset without the king’s consent, deceived by his treachery not his cunning, we went home. 


[1] Odo de Corbeil died very probably in 1112: ibid, Luchaire, Louis VI le Gros, Annales de son vie et de son r├Ęgne, n° 128.

[2] Stephen, count of Meaux and Brie before 1081, count of Blois and Chartres from 1090 to 1102 was the father of Theobald IV. The revolt and the death of Bouchard can be dated between 1076 and 1081. Bouchard had had visions of grandeur and longed to be the King of France. Guy ‘the Red’ de Montlhery married Adelaide de Crecy who was the widow of Bouchard de Corbeil. Adelaide’s son by Bouchard was named Odo de Corbeil, so, Hugh de Crecy and Odo de Corbeil were half-brothers. There are several possibilities: that Hugh de Crecy was actually the son of Bouchard and adopted by Guy, that Hugh was born at a later date than 1070, that Adelaide the mother of Hugh was divorced from Bouchard and married to Guy prior to Bouchard’s death

[3] Hugh de Puiset was at that time imprisoned in Chateau-Landon.

[4] By his mother Alice, daughter of Bouchard and Adelaide de Crecy and as a result the sister of Odo.

[5] Moissy is the modern Moissy-Cramayel. It is about five miles east of Corbeil and about twenty-five miles south-east of Paris. Bishop Galon of Paris was an opponent of St-Denis that may account for Suger’s seeing the choice of this location as foretelling evil.

[6] The use of the plural ‘we’ suggests that Suger was involved in the interview. However, Manuscript F says that Louis alone was involved.

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