Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Chapter 11

Concerning the capture of castle of Gournay

 

Count Guy of Rochefort, whose daughter’s marriage with the Lord Louis had been blocked by the intrigue of his rivals on grounds of consanguinity, then ended by divorce in the presence of the pope[1], felt deeply resentful, ‘and fanned this small spark into moving fires.’[2] The Lord Louis’ fondness for him was in no way diminished until suddenly the Garlandes interfered to destroy the friendship, dissolve the alliance and enflame the bitterness. Then an occasion for fighting arose.[3] Hugh of Pomponne, a valiant knight, castellan of Gournay, a castle on the banks of the Marne, seized the horses of some merchants on the royal highway[4] and took them to Gournay[5]. Furious at this outrageous presumption, the Lord Louis collected an army, began an unexpected siege of the castle and very quickly surrounded it to deprive the inmates of a large stock of food.

Around the castle there is an attractive island, rich in meadows, excellent for horses and flocks, wide enough but longer than it is wide, and very useful to the garrison, because it offers those living there a beautiful spectacle of clear and moving water, a sight made more charming by green grass and flowers; besides, the surrounding river provides security. So the Lord Louis prepared a fleet to attack the island. He ordered some of the knights and many of the foot-soldiers to take off their clothes so that they could enter the river faster and, if things went badly, get out faster. Then, with some swimming and other riding rather dangerously across the deep waters, he entered the water and commanded them to occupy the island. But the garrison resisted strongly, threw down stones from the higher bank of the river on to those in the boats on the river, and drove them back with lances and spears. But the attackers recovered their courage and determined to repel those who had repelled them. So they ordered the slingers and the archers to stop fighting hand to hand when it was possible, while the armoured and helmeted men in the fleet went into action with extreme bravery like pirates, threw back the resistance, and as courage will which refuses to submit to dishonour, they occupied the island by force and drove its defenders within the castle.

A tight siege was enforced for some time without bringing about surrender. Impatient of delay, the Lord Louis, consumed one day by energy, summoned the army, and approached that castle which was brilliantly defended by a deep and steep ditch topped by a wall and below by a rushing stream whose depth made it virtually unassailable. The Lord Louis crossed the stream, scaled the earthwork with its barrier, came up to the wall, gave the order for battle while fighting himself, and led an attack on the enemy as violent as it was bitter. On the other side, the defenders, preferring courage to life, pressed swiftly to their cause without sparing their lord. They took up arms, attacked their enemies, and regained the upper part of the stronghold and even the lower by throwing their opponents into the stream. So they brought glory on themselves while Louis’ army, despite its efforts was defeated.

Then siege engines were prepared to destroy the castle. A very tall machine of three storeys was built that dominated the castle towering over the soldiers and preventing the slingers and archers from moving about the stronghold or showing themselves. Under incessant pressure day and night from the machines and unable to man their defences, they sensibly made dugouts for themselves, and sniping with their archers, they put those dominating them from above in peril of death. Attached to the tall machine there was a wooden bridge which could be drawn out quite high and lowered gradually on to the wall to offer an easy entrance to the attackers. But the defenders, familiar with this tactic, erected vertical wooden piles at intervals, so that the assailants would face danger and death when both the bridge and those who crossed it fell together into deep pits full of pointed stakes covered with straw to escape detection.

Meanwhile Count Guy, skilful and valiant man as he was, roused his relations and friends, begged aid of his men and rushed to the assistance of the besieged. He therefore negotiated with Theobald, Count Palatine[6], a most distinguished young man skilled in all the arts of chivalry that on a fixed day he should bring aid to the besieged, now lacking in food, and raise the siege by force of arms. Meanwhile, Guy did what he could by rapine and fire to encourage the besiegers to quit.

On the day appointed for Count Theobald to bring up his reinforcements and end the siege by force, the Lord Louis collected what men he could from close at hand and, mindful of the royal dignity, full of valour, he left his tents defended and set forth joyfully. He sent ahead a scout to tell him where the enemy was and whether it intended to engage in battle. Then he commanded his barons himself, he drew up the lines of knights and foot-soldiers and gave dispositions to the archers and spearmen. So that they should be seen, the trumpets sounded, the pugnacity of the knights and horses was roused and the engagement began. The French, drawing on long experience of war, fell on the men of Brie made soft by long peace, cut them to pieces with their lances and swords, determined on victory, and both knights and foot-soldiers went on attacking them ferociously until they turned tail and fled. As for the count, preferring to escape capture by being first rather than last in flight, he left his army behind him and rushed home[7].

In this engagement some were killed, many wounded and many more captured, and the news of this famous victory spread throughout the land. Having won such a great and timely victory, the Lord Louis returned to his tents, ejected those within the castle who had been buoyed up by false hopes, and keeping the castle for himself, he handed it over to the Garlandes to guard.[8]


[1] At the council of Troyes, on 23rd May 1107, Guy was angered because of the ways in which he felt his family had been treated by the Crown: see ‘Chronique of Clarius’ in Duru, L.M., Bibliothèque historique de l'Yonne, Auxerre, 1850, vol. ii, p. 516 and ibid, La Chronique de Saint-Pierre-le-Vif de Sens, p. 147. Louis VI married Adélaïde de Maurienne, daughter of count Humbert II of Savoy before 3rd August 1115 possibly in 1114: ibid, Luchaire, Louis VI le Gros, Annales de sa vie et de son règne, n° 192.

[2] Lucan, De bello civili V, 525

[3] This took place after the dissolution of Louis’ betrothal to Lucienne de Rochefort and the death of Philip I the following year, probably in the autumn of 1107.

[4] Hugh’s activities posed a double problem for Louis. First, they were an attack on merchants and a threat to their trade of which Louis was a supporter: see chapters 21, 31 and 33. Secondly, they posed a threat to royal authority as individuals were unable to travel safely on the royal highway.

[5] Hugh de Pomponne was another name for Hugh de Crécy, the son of Guy de Rochefort: ibid, Luchaire, Louis VI le Gros, Annales de son vie et de son règne, n° 51. Guy de Rochefort had founded a priory at Gournay. Gournay and Pomponne are both on the Marne, about ten and fifteen miles east of Paris respectively.

[6] Theobald IV, count of Blois and Chartres succeeded his uncle Hugh as count of Champagne in 1125 under the name Theobald II. The title of Count Palatine was honorific and was held by the counts of Flanders, of Blois-Champagne and of Toulouse. It represented the last vestige of powers exercise at the Merovingian court by the ‘mayors of the palace’: see Viollet, P.M., Histoire des institutions politiques et administratives de la France, 1898, Paris, vol. ii, p. 105. He was Louis’ chief enemy among the aristocracy.

[7] According to Orderic Vitalis, the fight took place near stream at Torcy, between Torcy and Gouverne and the men of Brie were pursued as far as the gates of Lagny. Count Theobald flees just as he abandons his allies in chapter 21. Suger takes considerable delight in suggesting that he was a coward.

[8] The handing over the Gournay to the Garlandes indicates their rise to favour. The siege occurred in 1107 and Guy de Rochefort died the following year.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Chapter 10

Pope Paschal II's visit

The year after Bohemund’s return home, the universal and supreme pope Paschal[1] of venerable memory came to the west with many very wise men, bishops, cardinals and nobles of the Roman province, to consult the King of France, the Lord Louis and the church of France over certain difficulties and new problems relating to investiture[2], with which the emperor Henry[3] troubled him and threatened to trouble him even more. This man, lacking in parental affection or any humanity, most cruelly used his father Henry, disinherited him, held him, so they say, in criminal captivity, and most impiously forced him, by allowing his enemies to inflict blows and injuries on him, into handing over to him the royal regalia, the crown, the sceptre and the lance of St. Maurice and allowed him to keep nothing in the whole kingdom. [4]

It was decided at Rome that, because of the venal treachery of the Romans, it would be safer to discuss this matter and all other questions, not in Rome but in France[5] with the king, the king’s son and the French church. So Paschal came to Cluny[6] and from Cluny to La Charité[7], where, before a great crowd of archbishops, bishops and monks he dedicated and consecrated that famous monastery. There were also present great magnates of the realm, including the noble count of Rochefort, seneschal of the King[8], sent to meet the lord pope as their spiritual father, to do his will throughout the realm. I was present at this consecration and before the Lord Pope I inveighed against Galon[9], bishop of Paris, who was pursuing several disputes against St-Denis. I there obtained satisfaction in accordance both with reason and with canon law.

After celebrating Laetare Jerusalem at St. Martin’s in Tours[10], his mitre on his head in the Roman fashion[11], he came to the venerable home of St. Denis[12], with benevolence and devotion such as would have been appropriate to the true seat of St. Peter. He was gloriously received in the manner suitable to a bishop. There he administered to the Romans, for whom it was an unknown thing, and also to posterity, a truly memorable example. Quite contrary to what had been feared, he did not strive to obtain the monastery’s gold or silver or precious stones. Indeed he did not deign to look at them. Most humbly prostrating himself before the relics of the saints[13], he humbly begged that he might be given for his protection a scrap of St. Denis’ episcopal vestments soaked in blood. ‘Do not be displeased’, he requested, ‘to return a small part of his vestments to us, for we sent that great man to you without a murmur, for the conversion of Gaul.’

There King Philip[14] and the Lord Louis met him with respect and vows, the royal majesty kneeling at his feet for love of God, just as kings are accustomed to bow their crowned heads at the sepulchre of Peter the fisherman. The lord pope stretched out his hand to raise them up and made them sit facing him as the most devoted sons of the apostles. As a shrewd man in his wisdom, he consulted them closely on the state of the church and, flattering them delicately, he prayed them to give assistance to St. Peter and himself, his vicar, to maintain the church, and in accordance with the custom established by their predecessor Charlemagne and other kings of the Franks, to resist boldly tyrants and the enemies of the church, above all the Emperor Henry.[15] They gave him their hands as witness of their friendship, aid and counsel, put their realm at his disposal, and sent with him to Chalons[16] to meet the imperial legates some archbishops and bishops and Adam, abbot of St. Denis, whom I accompanied. 

The lord pope waited there for some time before the legates of the Emperor Henry turned up as had been arranged. They were not humble, but proud and unrepentant. They received hospitality at St. Menge[17], where they left the chancellor Albert[18], with whom the emperor agreed heart and soul. The rest came to the papal court in a great procession with much pomp and display of ornament. They[19] were the archbishop of Trèves, the bishop of Halberstadt, the bishop of Munster, several counts and Duke Welf[20], a corpulent man of amazing girth and height and a loud voice, who had a sword carried before him everywhere. They made such commotion that they seemed to have been sent to frighten, not to reason with us.

Only the Archbishop of Trèves spoke for them. He was a well-bred and agreeable man, rich in eloquence and wisdom, fluent in French. He made a fitting speech, offering the lord pope and his court the greetings and cooperation of the emperor, saving the rights of his kingdom. Then in accordance with his instructions, he said: ‘This is the reason why I was sent by my lord the emperor. In the days of our ancestors and of the holy popes such as Gregory the Great and others, the empire had a recognised right that the following order be observed in every election. Before a public election took place, the name of the favoured candidate should be mentioned to the emperor, and if the person was suitable, he would give his assent before the election; then an assembly was held according to canon law, and by the request of the people, at the choice of the clergy and with the assent of the suzerain, the candidate was proclaimed. After being consecrated freely and without simony, he would go to the emperor for the regalia, to be invested with the ring and staff, and to take the oath of fidelity and homage. There is nothing odd about this. It is exactly the way in which cities or castles or marcher territories or tolls or any other gifts of the imperial dignity are conferred. If the lord pope will accept this, the kingdom and the church will remain together in prosperity and peace to the honour of God.’

To this the lord pope replied, after reflection, through the mouth of the bishop of Plaisance[21]: ‘The church which has been redeemed and set free through the precious blood of Christ ought in no way again to be imprisoned. If the church cannot choose a bishop without consulting the emperor, then it is enslaved by him, and Christ died in vain. Investiture with the staff and ring, since these things belong to the altar, is a usurpation of God’s rights. If hands consecrated to the body and blood of Christ is to be placed between laymen’s hands, bloodied by the use of the sword, in order to create an obligation, then ordination and sacred anointing are degraded.’

When the stiff-necked legates heard this and similar things, with German hot-headedness they ground their teeth, grew agitated, and if they could have dared to do so safely, they would have vomited their insults and wounded others. They cried, ‘This quarrel will not be ended here but in Rome and by the sword.’ But the pope sent several specially chosen and experienced men to the chancellor, to discuss these things with him in an orderly and peaceful way, where they could hear and be heard, and to beg him resolutely to work for the peace of the kingdom. After their departure the pope went to Troyes, where he presided with ceremony over a universal council called long before[22]; then, with great warmth for the French who had helped him so much, but with fear and hatred for the Germans, he returned successfully to the see of St. Peter.

But the emperor, in the second year after the pope’s return home, collected together an enormous army of thirty thousand men.[23] ‘Rejoicing to take only those roads bathed in blood’[24], he set out for Rome. There he very convincingly pretended to peaceful aims, put aside the investiture dispute, made all sorts of fine promises about this and other things and, in order to be allowed to enter the city, which would otherwise have been barred to him, he used flattery and feared not to deceive the supreme pontiff, the whole church, even the King of Kings. When they heard that this malicious problem, so serious and so dangerous for the church of God, had been solved, the Roman nobles rightly or wrongly danced with joy and the clergy rejoiced mightily; and in their enthusiasm each contended as to which should receive him more honourably or magnificently. Then the lord pope, surrounded by a crowd of bishops and cardinals clad in white mantles and on white horses hastened to meet him, followed by the Roman people. They had sent before them messengers to receive from the emperor the oath of peace sworn on the Bible and his renunciation of investitures. This was done at Monte Mario[25], where travellers arriving at Rome see for the first time the church of the blessed apostles. Then the oath was repeated by the hand of the emperor and his magnates at the very gate of Rome, a marvellous sight for all the Romans.

From thence he set forth with greater pomp than if some triumphal arch was smiling on an African victory; with hymns and much triumphant praise he received the diadem from the hand of the lord pope according to the Augustan custom[26]. Then he was taken to the most sacred altar of the apostles, preceded by a procession of clerics chanting hymns, and a terrible clamour of Germans whose shrieks pierced the heavens. Then the lord pope celebrated thanksgiving mass, offered the body and blood of Jesus Christ, and then broke the Eucharist, and the emperor received it and made his communion. He dedicated the marvellous sacrifice to the church, in testimony of an alliance founded on indivisible love and on the preservation of the peace.

The lord pope had scarcely taken off his episcopal regalia after the mass, when with unexpected wickedness Teutonic fury, concocting reasons for a breach broke forth in passion. Drawing their swords and rushing out as if filled with frenzy, they met the Romans, naturally unarmed in such a place. They shouted and swore that they would capture or slay the whole Roman clergy including bishops and cardinals and, the final height of insanity, they did not fear to lay hands on the lord pope himself. The Roman nobles and people, struck with incredulous grief and heartfelt sadness understood the treachery too late. Some rushed to arms, others fled as if bewildered. They could not escape the unexpected attack except by pulling down the beams of the gateway, so making their ruins into their defence. The emperor, at the mercy of his bad conscience and tormented by his evil deed left city as hastily as possible, taking with him as booty, Christians have never heard of such a deed by a Christian, the lord pope and as many cardinals and bishops as he could. He retired to Civitate Castellana[27], a place well defended both by nature and by man. Henry treated the cardinals disgracefully, dishonestly despoiling them and, wicked to relate, he proudly seized from the lord pope himself his cope and his mitre and other papal insignia, not fearing to lay hands on the Lord’s anointed yet injuring him much. Then he heaped insults upon them and would not suffer them to depart until he had forced them to annul the pact and to return him his privilege. He even extorted another underhand privilege from the hand of the pope, that he should thenceforth invest; a privilege which, in my own hearing and in a great council of three hundred or more bishops, the lord pope overturned and annulled under pain of perpetual anathema.[28]

But if anyone asks why the pope behaved so weakly, he should realise that without the pope and his cardinals the church languished, and the tyrant almost subdued it to slavery and treated it as if it were his own property, for there was no-one to resist him. The pope gave certain proof of this. For when he had brought about the release of his brothers, the pillars of the church, had done whatever he could for the defence and repair of the church and had restored some kind of peace to the church, he fled to a solitary refuge where he would have taken up perpetual abode had not the pressure of the universal church and of the Romans forced him to return.[29]

But the Lord Jesus Christ, the redeemer and defender of the church, would not suffer her to be long trampled under foot or the emperor to go unpunished. Those who were not bound or obliged by homage took up the cause of the storm-tossed church. With the help and advice of Louis, the lord designate[30], the French church in a famous council anathematised the tyrannical emperor and struck him with the sword of St. Peter.[31] Then, entering the kingdom of Germany, they raised up the nobles and the larger part of the kingdom against him, deposed his followers like Bouchard the Red, bishop of Münster[32], and did not cease to persecute him and seize his possessions until his deserved death and the end of his tyranny[33]. By divine vengeance, his evil deeds justly brought about the transfer of the empire; for after his death Lothar, duke of Saxony[34], succeeded, a warlike man, unconquered defender of the state. Accompanied by the lord pope Innocent[35], Lothar reduced recalcitrant Italy, ravaging Campania and Apulia as far as the Adriatic, before the eyes of count Roger of Sicily[36], because he had proclaimed himself king; then he returned home in the greatest triumph, to fall victim to death in his moment of victory.[37]

But let other writers describe these and similar things. I shall recall the deeds of the French, for that is my object.[38]


[1] Paschal II, a Cluniac monk was pope from 1099 to 1118. An Italian named Ranieri, he was born near Ravenna and was the successor of Urban II. He was a monk and, as a reformer, was made a cardinal by Pope Gregory VII. He was a loyal supporter of Urban II and maintained his position on lay investiture and homage by prelates (though he dropped the latter demand from 1106). His reign began well. Philip I of France was reconciled with the church in 1104, St. Anselm was victor in his struggle in England, and the First Crusade was a great success. Negotiations over investitures with the French and English kings led to agreements in 1106 and 1107 respectively, but proved more difficult with Henry V of Germany. In 1105, Henry IV was deposed by his son Henry V, with whom Paschal was allied. Henry V, however, proved no less strongly anti-investiture. He invaded Italy in 1110; negotiations between emperor and pope failed, and the emperor captured Paschal, who was compelled to surrender the papal position on investitures. Once freed, however, and encouraged by clerical protests, the pope reaffirmed the legislation against lay investiture in 1112 and 1116. The name is also spelled Pascal. He was succeeded by Gelasius II. Servatius, Carlo, Paschalis II, 1099-1118, Stuttgart, 1979 is the standard modern study.

[2] Investiture is a term for any transfer of property or rights from one person to another using symbols and a public ceremony to mark the transfer. In the eleventh century it had become customary for those who controlled appointments to bishoprics and abbeys to make these appointments by conferring on the bishop or abbot the staff which symbolised his office (and in the case of bishops also the ring symbolising his ‘marriage’ to the diocese. This is known as ‘lay investiture’. Lay investiture had been under attack from the 1050s at least; it is first known to have been condemned by Gregory VII and his followers in 1077, and the prohibition came to be a key papal demand, repeated on numerous occasions by subsequent popes. Henry I of England and Phillip I of France renounced the practice in 1106-7; Henry V renounced investiture with ring and staff in 1122 by the Concordat of Worms, but not investiture as such. Wilks, M.J., ‘Ecclesia and regalia: Papal Investiture Policy from the Council of Guastalla to the First Lateran Councilo 1106-1123’, in Cumming, G.J. and Baker, Derek, (eds.), Studies in Church History vol. 8, (Cambridge University Press), 1971, pp. 69-85 is especially useful.

[3] Henry V was emperor from 1106 to 1125. Although Henry came to power at the head of an uprising against his father in 1104-5, he proved no more willing to abandon investitures than his father had been. Negotiations with Paschal II led to the radical solution of 1111 by which the king abandoned investitures and the German prelates were to renounce all rights and lands granted to them by Henry or his predecessors. This proved unworkable, as did Paschal’s concession to Henry under duress of the right of investitures. Henry and successive popes negotiated intermittently over the next decade: agreement was nearly reached at Reims in 1119, and concluded by the concordat of Worms in 1122.

[4] St Maurice is believed to have been a soldier who was martyred in Gaul in the third century.

[5] He arrived in France in January 1107.

[6] He remained at Cluny from 4th to 8th February 1107.

[7] The monastery of la Charité-sur-Loire was a Cluniac priory and Paschal was there on 9th May 1107. It is downstream about fifteen miles north of Nevers and about thirty miles from Bourges.

[8] The king of France and the pope had been reconciled since the 2nd December 1104: see Monod, B., Essai sur les rapports de Pascal II avec Philippe Ier, Paris 1907, pp. 42-43. The count of Rochefort was sénéchal from 1091 until he went on crusade in 1101. From this date, the sénéchalate was confirmed successively to Gilbert called Païn de Garlande, then probably to Anselm de Garlande: Prou, M., (ed.), Recueil des actes de Philippe Ier, roi de France, Paris, 1908, pp. cxxxix and cxl. Having recovered his office in 1104, Guy de Rochefort exercised it for less than two years; his son Hugh de Crécy, replaced him in 1106.

[9] Trouble between the abbey of St-Denis and the bishops of Paris was of long standing: see ibid, Recueil des actes de Philippe Ier, roi de France, pp. 114-117 and ibid, Fliche, A., La Règne de Philippe I, roi de France 1060-1108, p. 109 for the dispute of 1068. Galon was elected bishop of Paris in July 1104 and died in 1116 and belonged to the reformist party in the Church. He disagreed with the abbot and monks of St-Denis who sought to get the sacraments from other bishops for which they were reprimanded by the pope in 1105(?).

[10] Paschal was at Tours from 24th March to 3rd April 1107.

[11] A ‘frigium’ or ‘phrygium’ held the mitre and the tiara. It was a white conical bonnet, circled at its base by a crown of gold and jewels. The tiara of three crowns did not appear until the fourteenth century.

[12] The pope was at Chartres on 19th April before moving to St Denis by 30th April 1107.

[13] Paschal’s humility before the relics of St Denis establishes an important theme in Suger’s work though it is more usually a characteristic of Louis VI: see chapters 28 and 34.

[14] Paschal decided to change his proposed journey to Germany and went on to France, where he was received enthusiastically by King Philip, who did penance for his adultery and was reconciled to the Church and by the French people. Henry resented the discussion of a German question on foreign soil, though the question of investitures was one of universal interest. The meeting was probably on either 1st or 2nd May 1107 since the pope was in Lagny on 3rd May.

[15] Guibert de Nogent has a similar view of the relationship between past popes and kings of France and Ivo of Chartres wrote, in a letter to Paschal that the kingdom of the French had always been more submissive to the papacy than any other kingdom. Suger is here enlarging Louis’ royal duties to include the Carolingian role of protecting the pope: see Bur, Michel, ‘Suger’s Understanding of Political Power’, in ibid, Gerson, P.L., (ed.), Abbot Suger and St Denis, pp. 73-75.

[16] Around 10th May.

[17] St. Menge is St. Memmie, a few miles east of Chalons in central eastern France.

[18] Albert became archbishop of Mainz in 1111 and was a supporter of church reform. He was imprisoned by the emperor for three years. He was restored to his position as chancellor in 1121 and died in 1137.

[19] Bruno de Brettheim, archbishop of Trèves from 1102 to 1124; Reinhard de Blankenbourg, bishop of Halberstadt from 1106 to 1123; Burchard de Holte ‘the Red’, bishop of Münster from 1097 to 1118

[20] Welf V, duke of Bavaria since 1102. Originally a supporter of the papacy and married to Matilda of Tuscany in 1089, he separated from her in 1095 and was reconciled with the emperor the following year. He died in 1119.

[21] Aldo Gabrielli, bishop of Plaisance from 1096 to 1118

[22] After the lengthy description of the meeting at Chalons, Suger passes over the Council of Troyes with almost no comment. Bur, Michel, La Formation du compté de Champagne v.950-v.1150, Nancy, 1977, p. 274 suggests that this was perhaps because the council was held in the lands of Theobald who was hostile to the Capetians. It opened on 23rd May (Ascension Day) 1107 but its decisions are lost. The pope stayed in Troyes from 21st to 23rd May 1107 but left France soon after and was at Valence on 14th July and Lausanne on 29th July.

[23] Henry V threatened to deal with the problem of investiture by force, as soon as circumstances permitted his going to Rome to receive the imperial crown. In August 1110, he crossed the Alps with a well-organised army accompanied by a band of imperialistic lawyers. Crushing out opposition on his way through the peninsula, Henry sent an embassy to arrange with the Pope the preliminaries of his coronation. The outcome was embodied in the Concordat of Sutri. Before receiving the imperial crown, Henry was to renounce all claims to investitures, while the pope undertook to compel the prelates and abbots of the empire to restore all the temporal rights and privileges which they held from the crown. When the compact was made public in St. Peter’s on the date assigned for the coronation on 12th February 1111, there arose a fierce protest led by the prelates who by one stroke of the pen had been degraded from the estate of princes of the empire to beggary. The indignation was the more intense, because the rights of the Roman See had been secured from a similar confiscation. After fruitless wrangling and three days of rioting, Henry carried the pope and his cardinals into captivity. Abandoned as he was by everyone, Paschal, after two months of imprisonment, yielded to the king that right of investiture. Henry’s violence rebounded upon himself. All Christendom united in condemning him. The voices raised to condemn the faint-heartedness of Paschal were drowned by the universal denunciation of Henry. Paschal acknowledged his weakness, but refused to break the promise he had made not to inflict any censure upon Henry for his violence. It was unfortunate for Paschal’s memory that he should be so closely associated with the episode of Sutri.

[24] Lucan, De bello civili, II, 439-440

[25] ‘Mons Gaudii’ or the Mount of Joy is so called bacause of the circumstances Suger related. It is just to the north of the Vatican.

[26] The emperor was crowned and subsequent arrest of the pope can be dated to 13th February 1111.

[27] Civita Castellana is situated about twenty-five miles north of Rome. The pope was at Trevi with four cardinals. The rest were at Carcolle while Henry V camped not far from Corcolle at Ponte-Lucano.

[28] Paschal excommunicated Henry V at the council that sat in the Lateran Palace between 18th and 23rd May 1112. Suger was in Rome in 1112 and while there he gathered his version of the events of February 1111.

[29] Paschal II retired to one of the islands in the Pontine marsh in July 1111 and did not return to Rome until October. He reinstalled in the Lateran Palace by 26th October.

[30] Louis became king in 1108. The error may have perhaps arisen because at this point in his text Suger had departed from his chronological approach to Louis’ reign. The compiler of Manuscript F substituted the words ‘Regis Francie’ for ‘domini designati Ludovici’.

[31] The Council of Vienne opened on 15th September 1112 under the chairmanship of archbishop Guy of Burgundy, the future Calixtus II: see Mansi, Sacrorum conciliorum... collectio, vol. xxi, pp. 73-76. There was another at Lyons, a provincial council probably called for the same reasons.

[32] This is an error. Bouchard had been deposed by a papal legate in 1105 and, moreover had been reinstated in January 1106. At the time of his death in 1118, he was clearly favoured by Henry V.

[33] Henry V died on 23rd May 1125 from an illness he had had since childhood. With his death the Salian dynasty that had held imperial power for a century was ended.

[34] Lothar is known also as Lothar of Saxony or Lothar of Supplinburg. Lothar II is also called Lothar III. He was born in 1075 and died in 1137. He was Holy Roman emperor (1133–37) and German king (1125–37). The Emperor Henry V invested him with the duchy of Saxony in 1106, but after 1112 Lothar, in several rebellions successfully championed local independence against the royal authority. When Henry V died in 1125, the electors chose Lothar over Frederick of Hohenstaufen, Henry V’s nephew, to succeed him. This represented an important victory of elective over hereditary kingship. Frederick and his brother Conrad (who later became German king as Conrad III) made war on Lothar, and Conrad was elected (1127) anti-king. However, Lothar and his son-in-law, Henry the Proud of Bavaria, defeated the Hohenstaufen and peace was made in 1135. In Italy, Lothar promised his support to Pope Innocent II, whose election was disputed. In 1132, he entered Italy and was crowned emperor in Rome the following year. After the defeat of the Hohenstaufen, he returned to Italy in 1136 and campaigned successfully against Roger II of Sicily, supporter of the antipope Anacletus II. Lothar died on the journey home. As emperor, Lothar adhered loyally to the Concordat of Worms, and actively supported both political expansion and revival of missionary activity in the East. He forced various heathen princes to pay tribute and established German suzerainty in Denmark, Bohemia, and Poland. At his death his rival, Conrad III, was elected king.

[35] Pope Innocent II was Pope from 1130 to 1143. On 14th February 1130, the morning following the death of Honorius II, the cardinal-bishops held an election and Gregory was chosen as his successor, taking the name of Innocent II. Three hours later Pietro Pierleone was elected by the other cardinals and took the name of Anacletus II. Both received episcopal consecration 23rd February; Innocent at Santa Maria Nuova and Anacletus at St. Peter's. Finding the influential family of the Frangipani had deserted his cause, Innocent at first retired into the stronghold belonging to his family in Trastevere, then went to France by way of Pisa and Genoa. There he secured the support of Louis VI and in a synod at Etampes the assembled bishops, influenced by the eloquence of Suger of St-Denis, acknowledged his authority. This was also done by other bishops gathered at Puy-en-Velay through St. Hugh of Grenoble. The pope went to the Abbey of Cluny, and then attended another meeting of bishops in November, 1130 at Clermont.

[36] Roger II of Sicily was born c.1095 and died in 1154. He was count (1101–1130) and the first king (1130–1154) of Sicily, son and successor of Roger I. He conquered Apulia and Salerno in 1127 and sided with the antipope Anacletus II against Pope Innocent II. In 1130, Anacletus crowned Roger king. Innocent rallied the Emperor Lothar II and other allies against Roger but was defeated in 1139. Naples and Capua recognized Roger’s sovereignty. Innocent was obliged to invest him with the lands that became the kingdoms of Naples and Sicily. Roger also conquered the coast of Africa from Tunis to Tripoli. He established a strong central administration and attempted to fuse the disparate ethnic groups in his kingdom. Prosperity returned to Sicily, and Roger’s court at Palermo became a centre of the arts, letters, and sciences.

[37] In the spring of 1137, Emperor Lothar, in answer to the repeated entreaties of the pope, began his march to Rome. The papal and imperial troops met at Bari on 30th May, 1137, and the pope was again conducted into Rome. He died on 4th December 1137.

[38] Much of this chapter is largely irrelevant to a book on the life of Louis VI and Suger seems to be aware of this.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Chapter 9

Bohemond, prince of Antioch

Around that time, the distinguished prince of Antioch, Bohemond[1], came to visit France. Because of his valour, the fortifications of Antioch had been given into his special charge after the long hard siege. This famous man, outstanding among the Orientals, performed one exploit of such generosity that it could never have been achieved without divine assistance and which is still talked about among the Saracens .

With his father Robert Guiscard he had crossed the sea to besiege Durazzo[2] and the riches of Thessalonica, the treasures of Constantinople and even the whole of Greece proved inadequate to make them withdraw. Suddenly legates arrived there from Pope Alexander[3], who had crossed the sea after them to summon them, for the love of God and the loyalty owed by vassals, to assist and rescue the Roman church and the pope who were being besieged by the emperor[4] in the tower of Crescentius[5]. They begged them desperately and declared on oath that if they did not come at once, the city, the church and even the pope himself would be shipwrecked.

The prince hesitated before choosing whether to put an end for good to such a great and costly expedition, or to bear the responsibility for the enslavement or total ruin of the pope, the city and the church. When they had anxiously thought about it, they made an excellent decision, to help the pope without renouncing the expedition. Leaving Bohemund at the siege, his father set sail for Apulia, collected men and arms from wherever he could, from Sicily, Apulia, Calabria and Campania, and hastened swiftly and boldly to Rome. And so it happened by the will of God and as a marvellous portent, that while he was at Rome the emperor of Constantinople, hearing of his absence, brought up an army of Greeks to attack Bohemund in Durazzo by land and by sea; so, on exactly the same day as his father Guiscard came to grips with the emperor at Rome[6], he fought valiantly against the Greek emperor[7], and each prince, marvellous to relate, triumphed over his emperor.[8]

Bohemund came to France[9] to seek by any means he could the hand of the Lord Louis’ sister Constance[10], a young lady of excellent breeding, elegant appearance and beautiful face[11]. So great was the reputation for valour of the French kingdom and of the Lord Louis that even the Saracens were terrified by the prospect of that marriage. She was not engaged since she had broken off her agreement to wed Hugh, count of Troyes[12], and wished to avoid another unsuitable match. The prince of Antioch was experienced and rich both in gifts and promises; he fully deserved the marriage, which was celebrated with great pomp by the bishop of Chartres in the presence of the king, the Lord Louis, and many archbishops, bishops and noblemen of the realm[13].

Among those present was the papal legate, Lord Bruno, bishop of Segni[14], who had accompanied Bohemond at the instigation of Pope Paschal to call for and encourage an expedition to the Holy Land.[15] So at Poitiers[16] he held a full and solemn council, at which I was present because I had just finished my studies, where he dealt with various synodal matter and especially with the Jerusalem journey, lest zeal for the project should cool; and both he and Bohemond inspired many people to go there. Strengthened by this sizeable company of knights, Bohemund, the lady Constance and the legate all returned happily and gloriously to their home[17]. Lady Constance bore Lord Bohemund two sons, John and Bohemund. John died in Apulia before he was old enough to be knighted. But Bohemund[18], a graceful young man, made for chivalry, became prince of Antioch. One day when he was attacking the Saracens, heedless of their zeal and bravery, he rashly followed them, fell into the trap they set and was beheaded along with a hundred knights for having displayed too much courage. Thus he lost Antioch, Apulia and his life.


[1] Bohemond c.1056–1111, prince of Antioch (1099–1111) was a leader in the First Crusade and the son of Robert Guiscard by his first marriage. He was with his father he fought (1081–85) against the Byzantine emperor Alexius I. When his father’s duchy of Apulia passed to his younger brother Roger, Bohemond made war against him and obtained Taranto as a fief. In 1096, he joined the Crusaders, swore the oath of fealty to Alexius at Constantinople (1097) and in 1098 at the siege of Antioch devised the stratagem by which the city was captured. He subsequently made himself prince of Antioch, in defiance of his oath to Alexius, and over the opposition of Raymond IV of Toulouse, leader of the crusade. He was captured by Muslims in 1100 and was not released until 1103. Returning to Europe, he married the daughter of Philip I of France and secured papal support for a crusade against Alexius. However, he was defeated in 1108 and as a result was forced to reaffirm his vassalage. In 1109, he was defeated by the Muslims at Harran. He did not return to Antioch, and his nephew Tancred acted as his regent. For Bohemond’s career see Cardini, Franco, Lozito, Nunzio and Vetere, Benedetto, (eds.), Boemondo: Storia di un principe Normanno, (Mario Congedo Editore), 2003 and for his activities in France, Yewdale, R.B., Bohemond I, Prince of Antioch, (Princeton University Press), 1924, pp. 106-112 and Flori, Jean, Bohemond d’Antioche: Chevalier d’Aventure, (Payot), 2007, pp. 265-273.

[2] Durazzo was the principal port for those travelling from Italy to Constantinople. The Norman campaign in the Epirus was in 1081 and 1082 and the siege of Durazzo lasted from 17th June 1081 until its surrender on 21st February 1082. ‘Greece’ here refers to the Byzantine Empire.

[3] Suger is incorrect here. The pope who appealed to Robert Guiscard for help in the early 1080s was Gregory VII (1073-1085) not Alexander II (1061-1073). Pope Nicholas II’s (1059-1061) relations with the Normans, firmly entrenched in southern Italy, were friendly. By the Treaty of Melfi (August 23rd 1059) he appointed Robert Guiscard as duke of Apulia, Calabria, and Sicily (with papal suzerainty over these lands) and Richard of Aversa as prince of Capua, in return for allegiance. It was as ‘protector of the Catholic church’, Guiscard returned from Durazzo.

[4] Robinson, I.S., Henry IV of Germany 1056-1106¸ (Cambridge University Press), 1999, pp. 211-236 considers his second Italian expedition 1081-1084. There had been negotiations between the emperor and Robert Guiscard in early 1081 but these were soon overshadowed by a Byzantine approach to Henry. The Alexiad, book iii, p. 160-161 gives the Byzantine perspective: ‘In a letter Alexius urged the emperor to delay no longer and invade Lombardy…thus Robert would be kept busy and Alexius could collect his armies with impunity and drive the Normans from Illyricium.’

[5] Gregory VII was besieged in the Castel San’ Angelo in early 1084. It was called the tower of Crescentius in the chansons de geste after the Crescenti, an important Roman family.

[6] Robert Guiscard forced his way into Rome from the east on 28th May 1084, four days after he arrived at the city. He rescued Gregory VII from Castel S. Angelo and brought him back to the Lateran palace. Continued Roman resistance led to widespread destruction of the city. This led to considerable resentment among the Romans preventing Gregory from staying in the city and he was obliged to leave in July when Guiscard withdrew to the south and he died at Salerno on 25th May 1085.

[7] Alexius Comnenus I 1048-1118 was Byzantine emperor from 1081 to 1118. Under the successors of his uncle, Isaac I, the empire had fallen prey to anarchy and foreign invasions. In 1081, Alexius, who had become popular as a general, overthrew Nicephorus III and was proclaimed emperor. The most immediate danger besetting the empire was the Norman invasions (1081-1085) under Robert Guiscard and his son, Bohemond. Alexius obtained Venetian help at the price of valuable commercial privileges. This and a truce with the Seljuk Turks enabled him to defend the Balkan Peninsula until the death of Robert Guiscard, when the Normans temporarily withdrew (1085).

[8] Suger is mistaken. Bohemond had already returned to Italy from Greece in the spring of 1083 largely because there was no money available to continue the campaign against Alexius. His victory over Alexius took place in May 1082 in the course of the siege of Joannina just as his father was leaving for Italy.

[9] A marriage alliance with France would have been an attractive option for Bohemond and the initiative appears to have been entirely his: Orderic Vitalis 4: 213. Never one to refer to Bertrade and her children when not necessary, Suger fails to mention that king Philip also gave Cecilia, his daughter by Bertrade in marriage to Tancred, Bohemond’s nephew.

[10] Constance (1078-1124) was the daughter of Philip I of France.

[11] Bohemond had other reasons for coming to France. When he was held captive by the emir Doniman in 1101 and 1102, he swore he would make a pilgrimage to St-Leonard-de-Noblat. According to Orderic Vitalis 4: 212, he also brought with him a pretender who claimed to be the son of the emperor Romanus IV Diogenes to try and get French support against Alexius Comnenus.

[12] Constance had married Hugh I, count of Troyes and Champagne in 1094 or 1095 when aged sixteen. On the intervention of Ivo of Chartres the marriage was ended by the assembly at Soissons 25th December 1104 on the grounds of consanguinity. Suger’s comment that Hugh was not worthy of her is rather harsh but may help to explain Hugh’s later hostility to Louis.

[13] After Easter, which in 1106 fell on 25th March, Bohemond returned to Limousin.

[14] Born in Asti, Italy, in 1049, Bruno became a Benedictine monk while still young and in 1080, Pope Gregory VII appointed him bishop of Segni. He re-entered the monastic life in 1102, becoming the abbot of Monte Cassino five years later without resigning from his episcopal position. Bruno served as librarian to the Holy Roman See and as a cardinal legate. He was canonised in 1183.

[15] Bohemond planned to make a frontal attack on the Byzantine Empire through Albania, as his father, Robert Guiscard, with Bohemond as second-in-command, had done in 1081-5.  His experience convinced him that he might succeed, particularly if he could channel the mounting anti-Byzantine prejudices of the west into support of his venture. These prejudices were born of the friction and misunderstanding engendered by the passage of the hungry and ill-disciplined forces of the First Crusade through the Byzantine empire, and by the disaster of the Crusade of 1101, which Alexius was widely suspected of sabotaging. The wily Norman, therefore, decided to promote a new ‘crusade’, directed not against the Moslems but against the Byzantines. Its real purpose was not to protect the Holy Sepulchre, but to increase his own power. To start a crusade he needed the sanction of pope Paschal II. He saw the pope in 1105. As a result, Paschal appointed bishop Bruno of Segni as legate to preach a new crusade. Although the reports of the Council of Poitiers where the crusade was formally launched in 1106 mention the ‘way to Jerusalem’ rather than Byzantium, it seems likely that Paschal succumbed to the anti-Byzantinism of the day and fell in with Bohemond’s plans. There is no record that the pope denounced Bohemond’s purpose when it became publicly apparent. Indeed, in his relations with the Norman, Paschal does not emerge as a strong character.


[16] The council of Poitiers was held on 26th May 1106.



[17] ‘Home’ in this context refers to Bohemond’s possessions in southern Italy rather than the crusader territories in the east.



[18] Bohemond II Guiscard, prince of Antioch (1126-1130) was born in 1107 and died in 1130. He married Alice de Rethel (1110-1153) and had a daughter Constance, princess of Antioch (1127-1163). On the death of Tancred in 1112, his relative Roger of the Principate was named regent for the still-young heir and namesake of Bohemond I. Direct rule of Antioch by Jerusalem was achieved in 1119 with the death of Roger at the battle of Ager Sanguinis and the subsequent naming of Baldwin II of Jerusalem as regent in Roger’s stead. Baldwin II’s regency was to last, with the exception of his time in captivity from 1123 to 1124, until the arrival from Apulia of Bohemond II in 1126. The younger Bohemond was to carry on the policies of his father and cousin, dying just four years after his arrival while fighting in Cilicia, and bequeathing to the principality a two-year-old female heiress, Constance. Antioch was then ruled by regency, initially by Baldwin II again. With the king’s death in 1130, Alice, widow of Bohemond II and mother of his daughter Constance, contrived, with the aide of both Tripoli and Edessa (both of which wished to abolish the overlordship of Jerusalem) to take power. King Fulk, husband to Baldwin’s heiress Melesende, was obliged to march north to take control of the situation, claiming the regency for himself. In 1133, the king chose Raymond of Poitiers as groom for Constance, thus ensuring an Antiochene leadership more amenable to the interests of Jerusalem. The marriage between the 36-year-old Raymond and the 10-year-old Constance took place in 1136.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Chapter 8

How Miles entered the castle of Montlhery

By these and other means the young prince grew in virtue. He sought to provide wisely for the royal administration and the state and, as opportunity allowed suppress the unruly and occupy or destroy by any means castles that menaced him Guy Trusseau was the son of Miles de Montlhery[1], a turbulent baron who often disturbed the kingdom. When Guy returned home from crusade, he was broken by the exhaustion of a long journey, by the pain of his various troubles, and by the memory of his extraordinary deed at Antioch, when he had, through fear of Kerboga, escaped by climbing down the wall, leaving the army of God besieged inside the city[2]. So he completely lost his health. Fearing disinheritance, by the will and persuasion of King Philip and his son Louis, who desperately wanted his castle he married his one and only daughter[3] to the son of King Philip by his second wife the countess of Anjou[4]. In order to cement his brother’s love more firmly, the elder brother Lord Louis, at his father’s request[5], confirmed to Philip the castle of Mantes[6] at his marriage.

When he received the castle of Montlhéry[7] on this occasion, the inhabitants rejoiced as much as if scales had been removed from their eyes or they had broken the chains that had held them captive. King Philip testified as much to his son Louis when, in my hearing, he recalled how seriously he had been wearied and troubled by it. ‘My son Louis,’ he said, ‘Beware of that tower which has exhausted me into premature old age; the treachery and bad faith of its castellans deprived me altogether of peace and quiet.’

Their disloyalty made the faithful faithless, the faithless totally treacherous. It attracted traitors from near and far and in the whole kingdom no evil occurred without their involvement or consent. Montlhéry stood halfway on the road between Corbeil on the Seine and Chateaufort[8]. It blocked the route to Paris and this caused such chaos and confusion between Paris and Orleans that men could not travel between one place and the other unless under strong guard[9], without the consent of those wicked men. But the marriage of which we have spoken broke the barrier and opened an agreeable route in each direction.

In addition, when Guy, count of Rochefort[10], a man of experience and an outstanding knight, who was Guy Trousseau’s uncle, returned from his Jerusalem journey full of fame and fortune, he freely adhered to King Philip, whose old friend he was, and whose seneschal[11] he had once been. Both the king and his son Louis invested Guy with the seneschalship for the benefit of the state, so that they might from then on possess the castle of Montlhery peacefully, and in order to obtain from his county (that is Rochefort, Chateaufort and the other nearby castles) that bordered on their lands, a peace and service to which they were unaccustomed. The mutual friendship[12] reached the point that, by his father’s persuasion, the son Louis agreed to wed Guy’s daughter[13], not yet of marriageable age. But his affianced did not become his wife; for before the consummation of the marriage some years later, the union was annulled on ground of consanguinity. Thus the friendship lasted for three years. Both father and son had unlimited confidence in Guy. In return, he and his son Hugh de Crecy put all their strength into the defence and honour of the realm.

But because ‘a vase retains for a long time the smell of anything that has one been poured into it,’[14] the men of Montlhery, faithful to their treacherous tradition, intrigued with the Garlande brothers, who had incurred the enmity of the king and his son. They arranged that Miles, viscount of Troyes[15] and younger brother of Guy Trusseau, should come with his mother the viscountess and a great band of soldiers; and he was received at the castle in defiance of their vow. In tears he reminded them of the benefits his father had often conferred on them. He praised their generosity and natural industry, admired their wonderful loyalty, thanked them for having recalled him, and at their knees humbly begged them to finish well a work so well begun. Swayed by seeing him prostrated by grief, they rushed to arms, ran to the tower, and hurled against its garrison swords, lances, torches, stakes and stones. They breached the outer wall of the tower in several places and mortally wounded many of the defenders. Within the tower were the wife of Guy and his daughter affianced to the Lord Louis, When seneschal Guy heard of it, as he was a magnanimous man, he hastened forth and with as many knights as he could gather, boldly approached the castle and sent ahead his fastest messengers to summon his followers from all around. Those who were besieging the tower saw him from the hill. As they had not yet captured it, and were afraid of the sudden advent of Lord Louis, they retired and began to debate whether they should stand fast or flee. But Guy, who was valiant and diplomatic, persuaded the Garlandes brothers to come out and swore that they should have the peace and grace of the king and Lord Louis. Thus he made them and their accomplices abandon their enterprise; with their defection, Miles also defected and fled away swiftly, totally frustrated, in tears and weeping.

When the Lord Louis heard this, he hastened to the castle, and on hearing the true account, rejoiced that nothing had been lost, but grieved that he could not find the rebels to hang them. As for the rest, since Guy had sworn peace with them, the Lord Louis preserved it; but in order to prevent any similar occurrence in the future, he demolished all the fortifications except the tower.[16]


[1] Miles I de Montlhery was born about 1050 in France. He married Lithuaise de Troyes d’Eu about 1069. Guy Trusseau was their son. Both father and son went on the First Crusade in 1096

[2] He escaped with two companions on the night of 10th-11th June 1098 from the siege of Antioch by Kerboga, emir of Mosul: see description in Gesta Francorum 23.

[3] The marriage with Elisabeth de Montlhéry, daughter of Guy I, Seigneur de Mantes eand de Montlhéry did not take place until 1104. This must have followed reconciliation between Louis and his stepmother but Suger does not mention this as he avoided mentioning the problems between them. Orderic Vitalis 4: 195-98 and 288 is more forthcoming.

[4] After the first reference to Bertrade in chapter 1, Suger avoids mentioning her by name and persistently refers to her as ‘superducta Andegavensis comitissa’ (in chapters 13 and 18 as well). The Latin word ‘superducta’ denoted a ‘wife who had been taken while her first husband still lived’ and which can be translated as ‘irregular union’.

[5] Tensions between Philip I and Louis appear to have been resolved by 1104 and their reconciliation included provision of Louis’ castle at Mantes for the young Philip, the eldest of Philip’s sons by Bertrada.

[6] Mantes is on the Seine thirty-five miles north-west of Paris on the southern border of the French Vexin. It is crucially located between the castles of Meulan and La Roche-Guyon.

[7] The castle of Montlhery was built by Theobald, forester for King Robert ‘the Pious’ and maternal grandfather of Miles ‘the Great’.

[8] Montlhery is abouth fifteen miles south of Paris on the road to Orleans. Corbeil is some ten miles south-east of Montlhery while Chateaufort is about the same distance to the north-west.

[9] This is a graphic illustration of the weakness of the French monarchy in this period.

[10] Guy I de Montlhery Count of Rochefort, castellan of Chateaufort and lord of Crecy was born in c.1049 in Montlhéry, Île-de-France, France and died in 1108. He married Adelaide de Crecy about 1080 in France. He was the brother of Miles I de Montlhery.

[11] Guy de Rochefort was seneschal from 1091 until he left for the crusades at the beginning of 1096. The seneschalate was then held by Gilbert called Pain de Garlande (died 1154) and then, very probably by Anselm de Garlande. Having recovered his office in 1104, Guy held it for two further years before his son Hugh de Crecy replaced him.

[12] The creation of an alliance by the projected nuptials of Louis and Guy’s daughter Lucienne de Rochfort indicated how far Guy had advanced in royal favour. Suger points out that she was not yet of marriageable age and in 1107 the Council of Troyes dissolved the betrothal on the grounds of consanguinity but there may have been other reasons. Ibid, La Chronique de Saint-Pierre-le-Vif de Sens, pp. 146-7 stated that Lucienne was not worthy of the royal dignity. Suger stated that Louis had agreed to the marriage at the request of his father but by 1107 the pattern of Louis’ alliances had changed.

[13] The growing rift between the de Rochefort family and the Crown can also be attributed to the intrigues of the Garlande brothers who were restored to royal favour on the accession of Louis VI.

[14] Horace, Epistles I, 2, v, 69-70

[15] Miles II, castellan of Bray-sur-Seine and viscount of Troyes, brother of Guy Trousseau was the nephew of Guy de Rocheford.

[16] These events probably took place in the course of 1105: ibid, Luchaire, Louis VI le Gros, Annales de son vie et de son règne, n° 34.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Chapters 6-7

The castle of Meung

No less famous was the armed assistance he gave to the church of Orleans when Leon, a nobleman from the castle of Meung-sur-Loire[1], liegeman of the liegeman of the bishop of Orleans, tried to seize from the church the greater part of that castle and the lordship of another. Louis restrained him by force, besieged him and his large band of followers in that castle, and when the castle fell, forced Leon to take refuge in a church close by his home, which he surrounded with ramparts. To subdue the strong by the stronger, Louis beat down on him with an intolerable pressure of sword and fire. Leon was not the only man to pay heavily for the excommunication under which he had laboured so long; for when he and about sixty others jumped down from the tower of the burning church, they were skewered on the points of lances and by arrows shot at them; so breathing their last breaths they took their wretched souls miserably down to hell.

The castle of Montaigu

It so happened that the well-fortified castle which is called Montaigu[2] in the district of Laon fell by a marriage alliance into the possession of Thomas de Marle[3], the vilest of men[4], a plague both to God and to men. His unspeakable madness, like that of a cruel wolf, was increased by his confidence in possessing an impregnable castle. All his neighbours feared and loathed him. The man thought to be his father, Enguerrand de Bove[5], a venerable and honourable man, tried harder than anyone else to eject him from the castle because of his brutal tyranny. Enguerrand and Ebles de Roucy[6] agreed that with all the men they could gather, they would besiege the castle with Thomas inside, surround him with a wattled stockade, and force him to surrender through fear of slow starvation. Then they would, if possible, throw down the castle and imprison him for ever. When Thomas saw that, though the stakes were already in place, the gaps between them had yet to be closed, he quietly slipped out one night and hastening to Prince Louis, he corrupted his entourage with presents and promises, and rapidly obtained the military aid he sought.[7]

The prince was both by age and by temperament pliable; so having collected about seven hundred men, he hastened to that part of the country. When he approached the castle of Montaigu, the men who were besieging it sent messengers to him begging him, as their designated lord, not to shame them by making them lift the siege, and not to lose the service of men like themselves for the sake of such an evil man. They declared with truth that if Thomas remained at liberty, he would do more harm to Louis than he had done to them. But when neither flattery nor threats moved him, they retired because they were afraid to attack their future lord. However, they intended, as soon as Louis departed, to start the war again and resume the siege. So they unwillingly left him to do his will. Louis therefore with great strength cut down and broke the stockade freed Montaigu and frustrated their intentions by generously supplying it with arms and men. Then the barons, who had withdrawn out of love and fear, were angry that he had done nothing at all for them, and threatened with oaths that they would no longer show him deference. And when they saw him leave, they struck camp, drew up battle lines and pursued him with the intention of fighting him.

There was an obstacle to their meeting. Between the two armies there lay a flood which could only be crossed with much delay. So for two days both sets of trumpets blew, and ‘spears menaced spears’[8], until suddenly there came to the French a certain jongleur, a chivalrous knight, from the other side, who announced that the others, as soon as they had found a means of access, would indisputably join battle and avenge with their spears and swords the injuries borne for their liberty. But he had left them so that he might fight for and with his natural lord. The rumour spread through the camp and the soldiers danced with joy. They put on magnificent helmets and breastplates and this increased their eagerness for battle and they hastened to attempt the crossing if they could find a suitable place, reckoning that attack was more befitting than defence.

When the most noble men Enguerrand de Boves, Ebles de Roucy, count Andrew of Ramerupt[9], Hugh le Blanc of La Ferte, Robert de Cappy and the other wise and discreet men saw this they admired the boldness of their designated lord. After discussions, they decided to make their homage to him. Approaching in peace, they embraced his youth and gave their hands in friendship and entered his service. Not long afterwards, and the frustration of the impious may be attributed to the divine will, Thomas de Marle lost both the castle and his marriage by annulment on grounds on consanguinity.[10]


[1] Meung-sur-Loire is downstream about eight miles south-west of Orleans and about eighty miles south of Paris. The expedition probably occurred in 1103: ibid, Luchaire, Louis VI le Gros, Annales de son vie et de son règne, n° 25.

[2] Montaigu is about ten miles south-east of Laon and about 110 miles north-east of Paris.

[3] Thomas de Coucy Sire de Coucy and Marle was born about 1073 in Coucy, Picardie, France and died in 1131. He was one of the most powerful lords in the north of the Capetian lands. On the death of his father, he took the name of Marle, land left him by his mother Ada de Roucy, first wife of Enguerrand I de Coucy.

[4] Thomas de Marle is the most wicked character in Suger’s work. Guibert de Nogent is equally damning describing him as ‘the most evil man of all we know in this generation’ and Orderic Vitalis saw him as ‘a rebel bandit who terrorised a whole province’. All these writers wrote from an ecclesiastical position and a case for a more positive assessment is made by Chaurand, Jacques, Thomas de Marle, Sire de Courcy, Marle-sur-Serre, 1963.

[5] Enguerrand I lord of Coucy and count of Amiens was born in 1042 in Coucy, Picardie, France and died in 1116. He married Ada de Marle de Roucy about 1072 and had obtained the land of Coucy in 1086 in his capacity as grandson of Aubry de Coucy. Guibert de Nogent in De vita sua III, c.11 employed the same terms as Suger having reservations about Thomas’ paternity and legitimacy. These are explained by the behaviour of his first wife, Ada, whom he divorced for adultery. Enguerrand hated Thomas and wanted to disinherit it.

[6] Ebles de Roucy was the maternal great-uncle of Thomas de Marle.

[7] Louis’ intervention on behalf of Thomas de Marle needs some explanation and there is no need to dismiss the explanation provided by Suger as a clumsy whitewash. Louis was surrounded by an entourage of young knights whose influence could be damaging and the relationships and alliance that were to characterise the greater part of his reign took time to develop. Ibid, Luchaire, Louis VI le Gros, Annales de son vie et de son règne, n°° 25 and 26 suggests that the expedition to Montaigu took place in the second half of 1103.

[8] Lucan, De bello civili I, 7

[9] Andrew count of Ramerupt and Arcis-sur-Aube was the brother of Ebles de Roucy. Robert de Cappy was a brother of Enguerrand de Boves and died between 1106 and 1109. This makes clear the importance of family in building up alliances.

[10] He was married to Ermengarde, daughter of Roger de Montaigu and this gave him control over the castle. Thomas lost of castle when the marriage was annulled because of consanguinity.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Chapter 5

Concerning Ebles, Count of Roucy

The noble church of Reims and the churches dependent on it found themselves a prey to the tyrannical, valiant and turbulent baron Ebles[1] of Roucy[2] and his son Guichard, who robbed it of its goods. Ebles was a man of great military prowess. Indeed he became so bold that one day he set out for Spain[3] with an army of a size fit only for a king. His feats of arms only made him more outrageous and rapacious in pillage, rape and all over evils. 

Many pitiful complaints had been laid against this powerful and wicked man. At least a hundred complaints had been made to King Philip and before his son two or three. So Louis, exercised by the charges assembled a relatively small army of about seven hundred knights from the most noble and valiant of French lords.[4] They hastened to Reims, where he fought vigorously for about two months, punishing the evils inflicted in the past on the churches, and ravaging, burning and pillaging the lands of the tyrant and his associates. It was well done; for the pillagers were pillaged, and the torturers exposed to equal or worse tortures than they had inflicted on others[5].

Such was the dedication of the prince and his army that throughout the whole time they were there they scarcely rested, except on Saturdays and Sundays[6]. They ceaselessly fought with lances or swords, to avenge by harrying the injuries the count had done. He fought not only against Ebles but also against all the barons of that area who, because of their family ties with the great men of Lotharingia, made up a formidable army.

Meanwhile there were many peace negotiations; and since the prince’s presence was demanded elsewhere by other preoccupations and dangerous affairs, he held a council with his men and then both besought and demanded peace for the churches from that tyrant. Then taking hostages, he forced Ebles to confirm the peace with oaths. When he had met him and sent him away humbled, he left the negotiations over Neufchatel to another time. [7]


[1] Count Ebles II de Roucy was born around 1050 in France and died in 1104. He fought for the cause of Gregory VII in Italy and married Sibylle, daughter of Robert Guiscard about 1081 in France. He was the son and successor of Hilduin III of Ramerupt who became count of Roucy because of his marriage to Adela, daughter of Ebles I. The complex family background of Ebles de Roucy is discussed by Guenée, B., ‘Les Généalogies entre l’histoire at la politique: La fierté d’être capetien, en France, au moyen age’, Annales economies, societes civilisations, vol. xxxiii, (1978), pp. 450-477 especially 453.

[2] Roucy is on the River Aisne about twelve miles north-west of Reims and a hundred miles north-east of Paris.

[3] Ebles’ sister Felicia (1069-1086) was married to Sancho V (born 1067, died 1094), king of Aragon (1069-1094) and king of Navarre (1076-1094). In 1073, Ebles sought to establish a state with the support of Pope Gregory VII like those in Normandy and Southern Italy by taking land from the Moors but his plans came to nothing. See Defourneaux, Marcelin, Les Français en Espagne au XIe at XIIe siècles, Paris, 1948.

[4] These ‘French lords’ came from the Capetian domain in the Ile-de-France.

[5] This occurred in the summer of 1102.

[6] The church, through the Truce of God tried to prevent fighting on Saturdays and Sundays though this was often ignored. The Battle of Hastings, for example, was fought on a Saturday. Louis’ conduct is particularly commendable in Suger’s eyes.

[7] Neufchatel sur-Aisne is upstream from Roucy, about twelve miles north of Reims. It can be implied in this and the following chapters that Louis did not do especially well in these encounters and it can be argued that he was coming off worse.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Chapter 4: How when he was besieging another castle belonging to the same Matthew, at Chambly a sudden storm forced his army to flee; how without Louis' valiant resistance his army would have been all but wiped out; and how Matthew humbly gave him satisfaction

In the same way[1], he led his army against another of the count’s castles called Chambly, pitched camp and ordered the siege engines to be brought up. But his hopes were totally dashed. The weather, which had been good, changed to wet and windy, then a violent storm broke out, with drenching rain, and the whole land was disturbed at night by the chorus of thunderclaps that scattered the army and frightened the horses so much that some people thought they should scarcely survive.

In the face of this unspeakable terror, at dawn part of the army prepared to take flight. While Louis was still sleeping in his pavilion, they craftily set fire to the tents. Because this was the signal for the retreat, the army rashly and in confusion hastened to depart, frightened by the unexpected retreat but not waiting to discuss it. The Lord Louis, confused by the impulsive rush and the great noise enquired what was going on, mounted his horse and rushed after the army, but because it had already dispersed far and wide he failed to bring it back. What could that young hero do than rush to arms with the few men he had managed to collect together, and make a wall to shield those who had fled ahead of him, and attack and be attacked time and again? Those who otherwise would have perished were able to flee quietly and securely; but because many of them fled in small groups far from him, they were captured by the enemy. Among these the most eminent were Hugh of Clermont himself and Guy of Senlis[2] and Herluin of Paris[3], as well as many knights of lesser birth and foot-soldiers.

Deeply wounded by this blow, for he had thus far been inexperienced in disaster when he returned to Paris he felt a totally unfamiliar anger arise in his soul. And as is usual among young men, at least those of them who aspire to valour, as anger moved him he fuelled it. Burning to avenge his injury at once, he gathered with wisdom and caution an army three times the size of the original one, and repeatedly declared with frequent sighs that he would rather face death than bear the shame. When his friends told Count Matthew, because he was a man of good breeding and courtesy, he regretted the shame he had accidentally inflicted on his lord and by repeated approaches sought to open the road to peace as quickly as possible.

With much civility and flattery he tried to pacify the young man, excusing himself, reasonably enough, on the ground that he has not inflicted this injury by design but by accident and showed himself willing to make all due satisfaction. Through many appeals, through the counsel of his household, and the rather belated insistence of his father, the young man’s anger was cooled. He pardoned the repentant noble, excused the injury, restored his losses as far as possible with the count’s cooperation, set free the captives, made peace with Hugh of Clermont, and thanks to the firm peace thus made was able to restore to him the part of the castle that was his.


[1] The attack on Chambly took place immediately after the attack on Luzarches in 1102: ibid, Luchaire, Louis VI le Gros, Annales de son vie et de son règne, n° 19. Orderic Vitalis 4:287 does not mention the storm but attributes the flight of Louis’ force to a trick. Chambly is about three miles north-west of Beaumont and twenty-eight miles north of Paris.

[2] Guy II de Senlis, sometimes called Guy de la Tour was held in great regard by Louis and frequently accompanied him. He was the father of Guy III who became ‘butler’ of the king in 1108: see Depoin, Jean, (ed.), Cartulaire de Saint-Martin de Pontoise, five vols. Pontoise: Société Historique du Vexin, 1895-1909, vol. 4, pp. 282-283.

[3] Herluin of Paris was a member of a family that can be traced back to the tenth century. He was the nephew of Ansoud and Miles of Paris who, in a diploma of 1047 are placed among the ‘optimates palatii Regis’. Herluin acted as the prince’s tutor, a title that continued to be used after Louis became king in 1108 suggesting a close relationship with the monarch.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Chapter 3

How Count Matthew of Beaumont was forced to restore the castle of Luzarches to Hugh of Clermont when the Lord Louis had besieged that castle with powerful forces

Meanwhile, Count Matthew of Beaumont[1], inspired by long bitterness moved against his father-in-law Hugh of Clermont[2], a noble man but pliant and rather too trusting. He completely occupied the castle of Luzarches[3], half of which was his as a result of his marriage agreement, and planned to defend the tower with arms and armed men. What could Hugh do? Hastening to the defender of the realm[4], he prostrated himself at his feet in tears and begged him that he should help an old man, giving aid to one so seriously troubled. ‘I would rather,’ he said, ‘My gracious lord, that you should have all my land, since I hold it of you, than that my unworthy son-in-law should have it. If he takes it from me, I shall wish to die.’ Deeply moved by his sorrowful plight, Louis put out his hand in friendship, promised him help and sent him home in joyful hope. ‘And his hope was not misplaced.’[5]

At once messengers left the court to meet the count and order him, in the name of the king to return in the ordinary way the land he had surprisingly despoiled; the legal case would be discussed on a fixed day at the royal court. When Matthew refused to obey, the defender of the realm hastened to vengeance. Gathering together a large army, he set out and approached the castle. He fought both with sword and fire, took the castle with a great fight, put a garrison into the tower and returned it defended to Hugh, just as he had begged.


[1] Matthew I (c.1075-1152) was count of Beaumont-sur-Oise, son of Yves III de Beaumont-sur-Oise (1040-after 1083) and Adélaïde de Gournay (1055-1099). He married Beatrice or Emma de Clermont, one of the eight children of Hugh de Clermont before 1101. He was brother-in-law of Hugh de Grentmesnil who had married Adeliza de Clermont.

[2] Hugh de Clermont (c.1030-1102) was father-in-law of Matthew de Beaumont. Clermont is about twenty-one miles north of Beaumont.

[3] Luzarches is about six miles south-east of Beaumont and nineteen miles north of Paris. The events in this chapter occurred in 1102: ibid, Luchaire, Louis VI le Gros, Annales de son vie et de son règne, n° 19.

[4] This is the first occasion that Suger uses this phrase and it seems that Louis was already associated with the throne of his father Philip.

[5] St Paul Epistle to the Romans, v, 3

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Chapter 2

 

How he restrained Bouchard de Montmorency, a noble man and all his followers from attacking St. Denis

The famous young man Louis grew up to be cheerful, agreeable and kind, to the point that some people thought him simple.[1] As a distinguished and courageous defender of his father’s kingdom, he provided for the needs of churches and a thing that went right against recent custom worked for the peace of monks, labourers and the poor.[2]

Then, disputes arose over certain customs between Adam[3], the venerable abbot of St. Denis and Bouchard, the noble lord of Montmorency.[4] The argument reached such intensity of ill feeling that, throwing off homage[5] the two one-time allies fought it out with sword and fire. When this reached the ears of the Lord Louis, moved by righteous anger, without delay he forced Bouchard to appear before his father at the castle of Poissy[6] to submit to judgement. When Bouchard lost his case, he would not accept the judgement. He was not held in captivity, that is not the French custom but after his departure he quickly found out what unpleasantness and misfortune the disobedience of subjects earns from the royal majesty. The famous youth brought up an army against him and his confederates for Bouchard had been joined by the valiant and belligerent Matthew, count of Beaumont and Dreux de Mouchy-le-Châtel.[7] Louis ravaged Bouchard’s lands. He demolished the fortified places, destroyed the outer defences, though not the keep of the castle and gave everything over the fire, famine and the sword. Inside the castle, they tried to put up effective resistance. So with the French and Flemish solders brought by his uncle Robert, Louis besieged it. By these and other actions, he subjected the humiliated Bouchard to his will and pleasure and having obtained satisfaction he put an end to the quarrel that had caused the trouble.[8]

Then he attacked Dreux de Mouchy to avenge this and other uncalled-for attacks especially those on the church of Beauvais. Louis met him, surrounded by a great force of archers and crossbowmen only a short distance from his castle, so that his flight should be shorter if he was beaten. Louis rushed against him, prevented him from returning to the castle by force of arms, and then dashed into the midst of the enemy and through the gate. Great champion and distinguished swordsman that he was, in the castle he was frequently attacked and frequently attacked others. However, he would neither withdraw nor permit himself to be driven back until he had captured and completely reduced to cinders the whole castle up to the turret. Such was the passion of the prince that he took no pains to get away from the fire even when it became dangerous to him and his army and made him very hoarse. And thus, having humbled his enemy to the arm of God in whose name he fought, he conquered him as if he were a sick man and subdued him to his will.[9]


[1] Suger used the adjective ‘simplex’ (simple) in reference to Louis. Ibid, Mirot, L., (ed.), La Chronique de Morigny (1095-1152), p. 11 called him ‘homo simplicis naturae’ (a man of simple disposition); Ivo of Chartres used a similar phrase in one of his letters and Walter Map said that both Louis and his son Louis were men of ‘simpleness of speech’. Suger used the same word about Hugh de Clermont (chapter 3) and Odo de Corbeil (chapter 15). I suppose that today we would say that ‘Louis was ‘up-front’.

[2] The next eleven chapters of Suger’s text deal with Louis’ deeds while he was still ‘king-designate’ in the years before the death of his father in 1108.

[3] Montmorency is a few miles north of St-Denis and about seven miles north of Paris. It is of some significance that Louis’ first expedition outside the Vexin was undertaken against an enemy of Suger’s predecessor as abbot. It probably occurred in 1101: ibid, Luchaire, Louis VI le Gros, Annales de son vie et de son règne, n° 16. Adam was abbot from 1099 to 1122.

[4] Count Bouchard (Burchard) IV of Montmorency was born in 1077 and died on 9th January 1132. He married Agnes de Beaumont. He was lord of Marly, Feuillade, Epinay, Saint-Brice and Hérouville

[5] The lords of Montmorency were vassals of the abbey of St-Denis.

[6] Poissy is eighteen miles west of Paris.

[7] Dreux [Drogo] III de Mouchy was born about 1080 and died in 1153. He married Edith de Warenne about 1109. Mouchy-le-Châtel is about fifteen miles north of Beaumont in the French Vexin and forty miles north of Paris. The campaign against Dreux is examined in ibid, Luchaire, Louis VI le Gros, Annales de son vie et de son règne, n° 18.

[8] Orderic Vitalis contradicts Suger at this point arguing that Louis was obliged to retire after a fruitless assault on the castle. The siege is recalled in a charter of Louis VI, of which the substance was passed in to a diploma of Philip Augustus of 1183-1184.

[9] It is almost certain that the campaign against Montmorency took place in 1101 because Robert of Flanders did not return from Jerusalem until the end of 1100.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Chapter 1: concluded

It was commonly said that this proud and impetuous king sought the French throne, because the famous prince was his father’s only son by his most noble wife, the sister[1] of Robert count of Flanders. The king also had two sons, Philip[2] and Florus, by his second wife Bertrada, countess of Anjou.[3] But they were not regarded as successors, had some misfortune brought about the death of the only heir. But because it is neither right nor natural[4] that the French should be subject to the English, but rather the English to the French, events played against this abhorrent hope. This foolish idea tormented King William and his men for three years or more but he lost heart when he understood that he could not win even though the English and the French were bound to him by ties of homage.[5] He sailed back to England[6], where he gave himself up to lust and the desires of his heart. One day, when he was hunting in the New Forest, he was suddenly hit by a misaimed arrow and died.[7]

It was thought that he had been struck by divine revenge because he had been an intolerable oppressor of the poor, a cruel depredator of churches and, on the deaths of bishops or prelates, an irreverent waster and keeper of their goods.[8] Some accused the noblest man Walter Tirel[9] of having shot the arrow. But I have often heard this Tirel, unconstrained by either hope or fear, swear and assert on oath that, on that day he neither entered the part of the wood where the king was, nor saw him at all in the forest.[10] So it is clear that when such a great folly and such a great person suddenly disappears into ashes, it must be divine power that brings it about for he who so deeply troubled others should be much more greatly tried, and he who coveted everything should be deprived of all. For God, who ‘unbelts the swordbelts of kings’[11] subjects kingdoms and the law of kingdoms to himself. His younger brother[12] succeeded William with great haste, since the elder, Robert was on the great expedition to the Holy Land. Henry was a most prudent man, whose worthy and exemplary strength of body and mind offer most pleasing material for a writer. But this is not my purpose. I shall only touch on such matters incidentally, just as I shall say something briefly of the kingdom of Lotharingia because I have set out to write a history of the deeds of the Franks, not of the English. 


[1] In 1070-1071, Philip intervened in the war of succession in Flanders, an action closely linked to his hostility of Normandy. He initially backed the widow and son of Baldwin VI, who were defeated at the battle of Cassel and had to accept the victorious Robert the Frisian as count. However, he married Robert’s step-daughter Bertha securing his alliance against Normandy. Bertha was the daughter of Count Florence of Holland and Gertrude of Saxony. After Florence’s death, Gertrude married Count Robert I ‘the Frisian’ of Flanders (1071-1093), the father of Count Robert II ‘the Jerusalamite’ (1093-1111). Bertha was Robert II’s uterine sister.

[2] Philip, Count of Mantes was born about 1093 in France and died after 1123 in Loire-Atlantique, Pays de la Loire. Fleury was born about 1095 in France and died after 1118. He was married to the heiress of Nangis in Champagne. Suger does not mention their daughter Cecile who married Tancred of Antioch.

[3] In 1092, after he repudiated Bertha, Philip I eloped with Bertrada of Montfort, wife of Fulk le Rechin IV, count of Anjou. Though almost all the French bishops supported his proposed marriage to her, an influential group of ecclesiastics especially Ivo of Chartres thought the marriage was incestuous and opposed it. Despite this, the marriage took place. Philip was excommunicated by Pope Urban II at the council of Clermont in 1095 but neither this nor the initial actions of his successor Pope Paschal II had much effect. Many lay contemporaries had few problems with Philip’s action that were seen as a sensible move to produce more heirs and so safeguard the succession. Reconciliation occurred between Philip and the Church after 1100 and at the council of Beaugency in 1104 he agreed to repudiate Bertrada. Despite this, he continued to live with her openly until his death in 1108. The problems arising from Philip’s conduct are discussed in Duby, Georges, Medieval Marriage: Two Models from Twelfth-Century France, Baltimore, 1978, pp. 29-45 and The Knight, the Lady and the Priest, Harmondsworth, 1983, pp. 3-21.

[4] Suger is here expressing more the views of the 1140s than of the 1090s. He observed that it was contrary of natural law for the French to be subject to the English and vice versa and that inevitably William’s ambition was thwarted. Ibid, Barlow, Frank, William Rufus, p. 378 commented, ‘William would not have cared for that denial of his French nationality.’

[5] Suger is writing with the advantage of hindsight. William had proved a very effective military leader in 1098-1099 in Maine and the Vexin and it would have been an optimist who, in 1100 would have seen war with William at an end.

[6] William returned to England from Normandy in September 1099. As ibid, Barlow, Frank, William Rufus, p. 408 says ‘[He] had not returned to England…to die, but to rest and plan new schemes, new conquests.’

[7] William died on Thursday 2nd August 1100. Ibid, Barlow, Frank, William Rufus, pp. 419-432 considers the evidence for and against conspiracy but hunting accidents were not uncommon and an accident is the most likely, if mundane explanation. Hollister, C. Warren, ‘The Strange Death of William Rufus’, Speculum, vol. lxviii, (1973), pp. 637-53, reprinted in his Monarchy, Magnates and Institutions in the Anglo-Norman World, London, 1986, pp. 59-76 examines the cases for witchcraft and conspiracy before plumping for an accident. Mason, Emma, ‘William Rufus and the Historians’, Medieval History, vol. i, (1991), pp. 6-22 has suggested, though with little support that Tirel was acting as a ‘double agent’ for Philip I and his associate Louis though the actual murder could have been done by a companion of Tirel.

[8] Suger here reflected contemporary attitudes and was expressing a personal viewpoint. However, William’s reputation has always been higher than the strictly historical record suggests. It is the collection of his sayings that brings William out most distinctly, words that were recorded by ecclesiastical chroniclers often against their better judgement. They show a blunt, rough commander but shrewd and often generous monarch, always capable of emotion and always a gentleman. William might have liked to die a hero’s death amid the deadly hail of battle. To be deprived of this was the most terrible punishment that God could inflict. William was struck down when defenceless, impenitent, unshriven and irredeemable. The Church was not to be cheated.

[9] Walter Tirel was castellan of Poix and Pontoise where he retired after William’s death but without loosing any of his lands. He witnessed several of Louis’ charters: ibid, Luchaire, Louis VI le Gros, Annales de son vie et de son règne, no 9, 42 and 168. He died in 1123 on the way to the Holy Land.

[10] Like Suger, John of Salisbury in his revision of Eadmer’s Life of St Anselm in the 1160s was uncertain about the identification of Tirel as William’s killer.

[11] Book of Job xii, 18

[12] William was buried on Friday 3rd August in the Old Minster, Winchester. Henry acted quickly securing the royal treasure at Winchester and gained sufficient support from the barons who happened to be present. He then moved quickly to London where he was crowned king at Westminster on Sunday 5th August. On the problems of the succession see Green, Judith, Henry I, (Cambridge University Press), 2006, pp. 42-59 and Garnett, George, Conquered England: Kingship, Succession and Tenure 1066-1166, (Oxford University Press), 2007, especially pp. 115-119.