Saturday, 27 June 2009

Chapter 29

How he restrained the count of Auvergne from attacking the bishop of Clermont

At about the same time, the bishop of Clermont in the Auvergne[1], a man of upright character and a distinguished defender of his church, was struck down and battered by the pride of the Auvergnats, both a modern and an ancient phenomenon, for it was said of them, ‘The men of Auvergne dare to claim themselves as brothers to the Latins.’[2] He fled to the king and explained the lamentable plight of his church, that the count of Auvergne[3] had occupied the city and, with the complicity of the dean, had tyrannically fortified the cathedral of Notre Dame. He threw himself at the king’s feet, thought the king tried to prevent him, and entreated him with supplications to free the enslaved church and to restrain this furious tyranny with the sword of the king’s majesty. 

Accustomed as he was to giving very prompt assistance to churches, Louis willingly took up the cause of God, despite the great expense involved. Because he could not reform the tyrant by words or letters under the royal seal, he hastened to do it by deed, collected his military forces and led a large French army against recalcitrant Auvergne.[4] On his arrival at Bourges[5] he met various great men of the kingdom, all owing service to the crown[6], and intent on inflicting vengeance on the Auvergnats for the injury done to the church and the King: Fulk, the bellicose count of Anjou, Conan, the very powerful count of Brittany, the noble count of Nevers and many others, making up a substantial force.[7] They ravaged the enemy territory and, as they approached the city of Clermont, the Auvergnats abandoned their castles perched high on the mountain tops and came into the city for protection, because it was very well fortified. 

The French mocked their naivety, and on reflection decided to postpone their march to the city, and thus forced them either to abandon Clermont for fear of losing their castles, or to stay there and consume their provisions. The French diverted to an excellent castle at Le Pont on the river Allier.[8] They pitched their tents round about, ravaged both the plain and the mountain sides, and as they seized the excellently fortified summits of the mountains, seeming in their boldness like giants reaching for the sky, they acquired booty in superfluity, not only of flocks but also of shepherds. They brought up siege engines to the keep of the castle, and by the force of millstones and a rain of arrows compelled them to surrender after much slaughter. When the news reached those who were holding the city, they were struck by fear, and in the expectation that a similar or worse fate would happen to them, they prepared to take flight, came out of the city and left it to the king’s pleasure. The king, victorious in everything, restored the church to God, the towers to the clergy and the city to the bishop, then made peace between them and the count, guaranteeing the treaty with oaths and many hostages.[9]

But less than five years later, the peace was broken by the light-hearted treachery of the counts of Auvergne. Further disaster struck the bishop and his church, the bishop again made his complaint to the king.[10] Scorning to plead exhaustion from his previous futile mission, Louis collected an army even larger than the last one and went back into Auvergne. His body was already heavy, weighed down by a mass of flesh.[11] Any other man be he never so poor, subjected to such a dangerous corpulence, neither would not have ridden. But despite his many friends’ objections, he was filled with marvellous courage and cheerfully bore the summer heats of June and August, which even young men hate, laughing at those who could not bear them. But when crossing the marshes on narrow paths, he often had to let himself be carried on the strong arms of his soldiers. On this expedition there were present Charles, the very powerful count of Flanders, Fulk, count of Anjou, the count of Brittany, an army from Normandy in tribute from the English king Henry[12], and enough barons and magnates of the kingdom to have conquered even Spain.

Crossing by the dangerous entry into Auvergne for there were castles that barred the way, he came to Clermont. When he turned his army against the weak castle of Montferrand[13] opposite the town, the knights who were charged with its defence were so frightened by the splendid French army so unlike their own, and so astonished at the splendour of their hauberks and helmets gleaming in the sun, that they stopped short at the mere sight, abandoned the outer defences and fled, just in time for them, into the keep and its outer bastion[14]. But when the houses in the abandoned area had been set on fire, the flames reduced to cinders everything except the keep and its defence. That day the great heat from the sudden destruction of the town obliged us to pitch our tents outside; but the next day, as the flames died down, we took them inside. 

Early that morning the king had achieved something which filled us with delight though it saddened our enemies. Because our tents were pitched very close to one side of the tower, throughout the whole night they endlessly harassed us with many attacks and a constant stream of arrows and spears so bad that, despite the protection afforded by armed men posted between us and them, we had to shelter under our shields. The king ordered the excellent knight and outstanding baron Amaury de Montfort to set men in ambush at an angle to the bastion, so that they could not return to it unharmed. Skilled in such matters, Amaury and his men armed themselves in their tents and then, with all the speed of their horses they charged at an angle against the enemy, while our men pinned them down, and took some of them by surprise; these they at once sent to the king. When they pleaded to be allowed to ransom themselves at high sums, the king ordered that each should lose a hand and that thus mutilated they should be sent back to their allies within, each carrying his fist in his other fist.

After this, terrified by this treatment, the others left us in peace. While the siege machines and engines which had been built remained in place, the whole of Auvergne lay at the will and discretion of the army. Then Duke William of Aquitaine[15] arrived at the head of a large force of Aquitanians. From the mountains where he had pitched camp he saw the French forces gleaming on the plain, was amazed by the great size of the army, in his impotence he regretted his intention to fight it, and sent messengers of peace to the king. Then he came himself, to talk with Louis as his lord. His oration ran thus: ‘Your duke of Aquitaine, my lord king, salutes you many times and wishes you all honour. Royal majesty in its eminence ought not to disdain to receive the duke of Aquitaine’s service, not to preserve his rights; for if justice requires the service of vassals, it also requires that lords be just. Because the count of Auvergne holds Auvergne from me, as I hold it from you, if he commits a crime I have the duty of making him appear at your court on your command. I have never prevented him from doing this. Indeed now I offer to make him appear, and humbly beg you to accept the offer. To remove from your highness any cause to doubt me, I can give many suitable hostages. If the barons of the kingdom judge thus, so let it be; if they judge otherwise, let it be as they judge.’[16] When the king had deliberated with the barons, at the dictate of justice he accepted fidelity, the oath and a sufficiency of hostages, and restored peace to the countryside and to the churches. Then he named a day to settle the affair at Orleans in the presence of the duke of Aquitaine, a condition they had thus far refused and collecting together his army with honour, he returned as victor to France. 


[1] Aimeri was bishop of Clermont from 1111 to 1150. He had been abbot of La Chaise-Dieu.

[2] Lucan, De bello civili, I, 427

[3] William VI, count of Auvergne 1096-1136. He was born c.1069 and married Emma de Hauteville, daughter of Roger I, count of Sicily.

[4] This expedition against William VI of the Auvergne is treated out of chronological order as it occurred in 1122: ibid, Luchaire, Louis VI le Gros, Annales de son vie et de son règne, n° 318. It took Louis far from Paris, about 230 miles south to Clermont-Ferrand.

[5] He arrived at Bourges a little before 3rd August 1122: ibid, Luchaire, Louis VI le Gros, Annales de son vie et de son règne, n° 317.

[6] Actually ‘debtors of the king’.

[7] The expedition into the Auvergne included three counts: Fulk of Anjou, Conan of Brittany (count since 1112 and mentioned for the first time as helping Louis) and William of Nevers. All three were to join the host at Reims in 1124. Suger uses the expression ‘regni debitores’ for them and other members of the force implying some sort of feudal obligation.

[8] Pont-du-Chateau, Puy-de-Dome is eight miles east of Clermont-Ferrand and is the southernmost point that Suger describes Louis as having gone.

[9] The expedition to the south in 1122 came after the unsatisfactory conclusion of his most recent problems with Henry I (chapter 26). Louis had some justification to be pleased with this result and a document in 1122 refers to him in Paris with his magnates triumphant over his enemies and in possession of a glorious peace.

[10] The second expedition probably occurred in the summer of 1126 and certainly before 2nd March 1127 when the count of Flanders who accompanied Louis was killed. If the word ‘lustrum’ is used in its precise sense of a period of five years (though it can also have the sense of ‘four years’), dating the expedition to 1126 accords well with that of 1122 for Louis’ first expedition to the south.

[11] This is the first clear reference to Louis’ weight: see chapters 31 and 33 for additional ones.

[12] This was the first and only time that Henry I sent troops to serve on a French royal campaign and relations between the two monarchs was more amicable than it had been for years. The main reason for this was that Henry I had to make his mind up about the succession, something he had delayed doing since the death of William Adelin in the White Ship in late 1120. Louis VI had long been William Clito’s most powerful supporter and, as William was a possible successor Louis did not want to make any moves against the Anglo-Norman state while the issue remained unresolved. The news that Henry had decided in favour of his daughter Matilda and that oaths were sworn to her in 1st January 1127 led to an immediate reaction from Louis. By the end of January, Louis had married his wife’s half-sister to Clito and given him a lordship in the French Vexin. This is discussed fully in Hollister, C. Warren, ‘The Anglo-Norman Succession Debate of 1126: Prelude to Stephen’s Anarchy’, Journal of Medieval History, vol. i, (1975), pp. 19-36, reprinted in ibid, Monarchy, Magnates and Institutions in the Anglo-Norman World, pp. 145-170.

[13] The castle of Montferrand is today in the north-east of the town of Clermond-Ferrand. It was built at the end of the tenth century and dominated the area.

[14] In French, the outer bastion is called ‘la chemise du donjon’.

[15] William X, duke of Aquitaine (1126-1137) and VIII count of Poitou was the son of William IX (22nd October 1071-10th February 1126) and Audearde of Burgundy (1050-1104) who she married in 1068. He was born in 1099 and died at Saint-Jacques de Compostelle, in Spain on 9th April 1137. He married Eleanor of Chatellerault in 1121. His only son, William died young. His elder daughter, Eleanor (1122-1204) married Louis VI’s son Louis in 1137. We know little of his second daughter Petronille other than she died in April 1153.

[16] The duke’s words, as reported by Suger, stated an important principle: the count of the Auverge is a vassal of the duke of Aquitaine but because the duke himself is a vassal of the king, the count is ultimately answerable to the king. The concept is important in the recovery of royal power by the Capetians in the twelfth century and such a clear acceptance of it by a major vassal so distance from Paris is significant. This statement demonstrates the existence, at the beginning of the twelfth century that genuine feudal duties limited the relationship between the regional lords and the Crown.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Chapter 28

With what valour he repelled the Emperor Henry's attempted invasion of the kingdom

But let us return to our aim, which is to write a history of the king. The Emperor Henry long nourished a grievance against King Louis because it was in his kingdom, at the council of Reims[1] that Pope Calixtus had excommunicated him. So before Pope Calixtus’s death, he collected together an army from wherever he could of Lotharingians, Germans, Bavarians, Swabians, and even Saxons although he was facing attacks from them, and pretended to send them in the other direction. But with the counsel of King Henry of England, whose daughter was his queen[2], and who had already taken the offensive against Louis, he planned to launch an unexpected coup against Reims and destroy it as the lord pope had done to him at the session of the council.[3]

When the plan was revealed to King Louis by his intimate friends, bravely and boldly he summoned a levy for which he did not wait and then he called up his nobles and explained to them the state of affairs[4]. Since he recognised, both because he had often been told and because he had experienced it, that St. Denis was the special patron and after God the singular protector of the kingdom, he hastened to his church to implore him from the bottom of his heart, with prayers and gifts, that he would defend the kingdom, safeguard his person and repel the enemy in his customary fashion. Then since the French have the special privilege that, when their kingdom is invaded from without, they may place the saint’s and defender's relics, with those of his companions, on the altar to defend them, this was done in the king’s presence with solemnity and devotion. Then the king[5] took from the altar the banner belonging to the county of the Vexin, which he held in fief of the church, and in accordance with his vow received it as if from his lord[6]. At the head of a handful of men to protect him, he flew off against the enemy, calling on the whole of France to follow him in strength. The unusual courage of the enemy stirred up righteous anger and inspired in the French their usual bravery; moving everywhere it called out knightly levies, and produced men and forces mindful of their past courage and their past victories.

From all sides we met together in strength at Reims. So large a force of knights and foot-soldiers turned up that they seemed to cover the surface of the earth like locusts, engulfing not only the river banks but also the mountains and the plains. The king waited for a whole week for the German incursion, and after the magnates had debated the affair, this was proposed: ‘Let us boldly cross to them, in case they should return unpunished from their proud act of audacity against France, the mistress of the lands. Their defiance should meet with its deserts not in our land but in theirs, which belongs to the French. Thus we would publicly return to them the evil that they plotted to inflict secretly on us.’

But others, with the gravity born of experience, persuaded them to wait longer for the enemy. When they had crossed the frontier, they could be intercepted, cut off from flight, thrown down, vanquished and slain without mercy like Saracens, their barbarous bodies left unburied, exposed to their eternal shame for the wolves and crows; such slaughter and cruelty would be justified by the need to defend the country.

Inside the palace the magnates of the realm were organising the battle lines in the king’s presence and deciding which forces should be joined together to help which. They made one corps from the men of Reims and Chalons, comprising more than sixty thousand knights and foot-soldiers; the men of Laon and Soisson, equally numerous, formed a second; those of Orleans, Étampes and Paris, with the large force from St-Denis, devoted to the crown, formed the third[7]. In hope of help from his protector, the king joined this one, explaining: ‘I shall fight both safely and bravely in this corps because, in addition to the help of our saintly lords, these are my fellow countrymen among whom I grew up well known to them; as long as I live they will help me, and if I die they will keep my body and carry it home.’

Although he was engaged with his uncle the English king in making was on Louis, the count palatine Theobald with his noble uncle Hugh, count of Troyes, answered the call of France and made up a forth corps[8], while the fifth, composed of the duke of Burgundy and the count of Nevers, took the vanguard. Raoul, noble count of Vermandois, the king’s cousin, outstanding both in his birth and in his chivalry, was sent to hold the right wing, with a large force from St. Quentin and the whole neighbourhood, helmeted and armed with mail[9]. The king approved the decision that the men of Ponthieu, Amiens and Beauvais should hold the left wing[10]. The most noble count of Flanders[11] with ten thousand men eager for battle, he would have tripled his army had he known earlier, was selected as the rearguard. These barons all came from lands bordering on the king’s. But William, duke of Aquitaine[12], the noble count of Brittany[13], and the bellicose count Fulk of Anjou rivalled them in zeal to punish harshly the insult against France.[14]

It was also decided that, wherever the army engaged in battle, provided the ground was suitable, wagons and carts carrying water and wine for the weary or wounded should be placed in a circle, like a castle, so that those whose wounds obliged them to withdraw from the battle could recover their strength by drinking and by applying bandages, that they might return to the fray with renewed force. 

The emperor heard the news of the preparations for this great and terrifying expedition and of the service of so great an army of strong men.[15] Using ruse and dissimulation to hide the real reason for it, he fled secretly, and stole off in the other direction, preferring to put up with the ignominy of retreat rather than expose his empire and his person, already in danger of ruin, to the harshest reprisals of the French.[16] When the French heard this, only the prayer of the archbishops and religious could with difficulty prevent them from devastating his kingdom and oppressing its poor inhabitants. 

Having gained such a great and famous victory, as great as or greater than if they had triumphed in the field, the French went home. The joyful and grateful king came most humbly to his protectors, the saintly martyrs, and gave great thanks to them after God, and restored to them with devotion his father’s crown which he had unjustly retained[17], for by right all crowns of dead kings belong to them. He most willingly returned the external Lendit fair held in the square, the one within the burg already belonged to the saints[18] and solemnly granted, confirmed by royal precept, the whole vicaria[19] between the limits marked by the crosses and the marble columns that were set up to resist the enemy like the pillars of Hercules[20]. During the whole time in which the army was called up for war, the sacred and venerable silver caskets in which lay the relics of the saints remained on the main altar. Night and day the brothers celebrated a continuous office in their honour, and crowds of devout people and pious women came to pray for assistance for the army. The king in person carried on his own shoulders his lords and patrons, and in tears like a dutiful some he put them back in their usual place. Then he rewarded them for the assistance he had received on this and other occasions, with gifts of land and other comforts.

But the German emperor was humbled by this episode and lost strength from day to day, then died[21] before the year was out, thus proving the truth of the ancient adage[22]: anyone, either noble or commoner, who disturbs the peace of the kingdom or the church, and causes by his claims the relics to be placed on the altar, will not survive more than a year but die without delay or before the year is out. 

The English king had been an accomplice of the German, making war against Louis with Count Theobald, and conspiring to ravage or to occupy the frontier bordering his lands while the king was absent.[23] But he was repelled by one single baron, Amaury de Montfort a man with an unfaltering appetite for war, supported by the army of the Vexin. So having gained little or nothing, Henry withdrew, his hopes frustrated. 

Neither in this modern age or in antiquity has France ever accomplished a more heroic act or more gloriously demonstrated its power than when, joining all the forces of its members together, at one and the same moment she triumphed over the German emperor and, in Louis’s absence, the English king. After this, the pride of his enemies was snuffed out, ‘the land was silent in his sight’[24], and those of his opponents whom he could reach returned to their homes in grace, having given him their hands in friendship. ‘Who denies his just demands yields everything to the man with his arms held at the ready.’[25]


[1] The council at Reims took place in October 1119.

[2] Henry V married Henry’s daughter Matilda in January 1114. After his death, she married Geoffrey Plantagenet, count of Anjou.

[3] Ekkehard d’Aura, a German chronicler wrote that the aim of the expedition was to support Henry I in his war for control of Normandy.

[4] Henry V was in Worms on 25th July 1124. On the subject of Louis’ meeting with his knights, the compiler of Manuscript F provides several important details: ‘Some argued that they should wait for the enemy, saying that it was easier to get the better of them in the heart of the kingdom while others maintained that they should fortify the estates and garrison the walled places. But the king, fearing the violence of the Germans, afraid that damage could not be repaired if the way into the kingdom was left unprotected and recognising that there was no time to put in place defences for the cities and towns said: ‘It is not enough that I must proceed. I must call without delay a levee of knights and place them on the frontier of the kingdom, like an unshakeable wall to await the enemy’.’

[5] This took place around 3rd August 1124. The ceremony is related in a diploma of Louis VI that fails to mention the presence of Suger. This standard was originally the banner of the counts of Vexin, vassals of the abbey of St-Denis but was increasingly conflated with the oriflamme of Charlemagne. Spiegel, Gabrielle M., ‘The Cult of Saint Denis’, Journal of Medieval History, vol. i, (1975), printed in her The Past as Text: The Theory and Practice of Medieval Historiography, London, 1997, p. 154 argues that ‘..the Oriflamme had the quality of a corporate image. In handing it over to Louis VI, Suger gave the monarchy a symbol of collective unity hithero lacking, but one which retained its distinctive association with the cult of St Denis. As the special ensign of St Denis, the Oriflamme represented his spiritual leadership, as Suger declared over ‘all France’.’ Only Manuscript F calls it the ‘auriflamma’.

[6] Louis had been made count of the Vexin in 1092: ibid, Luchaire, Louis VI le Gros, Annales de son vie et de son règne, n° 4. Suger asserts that in 1124, in a full chapter of St-Denis, Louis had stated that he held the county as a fief of St-Denis and that if he had not been king he would have performed homage. According to Manuscript F, Louis declared that he would be required to make an act of homage to the church had not his royal office prevented him. These statements are stronger than the wording of the passage in Suger’s Vita but do not contradict it. It has been said that Suger forged a charter shortly after 1124 according to which Charlemagne gave all France to St-Denis: Barroux, Robert, ‘L’abbé Suger at la vassalité du Vexin en 1124’, Le moyen age, vol. lxiv, (1958), pp. 1-26 but the evidence for this position is not strong. By contrast, Van de Kieft, C., ‘Deux Diplômes faux de Charlemagne pour Saint-Denis au XIIe siecles’, Le Moyen Age, vol. xiii, (1958), p. 432 believes that it could not have been written before 1156 and sees Suger’s successor Odo de Deuil as the major force in its fabrication. Ibid, Spiegel. Gabrielle M., ‘The Cult of Saint Denis’, printed in her The Past as Text: The Theory and Practice of Medieval Historiography, pp. 155-157 examines the importance of this forged charter or ‘Donation’ of Charlemagne in which he decreed that all kings, archbishops and bishops should venerate the monastery as the ‘caput omnium ecclesiarum regni’ (head of all the churches of the realm) and its abbot as Primate of France. In addition, Charlemagne declared that he himself held France in fief from God and the holy martyr and that henceforth the kings of France should be crowned at St-Denis and leave the insignia of their office at the abbey. The Donation asserted that St-Denis had a territorial right to France, a right to consecrate the French kings as against the claims of Reims, the position as treasurer of the royal insignia (ultimately achieved) and primacy over the French church. The language used in the charter is feudal in character and closely resembles Suger’s account of Louis VI’s assumption of the Oriflamme in 1124 when Louis also declared himself as a vassal of the saint calling the abbey the ‘caput regni nostri’.

[7] The compiler of Manuscript F gives the precise figures: ‘Ten thousand men’.

[8] Manuscript F says ‘with eight thousand’.

[9] Manuscript F says ‘with seven thousand’. The duke of Burgundy was Hugh II Borel (1102-1142) and the count of Nevers was William II (1100-1148).

[10] Manuscript F says ‘with similar numbers’.

[11] Charles the Good had been count of Flanders since 1119.

[12] William ‘the Young’ (1086-1126) was seventh count of Poitou and ninth duke of Aquitaine.

[13] Conan III (1112-1148) was called ‘the Fat’.

[14] Moreover, Fulk V was clearly reconciled with Henry I in May 1119 and Brittany was increasing within the English sphere of influence.

[15] The compiler of Manuscript F added here an interesting detail: ‘Already, with the king, they had marched to the frontiers of the kingdom and when the Germans approached in disorderly groups, they killed nearly ten thousand.’

[16] The retreat began on 14th August and according to Manuscript F it was preceded by French attacks on his position. Ekkehard d’Aura gave two reasons for this: ‘The emperor only had a few of his troops with him because the Germans did not willingly attack foreign countries. Also, the people of Worms, with the help of Duke Frederick and contrary to the wishes of the emperor, had restored their bishop to his see and had fortified it in anticipation of a revolt within the walls of their town.’ Otto of Friesing stated that Henry went as far as Metz but retired when he learned that the people of Worms were already in revolt.

[17] This is an error. Louis did give the crown of his father to the abbey of St-Denis but the charter was in 1120, before 3rd August in the presence of Conan the papal legate. The error was perhaps partly motivated by Suger wishing this event occurred in his abbacy rather than his predecessor Adam.

[18] Levillain, L., ‘Essai sur les origins du Lendit’, in Revue historique, vol. clv, (1927), pp. 241-267 argues that the fair belonging to the monks that was held inside the burg, had its origins in the feast held on 8th June 1048 in honour of the relics received by the abbey in the previous year. The external fair, perhaps a result of the growth of the other was probably created by Louis VI between 1110 and 1112. It was held on plain of Saint-Denis, to the east of the Roman road on land by then royal. The two fairs became confused after 1213 with the profit of the Lendit of the plain. Lombard-Jourdan, Anne, ‘Les foires de Saint-Denis’, Bibliothèque de l’Ecole des Chartres, vol. xclv, (1987), pp. 273-338 deals with Louis’ renunciation of the fair.

[19] The ‘vicariam omnimodan’ was a right of justice that Louis VI had already given to Saint-Denis in 1120. In 1124, he only confirmed this gift making clear its limitations. This error can be linked with the erroneous dating of the return of Philip’s crown. In both cases, there appears to be a manipulation of the evidence to highlight Louis’ grateful feelings towards St-Denis on his successful return from Reims.

[20] This is a further error. It was when Louis VI took the oriflamme before he left for Reims that Saint-Denis profited from his generosity. The king fixed the limits of the justice of the abbey from one side of the River Seine ‘from the mill vulgarly called ‘Baiard’’ to the other side ‘to the top of the town called Aubervilliers’, land encompassing the two parishes of Saint-Denis and La Courneuve. The marble columns are noted in several medieval acta and nearly all existed in the seventeenth century.

[21] Henry V died at Utrecht on 23rd May 1125.

[22] The origin of this is unknown.

[23] Orderic Vitalis wrote that Henry I’s campaign preceded the German invasion by several months. On 26th March 1124, near Bourghthéroulde he captured by surprise Galeran, count of Meulan and his two brothers-in-law who supported William Clito. As for Amaury de Montfort he took Rougemoutier in April or May 1124 and made peace abandoning the cause of William Clito.

[24] Maccabees I, 1, 3. This was a formula familiar to Suger.

[25] Lucan, De bello civili, I, 348-349

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Chapter 27

Pope Calixtus and the abbacy of St-Denis

About that time Paschal, sovereign pontiff of blessed memory, departed from this world to eternity[1]. His successor was the chancellor John of Gaeta[2], canonically elected pope under the name of Gelasius[3]. But Bourdin, deposed archbishop of Braga[4], was violently thrust on to the apostolic throne by the Emperor Henry, and with the support of the Roman people who had been bribed, he harassed Gelasius beyond bearing, and tyrannically forced him to depart from the Holy Sea. So, as popes had often done in the past, he fled to the defence and protection of his serene highness King Louis and to the compassion of the French church. 

As he was much distressed by poverty, he took to ship and landed at Maguelonne[5], a small island possessed only by one bishop, his clerks and a small household, with a small and isolated town that was extremely well-defended by a wall from the attacks of Saracen pirates. I was sent by the lord king, who had already heard of the pope’s arrival. I handed over letters, and because I offered him the first-fruits of the realm[6], I returned joyfully with his blessing and a date fixed for a colloquy between the two men at Vezelay.

As the king was preparing to meet him, it was announced to him that Gelasius, long sick with gout, had died[7], thus sparing both the French and the Romans trouble. Among the many religious men and prelates who hastened to be present at his funeral, and as venerable as any of them was Guy, archbishop of Vienne, noble in birth as a relation of both the imperial and the royal families, but nobler still in morals[8]. The night before he had had a vision that proved to be an accurate prediction, though he did not then understand it. He saw an important person giving him the moon from under his cloak. When he had been elected to the papacy by the members of the Roman church present, who feared that the church might be endangered by the vacancy, he understood more clearly the true meaning of his vision.

When raised to such a great position, he gloriously, humbly but actively justified the church’s rights and the more skillfully dealt with the church’s affairs, thanks to the goodwill and assistance of the lord King Louis and of Queen Adela[9], who was his niece. During the famous council he held at Reims[10], he postponed a session in order to meet and negotiate for peace with the Emperor Henry’s legates on the frontier at Mouzon.[11] But when he failed to achieve anything, he excommunicated the emperor, as his predecessors had done, in full council, before the French and the Lotharingians. Then, enriched by the monies vowed to him by the churches, he made his glorious way to Rome, where he was received in pomp by the clergy and people and happily administered the church with greater competence than many of his predecessors has shown.[12]

But he had not been long in the Holy See when the Romans, favourably impressed by his nobility and liberality, captured and held prisoner Bourdin, the emperor’s antipope, who had established himself at Sutri and had obliged all clerics passing by on their way to the apostolic see to bend their knees to him. They clothed him in untreated and bloodstained goat skins, then put this crooked antipope, or even antichrist, across the hump of a crooked camel, and led him on the royal highway through the middle of the city to publish his shame, so avenging the church’s ignominy. Then, on the order of the lord Pope Calixtus, they condemned him to perpetual imprisonment in the mountains of Campagna near Monte Cassino[13]. To keep alive the memory of such a striking act of vengeance, they had painted in a chamber of the palace a picture of him being ground beneath the pope’s feet.[14]

While Calixtus gloriously presided over the church[15] and tamed Italy’s and Apulia’s brigands, the light of the Holy See shone forth, not under a bushel but as if from a mountain top. The church of St. Peter sparkled and the other churches, both inside the city and roundabout, recovered their possessions, thankfully enjoying them under the patronage of so great a lord. When I was sent by King Louis to discuss some affairs of state with him, I met him at Bitonto in Apulia[16]. The pope received me honourably, out of reverence both for the king and for my monastery and by the persuasion of various companions, including the abbot of St. Germain, my colleague and former fellow student.  [17]

So after I had successfully concluded the king’s business I hastened to return home. Like any other pilgrim, I received hospitality in a certain estate. After matins, as I lay clad on my bed waiting for dawn, in my drowsy state I saw a vision of myself on the high sea, drifting around alone on a small boat with no oars, tossing dangerously up and down on the waves. Terrified by the wretched prospect of shipwreck, I was relentlessly interceding with God when suddenly, through divine pity, a gentle, pleasant breeze got up from the cloudless sky, turned the vibrating and endangered prow of my wretched craft in the right direction, and with incredible speed it reached the calm of harbour.   Awakened by daylight, I set off on my journey; as I went, I made a great effort to recall the vision and interpret it, for I was afraid that the tossing of the wave signified some grave misfortune for me. Suddenly I met one of my servant boys who recognised me and my companions. Both with pleasure and distress he took me aside on my own and told me that my predecessor, Abbot Adam of blessed memory, had died[18], and that I had been elected by common agreement in full chapter. But he added that since the election had been made without consulting the king, the wiser and more religious of the brothers and the nobler among the knights had been loaded with reproaches when they took the news of the election to the king for his approval and had been imprisoned in the castle at Orleans.[19] Out of humanity and piety I shed tears for the suffering of my spiritual father and teacher; the thought of his temporal death grieved me much and I implored God’s mercy most sincerely to save him from eternal death. 

I came to myself with the consolation of many companions and by my own common sense, tormented by a triple problem. If I accepted the election against the will of the lord king though in conformity with the Roman church’s commands and by the authority of Pope Calixtus who loved me, could I bear it that my mother church, which had fostered me so tenderly at her bosom with the milk of human kindness, should be vilified and cheated by two pillagers on my account? Should I permit my brothers and friends to be shamed and disgraced in a royal prison because they loved me? Ought I rather, on these and other grounds, to refuse the election and incur great disapprobation by my rejection? I was considering sending one of my men to the pope to take his advice, when suddenly these appeared a noble Roman cleric well-known to me, who undertook himself an oath to do what I had wished to do through my own men, though I would have incurred great expense. Along with the lad who had come to me, I sent one of my servants ahead to the king, to find out and report to me how the confused affair had ended, so that I should not expose myself carelessly to Louis’s wrath.

As I followed them, I felt as if I were tossing on the open sea without oars, troubled and deeply anxious about the uncertain outcome of the affair. But by the generous mercy of omnipotent God, a gentle breeze blew on the capsizing ship; unexpectedly the messengers returned to report that the king had given me his peace, had set free his prisoners and had confirmed the election. Taking this as proof of God’s will, for it was God’s will that what I wanted should rapidly occur, I arrived with God’s assistance at my mother church, which received its prodigal son with sweetness, maternal affection and generosity. There I had the pleasure to find waiting for me the lord king, whose face had turned from a frown to a smile, the archbishop of Bourges, the bishop of Senlis and many other notable churchmen.[20] To the delight of the assembled brothers, they received me solemnly with much respect; and the next day, the Saturday before the Passion I, though unworthy, was ordained a priest. The following Sunday, that of Isti sunt dies[21], I was undeservedly consecrated abbot before the most holy body of St. Denis.

As God in his omnipotence is wont to do, the more He lifted me from the depths to the heights, ‘raising the poor man from the mire to set him among princes’[22], the more humble and devoted His gentle but powerful hand made me, as far as human weakness allowed. Knowing my inadequacy both of birth and of knowledge, He mercifully prospered me, insignificant though I am, in all things. As well as the recovery of former estates of the church, the acquisition of new ones, the extension of the church on all sides, and the construction or reconstruction of buildings, the sweetest and most agreeable, the supreme favour His mercy vouchsafed to me was the complete reform of the holy order of His holy church, to the honour of the saints and especially of Himself and the peaceful establishment of the holy rule by which men come to enjoy God, without scandal and without the customary trouble among the brothers.[23]

This powerful display of the divine will was followed by such an outpouring of liberty, good reputation and riches from the land that even in the present time, to encourage my fearfulness, it can be appreciated to what extent I have received even my temporal reward; for popes, kings and princes take pleasure in wishing the church joy, so that a marvellous stream of precious gems, gold and silver, mantles and other ecclesiastical ornaments flows in, giving me the right to say ‘with her (wisdom) all other good things have come to me.’[24] Having experienced the future glory of God, I adjure and implore the brothers who will succeed me through God’s mercy and His terrible judgement, not to permit adherence to that holy rule, by which God and man are united, to grow lukewarm; to repair it when broken, to restore it when lost, to enrich it when impoverished; because, just as those who fear God lack nothing, so those who do not, even if they are kings, lack everything, even control of themselves. 

The year after my ordination, in order to escape being accused of ingratitude, I went to visit the holy Roman church. Before my promotion, I have been very kindly received, both at Rome and elsewhere, at the many different councils I attended on business for my own church or for other churches. I had been willingly listened to, and had achieved more than I deserved. So when I hastened there, I was almost honourably received by Pope Calixtus and his whole curia. While I was staying with him, I attended a great council at the Lateran of three hundred or more bishops, convened to bring the Investiture Contest to a peaceful conclusion[25]. Then I spent six months in travelling the various holy places to pray, to St. Benedict at Monte Cassino, St. Bartholomew at Benevento, St. Matthew at Salerno, St. Nicholas at Bari, and the Holy Angels at Monte Gargano[26]. Then, with God’s help, I returned prosperous in the favour and love the pope had shown me and bearing formal letters[27].

On another occasion a few years later[28], the pope most graciously invited me back to honour me further and, as he had promised in his letters, to promote me further[29]; but when I reached Lucca, a city in Tuscany, I learned correctly that he had died[30], so I went home to avoid the ancient but always renewed avarice of the Romans. He was succeeded by the bishop of Ostia, a grave and austere man who, when he had been approved, took the name of Honorius.[31] Appreciating that my case against the nunnery of Argenteuil, dishonoured by the shocking behaviour of its young nuns, was just, as it was confirmed by the testimony of his legate Matthew, bishop of Albano[32], as well as by the bishops of Chartres[33], Paris[34], Soissons[35] and Renaud, archbishop of Reims[36], along with many others, he read the mandates brought to him by our messengers of the ancient kings Pepin, Charlemagne, Louis the Pious and others concerning St-Denis’s rights there. Then with the unanimous support of the curia, he restored the place to St-Denis, both because it was in accordance with justice and because the nuns’ conduct was appalling and he confirmed it.[37]


[1] Paschal died on 21st January 1118.

[2] Born at Gaeta, year unknown; elected 24th January 1118; died at Cluny, 29th January 1119. No sooner had Paschal II died, that the cardinals, knowing that the emperor, Henry V, had already agreed with a faction of the Roman nobility to force the selection of a pliant imperial candidate, met secretly in a Benedictine monastery on the Palatine. Having dispatched a messenger to Monte Cassino, to summon the aged chancellor, Cardinal John of Gaeta (Giovanni Caetani), they turned a deaf ear to his entreaties and unanimously declared him pope. John was of a noble family, probably the Gaetani. Early in his life he entered the monastery of Monte Cassino, where he made such progress in learning and became so proficient in Latin, that, under successive pontiffs, he held the offices of chancellor and librarian of the Holy See. He was the trusted advisor of Paschal II; shared his captivity and shielded him against the zealots who charged the pope with heresy for having, under extreme pressure, signed the ‘Privilegium’, which made the emperor lord and master of papal and episcopal elections. When the news spread that the cardinals had elected a pope without consulting the emperor, the imperialist party broke down the doors of the monastery. Their leader, Cenzio Frangipani seized the new pontiff by the throat, threw him to the ground, stamped on him with spurred feet, dragged him by the hair to his neighbouring castle, and threw him, loaded with chains, into a dungeon. Indignant at this brutal deed, the Romans rose in their might; and, surrounding the robber’s den, demanded the instant liberation of the pontiff. Frangipani, intimidated, released the pope, threw himself at his feet, and begged and obtained absolution. A procession was formed, and amidst shouts of joy Gelasius II was conducted into the Lateran and enthroned.

[3] The triumph was of short duration. On 1st March 1118, Henry V arrived in Italy. As soon as he had heard of the proceedings at Rome, he left his army at Lombardy and hastened to the capital. Gelasius immediately determined upon flight. On a stormy night, the pope and his court proceeded in two galleys down the Tiber, pelted by the imperialists with stones and arrows. After several mishaps Gelasius at length reached Gaeta, where he was favourably received by the Normans. Being only a deacon, he received successively priestly ordination and episcopal consecration on 10th March. Meanwhile, the emperor, ignoring the action of the cardinals appointed Maurice Burdinus, Archbishop of Braga in Portugal as pope. Gelasius excommunicated both of them; and as soon as the emperor left Rome, he returned secretly; but soon decided to seek refuge in France. He went by way of Pisa, where he consecrated its splendid marble cathedral, and Genoa. He left Pisa on 2nd October, was in Marseilles on 23rd October and remained at Maguelonne from 15th to 30th November. It was at this moment that he was met by Suger who conducted him to the monastery of Cluny. Gelasius was perfecting plans for the convocation of a great council at Reims, when he succumbed to pleurisy, leaving the conclusion of the fifty years’ war for freedom to his successor, Calixtus II.

[4] Maurice Bourdin was probably from Limoges. He was a Benedictine monk who was successively arch-deacon of Toledo, bishop of Coimbra from 1098 to 1111 and archbishop of Braga from 1111 to 1114 when he was suspended because of a quarrel over precedent with the archbishop of Toledo. Coming later to Rome, he so ingratiated himself with the pope, who was also a Cluniac, that he was retained at court and employed on weighty affairs. In 1117, when Henry came to Rome to force his terms upon the pope, Paschal, safe in Benevento, sent Bourdin with some cardinals to negotiate with the emperor. This mission proved to be the downfall of Bourdin. Seduced from his Gregorian principles, he openly espoused the cause of Henry, and, to emphasise his apostasy, placed the crown upon the emperor on Easter Day 1117. He was promptly excommunicated but was marked out for promotion to the papacy by his new associates. He was elected on 8th March and enthroned under the name of Gregory VIII. Repeatedly excommunicated and finally delivered as a prisoner into the hands of Calixtus II, he was detained in several monasteries until his death about 1137. This ended the career of a prelate ‘whom’, says William of Malmesbury in Gesta Regum Anglorum V, 434, ‘everyone would have been obliged to venerate and all to adore on account of his prodigious industry, had he not preferred to seek glory by so notorious a crime’.

[5] The island of Maguelonne is seven miles south of Montpellier and its bishop was transferred to Montpellier in 1536.

[6] In all likelihood, the money was levied to from those churches dependent on the crown.

[7] He died at Cluny on 29th January 1119 from an attack of gout complicated by pleurisy.

[8] Date of birth c.1060; died 13th December, 1124. His reign, beginning 1st February, 1119, marked the end of the Investiture controversy that had raged during the last quarter of the eleventh century and the opening years of the twelfth. Guy or Guido, as he was called before his elevation to the papacy, was the son of Count William of Burgundy (c.1040-1087), and both by his father’s and mother’s side was closely connected with nearly all the royal houses of Europe. His brother Hugh had been appointed Archbishop of Besancon, and he himself was named Archbishop of Vienne in 1088, and afterwards appointed papal legate in France by Paschal II. During Guy’s tenure in this office, Paschal II, yielding to the threats of Henry V, was induced to issue the ‘Privilegium’ in 1111 by which he yielded up much of what had been claimed by Gregory VII, but these concessions were received with violent opposition and nowhere more so than in France, where the opposition was led by Guy, the papal legate. He was present at the Lateran Synod in 1112 and on his return to France convoked an assembly of the French and Burgundian bishops at Vienne in 1112, where the investiture of the clergy was denounced as heretical, and sentence of excommunication pronounced against Henry V because he had dared to extort from the pope by violence an agreement opposed to the interests of the Church. These decrees were sent to Paschal II with a request for confirmation, which they received in general terms on 20th October, 1112. Guy was later, apparently, created cardinal by Pope Paschal, though the latter does not seem to have been too pleased with his zeal in his attacks upon Henry V. On the death of Paschal II in early 1118, Gelasius II was elected pope, but he was immediately seized by the Italian allies of Henry V, and on his liberation by the populace fled to Gaeta, where he was solemnly crowned. Henry V demanded the confirmation of the ‘Privilegium’, but, receiving no satisfactory reply, set up the Archbishop of Braga as antipope under the name of Gregory VIII. Gelasius promptly excommunicated both the antipope and the emperor, but was himself obliged to flee, and took refuge in the monastery of Cluny, where he died in late January, 1119. On the fourth day after the death of Gelasius on 1st February, owing mainly to the exertions of Cardinal Cuno, Guido was elected pope, and assumed the title of Calixtus II. He was crowned at Vienne on 9th February, 1119. All the sources confirm Suger’s views on the moral strength of Guy of Burgundy.

[9] One of his sisters, Gisela was married to Humbert II, count of Savoy whose daughter was Adela countess of Savoy (c.1092-18th November 1154), wife of Louis VI. Another sister, Clemence was the widow of Robert II, count of Flanders.

[10] His election was well received everywhere. Because of his close connection with the royal families of Germany, France, England, and Denmark, it was hoped that he would be able to effect a favourable settlement of the controversy which had so long distracted the Church. Even Henry V received the papal embassy at Strasbourg, and showed clearly that he was not unwilling to sue for peace, and at the same time he withdrew his support from the antipope. It was even agreed that pope and emperor should meet at Mouzon. On 8th June 1119, Calixtus held a synod at Toulouse mainly to promote disciplinary reforms in the French Church, and on 20th October of the same year he opened the council at Reims (he arrived two days earlier) which had been contemplated in the preliminary arrangements made between the emperor and the papal ambassadors at Strasbourg. Louis VI and most of the barons of France attended the council that was composed of more than four hundred bishops and abbots. It had been arranged that during the council the pope and emperor were to have a personal conference at Mouzon, and in compliance with this agreement Henry V arrived at Mouzon, not alone, as had been anticipated, but with an army of over thirty thousand men. Calixtus II left Reims to attend the conference at Mouzon and was absent from 22nd to 26th October. However, on learning of the warlike preparations made by the emperor, and fearing that force was likely to be used to extract concessions from him, he hastily returned to Reims. Here the council dealt mainly with disciplinary regulations, especially with decrees against investiture, simony, and concubinage of the clergy. In the end, as there was no hope of a favourable compromise with Henry, it was determined that the emperor and the antipope should be solemnly excommunicated in the presence of the assembled clergy and the representatives of the secular authority on 30th October, 1119. Before leaving France Calixtus tried to effect a settlement between Henry I of England and his brother Robert, but his efforts were without result. On the importance of the 1119 election see Chododrow, Stanley A., ‘Ecclesiastical Politics and the Ending of the Investiture Controversy: The Papal Election of 1119 and the Negotiations at Mouzon’, Speculum, vol. xlvi, (1971), pp. 613-640. Robert, U., Histoire du pape Calixte II, Paris-Besancon, 1891 remains the standard study though the recent study by Stroll, Mary, Calixtus II (1119-1123): A Pope born to rule, Brill, 2004 supersedes it in many respects.

[11] Mouzon is just south of the present French border with Belgium, about sixty miles north-east of Reims.

[12] Calixtus left France in late May 1120 and was in Rome by 3rd June. Gregory VIII, supported by the German forces and the Italian allies of the emperor, had taken up residence in Rome, but on the approach of Calixtus, who was everywhere received with demonstrations of welcome, the antipope was obliged to flee to the fortress of Sutri, and Calixtus entered Rome amid the universal rejoicings of the populace. He went south to secure the aid of the Normans of Southern Italy in his struggle against Henry V and Gregory VIII. The negotiations were entirely satisfactory. Gregory was besieged at Sutri for eight months but was taken prisoner and escorted to Rome on 10th April 1121, where he was with difficulty saved from the wrath of the people, and lodged in a prison near Salerno and afterwards in the fortress of Fumo. In 1121, with the help of the princes of Southern Italy, Calixtus broke the power of the Italian allies of the emperor in Italy, notably of Cencio Frangipani, who had already given so much trouble to Gelasius II and to Calixtus himself.

[13] Maurice Bourdin was first imprisoned in the Septizonium on the Palatine. In 1125, he was transferred to Janula near Monte Cassino, them to Fumo near Alatri and finally to La Cava near Salerno where he died in 1137.

[14] This picture, almost certainly seen by Suger does not exist today.

[15] Having thus established his power in Italy, he once more opened negotiations with Henry V on the question of investiture. The latter had already shown that he was anxious to put an end to a controversy which had alienated from him his best friends, and which threatened to endanger the peace of the empire. An embassy consisting of three cardinals was sent by Calixtus to Germany, and negotiations for a permanent settlement of the investiture struggle were begun at Wurzburg in October, 1121. It was agreed that a general truce should be proclaimed between the emperor and his rebellious subjects; that the Church should have free use of her possessions; that the lands of those in rebellion should be restored, and peace with the Church permanently established with the least possible delay. These decrees were communicated to Calixtus II, who despatched Cardinal Lambert of Ostia as his legate to assist at the synod that had been convoked at Worms. The synod began at Worms on 8th September, 1122 and on 23rd September the concordat known as the Concordat of Worms (or Pactum Calixtinum) between the pope and the emperor was agreed. The emperor abandoned his claim to investiture with ring and crosier and granted freedom of election to episcopal sees. The pope conceded that bishops should receive investiture with the sceptre, that the episcopal elections should be held in the presence of the emperor or his representatives. In case of disputed elections, the emperor should, after the decision of the metropolitan and the suffragan bishops, confirm the rightfully elected candidate. Finally, the imperial investiture of the temporalities of the sees should take place in Germany before the consecration, in Burgundy and in Italy after this ceremony, while in the Papal States the pope alone had the right of investiture, without any interference on the part of the emperor. As a result of this Concordat, the emperor still retained in his hands the controlling influence in the election of the bishops in Germany, though he had abandoned much in regard to episcopal elections in Italy and Burgundy.

[16] Calixtus II was in Bitonto in Calabria on 28th January 1122, the date of a papal bull in which he brought the abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés under his protection.

[17] Hugh IV was abbot from 1118 to 1146 and was previously a monk at St-Denis. The papal bull dated 28th January 1122 dealt with Hugh’s demands.

[18] His death occurred on 19th February 1122.

[19] Orleans is a considerable distance from St-Denis, about eighty-five miles to the south. Presumably the monks and knights were imprisoned there because it was there that they broke the news of Suger’s election to Louis.

[20] Bougrin (Vulgrinus) was archbishop of Bourges from 1121 to 1136 and Clairembauld bishop of Senlis from 1117 to 1133.

[21] He was consecrated abbot on Sunday 12th March 1122 having been ordained priest the previous day.

[22] Psalm CXII, 7-8. The same terms were used by Suger in his testament in 1137: ibid, Lecoy de La Marche, A., (ed.), Suger: Oeuvres Completes de Suger, recueilles, annotées er publiées d’après les manuscrits, p. 334.

[23] The reform of St-Denis dated from 1127. Bernard of Clairvaux stressed Suger’s achievement in freeing the abbey from secular involvement but Suger here emphasises his reform of the religious life of St-Denis.

[24] Wisdom VII, 11

[25] To secure confirmation of the Concordat of Worms, Calixtus II called the First Lateran Council on 18th March, 1123. Nearly three hundred bishops and six hundred abbots from every part of Catholic Europe were present. The council solemnly confirmed the agreement that had been arrived at with Henry V with regard to episcopal elections, and passed several disciplinary decrees directed against existing abuses, such as simony and concubinage among the clergy. Decrees were also passed against violators of the Truce of God, church-robbers, and forgers of ecclesiastical documents. The indulgences already granted to the crusaders were renewed, and the jurisdiction of the bishops over the clergy, both secular and regular, was more clearly defined. Ibid, Robert, U., Histoire du pape Calixte II, pp. 163-177 contains a translation of the canons.

[26] These were all frequent centres of pilgrimage in the medieval period. Monte Gargano was better known as a shrine to St Michael. It was probably not coincidental that St Benedict at Monte Cassino and St Nicholas at Bari had been sites of recent building programmes. As well as being a pious pilgrim, perhaps Suger was getting ideas for the works he was to undertake at St-Denis.

[27] Letters of a solemn nature addressed by a bishop to another bishop generally recommended or accredited a clergyman. The sense here seems to be very general but may refer to a papal bull from Calixtgus II dates 20th May between 1121 and 1124 in which he requests the archbishops and bishops of France to help the abbey of St-Denis against attack.

[28] Calixtus died on 13th December 1124 in Rome. Suger exaggerated the timescale here: ‘a few years later’ effectively meant from 1122 to 1124.

[29] There is a suggestion in Cartellieri, O., Abt Suger von Saint-Denis 1091-1151, Berlin, 1898, p. 18 that Calixtus perhaps promised to make Suger a bishop.

[30] In the last few years of his life, Calixtus II tried to secure for the Church the restoration of the whole of the Patrimony of St. Peter, which had been greatly diminished by the constant wars and rebellions; to break the power of the nobles in the Campagna, and restore peace and order to the city of Rome itself, which had suffered much since the time of Gregory VII. He also devoted much of his time to the interests of the Church of France and to combating the errors and abuses which made their appearance in France at that time. In the Synod of Toulouse in 1119, he condemned the teaching of Peter de Bruis and his followers. He established the Church of Vienne as the metropolitan church of the adjoining ecclesiastical provinces in 1120, thereby ending the ancient controversy between Vienne and Arles. Duchesne maintained that only the more recent of them date from the time of Guy. He settled several disputes between bishops and abbots in France, dispatched Gerard of Angouleme as papal legate to Brittany, and finally confirmed the primatial rights of Lyons over the church of Sens. He demanded that Henry I of England release his brother, Robert of Normandy, as well as acknowledging Thurstan, whom he himself had consecrated at Reims, as Archbishop of York. Henry at first refused, but on the threat of excommunication he agreed to admit Thurstan as Archbishop of York, and to acknowledge the latter see’s independence of Canterbury. In Spain, he transferred the metropolitan rights from the old see of Merida to Santiago de Compostella, a patron saint for whom Calixtus seems to have had a special devotion. He showed his attention to Germany by the canonisation of Conrad of Constance at the Lateran Synod in 1123 and by sending Otto of Bamberg as papal legate to regulate the Churches of Pomerania. In Rome, he devoted much attention to beautifying and improving the city, but especially the church of St. Peter. He suppressed the suburban see of Santa Rufina by uniting it with Porto, so that there were now only six cardinal-bishops instead of seven as had formerly been the case.

The great influence of Calixtus II on the policy of the Church is not disputed. Owing mainly to him the concessions so weakly made by Paschal II were recalled, and on his own accession to the papal throne, his firmness and strength of character secured a settlement of the controversy between Church and State which, though not entirely satisfactory, was at least sufficient to assure a much needed peace. He ended the wholesale bestowal of ecclesiastical offices by laymen; he re-established the freedom of canonical elections and secured recognition of the principle that ecclesiastical jurisdiction can come only from the Church. While on the other hand, he conceded to the secular authorities influence in the election of prelates who were at the same time the most powerful and richest subjects of the State. On the other hand, he was blamed at the time, principally by Archbishop Conrad of Salzburg, for not insisting upon the withdrawal of the oath of homage which every bishop was required to make to the emperor or his feudal lord, but Calixtus II well understood that unless something were conceded peace was impossible, and that the oath of homage, however improper the ceremony might seem, was not an unnatural demand on the part of the emperor in regard to subjects who wielded such an enormous political power as did the bishops of the German Empire.

[31] Lambert of Fagnano was born of humble parents at Fagnano near Imola at an unknown date and died at Rome, 13th February, 1130. On account of his great learning he was called to Rome by Paschal II, became canon at the Lateran, then Cardinal-Priest of Santa Prassede, and, in 1117, Cardinal-Bishop of Ostia and Velletri. He was one of the cardinals who accompanied Gelasius II into exile. In 1119 Calistus II sent him as legate to Henry V, German Emperor, with powers to come to an understanding concerning the right of investiture. In October of the same year he was present at the synod of Reims where the emperor was excommunicated. He spent much of the following three years in Germany, trying to effect reconciliation between the pope and the emperor. It was chiefly through his efforts that the Concordat of Worms was agreed in September, 1123. Calixtus II died on 13th December, 1124, and two days later the Cardinal of Ostia was elected pope, taking the name of Honorius II.

Party spirit between the Frangipani and the Leoni was evident during the election and there was great danger of a schism. The cardinals had already elected Cardinal Teobaldo Boccadipecora who had taken the name of Celestine II. He was clothed in the scarlet mantle of the pope, while the Te Deum was chanted in thanksgiving, when the powerful Roberto Frangipani suddenly appeared on the scene, expressed his dissatisfaction with the election of Teobaldo and proclaimed the Cardinal of Ostia as pope. The intimidated cardinals reluctantly yielded to his demand. To prevent a schism, Teobaldo resigned his right to the tiara. The Cardinal of Ostia however doubted the legality of his election under such circumstances and five days later informed the cardinals that he wished to resign. Only after all the cardinals acknowledged him as the legitimate pope could he be prevailed upon to retain the tiara. Soon after Honorius II became pope, Henry V, the German Emperor, died on 23rd May, 1125. The pope at once sent to Germany two legates who, in conjunction with Archbishop Adalbert of Mainz, endeavoured to bring about the election of a king who would not encroach upon the rights of the Church. The subsequent election of Lothar, Count of Supplinburg, was a complete triumph for the Church. The new king acknowledged the supremacy of the pope even in temporal affairs, and soon after his election asked for the papal approbation, which was willingly granted. When Conrad of Hohenstaufen rebelled against Lothar and was crowned King of Italy at Monza, by Archbishop Anselm of Milan, Honorius II excommunicated the archbishop as well as Conrad and his adherents, thus completely frustrating Conrad’s unlawful aspirations.

Henry I had for many years encroached on the rights of the church in England and would not allow a papal legate to enter his territory on the plea that England had a permanent papal legate in the person of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Calixtus II had already experienced difficulties in that line. In 1125, Honorius II sent Cardinal John of Crema as legate to England, but the legate was detained a long time in Normandy by order of Henry I. He was finally allowed to proceed to England. He then went to Scotland and met King David at Roxburgh, where he held a synod of Scottish bishops to inquire into the controversy between them and the Archbishop of York, who claimed to have metropolitan jurisdiction over them. On 8th September 1125 he convened a synod at Westminster at which the celibacy of the clergy was enforced and decrees were passed against simoniacal elections and contracts. On his return to Rome he was accompanied by William, Archbishop of Canterbury who obtained legatine faculties for England and Scotland from Honorius II, but was unsuccessful in his attempt to prevail upon the pope to surrender his right of sending special legates to England.

The pope was less successful in dealing with Count Roger of Sicily, who tried to gain possession of the lands which his deceased cousin William of Apulia had bequeathed to the Apostolic See. Honorius II placed him under the ban and took up arms against him in defence of the lawful property of the Church, but with little success. To put an end to a useless but costly war he made Roger feudatory Lord of Apulia in August, 1128, while Roger in his turn renounced his claims to Benevento and Capua. Shortly after his election to the papacy Honorius II excommunicated Count William of Normandy for having married a daughter of Fulco of Anjou on grounds of consanguinity. He likewise restored the disturbed discipline at the monasteries of Cluny and Monte Cassino where the excommunicated Abbots Pontius and Orderisius respectively retained possession of their abbatial office by force of arms. On 26th February, 1126, he approved the Premonstratensian Order which St. Norbert had founded at Prémontré six years previously.

[32] Matthew was bishop of Albano from 1125 to 1134. He was French and had been prior of Saint-Martin-des-Champs.

[33] Geoffrey de Leves was bishop of Chartres from 1116 to 1149.

[34] Stephen de Senlis was bishop of Paris from 1124 to 1142.

[35] Josselin was bishop of Soissons and Suger dedicated The Life of Louis the Fat to him.

[36] Renaud de Martigné was archbishop of Reims from 1128 to 1138.

[37] It is difficult today to understand what precise rights Saint-Denis had over Argenteuil. Suger outlined the affair in Liber de rebus administratione sua gestis, chapter 3 and his research in the archives of the abbey suggested that St-Denis’ legal rights dated back to Charlemagne. He also used moral arguments about the conduct of the nuns and this may reflect a fundamental weakness in the legal case. Argenteuil was restored to St-Denis at a synod held at Saint-Germain-des-Prés under Matthew, bishop of Albano between 2nd February and 14th April 1129, agreed by Louis VI at Reims on 14th April at the time of the coronation of his son Philip and confirmed by Honorius II on 23rd April. The prioress since 1120 had been Heloise, the friend of Abelard and Suger has even been suspected of allowing this to influence his actions.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Chapter 26

Of the resumption of war with Henry of England

Unbridled arrogance is worse than pride; for if pride will not break a superior, arrogance will not brook an equal. As the poet said, ‘Caesar could not bear to be second, Pompey to be equal first.’[1] And because ‘all power is intolerant of sharing’[2], Louis, king of the French, who enjoyed pre-eminence over Henry, intolerant king of Normandy, always treated him as if he were his vassal. But the nobility of his kingdom and his great wealth made his inferiority unbearable to the king of the English. So he relied on his nephew Theobald, Count Palatine and on many of Louis’ rivals to disturb the kingdom and attack the king in order to detract from his lordship. 

So the evil wars of earlier times were revived by mutual malice[3]. Because Normandy and Chartres lay side by side, the king of England and Count Theobald united in attacking the nearest frontier of the kingdom, while they sent Stephen, count of Mortain[4], Theobald’s brother and Henry’s nephew to Brie with an army to prevent the king from suddenly occupying that land in the count’s absence[5]. Louis spared neither the Normans nor the men of Chartres nor those of Brie. Encircled as he was by his enemies and forced by the extent of his lands to turn his attention first against one, then against the other, he nevertheless in his frequent skirmishes demonstrated all the vigour of royal majesty.  

But through the noble foresight of the English kings and the dukes of Normandy, the Norman frontier had an exceptional line of defence made up of newly built castles and of unfordable rivers. When Louis, who knew this well, decided to infiltrate Normandy, he approached the frontier with a handful of troops, intending to proceed very secretly[6]. He cautiously sent ahead spies clad as travellers, wearing mail under their cloaks and with their swords at their sides, who went down the public road to the ancient town called Gasny[7] that could offer the French free and easy access to Normandy. The river Epte flowed around it, making it safe in the middle, but preventing a crossing for a great distance either above or below. Suddenly the spies flung off their cloaks and drew their swords. The inhabitants saw them, rushed to arms and fought them fiercely but the spies resisted and with the utmost courage repelled them. Then, as they were beginning to tire, the king suddenly rushed dangerously down the mountain side, provided his men with the most appropriate help and, not without loss to himself, occupied the town’s central square and the church with its fortified tower. 

When he discovered that the English king was close by with a large army, as his custom, Louis summoned his barons and called on them to follow him. There hastened to him the young, elegant and amiable count of Flanders Baldwin[8], a true knight, Fulk, count of Anjou[9], and many other magnates of the kingdom. They broke the Norman defence line and then, while some fortified the town, others pillaged and burned the land enriched by a long peace, devastating and reducing to confusion the area around, an almost unparalleled occurrence when the English king was there. 

Meanwhile Henry very hastily set about building, encouraged the workmen, and erected a castle on the hill closest to that in which the French king had left a garrison before he departed. Henry intended that, from his new castle, with his large force of knights and using his crossbowmen and archers, he would cut off his enemy’s food supplies, distress them through their want of necessities, and bar them from his land. But the king of France played tit for tat, and returned the blow at once, like a dice player. He collected an army and suddenly came back at dawn to attack vigorously the new castle which men called Malassis[10]. With great effort, after many heavy blows had been given and received - for in this kind of market, it is that kind of tax one pays - he forced its surrender, tore it to pieces and utterly destroyed it, and to the glory of the kingdom and the shame of its enemies he valiantly put an end to all machinations against him. 

But Fortune in her power never spares anyone. As it is said, ‘If fortune wills, from rhetor you become consul; if she wills, from consul you become rhetor.’[11] The English king, after a lengthy and admirable succession of most pleasing prosperity, began to decline from the high point on the wheel of fortune and was tormented by a changing and unhappy set of events. From this side the king of France, from Ponthieu, bordering on Flanders, the count of Flanders and from Maine[12] count Fulk of Anjou employed all their powers in causing him great difficulty and attacking him with all their strength. And he was subjected to the injuries of war, not only from foreigners but also from his own men[13], from Hugh de Gournay[14], from the count of Eu[15] and the count of Aumale[16], as well as many others[17]

As the crowning evil, he suffered from internal malice. Fearful of the secret factions among his chamberlains and serving-men, he often changed his bed and increased the number of armed guards who kept watch over him for his nightly alarms. He ordered that his shield and sword should always be laid beside him as he slept. There was a certain close friend of the king, H[18] by name, who had been enriched by the royal liberality, and was well-known for his power, was about to be better known for his treason. When he was caught plotting, he was condemned to lose his eyes and genitals, a merciful punishment, for he deserved to be hanged. Through these and other plots the king enjoyed no security and, renowned though he was for magnanimity and courage, he became prudent in small matters. Even in his house he wore his sword and forbade his more faithful servants to leave their houses without their swords, on pain of a fine like a forfeit at play. 

At this time a man called Enguerrand de Chaumont[19], by nature vigorous and prudent, advanced boldly with a small number of troops and seized the castle of Andelys[20], after having secretly put his own men in among the garrison on the walls. Trusting in the king’s help, he fortified it with great audacity and subjected totally all the land as far as the river Andelle[21], from the river Andelle, from the river Epte to Pont-Saint-Pierre[22]. Confident of the support of many knights superior to him in rank, he met King Henry in the open countryside, irreverently pursued him as he retreated, and within the limits mentioned treated the king’s land as if it were his own. As for Maine, when King Henry, after a long delay, decided to cooperate with Count Theobald in relieving the men besieged in the castle of Alencon, he was repulsed by Count Fulk, and in this shameful affair he lost many of his men, the castle and the keep.[23]

Deeply troubled over a long period by these and other ills, he had reached the trough of misfortune when divine pity, having harshly whipped and chastised him for some time, (for although he was a liberal benefactor of churches and a rich almsgiver, he was dissolute) decided to spare him and raise him up from his pit of dejection. Unexpectedly he was raised from adversity and inferiority to the top of the wheel of fortune while, rather through the divine hand than his own, those who troubled him, once higher, were brought down to the bottom or completely ceased to exist. Thus God normally mercifully extends his hand of pity to those near despair and bereft of human help.

Count Baldwin of Flanders, whose violent attacks frequent incursions into Normandy had so troubled the king, was struck in the face by a sudden but quite light blow from a lance, while he was engaged in attacking with unbridled energy the castle of Eu[24] and its adjacent seacoast. He scorned to look after so small a wound; but Death could.[25] By Baldwin’s death, it chose to spare the English king and all his allies.

Enguerrand de Chaumont, the boldest of men and a presumptuous aggressor against Henry, was stricken by a very dangerous disease because he had not shrunk from destroying some land belonging to the Virgin Mary in the archbishopric of Rouen. After long suffering and much well-merited bodily wretchedness, he learned belatedly what was due to the queen of heaven and died.[26] Count Fulk of Anjou, although he was bound to Louis by ties of homage, by oaths and by many hostages, put avarice before fidelity and, without consulting the king, and with a treachery that made him infamous, he gave his daughter in marriage to William, son of King Henry[27] and, allied with him by this bond of friendship, unjustifiably abandoned the enmity he had promised on oath to preserve. 

Once King Louis had forced Normandy to be silent in his presence, he ravaged it as relentlessly with small forces as he had with large ones. He had become used to vexing the king and his men for so long that he despised them as so many men of straw. Then suddenly one day King Henry, having discovered the French king’s improvident audacity, collected a large army and secretly approached him with his battle lines drawn. He lit fires to shock Louis, had his armed knights’ dismount in order that they might fight more bravely as foot-soldiers, and endeavoured prudently to take all sensible precautions for war. 

Louis and his men did not deign to make any preparations for battle. He simply flew at the enemy with great courage but little sense. The men of the Vexin were in the van under Bouchard of Montmorency and Guy of Clermont[28]. They energetically cut the first Norman line to pieces, made them flee the battle-field and bravely repulsed the first line of horsemen, sending them reeling back against the armed foot-soldiers. But the French who were meant to follow them were in confusion, and pressing against extremely well organised and regulated lines, as happens in such circumstances, they could not make their charge effective and yielded.[29] The king, amazed at his army’s failure, behaved as was usual in adversity. Using only his constancy to defend himself and his own men, he retired as honourably as he could to Andelys, though with great loss to his scattered army. For some time he was cut to the quick by the unfortunate outcome of his own thoughtlessness.[30]

Then, to prevent his enemies from declaring insultingly that he no longer dared to go into Normandy, and made more than usually courageous by adversity and more steadfast, as is the way with men like him, he recalled his army, summoned the absent, invited the barons of his kingdom and informed King Henry that on a certain day he would invade his land and fight a famous battle with him. He hastened to carry out his promise, as if performing a vow made under oath. So he launched himself into Normandy at the head of a marvellous army and ravaged it, taking the well-fortified castle of Ivry[31] by assault after a sharp skirmish, which he burned down and then went on to Breteuil.[32]

Although he remained for some time in that country, he did not see the English king or meet with anyone on whom he could take sufficient revenge for the injury he had suffered. So he returned to Chartres to fall on Count Theobald and began a savage attack on the city with the intention of burning it down. But he was interrupted by a delegation of clergy and citizens, bearing before them the shift of the blessed Virgin, who begged him very devotedly, as the principal defender of their church, to spare it through love of her and not to take revenge on his own people for the wrongs that had been inflicted by others. In the face of their prayers the king bowed his royal majesty, and to prevent the destruction by fire of the city and the noble church of Notre Dame, he ordered Charles, count of Flanders[33], to recall the army and to spare the city out of love and fear for the church[34]. When they returned to their own land they continued to repay their temporary hardship with a long, continuous and very harsh revenge.[35]


[1] Lucan, De bello civili, I, 125-6

[2] Lucan, De bello civili, I, 93-4

[3] Henry I crossed the Channel after Easter 1116: ibid, Luchaire, Louis VI le Gros, Annales de son vie et de son règne, n° 207. The pretext for war lay in Louis VI seeking to restore Normandy to William Clito, son of Robert Curthose who had the support of a significant number of Normans.

[4] Stephen was the fourth son of Stephen II Henry, Count of Blois, and Adela, daughter of William the Conqueror and younger brother of Theobald IV. He was born in 1096. A favourite nephew of King Henry I, he received the county of Mortain (before 1115) and county of Boulogne (from 1125) and in 1125 was married to Matilda, the granddaughter of Malcolm III of Scotland and heiress of the county of Boulogne. When Stephen heard the news about the death of his uncle, he crossed at once to England to seize the crown. In disregard of the rights of King Henry’s daughter, Matilda, he was recognised as king in London and Winchester and was crowned on 22nd December 1135. In 1137, Stephen crossed to Normandy to claim the duchy, but he failed to break the resistance of Geoffrey ‘Plantagenet’, count of Anjou, who also laid his claim to Normandy and conceded to truce. In England he was entangled in a war with rebellious barons and offended the Church by arbitrary arrests of several bishops. On 30th September 1139, Matilda and her illegitimate half-brother, Robert earl of Gloucester, landed at Arundel and brought most of western England under their control. A battle at Lincoln on 2nd February 1141 resulted in Stephen’s capture by Angevin forces. The church council summoned by papal legate, Henry, bishop of Winchester (Stephen’s younger brother), deposed the king by accepting Matilda as ‘Angliae Normanniaeque domina’ (8th April 1141). On 1st November 1141, Stephen was released in an exchange for Robert of Gloucester, who had been captured by Stephen's forces, and declared lawful sovereign of England by legatine church council (7th December 1141). The civil war continued until February 1148, when Matilda gave up her struggle and departed for the continent. The state of anarchy engulfed the kingdom with barons becoming increasingly independent from the royal authority. Matilda’s son, Henry (later King Henry II) invaded England in 1149 and again in 1153. Stephen fought against Henry and attempted to crown his own son, Eustace, but failed to obtain the consent of pope Eugenius III. On 6th November 1153, Stephen and Henry concluded the treaty of Winchester. Stephen retained the kingship for his lifetime and Henry was acknowledged as heir to Stephen by a charter issued at Westminster on 25th December 1153. Stephen died on 25th October 1154

[5] In addition to the counties of Blois and Chartres, Theobald inherited from his father the county of Meaux and several other lordships in Champagne.

[6] Orderic Vitalis states that this occurred in 1118 while ibid, Luchaire, Louis VI le Gros, Annales de son vie et de son règne, n° 233 suggests it was in February and March of that year.

[7] Gasny is on the lower Epte near its confluence with the Seine about fifty miles north-west of Paris. Its strategic importance can be gauged from Patourel, John le, The Norman Empire, (Oxford University Press), 1976, map 2, p. 383 which also gives an idea of the line of castles.

[8] Baldwin VIII was the son of Robert II (born 1065) who he succeeded in 1111. He died in 1119. From the beginning of hostilities in 1116, his troops for the first time cooperated with those of Louis: ibid, Luchaire, Louis VI le Gros, Annales de son vie et de son règne, n° 207.

[9] Fulk V, called ‘the Young’ count of Anjou since 1109. He was born in 1092 and died at Acre on 10th November 1143.

[10] The name was one of ridicule as it means ‘badly located’. Orderic Vitalis reported that Henry I had also built another castle that the French called ‘trulla leporis’ or ‘the lodging of the hare’. As for the taking of Malassis by Louis VI, Orderic Vitalis said nothing.

[11] Juvenal, Satires, VII, 197-8

[12] He became count of Maine after the death of count Elias on 11th July 1110, to whose daughter Ermengarde or Ermentrude de La Fléche (1090-1126) he was married.

[13] The three were supporters of William Clito. Hugh de Gournay and Henry, count of Eu were thrown into prison in Rouen in 1118 on Henry I’s orders.

[14] Hugh de Gournay IV was born about 1090 and died in 1155. He was the son of Gerard de Gournay and Edith de Warenne. Hugh married Beatrix de Vermandois. Beatrix was born about 1090. She died about 1144.

[15] Henry I, 5th count of Eu, Lord of Hastings died on 12th July 1140. He was related to Henry I through his marriage to Margaret de Sully.

[16] Stephen, count of Aumale was born in c.1070 and died in 1127/1130. He was married to Hawisse de Mortimer (c.1086-c.1189) and had two children William count of Aumale (died c.1179) and Agnes countess of Aumale (c.1103-c.1130).

[17] Hugh de Gournay, Henry I, 5th count of Eu and Stephen, count of Aumale were supporters of William Clito. Suger ignores the association between Louis and William until his installation of count of Flanders following the murder of Charles the Good in 1127. However, Louis had been supporting William Clito’s claim to Normandy for some time.

[18] The Chronicles of St-Denis vol. III, p. 308 called the traitor ‘Hugh’ and manuscript G writes Henry. The same is reported by William of Malmesbury Gesta regum Anglorum, edited D. Hardy, vol. II, p. 641 who alone wrote that the traitor was ‘a chamberlain who was born of a plebeian father but became prominent as keeper of the royal treasures’. His lowly origin perhaps reflects in the punishment that Suger believed should have occurred. Warren Hollister identifies Henry’s attacker with Herbert the Chamberlain: ‘The Origins of the English Royal Treasury’, English Historical Review, vol. xciii, (1978), pp. 262-275.

[19] Enguerrand de Chaumont was the son of Dreux de Chaumont who, on his return from the crusade around 1101 retired to the abbey of Saint-Germer. He held the lordship of Trie, whose castle lay on the frontier of Vexin and he had poorly defined family links with Hugh le Borgne, viscount of Chaumont, constable of France from 1108 to 1138. He died in 1119.

[20] Andelys is in the Norman Vexin, about sisty-five miles north-west of Paris.

[21] The river Andelle flows into the right band of the Seine. The area between the Andelle and the Epte is the Norman Vexin and was the area where military action was concentrated in 1118 and 1119.

[22] Pont-Saint-Pierre is on the west bank of the Andelle in Normandy, just upstream from its junction with the Seine, about ten miles north-west of Andelys and a similar distance south-east of Rouen.

[23] The town of Alencon was given by Henry I to Stephen, brother of Theobald of Champagne. Helped by the townspeople who revolted against their lord Stephen de Mortain, Fulk of Anjou occupied Alencon in November 1118 and defeated a relieving force led to Henry I under the walls of the town the following month. Deprived of food, the garrison of the castle could do nothing other than surrender.

[24] Eu is about fifty-five miles north of Rouen.

[25] Baldwin VII died on 17th June 1119, aged twenty-six from a wound he had received in September 1118 in the attack on Bures-en-Brai. Orderic Vitalis attributes the final sickness of Baldwin less to his wound but from having eaten freshly killed meat, drunk mead and slept with a women on the following night while William of Malmesbury is of the opinion that his condition was worsened by his having eaten garlic with goose and sleeping with a woman.

[26] Enguerrand de Chaumont was excommunicated by the archbishop of Rouen for taking church land. He was on Louis VI’s side at the siege of Chateauneuf-sur-Epte in 1119. At the news of the burning of Evreux, Louis ordered a retreat and set fire to his camp. Enguerrand died not long afterwards because he attacked land belonging to Mary but Orderic Vitalis attributed his death to a wound in the eyebrow.

[27] William Adelin married Matilda of Anjou in Lisieux in June 1119, peace having been agreed the previous month. William died in the wreck of the White Ship in November 1120 and his wife became a nun in the abbey of Fontevrauld. Nine years later the two houses were reunited again with the marriage of Geoffrey, Fulk’s son and Matilda, daughter of Henry I and widow of the emperor Henry V.

[28] Guy de Clermont was the son of Hugh de Clermont.

[29] The battle took place at Brémule on 20th August 1119. Orderic Vitalis provides the most extensive account of this battle, noting how few people were killed during the fight. His account of the battle is included as Appendix 1.

[30] Suger lessened the gravity of Louis’ defeat at Brémule. 140 knights were captured. The king lost his horse and his standard and only succeeded in reaching Andelys with the help of a peasant after he had become a fugitive in the woods of Musegros.

[31] Ivry is the modern Ivry-la-Bataille about fifty miles west of Paris. Breteuil is about twenty-seven miles west of there.

[32] He reached Breteuil on 17th September 1119. Orderic Vitalis’ account of the events following the battle at Brémule is slanted rather differently. He stated 4: 370 that Louis having come to Breteuil ‘failed to achieve anything but dishonour and loss’.

[33] Charles the Good had succeeded his young cousin Baldwin VII in 1119.

[34] Ibid, Mirot, Leon, (ed.), La Chronique de Morigny (1095-1152), p. 31 states that part of the town had already completely destroyed. Louis arrived at Chartres between the 22nd and 25th September 1119.

[35] Peace took place at the beginning of 1120 thanks largely to the mediation of pope Calixtus II who had an interview with Henry I at Gisors on 24th November 1119. Suger, however, ends the chapter giving the impression of continuing hostility and this allows him to imply later in chapter 28 that the war was still going on in 1124.