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was proclaimed Emperor and Augustus : and, ^ r e ^ed
from the Pope's hands, he received the Imperial xn. op



051-987 Crown. The Pontiff, as well as the whole Roman
* * > people, took the oath of fidelity ; and Otho reci-


The pontiff procated, by granting and re-granting to the Papal

and Roman r

the p oatn a of e See a U the dominions which the Primatial Chair
of Christendom had at any time held, and more.
All the endowments bestowed by Pepin and
Charlemagne, and Louis-le-Debonnaire, were con-
firmed,- -Borne, to wit, and the Exarchate of
Eavenna, various towns and regions of the
Pentapolis, numerous cities and domains in the
Cainpagna, and the Lombard Duchies of Spoleto

oth 9 o 6 r^i- and Benevento. Corsica was added, Sicily also,

procates by

as appurtenant to the Empire, though occupied

by the Saracen. The Election of the Pontiff

reserving the

was ^ ke conducted accordin to the Canon

law ; banishment being denounced as the punish-
ment of any offender who might disturb the
freedom of suffrage.

But the Emperor vigilantly asserted his rights.
Only the usufruct of the ceded territories passed to
the Pope. A mixed Commission, composed of Im-
perial Judges adjoined to the Pontiff's nominees,
was permanently established. All complaints of
maladministration were to be examined before
this Tribunal ; and, if the Pope did not afford a
congruous remedy, the duty of rectifying the
abuse was to be exercised by the Emperor.
This appellate jurisdiction afforded the strongest
testimony of the Imperial superiority. The re-
servation was clenched by the concluding clause
of the Charter, that nothing therein contained


was to derogate from the Emperor's prerogatives. v 954 - 987
The original document, written in characters of "^^
gold, and whilom deposited in the Castle of St.
Angelo, has disappeared, and the very antient
transcripts preserved in the Vatican may not be
faithful to the letter : but notwithstanding the
acute objections raised by Catholic critics, or the
stern judgments passed by Protestant antagonists,
we must admit that the " Diploma Othonis Ma-gni"
affords satisfactory evidence of the relations then
subsisting between the Pontiff and the Para-
mount Sovereign. -

18. OTHO was thus pursuing his eventful
career during the last agonies of his Brother-
in-law's anxious reign. Had the King's demise
occurred whilst the family dissensions were
raging, Otho, however urgently required, could 954-

Death of

not have taken any share in the affairs of France.
As yet, he had not triumphed : but, the pacifi-

able to in-

cation of Germany effected, he was fully able

to answer Gerberga's call.

Louis, sometimes rallying, yet slowly sink-
ing, long must his death have been anticipated
by friend and foe. Indeed, the Normans had
been awaiting the event, day by day, ever since
the Rout of Rouen. Even then, they boasted
that the disappointment had as good as killed
him. The vaticination was tardily accomplished,
but it was something to look for. The discom-
fort of suspense, when our desires are delayed, is

XX 2


954-987 not always without compensation. Amongst
< * the pleasures of hope, that of auguring ill fortune


to those we hate, is not by any means the least ;
and the King's protracted decay had enabled all
parties to prepare for the contingency.
Gerberga Gerbcpffa's forethought, affection, talents, all

claims the

appeared instantly in action. Soon as the
" funereal rites had ended, swift messengers were
despatched on their several roads to Otho and to
Bruno, and equally to Hugh, praying their con-
joint countenance and fraternal support. Otho,
though he had not yet attained the culminating
point of his prosperity, really commanded the
fortunes of France. Hugh-le-Grand had become
his vassal. Could or would Otho forget the

Franc v e? r homage rendered in the Palace of Attigny ? He
might maintain, and not unreasonably, that
Charlemagne's pre-eminence appertained to the
Monarch who literally occupied Charlemagne's
Throne. Otho styled himself Rex Francorum,
a title so happily ambiguous, that it could be
consistently construed as challenging the do-
minion of the Gauls, and yet as easily explained
away. But deeds, however, speak more decisively
than words : and, through the whole tenour of
his conduct, he distinctly asserted his ascen-
dancy over the Realm.

Many previous movements made by Otho
had been dictated by the apprehensions now
realized; and he immediately adopted efficient


measures for securing Lothaire's succession. 954-937

Pending these transactions, Bruno, though


scarcely of canonical age, but recommended by
his illustrious birth,, his brilliant talents, his
extensive learning, and his indefatigable energy,
was called by the unanimous voice of the Citi- Bruno


zens to the Archiepiscopal Throne of Cologne. ^/coiogS
Otho truly rejoiced in this elevation, probably
suggested it. If Bruno had transgressed against
Otho, the noble minded Sovereign not only
forgave the error, but accepted his brother as
his most confidential friend and minister.

In these capacities, the newly appointed Arch-
bishop, as directed by Otho, forthwith proceeded
to the appointed place of meeting, accompanied
by the chief Princes and Nobles of Lotharingia,
nay, some also from Germany ; and supported by
a military force sufficient to inspire respect for his
authority. Either now, or shortly afterwards, the otho


young and strenuous Archbishop received a com- gSteSrt
mission from Otho to maintain tranquillity in the l
French Kingdom, an order given so stringently,
that he felt he was personally responsible for the
same. This important fact is collected from an
incidental notice given by worthy Kudiger, who
composed the Archbishop's biography, or rather
eulogium, about ten years after his death.
Whilst performing his labour of love, this valuable
writer affords ample particulars concerning his
Patron's life and conversation as a Prelate, yet
the very active share the Prince-Archbishop


954-987 took in secular affairs is related obscurely and

^^p perfunctorily. Concerning the many very

many portions of the Archbishop's career,

which a grateful friend, jealous for the honour of

his Patron, might wish to forget, Rudiger is

discreetly silent.

sept. 954. g 19. Such was Gerberga's moral and

Assembly of

political influence, that all conformed to her
wishes, or obeyed her commands. The Three

electing the

Nations of the Gauls, according to the antient
Tripartite division represented by the " Princes
and the Leaders of the Realm" such being the
phraseology employed by the Chroniclers were
assembled at Rheims for the purpose of affording
their sanction to the accession of their Sovereign.
Concerning the " Presence," our notices are,
as usual, very brief and obscure. The circum-
stances being matters of universal notoriety, the
Chronicler probably considered that details were
not needed, a mistaken economy, which has
often deprived us of valuable historical informa-
tion. Gallia Celtica is, on this occasion, quoted
under the name of Burgundy, for the latter
appellation, taken widely, was considered as a
modern denomination of the antient Province.
The ecclesiastical divisions of the Archiepiscopal
and Episcopal Sees, presented the archaic admi-
nistration continuously before the public mind.
Moreover, other forcible traditions of pristine
nationality were preserved in that Eegion.



Thus the Chief magistrate of Autun, the Vierg, 954-937
or Vergobret 9 continued to be designated by
his Celtic title a title retained through every
convulsion even until the Revolution.

In these States-general of France, Gerberga
presided. The proceedings are hinted rather
than reported. As a Burgundian Count, we may
conjecture that Letholdus, he who had so care-
fully nursed the suffering Louis, cordially sup-
ported the cause of his son.

The loyalty of the Aquitanians, though tepid,
was tolerably steady, partly elicited, however,
by their opposition to Hugh-le-Grand. Their
Princes unquestionably gave attendance.

Belgic Gaul might have been adequately repre-
sented by Hugh-le-Grand alone ; though we can
scarcely doubt but that the Vermandois Princes
were present. As for the Norman Richard, he
did not concern himself about the matter.

But a fourth Electoral College perhaps more

dented con-

influential at this juncture than any other, though

completely unprecedented was constituted by

* by Bruno.

the Princes of Lorraine. As now held by Otho,
Lotharingia included a very extensive section of
Gallia Belgica : and he, without enquiring whether
the more or the less of that Royal Duchy apper-
tained to Charlemagne's descendants or to
Charlemagne's political successors, treated the
Lotharingian Magnates as fully entitled to
share in the transaction. At their head, ap-


934-9S7 peared Arclibisliop Bruno, Duke or Governor of
'^r^jp Lorraine, and Lieutenant of the German King,
and the Lorrainers were reinforced by a deputa-
tion selected from the Princes of the German
tongue. They therefore took their seats in the
Convention for the purpose of acting with the
French as their compeers, or rather to turn the
election. Thus, as the Council of Engleheim,
before which Louis had pleaded, exhibited a
novel incorporation of the great Ecclesiastical
Councils of Germany and of France, so here, in
like manner, did Otho commence a fusion be-
tween the Temporal Estates of the two Realms.

There was much to debate. The claim of the

young Lothaire was not irrefragable. Neither

theoretically nor practically had the French

eiec tiy h e e renounced the doctrine, that the right of the

chi rector

of the French Sovereign resulted primarily from the popular

Monarchy. *

will ; and we know, that in order to keep up their
continual claim, the form of voluntary choice
was retained, even when the reality was aban-

There is not a single example adduced in
u Franco-Gallia," that precious constitutional
volume, so weighty, though so concise, which
is not quoted accurately. Grave authorities
flourished in this last age of the Carlovingian
domination, who could and did argue, from the
very events which had introduced the Dynasty,
that the rights of legitimacy might be defeasible


by incompetence, and we shall hear this doctrine 954-937
inculcated from the mouth of the highest Prelate . - -


in the Realm. Descent imparted a most pow- Rights of


erful inchoate right, yet, if the inheritance was

in danger of falling, or had fallen, to an unworthy

J the party.

individual, it was the privilege and the duty of
the Nation that he should be rejected. Admit
that the Sovereign might be allowed to designate
his Successor, yet the King could not reign
otherwise than by the consent of the Chiefs of
Church and State. Rather let them refuse assent
and repudiate the nomination, than afterwards
contemn and despise the Sovereign whom they
had made.

Many feelings adverse to the succession were
lurking amongst the Prelacy or the Aristocracy,
but they were repressed, if not suppressed, by
Otho's intervention. The actual elevation of
Lothaire to a partnership in the Royal authority,
made by the departed Louis, was neither acknow-
ledged nor contradicted. And thus through the
favour and countenance of Hugh-le-Grand and
Archbishop Bruno, supported by the acclaim of
the assembly, was the young Lothaire, then
somewhat about fourteen years of age, called

crowned by

to the throne : and accordingly, his charters of Archbishop

5 *f ' Artaldus at

donation, testifying his veneration for Saint Rheuns -
Remigius, bear record, how in the Primatial
Basilica of the Gauls, he was elected by all the
Peers of France, and crowned with the royal


954-937 diadem, by Archbishop Artaldus. The first act
. > of state performed by Lothaire was very signifi-

954-956 J

cant. He granted to Hugh-le-Grand the Duchies
of Burgundy and Aquitaine : and Lothaire and
Gerberga were then solemnly and honourably
conducted to their Royal City, the Rock of Laon.
954-955 it should seem, that Lothaire and the Queen-

The Royal

and the

mother continued at Laon till the ensuing
Spring. The once flourishing Royal family was
cha n ri e r. rince now reduced to three individuals Gerberga the
Widow, Lothaire the Youngster, and the infant
Charles, the only survivor of the youngest babes.
But the little child, the heir to misfortune, was
carefully nursed by Gerberga, whose maternal ten-
derness must have often rendered her thoughtful
concerning his future position. The once favou-
rite project of a Norman apanage had vanished.
No provision made even for the young Prince's
sustenance, and Gerberga was compelled to abide
in uncertainty concerning his future destiny.
955-956 8 20. Bruno returned to Lorraine. Nobles

Position J

Hugh-il and Prelates each sought his home; Hugh-le-
Grand remained, and, without any effort, re-
sumed ostensibly the same position he had held
when Louis, having been recalled from beyond
the sea, obtained the Crown by Hugh's prepon-
derating advocacy ; Hugh therefore stood for-
ward before the Nation as the young King's
Protector, keenly vigilant, his inward feelings
disguised by his outward demonstrations of


affection. Towards Gerberga, a sister-in-law, and 954-987
a queen, Hugh conducted himself in a manner - *


beseeming her station and his own. He pre-
sented himself as thoroughly devoted to Lothaire
and Lothaire's cause; wisely and courteously
guiding the youthful Monarch, and never quitting
his side. But Lothaire was fully able to walk
alone, and he offers the same example of preco-
cious talent which had been exhibited by Richard.

The ill-favoured young King never could be-
come handsome to look upon ; his sallow cheeks
never filled out; nor could his limp limbs be
made to move with grace : yet, though beset by
enemies foreign and domestic, treachery with-
out, treachery within, treachery in the gate,
treachery in the way, treachery perhaps by
his own hearth-side, and some say still nearer,
this unfortunate Monarch during the worried
reign he was now commencing, manifested powers
fully proving that he was not to be contemned
as an unworthy son of his energetic Mother and
his spirited Sire.

Hugh advised with Gerberga, courted her, ^ L 7
declared his anxiety to testify his loyalty : and, ESiSH^


displaying his power, though somewhat osten- j^ s f 8
tatiously, for the benefit of the Royal autho-
rity, urged that Lothaire, accompanied by the
Queen-mother, should effect his royal progress
throughout his domains. Circuits of this des-
cription were customary upon an accession


954-987 useful, as being the means of gracefully intro-
^ > ducing the King to his people. The Bishops

yoo 9oG

might speak on behalf of the Communities who
had elected or accepted them ; and whether for
the objects of being observed or of observing,
it was very expedient that the Sovereign coming
to each, should make his joyeuse entree into the
several Cities of the realm.

Hugh-le-Grand was apparently seeking to
prove, that, notwithstanding his vast posses-
sions and privileges, he did not plan any
A ra-Ma usurpation upon the royal supremacy. First,
the Sovereigns repaired to Hugh's good city of
Paris, and Hugh-le-Grand, during the Paschal
season, entertained his illustrious guests, pro-
bably in his Abbatial Manse of Saint Denis, for
many days.

Orleans next welcomed the Eoyal party,
and, consulting the map, we may imagine
that Hugh, during their route, did not omit
to display his dutiful hospitality at his Palace
of Dordogne.

Most of the principal Cities and Towns in

of Chartres,

KSjS? those regions were visited by the King ; but our
attention must be especially directed to Blois,
and Tours, and Chartres. Here Lothaire re-
ceived the homage of the crafty Thibaut, whose
vigorous old age, like that of the Flemish Arnoul,
was a proof that the fatigues of government are
not incompatible with extraordinary longevity.
Lothaire must have shuddered when he met his


father's cruel jailer ; but it was needful that these 954-937


grudges should be forgotten, and their common ( *
interest suggested not only reconciliation, but
alliance. Liutgarda, erewhile the widow of
Guillaume Longue-epee, was as savage against
her step-son as ever. Constant in hatred as in
love, time had not diminished Gerberga's pas-
sionate antipathy ; and, against their common
enemy the Norman, there was thenceforward a
thorough consentaneousness of feeling between
Gerberga and Lothaire, and Liutgarda and

This portion of the royal visitation having
been accomplished, Lothaire, with Hugh-le-Grand
by his side, prepared to cross the Loire into
Aquitaine, at least as far as Poitiers. Guillaume
Tete-d'etoupe ought to have been loyal to
Lothaire ; but two disturbing, though contradic-
tory causes probably made him recalcitrate
against the King, the latter now identified with
the Duke of France, his near connexion with
Richard through his excellent wife Adela, and
the strong aversion which Aquitaine entertained
against Hugh-le-Grand.

On approaching Poitiers, Tete-d'etoupe was ^
duly summoned to certify his submission. The


sturdy Duke made default. The Royal army
therefore advanced, and when they presented
themselves before the City, Tete-d'etoupe was
not there. Having supplied the Place with
ample means of defence, he retreated, but for


954-937 the purpose of ulterior movements. Poitiers
was very strong, and the spirited inhabitants

955- fully prepared for defence ; and we may be

June July J

roSe assured that the great Cathedral of the Patron
of the City, Saint Hilary, who, as Bishop
and Confessor, still retains his commemoration-
day in our Anglican Calendar, rendered so fami-
liar by the Term which it designates was
thronged with votaries. Whatever expectations
the French might have formed of success, by cap-
turing Duke Guillaume's person, were therefore
baulked. But they assaulted Poitiers the
more fiercely, and Poitiers was as valiantly

tionSe The noble Monastery of Saint Radegund was

Monastery of

n t then included within the walls, and the
structure had been converted into a fortress.
Any ecclesiastical immunity which the Cloister
might claim was suspended by the military
character enforced upon the Sanctuary. Lo-
thaire's troops surrounded the stronghold, which
was taken and burnt. Yet no advantage was
gained. During two months and more had the
siege continued unavailingly, degenerating into
a very sluggish blockade ; provisions began to
fail in the camp, and the French were compelled
to suspend their operations. In the meanwhile,
Guillaume Tete-d'etoupe was in full activity,
ranging the country and collecting troops, till
he was able to become the assailant. This
movement, though bold, and not inconsiderate,


failed. Lothaire and Duke Hugh gave battle to 954-937
the Poitevins, whom they routed, whilst Tete- . -

J 955956

d'etoupe saved himself by flight.

Lothaire, having fully assumed the command,

he, the young General, determined to follow up p e < 1 c
the advantage by renewing the siege. The
weather was extremely sultry ; a terrible thun-
der-storm burst upon the leaguer. This was the
very season when Otho was slaughtering the
Magyars on the Lech-feld. Darkness came on ;
and during the dark, a driving hurricane.
Hugh-le-Grand's pavilion rent asunder by a
whirlwind. Besieged and besiegers believed
that Saint Hilary was protecting his flock. The
troops were terrified by the portent, which
imparted fresh courage to their opponents. The
dog-days' heat brought on disease; and Hugh-
le-Grand, much disheartened, but concealing his
depression by affected magnanimity, induced
Lothaire to grant very advantageous conditions to
his opponents the siege should be raised.
Lothaire, accompanied by the Duke, returned to
his Rock of Laon, and Hugh then wended
heavily to Paris.

21. Hugh-le-Grand might be thought to have H ughj e 9 - 6
continued advancing in prosperity. Never had he
stood so high. No longer dreaded and hated by
the Royal family in the character of a traitorous
enemy, but accepted as the loving kinsman of
the young King. About this time, Gilbert,
Count of Dijon, Hugh's brother-in-law, who



95j-987^ had so cordially agreed with him, died, and
bequeathed his County to Otho, Hugh's second
son, an important consolidation of power, yet,
after the retreat from Poitiers, no good fortune
could cheer his heart. Men said that, since the
siege, Hugh-le-Grand was never seen to smile.
The storm which carried away his pavilion was
accepted by him as a bad omen, and such it was ;
for, being concurrent with declining health, this
casualty if the word casualty can ever be used
indifferently by working upon his mind, en-
creased his malady and accelerated his decline.

Although Otho's triumphant sword had ex-
pelled and exterminated the Magyars, yet they
left behind them a legacy of evil. As usual,
their past presence had dispersed the seeds of
future contagion. Destructive pestilences spread
throughout Germany and the Gauls. A marvel-
lous sign appeared in the heavens a fiery Dragon
swept through the sky. Hugh's illness became
alarming. Time had gained upon Hugh. His
existence had become a ceaseless strife never
slacking the intensity of purpose with which he
pursued the one object to which his life had been
devoted. All his mental and bodily powers kept
on full stretch ; now in the dark, and now in the
light ; plotting, planning, truckling, fighting
a continued agony, never knowing peace or rest.
His weary course was ending, and yet it was
through the very ending of the course that he con-


Signs and


templated accomplishing his heart's desire. From
first to last, Hudi-le-Grand had adhered with in- 'r

' 9o

vincible firmness equally to his ambitious yet self-
denying vow, and to the determination that his
posterity should inherit the Carlovingian throne.

The Son of a King, the Nephew of a King,
the Brother of a King, who had never desired to
become a King, held the firm and unchangeable
belief that he was appointed to be the father of
a King: yet, despite of that belief, perplexed
by doubts and fears.

Astute, intelligent, crafty, silent, his son, the
young Capet, had not quite attained the age which
would enable him to demand his predestined
Monarchy. No sufficient party had yet been

organized in his favour. Chances are growing > c ape t

5 should fail

adverse. Gerberga, Otho's favourite sister,
always claiming and obtaining his aid, the
chroniclers display her in constant connexion
with that royal brother, Hadwisa never ap-
pears upon the scene. At the German Court,
no notice is taken of Hugh Capet, whilst Lo-
thaire, the favourite nephew, appears shielded by
the Uncle's supremacy. Otho respected the
rights of Charlemagne's descendants, and thereby
really enhanced his own dignity. Crowned
with the laurels culled on the Lech-feld,
such moderation rendered the victorious Com-
mander a more efficient defender of the young
King's position, even than his military power.
Hugh-le-Grand became weaker; he could



954-987 scarcely take meat or drink. During the most
. * . pleasant season of the year, the spring-tide


956- ripening into summer, he was removed from

Hugh le-

m r nsen- Paris to his Palace of Dordogne on the Orge,
Sf retires to but he knew his last hour was rapidly approach-

his palace

of Dordogne. j n g ? anc [ ^ e orc ]ered his worldly concerns.

After the Rout of Rouen, it does not appear
that the intercourse between the Duke of
France and the Norman Richard had encr eased.
Abiding in undisturbed amity, and neither
needing the other, they had not drawn nearer.

Online LibraryFrancis PalgraveThe history of Normandy and of England (Volume 2) → online text (page 45 of 60)