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987-991 A S a relic, Otbo reverentially removed a
portion of the garment. Certainly no profanation
was intended. Yet the act was much censured.
He was warned in a dream, as men reported, that
his days should be soon cut off. He returned to
Rome and died. It was reported that he had
been poisoned by Stephania, the widow of Cres-
centius ; but this supposition appears to have
been unfounded. There were adequate natural
causes to account for his death, without invok-
odfeTat * n o cr i me ' One son he had by Theophania, an
only child, but that son was dead. Henry,

the Saxou

Lhie - Saint Henry as he is termed, the grandson of
Henry the Porphyrogenitus, succeeded his
Uncle; but he also died issueless. The noble
Saxon line became extinct, and Conrad the Salic
ascended the throne.

79. There are two more graves which we
must visit.- -The remainder of King Hugh's tran-
quil reign is enveloped in obscurity : and he died
of the variolous contagion, so destructive at this
era, his body entirely covered with pustules.
He was attended, like his predecessors, by
Jewish physicians and Richerius, (who had
taken up the study of medicine) therefore says
as usual, that they poisoned him.

987-996. With the Capetian Revolution, in which he

Summary of

sk> e n c o f nclu " had been the most efficient mover, Richard-
sans-Peur's external political life may be said


to have ended. Richard had fought his fight.



The remaining period of his long reign dis- 937-991
closes few facts except the tranquil incidents , - -


of personal and domestic history. Ethelred
perhaps troubled Normandy, but I must re-
serve the discussion of this passage till the
next reign, there being some uncertainty
as to its era. One public event, however, is
recorded, in which Kichard presents himself
as a peace-maker. Albert, Count of Vermandois,
became very obnoxious to the Capetians by rea-
son of the support he had given to Charles the
Pretender. Huorh Capet marched against him, Richard

7 mediates be-

determined upon revenge, and Albert, unable
to resist the royal power, implored the aid of
the Norman Richard.

The Ambassador, whom he despatched, was
the Herodotus of Normandy, Dudo, Dean of Saint
Quentin. Duke Richard received the Clerk re-
spectfully and kindly. Accepting the media-
torial office, the Duke, repairing to Hugh Capet,
executed the business in person. Richard's
supplication stayed the impending warfare ; Yer-
rnandois was spared, and Dudo, having won
Richard's favour and his family's, was received
in the Court of Rouen. Dudo was a diligent en-
quirer : he had a fluent gift of versification, and
was absolutely overwhelmed with scholastic
learning. He, upon the solicitation of Richard-
sans-Peur, and of Richard's son and successor,
Richard-le-Bon, collected the Danish traditions,
from the first incursions under Hastings, as


987-991 introductory to the history of Eollo and Rollo's
' * progeny. Had Dudo not preserved these re-

9911030 r *

collections, the whole personal history of the
sa u in? c three first Norman Dukes would have been


completely lost.

Such was the origin of the Acta Normanno-
rum, our primary authentic source of informa-
tion concerning Carlovingian Normandy. Dudo
dedicated the production, as we have already
noticed, to Asceline of Laon, soliciting his cor-
rections ; but he, nevertheless, composed the nar-
rative under the special inspection of Raoul,
Count of Ivri, Eichard's half-brother. The
work exhibits so much originality, that we
may be certain we possess it unaltered ; but
this does not exclude the supposition, that
some portions may have been expunged by
the corrector.

Emma, as we have before noticed, died
childless. But Richard nevertheless had a
very numerous progeny. Eight (including our
English Queen Emma and Eichard, his first-
born) were the issue of Guenora, a concubine of
Danish blood whom, after a lengthened cohabi-
tation, he espoused : and others by various
sweethearts ; and from these children of whom
I hope to render a full account and the
nieces and nephews of Guenora, descended the
most illustrious amongst the Norman nobility.
Eichard's character, as I shall have to tell,
softened and improved with age. Eichard and


King Hugh died in the same year, and he was 937-991
buried after a strange fashion under the roof, < A

; 0911030

and yet not under the roof, of Fecamp Abbey.
The scanty French authorities, avoid or evade Richard!


any notice of Eichard or of Normandy as much
as possible. The Duchy of Normandy arose
under the Capetian domination, and though bitter
political jealousies prevailed, yet the dispathy of
race was forgotten. But no community of lan-
guage or religion, no sentiment of friendship or
feeling could conceal from the Carlovingian eye,
the stain of the black Danish blood. Living or
dead, the Dane stunk in their nostrils. And
when Bicherius was employing himself on the
last unfinished page of his imperfect autograph
volume, the last words he utters are the demon-
strations of invincible antipathy,- -Richardus
Piratarum Dux, apoplexia minor e per lit.



FRODOARDUS EEMENSIS and Richerius (see Vol. i. p. 748, 749) furnish
the main staple of French history, during the period which this volume
comprehends. An account of the remarkable recovery of the last-mentioned
work, has already been given (Vol. I. p. 749), and he and his ingenious
father, from whom he receives his traditions, have been repeatedly introduced
in the text of the preceding pages. Both these Annalists were either actors
in the transactions to which they bear record, or witnesses thereof: conse-
quently, they are historical personages, and as such the reader has already
made full acquaintance with them. Frodoardus departs at the commence-
ment of a very eventful era, the year 966, when Lothaire espoused the
Italian Emma. But Eicherius, or Richer, the survivor, continues with
us to the end you hear his dying words. My concluding chapter closes
with the line extracted from the last passage Richerius penned.

Richerius alone discloses the complication of fraud, and treachery, and
misfortune, which established the third dynasty upon the throne. He com-
pletely dispels the theory rendered so popular by Thierry's talent, and
countenanced by another imaginative investigator. I allude to the hypo-
thesis representing the Capetian Revolution as resulting from a resuscitation
of the Celtic races, against the descendants of their Teutonic Conquerors,
instigated by the antagonism between German and Gaul, which has now
become the orthodox dogma and (unless a total change has recently ensued)
is preached as such in all the Manuals and Epitomes which form the
opinions of the rising generation.

From these two texts, that is to say, from Frodoardus and Richerius, I
have mainly told the story throughout the volume. Their chronology is
substantially adopted, save and except as to Norman affairs, concerning
which their information is grudging, scanty, and inaccurate. Nor can it
be doubted, but that very much matter concerning Normandy was slurred
over by them, as opposed to French national feeling. Any reader desiring
to test my narrative, may compare, page by page, my text with these
Annalists as he proceeds. Nevertheless, it must be recollected that the
writers do not impose upon themselves the necessity of arranging the trans-
actions governed by each Calendar date, in strict sequence of time under
that date. Moreover, years occasionally overlap each other, and we en-
counter many anachronisms, especially with respect to foreign transactions.
Bouquet's chronological tables will give a ready reference to any passage
quoted from the French historians by me. This same table affords the only
compensation for the excellent Benedictine's elaborately defective plan, upon
which subject I have enlarged elsewhere (Ed. Rev. April 1847).


Amongst the minor, though important, sources of French history, as it
advances, we must include Aimar or Adhemar de Chabannes. He was
born at the commencement of the Capetiau era (in the year 988), and
belonged to a very distinguished family. His father, Count Raimond, was
illustrious amongst the nobles of his era and not less so his maternal uncle,
after whom he was named. His Historia Francorum contains some curious
reminiscences of the last Carlovingiau times : and he is the only writer who
records the diffidations of Charles-le-Simple, by the casting of the hawlra ;
but it is principally for Aquitaine that Adhemar, whose work was never
printed in entirety until included by Pertz in his collection, is very valuable.

Another subordinate writer who, though principally concerned for Ger-
many, gives us much matter for the history of France, is Baldericus Came-
racensis, identified by his first Editor with Balderic, Bishop of Tournay,
who flourished in the concluding era of the Carlovingian monarchy. We
learn much from his Chronicon Cameracense et Atrebatense, concerning
the warfare in Lorraine, between Lothaire and Otho II., as also concerning
the fortunes of Charles in that country. Balderic is not by any means
favourable to the Pretender.

Antient Norman history, that is to say, from the youth of Hollo to the
death of Richard-sans-Peur, rests entirely upon Dudo of Saint Quentin's
Acta Normannorum. You may abandon the history of Normandy if you
choose, but if you attempt the task, you must accept Dudo, or let the work
alone. I have completely incorporated Dudo with the French and German
authorities : they absent, we should not have any dates ; Dudo deserted,
we are destitute of facts. Dudo's personal history becomes an important
incident in the general history, and as such I have treated it in the body of
my text. The work is supposed by his first editor to have been completed
between 1015 and 1026. The extent of the "corrections" made by Asceline
cannot be ascertained, but any how, the Gesta passed through at least two
recensions, there being a manuscript in the Cottonian collection, which does
not contain the poetry constituting so conspicuous a feature in the published
text. Duchesne's edition (Rouen, 1619) is the only one, and very rare; and
the liberality of the French government would be well employed, were the
Ministre de Hnstruction publique (who, we believe, directs the " Monumens
Inedits '') to reprint the same.

From Dudo originated the Historia Normannorum, composed by
Guillielmus Calculus, commonly quoted as Guillaume de Jumieges. He
dedicates his work to the Conqueror, a fact which tells the era in which he
flourished, and the influences under which he composed.

A Monk of Jumieges, and unquestionably profiting from the traditions of
the House, Guillaume grounded his work upon Dudo. His text of the Acta
Normannorum was probably somewhat more ample than that published by
Duchesne : and in the same manner that Dudo is in fact our only authority
for the biography or history of the three first Dukes, to wit, Rollo, Guil-
laume-Longue-Epee, and Richiird-sans-Peur, so is Guillaume de Jumieges,
our only, or almost our only guide for the history of the three next, Richard-
le-Bon ; Richard the Third, distinguished by not having any epithet ; and


Kobert-le-Magniilque, or Je-Diable, the Father of William the Mamzer, or
the Conqueror.

The first four books of Guillaume de Jumieges' work, which contain the
history of the first three Norman Dukes, are mere abridgments from
Dudo's text.

Guillaume de Jumieges speaks with great respect of Dudo as his prede-
cessor ; and singularly enough, he completes his fourth book by a Colophon
which he has transcribed literally from Dudo's Colophon, at the termination
of his work, though such Dudonian Colophon is not found in Duchesne's
text, the same being to the following effect, " Hucusque digesta, prout a
" Rodulpho Comite hujus Ducis fratre maguo et honesto viro, narrata sunt
" collegi, quse scholastico dictamine scripta, relinquo posteris."

This same brief compendium has practically superseded the Acta
Normannorum of Dudo, amongst all modern historians without exception.
None of them meet Dudo except to scold at him. And the judgments
passed upon both these victims of prudish criticism, may best be answered in
Guizot's words as prefixed to the version of Guillaume de Jumieges published
under his auspices :

" Les erudits ont amerement reproche a Guillaume, moine de 1'abbaye de
l{ Jumieges, cTavoir reproduit dans les premiers livres de son ' Histoire des
' Normands,' la plupart des fables dont son predecesseur Dudon, doyen de
Saint-Quentin, avait deja rempli la sienne. Si Guillaume n'eut ainsi fini,
" cette portion de son ouvrage n'existerait pas, car il n'aurait rien eu a y
" mettre ; il a recueilli les traditions de son temps sur 1'origine, les exploits,
u les aventures des anciens Normands et de leurs chefs ; aucun peuple n'en
" sait davantage, et n'a des historians plus exact sur le premier age de sa vie.
" A voir la colere de dom Eivet et de ses doctes confreres, il semblerait que
i( Dudon et Guillaume aient eu le choix de nous racouter des miracles ou des
" faits, une serie de victoires romanesques ou une suite d'evenemens reguliers,
" et que leur preference pour la fable soit une insulte a notre raison, comme si
" elle etait obligee d'y croire. II y a a quereller de la sorte les vieux cbroni-
" queurs une ridicule pedanterie ; ils ont fait ce qu'ils pouvaient faire ; ils nous
" ont transmis ce qu'on disait, ce qu'on croyait autour d'eux : vaudrait-il
" mieux qu'ils n'eussent point ecrit, qu'aucun souvenir des temps fabuleux ou
" heroi'ques de la vie des nations ne fut parvenu jusqu'a nous, et que 1'histoire
" n'eut commence qu'au moment ou la societe aurait possede des erudits capable
" de la soumettre a leur critique pour en assurer 1'exactitude ? A mon avis,
" il y a souvent plus de verites historiques a recueillir dans ces recits ou se
" deploie 1'imagination populaire que dans beaucoup de savantes disserta-
" tions."

Out of these two prose Chroniclers, Dudo and Guillaurae de Jumieges,
arose two poetical, or at least, rhythmical chronicles, which are as impor-
tant as their originals ; both nearly coevals, and both encouraged by the
first Plantagenet's munificence. The earliest of these compositions bears
the following title :

" Ci commence 1'estoire e la genealogie,
Des Dux qui unt este par ordre en Normandie."


Benoit, the writer, thus names himself at the conclusion of the " Fitte "
containing the History of Guillaume-Longue-Epee, and thus he is denomi-
nated by his imitator and successor, Robert Wace. The worthy Abbe de
la Rue first disinterred this very valuable composition. The work exists
only in a single manuscript till then slumbering in the British Museum,
which, after he had described it, was again left to enjoy repose until roused
by the French government, 1836. The Abbe de la Rue has identified Benoit
with his namesake, the author of the Roman de Troye, one of the best
poems amongst the productions of the Trouveurs.

Bat this is a mere conjecture. We know nothing of Benoit, except
what he himself discloses. He, like Guillaume de Jumieges, experienced
the liberal patronage of Henry the Second, as we learn from his own words.
So far as Dudo extends, Benoit's poem is with few exceptions based upon
the Acta Normannorum; though there are many passages showing that
the text upon which he worked was somewhat more extensive than that
which has been rendered accessible by Duchesne's industry. Benoit abounds
with vivid descriptive passages. Local knowledge and local traditions also
assisted him. But Benoit rarely departs from the substantial narrative of
his original, and for all historical purposes, that original and the version
should be treated as one ; and this I have done, amalgamating the texts.

Robert Wace, or Wacce, or Waice, or Waze, or Gasse, or Guace, I
shall spare the other variations of his name, a cotemporary, a disciple, a
translator, a successor, and to some degree a rival of Benoit, but also in.
many respects an original writer, runs nearly parallel with his teacher.

He lived under three Henrys, Dukes of Normandy and Kings of England.
Henry Beauclerc, the junior Henry, and Henry Plantagenet, his peculiar
patron. All we know of him is derived from his own report. He was a
Royal " Clerc lisant," an expression which has led to the conjecture that he
was a Clerk, or as we now should say, a Master in Chancery. He devoted
his talents and researches almost exclusively to poetical history ; and the
Brut, a free paraphrase of Geoffrey of Monmouth, constitutes the introduc-
tion to his metrical chronicle of Normandy and Anglo-Norman England.

This poem consists of two books. The first book contains the history of
the Northmen anterior to Rollo, very brief, and written in the eight syllable
measure. The second book commences with the peculiar history of Rollo,
" Ci commenche a parler de Ron," and this epigraph is the title given
by the author. He adopts Alexandrine assonant verses in this portion.
This metre extends till the reign of Richard-sans-Puer, when the narrative
breaks off with the transactions at the Fosse Givolde. This portion is mainly
taken from Dudo. But here again we find very many facts collected either
from a text somewhat differing from Dudo's printed text, or from local or
other traditions. Such is the case with respect to the battle of the Fords,
and Thibaut's invasion of Normandy. Subsequently, Wace depends mainly
upon Guillaume de Jumieges, but also upon his own personal or traditionary
knowledge. It is sufficient to observe that his narrative gains exceedingly
in \alue, as it approaches to the conclusion, the whole being quoted as
the Roman du ROIL


So much with respect to the primary sources of French and Norman
history. It is now needful to indicate the aids and collections which
may lighten the student's labour. As in my first volume, p. 735, I must
make a general reference to the Benedictine and other historians of the
French Provinces. For the present section of this work, those by Lobineau,
and Morice, and Talandre, are peculiarly valuable, inasmuch as they contain
the Breton Chronicles, properly so called, in extenso. Whenever Armorica
is mentioned in my text, the reader will find in these works the warranty of
my narrative. Daru (Histoire de Bretagne, Paris, 1826) may be con-
venient for those who wish to gain a cursory knowledge of Breton affairs.

With respect to the antient geography of Normandy, of which a know-
ledge is most essential, in consequence of the prominence of the numerous
individuals who are localized by their possessions, I have found the best
general aid in the late Mr. Stapleton's Introductions to the Norman Exchequer
Rolls. These invaluable records, preserved amongst our own Archives, were
published by the Society of Antiquaries (London, 1840 1842), and re-
published by the " Societe des Antiquaires de Normaudie," Mr. Sta-
pleton's map of antient Normandy is peculiarly useful and the historical
topography of the Pay de Caux and the Vexin the Pagi of Normandy to
the North and East of the Seine, is laboriously and clearly elucidated
in an anonymous work of the last century, Description Geographique et
Historique de la Haute Normandie (Paris, 1740).

Many special Histories concerning Normandy are very serviceable. A
successor of Dudo, though separated from that dignitary by many cen-
turies, has supplied an ample Chronicle of the Vermandois. I allude to
M. Louis Paul Collette, Dean of St. Quentin, who in his three quarto
volumes, Memoires pour servir a V Histoire Ecclesiastique, Civile, et Mili-
taire de la Province du Vermandois, (Cambray, 1771,) has employed
not merely the written authorities, but local traditions, such e.g. as the
account of Mont-Herbert.

For the County of Ponthieu we have much assistance in the work of M.
Louandre (Histoire d" 1 Abbeville et du Comte de Ponthieu, Paris, 1844).
Amongst other local historians, we have good histories of Evreux, City,
County, and Diocese, by Le Brasseur, (Paris, 1722,) and of Laon, by Don
Nicolas le Long, (Charente, 1783). But amongst all local historians, the
Abbe de la Rue stands pre-eminent Essai Historique sur la ville de Caen,
1820. Besides much minute information concerning that most interesting
city, we obtain from him many data relating to the alterations which the
shores of Normandy have sustained.

The Forests of Normandy, equally important in connection with the
constitutional History of Normandy as with her topography, are minutely
described in the Etudes sur la Condition de la Classe Agricole et de VEtat de
V Agriculture en Normandie au Moyen Age, by M. Delisle (Evreux, 1821), a
work exhibiting much industry.

Amongst the numerous special biographies of individuals eminent in France
and Normandy, two, not generally known, may be noticed, as bearing upon



this work ; and both relating to a personage whose merits and failings re-
quire that which they never can now receive, a satisfactory elucidation,
Gerbert of Aurillac. The character of Gerbert, in all its aspects, whether
as a political adventurer, or as a man of science, or Pontiff, is very ably
elucidated by Dr. C. F. Hoek Gerbert oder Papst Sylvester II. und sein
Jahrhundert (Vienna, 1837J. Very much information concerning Ger-
bert is given in this work, but as usual the biographer ascribes over-much
merit to his hero. Gerbert's letters, translated into French, with a very
ample commentary, have been published in his own country by a compatri-
otic enthusiast, Louis Varse (Riom, 1847). Holding the station which Ger-
bert does in the history of mediaeval science, it is to be regretted that so little
attention has been paid in this country to his unquestionable talent.

I have elsewhere (Vol. I, p. 723) noticed the many excellent works which
the French Archaeologists have contributed for the elucidation of that branch
of knowledge furnishing the most important aid to the historian, or rather
being history itself in a most profitable form Genealogies. To those
before quoted (Vol. I, p. 725) I must add the valuable History and Records
of the House of Gurnet/, which Mr. Daniel Gurney has compiled from
original documents, mostly printed by him as vouchers for his text.

On a former occasion I omitted to call attention to the great assistance
which every historical enquirer will receive from the Gallia Sacra, one
of the many works, which, so far as unwearied diligence, judgment, and
accuracy are concerned, put us to shame. Here the historical student or
enquirer will find every particular which he may require for the succession of
the Prelates, and Heads of Houses of Religion throughout the ecclesiastical
provinces of France, and put together in the most usable form.

For the archiepiscopal see of Rheims, we have, moreover, the excellent
history of Marlot (Lisle, 1666). This work contains many original docu-
ments, which I have employed.

The Benedictine Houses of Normandy are copiously illustrated by
Mabillon (Annales Benedictini). Whilst Mabillon's attention is never di-
verted from the main object of his work, this most diligent and conscientious
writer furnishes numerous historical and biographical notices illustrating civil
history. I am not aware that any particulars are known concerning Otto or
Otho, Lothaire's son, except those given by Mabillon (Tome iv, p. 33),
who adds an engraving of the miniature in Queen Emma's psalter.

For Normandy we have in addition to Gallia Sacra, the Neustria Pia
(Rouen, 1663), in which will be found all the details which are necessarily
excluded from a work concerning the whole kingdom ; and also the Concilia
Rotomagensis Provincice (Rouen, 1717), a work which gives us the outline
of Norman ecclesiastical history.

Monumental Archaeology, as such, is beyond the legitimate sphere of
history, but it is always useful to refresh the imagination by visible objects.
The student would do well to turn over Cottman's Views in Normandy,
which, together with Mr. Dawson Turner's Letters from Normandy, 1820,
include engravings of large numbers of antient buildings demolished within


the last thirty years. Nearly two-thirds of the structures engraved in these
works have been demolished. Amongst others, the Hall at Lislebonne,
where the Conqueror assembled his barons previous to the embarkation at

Online LibraryFrancis PalgraveThe history of Normandy and of England (Volume 2) → online text (page 59 of 60)