Alan I (French : Alain; died 907), called the Great, was the Count of Vannes and Duke of Brittany (dux Brittonium) from 876 until his death. He was probably also the only King of Brittany (rex Brittaniæ) to hold that title by a grant of the Emperor.
Alan was the second son of Count Ridoredh of Vannes. He succeeded his brother Pascweten in Vannes when the latter died, probably in the middle of 876, and contended for leadership of Brittany with Judicael of Poher. Alan represented the power bloc of southeastern Brittany while Judicael represented western Breton interests. Eventually he and Judicael made peace in order to fight the Vikings. Judicael died in the Battle of Questembert in 888 or 889, after which Alan gained sole leadership of Brittany. In 890, Alan defeated the Vikings at Saint-Lô, chasing them into a river where many drowned.
After the death of Judicael, Alan ruled all of Brittany as it had been during the time of Salomon. He ruled not only the Breton territories of Léon, Domnonée, Cornouaille, and the Vannetais, but also the Frankish counties of Rennes, Nantes, Coutances, and Avranches, as well as the western parts of Poitou (the so-called pays de Retz ) and Anjou. In the east his rule extended as far as the river Vire. He was the first Breton ruler to rule this entire territory without great opposition within the west and the last to rule the whole bloc of Franco-Celtic countries. His strongest opponent was Fulk I of Anjou, who disputed control of the Nantais with him, though Alan seems to have had the upper hand in his lifetime. His power base remained in the southeast and he was powerful and wealthy in land in around Vannes and Nantes.
According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle , after the death of Carloman II in 884, Charles the Fat succeeded to all of West Francia save Brittany, thus making Brittany an independent kingdom; but this does not seem to have been true. A charter datable to between 897 and 900 makes reference to the soul of Karolus on whose behalf Alan had ordered prayers to be said in the monastery of Redon. This was probably Charles the Fat, who, as emperor, probably granted Alan the right to be titled rex. As emperor he would have had that prerogative and he is known to have had contacts with Nantes in 886, making it not improbable that he came into communication with Alan. Charles also made a concerted effort to rule effectively in the entirety of his empire and to make former enemies, with dubious ties to the empire, like the Viking Godfrid, men of standing in return for their loyalty. Throughout his reign, Alan used Carolingian symbols of regalia and Carolingian forms in his charters. Alan augmented his power during the weak reigns of Odo and Charles III.
Alan I died in 907. The succession was disputed and Count Gourmaëlon of Cornouaille seized the throne. Brittany was soon overrun by Vikings, who defeated and slew Gourmaëlon in battle in 913/914 and held the region until 936 when Alan I's grandson Alan II returned to Brittany from exile in Æthelstan's England, vanquished the Vikings, and succeeded in reestablishing Christian rule. However, Brittany's geographic territory was never as extended as in Alan I's time and no future Breton rulers were called kings until the Breton Ducal crown was merged with the French crown in the 16th century (q.v. List of rulers of Brittany).
According to an 11th-century genealogy composed for the Count of Anjou, Alan I's son, Pascweten the Younger, was the father of Judicael Berengar, whose son was Conan I of Rennes, founder of the House of Rennes.
By his wife Oreguen, Alan had the following children:
Year 888 (DCCCLXXXVIII) was a leap year starting on Monday of the Julian calendar.
The Duchy of Brittany was a medieval feudal state that existed between approximately 939 and 1547. Its territory covered the northwestern peninsula of Europe, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, and the English Channel to the north. It was also less definitively bordered by the river Loire to the south, and Normandy, and other French provinces, to the east. The Duchy was established after the expulsion of Viking armies from the region around 939. The Duchy, in the 10th and 11th centuries, was politically unstable, with the dukes holding only limited power outside their own personal lands. The Duchy had mixed relationships with the neighbouring Duchy of Normandy, sometimes allying itself with Normandy, and at other times, such as the Breton-Norman War, entering into open conflict.
Nominoe or Nomenoe was the first Duke of Brittany from 846 to his death. He is the Breton pater patriae and to Breton nationalists he is known as Tad ar Vro.
Salomon was Count of Rennes and Nantes from 852 and Duke of Brittany from 857 until his death by assassination. He used the title King of Brittany intermittently after 868. In 867, he was granted the counties of Avranches and Coutances.
Pascweten was the count of Vannes and a claimant to the rule of Brittany. He was a son of Ridoredh of Vannes, a prominent and wealthy aristocrat first associated with the court of Erispoe in the 850s. He owned vast landed estates and salt works in southeastern Brittany and was a patron of Redon Abbey.
Wrhwant, Gurwant, Gurwent or Gurvand was a claimant to the Duchy of Brittany from 874 until his death in opposition to Pascweten, Count of Vannes.
Judicael was the Duke of Brittany from 876 to his death. He was a son of a daughter of Erispoe and claimed Brittany after the death of the pretenders Wrhwant and Pascweten in mid 876.
Alan II, nicknamed Wrybeard or Twistedbeard, Alan Varvek in Breton, was Count of Vannes, Poher and Nantes, and Duke of Brittany from 938 to his death. He was the grandson of King Alan the Great by Alan's daughter and her husband Mathuedoï I, Count of Poher. He expelled the Vikings/Norsemen from Brittany after an occupation that lasted from 907 to about 939.
Conan I nicknamed Le Tort was the Duke of Brittany from 990 to his death.
Berengar II was the Count of Bayeux and Rennes and Margrave of the Breton March from 886 until his death a decade later.
The counts of Nantes were originally the Frankish rulers of the Nantais under the Carolingians and eventually a capital city of the Duchy of Brittany. Their county served as a march against the Bretons of the Vannetais. Carolingian rulers would sometimes attack Brittany through the region of the Vannetais, making Nantes a strategic asset. In the mid-ninth century, the county finally fell to the Bretons and the title became a subsidiary title of the Breton rulers. The control of the title by the Breton dukes figured prominently in the history of the duchy. The County of Nantes was given to Hoel, a disinherited son of a duke. He lost the countship due to a popular uprising. That uprising presented an opportunity for King Henry II of England to attack the Breton duke. In the treaty ending their conflicts, the Breton duke awarded the county to Henry II.
Count of Vannes was the title held by the rulers of the County of Vannes.
The Kingdom of Brittany was a short-lived vassal-state of the Frankish Empire that emerged during the Norse invasions. Its history begins in 851 with Erispoe's claim to kingship. In 856, Erispoe was murdered and succeeded by his cousin Salomon.
Poher is an ancient principality that emerged in the Early Middle Ages in Cornouaille in west-central Brittany. Its capital was the Gallo-Roman city of Vorgium, capital of the Osismii, which became Carhaix after the fall of the Roman Empire. Archaeological excavations scheduled since 1999 show that, even if the city lost its function as capital after the 4th century, it was nonetheless a stronghold and major strategic crossroads.
Gourmaëlon or Wrmaelon, was the Count of Cornouaille and de facto ruler of Brittany from 907 – c. 914. As ruler of Brittany he was considered Prince de Bretagne in some chronicles and histories. His actual history is among the least well documented of the early medieval rulers of Brittany. His reputed time of rule coincides with a dramatic increase in Viking invasions that ultimately led up to the Viking Occupation of Brittany that began after his death.
Mathuedoï I was a Count of Poher. He was the son - in - law of Alan I, King of Brittany, known as Alan the Great through his marriage to Hawise of Vannes. He obtained his countship at Alan's death circa 907. He is listed in several ecclesiastical records at Redon Abbey.
Alain Canhiart was the count of Cornouaille from 1020 to 1058. He was the son of Benoît de Cornouaille and the father of Hoël II, Duke of Brittany. His family name, Canhiart, is understood to be derived from the old Breton Kann Yac'h and was translated into the Latin texts of his era as Bellator fortis.
Viking Brittany refers to the Viking occupation of Brittany during the High Middle Ages. Throughout the 9th century, the Bretons faced threats from various flanks: they resisted full incorporation into the Frankish Carolingian Empire yet they also had to repel an emerging threat of the new duchy of Normandy on their eastern border by these Scandinavian colonists.