Duchy of Normandy

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Duchy of Normandy

Duché de Normandie
Ducatus Normanniae
911–1259/1469
Vexillum Willelmi Ducis.svg
Flag of Normandie.svg
Top: The reconstruction of the Norman "papal" banner according to Bayeux Tapestry
Bottom: Heraldic flag of Normandy
Cartenormandie2.PNG
Normandy's historical borders in the northwest of France and the Channel Islands
Status Vassal of the Kingdom of France
Capital Rouen
Common languages Latin
Old Norman
Religion
Norse religion
Roman Catholicism
Government Feudal monarchy
Duke of Normandy  
 911–927
Rollo (first)
 1035–1087
William the Conqueror
 1144–1150
Geoffrey Plantagenet
 1199–1216 (1204)
John Lackland (last)
Historical era Middle Ages
911
1066
 Normandy conquered by Anjou
1144
 Normandy conquered by French Crown
1204
1259
 Ducal ring destroyed
1469
 French nominal ducal title abolished
1790
Currency Denier (Rouen penny)
Today part ofFlag of France.svg  France
Flag of Guernsey.svg  Guernsey
Flag of Jersey.svg  Jersey

The Duchy of Normandy grew out of the 911 Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte between King Charles III of West Francia and the Viking leader Rollo. The duchy was named for its inhabitants, the Normans.

Contents

From 1066 until 1204, as a result of the Norman conquest of England, the kings of England were also dukes of Normandy, with the exception of Robert Curthose (1087–1106), eldest son of William the Conqueror but unsuccessful claimant to the English throne; and Geoffrey Plantagenet (1144–1150), husband of Empress Matilda and father of Henry II.

In 1202, Philip II of France declared Normandy forfeit to him and seized it by force of arms in 1204. It remained disputed territory until the Treaty of Paris of 1259, when the English sovereign ceded his claim except for the Channel Islands; i.e., the Bailiwicks of Guernsey and Jersey, and their dependencies (including Sark).

In the Kingdom of France, the duchy was occasionally set apart as an appanage to be ruled by a member of the royal family. After 1469, however, it was permanently united to the royal domain, although the title was occasionally conferred as an honorific upon junior members of the royal family. The last French duke of Normandy in this sense was Louis-Charles, duke from 1785 to 1789.

History

Origins

The first Viking attack up the river Seine took place in 820. By 911, the area had been raided many times and there were even small Viking settlements on the lower Seine. The text of the Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte has not survived. It is only known through the historian Dudo of Saint-Quentin, who was writing a century after the event. The exact date of the treaty is unknown, but it was likely in the autumn of 911. By the agreement, Charles III, king of the West Franks, granted to the Viking leader Rollo some lands along the lower Seine that were apparently already under Danish control. Whether Rollo himself was a Dane or a Norwegian is not known. For his part, Rollo agreed to defend the territory from other Vikings and that he and his men would convert to Christianity. [1] Rollo's decision to convert and come to terms with the Franks came in the aftermath of his defeat at the battle of Chartres by Dukes Richard of Burgundy and Robert of Neustria (the future Robert I of France) earlier in 911. [2]

The territory ceded to Rollo comprised the pagi of the Caux, Évrecin, Roumois and Talou. This was territory formerly known as the county of Rouen, and which would become Upper Normandy. A royal diploma of 918 confirms the donation of 911, using the verb adnuo ("I grant"). There is no evidence that Rollo owed any service or oath to the king for his lands, nor that there were any legal means for the king to take them back: they were granted outright. [1] Likewise, Rollo does not seem to have been created a count or given comital authority, but later sagas refer to him as Rúðujarl (earl of Rouen). [3]

In 924, King Radulf extended Rollo's county westward up to the river Vire, including the Bessin, where some Danes from England had settled not long before. In 933, King Radulf granted the Avranchin and Cotentin to Rollo's son and successor, William Longsword. These areas had been previously under Breton rule. The northern Cotentin had been settled by Norwegians coming from the region of the Irish Sea. There was initially much hostility between these Norwegian settlers and their new Danish overlords. These expansions brought the boundaries of Normandy roughly in line with those of the ecclesiastical province of Rouen. [1]

The Norman polity had to contend with the Frankish and Breton systems of power that already existed in Normandy. In the early 10th century, Normandy was not a political or monetary unit. According to many academics, "the formation of a new aristocracy, monastic reform, episcopal revival, written bureaucracy, saints’ cults – with necessarily different timelines" were as important if not more than the ducal narrative espoused by Dudo. The formation of the Norman state also coincided with the creation of an origin myth for the Norman ducal family through Dudo, such as Rollo being compared to a "good pagan" like the Trojan hero Aeneas. Through this narrative, the Normans were assimilated closer to the Frankish core as they moved away from their pagan Scandinavian origins. [4] [5]

Norse settlement

There were two distinct patterns of Norse settlement in the duchy. In the Danish area in the Roumois and the Caux, settlers intermingled with the indigenous Gallo-Romance-speaking population. Rollo shared out the large estates with his companions and gave agricultural land to his other followers. Danish settlers cleared their own land to farm it, and there was no segregation of populations. [1]

In the northern Cotentin on the other hand, the population was purely Norwegian. Coastal features bore Norse names as did the three pagi of Haga, Sarnes and Helganes (as late as 1027). The Norwegians may even have set up a þing , an assembly of all free men, whose meeting place may be preserved in the name of Le Tingland. [1]

Within a few generations of the founding of Normandy in 911, however, the Scandinavian settlers had intermarried with the natives and adopted much of their culture. But in 911, Normandy was not a political nor monetary unit. Frankish culture remained dominant and according to some scholars, 10th century Normandy was characterized by a diverse Scandinavian population interacting with the "local Frankish matrix" that existed in the region. In the end, the Normans stressed assimilation with the local population. [4] In the 11th century, the anonymous author of the Miracles of Saint Wulfram referred to the formation of a Norman identity as "shaping [of] all races into one single people". [1]

According to some historians, the idea of "Norman" as a political identity was a deliberate creation of the court of Richard I in the 960s as a way to "to create a powerful if rather incoherent sense of group solidarity to galvanize the duchy's disparate elites around the duke". [6]

Norman Duchy

Starting with Rollo, Normandy was ruled by an enduring and long-lived Viking dynasty. Illegitimacy was not a bar to succession and three of the first six rulers of Normandy were illegitimate sons of concubines. Rollo's successor, William Longsword managed in expanding his domain and came into conflict with Arnulf of Flanders, who had him assassinated in 942. [7] This led to a crisis in Normandy, with a minor succeeding as Richard I and also led to a temporary revival of Norse paganism in Normandy. [8] Richard I's son, Richard II was the first to be styled duke of Normandy, the ducal title becoming established between 987 and 1006. [9]

The Norman dukes created the most powerful, consolidated duchy in Western Europe between the years 980, when the dukes helped place Hugh Capet on the French throne, and 1050. [10] Scholarly churchmen were brought into Normandy from the Rhineland, and they built and endowed monasteries and supported monastic schools. thus helping to integrate distant territories into a wider framework. [11] The dukes imposed heavy feudal burdens on the ecclesiastical fiefs, which supplied the armed knights that enabled the dukes to control the restive lay lords but whose bastards could not inherit. By the mid-11th century the Duke of Normandy could count on more than 300 armed and mounted knights from his ecclesiastical vassals alone. [10] By the 1020s the dukes were able to impose vassalage on the lay nobility as well. Until Richard II, the Norman rulers did not hesitate to call Viking mercenaries for help to get rid of their enemies around Normandy, such as the king of the Francs himself. Olaf Haraldsson crossed the Channel in such circumstances to support Richard II in the conflict against the count of Chartres and was baptized in Rouen in 1014. [12]

Statue of Rollo, founder of the fiefdom of Normandy, standing in Falaise, Calvados, birthplace of his descendant William the Conqueror, the Duke of Normandy who became King of England. Rollo statue in falaise.JPG
Statue of Rollo, founder of the fiefdom of Normandy, standing in Falaise, Calvados, birthplace of his descendant William the Conqueror, the Duke of Normandy who became King of England.

In 1066, Duke William defeated Harold II of England at the Battle of Hastings and was subsequently crowned King of England, through the Norman conquest of England. [13] Anglo-Norman and French relations became complicated after the Norman Conquest. The Norman dukes retained control of their holdings in Normandy as vassals owing fealty to the King of France, but they were his equals as kings of England. From 1154 until 1214, with the creation of the Angevin Empire, the Angevin kings of England controlled half of France and all of England, dwarfing the power of the French king, yet the Angevins were still technically French vassals. [14]

The Duchy remained part of the Anglo-Norman realm until 1204, [15] when Philip II of France conquered the continental lands of the Duchy, which became part of the royal domain. The English sovereigns continued to claim them until the Treaty of Paris (1259) but in fact kept only the Channel Islands. [16] Having little confidence in the loyalty of the Normans, Philip installed French administrators and built a powerful fortress, the Château de Rouen, as a symbol of royal power. [17] [18]

French appanage

Although within the royal demesne, Normandy retained some specificity. Norman law continued to serve as the basis for court decisions. In 1315, faced with the constant encroachments of royal power on the liberties of Normandy, the barons and towns pressed the Norman Charter on the king. This document did not provide autonomy to the province but protected it against arbitrary royal acts. The judgments of the Exchequer, the main court of Normandy, were declared final. This meant that Paris could not reverse a judgment of Rouen. [19] Another important concession was that the King of France could not raise a new tax without the consent of the Normans. However the charter, granted at a time when royal authority was faltering, was violated several times thereafter when the monarchy had regained its power. [20]

The Duchy of Normandy survived mainly by the intermittent installation of a duke. In practice, the King of France sometimes gave that portion of his kingdom to a close member of his family, who then did homage to the king. Philippe VI made Jean, his eldest son and heir to his throne, the Duke of Normandy. In turn, Jean II appointed his heir, Charles. [21] [22]

In 1465, Louis XI was forced by the League of the Public Weal to cede the duchy to his eighteen-year-old brother, Charles de Valois. [23] [24] This concession was a problem for the king since Charles was the puppet of the king's enemies. Normandy could thus serve as a basis for rebellion against the royal power. In 1469, therefore, Louis XI convinced his brother under duress to exchange Normandy for the Duchy of Guyenne (Aquitaine). [25] Finally, at the request of the cowed Estates of Normandy and to signify that the duchy would not be ceded again, at a session of the Norman Exchequer on 9 November 1469 the ducal ring was placed on an anvil and smashed. [26] Philippe de Commynes expressed what was probably a common Norman thought of the time: "It has always seemed good to the Normans and still does that their great duchy really should require a duke" (A tousjours bien semblé aux Normands et faict encores que si grand duchié comme la leur requiert bien un duc). [27]

Dauphin Louis Charles, the second son of Louis XVI, was again given the nominal title of 'Duke of Normandy' before the death of his elder brother in 1789. [28]

Law

There are traces of Scandinavian law in the customary laws of Normandy, which were first written down in the 13th century. [19] A charter of 1050, listing several pleas before Duke William II, refers to the penalty of banishment as ullac (from Old Norse útlagr). The word was still current in the 12th century, when it was used in the Roman de Rou . [29] Marriage more danico ("in the Danish manner"), that is, without any ecclesiastical ceremony in accordance with old Norse custom, was recognised as legal in Normandy and in the Norman church. The first three dukes of Normandy all practised it. [1]

Scandinavian influence is especially apparent in laws relating to waters. The duke possessed the droit de varech (from Old Danish vrek), the right to all shipwrecks. [30] He also had a monopoly on whale and sturgeon. A similar monopoly belonged to the Danish king in the Jutlandic law of 1241. Remarkably, whale and sturgeon still belong to the monarch in the United Kingdom in the twenty-first century, as royal fish. [31] The Norman Latin terms for whalers (valmanni, from hvalmenn) and whaling station (valseta, from hvalmannasetr) both derive from Old Norse. Likewise, fishing in Normandy seems to have come under Scandinavian rules. A charter of 1030 uses the term fisigardum (from Old Norse fiskigarðr) for "fisheries", a term also found in the Scanian law of c. 1210. [1]

There is no surviving reference to the hirð or the leiðangr in Normandy, but the latter probably existed. The surname Huscaille, first attested in 1263, probably derives from húskarl , but is late evidence for the existence of a hirð in the 10th century. [1]

See also

Related Research Articles

Normandy Administrative region of France

Normandy is the northwesternmost of the 18 regions of France, roughly referring to the historical Duchy of Normandy.

Rollo was a Viking who became the first ruler of Normandy, a region in northern France. He is sometimes called the first Duke of Normandy. His son and grandson, William Longsword and Richard I, used the titles "count" and "prince", respectively. His great-grandson Richard II was the first to officially use the title of Duke of Normandy.

A duke (male) can either be a monarch ranked below the emperor, king, and grand duke ruling over a duchy or a member of royalty or nobility, historically of highest rank, below princes of nobility and grand dukes. The title comes from French duc, itself from the Latin dux, 'leader', a term used in republican Rome to refer to a military commander without an official rank, and later coming to mean the leading military commander of a province. In most countries, the word duchess is the female equivalent. However, in some countries, the term duke is used even for females, and the word duchess is reserved for those who marry dukes.

Duchy of Brittany Medieval duchy in northwestern France

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 on the west, the English Channel to the north. It was less definitively bordered by the Loire River 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.

Maine (province) Place in France

Maine[mɛːn] is one of the traditional provinces of France. It corresponds to the former County of Maine, whose capital was also the city of Le Mans. The area, now divided into the departments of Sarthe and Mayenne, counts about 857,000 inhabitants.

Duke of Normandy Medieval ruler of the Duchy of Normandy

In the Middle Ages, the Duke of Normandy was the ruler of the Duchy of Normandy in north-western France. The duchy arose out of a grant of land to the Viking leader Rollo by the French king Charles III in 911. In 924 and again in 933, Normandy was expanded by royal grant. Rollo's male-line descendants continued to rule it down to 1135. In 1202 the French king Philip II declared Normandy a forfeited fief and by 1204 his army had conquered it. It remained a French royal province thereafter, still called the Duchy of Normandy, but only occasionally granted to a duke of the royal house as an apanage.

Richard II, Duke of Normandy Duke of Normandy

Richard II, called the Good, was the eldest son and heir of Richard I the Fearless and Gunnora. He was a Norman nobleman of the House of Normandy.

The Danes were a North Germanic tribe inhabiting southern Scandinavia, including the area now comprising Denmark proper, and the Scanian provinces of modern southern Sweden, during the Nordic Iron Age and the Viking Age. They founded what became the Kingdom of Denmark. The name of their realm is believed to mean "Danish March", viz. "the march of the Danes" in Old Low German, referring to their southern border zone between the Eider and Schlei rivers, known as Danevirke.

Richard I, also known as Richard the Fearless, was the Count of Rouen or Jarl of Rouen from 942 to 996. Dudo of Saint-Quentin, whom Richard commissioned to write the "De moribus et actis primorum Normanniae ducum", called him a dux. However, this use of the word may have been in the context of Richard's renowned leadership in war, and not as a reference to a title of nobility. Richard either introduced feudalism into Normandy or he greatly expanded it. By the end of his reign, the most important Norman landholders held their lands in feudal tenure.

Vexin Former French county

Vexin is an historical county of northwestern France. It covers a verdant plateau on the right bank (north) of the Seine running roughly east to west between Pontoise and Romilly-sur-Andelle, and north to south between Auneuil and the Seine near Vernon. The plateau is crossed by the Epte and the Andelle river valleys.

Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte peace treaty

The treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte (911) is the foundational document of the Duchy of Normandy, establishing Rollo, a Norse warlord and Viking leader, as the first Duke of Normandy in exchange for his loyalty to the king of West Francia. The territory of Normandy centered on Rouen, a city in the Marches of Neustria which had been repeatedly raided by Vikings since the 840s, and which had finally been taken by Rollo in 876.

House of Normandy usual designation for the family that were the Dukes of Normandy and Kings of England

The House of Normandy is the usual designation for the family that were the counts of Rouen, dukes of Normandy and kings of England which immediately followed the Norman conquest of England and lasted until the House of Plantagenet came to power in 1154. The house emerged from the union between the Viking Rollo and Poppa of Bayeux, a West Frankish noblewoman. William the Conqueror and his heirs down through 1135 were members of this dynasty.

William Longsword was the second ruler of Normandy, from 927 until his assassination in 942.

Norman law refers to the customary law of the Duchy of Normandy which developed between the 10th and 13th centuries and which survives today in the legal systems of Jersey and the other Channel Islands. It grew out of a mingling of Frankish customs and Viking ones after the creation of Normandy as a Norse colony under French rule in 911.

History of Normandy

Normandy was a province in the North-West of France under the Ancien Régime which lasted until the latter part of the 18th century. Initially populated by Celtic tribes in the West and Belgic tribes in the North East, it was conquered in AD 98 by the Romans and integrated into the province of Gallia Lugdunensis by Augustus. In the 4th century, Gratian divided the province into the civitates that constitute the historical borders. After the fall of Rome in the 5th century, the Franks became the dominant ethnic group in the area, built several monasteries, and replaced the barbarism of the region with the civilization of the Carolingian Empire. Towards the end of the 8th century, Viking raids devastated the region, prompting the establishment of the Duchy of Normandy in 911. After 150 years of expansion, the borders of Normandy reached relative stability. These old borders roughly correspond to the present borders of Lower Normandy, Upper Normandy and the Channel Islands. Mainland Normandy was integrated into the Kingdom of France in 1204. The region was badly damaged during the Hundred Years War and the Wars of Religion, the Normans having more converts to Protestantism than other peoples of France. In the 20th century, D-Day, the 1944 Allied invasion of Western Europe, started in Normandy. In 1956, mainland Normandy was separated into two régions, Lower Normandy and Upper Normandy, and were reunified in 2016.

Bernard the Dane was a Viking jarl (earl) of Danish origins. He put himself in the service of another jarl installed at the mouth of the Seine, Rollo. After the accords of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte that officially gave birth to the duchy of Normandy (911), Bernard converted to Christianity at Rouen the following year (912) and shortly afterwards received from Rollo the county of Pont-Audemer in Roumois then, later, the city of Harcourt.

Anslech or Anslec de Bricquebec played a major political role in the first days of the duchy of Normandy, though the sources on him are rather opaque.

The phrase more danico is a Medieval Latin legal expression which may be translated as "in the Danish manner", i.e. "under Medieval Scandinavian customary law". It designates a type of traditional marriage practiced in northern Europe during the Middle Ages.

Normans European ethnic group emerging in the 10th and 11th century in France

The Normans were an ethnic group that arose from contact between Norse Viking settlers of a region in France, named Normandy after them, and indigenous Franks and Gallo-Romans. The settlements in France followed a series of raids on the French coast mainly from Denmark — although some came from Norway and Iceland as well — and gained political legitimacy when the Viking leader Rollo agreed to swear fealty to King Charles III of West Francia. The distinct cultural and ethnic identity of the Normans emerged initially in the first half of the 10th century, and it continued to evolve over the succeeding centuries.

Hagrold, also known as Hagroldus, Harold, and Harald, was a powerful tenth-century Viking chieftain who ruled Bayeux. He was apparently a pagan from Scandinavia, and seems to have seized power in Normandy at about the time of the death of William, Count of Rouen. His career can be interpreted in the context of aiding the Normans against the intrusion of Frankish authority, or conversely in the context of taking advantage of the Normans.

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Coordinates: 49°08′00″N0°22′00″W / 49.1333°N 0.3667°W / 49.1333; -0.3667