Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte

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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.

Duchy of Normandy Medieval duchy in northern France

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

Rollo 9th and 10th-century Viking and later count of Normandy

Rollo or Gaange Rolf was a Viking who became the first ruler of Normandy, a region of 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" (princeps). His great-grandson Richard II was the first to officially use the title of Duke of Normandy. His Scandinavian name Rolf was extended to Gaange Rolf because he became too heavy as an adult for a horse to carry; therefore he had to walk. Rollo emerged as the outstanding personality among the Norsemen who had secured a permanent foothold on Frankish soil in the valley of the lower Seine. Charles the Simple, the king of West Francia, ceded them lands between the mouth of the Seine and what is now Rouen in exchange for Rollo agreeing to end his brigandage, and provide the Franks with protection against future Viking raids.

Norsemen historical ethnolinguistic group of people originating in Scandinavia

The Norsemen were a group of Germanic people who inhabited Scandinavia and spoke what is now called the Old Norse language between c. 800 and 1300 AD. The language belongs to the North Germanic branch of the Indo-European languages and is the predecessor of the modern Germanic languages of Scandinavia. In the late eighth century Norsemen embarked on a massive expansion in all directions. This was the start of the Viking Age.

Contents

The treaty

Rollo in June 911 unsuccessfully laid siege to Chartres. He was defeated in battle on 20 July 911. [1] In the aftermath of this conflict, Charles the Simple decided to negotiate a treaty with Rollo.

The Siege of Chartres was the part of Norman incursions. In 858 the Normans captured and burned Chartres. After that, in the time of relative peace, the town defenses were rebuilt and strengthened. It turned into a fortified, trapezoid-like city, going close to the river.

Charles the Simple 10th-century King of West Francia

Charles III, called the Simple or the Straightforward, was the King of West Francia from 898 until 922 and the King of Lotharingia from 911 until 919–23. He was a member of the Carolingian dynasty.

The talks, led by Hervé, the Archbishop of Reims, resulted in the Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte in 911. The treaty granted Rollo and his soldiers all the land between the river Epte and the sea "in freehold and good money". [2] In addition, it granted him Brittany "for his livelihood." [2] At the time, Brittany was an independent country which present day France had unsuccessfully tried to conquer. In exchange, Rollo guaranteed the king his loyalty, which involved military assistance for the protection of the kingdom against other Vikings. One of the conditions for the Vikings after their loss was to convert. As a token of his goodwill, Rollo also agreed to be baptized and to marry Gisela, a presumed legitimate daughter of Charles. [3] The traité en forme at Saint Clair-Sur-Epte marked the beginning of Normandy as a state.

Epte river in France

The Epte is a river in Seine-Maritime and Eure, in Normandy, France. It is a right tributary of the Seine, 112.5 km (69.9 mi) long. The river rises in Seine-Maritime in the Pays de Bray, near Forges-les-Eaux. The river empties into the Seine not far from Giverny. One of its tributaries is the Aubette de Magny.

Brittany Historical province in France

Brittany is a cultural region in the northwest of France, covering the western part of what was known as Armorica during the period of Roman occupation. It became an independent kingdom and then a duchy before being united with the Kingdom of France in 1532 as a province governed as if it were a separate nation under the crown.

Baptism Christian rite of admission and adoption, almost invariably with the use of water

Baptism is a Christian rite of admission and adoption, almost invariably with the use of water, into Christianity. The synoptic gospels recount that John the Baptist baptised Jesus. Baptism is considered a sacrament in most churches, and as an ordinance in others. Baptism is also called christening, although some reserve the word "christening" for the baptism of infants. It has also given its name to the Baptist churches and denominations.

Formation of Normandy

With Norse bands of settlers, composed of non-aristocratic lineages, there came multiple communities formed and a new political ethos that was not Frankish. The Norsemen ("Northmen") came to be known as Normans in French. [4] This identity formation was partly possible because the Norse were adapting indigenous culture, speaking French, renouncing paganism and converting to Christianity, [5] and intermarrying with the local population. [6]

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

The Normans were an ethnic group that arose in Normandy, a northern region of France, from contact between indigenous Franks, Gallo-Romans, and Norse Viking settlers. The settlements followed a series of raids on the French coast from Denmark, Norway, and Iceland, and they 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.

The territory covered by the treaty corresponds to the northern part of today's Upper Normandy down to the Seine, but the territory of the Vikings would eventually extend west beyond the Seine to form the Duchy of Normandy, so named because of the Norsemen who ruled it. The treaty allowed these new settlements. But not all Vikings were welcome. And with the death of Alan I, King of Brittany, another group of Vikings occupied Brittany faced their own dispute. Around 937, Alan I's son Alan II returned from England to expel those Vikings from Brittany in a war that was concluded in 939. During this period the Cotentin Peninsula was lost by Brittany and gained by Normandy.

Upper Normandy Place in Normandy, France

Upper Normandy is a former administrative region of France. On 1 January 2016, Upper and Lower Normandy merged becoming one region called Normandy.

Seine river in France

The Seine is a 777-kilometre-long (483 mi) river and an important commercial waterway within the Paris Basin in the north of France. It rises at Source-Seine, 30 kilometres (19 mi) northwest of Dijon in northeastern France in the Langres plateau, flowing through Paris and into the English Channel at Le Havre. It is navigable by ocean-going vessels as far as Rouen, 120 kilometres (75 mi) from the sea. Over 60 percent of its length, as far as Burgundy, is negotiable by commercial riverboats, and nearly its whole length is available for recreational boating; excursion boats offer sightseeing tours of the river banks in Paris, lined with top monuments including Notre-Dame, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum and Musée d'Orsay.

Alan I, called the Great, was the Count of Vannes and Duke of Brittany from 876 until his death. He was probably also the only King of Brittany to hold that title by a grant of the Emperor.

There would be a convergence between Franks and Normans with a few generations. But for now, the treaty involved a marriage between Gisla and Hrólfr (also known Rollo to the Franks). Marriages such as this played an important role in cultivating alliances and cohesion; wives were often called "peace weavers." And later, Charles the Simple created an alliance and a grant of rights to those Vikings seeking to settle in 918.

While the Normans did adapt, adopt, and assimilate to Christianity, they did not necessarily adopt indigenous administration: "The creation of Norman power between first settlement and the mid-eleventh century is not primarily of assimilation to Carolingian forms, as those appear in the capitualaries. [7] Rather, the Normans "adhered longer than the Franks around them--to older forms of social organization," that the Franks were abandoning.

The Normans came close to being absorbed into a lower social strata in Frankish society had not renewed wave of Viking raids occurred in the 960s. Over time, the frontiers of the duchy, based in kinship, expanded to the west. [8] "By the mid-eleventh century the descendants of the settlers formed the most disciplined, cooperative warrior society in Europe, capable of a communal effort--the conquest and subjugation of England--that was not, and could not have been, mounted by any other European political entity." [9]

Succession crisis

There was not a successful duchy until around the time of Richard I control of Normandy. During his reign he bore daughters who would become peace weavers to forge valuable marriage alliances with powerful neighboring counts and the king of England.[19] His daughter, Emma, underwent two marriages. In 1002, King Æthelred II married Emma, the sister of Richard II, Duke of Normandy. [10] After Æthelred the Unready's death in 1016, Emma marriage her second husband who was an invader: Cnut the Great. Emma and Æthelred the Unready's children included Alfred Aetheling and Edward the Confessor. Emma also bore children with Cnut: Haracnut and a daughter, Gunnhild. This is not to mention Cnut's previous child in his previous marriage: Harold Harafoot. While the complicated woven connections that marriage brought could bring peace, the alliances, and stability, once the alliance of Cnut and Emma ended, there was a battle over the throne. Emma's children with Æthelred the Unready give a major connection between Normandy and England that would add validity to William the Conqueror's claim to the throne of England later on.

On 12 November 1035, King Cnut, died at Shaftsbury in Dorset. He was around 40 years old and was buried at the Winchester Abbey. With his death, a succession Crisis was created, and his huge Northern European Empire, which contained England, Denmark and Norway, fell apart because of strife over which heir would control certain regions. For instance, Harold Harefoot tried to seize the throne of England; he is able to rule the "North of the river of Thames" until 1035 when he "failed to prevail over the archbishop." [11] Meanwhile, South of the River Thames, Haracnut reigned, "but was deserted by his supporters in 1037." [11] In 1037, Harold Harefoot ascended the throne "as king everywhere" [11] [12] But with his death came the accession of Haracnut. Essentially, all of Cnut's children, whether illegitimate or not, there was interest in the throne of England; that is, the male heirs.

How this relates to Normandy is with Edward the Confessor's claim to the throne. He was an illegitimate child of Cnut because he came from Emma's first marriage. The result of not being a direct son of Cnut, meant Edward and his brother spent most of their lives in Normandy as an exile to England. This dynamic led to the establishment of a powerful Norman interest in English politics. Edward drew heavily on his former hosts for support, bringing in Norman courtiers, soldiers, and clerics and appointing them to positions of power, particularly in the Church. Edward was childless and embroiled in conflict with the formidable Godwin, Earl of Wessex, and his sons, and he may also have encouraged Duke William of Normandy's ambitions for the English throne. [13] " And so, he laid claim to the English throne while Haracnut was King. Eventually, William would not only stake a claim to the English crown, but take advantage of the fragmented state of England due to the Great Succession Crisis and its aftermath.

Norman Conquest

Before William left for England, he had to gain support and unify Normandy as a consolidated state. But to maintain this unity in Normandy meant William needed to make sure that his neighbors, such as France, were not a threat. William was able to leave for his invasion with the aid of churches and ducal administration, as well as the timely death of France's King; all of these circumstances and dynamics secured William's power. William was able to accomplish the defeat of England by invading and landing his ships in Dives. [14] There, William was met with Harold II on the battlefield, and the Battle of Hastings ensued in the fall of 1066. Bradbury asserts the Battle of Hastings events unfolded at either Caldbec Hill, Battle Hill, or the Abbey in three phases: The first phase consisted of confrontation, with the Normans striking the Anglo-Saxons first; the second phase is a counter-attack by the English; while the last phrase consisted with a Norman breakthrough. [15] Without the Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte, there never would have been a Normandy and their duchy formation. In fact, the assimilation of Vikings and their adoption of the French language and customs would have likely occurred in another time, or another manner; if not at all. Nevertheless, these events did happen, and the treaty eventually led to future power struggles between Normandy and England, such as the Norman Conquest. William II, Duke of Normandy, became William the I, King of England, when he invaded England at the time of Harold II's reign in 1066. And the Norman Conquest would cause native Anglo-Saxons, Danes, and the like to adopt French into their language which would eventually develop into Middle English.

See also

Related Research Articles

William I, usually known as William the Conqueror and sometimes William the Bastard, was the first Norman King of England, reigning from 1066 until his death in 1087. A descendant of Rollo, he was Duke of Normandy from 1035 onward. After a long struggle to establish his power, by 1060 his hold on Normandy was secure, and he launched the Norman conquest of England six years later. The rest of his life was marked by struggles to consolidate his hold over England and his continental lands and by difficulties with his eldest son.

Godwin of Wessex was one of the most powerful earls in England under the Danish king Cnut the Great and his successors. Cnut made him the first Earl of Wessex. Godwin was the father of King Harold Godwinson and Edith of Wessex, wife of King Edward the Confessor.

Emma of Normandy Norman princess and mother of Edward the Confessor

Emma of Normandy was a queen consort of England, Denmark and Norway. She was the daughter of Richard I, Duke of Normandy, and his second wife, Gunnora. Through her marriages to Æthelred the Unready (1002–1016) and Cnut the Great (1017–1035), she became the Queen Consort of England, Denmark, and Norway. She was the mother of three sons, King Edward the Confessor, Alfred Ætheling, and King Harthacnut, as well as two daughters, Goda of England, and Gunhilda of Denmark. Even after her husbands' deaths Emma remained in the public eye, and continued to participate actively in politics. She is the central figure within the Encomium Emmae Reginae, a critical source for the history of early 11th-century English politics. As Catherine Karkov notes, Emma is one of the most visually represented early medieval queens.

Harthacnut King of Denmark and King of England

Harthacnut, sometimes referred to as Canute III, was King of Denmark from 1035 to 1042 and King of England from 1040 to 1042.

Edmund Ironside King of the English, Wessex dynasty

Edmund Ironside was King of England from 23 April to 30 November 1016. He was the son of King Æthelred the Unready and his first wife, Ælfgifu of York. Edmund's reign was marred by a war he had inherited from his father; his cognomen "Ironside" was given to him "because of his valour" in resisting the Danish invasion led by Cnut the Great.

Ælfgifu of Northampton regent

Ælfgifu of Northampton was the first wife of Cnut the Great, King of England and Denmark, and mother of Harold Harefoot, King of England. She was regent of Norway from 1030 to 1035.

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, 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. He was the paternal grandfather of William the Conqueror.

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 a 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.

History of Anglo-Saxon England historical land roughly corresponding to present-day England

Anglo-Saxon England was early medieval England, existing from the 5th to the 11th centuries from the end of Roman Britain until the Norman conquest in 1066. It consisted of various Anglo-Saxon kingdoms until 927 when it was united as the Kingdom of England by King Æthelstan. It became part of the short-lived North Sea Empire of Cnut the Great, a personal union between England, Denmark and Norway in the 11th century.

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. It included the Viking Rollo and his descendants, and William the Conqueror and his heirs down through 1135. After that it was disputed between William's grandchildren, Matilda, whose husband Geoffrey was the founder of the Angevin Dynasty, and Stephen of the House of Blois.

Eadwig Ætheling was the fifth of the six sons of King Æthelred the Unready and his first wife, Ælfgifu. Eadwig is recorded as a witness to charters from 993.

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.

Marches of Neustria

The Marches of Neustria were two marches created in 861 by the Carolingian king of West Francia Charles the Bald that were ruled by officials appointed by the crown, known as wardens, prefects or margraves. Originally, one March was created against the Bretons and one against the Norsemen, often called the Breton March and Norman March respectively.

Events from the 1010s in England.

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.

House of Knýtlinga ruling royal house in Middle Age Scandinavia and England

The Danish House of Knýtlinga was a ruling royal house in Middle Age Scandinavia and England. Its most famous king was Cnut the Great, who gave his name to this dynasty. Other notable members were Cnut's father Sweyn Forkbeard, grandfather Harald Bluetooth, and sons Harthacnut, Harold Harefoot, and Svein Knutsson. It has also been called the House of Canute, the House of Denmark, the House of Gorm, or the Jelling dynasty.

References

  1. Francois Neveux. A Brief History of The Normans. Constable and Robinson Ltd. 2006; p. 62.
  2. 1 2 Bradbury "Predatory Kinship and the Creation of Norman Power, 840-1066: Model and evidences" Chapter 1-3
  3. Timothy Baker, The Normans New York: Macmillan, 1966.
  4. Crouch Normans pp. 15–16
  5. Bates Normandy Before 1066 p. 12
  6. Bates Normandy Before 1066 pp. 20–21
  7. Bradbury"Predatory Kinship and the Creation of Norman Power, 840-1066: Model and evidences" p.1
  8. Hallam and Everard Capetian France p. 53
  9. Bradbury "Predatory Kinship and the Creation of Norman Power, 840-1066: Model and evidences" pp.7-8
  10. Williams Æthelred the Unready p. 54
  11. 1 2 3 Michael Lapidge "The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Anglo-Saxon England" p.516
  12. Unknown "Anglo-Saxon Chronicle"
  13. Stafford Unification and Conquest pp. 86–99
  14. Bradbury The Battle of Hastings p.164
  15. Bradbury The Battle of Hastings p.1-278;Chapter 3