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Dudo of St. Quentin (c. 965-died before 1043):

Gesta Normannorum, written btw. 996-1015 [Translation]

[Note this translation of the Latin manuscript accompanies a full transcription of the text ]

An English Translation

Editor and translator: Felice Lifshitz


Translator's Prefatory Statement

The primary aim of this translation is to make available to students a primary source to serve as an introduction to a period in European history, namely the tenth century, which is very poorly supplied at present with material suitable for classroom use. If my own experience in classrooms can be taken as a guide, introductions to translations for teaching purposes can often be venerated by students out of all proportion to their value, and tend to remain influential for much longer than their orientations can be said to match the mood of the professoriate utilizing the texts. In hopes of avoiding encouraging such a development, I will confine myself in this introduction to explaining the rationale behind the translation, while providing only minimal "guidance" concerning the author, his period or his project.

The Date of Composition of the Text

If we can believe Dudo himself, writing in the dedicatory letter to bishop Adalbero of Laon (note 1), which serves as a preface to the work, duke Richard I of Normandy commissioned a history from the cleric of St. Quentin and, after Richard's death, other members of the Norman ducal house continued to patronize the author in the hopes that he would complete the task. Dudo writes that the commission was delivered two years before the death of Richard I. According to the oldest manuscript copies of Dudo's narrative, that doleful event took place either in 996 or 1002. The former year, 996, is the one that is usually deemed acceptable by scholars; however, it is symptomatic of the difficulties involved in studying the period in question that the later date, 1002, was both preferred by the scribes of the oldest extant manuscript copies of the text (Bern, Bürgerbibliothek, Bongars 390 of the early eleventh century and Berlin, Staatsbibliothek - Preußischer Kulterbesitz, Philipps 1854 of the late eleventh century) and was left "uncorrected" by the owners of the Berlin manuscript, namely the monks of the Norman monastery of Fécamp, the very place where duke Richard died and was buried.

If determining the date at which Dudo began to write is difficult, determing the date at which he finished writing is even more problematic. Returning to the author's dedicatory epistle to bishop Adalbero, we find that Dudo there possesses, in the salutation, the title "decanus" (dean) of the community of canons of St. Quentin in the Vermandois. Because this same Dudo is called simply a "canonicus" (canon) of St. Quentin in a charter of duke Richard II which dates from 1015, (note 2). it is usually concluded that Dudo completed his Norman history late in 1015, after receiving a promotion to "decanus." (note 3). Because the charter itself survives in the original, and not in some later copy, its own authenticity is not in doubt. (note 4). Nevertheless, the reasoning behind this particular terminus post quem("limit after which") is not iron clad.

Let us consider the charter of 1015. Dudo himself wrote the first four lines of the 1015 charter, calling himself the "capellanus" (chaplain) of duke Richard II. (note 5) Another scribe wrote the rest of the charter and called Dudo a "canonicus." The appellation does not, therefore, have the kind of authority which it would have had had it come from Dudo's own pen. Yet, even if Dudo did use the title "canonicus" in 1015, that would not in and of itself preclude his already having become the "decanus" of the congregation. When a canon became dean of St. Quentin, he did not thereby cease to be a canon of the community; witness the following verbal construction from a typical charter in the cartulary (collection of charters) of St. Quentin, which refers to "the dean and the other canons of the church of blessed Quintinus." (note 6). The 1015 charter represents, in a sense, Dudo's will, whereby he is guaranteed by Richard II that he may bequeath to his monastic family certain benefices which he had been given by Richard I; at this moment, it is understandable that Dudo would have emphasized his status as a member of the familia or community of the monastery, rather than his official position over it. Finally, if Dudo was not the dean of the community at the time of the 1015 charter, there is no reason to assume that he necessarily became dean after drawing up the charter rather than that he had been dean before drawing up the charter. The deanship of a canonry is not a lifetime position from which one cannot abdicate; indeed, it is precisely the sort of position from which one might resign in order to become the "capellanus" of Richard II, the position which Dudo describes himself as holding in the charters of 1011 and 1015.

To complicate matters even more, let us add to the evidentiary calculus materials beyond the dedicatory epistle and the two ducal charters. Can we be certain that we ought to trust the salutation of the dedicatory epistle when it refers to Dudo as the "decanus" of St. Quentin, whether in 1015 or at any other time? The dedicatory epistle does appear in a number of the earlier manuscript copies of the text; however, none of those is separated from the date of Dudo's own writing by fewer than several decades. On the other hand, the Annals of St. Quentin, written in a ninth-century manuscript from St. Quentin and then updated by tenth- and eleventh-century hands contemporary with the events recorded, describe the rule of "abbates" (abbots) and "custodes" (guardians) throughout the period in question, with no reference to anyone named Dudo, or indeed to any "decani." (note 7) Against a background of such uncertainty, it is difficult to see how we can assert anything more specific than that Dudo wrote the history which is translated here during the late tenth and/or early eleventh centuries, while associated in a variety of ways with the ruling family of ducal Normandy.

The Text Used on Which the Translation is Based

Dudo's history of Viking Normandy, like the vast majority of texts written before the age of the printing press, survives in a fairly large number of manuscripts, all of which differ from one another in a variety of ways, but most of which were copied during the eleventh or twelfth centuries, the hey-day of the popularity of the text. (note 8) This translation renders, for the most part, the copy produced, in the second half of the eleventh century, at Mont-St.-Michel, a monastery just off the French coast near the "border" between the regions of Normandy and Brittany. The manuscript was owned, in the twelfth century, by the Norman monastery of Fécamp, also on the Channel coast, and is listed in the twelfth-century library catalogue of that house under the title "Gesta Normannorum" or "Deeds of the Normans."(note 9) That manuscript is now Berlin, Staatsbibliothek - Preußischer Kulturbesitz Philipps ms. 1854.

I decided, in the course of making this translation, not to "re" construct and translate "the" text as it hypothetically left the pen of its author, but to make available "a" text of Dudo's history that was actually read, or which (at least) was actually present in someone's library collection. The first few drafts of the translation, made in the late 1980s, in fact did render that composite version of the various manuscripts (i.e. the "edition") created by Jules Lair and published in 1865. (note 10). The next few drafts rendered my own attempt at a "critical edition," that is yet another composite version of the various manuscripts, evolved in part through consultation with Gerda Huisman of the National Library of Groningen in The Netherlands. However, the final few drafts and ultimately the version here presented, were the result of my becoming, in approximately 1993, absolutely persuaded that "editions" of medieval texts can only be, at best, misleading.

I was first introduced to the debate over the value of so-called "critical editions" approximately ten years ago, when Joseph-Claude Poulin of the Université Laval gave me a copy of an article by Leonard Boyle. (note 11) Boyle argued that despite the enormous difficulty inherent in any attempt to "re-create" the "original" version of a pre printing-era text as it left the pen of its author, if the editor were careful and painstaking enough, taking into account every possible clue offered by the various manuscript witnesses, s/he could succeed. At the time I was persuaded by his arguments, and it was under the influence of his call for scrupulous transcriptions that I began my own attempt to establish "the" text of Dudo's narrative. However, Boyle's arguments soon came to appear, to my mind, completely beside the point. It now seems to me to be irrelevant whether we can or cannot accurately re-construct the version of a text produced by a given author at a particular moment. If, by grace of some mysterious cosmic luck, we succeed, we will still only offer to our readers a text that almost no one ever saw; if, as is more likely, we fail, we offer to our readers a text that no one ever saw, a figment of our own imaginations. Some of the more radical participants in recent literary-critical debates have attacked the very idea of an "author" for pre-printing-era texts. (note 12) I do not deny the reality or the importance of the person of Dudo of St. Quentin, but I do insist that we shift our focus, when dealing with pre-1450 texts, away from the "modern" construct of the edition and towards the pre-"modern" concrete reality of the manuscript. (note 13)

Unfortunately (perhaps), my courage has sometimes failed me. I have made concessions and compromises and have, in a number of ways, sacrificed "authenticity" for "readability." The chapter divisions, sentence divisions and intra-sentence punctuation of the translation are those of the Berlin manuscript. However, the arabic numerals assigned to the chapters are my additions. Furthermore, none of the manuscripts, including the Berlin one, contains paragraph divisions, except on the first few pages of the text, where new paragraphs are indicated by extra-large, colored initials. At one more courageous point in time, I did render each chapter as a continuous, breathless, run-on paragraph. But a reader (of a grant proposal) complained, begging for a break, a chance to get a cup of coffee. Coffee is itself a "modern" drug, introduced into Europe around the same time as the printing press and the edition. There should not be coffee breaks built into this translation, but there are, and they are totally of my own creation. Paragraph structure can play a large role in determining meaning, in determining how a given text is read; therefore I urge the reader to keep in mind the artificiality of the breaks in the translation. Likewise, it is well to be aware that neither arabic numerals in general, nor the convention of citing texts by numerical indicators, both of which are standard features of "modern" scholarship and which have caused me to number the chapters for the convenience of readers (as well as to harass the text with precise Biblical citations in the form of footnotes, another scholarly convention), have any relevance to the Frankish world around the year 1000. Finally, eleventh- and twelfth-century Latin scribes rarely capitalized anything. Therefore, the vast majority of capitalized words which do not begin new sentences (most significantly words referring to the God of the Christians) are a result of my concessions to "modern" conventions.

Yet there is a more dramatic way in which I have departed from the Berlin manuscript, sacrificing (to repeat the formula) authenticity for readability. Sometimes, no matter how hard I puzzled over the text, I could not understand the version in the Berlin manuscript, whereas the substitution of the readings from some other manuscript suddenly made the passage perfectly clear. I therefore made the (extremely difficult) decision to use alternate manuscripts on certain occasions. However, I must emphasize that this has been a technique of last resort, always a reluctant concession; the occasional concessions to "readability" are not tantamount to a complete capitulation before the siren-song of the "edition." Every time I have "overridden" the readings of the Berlin manuscript, I have indicated that fact in a note; (note 14) the reader should not be able to forget the artificiality of the text at those moments. The manuscript version to which I have appealed most frequently was produced in the second half of the eleventh century at St. Augustine, Canterbury; it is now Cambridge, Corpus Christi College 276. (note 15)

The translation, therefore, is a modified version of a single manuscript of Dudo's Gesta Normannorum, representing a compromise between my desire to teach students something about tenth century Francia and my desire to teach students something about manuscript culture.

The Principles of Translation

Most of the text is in late-Carolingian Latin. A few isolated words or short phrases are in Greek; they too have been translated into English, with an indication in the notes that the original was Greek.

Most of the text is written as an alternation of rhymed prose with even more elaborately metred verse, a style known as "prosimetrum." Only a few short passages bear no clearly discernible signs of some sort of rhyme scheme or versification. The difficulty, or at least the awkwardness, of the Latin text itself is often attributable to Dudo's desire to express himself in metred verse or in rhymed prose, as for instance he veers between redundant repetitiveness to make sure a line is sufficiently long, and ambiguous elipses to make sure a line is sufficiently short. (note 16) From a very early date, certain copiests rejected the verse portions of the narrative, which are often maddeningly obscure, and reproduced only the prose sections; this is true even of the oldest surviving copy (Bern, Bürgerbibliothek Bongars 390), and of most copies made during the thirteenth century and after. Nevertheless, this translation, intended as it is to give students a feeling for one cultural sphere of Europe around the year 1000, includes (as it had to) both prose and verse. However, I have attempted to render neither the metre nor the rhyme-scheme, the latter in any case being effectively non-reproducible in a non-declined language such as English.

Despite the fact that my approach to the base text to be translated has been completely transformed over the years, my principles of translation have remained stable throughout the entire project, which I began in late 1987. I was, at the time, writing my doctoral dissertation under the direction of J.M.W. Bean, after completing a number of years of close study with him concerning every (?) medievalist's nightmare, "feudalism," the subject of the majority of his own published research. While I cannot say that he in any way endorses the tack I have taken in producing this translation, he himself initially suggested that I undertake it. Furthermore, through the numerous brain-twisting, head-cracking assignments for written and oral presentations on "feudalism" which he gave me between 1980 and 1984, he has exercised an enormous influence on the way I myself conceptualize medieval socio-political relations and structures. Therefore this translation is dedicated to him.

I undertook this translation, in 1987, with the explicit intention of providing a text which could be used in university classrooms by professors who (like me) considered "feudalism" to be a worse-than useless historiographic construct. I have long believed, and continue to believe, that "feudal tenure" (or, following the preferred phraseology of Susan Reynolds's recent study, "the law of fiefs" (note 17) has some relevance to understanding European society after the twelfth and particularly after the thirteenth century. However, "feudal relations" do not begin to offer a way to understand "medieval" Europe in general. Furthermore, for someone like myself, whose primary expertise lies in the centuries before 1100, the idea that medieval Europe was "feudal" does not in the least correspond to my understanding of the period. Yet, most it not all the sources available in translation for undergraduates seemed to be devoted to demonstrating the centrality of "feudal relations" to the "middle ages." I therefore undertook to make a translation of one of the texts which has often been seen as central to the debate over feudalism, a translation whose primary guiding principle has been not to read the characteristics of post-twelfth-century legal ideas of feudal tenure anachronistically into the tenth-century situation.

My "a-feudal" orientation aroused hostility on the part of evaluators of the translation during a series of failed attempts to acquire grant support for the project. Fortunately, the recent publication of Susan Reynolds' Fiefs and Vassals has rendered it unnecessary for me to justify this approach by discussing here, at length, the problems and confusions which have been created by historians who have translated pre-twelfth-century texts as though a whole series of words and phrases had single, well-defined, precise, legal, technical "feudal" meanings in the tenth century. Reynolds' discussion of the issue of "feudal" vocabulary is far better than anything I could ever have hoped to produce; the interested reader is therefore urged to read her treatment of the issue. Those who are less impassioned by the problem of "feudalism" can content themselves with the knowledge that this translation has been informed by the desire to avoid imposing unwarranted technical, legalistic meanings on words such as "beneficium," "fidelis," "honor," "officium," "tenere," "possessio" and the like.

Other conventions adopted by the translator include: 1) extremely familiar personal names such as William, Richard and Henry have been fully Anglicized; 2) relatively unfamiliar personal names of ninth- and tenth-century personages have only been slightly Anglicized, being kept as close to the Latin as possible (e.g. Rodulfus is Rodulf and Anstignus is Anstign); 3) names of saints already long-dead when Dudo wrote are not Anglicized at all, but are left unchanged in the Latin (e.g. Medardus, Eligius, Quintinus); 4) place names are given in their modern vernacular equivalents (e.g. St. Quentin)


1. For this and other locations referred to in the introduction and in the text itself, see the map on p. ______..

2. Recueil des chartes des ducs de Normandie, 911 - 1066 ed. Marie Fauroux (Mémoires de la Société des Antiquaires de Normandie 36; Caen, 1961) no. 18 pp. 100 - 102.

3. Leah Shopkow, "The Carolingian World of Dudo of St. Quentin" Journal of Medieval History 15 (1989).

4. Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, Collection de Picardie 352 no. 1.

5 . He also wrote, as "capellanus" another extant charter of Richard II (Recueil des chartes ed. Fauroux no. 13 pp. 86 - 89), which also survives in the original (Rouen, Archives Départementales, Seine-Maritime ms. 14 H 915A).

6. "...ecclesie beati quintini decanus ceterique canonici" (Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, ms. latin 11.070 no. 74 folio 86r).

7. Vatican City, Biblioteca Apostolica ms. latinus 645 ed. L. Bethmann, Monumenta Germaniae HistoricaScriptores XVI (Hanover, 1859) coll. 507 - 508. The Benedictines of St. Maur, in contrast, present the governance of the house to have involved lay abbots and deans throughout the period; however, they provide no source for "Vivianus," said to have been the "decanus" in the late tenth and early eleventh centuries, before Dudo (Gallia Christiana IX (Paris, 1751) coll. 1038 - 1054).

8. Gerda Huisman, "Notes on the Manuscript Tradition of Dudo of St. Quentin's Gesta NormannorumAnglo-Norman Studies 6 (1984; Proceedings of the Battle Conference 1983, ed. R.A. Brown).

9. Huisman "Notes on the Manuscript Tradition" p. 122; J.J.G. Alexander Norman Illumination at Mont St.-Michel, 966 - 1100 (Oxford, 1970) pp. 40, 235.

10. Dudo of St. Quentin, De moribus et actis primorum Normanniae ducum ed. Jules Lairs (Mémoires de la Société des Antiquaires de Normandie 23; Caen, 1865).

11. "Optimist or...."..

12. For instance, Bernadette A. Masters Esthétique et manuscripture. Le 'Moulin à paroles' au moyen âge (Heidelberg, 1992); note, however, that Masters does not merely attack the idea of an author so much as she proposes a completely new way to conceptualize the pre-"modern" author as a collective person.

13. Two recent examples of this approach are: Libro del Buen Amor; and Pamela Gehrke Saints and Scribes: Medieval Hagiography in its Manuscript Context (Berkeley, 1994).

14. There is a single exception: because proper names were frequently added (by a "rubricator" writing in red) after the body of a text had already been written out, proper names are frequently given in the wrong grammatical case and, on occasion, an entirely inappropriate name is inserted by the rubricator. This sort of error is almost ubiquitous in the Berlin manuscript, as it is in many of the other manuscripts. To indicate every time I "corrected" the case of a proper name would be intrusive even beyond the level of potential gains made in the direction of revealing certain features of a manuscript culture. Therefore, I have only noted periodically that I am "correcting" the proper names. For detailed discussion of the problems of proper names in the manuscripts, see Felice Lifshitz, "Dudo's Historical Narrative and the Norman Succession of 996" Journal of Medieval History 20 (1994) pp. 101 - 120.

15. On one occasion, also duly noted in the apparatus, I have gone "over the heads" of all the manuscripts, where none made sense, to Dudo's evident source; see p. ___.

16. The distortions and obscurities required by the desire to stick to a metre are discussed by Jan Ziolkowski, Jezebel.....

17. Susan Reynolds, Fiefs and Vassals. The Medieval Evidence Reinterpreted (Oxford, 1994).


The chapter divisions follow the Fécamp (Berlin) manuscript, whose foliations are given in lieu of page numbers. Chapter files have been numbered and named by the transcriber/translator in a Latin-English pair to permit ordered mounting and reading on ORB. The content descriptions which follow below were also devised by the transcriber/translator. The chapters marked with an asterisk (*) have been cast in the translation as detailed reflections of the Latin text, in order to give a greater feeling for the "original" to those who will not read the Latin transcriptions. The chapters marked with two asterices (**) are almost exact reflections of the Latin text, but include some concessions to modern English punctuation, etc. The unmarked chapters have been even more thoroughly "Englished" and "modernized."


      The chapter divisions follow the Fécamp (Berlin) manuscript, whose foliations are given in lieu of page numbers. Chapter files have been numbered and named by the transcriber/translator in a Latin-English pair to permit ordered mounting and reading on ORB. The content descriptions which follow below were also devised by the transcriber/translator. The chapters marked with an asterisk (*) have been cast in the translation as detailed reflections of the Latin text, in order to give a greater feeling for the "original" to those who will not read the Latin transcriptions. The chapters marked with two asterices (**) are almost exact reflections of the Latin text, but include some concessions to modern English punctuation, etc. The unmarked chapters have been even more thoroughly "Englished" and "modernized."

*[1] Praising and Excusatory Epistle to Bishop Adalbero of Laon: Dudo describes his commission to undertake the work, as well as his own emotional state, then praises his subjects and his sources of inspiration [Folios 1v - 8v] Epistle]

[2] A band of evil marauders, led by Anstign, wreaks havoc in Francia and Italy [Folios 8v - 12v = File(s) 2(L)-Vikings]

[3] Anstign becomes the fidelis of the king of the Western Franks [Folios 12v - 13r = File(s) 3(L)-Franks]

[4] Prefatory Verses: Dudo once again describes his turbulent, anxious emotional state and praises his subjects [Folios 13r - 14v = File(s) 4(L)-Icarus]

[5] Rollo is expelled from his native Dacia by an evil king [Folios 14v - 17r = File(s) 5(L)-Dacia]

[6] Rollo and his followers plunder among the Angles [Folios 17r - 17v = File(s) 6(L)-Angli]

[7] Rollo allies with king Alstem of East Anglia, after a prophetic dream-vision foretells the Dacian's future prosperity in Francia [Folios 17v - 19r = File(s) 7(L)-Vision]

[8] Rollo departs for Francia and is beset by a storm at sea [Folios 19r - 19v = File(s) 8(L)-Francia]

*[9] Having crossed the Channel, Rollo is attacked by Frisians and others but himself exercises great mercy [Folios 19v - 21r = File(s) 9(L)-Radbod]

[10] Rollo sees the town of Rouen and determines to settle there in fulfillment of his dream-vision [Folios 21r - 21v = File(s) 10(L)-Rouen]

[11] Franks, Burgundians and Aquitanians cannot prevent Rollo and his followers from conquering the future Normandy [Folios 21v - 26r = File(s) 11(L)-Conquest]

[12] The king of the Western Franks offers his daughter to Rollo and confirms the latter's possession of the conquered territories and of Brittany, as Rollo adopts the Christian religion [Folios 26r - 29v = File(s) 12(L)-Franco]

[13] Rollo is a harsh ruler and generous to local churches [Folios 29v - 32r = File(s) 13(L)-Reign]

[14] Prefatory Verses: Dudo praises God and faith [Folios 32v - 34r = File(s) 14(L)-Prologue]

*[15] William, Rollo's son by Popa of Bayeux, is pre-disposed to sanctity [Folios 34r - 34v = File(s) 15(L)-William]

*[16] Rollo's aged decrepitude forces his fideles to ask that he step down in favor of his son William [Folios 34v - 35r = File(s) 16(L)-Senility]

[17] Rollo transfers power over Normandy and Brittany to William, who must immediately face Breton rebels [Folios 35r - 36v = File(s) 17(L)-Bretons]

*[18] Having defeated the Bretons, William marries a Frankish woman and allies with the Frankish magnates Hugh and Herbert [Folios 36v - 37r = File(s) 18(L)-Rebels]

[19] A Norman magnate, Riulf, leads a rebellion against William [Folios 37r - 38r = File(s) 19(L)-Riculf]

[20] William is convinced by Bernard the Dacian not to flee to Francia [Folios 38r - 39r = File(s) 20(L)-Senlis]

**[21] William crushes the Norman rebels and has a son by Sprota [Folios 39r - 39v = File(s) 21(L)-Son]

*[22] William's authority is accepted not only in Normandy, but also in Western Francia, where he establishes king Louis on the disputed royal throne [Folios 39v - 40v = File(s) 22(L)-Marriage]

[23] William saves king Louis from Frankish rebels and becomes godfather to the latter's son Lothar [Folios 40v - 42v = File(s) 23(L)-Henry]

[24] William and Louis take leave of one another [Folios 42v - 43r = File(s) 24(L)-Lothar]

[25] William receives divine instruction from abbot Martin of Jumièges [Folios 43r - 43v = File(s) 25(L)-Martin]

[26] William comes to the aid of Herluin, who has been dispossessed of Montreuil by Arnulf of Flanders [Folios 43v - 46r = File(s) 26(L)-Herluin]

[27] Arnulf has William assassinated [Folios 46r - 47r = File(s) 27(L)-Arnulf]

[28] Prefatory Verses: Dudo again praises his subjects and his sources of inspiration, and describes his anxious mental state [Folios 47r - 49v = File(s) 28(L)-Clio]

[29] Examples of good behavior are offered for emulation [Folios 49v - 50r = File(s) 29(L)-Preface]

**[30] A son, Richard, is born to William during the Breton rebellion [Folios 50r - 50v = File(s) 30(L)-Baptism]

[31] Richard is accepted by the leading Norman and Breton magnates as William's heir [Folios 50v - 51r = File(s) 31(L)-Heir]

[32] Richard is raised at Bayeux and associated in power with William [Folios 51r - 51v = File(s) 32(L)-Youth]

[33] After the assassination of William, Richard becomes sole duke [Folios 51v - 52v = File(s) 33(L)-Duke]

[34] King Louis tries to take young Richard prisoner, but confirms him in his possession of William's lands [Folios 52v - 54r = File(s) 34(L)-Captive]

[35] Encouraged by Arnulf of Flanders, king Louis does take Richard prisoner [Folios 54r - 54v = File(s) 35(L)-Louis]

[36] Richard's tutor, Osmund, brings the boy secretly to Bernard of Senlis, Richard's uncle [Folios 55r - 55v = File(s) 36(L)-Osmund]

**[37] Bernard of Senlis secures Hugh the Great's help for Richard [Folios 55v - 56r = File(s) 37(L)-Bernard]

[38] As Louis and Arnulf ally against Richard, Hugh reneges on his promise and the two Bernards (of Senlis and the Dacian) must save Richard [Folios 56v - 57r = File(s) 38(L)-Intrigue]

[39] A new anti-Richard alliance of Louis and Hugh the Great is broken by Bernard of Senlis, but Louis nevertheless captures Rouen [Folios 57r - 59v = File(s) 39(L)-Hugh]

[40] The two Bernards enlist the aid of Richard's relative, king Aigrold of Dacia, against king Louis [Folios 59v - 61v = File(s) 40(L)-Haigrold]

[41] Aigrold defeats Louis, who is captured and imprisoned at Rouen [Folios 61v - 63r = File(s) 41(L)-Defeat]

[42] Queen Gerberga of the Western Franks negotiates the release of Louis, and Richard is confirmed once more in his possession of William's lands [Folios 63r - 64r = File(s) 42(L)-Gerberga]

[43] Richard flourishes and allies with Hugh the Great, while Arnulf and Louis enlist king Otto of the Saxons to their cause [Folios 64r - 68r = File(s) 43(L)-Challenge]

[44] Otto attacks Rouen and Paris [Folios 68r - 68v = File(s) 44(L)-Otto]

[45] Richard and his followers defeat Otto's forces [Folios 68v - 71r = File(s) 45(L)-Saxons]

[46] Praise for Richard [Folios 71r - 72v = File(s) 46(L)-Praise]

[47] Hugh the Great having died, Richard marries his daughter [Folios 72v - 73v = File(s) 47(L)-Victory]

[48] King Louis having died, Queen Gerberga and her son Lothar are persuaded by Tetbold of Chartres to attack Richard [Folios 73v - 74v = File(s) 48(L)-Tetbold]

[49] Gerberga fails to entrap Richard [Folios 74v - 75v = File(s) 49(L)-Bruno]

[50] Praise for Richard [Folios 75v - 76r = File(s) 50(L)-Richard]

[51] Lothar and Tetbold try to ensnare Richard [Folios 76r - 76v = File(s) 51(L)-Snare]

[52] Richard is rescued by God from a unified attack by all his enemies [Folios 76v - 78r = File(s) 52(L)-Axis]

[53] Tetbold incites Lothar to attack Evreux, a city ruled by Richard [Folios 78r - 78v = File(s) 53(L)-Evreux]

[54] Richard defeats Tetbold in battle [Folios 78v - 79v = File(s) 54(L)-Climax]

[55] Richard is merciful to Tetbold's crushed forces [Folio 79v = File(s) 55(L)-Apotheosis]

[56] With the help of his non-Christian Dacian allies, Richard brings Tetbold onto his own side [Folios 79v - 82r = File(s) 56(L)-Pagans]

[57] Richard converts the Dacians to Christianity [Folios 82r - 87r = File(s) 57(L)-Vindication]

[58] His first wife having died, Richard remarries and enlarges the church at Fécamp, site of the ducal residence [Folios 87r - 89v = File(s) 58(L)-Gunnor]

[59] Praise for Richard's blessed character [Folios 89v - 91v = File(s) 59(L)-Beatus]

[60] Richard, having designated his son Richard as his heir, dies and is buried at Fécamp [Folios 91v - 94r = File(s) 60(L)-Funeral]


[ 1 ]



THE FAME OF YOUR MOST GLORIOUS NAME. AS IT IS EXALTED QUITE DISTINCTLY BY YOUR BRIGHTNESS TO A SUPERLATIVE SUMMIT HIGHER THAN THE [CEDAR] (note 1) OF LEBANON. proclaimed more widely than the earth's broad out-stretched length and spacious out-spread breadth. is publicly prominent. No one who understands the words of the lord speaking to Nichodemus. the spirit blows where it will. does not know; for. as is made evident to human sights by your revealing lustre. you surpass the loftiness of all other prelates through the seed of your high birth and the bounty of your merit; having become for everyone an adequate relief and having been made all things to all people. Wherefore are you. pontifical apex. illustrious ideal of rectitude. incomparable model of a crystal-clear life. sacerdotal ornament. indescribable light of the entire church. distinguished summit of sanctity. unbending column of all goodness. worthily hallowed for your merits with this truth-telling assertion. For you. whom eminent deeds celebrate as such and so great a person. the right hand of the one enthroned on high has indeed disposed to exalt with the office of such and so great a prelacy; since divine charity. with its manifold offspring. abides in the grottos of your innocent breast and in the depths of your uncensured heart. Whichever of the multifarious virtues. daughters of that same charity. is acquired by the continual and vigilant zeal of each and every servant of god. the illuminator of minds. namely the divine holy spirit. is there as an inciter; whatever can result from the most holy service to those virtues is seen to reign in you by divine influence. and the source of all charity has wonderfully placed the entire pile of those same virtues in the residence of your breast. Since. indeed. it is known as certain to all who have the capacity for theory. that you have. my father and lord. from the squallings of a tender boyish age. whole-heartedly sacrificed the living host to the eternal priest with internal contrition of your heart. have. in the fullness of your virtues. dedicated your breast as a throne for the supernal spirit. have. in your mind. lived in heaven for. as is evident to this time. the outstanding intention of your delightful spirit is not considered to have turned away from the straight road. from the beginning until now. as the result of any inundation or of the wickedness of any vices. Thus. you seem to have been besprinkled from heaven with the nectar of the holy spirit. in its singular marvelousness and its marvelous singularity. while like a mystical torch you. among the bishops of this world. are inflamed by a solar light. But who bears a breast so stony. and has a heart muffled by such a great covering of darkness that. having considered your marvelous deeds. he would not turn away immediately from his perversity to a celibate life? Indeed. since you have certainly been perceived as having at many times. past and future. neither like chief nor follower. to become comrades in your way of life is the sole aim of all who endeavor to deliver themselves from the crooked road of that most bitter foot-path whereby many are harshly led to death and to which the deceiving wisdom of this world directs the way of those whose disposition substitutes the joys of fleshly delight. Nor is it astonishing. most reverend bishop. if this has been granted to you by divine influence. that you be made the greatest exemplar of good for the whole world; for from the very cradle of life itself you have been seen to ascend. through the grades of the virtues. to the sanctuaries of the starry fatherland; and to abide in a star-filled residence through the magnitude of your exploits. But indeed. oh pontiff of marvelous wonder. from such deeds is something astonishing understood. that you felt such concern for your zealous exertions that. if anywhere on earth some fear of god reigned and it burst upon your ears by report of some native man. you never suffered an interval of one hour to pass; no sooner said than done. you labored to perform it yourself in order that. having embraced the precepts of that life which struggles always towards the steeps. you be unable to be faulted by the perverse whisperings of unjust sophists. Indeed you. a good servant and fidelis about to enter into the joy of your lord as the result of a few things. that is as a result of the gift of the five talents faithfully stewarded and of the victual stewardship judiciously apportioned; you will be set over many things when your lord has come for. joined to the company of the supernal virtues. you will have joys that will endure without end. Indeed when the lord has come back the single mina (note 2) entrusted to you will bring back through your sacred trade ten minas to the treasury of the highest master of the house. that is because through the commands of the decalogue you. bearing in your right hand the maniples of justice. converted yourself to god. a worthy table companion. you will bring back to the table of the invisible and immortal bridegroom a hundredfold fruit. just as a mina is valued at one hundred drachmas. Deservedly have you been alloted the rank of apostolic merit. and exalted by divine allotment to the summit of that rank that is within the number twelve; for if the secrets of that very number are considered. it is in every way destined for your loftiness. In reality twelve is called by mathematicians. (note 3) odd even; composed equally out of what is even. and out of what is uneven. (note 4) For just as that number possesses both the same signification as do those of which it is composed and another which they do not have. so do you gain both the strength of the way of life which they have. who are destined for the number of all bishops. and another from god. And just as a thing is said to be odd because of one part. even because of another. so will you yourself be found to be both equal and unequal. to the others who are exalted to the height of that number. Unequal in sanctity; but equal in name. A thing is correctly asserted to overflow its own parts. that is if its qualities are reduced into one; just as those qualities surpass the sum of the origina quantity. so with the surpassing of merits; if the marks of your sanctity are bound together. you will be found to be greater than the others within that number waging war for god. But what is represented by the same reckoning in musical measures. if not the loftiness of so great a patron? What else is that very number twelve wont to signify by some proof of its own. if not the perfecting of the number six. itself perfect. something which through multiplication by two achieves the concordant harmony of the whole octave? And what is proven through your climbing. by an accumulated multiplication by two. of the rank of this number. if not the immense perfection in you of the double increase? Indeed that number maintains the harmonies of the fifth. and the fourth. through proportions of one-and-one-half to eight. and one-and-one-third to nine. for at that time when promotion to that very number raised you up to pastoral rule; it increased the eight beatitudes in your life. and joined you to the nine companies of angels. But by the same procedure whereby the number twelve itself through multiplication by two passes through to the total twenty-four; so the twin observation of twin precepts namely love of god and neighbor. has added you to the twenty-four supernal elders with whom you. crowned by an unfading crown will sing a new canticle to the one residing on the throne. Just as the number twelve itself grows into the number eighteen once its half has been added to it; that is the number six which as has been said lacks superfluity and defect. among those elders you. hearing nothing defective. nothing superfluous. as they render an office of honey-flowing song with sweet-sounding harmonies of complete harmonic modulation; likewise will efficaciously delight in the charms. woven from eighteen different lyres. according to the five tetrachords. Where all this is leading. this is the cause. Having searched through all the parts of gaul having surveyed the territories of all christians in every quarter I ascertain no one to whom the tributes of total esteem should be assigned with equal dignity as they should be to you. For that reason after an illustrious report wrung out from your astonishing actions burst upon my ears. memorable father; it incessantly afforded my spirits with incentives to turn aside to you. so that you might become the consolation of my exigency. for you will satisfy desires as I have learned from the very spreading abroad of your name everywhere. But from the very beginning until the present time I am suffering this exigency. that I have not hit upon anyone to whom I might display this despicable and contemptible trifle of a composition for correction; beyond you whose praise seems to touch the heavens. and to whom as was said above all esteem is owed. I am brooding in my heart on an esteem that is so great and of this type and I am determined in my own mind. that it is fitting to have so great a patron in order that the obscurities resulting from its own darkness which are seen in this book. should be brought to light through you; so that not a name for the penurious and inglorious composer: But praise for the eminent corrector might be obtained. However much it be imputed to me as folly. laying hold of the ardor of boldness through my confidence in this letter; I am approaching the sight of your majesty; and having approached with lowered neck of both body and heart. not just once. nor twice. nor three times. nay rather repeatedly am I joining entreaties to entreaties. that every jagged edge of wrongful uncertainty. be lopped off utterly and from the root. by your sharpest battle axes which are composed of the purest steel of complete wisdom. Almost the half part of this work. seems to have the least regard for any useful pursuit unless it be weeded by you the reaper of the wild thistles of superfluity. for as long as I am overwhelmed by bodily infirmity and as long as I am hindered by the unavoidableness of secular affairs. my mind's eye is stifled embracing of its own accord blindness rather than light. and is bereft of desires for bodily joys. and is plunged into a vast whirlpool of darkness. I greatly wish that eye which since I am saying it is destitute of the assistance of the right light; to be illuminated by you (note 5)who busy yourself with the precepts of sacred speech. I want to render you certain. so that you do not suppose that I willingly stuck to this work; Or that I began it of my own free-willed will. Two years before his death. as frequently was my habit I was with the exceptional duke RICHARD. son of MARQUIS WILLIAM. wanting to render to him my obligation of service; because of the innumerable boons. which without any merit of my own he had deigned to bestow upon me. Approaching me one day. he began to embrace me with the arms of a most compassionate love; And to attract me with his most charming speeches. and to soften me up with delightful entreaties; nay rather to denounce me and to swear in charity that if I had been capable of any consideration. I would have attended to his long-desired intentions. that is to say that I would have described in writing the customs and deeds of the Norman land. yea indeed the rights which [Richard's son Richard] (note 6) asserted in the realm of his great-grandfather ROLLO. I was astounded as though out of my senses. and denying these requests for a number of days I refused. But at length moved by so much beseeching. and fatigued by so many entreaties; with difficulty I bent my intention to having the weight of so great a burden layed on my shoulders. And although it kept being publicly declared that it was beyond the possibility of my strength to recount all this; I did lay the yoke of that great burden on my neck. become an imitator of that command; which instructs us to stand firm to act manfully and to be strong moreover that all our deeds be done in charity. Our inexperienced pen. had not yet reached the first parts of the work. when alas what grief a tearful report announced that Richard a leader for the whole world. had died. In grief for this leader I would have postponed this entire project because of the very great weeping. and unbearable wailing. which were not only tormenting my heart. but also battering the limbs of my whole body. had it not been hurried on by his most distinguished son the still surviving patrician RICHARD and by the extraordinary count Rodulf. Both keep persisting in entreaties. that I carry out what duke Richard of memorable life had enjoined by his own entreaty. and keep calling me to witness lest the intention which I had pledged to him seem to be defiled. transformed into the vice of double-tonguedness by any filth of falsehood. rather than to be valued in the deep marrow of my understanding. Assenting to their injunctions and entreaties I have carried out the labor although it boasts neither the dialectics of syllogism. nor rhetorical arguments. I have disposed to send it to your majesty. so that the falsities might be lopped off; and if there be any truthfulness in it. it be confirmed by your authority in order that the marvelous recompenser of rewards. who has placed the exceptional marquis Richard (note 7) in the paradise of his glory. might establish you adorned with an everlasting garland among the choruses of all the saints as a senator of the heavenly court. just as he has raised you up as a pillar of his holy church.


Book lacking in all theory of rhetorical sweetness.
When I examine you with my inward little eye.
You are perceived to be arranged according to a very weak plot.
And because you are mocked by an arrogant and crafty uproar.
It pains my soul that you long to bring to the masses
The shapes which have been fruitlessly arranged by our pen.
And though seals should hold you back in modest places of study
Loathing for secrecy is pulling mischievous you out to us
For the bronze tower hardly protected danae from the golden shower.
As fulgentius relates in the myth
Whether you proceed now nimble to norman schools.
Or linger yet shut up in frankish schools
I fear that a facetious mocking grimace will rise up before us
Were impatient you to resist the key now that the bolt has been removed
Let you not also rush into the mouths of a mentally-acute populace
The normans would crush the unwilling bard with a lashing.
If foolhardy you come now among the multitude with nimble step
You will be discussed in the face of a great commotion as so many scorn you.
One will spit out the foul thing from puckered lips
And will chime in revise this unspeakable thing
And another will clap out great disapproval with impious hands.
And with lifted feet. will repeatedly toss up 
(note 10) soil
Another investigating one will note its minor faults aloud
If still nothing irreproachable ever appears once its squalors have been driven off by the hissing
Then some learned one will certainly turn his attention to the falsities
As a result of which he will become even more profligate and impious
And out of his senses he will rave more vehemently than the other ones against all this madness
And you will be contradicted 
(note 11) willy-nilly and finally cut
Beneath all the derision of his mocking grimace.
For in your error you did not know whether you were to bring forward 
All clothed in writing ginger or a small amount of nard-balsam 
And costum and pepper from the unguent-shop 
(note 12) 
The instructor stood aloof 
(note 13) and moved away from our deliberations
Recall by perpetually remembering that he did not attend to you with concern
Cheated you seek protection
Let outstanding quintinus whom I honor first of all approach
The stinging outer side of the volume where a wavering title sits up in front
Let him make known the road which he created like the heavens out of ruins
Let him as duke seal the commencement with these these his own merits
hereby you will perhaps be able to defy defenseless masses 
Of brawling common people or even a thousand hazards
For the arrogant hosts would hardly dare to have rejected you
Given the barrier of a name flashing with such merits
Before such a duke their frenzy grows sleek and they refrain
From becoming very raw with spit. drawn-back lips 
(note 14) and bared teeth.
(note 15) with that sacred duke to the seven-fold holy spirit
A fortunate book perpetually protected. fortified and aided.
By the resounding 
(note 16) merits of the bountiful martyr quintinus
Do not feel vexed that you once went away uninstructed
And entrust yourself to the fates because a suppliant should not yield to doubts
And oh that better things would ensue for me with your wished-for goodwill.

O you as magnanimous compassionate moderate
O you as extraordinary god-fearing
O you as eminent upright kind
O you as wonderful good and righteous
O you as peace-making and as the progeny of god
O you as generous Sacred moderate
O you as very bright merciful Richard
O you as patient judicious Richard
O you as extremely celebrated graceful Richard
O you as a judge mild Richard
O you as deserving charming Richard
All nations do fittingly celebrate
Discreetly remember what you perceive in this book.
Feed your heart and breast on what has been recounted
So that you might have the strength to fasten upon these things 

At this the mind. uneasy. hesitating with great sobbings.
Wavers amidst varied whirlpools and countless misfortunes
And the inopportune vicissitudes of volatile affairs
And the changeable flights of a harassing fate.
And the very alarmed heart also withers with its very fibres damaged
And the benumbed spirit sighs in its bitter wailing
And now the silly tongue shudders stammers
Babbles sticks within the slightly hoarse passages of the gullet
And parched through inactivity barely prates some noisy words
And how will I a slothful 
(note 17) talent puny in intelligence
And hard of understanding. and alas filled with folly.
Be able to recount in elegant speech.
Be able to heap up this accomplishment which is being entrusted
To me by divine will and supernal command
I who can neither in private nor by misfortune in public
Utter with my little mortal lips accomplishments arranged in order
Whoever takes up a weight that is heavy beyond his ability
Suffering very great and facetious derision
Expends himself in capricious chattering
Often both his own audacity and the impassibility of the thicket 
Undoes the hunter who is heedless of the art of hunting wild beasts
Thus does the young recruit bear his shield as a souvenir of war.
Toiling in the easy effort of some frolicsome use
But he does not know how to fight when a duel arises
The bird whose mother has not gone before it as a duke will
Nonetheless depart it will not remain in the space conceded to it 
(note 18) 
Someone unacquainted with the erudition and art of sailors
Who rushes into the open marine main in a little skiff
Will move to and fro. either hither. or thither. or often be swallowed up
The horseman who is usually accustomed to sitting on a wild ass [without horse-trappings
Is now cast down headlong by a nimble course.
It is useless for someone bereft of all art theory and advice
To go to the marketplace to buy who does not know 
What he wants to bid having carefully weighed his gain.
Thus is he who repeats what he has not been able to terminate with moderation 
Torn in some different direction by everything that floats by.
Unless he be sustained by the erudition and goodwill of teachers
Therefore am I again now being pricked by the foulness of my ignorance 
(note 19) 
Not knowing what I shall do about this lest I accomplish it lest I leave it undone
Nevertheless the author's sluggish sense of innate chattiness may
Relying on no one else's strength. arrange in order
Something of a plot that is unpleasant coarse unseemly.
May I approach and accomplish whatever I shall be able
Trusting in the lord ruling the world with his authority
And doing whatever he wills in heaven earth and sea.
He forced one accustomed to braying fully to produce words
And to carry on a dialogue with her rider
And he revived lazarus after the sepulchral office
And commanded the dead man to run alive after his funeral.
And he redeemed the world after he submitted to the brands of the cross.

Venerable prelate receive the deeds of your greatgrandfather
And receive the deeds of your richly endowed grandfather
And also of your father known for his merits in heaven above
Yea indeed feed your spirit
Upon the good and kind merits of that comrade of christ
And working diligently verse yourself in his good qualities
Contemplating his wonderful actions made known again in speech
And contemplating his wonderful addresses
And recall recall his memorable causes
Now recall recall. what he worthily did
With exceptional efforts be mindful of his habits
And recollect them with exceptional efforts
Reading again willingly imitate his lawful labor
And being diligent examine his lawful labor
You know that he always venerating deeply loved god's strongholds
You know that he venerating esteemed god's strongholds
He himself was his fatherland's defending wall not breakable by a battering ram
And its hard gate. not breakable by a battering ram
The orphan. the exile. the destitute. would obtain a widow's aid
And relief. the orphan the exile the destitute all
He erected churches he made pagans believe
He built shrines. he erected churches
With all his strength he loved the lord god in his heart and
His neighbor as himself. the lord god in his heart.
Like valiant vehement mars he would break fierce peoples.
And he would perchance tread down fierce peoples.
He would command dukes with laws and a friendly word
To the kings and dukes in the realm. he was even dearer
He would enrich honorable ambassadors with various presents
Yet humble ones likewise with various presents.
A steed apportioning draperies gold and pelts
A bountiful one apportioning draperies as a present
He would flatter the untameable dacians with friendly 
And severe words. overwhelming the untameable dacians
And through it all as the ornament of our rank and grade
And the prop of our rank and grade
A sleek effigy of the virtues celebrated for his rousing eloquence
Mild in words celebrated for his rousing eloquence
His goodnesses now vanquish me the advocate.
And his abilities vanquish the advocate
A sure sign of his uprightness endures
A sign endures and signals still glow red
Whether I speak further or I remain silent about those deeds which were witnessed
Whether I speak or I remain silent. in time to come.
Behold my account will prate about whatever it can
And my tractate likewise. behold will prate
I will bellow roaring with a vehement cry reconsidering in my heart.
What he recounted when still alive I will bellow roaring with my cry. 
(note 21) 
O venerable compassionate worshipful reverend patron.
O worshipful compassionate. prelate Robert 
Examine the mindful and forgetful victories of your father
And hunt down the forgetful actions of your father
And may you sustain yourself on your father's awesome words
And observing sustain yourself on your father's acts
May the present prayer continually succor your father
And may it continually succor his uninterrupted wishes
That you might have strength O might flourish mightily through the ages
O that you might flourish. reigning with christ
That you might abide in the elysian field with your awesome father.
That you might abide in the elysian field of the empyrian fatherland.

Let modern magnates and likewise ancient patriarchs
Such as scipio pompey and cato who each by the glory of rome
Its might made universal everywhere in this flaming world
Dominating an eminent dignity and a glittering empire
Increased his own virtue and renown by the realm's carried-off things
Yield conquered by the uprightness of count Rodulf
The Roman world was skilful when they were consuls
Now the norman apex Richard's summit of honor
Flourishes and is rich in goods as long as you Rodulf survive 
(note 22) devoting time to it.
Glorified as you are by kind manners and merits.
Being as you are the virtue dignity and power of the whole realm
Extremely strong due to the seriousness of your deep spirit and heart.
An urn that is the source of the nectar of fertile advice
You pour forth from your bountiful mouth the good sense of your tranquil breast
And in this way you also produce victuals of understanding like a billow of salt water
Lively with talent mild with red-glowing eloquence
In this way you warm everyone under your garment-tails as the sun here does the world
In this way you revive 
(note 23) the hearts of your followers as the nile does egypt
The norman land has deserved you a red-glowing light
Everywhere you radiate brilliance you who flash with your heart's torch.
O you fortunate soul who advise the actions of the fatherland
As an aid prop and ornament of the realm
Based on whose appeal I thunderstruck quivering sluggish uneasy undecided
Have arranged in order whatever stands written 
(note 24) in this book. 
May you have the highest honor as christ reigns through the ages.
And may your present and future life be with the saints

Extraordinary and venerable prelate
Eminent summit. our highest office
Of the churches. And our patron
Light and distinguished ornament. And the worthy salvation
Of our grade. founder of a holy order.
Receive what has been arranged in order by my understanding
Touch with your sacred hand what I the suppliant offer 
Things unattempted by the knowledgeable in grammatical art
And reading examine those accomplishments
Which our sweet love. And greatest concern
For that extraordinary father And charming bountiful
Great patrician. and awesome RICHARD 
Celebrated in this tottering world
Mighty by right. in the eternal fatherland
Although for only a short while. made us write
He flourished famed for goodness. And compassion.
Strong with directness. And uprightness.
Flashing with judgment And in justice
More magnificent than that realm
In the time of The great king LOTHAR.
And of duke HUGH. Afterwards king
Wise in heart. and judicious in mind.
Recall his disbursements. Words and deeds.
Whereby you may rightly have the strength To be likened
Now in worthy similar. goodness to a count
So worthy And so celebrated
So equitable and good. And so moderate
So holy compassionate And so worshipful
And justly to obtain. What he enjoys 
(note 25) 
And to advance Into a higher company
As a fortunate beautiful lamb With shining white fleece
Joined to those who dwell in heaven In perennial peace
The pontifical apex and honor
Flashing from an extraordinary summit
With the deserved glory of bishops
The greatest shepherd of the lord's flock
Nobly inflamed by peace-making compassion
To the compassionate obligations
Of the rank and Grade of the church.
The glory and the ornament and the faith the salvation
And the head of the christ-worshipping populace
Eminent aid of the fatherland
A sacred man to be venerated for merits
As you read by reflecting for a long time
Capture and see 
The charming generous deeds
Of the eminent warrior the great-grandfather
Of the grandfather Radiating in martyrdom
And of the father An extremely exceptional duke.
Deeds revealed in a truth-telling address
Following the order of a prosaic plotline
With its wavering subject matter
By my stupid dull and sluggish talent
And ignorant inept senseless utterance
Recall the good qualities with which you meet.
Nourish your spirit on these banquets 
And on the salvation-giving 
(note 26) fruit of these grain fields
And verse your heart in such things
So that you might be likened to his actions 
Might have the strength to run alongside the older man
Alongside the father alongside the sacred sire
May you have longlasting 
Glory life. salvation. uprightness
With a healthy body nay rather a healthy soul
Through the countless ages
And after the ruin of a mournful 
(note 27) end
May you flourish in the elysian fatherland
Partaking divinely in heaven. 
(note 28) 
And awesome
And venerable
And fearsome prelate
Whose name
This poetical measure
Does not even anywhere embrace.
Unless this line having been released
Is missing
Receive the deeds.
Of the wonderful
Of your forefathers
Of your father and grandfather
And now of your greatgrandfather
Now recalling sufficiently
By the light of shining 
The goods which each one
Did in the world
While the limbs of the body
Still thrived with life
The sacred and
Salutary stimulus
For indeed the reverend summits
Of the wonderful
Which your father once
In a beautiful shape
Are flashing
Who has the power to see
All the good things
Which he did. 
With a wise heart
And a pure mind
Martial francia
Now bewails him
And a simple meal
Groans and wails
Over the mournful
And grievous and alas
Doleful death
Whatever needed to be gladdened
He would cheer
With his richly-endowed
Alas by his death 
(note 29) 
The order of sacred
Everything which he would refresh
By the sacred gift
Of manifold
Piles of goods
By holy stimulus
And speech
Is now disconsolate
Indeed the crowd 
Of wandering widows
And the destitute exile
And the hungry
And those of you who are thirsting
Deprived of light
And of advice
And uncovered by vestments
Overwhelmed by the cold
And plague-ridden
Also the crowd
Of the richly endowed
The good and the evil
Wealthy in everything.
The summit 
Of the pontifical office
The king and the magnates
The greek and the indian
The frisian and the breton
The dacian and the angle
The irish scot
The cleric dedicated
By his master's allotment
The reverend order
The beautiful morning star
And the west
And the violent
Sicambrian warrior
Each has wept bitterly
Splendid prelate
Summit and apex
And peak
And light of the generations
Of your family
And high pontifical
Now imitate them. And pray unremitting With stooping prayer And subject heart And pure mind With bountiful strength. Whereby he might rest Enjoying peace In the supernal heaven And advance while exulting A fortunate lamb Of white fleece And may you be saved 
(note 30) For all time And may you have Long life Through countless years. Your body always Healthy sacred And after your mournful And death-bringing Lamentable loss May you enjoy peace In your everlasting residence.
O triple 
(note 31) ideal High virgin three one god
Distinguished divine will celestrial pillar
Ornament and sequence of causes in the concord of the world
Deprived of a beginning and abiding without end
Mind and word stimulus patron and author of this outstanding world
Archetype of the terrestrial star-filled world
Desiring to obtain the wishes of my prayers I beg with a humble prayer
That you might approve these quivering beginnings 
So that I might make known if I am able in a prosaic plotline
The actions and events of affairs. briefly the ignorant [misfortunes
Which mad barbarism brought about under duke Anstign
And which under ROLLO christ-worshipping in the end
And how his offspring WILLIAM did good IN the entire empire
Having calmed it by means of the law.
And indeed how the fertile land of the norman populace rested by right
Throughout fruitful years in the peaceful time
Of that highest patrician and compassionate christ-worshipper
Richard known for his merit in heaven above
While you god who alone are always at hand perceiving all things
Reign and live and abide without end


1. Preferring to add the "cedris" of Rouen 1173 et. al.

2. A silver Greek coin; Dudo alludes here to the parable of the Good Servant in Matthew 25:14 - 30.

3. Preferring the reading "a mathematicis" of Cambridge, Corpus Christi College ms. 276 (hereafter CC 276), a manuscript of the second half of the eleventh century, from St. Augustine of Canterbury.

4. The numerical and musical theory in which Dudo was trained (and a knowledge of which he took for granted in his audience) included a symbolic or mystical level which has been largely drained from the scientistic understanding of numbers predominant in late-twentieth-century academic circles. Few readers of this translation will be equipped to understand fully the points Dudo is about to make, points which Dudo himself apparently considered to constitute some of the fundamental theory behind his writing. Although I will, as a rule, avoid authoritarian editorial interventions in this translation, I hope it will be a useful and justifiable exception if I attempt to explain a bit of tenth-century musical and numerical theory in this note. My own understanding, set forth here in terms which I hope a contemporary reader can understand, is based on reading Martianus Capella's De nuptiis philologiae et mercurii, the best-known textbook for musical and mathematical theory in Dudo's own lifetime. Tenth-century theory distinguished four kinds of numbers: the even even, the odd even, the odd odd and the even odd. For instance, the number four is an even even because it can be divided only by other even numbers, such as two. A few numbers, such as twelve, were considered perfect because they could be divided either into pairs of other even numbers (thus, two times six is twelve) or into pairs that included odd numbers (thus, three times four is twelve); therefore twelve is both an even even number and an odd even number. Six was also considered a perfect number. Six was both an "odd even" and an "even even" number. Six could be obtained both by adding and by multiplying one, two and three. Six was also considered perfect for other, not purely arithmetical, reasons. There were considered to be six natural properties that everything possessed (shape, color, size, etc.). Six was also the product of three, the number representing the masculine principal, and two, the number representing the feminine principal, so that six, as the conjunction of the two, represented heterosexual love, or Venus. The connection with music (which Dudo makes, after a few lines, through the numbers six and twelve) is that each octave had six tones (and two half-tones), so that any discussion of manipulating the number six effectively symbolized the harmonious manipulation of musical tones. Six, multiplied by the "prime mover" (namely two, the first number that can affect another number), is twelve. Playing then with six and twelve, one finds further evidence of perfection in certain proportionalities and ratios. Nine is crucial as being as much less than twelve as it is more than six, namely three, and also being itself the product of three times three. Twelve divided by three renders four, which turns out to be the difference between twelve and eight, which is the number of sounds in a full octave. Six, and therefore Venus, turns out to be the mother, the engenderer, of all harmonies, for the relation of six to twelve is the octave, of six to nine is one and one half and of six to eight is one and one third. Finally, six multiplied by four, which is the difference between six and twelve, makes twenty-four, the number of hours in a day. The next passage, in which Dudo discusses musical intervals (such as fifths and fourths) alongside Pythagorean proportions (such as 3:2 or 1 and 1/2), is even more difficult to follow; according to the singers in the medieval music group "Gothic Voices," who performed at the 1996 Haskins Society Conference, Dudo has himself at this point become completely confused and attempted to correlate two different types of measurement which are not comparable.

5. Preferring the "a te" of Rouen 1173 and other witnesses.

6. For the text and translation of this passage, see Felice Lifshitz, "Dudo's Historical Narrative and the Norman Succession of 996" Journal of Medieval History 20 (1994) pp. 101 - 120.

7. Preferring the "Richardum" of Rouen 1173 and other witnesses.

8. The "address" is almost entirely copied from Heiric of Auxerre's (841 - 876/77) preface to his metrical biography of the fifth-century bishop, St. Germanus of Auxerre (BHL 3458; ed. L. Traube MGH Poetae 3 (1896) 428 - 517).

9. Preferring the "monokolo monostropho" (in Greek letters) of CC 276. A coriambic verse is one whose metres are composed of one spondee, three coriambs and a pyrrich, all varieties of metrical feet. Metrical feet are defined according to stressed and unstressed syllables. Dudo's verses represent a wide variety of styles and display his metrical erudition. I have made no attempt to reproduce the metres of his verses, and will not regularly identify or comment on the various verse types.

10. Preferring the "succutiet" of Dudo's source, Heiric's vita Germani (p. 437).

11. Preferring the "antilegonta" (Greek) of CC 276 and of Heiric.

12. Preferring Heiric's "myrokopoi" (Greek).

13. Preferring the "abstiterit" of Heiric and CC 276.

14. Preferring the "labraque" of CC 276.

15. Preferring the "liber i" of Rouen 1173 and other witnesses.

16. Reading "retondis" for "_etondis."

17. Preferring the "socors" of CC 276.

18. Preferring the "Ales non quo versetur patulum sibi cessum" of CC 276.

19. Preferring the "inscitiae" of Rouen 1173 and other witnesses.

20. Preferring the title and separation into a new verse of CC 276. The verse is "reciprocal" in the sense that when the words are reversed, the metre remains the same.

21. Preferring the "voce boabo fremens" for both lines of CC 276.

22. Preferring the "temetque" of CC 276.

23. Preferring the "recreas" of Rouen 1173 and other witnesses.

24. Preferring the "conscripta" of Rouen 1173 and other witnesses.

25. Preferring the "fruitur" of Rouen 1173 and other witnesses.

26. Preferring the "salutiferam" of Rouen 1173 and other witnesses.

27. Preferring the "lugubre" of Rouen 1173 and other witnesses.

28. Preferring the "theothen ouranukan" of Rouen 1173.

29. Preferring the "ha nece" of CC 276.

30. Preferring the "salve" of CC 276.

31. Preferring the "trinum" of Rouen 1173 and other witnesses.

[ 2 ]

     Cosmographers, having described the huge bulk of the entire world and accurately measured the circumference and surface of the land that is surrounded on all sides by an unbroken girdle of ocean, have divided all the land into three parts (reckoning them as Asia, Europe and Africa) by means of a celestial boundary line in the quadripartite sky, which they had measured by their understanding. Of those parts, Europe is cut by the beds of many rivers and denominated into various provinces; it is enclosed by a separating 
(note 1) boundary within various fatherlands. The most ample of these, the most plentiful of all the rest in its numerous crowd of innumerable men, is named Germania. There the Hister is called the Danube, a river rising from the apex of mount Adnoa, increasing profusely in a large number of streams and passing, tempestuous, from south to east and separating Germania from Scythia until it is taken back into the Black Sea. 
     Thus, spread over the plentiful space from the Danube to the neighborhood of the scythian Black Sea, do there inhabit fierce and barbarous nations, which are said to have burst forth in manifold variety like a swarm of bees from a honeycomb or a sword from a sheath, as is the barbarian custom, from the island of Scania, surrounded in different directions by the ocean. For indeed there is there a tract for the very many people of Alania, and the extremely well-supplied region of Dacia, and the very extensive passage of Greece. Dacia is the middle-most of these. Protected by very high alps in the manner of a crown and after the fashion of a city. With Mars' forewarning, raging warlike peoples inhabit those tortuous bends of extensive size, namely the Getae, also known as Goths, Sarmatians and Amacsobii, Tragoditae and Alans, and also very many nations who live by cultivating in the Baltic marshes. 
(note 2) 
     For these nations, greatly inflamed by lascivious unchastity, and ravishing very many women with singular baseness, by performing in this way, men beget from them countless filthy offspring through mingling in a union of unlawful sexual union. These offspring, who would have been superfluous had they continued after they had come to maturity by holdings of goods to dwell in the inadequate land which they inhabited, savagely fighting against their fathers and their grandfathers or more often amongst themselves, are driven out by lot - the multitude of those reaching puberty having been brought together - according to long-standing usage 
(note 3) , into the realms of foreign nations to obtain for themselves in battle realms whereby they might be able to live in never-ending peace, as did, for instance, the Getae, Goths who pillaged almost all of Europe up to where they now reside. 
     Besides, as the completion of their expulsions and departures, they would at some future time offer sacrifices, venerating their god Thor. They would not propitiate him by some offering of cattle or sheep or wine or grain, but they would sacrifice human blood, reckoning it the most precious of all offerings, and therefore, in accordance with the prior determination of a soothsayer priest, several victims would at the same time be struck abominably in the head by a team of oxen and, once the brain 
(note 4) of whichever one had been chosen by lot in that land was dashed by a solitary blow, that one would be thrown to the ground and the filament on the left side of his heart, that is the blood-vessel, would be hunted down. Besmearing their own heads and those of their followers, as is their custom, with his drained blood, they swiftly launch the canvas sails of their boats to the winds and, reckoning that they have appeased the winds by such business, they would swiftly ply the oars of their boats. If, on the other hand, after a more important casting of lots, horsemen were to depart, they would raise up the martial banners of battle. And thus, slipping away from their own borders, they would conceive a deadly plan for the extortion of other nations.
     Indeed, they live in exile from their fathers, to butt manfully like rams against kings. They are sent away from their homes, destitute, to gain their banquets from strangers. They are deprived of the estates of their own families, to be calmly hired for those of others. Exiled, they are banished, to hunt, battling. They are thrust out from their own homes, to partake with those born in foreign lands. They are separated from their own nation, to give thanks for the holdings of foreigners. They are forsaken by their fathers, perhaps not to be seen by their mothers. The fierceness of the youths is aroused for the purpose of demolishing nations. The fatherland is delivered, cleansed for its own residents. Other provinces suffer greatly, vilely poisoned by so numerous an enemy. Thus do they pillage all the places which stand against them. They sail close to the coasts of the sea, to claim for themselves the spoils of the lands. Whatever they ravish from one realm, they escort to another. They beg for harbors as part of a negotiated peace, for the sake of exchanging ravished gain. (Thus the Dacians are called by their own people Greeks or Danes, and they boast that they are descended from Antenor. He entered with his followers the Illyrian borders, having slipped away from the midst of the Achaeans who pillaged Troy.) 
     For these Dacians, once ejected from their own lands by means of the reported rite, have savagely landed with duke Anstign where Francia extensively spreads out its tracts. So much does this accursed and headstrong, extremely cruel and harsh, destructive, troublesome, wild, ferocious, infamous, destructive and inconstant, brash, conceited and lawless, death-dealing, rude, everywhere on guard, rebellious traitor and kindler of evil, this double-faced hypocrite and ungodly, arrogant, seductive and foolhardy deceiver, this lewd, unbridled, contentious rascal, aggravate towards the starry height of heaven an increase of destructive evil and an augmentation of deceit 
(note 5) and through such accursed deeds is he more monstrous than all the rest, that he ought to be marked not by ink but by charcoal. He has defiled nations, fleeing hither and thither; and he has claimed their wealth for himself and his followers. He has attacked a powerful lordship in Gaul; he has unlawfully appropriated the Frankish realm for himself. He has profaned the priesthood; he has tread in the sacristy. With words and deeds he has challenged the king of the Franks who, with his followers, has dolefully remained inside the cities. He rages around the walls of the garrisons as does a wolf around the pens of sheep. He accounts the Franks, withdrawn in fear within their garrisons, of slight value. He pursues them all, as a lion does stags. Whomever he meets, discovered distant from the garrisons, he butchers. It becomes a carnage, as the disconsolate are slaughtered by the spear. The clergy is tormented, punished by a cruel death. Impious men deck themselves out in chasubles, which they snatch from the sacred altars. He wears the alb, dedicated to the office of the mass. Whoever takes up arms against them is slain in a cruel manner. The rest of the nation, feeble in arms, is led away, captive. Wives, ravished by many men, are lamentably led away, foreigners. Every girl is dishonorably deflowered by them. The old are dragged away, exiled far and wide along with the young. (note 6) They reduce every living being to a cash value. The mad frenzy grows, increased by many evils. The shrine, girded with religious objects, of the martyr Quentin, known for his merits in the heavens above, is torched. And so are all the other churches located in the territory of Vermandois. The monastery of Dionysius, Christ's champion, has been reduced to ashes by vanquishing Vulcan. Bishop Emmo of Noyon (alas, ah grief!) has been slain with his deacons on the fourth day before the kalends of May. And the whole nation, foresaken, is led captive to the ships. The basilicas of Medardus and Eligius, confessors of Christ, have been burned up by the very same impious men. The sacred church of the holy virgin Genovefa, located in Paris, has been consumed by the very same abominable ones. And, spread throughout Francia, almost all the other churches located outside a rampart are consumed. 
     As evil rages, Francia is foresaken, nearly emptied. It mourns, destitute of wine or grain, in which it had once been extremely richly endowed. It moans that it has been abandoned by its residents and deprived of its farmers. It wails, not tilled by the ploughshare, and uncultivated by the plough-coulter. The earth grows listless by resting, not worked by the exertion of oxen. The thoroughfares are not even recognized, not beaten down by the footsteps of men. As time rolls on, fields grow thick with a class of woods and shrubs and trees. Safety is bewailed as lost and confidence for life has passed away from men.
     Those very same Dacians would take to the waters in navigation and, springing forth from there, would pillage the adjoining lands. They would attack, at night, the bodies of those lying buried in the calm of a forgetful deep sleep. After everything that met their eyes had been ravaged, they would return to the garrisons of their ships, taking everything as booty and never in all of Francia meeting with the combats of battle. Thus, when all had been summoned to consult concerning what to do about their business, Anstign, the most vile one of all, spoke for all of them: "The breezes we have wished for are becoming frequent and gentle favorable winds are blowing a path for us. If it does not displease you, let us go to Rome and subject it to our lordship, as we have Francia." This advice was very pleasing to them all and, once the sails have been selected by the booty-takers, they turn their prows away from the Frankish shores. 
     For indeed, having been carried far and wide over the deep billows and having claimed for themselves lands on both shores, wishing to arrive secretly at Rome, mistress of nations, they sailed to the town of Lux, which is called Luna. Thus the leaders of the city, terrified at the fearful assault of such men, fortified the town with very many armed men. The blasphemer Anstign, judging that the city could not be captured by all the arms in the world, devised the deceitful measure of a most abominable fraud. Thus, he sent a messenger to the count of the city and to the bishop, to say the following words to them. The messenger, standing in their sight, poured forth such words before them, saying: "Anstign duke of the Dacians and likewise all his followers, ejected with him by lot from Dacia, send you faithful service. It is not unknown to you that we, ejected by lot from Dacia, delivered by the whirling motion of the marvelous high waves of the sea, were carried around all the seas through the wave-driven main to the realm of the frankish-born nation. Also, we attacked this realm, granted to us by the allotment of the gods, we much struggled with all our strength in battles against the frankish-born nations, and we overthrew the whole region at the command of our lord. But wishing, when all had been subjugated to our authority, to return to the land of our birth, bruised first by unfavorable north winds, afterwards by contrary west and south winds, all unwilling we barely swam to your borders. We have not come to pillage your town by the sword, nor to escort the booty of your district to our boats. We do not have the strength for that, having been fatigued by so many dangers. We beseech you to grant us a negotiated peace, let us be permitted to buy what is needful. Our lord, enfeebled and filled with much grief, wishes to be redeemed by you through the salvation-giving font, and to become a Christian. And should he, in this infirmity, fall prey to death, to be buried in this city through your mercy and your compassion." Hearing this, the prelate and the count replied to the go-between, saying: "We are in favor of making with you a pact of never-ending alliance and of making your lord a Christian." 
     Moreover the go-between reported to his lord, that most abominable of all men, everything he himself had said fraudulently to them and everything he had heard, deceitful, from them. Thus, once the negotiated peace has been enacted, the treasonous pagans and the Christians have dealings with one another, both through many agreements and through many purchases and also through common assemblies. Meanwhile the bath is being readied by the bishop, but it will not benefit the treasonous one. The waters are sanctified, drained from the well's whirlpool. The tares are lit for the sacred mystery of the bath. The imposter Anstign, malevolent deviser of the deceitful measure, is carried in. Treasonous, he enters the font, which cleanses only his body. Impious, he has received baptism, to the destruction of his soul. He is received from sacrosanct baptism by the bishop and the count. Anointed with sacred chrism and oil, he is escorted as though he were sick. He is not physically ill, but a wretch mentally diseased through the pursuit of treachery. Bleached in body alone, he is carried off, as though sick, to the ship's company. 
     Thus, he immediately calls together the most vile ones of all to consult about his fraudulent deceit. He has made known to them the detestable secret which he had conceived, born of his mad heart: "When night is falling, notify the prelate and the count that I am dead and earnestly request, weeping greatly, that they have me buried, a neophyte, in their town. Say that you will give them swords and armbands, and whatever is rightfully mine." Moreover they, coming, as had been bidden, before the lords of the city, have said, wailing: "Our lord your godson, ah, the grief! has passed away. Wretched, we pray that you have him buried as in your monastery and take back those extremely great presents which he, dying, bade be given to you." And they indeed, ensnared by such sophism, and almost blinded by the giving and receiving of presents, have pledged that his body would be taken back and properly interred in the monastery. Moreover the calamity-causing go-betweens, having marched back, have reported what they had fraudulently procured. 
     Then that insolent mischievous one, rejoicing over their replies, summons the chief of each and every clan. Moreover, when they had all been assembled, Anstign, more vile than the most vile of them, has said: "Now, make a bier for me, and place me upon it as though I were dead. Place my arms in it with me and, with lamentations, station yourselves in a ring around them. Go howling through the streets, and compel your followers bewail me. Let your cry raise a tumult throughout our tents. Let the cry of those who preside over the ships sound along with that of the rest of the troops. Have armbands and belts borne before the bier. Display axes and swords adorned with gold and gems." What that calamity-causing one had commanded is no sooner said than done. The bawling of howlings and the roar of mourners is heard. The mountains resound, ringing with the cries of deceitful moaners. 
     The prelate calls together from the flatlands the nation scattered throughout the whole city. And the clergy comes, clad in religious garments. Likewise the leaders of that town, who are to be crowned by martyrdom. The feminine sex is present, to be escorted into exile. Of one mind they proceed to meet that monster placed on the bier. Schoolboys carry candlesticks and crosses, preceding their elders. Anstign, placed live on the bier, is carried by the pagans. And the Christians encounter the pagans at the city's outlet. He is carried, by both peoples, to the monastery where the tomb had been prepared for him. The bishop prepares himself to celebrate a mass for his godson. And in the choir stands the clergy, accustomed to singing most ceremoniously. The Christians to be butchered do not recognize the deceit of the deadly fraud. The mass is recited, solemnly celebrated. All the Christians partake of the mystical sacrifice of Jesus Christ. 
     These festivities of the mass having been properly completed and the pagans gradually assembled, the prelate has ordered the body brought forward for burial. The pagans, with great bawling, would beg for the bier and say, one after another, that it ought not to be buried. The Christians would stand firm, stunned by their replies. Then Anstign has jumped down from the bier and snatched his flashing sword from its sheath. The calamity-causing one has attacked the prelate, who is holding a book in his hand. He is slaughtering the prelate and, having overthrown the count, the clergy standing defenseless in the church as well. The pagans have blocked the doors of the sanctuary, so that no one can slip away. Then the frenzy of the pagans butchers the defenseless Christians. All upon whom the enemy's fury hits are delivered to the slaughter. They vent their rage within the enclosures of the shrine as do wolves within the pens of sheep. Women stifle the groan in their hearts and pour out useless tears. Young men and maidens are bound together with thongs. The last day of life befalls them all, and for all of them this lifetime is brief and irretrievable. Those doing battle overthrow all the hardier ones with whom they meet inside the walls of the town. The citizens are exhausted, grieving as Mars vents his rage. That nation which was presiding over the ships is now at the gates, open in both directions. With sword-point glittering, the iron battle-line stands closely drawn, ready for the slaughter. From both sides they join those already battling, fighting on every side. In a cruel manner they slay all with whom they meet who stand against them by force of arms. 
     At length the duel is drawn to a close for, alas, the company of Christians has been slain. For indeed the rest of the lamentable band is led away to the ships. Raging Anstign's frenzy is at rest because the leaders of the town have been overthrown. Anstign would boast with his followers, supposing that they have captured Rome, the head of the world. He gives thanks that he holds the monarchy of the whole empire through that town which he would reckon as Rome, which is the mistress of nations. After he has learned that it is not Rome, moved thus by anger, he has said: "Take booty from the entire province and torch that town. Conduct the captives and as much spoil as possible to the ships. Let the tillers of the soil of this land feel that we have busied ourselves in their territory." What the loathsome one commands, the attendant rejoices to comply with. The whole province is attacked, and vanquished by a most vile enemy. The greatest possible carnage is brought to pass, captives are led to the ships. By sword and fire they ravage everything which has been in their presence. Once these things are completed, they load the ships with captives and spoil. Now they turn the prows to lead them to the realm of the Frankish-born nation. They traverse the sail-winged sea, returning to the realm of Francia.

Valiant, hardy, headstrong, steady, robust and circumspect,
Law-giving, distinguished, mild, gentle, splendid,
Vigorous, trusty, courteous, zealous in matters of warfare
And excelling in all things, mighty and skilled in victories,
You, Francia, at one time vanquishing so many arrogant nations in battle,
Extravagantly intent upon compassionate and respectable obligations,
Having obtained twice thrice three realms for your empire,
Having moreover dominated a populace that wished to 
Scatter you like hairs and defile you in a fruitless effort,
But, having neglected the law, 
(note 7) having scorned the commands of the lord
Who thunders beyond the stars, you now lie prostrate,
Filled beyond measure with the heaped-up weight of such an accursed deed
And with every filth, 
(note 8) sitting on your arms, shamefaced,
Thunderstruck and stunned, sluggish beyond measure, uneasy, disconsolate,
Downtrodden, challenged, scorned and rebuked
By troublesome, filthy, wild, accursed, 
(note 9) 
Mischievous, arrogant, conceited, infamous culprits.
For, restored to arms, arise speedily, draw swiftly nigh
And now search for some measure that will be salutary for both you and yours.
Write down the commands of your God, reciting every one aloud,
And let the sin of your public trial, dreadful in its many mistakes,
Cause you repentance, shame, disgust and horror.
Another generation is being sent away from that Dacia
To slide with vigorous oar through the arrogant billows.
Through time it will wage many combats against you,
Prosecuting martial battles with robust spears,
Fierce, it will pound thousands of Franks, waging war.
In the end, resting in peace by a favorable alliance,
It will grow tame, it will be at hand, it will pound with a sword
Those arrogant nations refusing to serve you zealously,
And it will place your name and your empire on the level of heaven.
Oh fortunate one, oh three and four and a thousand times bountiful,
Be well and hail, celebrating and reigning without end! 


1. Preferring the "diremptionis" of Rouen 1173 and other mss.

2. Preferring the "in meotidibus" of Rouen 1173 and others; the "Meotic Marshes" are frequently the Sea of Azov but can also refer to the Baltic.

3. Preferring the "veterrimo ritu" of Bern Bongars 390 and other witnesses.

4. Preferring the "cerebro" of Rouen 1173 and others.

5. Preferring the "doli" of Rouen 1173 and others.

6. Preferring the "cum iuuenibus" of Rouen 1173 and others.

7. Preferring the "Legeque" of Rouen BM 1173 and other witnesses.

8. Preferring the "cuncto spurcamine" of Rouen BM 1173 and others.

9. Preferring the "sceleratis" of Rouen BM 1173 and others.

[ 3 ]

       Whilst Francia was being abandoned, as if a desert, and the dreadful arrivals of the Normans were being dreaded like the hidden rumblings of bellowing thunder, and the king of the Franks did not have the wherewithal to resist the temerity of the pagans by force, he meanwhile hit upon the measure, extremely advantageous to himself and to his followers, that he would ally with that viler-than-the-vilest Anstign, and that there would be peace between the two of them, with the storm of pillagings that had been assailing the whole realm having cleared. When, on that account, he had summoned dukes and bishops, counts and throngs of armed retainers, he related and recounted what he had devised, according to the disposition of his own heart, by speaking out and declaiming thus: "Oh lords and masters, having been invited hither because of this menacing complaint, let you seek earnestly for the safety of the realm by examining this measure." But then the Franks, deeply moved by the royal address, said of one mind that they would do battle, waging war against the Normans. And the king, advising against such things, began to speak, saying: "To commence a war against them does not, to me, seem wise. If you perchance go forth to contend with them, oh!, either you will die or they, extremely swift, will return to their ships, having slipped away in flight. Let a lasting peace be procured from these ungodly men, that the land may rest in our time." This measure revealed by the king's mouth was indeed very pleasing to all. 
       Peace-making ambassadors are directed to harsh Anstign. Afterwards, assuaged by the rendered payments of a tributary sum and gradually appeased by the weight of the tribute exacted from the Franks, he is not rejecting the peace which was being requested but, of his own accord, is giving it for a longer time! Thus, once an unshattered peace between the chiefs has been secured, he is being escorted to the king, with whom he has fixed, under an inextricable agreement, tributes for a four-year peace. Allied in turn by mutual will and by imperial agreements, they are made, of one mind, united. 
(note 1) And Francia rested, formerly reduced by manifold pillaging, and during the course of that time it is released from enemy destruction, delivered from the ravaging of puffed-up pagans. 
       We urge the reader not to shudder at the dishonor of the unfavorable misfortunes which beset the Franks, for these misfortunes were not intended to ruin them but rather, because of their cumulation of accursed deeds, to correct them. For indeed the Frankish nation, which was crushed by the avenger Anstign, was very full of filthy uncleanness. Treasonous and oath-breaking, they were deservedly condemned; unbelievers and faithless, they were justly punished. For us to pursue in our narration all the hardships of that time is long, therefore let us quickly turn our audacious pen to its intended design. Thus let the reed-pen, however unskilled, briefly illuminate those things which were done at God's command and briefly relate how they happened. And let it represent the truth of the matter, spurning the error of sophism. Let it avoid detours into offensive events, let it pursue instead the salvation that is to come.


Holding to wild, circuitous paths and proceeding along slippery,out-of-the-way roads
And entering fruitlessly upon the tortuous bends of slipperyroutes,
I earnestly request, Book, that you now desist for a moment fromthe journey you have begun,
That, wearied by the uncertainties of the subject matter, you now leave off labor.
If, adroit, you are to have the strength to be led further, look closely now,
For the road is exceedingly long, scabrous, full of rocksthroughout,
Grassy, wooded, covered with foliage, both slippery and rough.
And feed grain to your horses, already so lean,
Since they still have the good will, but their ability is very small,
And let them be more frequently thoroughly washed and wiped dry,
With nails join horseshoes to the bottoms of their feet
And greatly adorn their backs with steadfast trappings
And bind their jaws with stitched reins and bridles.
In this way you will perhaps be able to traverse the splendid road
Without going astray and tumbling down, without being harmed and perishing,
If not with the help of God, who justly triumphs from on high,
Nor the intercession of the blessed witness Quintinus,
Then through him for whom we now sing the deeds that he himself exultingly accomplished.


1. According to the Annals of St. Bertin, Anstign spent the period after his return from the Mediterranan around Angers, and the treaty was negotiated in 874.

[ 4 ]

A Preface, Sung in Heroic Metre, to Which an Elegiac Section is Appended

There is an island, Crete 
(note 1) , called in olden times "hundred-towned," (note 2) 
Fertile of field, fortunate, rich in treasure and population, 
Encircled by the uninterrupted girdle of an immense whirlpool,
Generous with the profit of its varied wares.
And all around it, in different directions, are also many harbors
Entangled with boats of diverse function.
With great praise 
(note 3) it has begotten Daedalus, skillful
And knowing in the sciences, beyond what is sufficient.
At one time, fleeing the Minoan ramparts in a marvellous act,
He has fastened wings to himself with wax,
Supposing that he, though devoid of nimble wings, would be able to pass through the clouds, 
Similar in all respects to a secure winged creature.
Imprudent fickleness has adopted as a partner his son,
Reckless, and fickle in action and agreement,
And Icarus has submitted his body to the father's wings,
Wishing to take after the father in his deeds, wearing the wings undaunted.
The father Daedalus, indefatigable, ascends towards the icy Great and Lesser Bear,
And then touches the ground with his feet.
At length, knowing the way to survive in those fortunate cold climes,
He has stood upon the Cumaean heights, 
(note 4) 
He has erected and dedicated a noble temple to Phoebus,
And then has soon stripped off the salvation-giving wings.
The Daedalian offspring, less perfect in his skill, 
Reckless of the coming danger, and passing higher,
Has approached more than is proper the steeps of the fiery 
(note 5) clime.
Soon the wax, dissolved from each feather, is liquid.
Notorious Icarus, sunk in the wave-sounding whirlpool,
Has given his name to the open sea he encountered. 

It is to you that these portents relate and you that that fable has concerned,
With playful and facetious mimicking grimaces.
At the beginning you are drawing forward the great deeds both ofadult Dacians
And of youths, up to the time when Rollo reaches manhood
Whereas, quicker than Daedalus or Icarus
You are forsaking the low-lying lands, striving greatly towards the steeps,
While a difficult subject matter forces you, stupid,
To stretch out your wings to heaven, into the boundlessness.
If, through increased strength, you were to possess the ability
To match that desire which abides in your heart's mind,
If you understood the various harmonic qualities
Which preserve the interval in three steps,
You would be able with a sweetly-singing sound 
To play the stringed cithara among the swans, with especially harmonic songs,
All eight modes which (fixed in the five tetrachords)
The fourth and fifth embrace
And which, once different tones have been mingled,
And unequal numbers have been considered,
Are formed from the dissonant content of the musical art,
For a 9/8 time closes the tone,
And a peaceful 3/4 time binds the fourth,
And a melodious 2/3 time ratifies the fifth,
According to the law of the arithmetical art.
The fourth, fifth and the octave
Can result from a doubled number,
The fifth and the octave from a tripled form,
And the octave from a quadrupled form.
Now I am stung and I am pricked and, quaking, I am goaded
And, trembling, I am violently shaken by very great rancors.
Behold, take this advice, advantageous to yourself,
Whereby, rescued from snares, you may be able to protect yourself rightly:
Let not, I pray, the imprudent games of the multitude compel you,
Let not, I pray, their thunderbolts urge you headlong.
Entrust your heart's intention to the thundering Lord,
That he might destroy their games, shatter their lightning flashes,
Gradually conduct you, defended, over the open deep
On the bountiful wings of the sevenfold breeze
And place you only in the fertile grove,
Sacred to Ceres and eradicated of shrub and flintstone,
And fertilize your understanding with rhetorical nectar
And likewise intoxicate it with harmonic metre.
Having thus obtained a hymn-singing voice, may you be able
To psalmodize on your lute, along with other lyres, 
A lay for that patrician who is the eye of the blind 
(note 6) and the staff of the lame,
The ornament of the church and the sustenance of the poor,
The highest defender of the orphan and the exile and the destitute
And the wandering widow and the sacred order.

Although we have reached this spot with our feet full of sand
And have come along a muddy course and a difficult path,
We are endeavoring to extend our course even further,
But the newness of the subject matter tears us to pieces.
Assuredly it is a very great shame for us, wearied 
By a very heavy weight, to abandon the bundle, 
Indeed not to go forward and persist in our undertaking.
And it will be exceedingly facetious prating.
Come, bountiful spirit, you who have furnished words in the past,
Apportioning the gifts of your heavenly nectar,
And able to give form to all unformed things,
Inflame dull understandings, quickening them,
Blow here, I pray, and, beaming forth,
Slowly infuse the grottoes of my breast with poured out hopes, 
Whereby I might be able to reach the high 
(note 7) peaks of a strength
Great enought to produce copiously things unattempted by any pen.
With your contribution, with your leadership, with your authorship,
I will briefly recount whatever I can in a prosaic recital.


1. Preferring the "Creta" of CC 276.

2. Preferring the "ECTAPOLIS" (Greek) of Rouen 1173 and other witnesses to the blank in the Berlin ms.

3. Preferring the "multa sat laude" of CC 276.

4. The town of Cumae on the island of Euboea.

5. Correcting the corrupt readings of all the manuscripts of Dudo from Dudo's source, Heiric of Auxerre's Vita Germani (MGH Poet. Lat. 3 ed. L. Traube pp. 488 - 489), which reads "empirii" (in Greek letters).

6. Preferring the "caecis" of CC 276.

7. Preferring the "alta" of CC 276.

[ 5 ]

       Since the supernal providence of the Deific Trinity, at whose command all things do one thing then another through the varied alternation of revolving time, has compassionately perceived that the church which had been redeemed by sacrosanct blood and profusely cleansed by the liquid of sacred baptism, and excellently anointed with the fluid of oil and of chrism, is being immensely reduced by the misfortunes described briefly above, it does not desist, touched supplicatingly by the uninterrupted prayers of the Christians, from offering [that church] salvation-giving succor from the raging savageness of Dacian heathenism. So that it might be manfully invigorated whence it had been lamentably reduced. And be raised up to heaven by those through whom it had slipped into the precipice. And be rebuilt by the service of those in whose action it had been valued little. Be adorned by the gems and gold of those by a crowd of whom it had been abused. Be elegantly cloaked by the gift of those through whose booty-taking it had become tattered. Thus when very many throngs of young Dacian men have been formed by the human bond of sexual union and debauchery, and are frequently exciting the fires of war among themselves and against their fathers and maternal uncles, all the Dacians of greater age and power, coming together to the king, have said of one mind: "The state is being furiously overpowered by hostile attack, and shaken to its foundations by the crushing of our sons and nephews.
       "For we have renounced our ancient-established usage, wherefore the populace of the Dacian nation, enduring so very many evils, is being annihilated. Therefore, king, care for this realm, which you ought to rule with peace-making sovereignty, through that usage of a former time. Let Dacia be purged of the baleful plague of its most vile enemies, so we who are left behind may be able to live and rest in perpetual peace." Attentively assenting to their deliberations, and swiftly sending his enjoining ordinance throughout the land under his sovereignty, the king has ordered the viceroys of that land to come to him on a prescribed day to learn which nephews and sons the lot of expulsion has hit upon. Report of this royal embassy has soon struck with consternation those reaching the age of puberty. Their uneasy hearts would waver and, ignorant of future uncertainties, give way to alarmed sentiments. As they perceive that the future is unknown, their stunned spirits are brought to a standstill. Verily does solicitude, desirous of knowing the truth, fatigue them, and uncertain hope does tear them, full of doubt, to pieces. They would not know beforehand with certainty what sentiment was being meditated upon in the king's heart.
       But in the region of Dacia there was, in those days, a certain old man, most opulent with an abundance of all goods, and surrounded on all sides by a crowd of innumerable warriors, a man who never lowered the nape of his neck before any king, nor placed his hands in anyone else's hands in committing himself to service. Holding almost the entire realm of Dacia, he claimed for himself the lands bordering on Dacia and Alania, and by force and power he subjugated the populace to himself through very many battles. For, of all the easterners, he was the mightiest due to his superior strength and the most distinguished due to his cumulated surplus of all the virtues. But when he died, his two sons, vigorous in arms, well-versed in warfare, in body most fair, in spirit most hardy, survived him. Truly the older of them was called Rollo, but the other, the younger, Gurim. And, going to Rollo and Gurim, begging with all their strength on bended knee and with lowered countenance and humble voice, the youths assigned to banishment by royal order said of one mind:
       "Bring us aid, come to our assistance, we will stay under your protecting care and be incessantly in your service. Our king, on the other hand, wishes to banish us from Dacia, and to rob us forever of our estates and beneficia. Have mercy, we pray, have mercy on us who are destitute of all hope and help." Then those two brothers replied, saying to the youths who were praying supplicatingly: "We will aid you as best we can and will bring it to pass that you stay in Dacia and calmly occupy your properties, untroubled by royal threats." They, however, hearing these things, kissed the feet of Rollo and Gurim, and immediately returned home, rejoicing over what their leaders had said. Meanwhile, a truthful report of these events is published abroad, reaching the ears of the king of Dacia. The mightiest duke, that is to say, the father of Rollo and Gurim, was enjoying his supreme lot. Then the king, recalling the evils which that duke had brought upon him previously, says to all the leaders of his empire, who have been summoned to him: "It is not unknown to you that the father of Rollo and Gurim has died. Therefore I will go to their territory, and I will capture towns and encampments and fortifications, and I will take revenge on the sons for the deeds of the father and I will be satisfied with their misfortunes only by crushing them; I pray, prepare yourselves and your followers for such labors." Thus, once the date of departure for the future battle had been named, all went back with their followers whence they had come.
       Soon the fierce youth of Dacia, attending very closely to its passionate concerns, prepares whatever is appropriate for that advance. Some adjust light brazen shields and shining arrows with the artisinal skill of an adult. With a whetstone, some sharpen weapons and swords and hatchets. Others make safe coverings for the head, that is to say leather helmets, others for the breast, namely hauberks woven of iron and gold chain. Indeed they even recast in furnaces weapons handed down to them from their fathers, and restore them with hammers. 
       Report of this unexpected occurrence slips through to the ears of Rollo and Gurim, who have been disturbed by discussion of the report. After calling together a host composed of men abounding in plentiful and proportioned manhood, and assembling a multitude of those, of middle age and older, who had been assigned for banishment, their right hands raised in greeting, [Rollo] commands silence. With the murmuring of the bustling people completely calmed and himself loftily furnished with the platform of a becoming chair, Rollo begins to speak, his mouth flowing with honey: "It is you, in whom youthful ardor glows and who are in the flower of a superior mandhood, I am addressing. Grow manfully strong, let you imitate your reverend fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers with intelligent design, and gain strength, and let you not scorn to join together harmoniously so that you might have the strength, for each one by turns, to be their equal. If indeed the king of this realm is attempting to step over us and to attack the authority of our monarchy and to ruin us and all of you, let us, both in anticipating and in resisting his arrival, occupy like an enemy the land under his own rule, before he seizes the land of our hereditary lordship." 
        However the king, hearing this, proceeds to battle against Rollo and his brother and after contending with them for a while turns in flight, fleeing to the protection of the towns. Then Rollo has interred the dead of his own army, however he has left those of the king's army behind, unburied. 
       But when the war between the king and Rollo had continued for a period of one year, the king in deceit has sent to [Rollo] with these peace-making words: "Let there be nothing between you and me except intimate esteem. Allow the republic to be at rest, I pray, so that I might be at liberty patiently to hold what is mine by right and what my father held, you, moreover, to hold what is yours by right, and what your father held. And between you and me may peace and harmony be agreed upon through an inextricable alliance." Then Rollo and Gurim and their warriors and those who had been assigned for banishment have all praised the peace very much. Thus, both come to a conference 
(note 1) at the time settled upon for swearing the alliance; enriched by reciprocal gifts, they are allied. 
       And then, musing upon the fraudulent deceit conceived in his inimical heart, the treasonous king begins to fight, moving against them at night with some of his assembled army and attacking their territory and concealing ambushes near the walls of one of their cities. Then Rollo, and Gurim and those who were with him, springing forth from the city, have been pursuing the king, who is turning in flight and pretending to flee. Thus, once Rollo has passed beyond the location of the ambushes, a certain portion of the ambushers, come out from their lurking-holes, make for the city itself. Finding the city emptied of armed men, they do set it afire, and have carried off as their spoils all the household furnishings. But certain of the ambushers have been following Rollo, who is putting the king to flight with hostile fierceness.
       However, perceiving that the town has been set on fire and that the ambushers have prevailed, the king, turning back, has been battling against [Rollo]. With very many from Rollo's side having therefore fallen, his brother Gurim has fallen in battle. However, seeing himself between the two armies, the one pretending to flee, the other having come out from its lurking-holes, and his dead brother mutilated (though only with great difficulty) by very many wounds, Rollo (with a few followers) separates from all of them. Then the king, beseiging and capturing every town, has subjugated to himself the populace which has been battling against him. But Rollo, not having the power to remain in Dacia because of the king, despairing of himself, has gone to the island of Scania with six boats. Then Dacia, deprived of that compassionate duke and patrician and that most hardy advocate, begins exceedingly to lament, shaken by great wailing.


Dacia, desirous of a true promise, prophesied and deserved,
Make yourself merry, you who send your nurslings to the Gauls by lot,
Checking the grief in your heart, not ignorant now of the future things
That will be granted by the stars. 
This is not a misfortune for his soul or a blow of stinging fortune.
Change shall have ever transformed this outrageous calamity,
With sumptuous, prosperous gifts it will assign to him every good,
Enriching, it will enrich and reward him.
And once the Dacians have been reconciled with the Franks, 
Vast, fertile Francia will spread out 
(note 2) , put forth, bring forth,
Producing kings and pontiffs, dukes, counts and prelates
From your blessed scions, themselves formed 
From the seed of most noble worshippers of Christ.
Under them the world will be rich, exulting in Christ its prince,
And under them churches will be everywhere made fruitful
And in their new never-ending progeny those churches will rejoice,
Yea indeed, once they have been thrice purified by three-foldbaptism,
Immense throngs will be thereafter brought on high by them, rather than damned.


1. Placitum.

2. Preferring the "exporget" of CC 276.

[ 6 ]

     AND WHILE HE LINGERED, sorrowful, at Skania island and, burning under the anxious compulsion of twisting wrath, struggled to avenge himself on his foes, and very many whom royal heinousness (note 1) had chased out of Dacia were returning to him, a divine voice cried out to him, his limbs, wearied by exertion, overpowered by deep sleep, saying: "Arise swiftly, Rollo, going hastily across the deep in navigation, proceed to the Angles, there you will hear that you will return healthy to the fatherland and that in it you will, without defeat, enjoy never-ending peace." When he had recounted this dream to a certain wise and Christian man, he explained it with a speech of this type: "In the opportune course of time to come, you will be purified by sacrosanct baptism and will become an especially worthy Christian and at a future time you will come from the deception of this wavering world all the way to the Angles, that is the angels and with them you will have the glory of everlasting peace." But immediately outfitting ships and equipping them with oars and loading them with grain and wine and heads of swine, swiftly flying across the sail-winged sea, he goes to the Angles and supposes that he will linger there calmly for a while. However, the peasants of that territory, hearing that Rollo the Dacian has arrived, have brought together against him the greatest possible army. And they have tried to chase him from their borders. He has gone to meet them in battle in his accustomed manner, without hesitation, and has overthrown very many of them and has harassed with a spear the backs of the rest, turning in flight. At length many more peasants than before, collecting in a mass, again send out against Rollo the hardiest possible army and try to kill him or cause him to slip away in flight. But he, well versed in the zealous exertions of war and extremely fierce in the exigencies of combat, has proceeded swiftly and without hesitation, enveloped in a helmet wonderfully ornamented with gold and a mail coat, against the armed throngs of those setting out and attacking him. He has savagely overthrown thousands of them with a conquering (note 2) hand and, pursuing fugitives with a swift course and capturing many of the leaders and returning to the place of the battle, he has placed the bodies of the slain in the earth and has carried off the rest, discolored by wounds and bound them captive to the ships. Then he begins to anguish greatly and to be grieved, vacillating among three kinds of wandering, whether he should hit upon Dacia or should proceed to Francia or should, through battle, strike and claim for himself the English land.


Why do you tremble, Rollo, wavering, and why, perplexed, do you fear? Why do you torment your spirit, filled with the pestilence of musing? Why do you consume your heart, filled with the squalor of concerns? Why do you mutter in your spirit, why do you meditate by musing now? Why are you stuck, father, with a fixed gaze? Why do you reconsider in your mind, recalling doubts and darkness? And why are you astounded at your malign misfortune in your present lot? According to the fated order, after many perils of war And after the marine swellings of the boiling main, You will have power by right, a patrician blossoming with merits, A never-ending Christian, loftier than the Frankish hall, And you will capture the deserved crown as worthy recompense And you will deserve to benefit, in the deity, from the highest good.


1. Preferring the "immanitas" of Rouen 1173 and other witnesses.

2. Preferring the "uictrici" of Rouen 1173 and other witnesses.

[ 7 ]

       However, while he hesitated, filled with apprehension by passions of this type, and the men of that region subjugated themselves to his authority through an obligation and a bond of fidelity, one night as sleep-inducing Lethean quiet crept slowly through his members, he kept seeming to see himself placed on a certain mountain, loftier even than the most eminent ones of Frankish habitation, and a limpid and fragrant fountain at the apex of that mountain, and himself, polluted by the infection and itching of leprosy, being washed in it and being purified by it. At length, still present at the apex of the mountain, he kept seeming to see many thousands of birds of diverse classes, of varied color but with red left wings, in all directions around the base of the mountain. He was not able, with his circumscribed and penetrating gaze, to apprehend the unexhausted outer edge of their multitude, spread far and wide. For the rest, he kept seeming to see them travel, with harmonious gait and flight, to the fountain on the mount, yielding to each other by turns, and wash themselves with harmonious bathing, as birds are accustomed to do in time of rain and, once all have been anointed with that marvelous wetting, eat by turns, amicably as it were, in a common pasture, in a harmonious assembly without distinction of classes or species, without the strife of any controversy, and build nests from branches carried there through their own hastening exertion. Yea indeed he kept seeming to see them surrender willingly to an empire of his own conception. 
       Awakened soon afterwards, and recalling the vision which he had seen, he unhesitatingly discussed the whole sequence of this vision with his greatest leaders, summoned to him, and with the leaders taken in battle, called together as well, and he asked them what they felt was the secret meaning of this vision. Then, as all were silent, one of the captives, imbued with the faith of Christian reverence and bedewed with the presentiment of divine inspiration, made clear the secret meaning of that vision, saying: "The mountain of Francia, on which you kept seeming to stand, represents the Church of that land. The fountain, which was at the summit of the mountain, is explained as the baptism of rebirth. Through the leprosy and the itching, you are to understand the accursed deeds and sins of your own perpetration, by which you were corrupted. 
(note 1) That you were washed in that fountain and purged by it of the sickness of leprosy and itching, that you were being born again through the bath of sacred baptism and cleansed of all sins. Through the flying creatures of diverse classes with crimson left wings, whose most boundless outer edge you were not able to make out with your sight, you are to understand men of diverse provinces with shield-bearing arms, an innumerable multitude of whom you will also see collected together, having become your fideles. Through the winged creatures moistened in the fountain and washed in it by turns and eating in a common act of consumption, a populace polluted by the infection of the ancient fraud, to be washed by symbolic baptism, to be fattened by the nourishment of Christ's sacrosanct body and blood. Through the nests which they were building around the mountain, you are to understand the ravaged town walls which are to be rebuilt. Birds of diverse species were obeying you, men of diverse realms, having reclined at your table, will yield obedience by serving you." Thus, delighted by these marvelous explanations, Rollo released from their bonds both the explainer of his vision and the others whom he had seized in the war and sent them, joyful, back to their homes, endowed with various presents and diverse gifts. 
       For at that time a most Christian king of the Angles, Alstem by name, adorned with the tokens of every good, especially worthy advocate of the sacrosanct church, most compassionate, guided the reins of the realm of the Angles. To him did Rollo send his ambassadors forthwith, and indeed he first announced, for their ears, what they were to say. Coming to Alstem, they said with a respectful tone of voice, with lowered faces: "Our lord and advocate Rollo, mightiest patrician of all and most distinguished duke of the Dacians, sends faithful service to you and the gift of unshattered friendship to your followers. We having suffered great misfortune, lord king, in the realm of Dacia, and having been, alas, the grief! fraudulently banished from there, the East Wind, entirely hostile to us, has driven us, weakened by the high waves of swelling tempests, stripped of the hope of any aid and safety, to your territory. Moreover, although we kept trying to return to Dacia and avenge ourselves upon our foes, the frozen winter opposed and hindered us and, while icy coldness encrusted the earth and cast down the pliant stalks of grasses and trees, the rivers, held in check by a thick mass of frozen crusts, formed a barrier to us. And the water did not offer us a propitious road. Hearing this, certain warriors abiding in the neighborhood of our arrival, formed against us the greatest possible battle-line and attacked, challenging us. But we, having the power to sail neither below nor above the ice, resisted their temerity and captured many of them, disarmed, in the battle. However, we will not pillage your realm, nor in any way turn plundered booty towards our ships. We are seeking a negotiated peace for the purpose of buying and selling, since we are going to depart for Francia in the impending springtime." 
       However, having heard these things, the king speaks out, his cheerful coutenance bowed: "No region brings forth extraordinary men, and ones actively instructed in arms, more than does Dacia. Very many men have recounted to us the extended nobility of your lord's kin, and your misfortunes and hardships, and indeed even the fraudulent treachery of the king of Dacia. No one is more just than your lord in deeds, no one greater in arms. Untroubled by arms, avoiding battles, put away your cares about this matter and be free from all ills. You may sell and buy everywhere in the lands under our authority; we pray that, using the integrity of our promise, you compel your lord to deign to come to us, for I desire to look upon him, and to solace him concerning his ills." The messengers moreover, going away, reported to Rollo whatever they had heard. Rollo at once proceeded boldly and unhesitatingly to the king, who was coming to meet him. Once they had embraced and kissed one another, they sat down at a distance from the departing throngs of both armies. 

Then king Alstem was the first to speak:
"Let us be joined in a single favorable alliance of faith,
Be always, I beg, a part of my soul and my companion,
Potent in your noble stock, flashing with the light of deeds,
And loftier than all others in character and merits.
And I earnestly beseech you to remain in our territory
And be purified of uncleanness through salvation-giving baptism.
Come, keep whatever you desire in the orbit of our authority.
Always be mindful of me in everything, just as I myself shall be.
And if your wish is to depart for other climes,
If at some time this savage, untamable nation, impudent,
Neither preserving nor keeping the contents of its promise, should fight against me, 
Bring such assistance as you are able, saving me with a steadfast effort,
And I will assist you, helping in a similar fashion,
And my shield will cover you in our common struggle."


1. Preferring the "infectus" of CC 276 and other witnesses.

[ 7 ]

       However, while he hesitated, filled with apprehension by passions of this type, and the men of that region subjugated themselves to his authority through an obligation and a bond of fidelity, one night as sleep-inducing Lethean quiet crept slowly through his members, he kept seeming to see himself placed on a certain mountain, loftier even than the most eminent ones of Frankish habitation, and a limpid and fragrant fountain at the apex of that mountain, and himself, polluted by the infection and itching of leprosy, being washed in it and being purified by it. At length, still present at the apex of the mountain, he kept seeming to see many thousands of birds of diverse classes, of varied color but with red left wings, in all directions around the base of the mountain. He was not able, with his circumscribed and penetrating gaze, to apprehend the unexhausted outer edge of their multitude, spread far and wide. For the rest, he kept seeming to see them travel, with harmonious gait and flight, to the fountain on the mount, yielding to each other by turns, and wash themselves with harmonious bathing, as birds are accustomed to do in time of rain and, once all have been anointed with that marvelous wetting, eat by turns, amicably as it were, in a common pasture, in a harmonious assembly without distinction of classes or species, without the strife of any controversy, and build nests from branches carried there through their own hastening exertion. Yea indeed he kept seeming to see them surrender willingly to an empire of his own conception. 
       Awakened soon afterwards, and recalling the vision which he had seen, he unhesitatingly discussed the whole sequence of this vision with his greatest leaders, summoned to him, and with the leaders taken in battle, called together as well, and he asked them what they felt was the secret meaning of this vision. Then, as all were silent, one of the captives, imbued with the faith of Christian reverence and bedewed with the presentiment of divine inspiration, made clear the secret meaning of that vision, saying: "The mountain of Francia, on which you kept seeming to stand, represents the Church of that land. The fountain, which was at the summit of the mountain, is explained as the baptism of rebirth. Through the leprosy and the itching, you are to understand the accursed deeds and sins of your own perpetration, by which you were corrupted. 
(note 1) That you were washed in that fountain and purged by it of the sickness of leprosy and itching, that you were being born again through the bath of sacred baptism and cleansed of all sins. Through the flying creatures of diverse classes with crimson left wings, whose most boundless outer edge you were not able to make out with your sight, you are to understand men of diverse provinces with shield-bearing arms, an innumerable multitude of whom you will also see collected together, having become your fideles. Through the winged creatures moistened in the fountain and washed in it by turns and eating in a common act of consumption, a populace polluted by the infection of the ancient fraud, to be washed by symbolic baptism, to be fattened by the nourishment of Christ's sacrosanct body and blood. Through the nests which they were building around the mountain, you are to understand the ravaged town walls which are to be rebuilt. Birds of diverse species were obeying you, men of diverse realms, having reclined at your table, will yield obedience by serving you." Thus, delighted by these marvelous explanations, Rollo released from their bonds both the explainer of his vision and the others whom he had seized in the war and sent them, joyful, back to their homes, endowed with various presents and diverse gifts. 
       For at that time a most Christian king of the Angles, Alstem by name, adorned with the tokens of every good, especially worthy advocate of the sacrosanct church, most compassionate, guided the reins of the realm of the Angles. To him did Rollo send his ambassadors forthwith, and indeed he first announced, for their ears, what they were to say. Coming to Alstem, they said with a respectful tone of voice, with lowered faces: "Our lord and advocate Rollo, mightiest patrician of all and most distinguished duke of the Dacians, sends faithful service to you and the gift of unshattered friendship to your followers. We having suffered great misfortune, lord king, in the realm of Dacia, and having been, alas, the grief! fraudulently banished from there, the East Wind, entirely hostile to us, has driven us, weakened by the high waves of swelling tempests, stripped of the hope of any aid and safety, to your territory. Moreover, although we kept trying to return to Dacia and avenge ourselves upon our foes, the frozen winter opposed and hindered us and, while icy coldness encrusted the earth and cast down the pliant stalks of grasses and trees, the rivers, held in check by a thick mass of frozen crusts, formed a barrier to us. And the water did not offer us a propitious road. Hearing this, certain warriors abiding in the neighborhood of our arrival, formed against us the greatest possible battle-line and attacked, challenging us. But we, having the power to sail neither below nor above the ice, resisted their temerity and captured many of them, disarmed, in the battle. However, we will not pillage your realm, nor in any way turn plundered booty towards our ships. We are seeking a negotiated peace for the purpose of buying and selling, since we are going to depart for Francia in the impending springtime." 
       However, having heard these things, the king speaks out, his cheerful coutenance bowed: "No region brings forth extraordinary men, and ones actively instructed in arms, more than does Dacia. Very many men have recounted to us the extended nobility of your lord's kin, and your misfortunes and hardships, and indeed even the fraudulent treachery of the king of Dacia. No one is more just than your lord in deeds, no one greater in arms. Untroubled by arms, avoiding battles, put away your cares about this matter and be free from all ills. You may sell and buy everywhere in the lands under our authority; we pray that, using the integrity of our promise, you compel your lord to deign to come to us, for I desire to look upon him, and to solace him concerning his ills." The messengers moreover, going away, reported to Rollo whatever they had heard. Rollo at once proceeded boldly and unhesitatingly to the king, who was coming to meet him. Once they had embraced and kissed one another, they sat down at a distance from the departing throngs of both armies. 

Then king Alstem was the first to speak:
"Let us be joined in a single favorable alliance of faith,
Be always, I beg, a part of my soul and my companion,
Potent in your noble stock, flashing with the light of deeds,
And loftier than all others in character and merits.
And I earnestly beseech you to remain in our territory
And be purified of uncleanness through salvation-giving baptism.
Come, keep whatever you desire in the orbit of our authority.
Always be mindful of me in everything, just as I myself shall be.
And if your wish is to depart for other climes,
If at some time this savage, untamable nation, impudent,
Neither preserving nor keeping the contents of its promise, should fight against me, 
Bring such assistance as you are able, saving me with a steadfast effort,
And I will assist you, helping in a similar fashion,
And my shield will cover you in our common struggle."


1. Preferring the "infectus" of CC 276 and other witnesses.

[ 9 ]

Truly with the entreaties of these prayers having ceased the sea soon rests with the tempests calmed. and shortly they deployed the ships and those smashed by the storm over the vast tracts of calm smooth sea by means of a wished-for breeze. They steered with difficulty to the shores of the walgri. However the walgri hearing. that a barbarian nation savagely battered by a storm at sea had been carried to their shores. with an assembled multitude of peasants. unexpectedly assailed duke Rollo barely raised up from the stormy sea. Stirred up in his accustomed manner he proceeded finishing the war against them; and he sent very many of them overthrown by violent death over to the lower world. and he either captured or put to flight the remainder. And as he kept pillaging the waal region tarrying for a long while; the most christian king of the angles alstem recalling. the friendship by which he the most distinguished in uprightness of all kings had bound himself and rollo together in eternal alliance; sent over to the very lofty duke in the waal region. twelve boats loaded with grain and wine and lard yea indeed the same number filled with an armed warband. Delighted with these gifts rollo sent back to the king as an act of thanks; ambassadors enriched with the very greatest presents; and he sent word through them that he himself was about to attend the king. However the walgri estimating. on account of the abundant supply of grain that had been fetched that rollo was going to linger in the waal region for all time; called for ragnar long-neck duke of hesbaye. and hainault. and for radbod prince of the region of frisia. and with the amassed army of those other districts; they attacked rollo. As he had done many times he proceeded to war without hesitation; he killed many thousands of them; he chased both ragnar long-neck. and radbod the frisian. to their own strongholds. Then he ravaged the whole land of the walgri; and consumed it with fire. Indignant after this because of the whole affair; he swiftly sought out the frisians. and began to ravage their land. Then the frisian inhabitants of the zuidersee quickly collecting in a mass a pile of many peoples; and heaping upon their own forces a multitude of the common people inhabiting the neighborhood of frisia. with many prepared hosts. venture in sped-up assault to attack rollo. But rollo and those who were with him on bended knee and with the horror of arms assailing them. wholly covered by a covering of oblong shields. and folded together with the glittering sword-points of a tight battle array; have been awaiting the commencement of the combat. Therefore the frisians reckoning that their multitude is very small. have begun the war; it will not benefit them. The dacians truly springing forth. rushing upon them have overthrown them all the way to destruction. And they have captured very many leaders and have led an innumerable band back to their ships. Thus the remaining frisians. despairing; have henceforth become subject to tribute; yielding obedience in all things to rollo's precepts. Once the tribute payment of frisia has been collected and accumulated and handed over; he thereupon launches high the canvas sails given to the ships. and turns the prows to the lands of ragnar broad-throat. longing to take revenge upon that very man; who with the already overthrown frisian walgri was present in the battle. Having rambled over the deep; he enters the bed of the schelde. and pillaging the land on this side and that. comes upon ragnar long-neck; at a certain abbey called by the name of cond. Truly ragnar has brought many battles to pass against him; but mighty rollo has emerged the victor from all of them. The land kept being ravaged; enduring the evils of both armies. A very powerful famine appears; for the earth is not rent by the plough. The masses are weakened by scarcity; they are exhausted by hunger and wars. all despair of living; robbed of the safety of sustenance. Thus one day as ragnar lies stealthily in ambush. longing to rush upon the dacians; the dacians have rushed upon him. They have surrounded him accosting from different directions. and seized him fighting greatly. and have led him vanquished back to rollo. For indeed that same day ragnar's men; remaining in coverts in order to capture some of the dacians; have attacked twelve of rollo's chief warriors. and captured them by means of steady valor. Then ragnar's wife weeping and wailing. having called her leaders together concerning him; has sent for rollo to return her lord to her in return for the twelve captured counts. Having received her embassy rollo immediately; has sent back to her saying. Ragnar will not be returned to you but he will be decapitated; unless you first hand my companions over to me. and moreover give me whatever gold and silver there is in his duchy. yea indeed the tribute payment of that region. along with an oath of the christian way of life. Soon ragnar's consort. distressed by this mournful embassy; has sent the captured counts back to rollo. and all the gold and silver which she was able to find. Yea indeed with suppliant and intercessory words she has sent to rollo; whatever had been granted to the sacred altars. along with the revenue of that duchy while swearing that she neither had more metal nor could she exact any. so that he might hand over her husband to her. Moreover he himself moved by compassion and by the cries of those supplicatingly beseeching him; has caused ragnar long-neck to come to him. and addresses him with these peace-making words. Ragnar duke and fiercest warrior and one sprung from the arrogant blood of kings and dukes and counts; what wrong have I ever done you. for you to have done battle along with the walgri. and the frisians against me? Should you desire now to vent your rage; the arrows and armed retainers of war are wanting. Should you wish to slip away from us in flight; you cannot escape while entangled in fetters. Just as I did with the frisians I have retaliated for the evils; which you brought upon me without cause. Your wife and your leaders have sent me in exchange for you whatever gold and silver they were able to recover. I will hand over to you half of the accumulated tribute; and I will send you back to your wife. Rest after this while growing mild; and let there in no wise be discord. between me and you but rather eternal peace friendship. That said ragnar's shins are released from their fetters. And having allied ragnar to himself. and having enriched him with extremely great presents and gifts; yea indeed having handed over to him the moiety of the despatched tribute. rollo has immediately sent him back delighted to his wife. With these matters having been settled by a peace in this way; clever rollo mindful of his vision. and always hoping that what he has seen in his dreams will come true for him. asks. what he should do.


Look rollo why do you remain tarrying in those lands?
When you have taken more than enough revenge on all your foes?
Stop refrain this decision is better for you
That in the ready time of a coming age
You will suffer the battles of the abominable frankish nation
And be greatly harassed by aquitanian wars
After this about to approach the moisture of the liquid and sacred font
Drenched with chrism. and renewed by the fluid of the oil
You will capture rewards including the present of never-ending life.

[ 10 ]

Thus in the eight hundred seventy sixth year from the lord's incarnation, noble rollo, foresaking the bed of the river schelde on the advice of his fideles, launched his sails before the ship-bearing winds and came by ship to jumi
auml;ges, having traversed the deep where the cerulean whirlpool of the seine, flowing with its crystal-clear courses and lapping the fragrant grasses of its elevated banks and, going to the open main of the inundating sea, discharges itself, and is often repelled, according to the intervals of the moon, by a more swollen billow of the sea itself. (note 1) And seeing the monastery of saint peter and reckoning the place to be holy and embellished with abodes of monkish habitation, he hesitated to linger there, but steered his ships to the other side of the river, to the chapel of saint vedast, and he placed upon the altar of saint vedast the body of a certain virgin, hameltrude by name, which he had carried there with him, and a name from the virgin's name has forever stuck to this chapel. And that place is called at saint hameltrude by the residents. Thus the inhabitants of rouen, poor men and destitute merchants, and the dwellers in that region, hearing that a plentiful multitude of normans was at jumiauml;ges, came of one mind to bishop franco of rouen, in order to take counsel about what to do. But franco immediately sent to rollo, that he might give a guarantee of safety to himself and to those abiding in the district. Truly rollo, ascertaining that there lingered in the town and in its territory none except a defenseless mass, gave the bishop a guarantee of safety on the strength of his own assurance. And then, pursuing a course of navigation beneficial to himself, he came to rouen and secured his ships, plentifully furnished with a very large (note 2) warband, at the gate which is connected to the church of saint martin. Moreover, coming down off the ship and surveying the town at a swift pace, he saw its monuments laid in ruins, and large stones torn away from sanctuaries, churches shaken from their foundations and walls smashed on every side, and a small and defenseless band, and he began to be perplexed in spirit. And to fasten his sight in sole contemplation, (note 3) recalling the vision which he had had beyond the sea.


Oh rollo, mighty duke and most superior leader,
Through christ's gift this town will flourish under your leadership,
It will be built at a future time, once the realm has been calmedby peace,
Once the Franks have been devoured by war, and the populace broken.
Behold the mount 
(note 4) of the church where you kept seeing yourself rejoice,
Behold here the font of the bath where you were cleansed of leprosy.
This fatherland is to be built by your followers, themselves renewed in the font.
To the peoples in that town you will give laws and alliances
And rights likewise, with the fear of strict penalty.
Marvelously, then, in the coming time of your descendants
Fierce ages will grow tame, wars having been banished, 
And ungodly fury, sitting on its arms, will challenge no one
With its cry, the strength of ungodliness having been undone.
Rather, let the fierce wolf graze at the same time in the sheep's field. 


1. The Seine river rises in Burgundy and flows through Champagne, the Ile-de-France and Normandy into the English Channel. The name of the river is said to mean "to curve," for the course of the river is extraordinarily winding. One result of the sharp twists and turns of the river's flow, has been the creation of extremely steep promontories along certain sections of the riverbank. Another feature of the Seine that also results from its extraordinary curviness is that, when the great tides are running, the seas entering the Seine estuary from the English Channel overwhelm the normal flow of the river current, reversing it and causing a powerful and dangerous rush of waters, called a "mascaret."

2. Preferring the "plurimo" of Rouen 1173 and other witnesses.

3. Preferring the "intuitu" of Bern 390 and other witnesses.

4. Preferring the "mons" of CC 276.

[ 11 ]

       Having returned thence to the boats, he is planning in his sagacious mind what he should do, with the advice of his men, having called together the leaders. Then his followers, as though prescient of the future and imbued with a presentiment of divine inspiration, have said aloud to Rollo: "This land is plentifully furnished with an abundant supply of all the fruits of the earth, shady with trees, divided up by rivers filled with fish, copiously supplied with diverse kinds of wild game, but empty of armed men and warriors. We will subordinate this land to our power. And we will claim this land as our allotment 
(note 1) , we will obtain through battle both villages and fortresses (note 2)and towns large and small of neighboring peoples, so that the distant throngs we have left behind may rest. Perhaps the explanation of your vision referred to this territory." Thus gladdened by his followers' replies, with ships untied Rollo is carried upstream from Rouen towards Pont de l'Arche, to a place called Damps.
       Thereupon does common talk, because it is privy to affairs everywhere, announce that the Normans, collected into an innumerable multitude in the bed of the Seine, are at the cross-roads of Francia. 
(note 3) But the Franks, as stupefied by their arrival as by the sudden sound of thunder, have come upon the point of descent of the river Eure, along with Anstign (who has been summoned there, himself formerly an invader of Francia) and with an assembled army of vast multitude. Then Ragnold, prince of all Francia, said to Anstign, that exciter of all vileness: "You, begotten of that nation, give us advice about these matters." Replying forthwith to count Ragnold, Anstign put this forward: "If you had sought advice from me with three days notice, advice resulting from thorough consideration, then I would have given it to you. Just send ambassadors to them to find out what they themselves say." Then Ragnold: "Go swiftly, we pray, to find out their purpose." Anstign replied: "I will not go alone." On the contrary, they sent with him two warriors skilful in the Dacian language. 
       Coming upon the riverbank, they stood still, saying: "Counts of royal power command you to say who you are, and whence you have come, and what you are planning to do." Truly they replied: "We are Danes. Carried here from Dacia, we have come to take Francia by assault." Yet they: "What authority does your lord discharge?" They replied: "None, for we are of equal power." Then Anstign, wishing to know what they would say about himself, said: "Whose reputation has prompted you to come here? Have you ever heard anything about a certain Anstign, born in your homeland, who sailed here with a numerous warband?" They replied: "We have heard of him. For he was augured to be a good man and he made a good beginning, but he chose an evil end and finish." Again Anstign: "Are you willing to lower your necks before king Charles of Francia, and to devote yourselves to his service, and to draw many favors 
(note 4) from him?" They replied: "We will never subjugate ourselves to anyone nor cling to anyone's service nor take favors (note 5) from anyone. The favor (note 6) that would please us best is the one that we will claim for ourselves by force of arms and in the hardship of battle." Then the Franks: "What are you going to do?~" After this, the Dacians: "Go away, the sooner the better, and do not stand there any longer, for we care nothing for your double-talk, nor are we going to reveal to you what we shall do." 
       But, going away, they promptly reported to the army what they had heard. But Ragnold said, turning towards Anstign: "Does it seem to all of you that a war will be started? You men are of their nation, you are not ignorant, through your own practice, of battling in the style of the Danes, tell us what should we do?" Then Anstign, bolstered by poisonous and fox-like skill, is addressing the army: "If this nation, so strong in the flower of youthful age, so well-versed in arms, and tested in many many battles, is attacked, great peril will be created for us." Then a standard-bearer of the Frankish host, named Rotland, is said to have said: "Why are you all looking to this man? A wolf will never be captured by a wolf, nor a fox by a fox." Spurred on by these words, Anstign has said: "From now on, war will not be reviled by me." 
       Meanwhile Rollo and those who were with him have made for themselves a fortification, and an obstacle after the fashion of a fortress 
(note 7) (which is visible to the present day), defending themselves behind a circular bulwark of rent earth, and leaving ample space to act as a gate. Truly the Franks have come at dawn to the church of St. Germanus and, hearing mass there, they partake of the body and blood of Christ. Riding hence, seeing the boats on the riverbank, and the Dacians in the fortification of rent earth, they have attacked the ample entrance-gate alone. But the Dacians have lay down inside, spread out in every direction on the ground of the fortress, and have covered themselves completely with their shields. Rotland, Ragnold's standard-bearer, has violently rushed upon them through the ample entrance of marvelous breadth, along with the battle-line that was advancing in front of the army, and he has begun to subdue them. But the Dacians, rising up, in a moment have slain Rotland and his attendants. Contemplating all the dead there, Ragnold and Anstign and the other counts have taken flight, turning their backs, joyful. 
       Rollo, having immediately called together those who were returning from the fleeing enemy, has said: "What evil have we done to the Franks? Why did they leap upon us? For what reason have they preferred to strike us down? It is they who have initiated this evil, the fault is the attacker's, not the defender's, the audacity is his who wishes to strike, not his who defends himself. Henceforth, whatever evil we might do to them, we will be committing because their own deeds were a cause of offense. Ho! let us occupy their fortresses 
(note 8) and towns. In return for their offenses, let us return like for like, now that such great evils have accumulated." 
       Having left behind the fortification of turned-up earth, with duke Rollo's encouragement they have first attacked the inhabitants of Meulan, sailing with a swift course. 
(note 9) With the leaders killed, they quickly destroy Meulan, and they have layed waste the entire province. But count Ragnold is trying to attack them a second time, with an army greater than the one assembled earlier. However the Normans have lay themselves down, massing closely together, so that their total number would be supposed very small. Ragnold begins a war there that will not favor his own fortune. Truly the Dacians, proceeding unshattered through Ragnold's battle-array, have been overthrowing very many opponents with rough lashings. Moreover Ragnold, seeing his followers wanting, has begun to flee with a swift course. A certain Seine fisherman, associated with Rollo, has stopped him and killed him, pierced through with his spear. Seeing their lord dead, Ragnold's men have made for their horses, turning in flight. Then Rollo, pursuing them, has killed many and has led many more captive to his ships. And he has said to his assembled fideles: "Go, let us sail now to Paris and seek those citizens who have fled from this battle." 
       Thus the Normans have untied their ships from the bank at Meulan and, surrounding Paris, have besieged it and have depended upon the booty of that province for carrying on the siege. As Rollo lingers long at the siege of Paris, the booty, seized in far-off regions, has been running out. The Normans instantly make for the Bessin 
(note 10) and, seizing all its booty, have begun to storm the city. However the citizens have resisted them like an enemy so that they would not stay there, they have even captured Botho, that extraordinary Norman count. The Normans, grieving over Botho, have sent to the people of Bayeux to say: "If you return Botho to us, we will give you a guarantee of safety for one year." The people of Bayeux, drawn together in deliberation, have said to one another: "It is better for us to rest for the year than to pass the entire time in battle for the sake of a single count." Thus, once the guarantee of security has been given, they have returned Botho, that extremely fierce warrior. But once Rollo has passed a year besetting Paris in the siege, he makes for Bayeux, and he has taken possession of it by force and has utterly destroyed the entire city and has claimed for himself captives and spoils from the whole region. Glad, he has at one time even brought with him the daughter of prince Berengar, the maiden Popa, beautiful in appearance, grown strong from the arrogant blood of a very powerful man, and has joined her to himself in sexual union. (note 11) And he has sired by her a son named William.
       Afterwards, remaining near Paris, he has sent his army to Evreux to capture the city and the bishop. Coming to the city, the army has attacked it and has seized spoils and very many of the populace. But the bishop, Sebar by name, has by God's will escaped. And they have laid waste the whole land, seizing the spoils of the district 
(note 12) , and have immediately come back to Paris. Thus terrified by such things, very many of the peoples of Francia have been paying tribute to Rollo, though very many have been resisting him. 
       But the Angles, hearing that Rollo had besieged the town of Paris and was held fast, entwined in Frankish affairs, and estimating that he would not come to the assistance of his friend king Alstem, casting off their promise, presumptuously began to grow haughty and to contend against the king, dealing blows in unsuitable wars. Truly the English land was being layed waste by the armies of the king and his opponents. Since he did not have the wherewithal to resist the presumption of the Angles, the most Christian king Alstem sent a certain count to Rollo, then fighting out the war around the walls of the town of Paris. Coming to him, speaking with lowered countenance, the count put forth: "Alstem king of the Angles sends you the dear present of inextricable friendship. At one time, my lord, you and Alstem, peace-making king of the Angles, pledged an alliance of mutual aid that whichever of you might be in need of help, he would be strengthened by the other's support and whichever of you unfavorable fortune might trample, the other would come to his assistance. Wherefore, overwhelmed by an unexpected rising of the treasonous Angles, he prays you to fleetly assist him with your might, greater than that of all others, because the Angles, knowing you to be hindered by the matter of the Frankish war, do not reckon that you will advance any closer to my lord's assistance." But Rollo bestowed upon the king's ambassador whatever was needed and ordered him to wait for three days. And he began to examine with the assembled magnates what to do about the matter. 
       And at once he has sent to the princes of the city either to surrender it to him or to give him hostages or to prepare themselves for a diligent defense. However the citizens have not been willing to surrender the town to him or to give him hostages, but they are hastening to prepare themselves for the battles of the coming day. Truly, rising at dawn at the time of the continuous conflict, Rollo has begun the day's combat and, for an entire day, has cast down citizens in battle. Seeing, however, that he has not captured the town through battle, at nightfall he has equipped his ships with sails and has left Paris behind and has came as quickly as he could to the land of the Angles, with king Alstem's ambassador. And he has sent that ambassador to the king and has notified him that he is there to help. Then king Alstem, gladdened by the ambassador's words, has called for his abundantly large army and has proceeded hastily to meet duke Rollo. The two have met, embraced and kissed extremely amicably.
       Immediately, Rollo has begun to address the king in a gracious voice: "I render to you, lord king, completely deserved thanks, for you sent to me among the Walgri twelve ships filled with distinguished warriors and the same number loaded with grain and wine and lard." Then the king has said in a prophetic voice: "I owe you the very greatest thanks for, because of me, you left behind a realm given to you by God and hastily came to my assistance. You are not ignorant of the reason why I have sent for you to aid me? This realm, which I rule and profit, is being layed waste, and the dignity of my rule being brought to nothing, for the Angles, elated and corrupted by rash haughtiness, are unwilling to obey my commands. Falling away from me, they have conspired among themselves and, rejecting me and my service, account me of slight value, indeed even snatch for themselves the profits of my small towns 
(note 13) . Thus I pray you to help me dash them to pieces and scatter them and crush them and tread down their insolent strength, so that they be brought back, even if unwilling, to my service and sharply undergo whatever punishment they deserve. Therefore I will give you the moiety of my realm, and I will of my own accord grant you half the store of all my household furnishings. And, thus bound by an indestructible alliance of united friendship, let us together hold the realm and administer its goods, and those of the whole office (note 14) ." Thus, king Alstem has given Rollo half the realm, and the moiety of his own goods. 
       Duke Rollo has immediately replied to the king: "It is for you, lord king, to command, and for me to obey. I will crush whomever you wish, I will destroy whomever you may desire. I will destroy their large towns and I will set fire to their villas and small towns, I will trample and scatter them, I will subordinate them to you and kill them, I will take their wives and offspring captive and I will devour their herds." Having mutually brought these discussions to a close, they proceed (of one mind) against the Angles who are opposing the king. Truly, Rollo has prosecuted many battles against the Angles and has besieged their towns. He has pillaged many of those towns, consumed by fire. Moreover the Angles, seeing that they have not been prevailing against the king but, failing, have been being destroyed, have come to Rollo and have said on bended knees: "Mightiest of the Dacians, we are prepared 
(note 15) to be reconciled and united with king Alstem for, inadvisedly, we have transgressed against the king, rupturing the ties of fidelity which we had promised him. We will give him sureties (note 16) that our trust will be preserved and faithfully serve him from now on, devoting ourselves to him of our own accord."
       Truly, hearing this, Rollo has gone to king Alstem and announced to the king what the Angles had reported. Then the king, moved by the dutifulness of his one-time followers, has said: "If you so advise, my friend, I will accept them back into our service after they have given sureties, so that the state be scourged no longer." Then Rollo: "Do accept those sureties, lord, that they will abide strictly by their promise to you; even I, a foreigner who does not know the customs of the Angles, will accept for myself sureties of lasting fidelity." At once each offending Angle, obligingly bearing responsibility for the offense and the repentance, has given one pledge to the king and another to Rollo. And so, formerly lashed by Rollo, they have become calm, pacified by him as well. Moreover the king, estimating that Rollo will linger for all time in the English land, is specifically designating for Rollo the moiety of his realm, namely large towns and fortresses 
(note 17) , villas and small towns (note 18) , halls and palaces and his own household goods, yea indeed he is begging Rollo to allow himself to be redeemed in the sacred font and purified of his offences. 
       However Rollo, always mindful of his vision, has not assented to the king's prayers. But, bringing his share of the sureties before the king, he has said with a serene countenance: "I have, my lord king, returned like for like in return for the goods which you laid out for me in the territory of the Walgri. The realm which, beyond those goods, you have given me, I return to you with this sword, which has twelve pounds of gold in its hilt. Indeed, bid that the hostages who are mine by right, and who are right here, be taken back, being careful lest the treachery of their fathers and grandfathers, rejecting you, ensnare you again. I will swiftly return to Francia and destroy and crush, scatter and conquer my foes. I only pray that, should any men prefer to follow me, you not hold them back." However the king, marvelling and giving thanks for these words, has said: "Most mighty duke, part of my soul, I will go with you. For you I will abase the king, dukes and counts." Rollo has replied: "In no wise, lord, must you leave your realm, which you ought to rule and profit with continual aid." 
       Amicably leaving the king, Rollo immediately comes across the deep to the Frankish realm with an indescribable multitude of assembled youths. Immediately dividing the counts of his army, he has sent some swiftly sailing to take booty from the provinces lying along the bed of the Seine, others along the flowing Loire, others along the torrent of the Gironde. However, coming himself once more to Paris, he has begun to storm the town and to lay waste the land of his foes. However king Charles, hearing that Rollo had subjugated the realm across the sea, so weakened by unsuitable wars, to the king and to himself, with the advice of the Franks asks bishop Franco of Rouen, now associated with Rollo, to come to him. Suffering greatly over the extreme poverty of his realm, he has said to the company of Franks, assembled in order to take counsel about the pagans' great insolence, and to bishop Franco, who has already been called: "The realm which I to rule is deserted. The land is not rent by the plough, the state is both taken captive and destroyed. I am unable to hinder Rollo, for I am daily deprived of my followers. Wherefore am I asking and deprecating your paternal holiness to obtain for us from Rollo a negotiated peace of three months and if, perhaps, during that time he should wish to become a Christian, we will give him the very greatest favors 
(note 19) and repay him with great gifts." 
       Truly Franco, having returned to Rouen after hearing this, has said to duke Rollo with must humble prayers: "The king of the Franks enjoins you to give them a three-month peace; perhaps some advantageous measure will be enacted between you and him." Moreover, when he had heard this, with the deliberation of his followers Rollo gave the king a three-month pact. Truly for the interval of this very briefest time, the land was at rest from the pagans. However the Burgundians, namely Richard, and Ebalus count of Poitou, hearing that the unwarlike Franks, feeble in arms and almost womanish, had requested safety from Rollo, sent to the king and counts, saying: "Why do you allow the land you hold to be layed waste by pagans? Why do you not help those over whom you ought rule and whom you ought to profit? And why do you not resist this nation, banished from its own territory? If you would like, we will aid you and will willingly be at your side if perchance some war should assail you." But the Franks, irritated by these insolent words, began to wage war again on the pagans once the term of the peace had run out. 
       At once Rollo, reckoning that he was counted cheap by the Franks because of the safety which he had given them, began to mangle and destroy and obliterate the populace, by savagely and cruelly laying waste their provinces. His followers, however, proceeding into Burgundy and sailing through the Yonne into the SÉone and, laying waste the lands adjacent to those torrents on all sides all the way to Clermont-Ferrand, attacked the province of Sens 
(note 20) and, pillaging all around, came back to meet Rollo at St.-Benot-sur-Loire. Rollo, however, seeing the monastery of St. Benot, was unwilling to defile it, nor did he suffer that province to be pillaged because of St. Benedict. Indeed, going to Etampes he ruined all the nearby land, took very many captives, took booty from neighboring lands, coming thence to Villemeux, and then hastened to return to Paris. 
       But, seeing the strongest Frankish fighting men and the fiercest Burgundian combatants entirely annihilated, rustics, assembling an incomprehensibly numerous multitude fruitlessly bearing unaccustomed arms, are trying to attack Rollo. However Rollo, looking back, has seen the air full of dust and thickly clouded by the repeated charge of foot-soldiers; he has said to his assembled leaders: "A crowd, whether of foot-soldiers or horsemen I know not, is following us; let our foot-soldiers swiftly make for the road, while the horsemen remain with us, so that we might see how much courage they have, those who wish to ruin us." However as Rollo waits with the horsemen, the rustics, horsemen with foot-soldiers, have drawn near. At once Rollo has rushed upon the villagers 
(note 21) , and has overthrown and crushed them to their utter destruction by a cruel violent death. The great carnage completed, he has gone back to his followers. 
       But afterwards, burning with a great fury and inflamed 
(note 22) with passion towards his foes, Rollo has made like an enemy for the city of Chartres and has remained with a great army, laying waste the county of Dunois and the Chartrain. (note 23) But a certain most religious bishop, named Uualtelmus, has had charge of the town. He, lamenting and wailing and earnestly engaging in uninterrupted prayers, has sent for Richard duke of the Burgundians and for Ebalus count of Poitou to come, for the love of God, to the assistance of that town, fallen prey to imminent death. 
                     The Liberation of Chartres
       However, he has also sent ambassadors with this sorrowful message to the Franks. Keeping close to count Richard, they have swiftly attacked Rollo, who was then battling around the walls of Chartres. But, struggling valiantly against them, Rollo has rushed steadily upon them and has vanquished them in his accustomed manner in the first effort of the war. But the Franks and the Burgundians, recovering their strength and taking the risk a second time, attack Rollo, who is roughly opposing them. Therefore, with very many Christians and pagans now fallen, each army has been standing its ground in the battle, procuring life for itself through exchanged blows, when suddenly bishop Uualtelmus, crowned with the episcopal mitre as though about to celebrate mass and carrying in his hands a cross and the tunic of the sacrosanct Virgin Mary, bounding forth from inside the city surrounded by iron-clad battle-lines and followed by the clergy with the citizens, lashes the backs of the pagans with spears and swords. Rollo, however, perceiving that he is now between two armies and is not prevailing, and that his followers are waning, has begun to turn away from them, passing through their midst, lest he fall prey to death.


Rollo, mighty and powerful and vigorous and most fierce in arms,
Do not feel ashamed if you now are considered a runaway.
No Frankish or Burgundian assembly
Of manifold nations and hosts puts you to flight, fells you,
But the nourishing tunic of the Virgin mother of God and
Likewise amulets and relics and the reverend cross
Which the reverend prelate carries in his worthy hands.
Your will is still in your ability, as it was in the past,
And now your will and your ability shall go forward legally
And shall recognize, at this very moment, your human ability and will.
Your will shall now regard your ability as its ally
And your ability shall itself stand ready for your will as its ally.
And once these two, which had been separated, have been united,
You will either bring to pass, or not, whatever you will,
But without them, you will accomplish nothing.
Each often obtains its ally violently,
Each often resists its ally behind an impetuous barrier,
As nature, which endures the sad condition of a human creature
Because of its ally, preserves some harmony.

              Another Apostrophe to Rollo

Fortune has harassed you with many complaints,
Whence you have endured many kinds of threats and very great hardships.
Forthwith will it thenceforth offer you better things, with everlasting success,
Joyous things will now follow so many rough ones, tolerated for so long.
After this you will gather in long-lasting joys, grief conquered.
Thus far hardship has driven you about, an author of war. 
After these griefs you will have enough of the gifts of repose,
For indeed many rewards take form as a result of burdensome hardship. 


1. Sors.

2. Castra.

3. Damps, where Rollo's band was encamped, lay at the confluence of the rivers Seine and Eure.

4. . Beneficia.

5. Beneficia.

6. Beneficium.

7. Castrum.

8. Castra.

9. Meulan lies on the Seine, just a few miles north of Paris.

10. The Bessin is the pagus or territory of the town of Bayeux, on the Cotentin coast.

11. The term "connubium" employed here by Dudo is the same word used twice by Dudo to describe the wanton and lascivious sexual excesses of Dacian youths (see chapters 1 and 3).

12. Pagus.

13. Oppida.

14. Honor.

15. Preferring the addition of "parati sumus" by BN nal 1031.

16. "Obses" can mean either surety/pledge, or hostage. Dudo sometimes uses feminine and sometimes masculine forms to modify the word. It appears that the guarantees given by the rebellious Angles consisted both of goods in general (for which Dudo uses the feminine) and of the male offspring of the rebels, who were given as hostages.

17. . Castra.

18. Oppida.

19. Beneficia.

20. The river Yonne, a tributary of the Seine, leads into Burgundy, through Sens and Auxerre, to rise in the heart of that province in the Morvan mountains near Autun. However, the Yonne does not intersect the SÉone nor does the SÉone lead to Clermont-Ferrand, nor does Clermont-Ferrand lie in Burgundy, but rather in the Auvergne.

21. . Villani.

22. Preferring the "flagrans" of Rouen 1173 and other witnesses.

23. The county of Dunois, with its seat at ChÉteaudun, lies immediately to the south of the Chartrain, the region around Chartres.

[ 12 ]

       One of the pagan battle-lines, escaping perchance the peril of the battle, has come to L
auml;ves and stealthily approached the higher reaches of the hill. Thus, after such and so great a warring combat has ceased, Ebalus arrives in the evening with his followers. And he is cursing the Franks and the Burgundians: "When you began the battle without me, you held me entirely of no account. I will be reviled by all nations who hear of these events. Ah, grief! I would have preferred to die with that host than to miss the battle." Then the Franks and Burgundians have said to Ebalus, complaining without cause: "Something of the combat still awaits you, wherein you may quickly test yourself and your followers. Think of the Normans put to flight in the battle, gone to the top of that hill for protection. Therefore, cast them down headlong from the mountain, and dash their arrogance to pieces. Avenge the blood of the Franks and Burgundians lying, alas, the grief! on this field. Let them feel that you have now arrived, they who boast that they have escaped the peril of death." At these words, Ebalus thus attacks the Normans, exceedingly terrified, on the hill. 
       However, Ebalus would climb the hill with his followers, but the Dacians would resist him with darts. 
(note 1) Ebalus would cast missiles (note 2) thither, but the Dacians would injure his men with darts. Ebalus' men would attempt to climb the hilltop, Rollo's men would cast them headlong to the base of the hill. Ebalus' men would carry to the hill the walls and fences which the Dacians had made to try to capture the city. But the Dacians would carry off from them those very walls and fences and would defend themselves by surrounding themselves with them. Meanwhile, the crowd of Franks has been waiting for the end of the strife. Thus Ebalus, seeing that the commenced combat would not profit him, has come to duke Richard, who had pitched his camp in the battle-field. Then the army has surrounded the hill, so that no one would be able to slip away. 
       However the Dacians, seeing themselves surrounded by the populace, have said to one another: "If perchance we were to wait until tomorrow, we would all be slain by the sword." One man, born of the Frisian nation, who has been trusted by them unconditionally, has said to those dreading death: "I am going to give advice that will benefit you. In the silence of the dead of night, some of us will descend stealthily from the hilltop and sound trumpet-blasts outside around their tents. For, once the sound of the war-trumpets is heard, they will flee, fearful and struck senseless and quaking, and scattered here and there, believing that our duke Rollo is at hand. But we, descending from the hill, will rush upon the encampments of the leaders and, roughly vanquishing them, will pass through their midst and hasten to go to our lord, and in this way we will escape the peril of death." They have replied: "You give advice that is appropriate and advantageous, in accordance with what has befallen us. It is better for us to act thus, namely either to slip away or to die, than to linger here, and be apprehended alive and distressed by diverse punishments." 
       In the silence of the dark night, some of them have at once descended from the hill and, crossing stealthily through the tents and coming to the other side, have begun to sound war-trumpets outside the tents and to strike sudden terror thereby. But the rest, slipping fleetly from the hill, with great uproar and great crashing of shields, have attacked Richard, sleeping deeply in his tent. And so, battling savagely and crossing through the center of the army, they proceed, delivered, with quickened pace along the way which Rollo controls and, coming upon the Eure, wearied, they halt at a high place surrounded by a marsh. But the greatly terrified army has begun to move to and fro, thinking Rollo at hand. In terror of that, Ebalus has even sought out the house of a certain fuller and has hid away in it for a while. 
       However as daybreak begins to shine, the army, seeing the mountain empty of foes, pursues them to where they have been lingering. But the Normans have immediately killed the innumerable animals which they brought there with them and, snatching and skinning the halved hides of the animals, have made a fortress around themselves out of those very cadavers and have torn off the bloody skins, piling one hide on top of another on the outside of the fortress, so that neither senseless horses nor marvelling horsemen would approach. Truly when the Franks and Burgundians who pursued them have arrived and seen the citadel hedged in by the bodies of horses, oxen, asses, goats and sheep, and have seen the bloody skins hanging on the outside, they have said to one another: "Who will attack those men? Whoever wishes to lose his life, let him approach that marvelous fortress made of flesh." That said, everyone has gone back to his dwelling, and the Dacians to their ships. Moreover Rollo, seeing his warriors, has said to them with joy: "Oh men most strong and fierce in arms, how did you escape from those battles?" Then they have recounted for Rollo everything that happened. 
       But Rollo, stirred up by wrath, enraged by a most stinging madness, has begun to lay waste and obliterate and burn with fire the whole land. Instantly, all safety is bewailed as lost and no confidence in life is to be found, the state is brought to nothing and the churches are foresaken. But the Franks, not having the strength to resist the pagans and seeing all Francia coming to nothing, have come of one mind to the king and said: "Why do you not aid the realm which you ought to rule and profit with your authority? Why is a peace, which we are unable to acquire either by war or by any obstacle of diligent defense, not being obtained through conciliation? Royal official dignity and power are being put down, the haughtiness of the pagans raised up, the land in the Frankish region is almost a desert, for its populace is either dying by famine or sword, or perhaps taken captive. Protect the realm, if not by arms, then by conciliation." 
       Then king Charles, filled with prophetic inspiration, has said to them: "Give me some advice, that may be appropriate and advantageous to the realm and to us." Then the Franks: "If you would trust us, we will give you advice that is both worthy and salvation-giving for the realm. In order that the populace, exceedingly reduced by scarcity, might rest in peace, let the land from the river Andelle to the sea be given to the pagan nations and join your daughter to Rollo in sexual union 
(note 3) and as a result of this you will be able to prevail against those nations opposing you, for Rollo, born of the arrogant blood of kings and dukes, most beautiful in body, fiery at arms, prudent in deliberation, of handsome countenance, mild towards his followers, a trusty friend to whomever he has engaged himself, a cruel foe to whomever he opposes, a servant (note 4) of sagacious mind, constant and gentle, as the circumstance demands, in all things, yea indeed he is abundantly supplied with every goodness, versed in speech, easily taught about affairs, benevolent in his actions, respectable for his eloquence, filled full with manly virtue, humble in conversations, and most discreet in public affairs, just in judgment, circumspect concerning secrets, most rich in gold and silver, unremittingly surrounded by the thickest crowd of warriors." 
       Advised by them, Charles has without delay sent archbishop Franco of Rouen to Rollo, duke of the pagans. Coming to him, he has begun to address him with these flattering words: "Superior to every duke, and more distinguished than all of them, will you strive all your life, count, against the Franks, will you always do battle against them? What will happen to you, were you to fall prey to death? Whose creation are you? Do you think there is a God? Moulded from the mud, are you not a man? Are you not food for worms, and ashes, and dust? Be mindful of what you are and what you will be, and by whose judgment you will be condemned. You will, I suppose, enjoy the Lower World, nor will challenge anyone in battle again. If you wish to become a Christian, you will be able to enjoy both present and future peace and to be extremely rich on this earth. The most forbearing king Charles, persuaded by the advice of his followers, wishes to give you this maritime land, exceedingly ravaged by Anstign and by you, and he will also give you in wedlock 
(note 5) his daughter, Gisla by name, as your wife, from which bond you may be delighted by offspring, so that the peace and concord and friendship between you and him might endure forever, constant and steadfast and uninterrupted. And you will hold this realm in perpetuity." Hearing this, he calls together the older Dacians and sets forth for their ears what the bishop has recounted to him. 
       Then the Dacians, recalling the explanations of the dream, have said to Rollo: "This completely deserted land, deprived of warriors, not worked by the plough, crammed in places with trees, cut by rivers filled with diverse classes of fish, rich in game, not unacquainted with vines, plentifully furnished with soils worked by the plough-coulter, surrounded on one side by a sea that will provide an abundance of diverse things, on the other by downward courses of waters that carry all goods by navigation, as distinguished as the realm of Francia, if a crowd of men were in the habit of using it, it would be intensely fertile and fruitful. And it would be adequate and appropriate for us to dwell in! The daughter whom he betroths to you, come forth royally from the seed of both lineages, suitable for her tall stature, most elegant, as we have heard, in appearance, is a maiden most chaste, prudent in deliberation! Circumspect in the business of public affairs, most easy in conversation, most courteous in speech, most skilful in handicrafts, indeed more distinguished than all maidens, it is fitting that she be bound to you in sexual alliance 
(note 6) and, because of the fact that you will have the king's daughter in an alliance of wedlock, (note 7) this advice seems to us even more advantageous, beneficial and unshattered by the strife of any deception. Be mindful of the explanations of your dream and of its mystical meanings. In our opinion, it will come true in this territory. Enough have we battled and vanquished the Franks; to us it seems according to reason that we should rest and patiently enjoy the fruits of the land. Send the bishop back to the king to say that you are ready at his service, if he should give you what he has promised. Send word to him guaranteeing the safety of a three-month peace, and to come to meet you at a conference, (note 8) if he wishes, during that interval of negotiated peace and, through his own words and engagements, to put you at ease about everything." Immediately Rollo has announced the aforesaid to the bishop and has sent him back to the king to say these things to him. 
       Coming to the king, he has said to the assembled company of bishops, counts and abbots: "Rollo, duke of the Normans, sends you a pact of love and inextricable friendship, indeed even of service. If you were to give him your daughter, as you said, as his consort, and that maritime land as an eternal holding from generation to generation, he will give you his hands, subjugating himself for the sake of fidelity, and he will incessantly fulfill your service. And, greatly strengthened through him, you will be able to grow strong and to check the commotions of those opposing you and and causing strife against you." The Franks are rejoycing at what the bishop has reported and, of one mind, are prompting the king to give his daughter and the land to Rollo. Truly the king, constrained by the prayers of the Franks, has given his daughter as a gage to the bishop in Rollo's stead, through the tie of an oath and of sworn unity. Once these fitting things have been done, settled and confirmed, with a time and place settled and a negotiated peace enacted, each one has returned home. Archbishop Franco of Rouen has gone to Rollo and expounded for him all that he did, setting it forth in order. Thus Rollo and his followers, exceedingly delighted by these reports, are recalling the symbolic meaning of his vision. 
       However when duke Robert heard that king Charles had given his daughter to Rollo and they had been reconciled with each another and peace made for the whole world, with peace-making words he sent a messenger to say the following words to Rollo. And when he had arrived, he said to Rollo with these entreating words: "Robert, duke of the Franks, sends you faithful service. He has heard of the concord between you and the king, and he is greatly delighted by it. He says that it is appropriate for you and your followers to rest and rebuild the land given to you. Restore towns and walls, and live in perpetual peace. Enough have you busied yourself in battles. Enough have you shown your manful arms. Enough have you proven your prowess. Enough have you brooded over your many many perils. Enough, enough have you been praised, a deserving vessel, by the whole world. Praying on bended knees, the duke even sends word for you to allow him to be your godparent when you are called to witness in the name of Christ and bathed in the fountain by salvation-giving baptism. If it please you, the two of you will henceforth be inseparably trusty friends, and no one will be able to stand against the two of you, and he will incessantly do service for the both of you and make the king benevolent towards you for all time." On the advice of bishop Franco and of his counts, he said to all that: "I wish to accord with the king and with the Franks, so let him come to the designated conference and redeem me, immersed in the fountain. Let him be as a father to me through paternal love, I will be as a son to him through filial love. Let him assist me, if need be, as a father does a son, I him, as a son does a father. Let him rejoice in my prosperity, let him be saddened by my adversity. Let whatever is in my power be his by right, and whatever is mine by right be in his power." The go-between accordingly reported to duke Robert what he had heard. 
       So they came at the established time to the prescribed place, which is called St. Clair. 
(note 9) However, Rollo's army settled down on this side of the river Epte, but the army of the king and Robert on the other side. Immediately Rollo sent the archbishop to say the following words to the king of the Franks: "Rollo cannot make peace with you, for the land which you wish to give him is untilled by the ploughshare, entirely stripped of flocks of sheep and cattle, and deprived of the presence of men. There is nothing in it whereby he might live except by rapine and booty-taking. Give him some realm where he might collect food and clothing for himself, until the land you are giving him is filled with a mass of wealth and imparts the timely fruits of victuals, men and animals. Furthermore, he will not be reconciled to you unless you have sworn by the land you are about to give, with an oath of the Christian religion, you and the archbishops and bishops, the counts and abbots of the whole realm, that he himself and his successors may occupy the land from the river Epte to the sea as their estate (note 10) and as their heritable estate (note 11) for eternity." Then Robert, duke of the Franks, and the counts and bishops and abbots who were there, said to the king: "You will not keep this duke, so honorable!, unless you give him what he covets. If you do not surrender what he repeatedly demands from you for the sake of service, then at least give it to him for the sake of the worship of the Christian religion, so that so great a populace, caught in a net by diabolical deception, might be obtained for Christ. And let not the pillar of your whole realm and of the church, whose most constant advocate and king you ought to be, discharging advocating patronage in Christ's stead, be annihilated by the assault of an inimical army." Then the king wished to give him the Flemish land to live from but he was unwilling to accept it due to the hindrance of its extreme marshiness. And so the king pledges to give him Brittany, which bordered the land already promised. 
       At once, Robert and bishop Franco have reported all this to Rollo and, having given hostages on the integrity of their Christian faith, they have brought him to king Charles. Truly the Franks, admiring Rollo, attacker of all Francia, have said to one another: "That is the duke, so powerful! so valorous! so resolute and discreet! so hard-working! who has prosecuted such great battles against the counts of this realm." Immediately, constrained by the words of the Franks, he has placed his hands in the king's hands, something which neither his father nor his grandfather nor his great-grandfather had ever done for anyone. And so the king has given him his daughter, Gisla by name, as his wife, as well as the prescribed land from the river Epte to the sea, as a heritable estate 
(note 12) and as an estate, (note 13) and all of Brittany to live from. The bishops have said to Rollo, who is unwilling to kiss the king's foot: "Whoever receives such a gift, ought to kiss the king's foot." And he: "I will never kneel before the knees of another, nor will I kiss anyone's foot." Thus, urged by the prayers of the Franks, he has ordered a certain warrior to kiss the king's foot. The warrior, at once laying hold of the king's foot, has brought it to his own mouth and has planted a kiss on it while standing upright, and has caused the king to topple backwards. And so great laughter and great uproar is occasioned among the people. 
       For the rest, king Charles and duke Robert and the counts and chief prelates and abbots have sworn to patrician Rollo, with an oath of the catholic faith on their life and limbs and the honor of the entire realm, that he would have and hold the designated land, and bequeath it to his heirs, and that the succession of his descendants from generation to generation would have and tend it throughout the course of all time. That completed just as was said, king Charles returned home. Robert and Franco remained with Rollo.
                      Apostrophe to Rollo

Come, Rollo, embrace the mystical teachings of your vision.
You will stand at the highest apex of the mountain of the church.
You will be purged in the salvation-giving font of the leprosy of accursed deeds.
And now men, in place of birds, ascending the mountain of the church
Will cleanse themselves in the font, bearing shields for you,
Nor will you ever be able to see the farthest away of these men with your power of sight.
Free now from accursed deeds, they will taste the mystical sacred rites
And make homes instead of nests around the ridges of the mount
And build churches sustained by diverse tribute.
Good duke, pious duke and always reverend patrician,
Everything your spirit saw in the dream is now at hand for you.
Preserve through nourishing baptism what you have already been promised,
Leave behind Satan's damnable work, yeah, his toxic sacred rites, 
Always seek the true God with suppliant vow and prayer,
Observe the precepts of his mandates,
Give laws to the people, and sanctioned rights to the learned.
Always enjoying peace, the fortunate populace residing and living
Under your authority, will in time take pleasure in everyone else, 
And every brigand and thief will be broken to pieces by your snares.
Highest defender of the church and helper of the indigent,
Peace-making protector and aider and defender,
Governor, guide and founder of the realm,
You will flourish with lively merits for all eternity.


1. Jacula.

2. Missilia.

3. "Conubium," the same word used for Rollo's relationship with Popa (see above p. ___) and for the sexual wantonness of the Dacian youths.

4. uassallus.

5. Conjugium.

6. Connubialis amicitia.

7. Conjugium.

8. Placitum.

9. The terms of the agreement traditionally, following Dudo, said to have been made at St. Clair-sur-Epte have been much disputed by scholars. Some of the debate turns on the interpretation of particular words whose legal connotations in the late ninth and early tenth centuries are not clear.

10. Fundus.

11. Alodus.

12. Alodus.

13. Fundus.

[ 13 ]

       In the nine hundred and twelfth year from the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ, archbishop Franco has baptized Rollo, imbued with the catholic faith of the sacrosanct Trinity, and Robert, duke of the Franks, has taken him up from the font of the Savior and given his own name to him and endowed him honorably with great presents and gifts. Moreover Robert, that is Rollo, has caused his own counts and warriors and his entire armed band to be baptized and instructed through preaching in the faith of the Christian religion. After this, calling bishop Franco to him, he asks which churches in his own land are considered particularly venerable and which are said to be particularly mighty due to the merit and patronage of their saints. Then Franco: "The churches of Rouen and Bayeux and Evreux, dedicated in honor of the sacrosanct Mary, virgin and mother of our Lord Jesus Christ. The church placed on the mountain in peril of the sea, called by the name of the Archangel Michael, the prior of Paradise. In the suburb of this city, there is the monastery consecrated in the name of St. Peter, prince of the apostles, in which there used to recline a venerable archbishop of this town, Audoenus by name, glittering greatly with miracles and virtues. For fear of your arrival, he has been carried off to Francia. The sanctuary at Jumi
auml;ges, which you approached earlier, is supported by the merits of St. Peter, keeper of the keys of the kingdom of heaven. (note 1) There are many churches placed under your authority, but these are extraordinary." Then Robert: "In the region bordering our power, which saint is considered particularly mighty due to his merits?" Franco: "St. Dionysius. By nation a Greek, converted to the catholic faith by St. Paul then sent to preach in Francia by blessed Clement, successor of the apostle Peter, long suffering and lashed by the many whips of the pagans, at the last he suffered the punishment of death by blunted hatchets for the sake of God's love." 
       Then Robert: "Before the land is distributed among my leaders, I desire to give a part of this land to God and to St. Mary and to the designated saints, that they might deign to come to my assistance." Franco: "You are executing a measure inspired by divine communication, and it is fitting that you do this during the seven days when you are attired in the white vestments of the chrism and the oil." And so, on the first day of his baptism Robert gave the very greatest amount of land, to be held in perpetuity, to God and the canons of the church of St. Mary at Rouen. On the second day, to the church of St. Mary at Bayeux. On the third, to the church of St. Mary at Evreux. On the fourth, to the church of the archangel Michael, periodically surrounded by the flooding tempests of the sea, according to the phase of the moon, every two weeks. 
(note 2) On the fifth, to the church of St. Peter and St. Audoenus. On the sixth, to St. Peter and St. Aichardus of the church of Jumiauml;ges. On the seventh, he gave Berneval, with all its appurtenances, to St. Dionysius. Thus, on the eighth day of his purification, divested of his chrismal and baptismal garments, he began to mete out land to the counts in his own name, and to give bountifully to his fideles
       At last, having made wedding preparations of great splendor, he took to wife the king's daughter Gisla, for whose sake he had made peace by reconciling himself with the Franks. He gave a guarantee of safety to all the nations desiring to abide in his land. He apportioned that land among his fideles and rebuilt it all, foresaken for so long, and he restored it, crammed with his own warriors and with foreign nations, he enjoined upon the populace rights and eternal laws, ratified and ordained by the will of the leaders, and likewise compelled them to abide in peaceful intercourse. He erected churches that had been utterly cast to the ground, restored sanctuaries that had been torn down by the crowd of pagans, remade and increased the walls and towers of cities, he subjugated the rebellious Bretons to himself and tread down upon the whole Breton realm, affluently granted to him as a source of victuals. And then he sent out a ban, that is an interdict, in the land under his authority, that is he prohibited anyone to be a thief or a bandit or to be an accessory to any person of ill will. Finally, he forbade anyone to carry home plough implements, but rather leave them in the field with the plough, and he forbade anyone to send a guard after a horse or donkey or cow so as not to lose it. 
       In dread of this interdiction, a certain farmer residing on the villa at Longpaon 
(note 3) left his plough utensils in a field and, as midday approached, came home to eat. His wife began to rebuke him, with rough words and a resolute heart, because he had left behind the plough attachments in his place of labor. Vexed and rebuking her husband all the while, she gave him something to eat. Wanting nevertheless to make her husband anxious about the matter so that he would never again leave his tools in the field, she secretly made for the field as quickly as she could and took the reins of the yoke and the ploughshare and the plough-coulter and, taking them away by stealth so that her husband would not see, she returned home as though coming from another direction. Her husband, sated, arising and proceeding to his field of labor, did not find his plough fittings; thereupon, returning home sad, he disclosed the situation to his complaining wife. Rebuking him, she began to say with scolding and sarcasm in her voice: "Useless man, now go to duke Robert and let him turn you into a ploughman himself." 
       He ran speedily to Robert and recounted to the duke how he had been defrauded of his plough fittings. Immediately calling for a certain manorial agent, Robert said to him: "Give this farmer five solidi 
(note 4) with which to replace what he has lost. You make for the villa as quickly as possible and, through trial by fire, search out the author of the theft." But the estate steward tried all the inhabitants of that villa with the fire and, finding none of them guilty of theft, reported back to duke Rollo. Rollo, calling for archbishop Franco, said: "If the God of the Christians, in whose name I am baptized, is privy to events, it is marvelous to me that the one guilty of the theft did not become known to us when tried by fire in his name." Franco: "The fire has not yet touched the culpable one." And Robert to the manorial agent: "Go back and in the name of Jesus Christ test the inhabitants of the neighboring villas with the ordeal by fire." Fulfilling the duke's orders, he announced that he had found no one culpable. 
       Robert immediately called for the ploughman and asked him to whom he had said that the plough utensils remained behind in the field. The farmer replied: "To my wife." She came when called and the duke said to her: "What did you do with your husband's ploughshare and plough-coulter?" She denied that she had them. After being soundly cudgled with a broom, she confessed to the theft before everyone. Then Robert to her husband: "Did you know that your wife was the thief?" He to Robert: "I knew." And Robert: "You will deservedly die under two ordinances. The one, that you are the head of the woman and you ought to have chastised her. The other, that you were an accessory to the theft and were unwilling to disclose it." He immediately had them both hung by a noose and finished off by a cruel death. This judgment terrified the inhabitants of the land. And no one afterwards dared to steal or to rob on the highway. And thus was the land at rest, without thieves and bandits, and it was still, stripped of all seditions. 
       Consequently all men, safe under Robert's authority, were rejoicing in uninterrupted peace and long-lasting rest and were opulent in all goods, not fearing any hostile army. For, indeed, king Charles once sent two warriors to his daughter Gisla, who had been joined in sexual union 
(note 5) with duke Robert. However, when Gisla saw her father's warriors, she sequestered them in a certain house so that they would not be seen by her consort Robert and caused them to linger there for a very long time, bountifully giving them all goods. Robert's counts, marvelling that warriors of king Charles would dally at Rouen and not enjoy duke Robert's company, came to him and said: "Why have you not informed us what Charles' men said to you?" Robert said: "Where are my father-in-law's ambassadors?" They replied: "You are uxorious and womanish for, avoiding your presence, they are with your consort." And so they were saying that Robert had not known her according to conjugal law. And immediately, moved by wrath, the duke caused the young recruits, carefully concealed in their house, to be apprehended and led to the public marketplace and slaughtered there by the assembled populace. 
       However Robert, duke of the Franks, hearing that the chains of peace that bound the king and duke Robert of the Normans had been released and broken as a result of the violent death of the two warriors, began to oppose Charles and to bring him to nothing and to plunder his lands. And he sent an ambassador to Robert at Rouen, saying: "With your advice and aid, I wish to take the kingship from Charles and chase him from Francia." Then Robert of Rouen replied to the ambassador of the duke of the Franks: "Now your lord is wishing to ride and pass far beyond the law. Simply destroy the king's holdings, I do not want him to take on the rule." Indeed his consort Gisla, the king's daughter, had already died. What happened between Charles and Robert will not be related here, for it can be read elsewhere.
       Robert, patrician of the Normans, devoured by old age and the very great labor of battles, having called together the leaders of the Dacians and the Bretons, gave all the land under his authority to his son William, Poppa's son. And as the leaders placed their hands within the hands of the young man William, Robert bound them to him by a sworn oath of fidelity. Living after that for one year, unable to ride a horse due to his failing age and exhausted body yet keeping the realm pacified, safe and calm, after undergoing the payment of mournful loss and the misfortune of inevitable death, he migrated full of days to Christ, to whom is the honor for all eternity.

An inexperienced sailor, setting sail for the deep open sea,
I am carried along on a small ship filled with cracks and holes
With a battered stern and a prow shattered by the swollen sea,
With a shattered helm and fractured oars,
And with all its sails rent by a violent storm.
Ship-wrecked, astonished, senseless, dull, 
(note 6) anxious, undecided,
Entangled in quicksand, O! 
(note 7) I do not know what is to be done now.
Ah, no way out lies open to me, ever wretched,
Blocked by the greatest waves and encircled by violent winds,
Ah, there is sky everywhere, there is open sea everywhere around me!
I have barely managed to swim this far, traversing the middle of the sea.
I would have preferred not to have entered the high seas, than to have perished here.
The sea murmurs through the cracks beneath the inadequate stern
While waves threaten in the foaming storm of the open sea.
Hostile seas lap the keep, peacefully now
But they are about to injure it in a baleful embrace with horrifying gusts of wind.
I am held in bitter ravishment by the irate forces of the sea, And the tide batters the curved coasts.
I cling now to the shivering tides, a rash eyewitness,
But let you, whom truth-telling men call mobile when still, and stable when moved,
Because you are both moved and stable,
Pacify the swollen seas of my wave-driven mind,
Dissolve the baleful quicksands of my wandering heart
And support the keel of my stormy talent
So that, once the oars and helm and sails
Of my puny intellect, understanding and talent have been remade
And the boiling open sea of this work safely crossed,
I, the seaman, might be able to disembark at a tranquil port,
One flowing with the blood and ornamented with the glory of a martyr,
Lavish and glittering with the crown of all goods.


1. Preferring the reading "regni coelorum clavigeri" as part of a single sentence "Gimegias - suffragatum" of Rouen 1173.

2. The text is obscure, and reads literally " at the disposition of the augmented number seven." Dudo can hardly be referring to anything other than the twice-monthly high tides, at the new and full moon, that inundate the coastal island on which the church of St. Michael is perched.

3. Today, Darntal.

4. A solidus was a gold coin in the Roman and the Carolingian systems of currency.

5. Connubium.

6. Preferring the "hebes" of CC 276.

7. Preferring the "proh" of CC 276.

[ 14 ]

                     Preface of the Third Book

Omnipotent God, whom our faith truly asserts to be the Word Incarnate, 
Begotten and sprung from a sacred Virgin of a mother,
Once bade his disciples
To board a ship and go away
To the other side of a lake, winged with sails and wave-driven. 
(note 1) 
Soon he orders the innumerable multitude to withdraw 
(note 2) 
And, scaling the high peaks of a mountain,
Demands to know the divine will of the heavenly Father.
Soon the calm blue sea has boiled ominously
In the adverse darkness of the cerulean night,
Due to the unfavorable wind of a swollen whirlpool.
Safety, hope and confidence are bewailed as lost
By all the disciples, trembling 
(note 3) greatly
Before the baleful image of a violent death.
But now in the restless region of the fourth watch 
(note 4) 
Christ has entered the wave-driven main
And hastens with dry soles on the liquid flood
Over the calm surface of the passible sea,
And presents himself to his trembling disciples.
And then dread seizes the disciples' quivering limbs,
Their astounded hearts are brought to a standstill.
They do not know what they should do before their final death.
Cold terror quite batters their breasts,
Their great outcry reaches the stars in heaven.
After God made himself known to his disciples,
Standing with dry feet on the fluid sea,
Peter then offered these ringing words to the Lord,
Having regained his strength and vigor:
"O you, Christ, who have power over the heavens and seas,
If it is your holy Grace and your Protection,
Generous and salutary towards everyone, that now approaches us,
Command me now, by order of your invigorating command,
To come with you over the sea."
Indulgent, he delights in these words, and has replied: "Come."
And Peter, trusting in the Lord who has power over the seas,
Immediately leaves the vessel
And places the soles of his feet on the waves of the calm smooth sea.
This unheard of event had excited his quaking mind,
Since the deep occasioned fierce hazards.
As long as he did not doubt,
The swollen surfaces of the sea had supported Peter;
Distrusting, having been bodily submerged in the midst of the sea,
Peter has repented greatly,
And cries out: "God, snatch me away from these waves."
Then the sacred right hand of Christ has seized him.
He has said: "You of little faith,
Why now, faltering on the sea, do you waver and doubt?"
Then God and Peter embark together,
While the disciples are still grieved by the whirlpool.
Immediately the harmful gales stop.
A short while ago we too entered the swollen main
By the divine will of Christ the Highest.
We too almost got half-way across.
But now dread so dolefully devours my breast,
And everywhere, everywhere is seen the outspread sky,
On every side the menacing cerulean fluid.
The calm smooth sea is supporting the huge bulk of my inexperience,
So far the undertaking dissatisfies and disgusts and displeases me.
God, Christ the Highest, I beg on the bended knees
Of my soul, 
(note 5) reveal your face now.
Turn your attention to my sunken hopes, with the stimulus of your divine will.
Extend your holy hand to me, now so alarmed
Because savage dangers are present for me,
That I too might be able to clamber up, under your highest leadership, 
With your leading guidance, to where there are shining deeds.
From the font of advantageous knowledge, sprinkle
My mind with the nectar of the sevenfold 
(note 6) Spirit,
And my heart with the stimulus of the rhetorical whirlpool,
Outfitting my tongue likewise with trimodal utterance,
So that the narrative of this history, which we will reveal,
May henceforth be concise and credible,
And intelligible to the discerning man.
Let concision gleam in my articulation of each division,
And let resolution glitter in the whole work,
And let only a small number of facts be joined together
For the description of a personage, 
And let rhetorical method be applied in this enterprise.
The seven first principles and all artifice likewise 
Are now well known, having been ordained
By your gift, God, who, sprung from the Virgin,
Reign with the unbegotten Father and with the sacred Spirit,
Constant God, seeing all things.


Supernal glory,
Omnipotent pillar
And sensation-producing stimulus, 
Mighty heavenly divine will,
Origin of light,
Celestial ideal,
Beginning of all things and
Famed sequence of causes
And first offspring,
Of the unbegotten Father,
Light from the sacred light,
And true God from God,
Oh nourishing Father
And unbegotten God,
Oh begotten Son
And God the Spirit, proceeding from them,
Oh one God
Oh Deity and force,
We extol you as one God,
For there are not three gods.
Suppliant, I ask
That you favor my prayers,
Trembling at first,
Sorrowful at my inexperience.
Nourishing martyr,
Under your leadership let me now recite
Your shining life.
Let it show itself despite sluggish understanding,
Let he himself approve it,
Whose deeds I am reciting,
Whereby I might be able to make clear
To the world the good things that he did,
And how
This extraordinary witness of God
Is killed by the treachery
Of the malicious duke Arnulf.
Glory to the Father,
And likewise to the Son,
And to the Holy Spirit,
Simply one God,
Always from now on,
For unbroken time,
Throughout all the connected
And continuous ages.

Here begins the prologue to the description of the life of duke William 
Because, indeed, to set out in order the bright praises of the most glorious martyrs and publish abroad their superior deeds, is to illumine the great things of that one who has conferred on them the reward of victory in this world, and has granted them the benefit of unblemishable glory in the celestial realm, for this reason, we have briefly composed the life and acts and triumph of the mighty duke William, written simply and in the plain language of natural utterance, and not sublimely girt about with pretentious words and the ornament of excellent oration, in order that the oft-recited history of his deeds might excite the souls of all, and especially his own descendants, to the rewards of celestial joys. And as the fruit of his salutory labor, may the foundation of our faith be enduringly strengthened, the worship of our religion sagaciously nourished, contempt for this fading and deceptive world brought forth, desire and love for supernal things profusely generated, the incentive to sanctity increased, the stages of advancement encouraged, and the gate of supernal contemplation penetrated by the salvation-giving road.


1. Mt. 14:22 - 36; Mk.6:45 - 52; Jn. 6:15-21. The episode takes place on the Sea of Galilee.

2. Preferring the "cedere" of CC 276.

3. Preferring the "praetrepidis" of CC 276 to the "perstrepidis."

4. The fourth watch of the night is the time just before dawn.

5. Preferring the "pande, animi" of CC 276.

6. The seven virtues were perceived as gifts of the Holy Spirit in accordance with the imagery of the Hebrew prophetic text, Isaiah 11:2 ff. As officially systematized by St. Augustine of Hippo, the gifts of the "sevenfold" Spirit were faith, hope, love, fortitude, temperance, justice and wisdom. The seven gifts of the Spirit were opposed in ecclesiastical thought to the seven deadly sins, namely pride, avarice, lust, envy, gluttony, anger and sloth.

[ 15 ]

Thus did william become born in the town of rouen; a most glorious duke and very mighty count and most esteemed athlete for the eternal king. he was begotten of distinguished stock. that is of a dacian father namely rollo. and a frankish-born mother. namely poppa. as was described from beginning to end in the preceding book. His sire. richly endowed with a plenteousness of all goods; and rich with a mosaic of all objects. committed him for fostering. drenched by sacred baptism. to a certain very wealthy count botho; and surrendered him for polishing as was fitting. And then that most beautiful boy. living intimately. near orthodox men. and men of the most respectable lifestyle; beginning to be of blessed memory and great promise. dedicated his youth. strong as a result of his abundant fellowship with four virtues at once; to jesus christ. and he enslaved himself. conquered. to all divine endeavors. Truly he was becoming ever more profusely filled with divine grace. and ever more richly endowed with the wisdom of the seven-fold gift; (note 1) and he was daily becoming more willingly enriched by an abundance of merits; he was being copiously versed in divine dogmas. plenteously animated by religious ordinances. engraved with pleasure by his stewardship of the ecclesiastical way of life. and infused with great profusion by a nectar of honey-flowing sweetness. Indeed he was of striking image. tall in stature. with a vigorous mind. aged in the uprightness of his manners. a perfect man of faith. glittering with every strength. He would spurn the ostentation of this age. and manfully avoid the pomp of the world. Openly, he was most delighted in his visage; peaceful in his serene mind. He was most charming in speech; most mild of comportment in business. He was longing to forsake this fleeting age; and to become a monk at jumiges. He would often reflect upon it in his soul; and he would be perplexed in his mind with frequent fixed considerings. He would investigate unremitting; what did christ want in this matter. He would search for a sign concerning the matter. perhaps one might come to him from heaven. Therefore he would devote himself unremittingly to tears; and would austerely prop up his body away from food. Up all night. he would persist in vigils. and he would revive the poor with sustenance. Inflamed by the passionate fire of this ardor; he vowed that he would become a monk. that he would wholly foresake the world.


O SACRED WILLIAM, go on in youthful health.
A young man redolent of the flower of first youth.
How can you quickly execute the vow recounted by the present voice?
Why do you wish with a swift vow to proceed to christ's place of refuge?
Why does a ever-watchful guardianship guard tender years?
Why does a rule now straighten your fleshly habits?
Why does a law of chaste limbs bind fast your companions?
Leave off these vows. you will be indispensable to yourself and to us.
For a splendid duke will be born from your seed.
One be adorned moreover with spilled celestial gifts.
Under his wonderful thumb will francia.
Exultingly lead. move and stir. bend and raise her form.
After you pass over the straits to heaven through martyrdom.
He will direct as arbiter the eminent reins of the realm.
And he will weigh complaints balancing with a fair scale:
And with fair judgment; he will instigate torments for culprits.
And he will consign the rewards of a bountiful gift to the righteous.
Everywhere bearing on the deserving top. of his holy head.
A glowing red diadem. punctuated with glittering beryls. 
Worthy because of his mound of four-virtues-at-once action.
He will ascend with christ's leadership to the elysian field.


1. For the seven gifts of the spirit, see the Glossary under "septifarius."

[ 16 ]

When however with the leadership of divine grace he was rich in the tokens of goodness. that accorded with the strengths of his chronological age. and was copiously gleaming with the zealous exertions of sanctity; the counts. and the leaders of the normans and the bretons of one mind came together as one. and discussed with each other what they should do. Our duke namely rollo who is also known as robert. incessantly exhausted by the great labor of wars. and fatigued by the very many dangers of the heaving sea. and weakened by the hardship of frequent sailing; and worn out by innumerable sleepless nights. and enfeebled by the bruises of very many blows. Drained of strength emptied by infirmity. yea indeed devoured by the long duration of his aged inactivity; he no longer has the strength to aid and support the realm. and to boldly preside over and benefit himself and us. Let us ask whom he himself has chosen as heir to his realm. acquired in battle; and whom he would set over us as a suitable chief. For he has a son descended from an extremely noble race of franks. who is both extremely fine in that his body is animated by invigorating health. and extremely skilful in that his understanding is informed by zealous exertions in very many different matters. whom we should place before us as our duke. and as our patrician and count. with his father's approval. Thus once a resolution concerning this stewardship had been devised. although really due to the controlling clemency of omnipotent god; they came of one mind to robert. wearied by the debility of old age at his residence in rouen. and spoke to him with gentle speech. and lowered face. Mightiest lord duke. you are annoyed by the inconveniences of senile age. and are not able advantageously to succor yourself and us; foreign nations therefore now strike us. and snatch our goods for themselves. Among us division and dueling is active. and comradeship is not steadfast in order that the realm might endure; and therefore the annihilated state is being demolished. We beseech therefore choose someone who might preside over and benefit us. and to whom we might subordinate ourselves with esteem. both so that he might be duke and patrician due a degree of advocacy for us; and so that we might compliantly and personally wage war for him. Then rollo constrained by the extremely humble words of his followers; began with replies of this type. Since you are not ignorant that all good health has been forcibly taken away by old age; and you perceive that I can no longer prevail. nor benefit you. by your resolution and your judgment. let a duke be established for you; who might zealously preside over and benefit you as I have until now. For I have a son arisen from a frankish-born seed of the noblest possible noble breed. whom botho the leader of our household troops has fostered as a son; and has adequately versed in the customs and zealous exertions of warfare. Choose him I beseech as your duke. and protector; patrician and count. Let him wisely succor you in deliberations; and steadily benefit you in battles. Let him protect you from opponents by force of arms. and make uninterrupted peace among you by force of law. It has been said to me that to religious affairs. he wishes to be enslaved; and with changed dress to be bound to things contemplative. Merry then at the import of this reply the counts; replied saying. That man will be a hereditary and meet duke for us; and we will willingly subordinate ourselves to his authority. And we will courteously obey his injunction; and we will make the realm of the frankish nation well-disposed towards him. Moreover the duke merry at the words of his warriors. who approved his own purposes; enjoined botho the leader of the household troops. to bring to him the hope of the people. namely WILLIAM. the young man. To be sure botho swiftly brought WILLIAM to his father. once the leaders of the entire realm had been summoned. Then the kind father lovingly received his dearest scion; and as was right embraced him sweetly; and prophesied that with his spiritual mind. he surpassed not a little the boyhood years. 
BOTH WERE REJOYCING. william in the paternal office. And the distinguished father. in william's bountiful actions. This one stooped with debility would rejoyce in the uprightness of the progeny. And the splendid offspring in the father of ancient age. The one soon to ascend to heaven. away from the future martyr. The other to be reborn to the world through his blessed sire. And reflecting sacred embraces with embraces. These men would still taste the kisses of a honey-flowing mouth. Sire and offspring equally manifesting joy; he sat erect.

[ 17 ]

       Then Rollo, having secretly called together the leaders, said to them all in plaintive words: "Behold the one whom you have sought, behold the heir to our holdings, behold the one who will be set over you. To him, with your approval, will I bequeath this realm, acquired through the hardship of combat and the sweat of battle. He, in my place, will be lord and master of this nation, and a very worthy heir to our lordship. In a prophetic spirit, let us describe his virtue and contemplate how great he will be. He will steadily assist you through our laws and statutes and, as long as he lives, our right and ordinance will not be effaced. Also, he will not defraud you of the land which I have given you as your allotment 
(note 1) but, by increasing it, will enrich you besides. Therefore, I pray, in order to preserve your fidelity, place your hands in his and, by an oath of allegiance to our faith, make him the promise of uninterrupted and indissoluble payment of dues and military service." (note 2) That said, count Berengar, and Alan, and likewise the rest of the Bretons and the leaders of the Normans, of one mind, subjected themselves, willingly, to William. They bound themselves to him through the oath of a sacred promise, and they placed their hands, as representatives of their hearts, in his. And they vowed that they would wage war against and vanquish neighboring nations. A year later, when Rollo had died and, as we believe, been happily crowned on a heavenly throne, both the Normans and the Bretons came together as one and, with the support of our faith, ratified once more the contents of their promise to William, that most excellent duke and patrician. 
       He, indeed, having reached the summit of such high office and rank, surrounded most worthily by worthy counts and warriors, vowed to Christ that he would assist the realm and do no damage to anyone. For he was endowed with the ornaments of moral purity and magnanimity, renowned for his fellowship with discretion and caution, under the guiding mercy of the Holy Spirit. He would hold as nothing the earthly things of this lifetime, just as he had vowed in his boyhood. He would actively rule the populace according to ancestral laws and would condemn the guilty to its penalties. Although himself a layman, he would hold, zealous, to the rule of a blameless life, would wisely guide the helm of ecclesiastical stewardship. He would excel everyone in spiritual and physical virtue, would surpass all in his discretion concerning public affairs. He would mould all by his own example of good will, would compel everyone by his own teaching of forbearance and fear of God. In adversity, he would be a constant supporter, in prosperity, the wisest mediator. There was truth and glory in his house, equity and justice in his works. He would censure transgressors with the word of truth, he would rebuke the idle with the harshest reproof. 
       Even though he was, moreover, abundantly rich in such works of supernal stewardship, and the report of his good action, made most bountifully public nearly throughout the entire world, was become frequent, the Bretons began to be rebellious against duke William, entirely rejecting the contents of the promise which they had made. For indeed when the truthfulness of this unexpected rumor had come to the knowledge of the mightiest duke himself, he sent his ambassadors to the Bretons, that they might swiftly recover their senses and hastily come, his servants, to him at Rouen. They, however, foolishly persevering in their steadfast faithlessness, sent the ambassadors back to duke William, saying: "We will no longer wage war for you, nor will we obey you, for we have always lived under the empire of Frankish lordship. But your sire Rollo once attacked Francia with throngs of barbarians and foreigners and obtained for you, by the king's gift, the land which you now hold, so that he would be peaceful towards that realm. But the land which we occupy was not given to him to be held by his heirs, but was assigned to him in order that he might live from it until the ravaged land which he had received by the king's gift was rebuilt. Let there be nothing between us and you except friendship and concord, determined by mutual will and mutual deliberation. Until now we have had a king, we have not lacked for a leader and protector. Brittany has never devoted itself to the payment of dues to, nor subjugated itself to the sovereignty of, any land except Francia." 
       However William, duke of the Dacians, hearing the message of this Breton embassy, calls together the leaders of the Normans to take counsel about the matter. Once they were collected, he recounted for their ears the sequence of that singular embassy. Then a certain Bernard, privy to duke William's secrets, and Botho, a prince of his household, marvelling at these legations, said to all: "Both marvelous and astounding to us is the reply heard in this message. Having been banished some time ago from Dacia with your father Rollo, and having barely arrived in the territory of the Angles across the open sea, we defeated those Angles who wanted to rise up against us by resisting them by force of arms, and we harshly overthrew them, to their utter destruction. After they had been peaceably calmed by king Alstem, and we had proceeded on the winds to the land of the Walgri, the Walgri also wished to resist us with an amassed army. As was fitting, we attacked them and subjugated them to ourselves in battle. Finally, we attacked Radbod of Frisia, then Ragnar of Hesbaye, and we made them our tributaries. With matters standing thus, we came to Francia, and we vexed it continuously with wars and we pillaged all that lay outside the ramparts of the towns. But as we lingered at the siege of Paris, we went back again to the Angles because of our love of king Alstem, and we subjected his men, faithless and acting unlawfully, by force and power. But once the Angles had been subjected to king Alstem by the our authoritative judgment, we returned to Francia with a larger army than before and crushed it with very many wars. However king Charles, seeing that he did not have power against us, sought peace and concord from us. He both gave his daughter in wedlock 
(note 3) to Rollo, your father and, as an assurance of peace, he willingly bequeathed this land to us for the perpetual possession of our heirs and he subjugated the Bretons to our service, and their lands to our sustenance. In your father's lifetime, they subjected themselves to you and to your service by the oath of an actual promise. Renewing their promise after the mournful loss of your father, they have served you until now. And now what are we doing about the furiously raving and rebellious Bretons, we who have gone through so many and such great battles? They recognize that we are womanish and drained of force, therefore they have dared to send back such an answer. They reckon that we are harmless and entirely lacking in strength due to the nourishment of this land, whereby we are bodily invigorated. Let them know that our strength has not melted away due to our frequent abode in this one realm, and let them know that our vigor is most hardy. Let them gather in negotiations whereby they may thoroughly reconsider and recover their senses concerning their earlier replies, fruitlessly tending to their own ruin and reproof; let us destroy their presumption in our prowess, and let us crush their haughtiness with our might."


Oh, behold as William, future martyr of Jesus Christ, 
Grows strong, becomes vigorous, toiling in sacred effort.
Being strong and bestirring yourself, restrain
Both by force and by reason the barren, ferocious Bretons, 
And fiercely pound this abominable haughtiness, 
And, speaking out, blunt their malign deliberation.
For when they are torn to pieces by war, worn out by pestilence and famine,
You, indulgent, merciful, sparing, forgiving slights,
Will overcome them with the steadfast effort of an oath of allegiance
And, recovering their senses, they will obey you with awe.


1. Sors.

2. Servitium and militatio.

3. Coniugium.

[ 18 ]

Harshly moved and incited by this encouraging address; William quickly assembled the armies of his entire realm; and he advanced beyond the river couesnon. intending to dominate the bretons. Terrified therefore at his arrival. and unwilling to obey William; the withdrawm bretons lay hidden in the town garrisons. Then William occupied with his army. all the land of the bretons; and he destroyed very many ramparted places. But once William retreated from brittany. to the town of rouen. the bretons. having followed close after him. attacked and were ravaging the district of bayeux. Therefore William blocked their retreat. having called back his entire army; and he fought valiantly against them. and after very many of the breton leaders had fallen. he gained a victory over his foes. And after this he ravaged their land. weakening them with hunger and scarcity; and overpowering them by means of the greatest possible carnage. Moreover berengar and alan and the rest of the bretons. seeing that they neither availed nor prevailed against William; sent an ambassador to him with intercessory words. We served your father obediently; devoting ourselves we also long to obey you. We beg you not to disdain us; nor to abhor our service in any respect whatever; but take us back as a compassionate lord does offending servants. Blinded by the advice of perverse men; we have disregarded your sovereign commands. May your fury be turned away from your servants; and grant us all kinds of peaceful happiness. Bend a kind ear of magnanimous compassion; to vile servants. quarrelsome and causing offense. For what we promised to you by a god-fearing christian oath of allegiance; we promised falsely by hitherto working wickedly against you. We repent that we have erred against you; and that we have foresaken your service. For the very mightly duke William having indeed yielded to this embassy of designated humility. and concerning the disregarded military service and obedience. with the leaders of the dacians having advised him on the matter. with gracious compassion he took back duke berengar of the bretons. burdened though he was with the weight of causing offense. and of disregarded service. and of having to procure mercy; and he bound him to himself by an oath of allegiance of steadfastly continuing fidelity. and of service. But he spurned and rejected alan. who was the author and kindler of this quarrel and strife; and he drove him with his followers out of the breton region. Truly for fear of duke William he was unable to linger in brittany. nor anywhere in all of francia; but as a fugitive sought out the aid of athelstan king of the angles. Then William vigorously ruled the populace of both realms; and he began copiously to flourish in might and virtue. For indeed report of his goodness was being publicized throughout the climes of the world; His chaste abstinence was being profusely published abroad. nor would he devote himself to the allurements of begetting succeeding generations. Therefore with his companions compelling him. not with any human frailty of sexual desire besetting him. but lest an heir to so great a lineage and so great an office and position of leadership either be wanting. or be absent; he bound himself in the lust-producing right of renewing the succession to a certain most noble maiden. of extremely fine appearance. profusely prudent in deliberation. even more copiously circumspect in public affairs. most fitly appropriate in comportment. most judiciously eloquent in speech. most elegantly and artfully skilful in womanly administration.


Clionian martyr blazing with innocent deeds;
Blooming with a splendid presentiment of a sumptuous recompense.
Flashing with an increase of divine success.
Elegantly resplendent with the uprightness of a glorious future.
And famed for an everlasting light of outspread goodness.
Indeed even more worthily splendid than all others due to your merits.
Do not dread and do not fear trembling and being terrified.
Of the right of the lawful bed by which you have pledged yourself in alliance.
For this union is of sacred sensual delight;
Intact faith has suffered no stain of shame.
Nor has lust profaned the merit of your sacred heart.
For indeed from your seed a splendid duke will succeed.
Glorified by the gift of virtues. and glittering with merits.
Governing the populace conquered by his valiant authority.
He will rule in the manner of a father, will exalt them. 
Duly directing and making them devote themselves to christ with all their efforts.
With righteous reins he will direct the copiously-flowing nation.
And under his hand there will be peace peace. concord peace peace.

[ 19 ]

       This most blessed athlete of Christ, shining in the aforewritten ways and in other similar ways, would be publicized in all the territories of the earth by a report of his goodness, going everywhere before him, would be affluently enriched by an abundance of transient things, would be profusely endowed with an increase of divine grace. Indeed, he was beloved by all the inhabitants of the earth, but more beloved still by God and the inhabitants of heaven. Thus at that time he joined himself by mutual will and agreement to the friendship of duke Hugh, in an alliance that was not to endure. Afterwards, he was also bound by the covenant of a transient friendship to the viceroy 
(note 1) Herbert.
       However a certain Riulf, violently filled with the vileness of treachery, seeing that duke William, that is, his lord, was so very much strengthened and was gaining strength through the assistance of such friends, announced in his deceitful voice to very many of the Norman leaders, whom he had called together: "Our lord William, scion of a most noble stock of the Frankish race, obtains for himself Frankish friends. Truly, he is trying to drive us entirely out of the realm and roughly subdue the necks of those who remain with the yoke of servitude. Moreover, he will give the land which we hold to his own relatives to be held by their heirs, and he will endow them copiously with our tribute. Let us therefore sagely plan for ourselves some advantageous measure against the mere thought of such an attempt, and let us make among ourselves the covenant of an eternal alliance, and let us keep it, unshattered, with the anchor of a tenacious will. Let each one of us, should he see any of us overpowered by him, succor and protect that one, as he would his very self, with perpetual help. Indeed, should he wish to ruin us all at one time, let us resist his temerity by force of arms. What that sly one is incessantly attempting with crafty cunning to do to us, let us unexpectedly do to him as speedily as we are able. Let us send some go-between to ask him that, if he wishes to have us ready to serve him, he bountifully give us the land all the way to the river Risle; we will be endowed, should he give it to us, with a crowd of warriors. He, deprived of an army, will be brought to nothing, nor will he try any longer to extend the force of his displeasure against us. And hereafter we will be mightier than he in prosperity and power, he mightier than us in name alone."
       Having devised this fraudulent measure, they sent messengers to William, who would say the abominable things which they had devised. And as the go-between, having fulfilled the obligation of his embassy, stood before William, the latter was utterly astounded at those words of singular audacity. Therefore, having summoned his leaders in order to take counsel concerning such messages, with peace-making words he sent an ambassador back to Riulf to say the following things: "The land which you all seek from me I am not able to give to you, only all the household furniture which I hold will I grant you all with pleasure, namely armlets, and girdles, leather cuirasses and leather helmets, and also battle-horses, horses, hatchets, and extraordinary swords marvelously adorned with gold. You will enjoy my uninterrupted grace, and the glory of warfare in my household, if you should voluntarily devote yourselves to my service. I will transmit my authoritative resolutions through your mouths and I will fulfill, upon your orders, whatever you wish. Whomever you wish to subdue, I will vehemently subdue, and whomever you wish to humble, I will completely humble. Whomever you instruct me to raise high, I will mightily raise high, and whomever you instruct me to abase, I will cruelly abase. This fatherland will be ruled and mastered with your advice, and thus will your power surpass all others. Let how I live and what I know be henceforth in your power." 
       And when the messenger of this man's humility had come to Riulf (so audacious!) and had set forth for him that embassy (so humble and mild!), he, allured by the rashness of his own presumption and caring little for the messages of duke William's most humble prayer, recounted with his own fraudulently cunning mouth everything he had heard the ambassador say, from beginning to end, to those leaders who, following his own audacious will, had been called together for that purpose. Then, imbued with the poison of treachery and swollen by his own insolent mind, with his rash mouth he prated thus in those leaders' ears: "He foresees that we will become quiet and be stilled by words (so humble!) such as you have just heard, and in this way does he intend that the noble breed of his widely extensive Frankish kin shall be collected together above us, once their leaders have been called together and united by an oath. Let us therefore take heed, lest we be ensnared, and crushed by the Frankish nations. Let him tread us under foot no longer with his cunning argumentation, but let us go to him at the town of Rouen with a speedily-amassed army, so that both he himself and his counsellors be thrust from Rouen. And we will guard this town with even greater hope and confidence, and we will be safe, without regard for seditions."

                      Apostrophe to Riulf

Why, proud Riulf, do you rage in vain, why do you treasonably
Vent your rage, as your vicious guilt grows ever thicker,
Ah! you whom the bitter plague of treachery and envy pollutes
With harmful force and abominable thoughts?
Infected by vices, why do you display yourself, drained of strength,
In the ornamented war-chariot of goodness of mind?
Why do you swell with pride in your overly-inflated ostentatious haughtiness?
And why do you try, sweating with empty effort, 
To resist the will of that Lord who abides above the stars?
Prithee, enemy of God, say to what end you are hastening,
To what end you plunder fortresses and to what end you speed up your pace,
And to what end you, enraged by bitter madness,
Instruct a whole host, seduced by your crafty sophism, to go ahead?
But I suppose that you, prodigious mischievous one, 
Suffering through many unfortunate events
And smitten by God's judgment, 
Hasten your rushing pace, with your arrogant gait,
Towards a precipice and whirlpool of moist ruin.
For it is especially proper to those who have exalted themselves
To be raised up and hereupon to be greatly afflicted by sudden misfortune.
The proudly elevated forehead is rubbed blank, the brow having also been emptied,
But the humble forehead, wreathed, bears a glittering crown.


1. Satraps. Herbert was the castellan of Vermandois.

[ 20 ]

       When the army had been amassed by these words of baleful exhortation, stealthily going across the bed of the Seine, they pitched camp in a certain meadow hard by the town of Rouen. Then William, fearing the sudden assault of the corrupt multitude, sent to them an ambassador to speak in these most humble words, which you will now hear: "Our lord William, glittering in the flower of youth, wishes to be peace-making and benevolent towards you in all things. Truly, he sends word that you shall share with him the official dignity of the whole fatherland and be distinguished beyond all others, as the first and the greatest, in advising him. Moreover that land, which you are requesting to be given to you, he grants you with pleasure, not only up to the Risle, but even to the Seine. For he believes that he guards it with your help; however, do not doubt that you are cherished and strengthened by his patronage. Whatever you covet, you may have; whatever goods you wish, you may hold unhesitatingly. He humbly prays you to come to him peaceably and, amicably enjoying his encouragement, dwell with him." 
       Then Riulf, that most vile exciter of this evil and a man enraged by the madness of diabolical fraud, said to the ambassador before all who were there: "Return swiftly, say to William and to all his followers, that he should withdraw from the walls of this city 
(note 1) and speedily make for his Frankish relatives. For he will no longer be the heir of this land nor will he dominate us, for he is unsuitable for and harmful to us. But the land, which he has once again promised to us, will not be given as his gift, because what is not possessed in the first place cannot be given. But if he prefers not to abandon the city, we will attack it at all times and, once it is taken, we will crush William and his followers by the sword."
       And when the go-between had hastily recounted to duke William what he had heard, astounded at the novel development, he organized the leaders whom he had summoned, and withdrew from the town with the collected army, and stealthily approached the slopes of a mountain overlooking the city. Desiring to contemplate the army of his foes, perhaps he might be able to contend with them? Seeing, however, that the army of his foes was greater, and better supplied, than his own, he said to Bernard, a Dacian-born warrior: "I will go to Bernard of Senlis, my maternal uncle, and I will reside with him awhile, until he furnishes us some aid. With his advice and help I will recover this land, and with an army of Franks I will crush all these men by force of arms. I will wipe them and their kindred off the face of the earth, and not one person from their lineages will be left in the whole world." 
       Then the Dacian-born Bernard is said to have replied: "We will hasten with you to the river Epte but we will not enter Francia for, with your father Rollo, we at one time repeatedly fell upon her in war, and we overthrew many once the battling had begun. Indeed we have either slain or taken captive the grandfathers and maternal uncles, fathers and paternal uncles, maternal and paternal aunts, maternal first cousins and other relations of those who still survive. And how can we be there, before such foes? Would you rather, mean and useless, live from another's table than rule and protect a realm? I and my companions will not follow you, nor will we go where you wish. Therefore, we will return by ship to Dacia, the land of our birth, because we feel the want of a duke and advocate. You, womanish, do not have the strength to be set over us men, because you fear the death that menaces you at the hands of these enemies." 
       William, incited by these most bitter disputations, said to the Dacian-born Bernard before the rest of the leaders: "In an unseemly manner have you torn me with rough and filthy words, since you have called me womanish, and feeble in arms, and even a nothing. Behold! hastily will I go before you to battle as the standard-bearer, and steadily crush that army of foes. My sword will devour the flesh of the oathbreakers, and I will smash and demolish their encampments. 
(note 2) Let us linger no longer, sluggish and timid, but hastily follow me, and let us attack them as wolves do lambs." Bernard, moreover, perceiving the ardor and virile constancy of duke William, said to him in these most humble words: "Very mighty lord duke, do not be angry at our rousing eloquence, for what you now bid us to do is both according to reason and beneficial. Only let us ascertain who will go with you now to the battle, and who will later come to your assistance." Moreover, through Bernard's inquiry, three hundred men were found who were ready to battle and to die with William. Of one mind they came before him and, making the sign of both alliance and trust in the manner of Dacian supporters, struck their weapons together as one, in a covenant of reciprocal will. But the rest of the nation, feeble in arms, fell back in swift flight to the protection of the town.


Patrician William, celebrated for your manners and your merits,
Do not dread, trembling, do not fear, ashamed,
The spoken contentions, the menaces, the disputes, the divisions, the quarrels,
The wars, the haughtiness and frauds, the duels, the spear
Of this people of treachery, filled with filth.
For abominably and without cause does this nation,
Savage, untamable, conceited, brash, reckless, rebellious,
Perverse, arrogant, malign, impious, infamous,
Lavish with words, but not lavish with deeds,
A death-dealing culprit, destructive and accursed and wicked,
Pouring forth the many poisons of a viper-like man,
Inconstant and unlike itself through love of novelty, 
Disgusted at the steady course of tranquil peace, fight against you.
Under your leadership, it will be effaced by those few warriors,
Just as Gideon 
(note 3) Jerubba'al, admonished by a divine order
And a supernal command, once crushed,
By terrorizing with three hundred excellent armed men,
The arrogant nations of the Midianites and the Amalekites,
Who, having called together many of the people,
Had wished to pillage Israel, which kept the commands of the ethereal law,
So likewise, while you celebrate, [this nation] will be,
With God's aid, worthily annihilated by those three hundred
Deserving ones, approved to be chosen by order of the ethereal judge.


1. Preferring the "civitatis" of Rouen 1173 and others.

2. Castra.

3. Judges 6 - 8.

[ 21 ]

     Then William, with three hundred men enveloped in iron, suddenly rushed upon the inimical encampments of that rash multitude, crushing and tearing them to pieces with sword-points and lances. He smashed the tents of the leaders, and torched the little tents of their warriors; his sword overthrew whomever it hit upon and sent those who stood against him over to the lower world. With William thus gaining the victory over his foes, Riulf vanished in flight. The part of the army following him was not able to apprehend him, because he was hidden by the thickness of the wood. Moreover the Seine gulped down very many of them, and the wood also ate up many of the mutilated. Then William, surveying the field of corpses, and not finding any of his own followers dead, with his followers did glorify God, who came to the assistance of those trusting in him. Moreover that place, in which the marvelous war took place, is called until the present day "the war meadow." When William was therefore returning from the battle, a certain warrior from F
camp went to meet him, notifying him that a son had been born from his most esteemed consort. Thus, already delighted by the accomplished battle and even more delighted by a son, he sent bishop Heiric of the church of Bayeux, most holy indeed of all prelates, and Botho, most distinguished of all warriors, to have his son reborn and renewed by oil and chrism, the moisture of sacred baptism.


Behold, patrician William, a worthy crown will be given to you
As recompense, an heir of your blood, worthy of you, 
Who, vigorous, will direct the populace with just reins.
West and east, north and south
Will worthily acknowledge his praiseworthy name,
Once his uprightness has been published abroad and his merits likewise reported. 
(note 1) 


1. Preferring the "sparsis" of CC 276 and other witnesses.

[ 22 ]

Then William raised loftily high by the carnage destruction of so many. untroubled by wars gained both the realm of the bretons and that of the normans; nor did anyone dare to dispute him. leaders of the frankish nation. and counts of the burgundians would obey him; the dacian-born and the flemish. the angles and the irish would submit to him. And of one mind the rest of the nations inhabiting the neighborhood of their own realm would yield obedience to his sovereignty. For at the time of that very worthy hunt. when deer beset by lascivious unchastity do accost deer. in order to conceive young by lust-producing right; he commanded to be prepared for him in the place which is called lyons-la-fort. tents of ample size. Having heard about this count herbert. and hugh duke and prince of the whole realm. and also count William of poitou; came hastily to him there. Thankful for their arrival William; respectfully received them with great state. and caused them to linger with him throughout the time of the delightful hunt. and to dine magnificently. with royal gluttony. And one day. William of poitou said to William of rouen. Lord duke. do you not know why we have come here?~~ He replied. I am ignorant. And the other one. Unwilling to send ambassadors to so worthy a count as you; I preferred myself to discharge the business of the embassy. I have come. both so that you might give your sister (note 1) to me as a wife; and so that we might be reciprocally joined in an alliance of indissoluble friendship and esteem. It is said that William of rouen; then replied playing. Men from poitou are always faint-hearted. and feeble in arms. and avaricious. It is not fitting that such a girl be had by them. To William of poitou frozen-gazed at these irritating words; William of rouen then said. So that you shall not be agitated I will on the morrow impart to you my reply concerning both matters. with the advice of my fideles. For indeed the following day on the advice of counts hugh the great. and herbert and of his own fideles; he gave his sister to duke William of poitou. Truly he respectfully escorted her. honorably encircled with an abundant supply of wedding things; and carried by female horses. artfully girded with horse-trappings. laden with gold. and amber; along with a very great crowd of innumerable slaves of both sexes (note 2) ; and surrounded by many chests. filled and loaded with silk vestments. embroidered with gold; to the poitevin court. Moreover herbert seeing that William of rouen was strong and was gaining strength. and gleamed affluently in christ through both spiritual and bodily virtue and through very great deeds; on the advice of duke hugh the great. gave his own daughter (note 3) to that man. In marvelous nuptual state. and elegantly bolstered by unheardof adornments of indescribable office and rank; and surrounded on all sides by a multitude of invaluable horses; William magnanimously conducted her to the citadels of the town of Rouen. Holiness and discretion would shine bright in him; fairness and justice would incessantly glitter greatly. Harshly would he overpower the arrogant. and the malevolent; respectfully would he raise high the humble. and the benevolent. By words and gifts he would bring pagans and unbelievers to the worship of the true faith; he would drive believers to praise of christ. he would rule not only the monarchy which he himself held, but would also direct neighboring realms with vigorous deliberation. Angles would submit to his commands; franks and burgundians to his dictates. In whatever lands his name would be heard; he would be greatly praised by all. However peaceful king athelstan of the angles hearing. how William was distinguished in virtue and might. beyond all of the frankish nation; sent his ambassadors to him with the greatest possible offerings. and gifts. interceding in behalf of his own nephew louis. son of king charles the prisoner. already fallen prey to death in captivity; that he call him back to the realm of francia. and establish him there forever. exalting him with the advice of the franks. and also that moved by mercy. for love of [athelstan]; he take back alan. cast out from brittany for the fault of causing offense. and robbed of the grace of his love. On the advice of William duke of the normans. immediately did the mightiest duke of the franks hugh the great; and herbert ruler of princes. having gathered together the bishops on the advice of the metropolitan bishops; hastily call louis back. and anoint him for themselves as king of the peoples. of those residing in francia and in burgundy. Truly for love of king athelstan. William took back alan who had marched back along with louis; and handed over to him whatever he used to possess in the breton region. And alan himself; thereafter unfailingly stuck to William's commands. But within the space of one year after the anointing of the king; the franks began to dispute him and to overpower him in many ways. Yea indeed; they tried to drive him from the realm. However the king seeing himself abandoned. and considered worthless by the frankish-born people; sent ambassadors to henry the king across-the-rhine. asking for his assistance; and moreover that he bind himself together with him in friendship forever. The reply to them; he would not be allied with the king of the franks; except through duke william of the normans. These things having been thus reported. king louis exhausted by the blows of many tribulations. and weakened by the inconveniences of very many disasters; came to duke william of the normans at boisemont imprecating him to help. and to support him against the rebelling franks. and to obtain for him the assistance and friendship of henry the king across-the-rhine. Then William moved by compassion at the king's distress; conducted him to his residence in the town of rouen. and honorably kept him there many times with all his followers. Moreover the king would reside in duke William's house. just like a household member and servant. and would wait as a suppliant for his handouts.


Marquis mighty by right and worthily shining bright with merits.
The dependent king esteems. serves. obeys. and sticks to you.
Indeed with humble entreaty. suppliant and stooping he seeks.
To maintain himself by handouts and by your valor.
Each nation too has now fallen subject to you.
Respectfully do bishops. dukes. counts. magnates and
Likewise both the clergy and the masses. of both sexes.
Beg you to aid them with arms and with entreaty.
As a messenger of peace. and a forerunner of salvation.


1. William's sister (unnamed by Dudo) was known both as Gerloc and as Adela, according to later Norman historians.

2. Preferring the "sexus" of CC 276 and others.

3. Her name was Leyarda of Vermandois, according to other historians. The marriage took place c. 936/7.

[ 23 ]

     Without delay, William has sent a certain young recruit Tetgar, a leader of his household, to the transrhenish king Henry, so that he would not hesitate to do, with his own armed band, what king Louis kept seeking from him. For king Henry and duke William were united by a covenant of indestructible friendship and newly allied one to the other through reciprocal agreements. Truly, king Henry has received Tetger honorably and has caused him to remain with him for an entire day. But afterwards he has sent him, loaded with various presents and diverse gifts, back to duke William, and with him duke Cono, privy to his secrets. William has received the latter with the marvelous reverence of inestimable awe and has inquired why that duke (so dignified! so honorable!) has come to him. Cono has replied: "You sent to our king Henry, merry over your success, so that, through your judicious advice, he and king Louis of Francia might ally with each other and, should some need beset one of them, he would be strengthened by the support of the other. Moreover, judging this advice to be salubrious for himself and for his followers and, more than this, to be steadfast and durable due to your involvement, the king has sent me to you so that you might conduct the king to a meeting, and he has instructed me to remain wherever you like as a hostage, until you have returned and brought back the king, free from all adversity." 
     Hearing the message of this singular and invaluable embassy, William has sent for king Louis and imparted the pleasant outcome of the embassy. On the day set for departure, having assembled an innumerable multitude of legions, William, wishing to ascertain whether any darkness lurked in his heart, has said to duke Cono of the Saxons: "Ready yourself for the road and quickly don your shinguards. For I will send you to the town of Bayeux until, as you said, we have returned unharmed." Then Cono: "Send me wherever you like, even to the Dacians subject to your authority." And William: "You will go with me to the conference, because I do not distrust you." And Cono: "If I proceed to the city of Bayeux, I am, unhesitatingly, your fidelis. But if, as I believe shall happen, I depart with you, I will remain your trusty shield-bearer and your constant body-guard against the ambushes of your enemies." That said, they go, of one mind, with a great army to meet king Louis, who awaited them in the district of Laon along with duke Hugh the Great and count Herbert.
     Seeing the Breton and Norman legions, distinguished by such an immense multitude of warriors, duke Hugo and count Herbert were astounded, saying to one another: "What comparison is there between our army and this one? If any strife should come between us and them, they will devour us as wolves do lambs." Then Hugh the Great and count Herbert each ordered his own followers to ride separately, and forbad any of them to mingle with William's army. But king Henry was at a place called Vis
, on the river Meuse, with an innumerable army. But as king Louis was still approaching the aforesaid conference location, William preceded him with five hundred warriors, while duke Cono, at the latter's admonition, has already gone to the king and reported his arrival in these words: "William, marquis and duke of the Normans and Bretons sends you faithful obeisance in Christ. Not wishing to keep me as a hostage against the keeping of your sacrosanct promise, he has come directly to you, and wishes to ask what should be done between you and king Louis." 
     Then king Henry: ~"How powerful and dignified and honorable and good is this William, who has joined himself to me in friendship?" He replied: "Very patient and equitable, very powerful and affluent, and possessed of great and unheardof honor and practical judgment. No king, except you, and no duke or count is as eminent as William. Zealously surrounded by a throng of leaders and young recruits, he dines splendidly with golden vessels and drinking cups and, surrounded by all types of servants (both nobles and slaves), he is zealous in administering the rights and ordinances of the orthodox Fathers. There is no one more equitable in actions, there is no one holier in speech, there is no one mightier in arms. In his realm, no one dares to harm another, no one to commit theft or sacrilege. Harmonious, the inhabitants of the land live prostrate before the laws and, of one mind, remain regulated by the ordinances of the holy Fathers." And while Henry and Cono were still conversing with one another, William arrived with five hundred warriors. As soon as duke Cono heard of his arrival, he rushed outside and faithfully received William's sword, and conducted him with awe to king Henry. King Henry, however, quickly rose and went to meet duke William and, once they had kissed, both sat down. 
     Then William: "King Louis faithfully sends you the tribute of his deep love and esteem. You sent duke Cono to me, as a sort of gage and hostage, so that I would come to you. But see how I, not distrusting you, have myself come with him! You have said that you would not be united to king Louis by a bond of friendship and a tie of assistance, except through my mediation. Notify the king what your prognostication is in this matter." Then king Henry: "Let king Louis come on the morrow, with you as his escort, and, with your active mediation, all the principles of the hoped-for agreement will be advantageously accomplished by our and both of your fideles." Meanwhile the Lotharingians and the Saxons began scoldingly and ironically to address Cono, saying: "How astonishingly affluent and powerful is the duke of the Norman and Breton region who, ornamented and adorned with gold, has arrived here with five hundred warriors!" But William, listening for the Dacian language, understood a little of what they, mocking him, were saying and, moved for a moment by anger, went away and expounded for king [Louis] everything he had heard from king [Henry]. But on the next day, William, with an incredible and innumerable army, prevented king Louis from going to the conference. But William's men, preceding him to the doors of the house where king Henry was abiding, began to break down, smash and tear apart the walls, and themselves to occupy the house by force and power. But, fearing their assault, king Henry turned away, a fugitive, towards another house and said to Cono, privy to his secrets: "This conference is, I suppose, neither efficacious nor appropriate for us, but will result in our downfall and destruction and, indeed, even our unheardof disgrace. Go, tell William, that richest of all dukes, to halt that vexed army from further smashing the walls or crushing the doors of our shelter, in accordance with the promise that we keep between us, so that no strife shall be born between those who differ and vary in language and dress and arms." 
     Springing up, Cono soon encountered duke William, who was coming to the conference, and recounted for him what his men, who had preceded him, had done. Then William to duke Cono: "Go, and tell them to go away, on my orders." They, however, not only rejected the command of duke Cono when he arrived and begged them to go away, but the ones who were still outside also attacked the rest of the houses, demolishing them with great vehemence and roaring. Wherefore did Cono immediately with a rapid and fleet course again seek out duke William, who was drawing near the conference with the rest of his legions, and he said: "William, 
(note 1) mightiest duke, your followers were unwilling to leave the houses on my orders, but are hastening to smash (note 2) others! I am praying, bent down to the ground, that you not allow such things to be done, lest some unheardof carnage be born among the populace." Then William gave Cono a sword, marvelously and artfully engraved with thin gold leafings and studs, in a hilt made from six pounds of gold, to carry and show as a signal to withdraw for that legion, wheter occupying the houses or still demolishing houses. However, when Cono, again making haste, went to meet them, and showed them duke William's sword, shining with gold and gems, they did not immediately become quiet, but they did readily abandon the houses, their faces lowered before the sword, and return without a murmur to their duke, greatly pressing against one another in the course of withdrawing.
     Moreover William, coming to king Henry, said that king Louis was there. Soon king Henry, forced by William, moved forward to meet him and, once they had kissed and clasped each other's hands, they entered the house and both sat down. And having endowed each other in turn with many agreements and various gifts and presents, they were joined and allied to each other, through the resolution of duke William, most distinguished of all dukes, by an inextricable tie of friendship and support and help, while duke Hugh of the Franks (although present) had no role in their sworn union of esteem, and Herbert leader of the viceroys 
(note 3) was unwilling to take part. 
     While the kings were speaking together secretly, duke Herman of the Saxons 
(note 4) began to speak to duke William in the Dacian language. Then William duke of the Normans to the duke of the Saxons: "Who taught you the language of the Dacian region, with which Saxons are unacquainted?~" He replied: "Your own mighty lineage of warlike and illustrious high birth taught me, all unwilling, the Dacian language." William: "`Unwilling' in what way?" Herman: "Because your lineage, extremely often attacking the very many strongholds of my duchy, prosecuted innumerable battles against me and brought (note 5) me, captured in battle, to their own lands; and therefore did I learn it unwillingly." Meanwhile duke Cono mockingly says to the Saxons: "How does William (note 6) duke of the Normans and Bretons seem to you? Is he not a man of marvelous power and ability, and the duke of an innumerable multitude? With the exception of our king, who is mightier, who richer, who better than he?" The Saxons replied: "We were ignorant of his affluence, and therefore we at first disparaged him with the false accusation of an unworthy reputation." As duke Cono set forth the marvelous deeds and the opulent affluence of duke William, the Saxons and the rest of those who were present began to extol him likewise in their own dialogues.
     When these matters had thus been reasonably terminated and fulfilled, there came to king Louis, returning to Laon with duke William and the rest of the leaders, an embassy worthy of exultation, announcing that a son had been born to him from his most beloved consort, Gerberga 
(note 7) by name. Made even merrier by hearing this, he said to duke William, in front of the aforementioned leaders: "You have copiously helped me, hitherto vilely discolored by many blows; you have consistently assisted me, annoyed by so very many inconveniences, indeed even by drawing out the greatest bounty from your own stores of wealth; and you have cherished me, protecting me from the assembly of the wicked. Therefore I pray you to be the godfather of my son, born yesterday, reborn in the font of sacred baptism, by naming him and bearing witness that his name is Lothar, in order that we, bound by a bond of even greater esteem and by fastenings of increased love, might delight in the reciprocal agreements of a single mind, because what is mine is yours, what is yours is mine."
     Truly duke William, applauding the king's request, so appropriate for himself, is said to have replied to the king: "Truly now and for as long as I shall survive, I will diligently do your bidding. With my leadership, with my aid, under my precedence in all things, you will dominate the realm of Francia and the other realms which your father, grandfather and great-grandfather, even the father of your great-great-grandfather, dominated, and we will subordinate the necks of those who rebel, haughty, against you and, with me standing by, you will disarm those who refuse to serve you. I will lift up those whom you desire to exalt, I will trample to the ground those whom you desire to thrust down, indeed, be assured that whatever your will shall be, it will be done by me." 
     The leaders of the Frankish nation, moved to anger in their hearts not on their faces, were thoroughly astounded by the words spoken, from beginning to end, by both of them. And from then on they began vilely to ponder everything that might be destructive to William, with sly hearts and fraudulent aims and sophistical disputations.
     Truly William, 
(note 8) having left the king and his own army behind in the territory surrounding (note 9) Laon, made speedily for Laon, to a place called Bivres, preceded by a troop of bishops of the Frankish nation. With prodigious religious exertions, all the clergy of the see of Laon and all the laity reverently received him along with the superior bishops, and he stood as godfather to the boy, named Lothar, renewed and purified by sacrosanct moisture and oil and chrism. And then he left the child, endowed with the very greatest presents and distinguished gifts, at Laon with his mother, named Gerberga. But he himself, with his own followers, went speedily back to the king and reported to the king what respectful treatment he had received. Moreover the king wished properly to honor William (note 10) with gifts (note 11) for all that he had done, but he accepted none of them, rather with a gesture of thanks he sent everything back to the king.


Duke, distinguished by the organization of your own followers,
And bound by the favorable and steadfast alliance of a king 
(note 12) 
Taking up that illustrious child from the nourishing waves
Of salvation-giving baptism, having now both
Sown tranquil peace through the crossroads of the world,
And taken up that adopted progeny, 
Turn your steps and turn your swift steeds
And return speedily to the land of your natal soil,
Where the populace is governed by your sacred authority.
It continually awaits the support of your worthy protection
For, without you, valiant, every affair falls into confusion.


1. Preferring the "Willelme" of Rouen 1173 and other witnesses.

2. Preferring the "disrumpere" of Rouen 1173 and others.

3. Princeps satraparum.

4. Herman "duke of the Saxons" was confirmed in that title by Henry's son Otto the Great from at least 960; the title remained hereditarily in his family, the Billunger, until 1106.

5. Preferring the "deduxit" of CC 276.

6. Preferring the "Willelmo" of CC 276.

7. Gerberga was the daughter of king Henry I of Eastern Francia. Lothar, the oldest son of Gerberga and Louis of Western Francia, was probably born in 941.

8. Preferring the "Willelmus" of CC 276.

9. Pagus.

10. Preferring the "William" of CC 276.

11. Beneficia.

12. Preferring the "regis" of CC 276.

[ 24 ]

       When these matters had been duly set right, likewise when the king and William 
(note 1) had kissed and embraced each other with very great rejoicing, William began to travel swiftly to the region of his own authority, while the king made for Laon.

O Rouen, behold! your worshipful duke comes to you
And, having guided the realms of the Gauls with just reins,
He will scatter seeds of justice in great profusion among the Normans
And will, with lively merits, advance along the path of judgment
Until, given over to the burden of worthy martyrdom,
He will ascend, crowned with a garland, to the Elysian field, 
And he will deserve to profit from the Deity in the highest good.
Now he guards you, on every side, by his prowess in arms.
Then he will guard you by his worthy prayers and bountiful merits.


1. Preferring the "et Willelmo" of CC 276.

[ 25 ]

       When, however, swift report of the unexpected, longed-for return of duke William had smitten the minds of those dwelling in Norman territory and forewarned them that their duke (so eminent!) would be there, the whole city of Rouen, moved by very great joy, sprang forth towards him in an unexpected procession and sought out diverse by-ways in order to be able to see him. And as those of the female sex stood in the towers of the wall, as those of senile age stood in the crossroads, as those of youthful and middle age ran to meet him, the clergy, waiting for him at the gate of the city, received him exultingly with the reverence of religious custom. And immeditaly he began to busy himself with the laws and rights and paternal ordinances which had been slighted in his absence. He would settle contentions and complaints, terminating them by law, and he would pacify everyone by the laws or by agreement. 
       Then he constructed at Jumi
auml;ges a temple (how marvelous to tell! and of marvelous form!) bolstered profusely by a clergy of the monastic way of life. Moreover, a certain Martin was the most holy abbot of that monastery, guarding the monks under the training of a rule constructed for meditative contemplation. For one day, having gone to Jumiauml;ges to pray, he kept conversing with himself, meditating in his soul upon what, for the sake of obtaining that foremost crown, he had conceived in his heart, saying to the most holy abbot Martin: "If the Christian way of life visits church according to a tripartite order, why will the offices of Christian religiosity, which differ from each other, still not receive the same recompense and the same reward?" The abbot replied: "Each and every individual will receive his recompense according to his labor. But for you, faltering in fidelity concerning such matters, I will reveal these things more plainly."
       "It is certain that the whole of the Christian way of life is divided into a trimodal order, practiced diligently by the wonderful labor of lay people and canons and monks, describing the God of this faith as one in substance, a Trinity in persons. The perfect servitude of all three happily strives toward heaven at an equivalent pace. And although there be three orders in which one may cultivate the worship of the true faith, the way there (in the certain hope of true belief) is the double path of a double road, part of which, under whose authority the lay order resides and lives, named 'active' 
(note 1) , sails more freely and has deserved to be called 'canonical.' But the other part, named 'contemplative,' (note 2) constrained from all directions within straightened limits, does not sail through level ground but, transfixed in a solitary retreat and glad for perennial privacy, struggles always towards the steep. This road has also been named 'apostolic,' which we sinners follow and with which we, with our inward purpose of unremitting exertion, try to wrestle." 
       William, however, hearing these things replied to the abbot, saying: "In the flower of youthful age, I very much wished to barter away the freer and broader way and to substitute the one bound fast and confined within limits, but my father and his leaders appointed me, all unwilling, as their duke. But because I am now my own master and in my own power, leaving behind the world and with changed habit, I wish to arrive at the wrestling-place of the contemplative path, strictly bound from all directions." 
       However Martin, deservedly a most distinguished abbot, hearing the declaration of that singular plan, sighing, suddenly became stiff and dragging his voice from the depths of his breast, said: "Defendor of this fatherland, why have you even explored doing such things? Who will cherish the clergy and the populace? Who will withstand the assault of pagan armies? Who will actively rule the populace according to paternal laws? To whom will you intrust and commend your flock? To whom will you bountifully give the ducal dignity of the Breton and Norman region? The will of divine providence will not concord with your forethought, nor will you perform what you are attempting to do, nor will I permit such a thing to be pondered any longer. But if you should prefer, by force of your own power, to make your profession in this monastery and, leaving the world behind, to devote yourself to the rule of the contemplative way, you would find me nowhere in your region, if you were to seek me." 
       And in the face of these kinds of attempts at objection, duke William is said to have answered these thing: "My beloved son Richard, still wrapped in the ignorance of puerile age, will be in my stead the most powerful duke of this region, with the willing approval of my leaders. And what I have vowed to God will be fulfilled as speedily as I am able." However, as William was passing through the entrance to the temple with abbot Martin, a small host of monks tumbled down at his feet, praying that he accept his daily allowance of food, that is victuals for this corporeal life, in God's benevolence. But he, moved in his soul by the abbot's objections, denied their requests, nor did he assent to the offering of food, but swiftly made for the town of Rouen.


The one God foreknows and predestines every good,
The one God foreknows, but does not destine, every evil.
He foreknows your happy wish, but he does not predestine it,
He who remains a triadic whole, a triple ideal, a single vigor.
For you, happy, will stealthily approach your wish
To know the glory of God' martyrdom, as your surpassing merits grows. 


1. In Greek.

2. In Greek.

[ 26 ]

       Indeed that same night he began to be greatly roasted by grave pains, giving forth a reddish bile along with other fluids, reckoning that this evil had befallen him because of the slighted offering of food and drink which he had denied the deprecating monks. Therefore, William secretly made known the marvelous sacred secret of his mind, which he had already reported to abbot Martin, to the gathered leaders of the Normans and Bretons and to the boy named Richard (with such a fine mien!), brought there with them. And when, transformed into a state of astonishment and amazement, the most noble leaders of the Breton and Norman region ascertained the unheardof and nearly monstrous design of duke William, greatly wailing they said to him: "Why did you declare such things, that you were exploring in the mind of your own heart? And if, through thorough consideration, you have in fact decided this (something which should never come to pass!), why did you report it to anyone? Who will diligently defend us from attack by menacing pagans of baleful savageness? Or, who will guard us from the snares of the Frankish nation? Let this no longer even be considered, for it shall never be carried out."
       Then William, disturbed by this barrier of resistance and dissuasion, is said to have replied: "It will both be considered and, with God's favor, carried out. Because, in fact, you ought not to resist the will of omnipotent God or oppose my intention, I pray you to favor my resolutions and, however the fortune of human affairs may perchance turn out, elect my son Richard as your duke while I still survive and, with the intention of observing both fidelity and military service, place your hands in his hands." Immediately the Bretons, with the Normans, replied to William, saying: "We have assented to this plan, and we will faithfully do what you ask." Forthwith did the Normans and the Bretons, of one mind, commend themselves to Richard, joining themselves to him by the true promise of an oath of allegiance. But William, much strengthened in force as the fluids of his indisposition became clear, began to gain strength and to do daily with his accustomed care whatever he had been able to do before.
       However, the leaders of Francia would bear a weight of envy and hatred against William but would not dare to show the malevolent intention of their thoughts. But still the instigator and exciter of accursed deeds has poured the virus of his cunning into the hearts of evil men, rejoicing that the human race is changed for the worse, that it is unable to return to the garden of delights. Therefore he has awakened hatreds, stirring the fires of strife, and has disordered agreements (now pressed down by dread) of the church of peace, causing its supports to tremble. Indeed, by a frenzy of cupidity he has roused the hearts of many, so that they are not mindful of God's judgments, nor do they even perceive them in their minds. Thus, with this devil's poison gravely spread abroad throughout its members and with a hostile frenzy thickening ever more cruelly and with the injustice of perverse men vilely growing strong, the equanimity of the whole realm would be violated and very many would be deprived of their goods, ejected from the offices due to their rank. 
       Wherefore a certain leader, Arnulf by name, that most notorious marquis of the Flemish region, 
(note 1) profusely discolored by the foulness of this poison, has taken the fortress which is called Montreuil from count Herluin. But he, deprived of the official dignity of this fortress, (note 2) with the swiftest course has sought the aid of duke Hugh of the Franks, so that the latter would come to his assistance, for he was [Hugh's] count and his warrior, ready for every service. Duke Hugh has not received him respectfully, as he was wont to do, but has disregardfully kept him at the level of his young recruits. But Herluin, filled with the exigency of his great neediness, would pursue duke Hugh of the Franks daily, praying with repeated prayers that he assist him. However, despairing of Hugh's support and perceiving himself as abandoned by his helping patronage, he has gone to duke William of the Normans and Bretons and has fallen prostrate at his feet so that he would help him concerning the afore-described matter. William has instructed that he be welcomed with honorables efforts and be given, with great reverence, whatever he needs. 
       The following day, Herluin, coming before duke William, would supplicatingly seek his help with manifold requests. Soothing him, duke William is said to have replied: "Why does duke Hugh of the Franks, your lord, not support you as he does himself? And why does he not fulfill your needs after this calamitous ruin? March speedily back to him and ascertain, with much beseeching, whether he shall ever wish to help you and whether, if someone else were to assist you, he would be displeased." Having returned without delay to duke Hugh, a suppliant Herluin would, pursuing the matter repeatedly, ask whether he were going to help him. Duke Hugh has said to him instantly: "I and Arnulf, entangled in a bond of sworn friendship, do not wish to rend the tie of our concord and love and agreement on your account." Moved in his mind by the words of this irremediable reponse of the duke, Herluin has replied to Hugh: "Since you are in no way burning with desire to assist me in my need, as would have been fitting, it is now fitting that you not be vexed if someone else should aid me." Then duke Hugh of the Franks, affirming that he was deprived of any safeguarding relief, has said: "Whoever will offer you aid, will not be acting unlawfully towards me." 
       With this speech of desertion completed, Herluin has returned home to duke William and, tumbling down at his feet, has diligently announced to William everything he had heard about the matter. Immediately, William has gathered the whole army of the Bretons and the Normans and, because of the damage done by the Flemish duke Arnulf, hastened to help Herluin. And as he stood by the fortress of Montreuil and looked up at it, he has called the men of Coutances to him and said to them: "If, foremost in my grace, you wish excellently to enjoy both the glory of warfare and also greater office in my household, you will not hesitate to carry to me the stays of the palisaded rampart of the fortress of Montreuil, and you will lead away to me, captured, those who oppose us and occupy the fortress." At this word of encouragement, the men of Coutances, of one mind, have attacked the fortress as wolves do lambs, and they tear it to pieces, and they have withdrawn from fortress, carrying off before William the stays of the wall and at the same time bringing captives before him. 
       But with the citadel of Montreuil taken and the roaring of baleful sedition calmed, William has ordered dinner to be prepared for him on the other side [of the walls], and to be honorably served to him on royal treasures by Herluin himself. Dining in the fortress, duke William has said to count Herluin, server of the banquet: "Behold, I am returning to you this fortress which the duke of the Flemings unjustly took away from you." And Herluin: "Lord, I will not accept this fortress because I am not able to guard or uphold it against duke Arnulf." 
       Then, moved by compassion, duke William has said to Herluin: "I will protect you by aiding you, I will defend you by helping and guarding you. By repairing this one, I will construct for you a fortress, secured by the protection of impregnable towers and by the durability of its palisaded rampart, that can neither be taken nor destroyed. I will stuff it, filling it with a fruitful and abundant supply of grain and wine, and I will defend it completely, rebuilding it for you. Whichever of my leaders you select for yourself will, surrounded by a crowd of their own warrios, remain here with you. If Arnulf's warfare should assail upon you, I will swiftly assist you with the multitude of my armies. If however he should request the armistice of a negotiated peace, we will give it to him on the advice of our fideles. But if, in the meantime, he should wish to meet us at a conference, so as to make use of judgment and justice and law, we will meet with him on your account, to pass judgment according to the opinion of our followers. If he should, with a resolute heart, lay waste your heritable estates, we will, having amassed an army, consume by fire everything under his authority. [I am] a willing benevolent helper to you, a defender against your opponents, a docile hearer of your complaints, an attentive solacer of your losses, indeed a true bountiful giver of those goods which are appropriate for you." Hearing these things, Herluin, swiftly with his own fideles, has immediately fallen prostrate at William's feet. But having durably refortified the fortress and filled it with an abundance of grain and wine and hides of swine in rich abundance, indeed having affluently embellished it with the very best warriors, William, riding swiftly, has 
(note 3) returned with his followers to the town of Rouen. 
       That same duke was, moreover, true to his word, prompt and just in judgment, most mild in speech, most humble in comportment. Furthermore, he would shine bright with tokens of all goods, and he would actively equip the churches. Since, however, he gleamed with increased zeal for all goodness, and reports concerning so great a man, publicized throughout all Francia and other realms, become frequent, and he diligently administered the laws and ordinances of the orthodox authors and of his own father, the above-mentioned duke Arnulf of the Flemings, vilely filled with the poison of viper-like cunning and perniciously allured by the passionate fire of diabolical fraud and violently encouraged by the sly and wicked advice of certain leaders of the Frankish nation, has begun to muse over and compass his (William's) mournful death. Inflamed by the malice of this baleful poison, he has sent to duke William ambassadors of a most fraudulent enterprise, who would say they were his fideles, in the most abominable fraud of deceit, if he wished to receive the present of their allegiance and affectionate friendship. 
       And when they were before William, with bent face and submissive voice they began supplicatingly to address him with peace-making words: "Our lord Arnulf sends you faithful 
(note 4) allegiances in Christ. Unwilling that any strife be initiated against you, he requests with most humble prayers some interval of negotiated peace. And meanwhile, he wishes you to meet him at a conference and, himself, to pardon your love Herluin who has displeased him and to become bound to you, if that be pleasing, in an alliance of indissoluble friendship. Greatly distressed by gout and other infirmities, he no longer strives to dispute with anyone. He desires that his followers be regulated by law or by agreement, and he hastens to make peace for as long as he shall survive. Whereas the monarchies under your authority and his have been connected (note 5) by an uninterrupted and adjoining border, it is fitting that there be peace and concord between the two of you and between your followers, so that residents of both your realms might rejoice in such great leaders, and so that none of your followers will do any damage to any of ours, and none of our followers will, by force or power, cause any loss for yours. Let us who are neighbors due to the relationship of our lands be harmonious and of one mind in law as well. A duke of such great goodness and such great mildness should not deny this needful and meet request but should applaud it with all his might so that the state, annihilated through great booty-taking and blazes, not slip away perniciously into destruction. More than enough evils have already taken shape through the stimulus of disputes; should vileness continue this compulsion henceforward, they shall prevail, to detriment of very many people. Pass judgment concerning what is better: to explore and to effect that which is good, or to cleave to and accomplish that filthy and abominable deed which is in fact not a created thing but is the absence of goodness?" (note 6) 
       The very mighty duke William, ensnared by this fraudulent deceit of the detestable ambassadors, has said secretly to count Herluin: "What seems to you to be the purpose of this proposal and embassy?" Herluin has replied: "My soul shudders that we might be ensnared or allured by the most humble prayers of those by whose treachery we have been so many times ensnared." And William, to the rest of the gathered leaders: "Since you are not ignorant that I, trapped by the tottering 
(note 7) course of the active life, wish to confine myself to a cloister of the contemplative life, let you, as quickly as you are able, devise with me a peace for all of our lands, for there is no offering nor any sacrifice as acceptible to God as the augmentation of peace." Moreover to Herluin he has said: "Do not dread, nor be agitated, for you will never be deprived of the relieving patronage of myself and my followers." Therefore on the advice of his fideles, duke William has given count Arnulf a negotiated peace of three months, and has sent word that he would come to the designated conference. At the appointed time of the imminent conference, William, that mightiest duke of all, has called together the army of the Normans and the Bretons, and has departed for the district of Amiens.


Duke, defender and protector of a title imparted by Christ,
Desirous of no one's aid, not even that of Christ,
And very worthy of gaining an ethereal reward,
You will let slip that mournful death for whose sake you now hasten,
By finding, by the glory of martyrdom, a worthy life of perpetual peace,
Wearing the diadem of victory.


1. Arnulf I, count of Flanders (918 - 965), son of count Baldwin II and Aelfthryth, daughter of king Alfred of Wessex, and husband of Adela, daughter of count Herbert II of Vermandois.

2. Castrum.

3. Preferring the "est" of Rouen 1173 and others.

4. Preferring the "fideles" of Rouen 1173 and others.

5. Preferring the "connexae" of CC 276.

6. Namely that which is evil, considered in a number of philosophical traditions to lack positive substance.

7. Preferring the "labanti" of Rouen 1173 and others.

[ 27 ]

     But Arnulf, discolored with the malice of execrable deceit, has came upon the river (note 1) at Corbie with all his followers, and sent a go-between to duke William, praying that he come to meet him at Picquigny, where the currents of the Somme would be an obstacle between the two armies, so that the unhappy one would not be impeded from committing the deceit on which he was resolved by the arrival of a Norman army. But then duke William, believing this embassy of corrupt deceit and favoring the prayers of that fraudulent one, compelled the the legions of his army to go there. But Arnulf, glad and merry over the reports made to him, has settled, deceitful and treasonous, on the far bank of the river Somme, the one about to be martyred on the near side.
     For there is also an island there, surrounded on all sides by the blue whirlpool of the foaming Somme, towards which Arnulf is moving in a boat with four treasonous followers, pretending that the most holy duke William is to be united with him. And with peace-making words, he has in deceit sent for duke William to come there with twelve of his warriors. Arnulf, limping and leaning on two of his followers, encounters William as he crosses in the boat with his twelve followers and begins to speak to him, shamming, and to ensnare him with most humble proposals: "I come to you, suppliant, for you to bring together your and my followers and to be a helper for me against those who are faithless to me for, conquered by infirmity, I am unable to dominate and subdue the rebels of this land. You indeed dominate the entire monarchy of Gaul with your advantageous measures, and therefore I desire to have you as duke and marquis over me and my followers. Be my defender and advocate against king Louis and the leader Herbert and Hugh, that mightiest duke, and, for as long as I live, I will be subject to pay tribute to you and my followers will serve you, as servants do a lord. After my death, you will hold authority over my realm. I will willingly forgive Herluin, your count, who has displeased me. And I will at all times be benevolent and peace-making towards him." But duke William, believing that Arnulf is speaking with a benevolent heart and in perfect and irreproachable trustworthiness, not in treachery, has made peace between Herluin and the treasonous Arnulf with all his followers. 
     When almost the whole day has been spent in capricious tergiversations and a peace has finally been agreed upon by the leaders on both sides, in good faith by William but with treasonous hearts by Arnulf and the other leaders, William, having kissed Arnulf, retreats with his twelve followers and enters a ship alone with only a rower, his twelve counts having preceded him on another ship. Then the treasonous Eric and Balzo and Robert and Ridulf have begun to speak deceitfully to duke William, saying with sly voices, echoing each other: "Lord, lord, turn the boat back for a little while for we, having forgotten to mentio an even better plan, want you now for a few moments. Our lord is not able to come to you for, as you know, he is kept back by the infirmity of gout, but there is something marvelous that he forgot to tell you." Then, without his followers, William (irreproachably trustworthy!), compelled by the repeated prayers of those treasonous men, swiftly turns his boat and comes, heedless of arms, to the bank of the river to speak with them. But they, inflamed by the frenzy of a monstrous fury and stirred by a diabolical spirit, having now swiftly drawn forth four swords which had been carefully concealed under a covering of pelts, pierce through and kill, in the sight of all, blameless William (alas, what grief!) and after this, having sailed with their lord (that most vile man of all!) across the river on a swift ship and connected up with their army, riding nimbly, the slip away in flight. But the Normans and the Bretons, greatly mournful at the death of their lord William, much desiring to take revenge, running swiftly here and there, no shallows anywhere... 
     Thus is the precious marquis and most glorious martyr of Christ, William, dedicated to a happy martyrdom. And having thus reached the kingdom of heaven, which he has coveted for so long, he is crowned, living happily in Christ. Certainly the body of that blessed man lies lifeless, drenched in the moisture of his own blood, but the soul, escorted to heaven by angels, has been invaluably stationed among the troops of the angels. A certain band of warriors of the ensnared and martyred William has immediately run to him and, with great wailing, has carried him by boat across to the opposite bank of the river Somme. However, examining his wounds with prodigiously sighing hearts and greatly weeping eyes and wailing as they unwind his bloody garments, they have discovered a very small silver key hanging from a belt around his loins. 
(note 2) With his household retinue having been asked why the key was hanging from his girdle, a certain chamberlain, (note 3) privy to his secrets, has replied: "Our lord William vowed that he would leave behind this praiseworthy world and become, after this lamentable conference, a monk at Jumiges, and this key guards and confines, within a certain chest, a monkish habit (namely a woolen garment and cowl)." 
     Truly, they have immediately honorably interred his sacrosanct body, placed swiftly on a bier and bourne (with great wailing) to the city of Rouen, in the church of the blessed Mary, mother of God. In fact, almost the entire sorrowful province has come together, mourning with unutterable sorrow and sending deep sighs up to heaven, indeed also bringing with them his son, Richard by name. Before the body is stored in the tomb, Berengar and Alan and the rest of the Bretons and the leaders of the Normans, seeing him, have said (greatly wailing): "Ah, the grief, we have lost a lord; of one mind, let us make a lord." Immediately enthroning the boy named Richard (of holy memory!) and willingly become his fideles, of one mind they have made him their duke. Thus did William, most sacred duke and most glorious martyr of Christ, complete the course of his combat in the nine hundred and forty third year after the incarnation of the Lord, sixteen days before the kalends of January, 
(note 4)with king Louis holding the realm of Francia and the living and true God ruling in the fullness of trinity and the majesty of unity.


A potter bearing, alas, vessels of fragile material, I have been bourne, 
Snatched from the watery swelling of the growing tides
And from harmful sandbanks, from sucking Charybdis likewise
And from a profuse heap of numerous whirlpools,
From a mixture of wind and turning sand as well,
To a harbor free from any tempest.
What a way, a life, a salvation, a deserved summit, the hope of faith,
Where a crown is given, and the reward of respectable sweat,
Where the worthy are presented with the gifts of heaven
And where the natal conditions of octave fortune are renewed.
But since the miry vases are of mean production,
I suppose I will hardly be able to sell or give them to anyone
But, crushed, they will lie on the seashore.
Elsewhere there is a harbor filled with a different recompense,
Where the worthy purchase their expenses by different proceeds,
Where a fiery profit of the struggle is given,
Where lifeless limbs are vivified by Christ.
I will proceed there, in a vessel filled with different wares;
In this way, those things already related in order will be received,
(note 5) I, the potter, will not by accident suffer
Some facetious mocking grimace, the defeat of our work and labor.


1. The river Bresle.

2. Strophium lumborum eius.

3. Camerarius.

4. December 17.

5. Preferring the "atque" of CC 276.

[ 28 ]

              Exhortation to the Muses 
(note 1) to Sing of Richard

Though it be enough to sing, in a metre of varied ringing, 
The flowery songs of a single clear-sounding Muse,
Let each one of you sweetly sing, I beg, singly,
Clio, Melpomene, Polyhimnia, Erato and Thalia,
Terpsichore, Euterpe, Calliope, Urania,
Make this extraordinary work resound with the lyric bellowing
Of a sweetly-sounding song and a soaring voice,
In a varied train of alternate metres,
In praise of that celebrated patrician and count and reverend 
Duke, who duly strove to please the highest God.


Lo! let not stolid taciturnity and listless silence
Stifle our thoughts,
And let the expounder of this sacred history
Be one who relates mystical things in intelligible order.
It would be agreeable to sing what Richard did,
Count and vigorous marquis,
Worthy duke and upright patrician,
For I have declared his mortal deeds.
Indeed it is my right to render to posterity
The histories of affairs in a credible order.
Now indeed I will surrender symbolic matters
To my sisters, speaking learnedly with a different song.


I am delighted to cry out in lyric metre
What type of man was the reverend count
And with what great blessedness he flourished,
And let my honored host of sisters be at hand
To enumerate his merits with me.
And I will bear witness that this upright, kind servant of
Due to the merits of his blessedness, 
Has been joined to the angelic throngs,
Since the judge will reward his servants,
Ruining the guilty with malign tortures.


Now am I musing over how that great ancestor
Has been united with those throngs on account of his merits,
On account of his marvels, and on account of his marvelous
Vigorous deeds and on account of his religious acts,
Which still endure, and which worthily shine.
For, as long as he flourished in this world, his body safe,
That mellifluous ruler did everything
Which the sacred decrees of the fathers affirm.
He loved the lord God with a pious heart
And, in worthy alliance, loved also his neighbor as himself.


And if our will were capable of grasping
How he lived and flourished and acted,
I would write, although the idea be outrageous,
That it were fitting that this marquis and equitable patrician,
This holy duke and reverend count,
Be designated among the prophets.
For what the prophets announced with mystical words
From their symbolic and prophetic hearts,
He, well-disposed, believed and recited
And heard and remembered in his sacred mind.


Now let me be summoned, although more foolish than my sisters,
I will say what it is pleasing to speak of, telling of
The fruits of our salvation, by which faith and hope and glory
Everlastingly grew in this world.
I would dare to join that great, holy, pious, 
Just, upright duke, the marquis Richard,
To the brilliant congregations of apostles
For, although he is not numbered or calculated among them,
Nevertheless because of his marvelous merits,
Sacred Peter justly does not refuse his pious merits.


Friendly reader! should you find some
Good wordling similar to this count,
Someone who has bourne so many crosses, so many
Abuses, so many tortures for his people,
For the sake of his steadfast faith in the divine will,
Reveal him now to me. 
He duly regulated unconquerable ones,
And vehemently resisted the Dacians.
He is enjoying eternal rest,
A companion to the martyrs by his merits.


See how this duke, patrician, count,
Versed in wisdom
And loving religion,
Has adorned the sacred cathedrals
Of pontiffs,
Something you can still sufficiently see to this day.
It is not forbidden even to say more:
He who was inferior to none,
But was superior,
Has been added to the confessors.


Although the holy duke and marquis
Once celebrated, 
For the sake of posterity,
An alliance of a chaste
And licit and sincere bed,
Who would now try to remove
Him from the virginal garland?
His mind, conscious of the right,
Truly remained chaste,
Having endured no blemish of ignominy.


Well-disposed reader, drawing now upon your reason
Extend your intellect with ready understanding
Through all the saints in order,
Observe whether you ever discover now
In this fleeting world
Any patrician consistent with our father
In deeds and merits and obedience
And appropriate veneration of divine worship.
For indeed every deed appropriate to our father
Is manifest in all his actions.
And when that apostolic senate
Is assembled, pure, from among the great host
And, in the presence of the shining Judge,
Sits in the judgment seat, 
Richard himself, relying on his merits and manners,
In a shining chair
Will propose rights and laws concerning this great world.
And when stout rewards are paid out,
By Christ the Judge, to the holy martyrs
He will wear a rose-colored crown 
Which will endure along his entire future path.
And when the priests who have conquered their flesh
For the sake of gainful profit
Now rightly enter the inner sanctuary of the supernal realm,
Deserving now a talent 
(note 2) as their reward,
In victorious glory, behold, it will be said to Richard:
"Well done! Take for yourself, faithful servant, as best you can,
Great rewards in exchange for the small things you now have."

                     All the Muses in Harmony

The fertile earth profusely blesses the nourishing
Husbandman with three-fold plenteousness.
In this way too has the true Planter taught the world,
Placing the seeds of his nourishing Word.
When the other shining ones announce
The maniples already glittering above the stars,
Each one by repeating the exploits of his exertion,
Struggling for the sake of that region,
You will see that Richard 
Beams on high, with three crowns.
He himself, having arrived at his sixtieth year,
From the time he was thirty, according to divine will,
Has always directed his footsteps towards this place,
Moving from left to right; 
That fortunate count, in a splendid virginal diadem,
Will be presented to the virgins,
And will follow the most beautiful lamb.
And will continue the pace by which he hastened there,
Because, with an ethereal sweetness, 
He will sing the natal song, 
Resounding in five modest tetrachords.
Christ, you who are above and without whom nothing is upright,
And with whom everything is upright, 
Your tributes are at hand so that, by means of these, 
He might become such a one as well.

              A Preface to the Prelate Robert

Though you be deprived
Of rhetorical taste,
And considered inexperienced in verse singing, 
And sluggish and slothful and unskilled,
Inarticulate and stupid,
Deprived of all 
Reason and knowledge,
Let you abide, linger, stand forth,
O Muse, furnish head and breast trappings
For this little book,
And reveal in writing the splendid deeds
Of that sacred duke
And equitable patrician
And bountiful marquis.
And as you are mighty in your power to ordain,
Truly inflamed, tell of 
The goods which he himself accomplished,
Which he worked while he lived,
For it is fitting through it all
To register the highest shouts of joy
For the sacred, equitable, compassionate,
Moderate count Richard.
May he have, we all pray,
Repose, salvation and honor
And an increase of glory 
For all time.
Through the deity of the Trinity,
Governing everything whatsoever,
He stands forth and flourishes and has strength.

                     Another Preface

That Muse does not sing
Whose abundant supply of speech
Either hisses, babbling, or is wanting,
As is wont to happen with a young lad.
However much I might stand forth as
Ignorant, slothful and sluggish,
And trifling, and more foolish than everyone else,
Prating only with impediment,
I have nevertheless, with unpolished articulation,
Related in order, just as you see them,
The deeds of this illustrious, good, equitable
And vigorous marquis.
A petty bard, I am being carried now into the midst 
Of things that have been said and things that ought to be said.
The latter move the clumsy poet,
The former force him to write.
Nevertheless, stay here with me,
Although I be unpolished;
Go with me, I pray, advantageously,
Wherever I might go.
Lo, astonishment smites me,
And very many things affright me
And arise in new forms,
Which it is not lawful to silence.
My mind takes flight, having wondered much,
My breast is compressed by the burden.
I have travelled around many Christian armies,
Searching through them,
And, having gotten to know them all well,
I have found no one
Like the marquis Richard,
In whom such great things come together.
We will celebrate this man,
Thrice, four times, a thousand times blessed,
The very page will sound out
This kind, this moderate,
This pious, this equitable and holy one,
Both approved and greatest of all.
Normandy is witness
To the bounty of his actions,
And Francia, too, is witness
To his liberality,
And Burgundy confirms
His courage.
Indeed, other realms too
Are astounded at his holy words and deeds.
No one gleamed more
In thought, word and deed.
May eternal glory, repose, be his,
In the highest good.

                            A Prayer

The savage might of the Dacians,
In the past displayed in a mean plotline,
And one difficult for me, 
Now rises, running, by the weight of its own character,
Indeed with a roaring 
That was not heard or seen in aught of us even in olden times.
Because of this, that might is neither known to, nor believed by, everyone,
And is tested by very few.
Come, bountiful Spirit, I beg, a suppliant,
By beaming forth your sevenfold nectar,
And by whatever power you have already given me the ability to exist at all,
Give me the ability to speak.

                     A Preface to the Prelate Robert

The guidance for ethereal, terrestrial, subterranean motivation,
The dignity, sovereignty, intelligence 
(note 3) of the entire world,
The starry summit, the model and the supernal force,
The heavenly divine will, perpetually holding all things,
The sequence of the causes of things through a laid up store of motion,
The constructor of men, the glory of those who worship the divine,
All tributes of praise are to you,
Though they be drawn forth with varied harmony in a dissimilar train,
Therefore have we sung of you, the king of all, in this ode, 
(note 4) 
With uninterrupted voices, with suppliant prayers.
You are called the fertile triad 
(note 5) and the uncompounded monad, (note 6) 
Either (according to the Greeks) 
(note 7) you are also divided
As only one essence in three substances, 
(note 8) 
Or (as is more extensively maintained in other speeches of the world)
You are both one true substance, yet three persons, 
(note 9) 
Always present, and you yourself endure likewise,
You, the unbegotten begetting Father, in you alone do we believe.
Thus does wisdom, exulting, applaud the begotten Son,
And the Spirit, truly the living Paraclete, flowing from both,
In these three we worship but a single deity, 
(note 10) 
Which is thus described, I believe, because it runs, perceiving all, into everything,
And nowhere outside of it can anything exist.
It is moved although steadfast and it is stable although mobile,
Truth-speakers of faith assert it as universal,
As the substance-giving thing, 
(note 11) the figure (note 12) of all things, the idea (note 13) of the world.
It endures and flourishes, as goodness, through itself.
(note 14) is neither this, nor that, but is everything.
Neither here, nor there, but effective everywhere for everything.
Without beginning, it proves itself medium, large and small: 
(note 15) 
(note 16) while it perpetually rules whatever is innermost,
(note 17) while it bountifully assists and helps those who are least,
(note 18) while it invigorates the very greatest things in great ways.
Thus does it always preside over great, medium, small things too,
Itself indivisible, remaining whole everywhere.
For the medium thing, the faraway thing too, everything, 
(note 19) 
Everything whatsoever flourishes because of this ruler, 
(note 20) 
Yet both reason 
(note 21) and excelling understanding (note 22) 
Shall profess clearly that the very prototype 
(note 23) is itself nothing,
So that you, reader, might be astounded, relating how this is universal
Because its incomprehensible nature blooms in everything.
Since it is seized by no one, it is itself called nothing;
But, as often as it shows itself, at this point God is manifested. 
(note 24) 
It is said that things always grow into something out of nothing;
They will write that all things were likewise created from this nothing.
Hence there is what is said and spoken concerning the shadow,
For the sacred psalmist 
(note 25) resounded thus:
"Just as its shadows exist, so too does its light;
It is itself both shadows to the condemned and light to the upright." 
(note 26) 
For this is how things are, according to the Bible, flowing with truth.
Behold, you will conceive that what is necessary, beyond this, lies concealed.
It is neither easy nor worthy nor lawful for any of us
That we arrogantly determine for any soul or any stain
What properly belongs to God to reveal as Judge; 
He (whoever he is, of whatever type, however great) shall remain Lord. 
(note 27) 
Remaining, yourself, undefiled as well, bind him
More worthily and better and more closely to your soul through prayer.
Pray! He is at hand, easy, ready to yield,
He wants to give generously to devout and gentle words.
Therefore, with these metres, truth-telling and believable,
With these vows, these continuous prayers, I embrace
The unbegotten Father and, truly, the begotten Offspring,
The Breath, flowing from both, as a sensation-producing stimulus;
All things which are, worthily profess him exultingly,
And he rules, with his own command, everything which is.
Him the thrice three hosts always praise in heaven:
Contemplating him, they sing; venerating him, they worship;
The delighting company of patriarchs, echoing hardly scanty odes
To him alone, celebrates him;
Truth-telling prophets produce a train of praises to him;
Whatever flourishes has sung of him with sacred addresses;
Contemplating him, the twelve-fold phalanx adores,
Disdains all else and, following him, worships;
With hymns, an innumerable cohort of martyrs celebrates him as eternal,
And shouts, manifesting joy, disdaining any lashings;
The summit of viginity, from which (by choosing that ornament)
One strikingly sings, marvelously resounds like celestial thunder;
Him the sky above, him the land below also praises;
All the elements serve him; venerating him, they worship.
Bountiful Creator, I beseech you, gracious, turn your attention
To what remains and to what draws nigh, favoring these prayers.
We pray, adjust our present labors and, merciful,
You who heap up our understanding and fructify our speech.
The subject matter drives us and love constrains us 
To adjust this token of lofty praise to Richard,
Who flourished, wonderful, always your servant,
Treading every evil one under foot, lifting up every good one. 


1. Ancient goddesses of the liberal arts. Clio was the muse of history, Melpomene of tragedy, Polyhymnia of mime, Erato of lyric poetry, Thalia of comedy, Terpsichore of dance, Euterpe of the flute, Calliope of epic poetry and Urania of astronomy. The names of the muses above each verse are taken from CC 276.

2. An ancient Attic weight, usually reckoned when Dudo wrote as the rough monetary equivalent of a "pound."

3. In Greek.

4. Preferring the "te....oda" of CC 276.

5. In Greek.

6. In Greek.

7. In Greek.

8. The prase combines Greek and Latin terms.

9. The phrase combines Greek and Latin terms.

10. In Greek.

11. In Greek.

12. Preferring the "typos" (in Greek) of CC 276.

13. In Greek.

14. In Greek.

15. The line is in Greek.

16. In Greek.

17. In Greek.

18. In Greek.

19. Line in Greek.

20. In Greek.

21. In Greek.

22. In Greek.

23. In Greek.

24. In Greek.

25. In Greek.

26. Psalm ________.

27. In Greek.

[ 29 ]

       Indeed, it is devoid of merit to keep silent concerning the imitable combat of superior dukes, practised diligently in time past, through various actions, with a benevolent design of sacrosanct purpose, and particularly concerning the especially worthy remarkable deeds of those dukes who have zealously persisted in every way in such good purposes; rather, they are to be written down, lit as much as possible so that, made clear in writing to the memory of those succeeding them, those deeds might instruct and teach their souls for the better through salvation-giving fruit, and so that those successors might, with skilled effort, measure what constitutes an honest life against that standard, and so that, by observation of this example, eternal beatitude may be happily obtained. Wherefore let us begin, although in a dull style, the life of the most kind duke Richard, who flourished in the meadow of the sacrosanct church through especially worthy deeds, shining as does a star in the sky. And furthermore let it be, through his merits, given to us respectfully to publicize his life, he who was the highest reverence and the highest dignity of the church. Just as we would advantageously enjoy the safeguarding and the favor 
(note 1) of his patronage on earth, may we be defensibly protected by his prayers and merits from everything unsuitable.
       Thus did a most mighty duke, a most glittering patrician and most notorious marquis of venerable life, of remarkable memory, of holy remembrance and of memorable kindness, come forth from the most remarkable stock of a splendid and most noble family, born where the pays de Caux spreads out to the outermost tracts of Belgic Francia adjacent to the sea, bless the walls and the fruitful fields of the fortress of F
camp with the sacred commencement of his birth. His father William, a duke and a most glorious martyr, knowing of the imminent birth, had his mother, pregnant with the most fortunate and ingrafted scion of a renowned offspring, conveyed in a distinguished manner along a graceful course to the plentifully-furnished court of his residence at Fcamp, so that if by chance Riulf, cruelest of all brutes, should, as was being estimated, claim for himself with his confederates the monarchy of the Norman region, she would be taken speedily across the strait to the Angles so that he would not ravish her. For, as has been recounted, on the day when the battle between the deserving duke William and Riulf (in many ways a blasphemer and an oath-breaker) took place, the venerable matron, having labored to bring forth the boy of divine memory, sent a certain young recruit named Fulchard to disclose to duke William the much-desired matter of the sired descendant. Truly the messenger came, announcing the joy of a born offspring to William, who was riding through the field of battle darkened with lukewarm blood and contemplating the overthrown thousands of lifeless warriors and with joy giving the greatest thanks to the king of kings, having obtained a victory over his foes with 300 men.


O always deserving parents of such a progeny,
At whose appearance prodigious joys blow through
The citizens of the upper world, many earthdwellers likewise. 
The heavenly order is merry for such a future fellow citizen,
The deserving human order manifests joy for this sacred judge.
Under his direction, the glad world will always
Enjoy a very worthy dowry of tranquil peace.


1. Beneficium.

[ 30 ]

     Then the duke, deservedly most famed, delighted and merry at the marvelous victory already accomplished, and rendered even more delighted by the heir and successor now born, sent Heinric of Bayeux, a bishop of the very highest reverence, and Botho, by glory chief of the household and of his household troops, to receive the boy of salvation-giving peace, renewed with distinction by the fluid of the symbolic bath of sacrosanct oil and chrism, and cleansed in the font of rebirth, calling him Richard. Merry at the message of this expedition and going, with a nimble retinue, to the walls of Fcamp, they were received by the clergy and the people, the religious items having already been respectfully prepared. For indeed the following day, as the clergy of the whole province and the people of both sexes arrived from every quarter in thanksgiving for the baptism of the previously-born lad, the aforesaid prelate with count Botho received from the purification of the holy bath, in the blessed font of mystical washing, the boy named Richard, reborn through the salvation-giving inundation of a triple immersion, and engraved with the nectar of the sacred chrism, and with the foulness of the oldest man having been removed by the name of the deific trinity by that most reverent prelate Einric of bayeux, along with the rest of the bishops of the land. Truly, once these things had been accomplished with the greatest reverence, while the clergy praised God very much for the newborn duke and the throngs of people retreated, the prelate with Botho reported to duke William what had been done concerning the boy.


Oh the happy merit of the sacred infant,
Sprung from a distinguished father,
And from a celebrated mother,
Richard, indeed, by name, 
Whose purification,
And whose renewal,
In the never-ending name 
Of the lord God the father,
And of God his offspring,
And of God the sacred holy spirit,
And nevertheless of a single true God,
Has been fittingly effected 
In your stronghold, O F
Which flourishes near the shores of the sea,
Rouses populaces and peoples 
(note 1) 
And all the clergy everywhere,
To bring forward 
(note 2) sacred shouts of joy,
To God the father and
To the one brought forth from the virginal womb 
(note 3) 
And with the holy spirit, always sacred.


1. Preferring the "populos ciat" of CC 276.

2. Preferring the "ferant" of CC 276.

3. A few words of the final two lines of this apostrophe, cut off in the ms. being transcribed here, are supplied from other manuscripts.

[ 31 ]

       When finally an interval of two eras 
(note 1) had passed, and the little child Richard had grown profusely by marvelous increments, duke William began advantageously to ponder the profit of the realm and a successor for his military leadership, soon desiring to enact what he was meditating in his heart. Thus, so frequently and vehemently stirred up by the anxieties of such thorough consideration, and longing diligently with all his desire, as the age of the boy increased, to contemplate the condition and the health, in fact even the appearace and the stature of his greatly-desired son Richard, he sent residents of his household who were privy to his secret, in order that Richard might be secretly carried off to the villa which is called Quevilly. Thus when the young child had been brought to the aforesaid villa, the duke went to him, having taken with him his three trusty privy counsellors, Bernard, Botho and Anslech. Contemplating rather diligently and understanding him (from the structure of his limbs which he touched with his own hands) to be finely formed in proportion to his age, and taking heed that he was increasingly surpassing the age of infancy, having embraced him lovingly and kissed him sweetly, he began to speak to the above-mentioned three counts, recounting what he had for so long explored in his own heart: 
       "With your advice," he said, "have I vigorously ruled this realm till now; the Bretons, like enemies rebellious against me, have I defeated; the pagan invaders of our territory have I confuted; the Flemings and other nations sojourning 
(note 2) in the neighborhood of our power have I boldly put down; in fact even if I did some good, constrained by your most kind encouragement, I accomplished it softly and gently. But now offer me your approval for this which I am struggling to carry out, since every realm lacking a hereditary lord is deserted and scattered, and very many seditions and unheardof quarrels of unappeasable complaint are engendered in many ways, and for that reason let this little boy, with your favor, be appointed as heir and successor to me in the authority of our military leadership. I want and command that you, having become his fideles by an easily-believable promise, guarantee to that young child his safe holding of the realm, for we are ignorant of what error a future time may spawn." 
       Then did they reply to their lord, who was speaking so courteously: "We have, in the course of our life, submitted without delay to your orders and, as long as we shall survive, he will be an appropriate count and hereditary patrician duke for us, and we will obey his instructions in all things. For this determination will indeed be very pleasing to all who sojourn under the safeguard of your protection." Then, carrying out the orders of the most noble marquis, having willingly given their hands in an oath of allegiance of true faith, they commended themselves to the most elegant boy Richard, guaranteeing to him the safe holding of the realm.


O William, 
(note 3) mighty and upright and pious
Duke and future martyr,
That strong boy, begotten by a sacred mother
To a just lineage,
Will not be an unfitting 
(note 4) heir, neither before God
Nor before the clergy and the populace,
But will be an appropriate and accordant father
And a just patrician,
A holy marquis and a constant count and a good 
Duke for those who worship Christ,
And a flashing sacred extender
Of the true belief,
And he will apportion among the populace, as a pious
Ruler, the reins of equitable laws,
And will equitably pacify the common people, 
As does a father keeping his offspring in bounds.
May glory, peace, dignity and the grace
Of Jesus Christ be with that boy.


1. An era seems to be about four or five years.

2. Myself supplying "commorantes" instead of "commemorantes."

3. Preferring the "Willelme" of CC 276. More often than not the proper names in the section of Dudo's work which concerns Richard are confused in the manuscripts; evidently this resulted from the fact that the names were left blank by the original scribe, in order to be filled in at a later date, in red, by a "rubricator" who, not reading the entire text, made frequent errors. I do not indicate in the notes every time that I prefer the proper name readings of manuscripts other than the base manuscript.

4. Preferring the "inopportunus" of CC 276 and Rouen 1173.

[ 32 ]

       Once the business of this deliberation, nay rather the disposing judgment of omnipotent God, had indeed been accomplished, the father began to muse in his sagacious mind over where or by whom his son might be advantageously brought up and fostered. Devoting himself to these explorations, he begins to speak to the aforenamed three: "Because, in truth, the city of Rouen uses the Roman rather than the Dacian eloquence, and Bayeux uses the Dacian language more frequently than the Roman, I therefore want him to be brought as soon as possible to the Bessin and there I want him to be both brought up and fostered with great diligence under your guardianship, Botho, enjoying Dacian eloquence and learning it with a tenacious memory, that he may be able at a future time to dispute fluently against the inhabitants of Dacia." Then Botho, assenting willingly to his lord's request and taking up the solicitude of fostering the extraordinary young child, brought him quickly to the town of Bayeux, and guarded him as the apple of his own eye. 
(note 1) But duke William, for love of his most beloved son, celebrated Easter that year at Bayeux, having collected there the magnates of the Breton and Norman region. And he lingered there until the festive days of the sacred festival of Pentecost had passed. 
       Desiring, however, that the young child Richard be lifted up and confirmed in his possession of the realm by an oath of allegiance and an oath-taking of his fideles, he took with him seven magnates of rather great influence and, with the three mentioned above, he made known to them his secret will: "Because the state of affairs at any given moment is always turned, like a wheel, by countless misfortunes, and rarely is the outcome of any action certain, for that reason I want, with your favor, my son Richard to be appointed by you as heir to my authority while I still survive, and for you to place your hands, as symbols of your heart, in his hands, and then for the covenanted fidelity of your true promise to be, with all your strength, made lasting by an oath, and for the entire fatherland itself to be judiciously ruled by your most beneficial deliberations." Merry at these proposals, the seven magnates replied: "If you were not already burning with desire in your own soul to explore and thoroughly consider in advance, nay rather to fix in advance, precisely what you have proposed, it would have been appropriate and reasonable for us to admonish you to such a course of action by our own prayers and our own anxious encouragement, because this necessary business also peculiarly concerns us." That said, having given their hands to the young child Richard, they promised and vowed to be his fideles in all things, making a promise, on sacrosanct relics, of compliant obeisance and military service.


Illustrious boy, sprung both from a glittering 
Father of nourishing genius, and from the 
Free-born and shining high birth of your mother,
That fatherland and region where you were 
Brought forth is deservedly submitted to you,
Because you will be, for the native who resides here,
A good duke and a nourishing count,
The dignity of the churches,
The sacred glory and the venerable hope
Both of the sacred order and of all ranks.
Taking assisting aid from you,
The vagrant, the orphan, and the destitute exile,
Satisfied, will go away merry.


1. Literally, the "pupil of his own eye."

[ 33 ]

       For once these things had indeed been terminated by sage and judicious and advantageous deliberation, and very many things had been reasonably furnished to the sacred church and to the state, each one has returned home glad and merry. Meanwhile the infantine grace of great promise and of first flowering of celebrated Richard would be fashioned as the years sailed by. Moreover, the grace of the Holy Spirit would readily pile up in him, enriching the cavities of his breast with bountiful tribute and with the zeal (adequate for two) of burning and sagacious genius. Wisdom would construct in his breast an abode resting on columns. Moreover he himself, in keeping with the force of his age, would perform whatever good he could, with the best deeds. Moreover, just as he would vigorously mature in human increments, so also would he be happily fertilized by the merits of life. Whatever he heard that was good, he would remember, reconsidering it all by ready recollection, but wicked things he would account of slight value, casting them off. He would explain whatever obscurities were concealed in the law, all plainly revealed. 
       But when (as was recounted, although in a dull style) his father William had been martyred due to treachery and been happily crowned in the starry kingdom, before William's body was interred in the sepulchre, those who had remained in the realm and had not gone to the sorrowful conference with him, have brought forward the boy Richard. Then, seeing the boy (so beautiful! so dignified!), the Normans and the Bretons, sobbing with mournful and doleful voices and emitting the varied howlings of deep sighs, have said of one mind: "Behold the one to serve, behold the one for whom to wage war, behold the one to whom we made a promise while his father survived." 
       Then first Berengar, extraordinary count of the Breton region, begins, doleful and sorrowful, to speak for all of them: "Oh elders and lords, 
(note 1) deceitfully ensnared by Arnulf's treachery, sorrowful and sad at the deplorable violent death of the most pious marquis, before the lamentable corpse is placed in the tomb, let us make a lord (note 2) for ourselves. That boy ought to be put on his father's throne to be duke and patrician for us. Let that boy be appointed as leader of this realm, lest foreign nations, rushing upon us and determining, in this unheard-of affair of this betrayal, to rule over us, claim for themselves the Norman and Breton territories. And let us oppose those wishing to master us by making resistance, reestablishing and restoring the father's lost shield through the shield of his offspring." 
       That said, unanimously approving this resolution, the counts and the great crowd of howling leaders approach the boy Richard (of prodigious reverence!) with disordered vehemence and murmuring. However, once the murmuring of the bustling crowds had been calmed and silence had been, with difficulty, achieved, Berengar and Alan and the rest of the counts of Normandy and Brittany, having given their hands to Richard, have with pleasure subjected themselves to him, just as they once promised to his living father. And they ratify for him the uninterrupted course of their irreproachable fidelity and military service on relics of precious saints, in the manner of a Christian confederacy. When these things had been lamentably fulfilled and very many had returned home, the boy Richard (of welcome nobility and celebrated courage!) has remained behind at Rouen with his father's young recruits and household retinue. 

Rouen, poured upon the shores of the wandering Seine,
A town which the Belgic, Celtic and Anglian port each invigorates,
Plentifully furnished with goods and all fierce warriors,
Always teeming with people, 
(note 3) rich in treasures and full of spectacles, 
Merry, affluent and very opulent and very wealthy
In many species of game and classes of fish
And lofty winged creatures, in falcons and knowing fowlers,
In fact better, in fact more potent, more powerful than any other town,
Rejoice! celebrating, rejoycing, delighting that
There is an accomplished lord 
(note 4) and a lawgiving lord (note 5) for you
And, his father deceased, celebrated Richard 
(note 6) will be had 
As your equitable and bountiful, gracious, blameless,
Holy and God-fearing, kind, sacred and upright
Festive, worthy, loveable duke, patrician, marquis,
Celebrated for merits, beloved, venerable, revered, memorable,
Who, having power by right, mighty by right, will now protect you, 
Moreover will help you, governing you by right for all ages, 
And by whose uninterrupted merits you, illustrious through all ages,
Will be enriched and endowed,
And whose goodness and compassion and reverence
Will compel you, at last, to ascend to the Elysian Fields.


1. Seniores et domini.

2. Senior.

3. In Greek.

4. Senior.

5. Dominus.

6. Preferring the "Richardus" of CC 276.

[ 34 ]

       However, king Louis of Francia, hearing that William duke of the Normans, deceived by the ingenuity of count Arnulf of Flanders, had been martyred for the sake of the stability of the sacrosanct church and of holy faith and of peace, and for the sake of his own fidelity, felt severe pain, and hastened quickly to Rouen with his counts in order to consult the magnates of the realm (except those who were compassers of his death) concerning these things which had happened because of the execrable cunning of count Arnulf. Truly the people of Rouen, merry over the arrival of king Louis, took him up willingly, reckoning that he would ride against the Flemings, and that he wished to visit upon them a stinging and baleful revenge for the unheardof sin which they had committed. However king Louis made the boy Richard (so beautiful!) come to him and, weeping with deceitful and fraudulent goodwill, took him up and kissed him and, not letting him go, compelled him to dine and to lie with him. And indeed the following day the king kept with himself and withheld that boy (so honorable) from his tutor, who wanted to lead him to another house 
(note 1) in order to bathe and watch over him. A second and a third day, in the same way, the king did not allow the foster father, (note 2) burning with desire, to take him away but, with a resolute heart, withheld the boy. The tutor, understanding that the boy (so sweet!) was a prisoner, did not afterwards try to take him any place.
       Full of bustle, therefore, over the report of the situation, the whole city is awakened, and the murmuring which has poured forth about the imprisonment is fanned here and there through the whole town. But at length both the massed suburbanites and the citizens, rushing in the manner of the common people upon the houses of the leaders of the city, have begun to revile those leaders, emitting prodigious groans and saying in loud voices: "By our own carelessness we have lost our extraordinary advocate, duke William; this one, however, will not be banished, an exile, through any treasonous deliberation of yours. We will justly slay all you oath-breakers as well as the king, and we will deliver the boy Richard (so authoritative!) so that he will not be exiled." Stirred up, however, by the extremely rough words of the citizens, very many of the leaders, having speedily decked themselves out with swords and arms, join the armed common people. But very many, fearing the ardor of the rustics, have remained behind in their own homes, bolting the doors with all their strength. 
       Thereupon do the common people and the armed warriors, with fervent souls and speedy steps, hasten to attack the king and his own fellow warriors. Moreover, when he has heard the roaring of the hastily raised din, the king has begun to ask the cause. And it has been said to him: "The leaders of this town are longing to attack you, because you are keeping the boy Richard (so hopeful!) in captivity. Only with difficulty will you escape the imminent peril, only with difficulty will you be delivered from the mobs of citizens and armed men." Seized by a cold 
(note 3) quaking and quivering and shaking at the misfortune of his imminent downfall, the king (having at length returned to himself) has sent for Bernard, a leader of the Norman army, to immediately assist him, for the love of God. Bernard has immediately sent this message back to Louis: "I will deliver neither myself nor him but, I assert, I will take part in this sedition that has arisen." Then the king has sent to him again, this time for advice about how he might be delivered. Bernard, moreover, dreading lest both himself and the king be killed, has sent word for Louis to throw himself as a suppliant, with the boy Richard (of lofty aid!) in his arms, upon the mercy of the warriors and citizens. 
       Moreover the king, distrustful and fearing the ruin and destruction of his followers, has taken in his arms the boy Richard (of such great deliverance!) and brought him before the armed men, begging with a suppliant voice for the mercy of those who wished to kill him and his followers. "Behold, it is I and your lord. Do quickly whatever you wish concerning me, only do not kill me and my followers, I supplicantly implore, for your lord did not linger by my side in the way a prisoner is held, but in order that he might be versed in regal knowledge and palatine eloquence." But they, receiving the boy Richard (so virtuous!), have suffered the king, filled with very humble prayer, to return to his courtly dwelling and to his followers. Moreover king Louis, uneasy about these unbecoming events and faltering in fidelity and uncertain about things to come, having consulted his bishops and counts, has sent for the magnates of that city (namely Rodulf and Anslec and also Bernard) to hasten to him. And when they have been summoned and brought before him, the sad king begins to speak to the leaders: "I came here, urged on by vehement grief at the death of your lord, in order to console you concerning what took place, but I encountered the still sadder grief of a more stinging sadness, because your suburbanites with your citizens, and your warriors with a company of rustics wished to crush and tear to pieces, in unexpected ruin, both myself and my followers. But, having been delivered (by your advice, Bernard) from the seditions of so baleful an enemy, I now ask you what I should do next." 
       And Bernard has replied: "Your soul already endures only with great displeasure what the rustics and the citizens have done to you. It is, thus, needful that you be rendered safe from the vileness of any fraud that is might be made public. In a word, because our lord William was your fidelis through thick and thin, it is fitting that you confirm for the boy Richard (of great posterity!) the holding of his land in hereditary right, ratifying his possession by the oath of allegiance of a sacred promise and by the placing of your hands upon sacrosanct phylacteries, and so from here on you will be considered innocent. And, finally, may you help and support him against everyone on earth. In this way, you will be able to delight in our services, both military and non-military, and we in your safeguarding and direction. Truly if someone should quarrel with you, we will crush him, and if someone should rise up against us, you will throw him to the ground, by virtue of your influence." Then, in deceit, the king has replied to Bernard: "I will do exactly what you have said, and I will compel my followers, willy nilly, to do so likewise." Thereupon did he bountifully give the land to the boy Richard (so innocent!) to be held in the same hereditary right as his father and grandfather and, having placed his hands upon the holy relics which were brought to him, first he swore by God's name that he himself would aid [Richard] against all others and then he compelled his prelates and counts to do likewise. 
       Once everything has been settled and completed in this way, the king begins to speak fraudulently to the Norman leaders: "Since I have, by the offering of a veracious oath, now gone through with this promise (of most irreproachable content) to you and to your lord, you have a steadfast assurance that I will help you with all my strength, and let none among you in any way doubt in my relieving aid. Allow your lord to linger with me, so that, thoroughly instructed in the language of plenteous eloquence, he might learn to terminate and settle the outcome even of a thorny affair. Truly, he will gain knowlege of very many things better in my palace than by remaining in his own household. Wherever I set out to go, he will depart with me, wherever I linger, he shall linger. I now rule all Francia and Burgundy due to the efficacious assistance of his father; for that reason, I will be a help and a solace to him for as long as I shall survive. I would be a rather cruel brute were I not to aid him, for his father was taken by death for my sake." Thus the leaders of the Normans, deceived by these counterfeit addresses of the fraudulent king, have given the boy Richard (of welcome hope!) to king Louis for fostering. 
       But after this the king, having gone with the boy to the town of Evreux, would himself dispose of the rights of the state. He would pretend in word and deed to be a helper of good will, but he would bear in his heart the intention of an evil design. Tarrying for awhile in Evreux and, with a sly heart, forcing the throngs of citizens into fidelity to the boy, he has returned to town of Rouen. The next day he has recited to the summoned leaders of the city these fraudulent and deceitful words: "I intend to move against the author of our loss and our grief. Let me return to Laon, escorting with me the boy Richard (your assurance!) and from there, once the Burgundians have been called together and the Franks amassed, I will beseige Arras until I take it. Truly will I overturn all the ramparts of the Flemings and demolish their goods by force of arms. Wherever I shall ascertain Arnulf to be, there will I hastily lead my army. I will visit upon him the revenge which he deserves, if peradventure I ever find him. You, moreover, be ever prepared to avenge your lord with me." Blinded by the sophism of such shammings, they have allowed 
(note 4) the boy (of future assistance!) to be escorted away by him. 


Beat your breast, Rouen, for now your boy,
That mighty marquis given to you by right,
Is a prisoner, quivering,
And is led away, oh grief, like a foreigner,
By the king and the Frankish viceroys,
While the Dacian prelates, slow of mind, stand by.


1. Preferring the "ad alteram" of Bongars 390.

2. Preferring the "itidem altori" of Bongars 390.

3. Preferring the "algido" of CC 276.

4. Preferring the "siverunt" of CC 276.

[ 35 ]

       But count Arnulf, polluted by the unheardof stain of his fraudulent homicide, and dreading the future arrival of the king who might (if he were to act properly) take revenge upon him, has sent to him ambassadors, with great presents, to say the following things: "Most pious lord king, our lord, put down by very great infirmity, sends you his faithful service, if it please you to receive it. You have heard by the publicized report of a false rumor that our lord Arnulf favored the undeserved death of duke William, a fault from which he wishes to purify and free himself by the ordeal of fire, undertaken in your presence and according to the judgment of your followers. Truly, he will banish those warriors, upon whom William brought so many evils, and who in fact steered him to his death, if by such acts he might be able to deserve your grace. In order that you might, benevolent, favor his request with your assent, he is sending you twice five pounds of the purest gold. He will also release to you, each year for as long as he shall live, the tribute of his entire region. His followers will serve you in all things, and wherever you proceed with military intent, they also will proceed. He was unable to approach you himself, for you know that he is immobilized by gout. May our prayers encourage your compassionate indulgence, having mercy on one reduced by such a wounding infirmity and faulted, without cause, for such a crime. May deserved mercy block your fury, so that you do not foresake your servant, whom you hate without cause. You have the might, and the realm is yours; do not ruin what has been intrusted to you. You can more easily ruin all the Flemings than crush glass vessels with a mallet."
       Then the king's advisors, blinded by the gifts, have said to him: "There is no need for you to harm someone who bustles about to such an extent in order to justify himself to you. He sends word that he is innocent of the deceitful accursed deed, and that he is determined to justify himself or banish his followers. You must not ruin this man who is at present your supporter, not in any way deprive yourself of him, for in exchange you shall not revive that other one of whom you now stand in need. It is not your right to avenge all who are killed, but to pacify those who are left behind, quarreling because of some death. Recall the evils and the shame which the Normans visited upon you in Rouen, and take precautions lest, bestowing even worse things upon you, they take the Norman realm away from you completely."
       Then the Flemings: "Beyond these things, our lord sends you a most especial advice concerning this matter. Keep William's son, and the usufruct of his realm, in your power forever. Subdue the inhabitants of that land with service and with the dreadful yoke of your law, and compel them to serve you obediently." Blinded and deceived both by the presents and by the encouragement of this perverse advice, the king kept the boy Richard (so valuable!) in his custody and forgave Arnulf what he had fraudulently done to William. 


Oh Louis,
If, in your heart,
You had kept the vows
Which you consecrated,
Your would then have governed,
A venerable king,
Ruling well,
Everywhere where now Belgic
And also Celtic
And also Aquitanian 
Gaul extends 
Its multiplied tracts,
While Richard's father,
The God-fearing
And innocent
Martyr of Christ,
In his simplicity
And uprightness,
Aided you
And gave advantageous 
So great a protector.
Why do you cast aside what
You have obtained by right
Through an oath of allegiance
Of the religion
Of the Christians?
Why, enfeebled
By a brutal and 
Abominable law
And by presents
Do you forsake the respectable
Uninterrupted course
Of credibility,
Now that peace has already been violated
By the cunning of treachery?
And why does malicious greed,
Bound by no law,
Moved by the perverse
Of this impious thong,
Keep back the offspring
Of that bountiful one
From being invigorated
By his desired lot?
Cease this perverse thing
And scorn possession of those
Goods which ought to be abominated.
Let go, I ask,
The youth Richard,
That he might discharge
His own bountiful rights.
In the same way as you capture him,
You too will be captured,
And you will retreat
Before a fitting retaliation.

[ 36 ]

       However, the most sagacious tutor and foster-father of the boy Richard (so celebrated!) was a certain young recruit, Osmund by name. One day when the king is absent, he has brought it to pass that the boy, imprisoned undeservedly, rides out fowling in order to learn to capture winged creatures with his own hawk. But when the king has returned and learned from the words of queen Gerberga that the boy Richard (so knowledgeable!) had travelled outside of Laon in his zeal for boyish delight, he has asked the boy's instructor Osmund to come to him. As Osmund stands before him, the king, enraged by shrill madness, begins to speak, revealing the long-hidden secret of that execrable imprisonment: "Whither did you, more vile than anyone, escort your lord the day before yesterday? If you should ever take him anyplace again I will put out your eyes, once I have boiled your lord's knees." Then he has confided the boy to other young recruits in addition to Osmund, so that they will guard him diligently, and take precautions that he not be able to slip away in flight. 
       Osmund, however, realizing that the boy Richard (so sweet!) is a prisoner, has sent someone to the people of Rouen to report the great deception. Truly the people of Rouen, astounded at the faithless king's altered design, supplicantly seek God's help for the boy (so wise!) 
(note 1) . Therefore they send to every church of the Norman and Breton region in order that together the priests devotedly celebrate masses for him. The clergy busies itself with psalms and the populace fasts, barefooted and wearing sackcloth. But hearing the report of this sad embassy, the Norman and Breton prelates, enjoining on the people a three-day fast in each and every month, supplicatingly deprecate the lord God by pouring forth prayers and giving alms to the poor, to return to them the boy Richard (so desireable!). Together the suppliant clergy of canons and monks sing psalms for his sake, and the devout populace, encircling the churches, sends out deprecative groans.
       Meanwhile the boy Richard (so dignified!), born of a notable family and celebrated for his respectability, was being, even in captivity, adequately versed in all fields of knowledge. He was spending this portion of his life in accumulating new strength, and yet he was being useful and beneficial to all as if he were already of mature age. Whatever was unlawful, he would censure, as much as he could at his age; whatever threatened to disturb his spirit, he would account of slight value. He would copiously arm his tongue with lively charm and engrave it with plentiful eloquence. In order that those things which were obscure to him not remain secret, he would search through and reconsider with zeal those things of which he was ignorant. He would dedicate his tender boyhood to Jesus Christ and, although he was still of tender age, would give himself up completely to divine injunctions. For this indeed could only have happened by divine permission that the boy (so striking in appearance!) was being raised, glittering beyond all the rest, in the palace of the king. With pleasure would the courtiers 
(note 2) engrave him with many types of discussions and polish him with the mellifluous sweetness of palatine disputation.
       But the Lord, the King of kings, appeased in the course of time by the uninterrupted prayers and fasts of the Normans and Bretons, which have been so devotedly pursued over several months, has, in the following way, snatched the boy Richard (now so grown!) from the hands of the king. For the aforesaid young recruit Osmund, a most respectable caretaker, seeing that his lord would still be kept in the palace and, what is more, would be surrounded both day and night so that he could not be carried off by stealth from among the young recruits, has begun to muse over how he might snatch him away from such guards. Thus, in order to do this, on a certain day he has forced the boy (so well guarded!) to lie down and act uncomfortable, even to wail frequently, having counterfeited indisposition and almost disguised the true healthiness of his body. The city is filled with this false rumor, and the falsehood is made public, reported in common talk in place of the truth. And on the third day his guards have gone away, going here and there according to their own needs, judging that the boy (so diligent!) is on his deathbed. Therefore while the king and the citizens are dining and the streets are emptied of men, Osmund and the boy (delivered!), dressed in a rain cloak, have speedily left Laon on fast horses and rapidly moved toward the fortress 
(note 3) of Coucy-le-ChÉteau. There, [Osmund] has entrusted the boy (so upright!) to the occupants of the fortress, and has travelled that same night to count Bernard, Richard's maternal uncle, who was residing in the walled town of Senlis.


Prelates of Normandy,
And likewise leaders of that realm
Who triumph in every war,
And the clergy of every order,
Even the deplorable populace ,
Boys, old men and virgins,
Youths and all women
And the common people, now brought together as one,
Let go of mournful weeping,
And refrain from sorrowful ways,
For this joy is given to you:
Released from royal chains,
And having escaped his guards,
Richard, a bountiful, innocent,
Judicious, most holy boy,
Fair, handsome, magnificent,
Free of gripping fetters,
Will be your very mighty duke.
Render thanks now to God
For the liberated hostage.


1. I have added "boy;" frequent errors of omission are made in all the manuscripts around the naming of the various Norman dukes.

2. I have supplied "courtiers" as a subject for the sentence.

3. Castrum.

[ 37 ]

Bernard, however, seeing Osmund in the silence of the dark night, said to him, marvelling: "What's with you, osmund? No good news about my nephew?" And he: "Lord, if I rescue him from the hand of the harsh king, what will you do about him?~" And Bernard: "You, I will exalt, enriched with many offices; you, I will raise high, greatly endowed with benefices. Moreover, I will reinstate my nephew in the hereditary realm of his father, and I will compel the leaders of the Normans and the Bretons to serve him." To these things, Osmund: "At a late hour I secretly carried off your nephew by stealth from Laon, and I have committed him to the occupants of the castle of Coucy, that they might guard him." Then Bernard, more than usually delighted, arose quickly and, with a nimble retinue, hastily hastened to duke Hugh the great. Hugh the great, seeing him, said: "Why have you sped to us so suddenly and so early in the morning?" And he: "Because I come to you for some advice concerning king Louis, who guards my nephew closely and with caution. And if perchance someone were to rescue him from the hands of the king, what kind of assistance might your clemency bestow upon him?" Then Hugh the great: "What king Louis has said is astonishing to everyone. That boy's father was ensnared and slain for his fidelity to the king, and the king himself holds his son a prisoner. Would that someone would rescue him from the king's chains, and bring him to me." And Bernard: "Lord, what will you do if what you have just recounted were performed.~" And Hugh the great: "Indeed, subjugating the Normans and Bretons to him, I will bring it to pass that he shall possess whatever his father held. I will aid him against the king, and help him manfully against Arnulf and all who wait to ambush him." Then, heaping entreaties upon entreaties, count Bernard said, tumbling supplicatingly at his feet: "Mightiest lord duke, don't be angry if I repeat what I want from you. So that I might become full of confidence in your promises, give me, in your compassion, the most complete assurance possible by the promisings of your own words. For I have the boy (so loveable) at Coucy, delivered by Osmund from the treasonous king's imprisonment." Truly the great duke, giving thanks for the rescued boy, said to count Bernard: "So that you might be confidently more at ease concerning the intention of my promise, I will do what you ask for, for you and for him." Truly, he pledged by a bona fide oath of allegiance, his hands placed upon relics which had been carried to him, that he would aid the boy against everyone.


Hugh, mighty and strong and vigorous,
Great and illustrious and deserving,
Magnanimous, good, bountiful,
Wonderful, upright, eminent,
Look, be mindful of your aid,
With the help of honey-flowing goodness,
And recall the aid of uprightness
Which you are accomplishing,
And help, protect, save,
Refresh the deserving boy,
Bringing it to pass that he might 
Hold, possess, have what his father held
And that he might rejoice, restored to that place,
Something he unremittingly strives to do.

[ 38 ]

       Surrounded by a most judicious and excellent retinue, he began immediately, by divine influence, to glitter with the good work of worthy deeds. He would bountifully point out to all the rewards of emulous virtuousness, and he would force monks and clerics and the laity to devote themselves to divine obeisance. He, moreover, would flash magnificently with splendid habits and merits, and with equitable reins would actively govern the clergy and the people. Moreover, he would be an avenger of accursed deeds but a true and bountiful distributor of goods. For indeed a prodigious, abundant supply of diverse wild animals would afford him woody banquets since, after some discussion of legitimate judgment and equity, he would surrender himself to hunting. Glorified by merited successes, the young man would grow, effacing all vices through the cumulation of increasing moral virtues. He would strive, well-disposed 
(note 1) and sequacious, for perfect goodness so as to be able to rejoice with the saints in the time of future rest. 
       At that time there was a certain Rodulf (surnamed Torta) who, after the death of William, would claim for himself, above and beyond his peers, the honor of all Normandy and, unbecomingly, would unlawfully appropriate for himself goods which were his lord's by right. Each day he would apportion to the graceful boy Richard a daily pay approaching twice thrice three denarii, 
(note 2) just as he paid his own young recruits. The residents of [Richard's] household would be vilely reduced, fettered by want and hunger. Wherefore does the youth Richard (so knowledgeably diligent!), having gathered together the leaders of the Norman region, ask them what to do about the scarcity resulting from this scanty apportionment. And the leaders have then reported the wrath of their angry lord to Rodulf, surnamed Torta, for they are bound to serve him by the true promise of their oath of allegiance and are even endowed with his beneficia. He, however, has sent his own comrades back to the boy Richard (so sagaciously upright!), begging to be permitted to come before him and to purify himself of whatever he had done to displease him. 
       Then, having considered this request, the boy (so memorable!) is said to have replied: "You do understand that my grandfather claimed this town for himself through very many battles." They have replied: "We do understand that." And he: "Did my father hold this town by hereditary lot? Ought I not to hold this town by hereditary right after the death of my grandfather and father? Have you ever seen his father, or grandfather, or greatgrandfather hold this town as he is now holding it? Let us explore who is the grieved party here, I or he." Moreover, while the messengers stood silent, astounded by these words, it is said that he cautiously added: "If he wishes to deserve our grace in any respect whatsoever, let him and all his household withdraw from the city as quickly as possible and, having moved at least one mile from the town, let him stay in a villa until he sends ambassadors to me and hears what I shall reply to him. But if he should take lightly our judicious injunction, we will reject him in every way and send for the Franks to give us advantageous counsel concerning this matter." 
       Then the messengers have reported what they heard to Rodulf Torta. He, in fact, reckoning that his lord would be appeased by his own withdrawal and that of his followers, nay rather, fearing that an army of the Frankish nation was about to arrive, has departed from the city with all his household, staying instead in the meadows of some rustics. Meanwhile the boy Richard (so diligent!) confirms any inconstant warriors to himself by the true promise of an oath of allegiance, ratifying as well the tie of fidelity binding citizens of the whole town to himself. And indeed the following day, Rodulf Torta has sent many of his comrades to the boy (so moderate!) asking that Richard, by accepting the token due to an offended party, 
(note 3) permit him to come before him to be judged and forgiven. 
       On his guard then, the boy has said, moved by the spirit of an acute mind: "Do you understand that he at one time did unheard-of damage to me?" They have replied: "We do understand that." "Does he not still act with foolhardy rashness? He crops the meadows of my rustics with his scythes, consumes them with his horses, wears them down with his heels, he kills and eats their cows and rams, bulls and pigs. If he does not go away, banished from our territory, he will speedily incur his due destruction. You have spoken on his behalf in the past, and you are still speaking in his favor now, but in no way will it benefit him." They however, marvelling at such words, have fallen on their faces, saying: "Lord, we pray that your fury neither rage nor rave furiously against us, for we are your fideles in all things, nor will we ever cleave to him." 
       Moreover, going away, they report what they have heard to Rodulf Torta. Despairing, he has in fact swiftly foresaken those meadows and come quickly to Paris with all his household. However his son, the bishop of the Parisian town, seeing his unexpected arrival, has stiffened and, yes indeed drawing sighs from his breast, said "Why, father, have you hastened here with all your household of both sexes?" Truly, he has recounted his misfortunes for the bishop, both his defeat and his disastrous destruction. The bishop and his father have again and again sent ambassadors to the boy (so courageous!), but it has done them no good. Moreover the lords of Normandy, seeing that he had so judiciously banished a military leader, greatly feared him. 
       Moreover since he shone brightly with such great and remarkable signs of present and future good works, and since reports concerning the young man (so great! so sagacious!) struck with consternation the minds of those living in Gaul, and since, shining profusely with plentiful augmentations of all four virtues at once, he managed the realm of Normandy with the judgment of equitable rule, disposing all affairs as does a king subjected to no one but God, duke Hugh the Great, perceiving Richard to be stout and distinguished in all his deeds, commanded count Bernard, sojourning in the town of Senlis, to come to him, having likewise summoned Bernard of Rouen. To them he said, "I have been receiving ambassadors from many who lie in wait to ambush that young man, count Richard, persons who are again undertaking to attack the Norman region in a hostile attack. Richard wages war for neither king nor duke, he does not offer obedience to anyone but God, he holds the monarchy of the Norman region like a king, and he has no friends who are joined to him by any inextricable alliance of help and fellowship. His father fell by count Arnulf's treachery; see that he be not ensnared by the treasonous cunning of that same man's malice. Moreover the king, not unmindful of earlier evils, still ruminates wrathfully upon his own defeat and captivity, and is now uniting very many persons to himself as he plans to bring about your ruin. Therefore look earnestly for advice advantageous to you so that, untroubled by plots and deceptions, you shall not have to fear some deadly outcome from the changeableness of worldly affairs." However, duke Hugh the Great was in reality setting all this before them as part of his own cautious plan, desiring and hoping to unite his daughter to duke Richard by the bond of a sexual 
(note 4) alliance. 
       Then both Bernards replied: "We do not know, lord, how to dig up any sound advice about all this but won't you, your Grace, give us some propitious help? We have thus far conducted ourselves according to your propitious counsel, holding to the straight and narrow road; we will henceforth conduct ourselves, with you as our duke, advocate, yea indeed as our councillor (saving the promise which we have made to count Richard), rejecting entirely any thought of digressing along some slanting road." But Hugh began to make openly known the secret of his benevolent design: "Have you yet sought a wife for Richard, duke of the Normans, a wife appropriate and suitable for his delightful gentleness and dignity?" They replied: "In no wise have we done this." Yet he replied: "Are you now considering turning your attention in some particular direction, or will you subjugate to Richard just anyone's daughter, simply by purchasing her?" In fact Bernard of Senlis, realizing his lord's intention from the latter's proposing such an intimate admission, replied to this assertion (which had revealed the richer depths of Hugh's mind): "Lord, we do not know whose daughter would be appropriate except yours." 
       Truly Hugh the Great, understanding that they had both realized what he benevolently desired, is said to have replied, having uncovered his heart's intention: "Indeed it is not the custom of Francia that any prince or duke, surrounded in such great profusion by such a warband, in this way continue steadfastly all his days in his own authoritative lordship and not devote himself to a higher power, to emperor or king or duke, either as a result of voluntary obeisance or compelled by force and power. And if peradventure someone does continue steadfastly in such foolhardy rashness, so that he does not willingly attend upon any lord because of the extremely plentiful richness of his own affluence, quarrels and dissensions and the incalculable misfortunes of defeat are frequently wont to befall him. Wherefore if it would please duke Richard, your nephew, to bend himself to waging war for me, with your most advantageous advice, I would of my own accord join my daughter to him in marriage and I would be his uninterrupted defender and helper against all others in his struggle to keep that land which he now occupies by hereditary right." Then it is said that count Bernard of Senlis said: "Because, indeed, the treacherous king Louis has wished to ruin my nephew the young duke Richard, whom he has even in the past held prisoner (along with all the Normans), I would prefer it if you were to give your daughter to him as a wife, so that he may wage war for you, rather than for the deceitful king." Thus did duke Hugh the Great, with the prop of an oath, give his daughter to the most noble young man Richard, not, however, according to the law which governs a nuptual purchase, but in accordance with all the designated and sworn requirements of a marital bond. 
(note 5) 
       However, the truthful report having struck king Louis' heart with consternation and disturbed count Arnulf (who deeply feared the ruin of future vengeance), namely the common talk that Richard duke of the Normans had bound himself in matrimonial marriage, for the sake of offspring and of the succession, to the daughter of duke Hugh the Great and that Richard had bound himself to Hugh in an indissoluble alliance, devoting himself to Hugh's service in return for both his future wife and Hugh's complete support, and would be waging war for Hugh according to an agreement of united friendship, they began, terrified by the trembling fear that they would be crushed, conquered by the crowds of warriors of two such dukes, to explore what to do about the two dukes' baleful partnership of sworn union, meeting each other (after an exchange of embassies) in the district of Vermandois. 
       Moreover, count Arnulf, desiring with all his might to annihilate and ruin duke Richard (that youthful flower of adolescence!), said to king Louis: "Duke Hugh the Great's father Robert unjustly took upon himself the ruling authority in opposition to your father Charles, with the approval of duke Richard's grandfather Rollo, and he perversely subjugated almost all of Francia to himself. Since, however, there afterwards grew up a harsh dispute of immense divisiveness and lamentable Francia, foresaken during the baleful conflict of the two kings, had to endure the destestable strife of accidental damage, your father Charles, deprived entirely of the hope of Frankish support and needful of assisting aid in everything, swiftly sought the Transrhenish king Henry and promised that he would give him, of his own accord, the Lotharingian realm, if he would deal blows against king Robert, who had been established in preference to Charles by the detestable rashness of the Franks and if, coming with him into Francia with an amassed army, he would boldly finish off the war against Robert. Moreover, how these combative circumstances eventually turned out is not unknown to any of our people. Robert deservedly died in battle and your father, king Charles, justly gained the reins of the realm. 
(note 6) However his son Hugh, corrupted by the poison of that very same audacious rashness, is trying to usurp your authority over that realm, and to ruin both you and me, your fidelis, by procuring for himself the favor of the duke of the Normans. Thus is it meet, mightiest king, to explore how you might uphold and rule the realm of Francia. For the leaders of this land cleave obediently to Hugh and attend him with pleasure." 
       In response to these words, the king replied to count Arnulf: "Advise me how to resist the presumption of the insolent Hugh, how to uphold and protect myself and my realm." But the deceitful count Arnulf, desiring to ruin and annihilate duke Richard (with all his followers) so that he would not be able in days to come to avenge the undeserved death of his father, began to soothe the king with these fraudulent words: "I will give you advantageous and propitious advice whereby you will be able to crush and overthrow Hugh and Richard. Give the Lotharingian realm, which your father in fact promised to [Otto's] father the Transrhenish king, to your wife's brother Otto himself, so that he might besiege and capture Rouen for you, laying waste the land of Hugh, who now resists you, all the way to Paris. Thus, profusely enriched by the affluence of that land and surrounded by a greater crowd of magnates and marvelously augmented by the garissons of such great towns, you will be able to battle, yourself secure, against duke Hugh. For the Norman land is indeed more abundantly filled than all the rest with an affluence of all things, copiously filled with game, wild boars and stags, bears and roebucks, and is further increased by the manifold young of all the winged creatures of the forests and of the fattened domestic birds, and plentifully furnished diverse species of fish, indeed the Norman land is a liberal giver of all the goods which an inhabitant needs. It behooves you to possess a land of such plenteousness, for your grandfathers and greatgrandfathers and the rest of your predecessors held it precisely because of those riches. Be mindful of the evils and wrongs which the Normans have fraudulently brought upon you. You will easily be able to obliterate the multitude of them from that land, for they are full of fear and are only foreigners and are wont to busy themselves with piracy on the sea. The Norman land is more valuable, important, meaningful and abundant than is the Lotharingian land." 
       Thus king Louis, persuaded by these arguments, is said to have replied to count Arnulf: "It behooves a count of such great nobility and a leader of such great understanding and practical judgment, such as yourself, himself to bring faithfully to completion what he, advising sagaciously, suggests to his lord. Thus, because you are better known and more credible and more powerful than all my followers, I pray you to furnish king Otto with a charming recital of what you have just unfolded before me so that, through your active intervention, he might come with his entire bellicose seditious band and pillage whatever belongs to Hugh all the way to the walls of the Parisian town. May he compel him to return to his senses by throwing him down to his baleful ruin and may he crush him completely, tearing him to pieces through constant plundering and burning. In exchange for the Lotharingian realm, may he obtain for us the Norman one, and expell its inhabitants, rebels against us. Let the Norman land experience Saxon strength, and let it prove whether it is able to wrestle against that strength with its own forces. May he besiege and capture Rouen for us and, in capturing it, may he account the young man Richard (so arrogant!) of slight value." 
       In fact count Arnulf, much desiring completely to ruin Richard (of blessed memory!), lest he avenge his father's innocent blood, hastens speedily to the Transrhenish king Otto and, coming before him, has said to him the following most humble words: "King Louis of the Franks sends you the present of affectionate and inextricable friendship. Not having the strength to bear the haughtiness and rashness of the baleful contentiousness of duke Hugh and count Richard of the Normans, he sends me to you so that you, your compassionate Grace, might offer him some relief. Hugh is joining his daughter to the young man Richard in a matrimonial and sexual alliance; in fact [Richard], become Hugh's warrior, now obeys him in all things, just as one does a lord, in order to gain the daughter's love. Endowed with Richard's military army, [Hugh] strives to attack the realm of Francia and he hastens to possess its reins and royal staff, as his father did in time past. We pray, with your manly power, check the presumption of their audacious will and, with your influence, deflate the ostentation of their corrupt self-exaltation. Were you to answer our prayer completely and, besieging Rouen, obtain for us the Norman realm, we would give you in perpetuity the Lotharingian realm which was promised to your father in return for his participation in the battle of Soissons." 
       Now Otto, rejoycing at this much-hoped-for embassy, and having made a covenant concerning the Lotharingian realm, swiftly comes to Paris with a gathered and collected band of easterners, laying everything to waste, as king Louis comes to meet him with a great army. When all Hugh's lands had been devoured and laid to waste, count Arnulf said to king Otto: "This town flourishes, encircled on all sides by an arm of the everlasting Seine, untakeable through assault by any nation. Thus we pray, turn your armed legions instead towards the territory 
(note 7) of the town of Rouen for, before you even reach the limits of the Norman countryside, the keys of that city will be carried out to you."

                      Apostrophe to Arnulf

Why does God's power of support,
He who even foreknows all things,
Whose will endures as action
And whose vital warmth embraces all things,
Favor violent,
Contumacious, shameful,
Arrogant and evil kings?
But even though, oh woe, your sharp sword
Has already stung a very worthy duke
(The father of that sacred boy),
Behold, in order that the latter might himself become
An even holier bountiful witness of God,
An even more bountiful count,
A wealthier marquis
And a duke holier than all the rest, 
Noble, celebrated, pious,
Equitable, bountiful, upright,
Holy, innocent, good,
Who will establish every good
And crush every evil,
Your wishes, frivolous,
Will not procure your desire.


1. Preferring the "solers" of Rouen 1173 and other manuscripts.

2. The denarius was a basic silver unit of currency.

3. Recipiendo pignus offensionis debitum.

4. Connubialis.

5. Emma, daughter of duke Hugh the Great, was betrothed to Richard I in 945. The marriage was celebrated in 960.

6. Robert was killed at the battle of Soissons in 923.

7. Pagus.

[ 39 ]

       But king Louis, yielding to a perverse inclination for cunning deceit, swiftly sent prelates of prodigious reverence to Hugh so that, in accordance with that promise whereby lord and warrior are linked together, the duke would hasten readily to come to him. Therefore Hugh the Great, forced in a supplicating manner by the repeated requests of the bishops, advanced to meet the king in a village near Compi
auml;gne, at the villa called "Crux," (note 1) and he said to the king: "On what business have you compelled me, on the basis of my promise and by extraordinary ambassadors, to hasten here?~" Moreover, the king replied: "In order that you return to me Richard, whom Osmund stole and guided to count Bernard." Hugh the Great replied: "Unless I take from Bernard by force the fortresses over which he presides, I am unable to favor your prayers and wish in any way."
       Then the king replied: "So that you may support, rather than injure, me in my need, I will grant to you that you may hold the counties of Evreux and Bayeux, yea indeed, from the Seine all the way to the sea, but I will keep what is on this side of the Seine, and as a result of these arrangments I will fulfill my will. Let us be in harmony and of one mind in every affair, as perpetually befits a king and a duke. Proceeding along this side of the Seine, I will beseige Rouen, but you will beseige Bayeux, defending it once the military band has been taken by assault. In this way we will weaken the arrogant and foreign Normans, and subordinate them to our authority. Moreover, they will in this way either grow tame and be subjugated or, banished, will go back swiftly to Dacia." 
       But duke Hugh the Great forgot his promise, which he had made to Bernard, to help Richard, nay rather stripped of his memory by the beneficia and the cities he agreed with the king upon the covenant of this alliance; once the time for them to carry out their intentions has been settled, each marches back to his own home. Therefore count Bernard, familiar with this agreement, went swiftly to duke Hugh. And coming before him said, agitated in heart and mein: "Great and most trusty duke, you have been, until now, distinguished for all your merits and for the uninterrupted course of your promise, but I marvel that you have lied to an innocent boy, although you engaged yourself of your own accord by a Christian promise of confederation. It would behoove you to preserve unharmed that promise which you put forth, and not to detest it for the sake of any present of gifts or any beneficium. Normans and Bretons recognized what you promised the boy Richard, and leaders of Francia rejoiced over this decision. What is more unseemly than this infamy? And what more mean-spirited than such a blasphemy? Rumor of such treachery, and the vileness of such a wicked duke, is being noised abroad throughout almost all the cities of Francia, all are whispering about how so great a duke and advocate was ensnared and made a false promise for presents and a beneficium." 
       Sighing from the depths of his heart, Hugh the Great replied to that scolding: "What you have described, you have recounted in a true and blameless speech for, having forgotten the oath of allegiance whereby I engaged myself of my own accord as the boy's defender and helper, I accepted by the king's gift the land from the Seine to the sea which ought to be held by Richard in hereditary right and I promised in return, if the king would never deny that he gave that land to me, to help him secure the land which is on this side of the Seine and, breaking my oath, I promised steadfast loyalty to him. Truly, since you are a count of marvelous talent and prodigious industry and cunning, and shrewd in all matters, I pray that you rescue me from reviling rumor by any sophism necessary. Sixteen days from now we will hasten to enter Normandy, the king and I. Moreover, he himself will beseige the town of Rouen and I, as was sworn, Bayeux. Therefore we will reduce the Normans, and the Bretons likewise, so that, humbled, they will serve us. Truly, should anyone be insolent and rebellious towards us, he will be banished. Truly, should anyone trust to armed resistance, he will be killed. If you have any discretion and talent, I pray you to deliver me, releasing me from the offense of oath-breaking." Bernard, however, perceiving that Hugh the Great had opened his heart, said to him: "Because you are so kind a lord, or perhaps because my nephew is so beloved, I will be able to reason out a better course of action than I might have had I merely been able to disturb your plan by chance." Having immediately marched back to Senlis, count Bernard, cognizant of the deliberations of the king and of his lord and of the time of the aforenamed hostile attack upon the Normans, and gladdened by his lord's benevolence in revealing his own intention, sent swiftly to Bernard, a man of Rouen and a Dacian, and secretly sent word of what he had heard from duke Hugh the Great, including Hugh's intention, in order that Bernard not defend the city with all his strength against the king but rather, having prepared a chorus of canons and monks, receive him joyfully as though rejoicing in his arrival and, by pursuing many argumentations, force the king to deny that he gave the land to duke Hugh the Great." 
       Truly Bernard of Rouen, gladdened by the advice of this embassy, announced the secrets he had heard from the ambassador to the assembled Norman leaders. Moreover the Normans, knowing that Bernard never deceived any of them, yea indeed that he knew the secrets of duke Hugh the Great, likewise praised his advice very much. Truly at the time appointed for the confederated advance, having called together a Frankish military band from wherever he could, the king came into the region called Caux and began to molest people and estates by setting fires. Moreover duke Hugh the Great, allured by this type of confederation, went on with a great army to the county of Bayeux. Therefore Bernard of Rouen, not unmindful of the advice of count Bernard of Senlis, in deceit sent with peace-making words for king Louis to hasten to the city of Rouen with his bishops and leaders and to no longer lay waste his own possessions with a nation of such great savageness. But the king, gladdened by the message of this embassy and rejoicing to advance his own rule and honor by the addition of the conquered town and its leaders, came with the Frankish magnates to the city of Rouen, restraining the rest of the army from further pillaging land now under his authority. Truly Bernard and the rest of the leaders and clergy of the whole town went to meet him at the Beauvais gate, and received him with the cunning of undaunted genius. 
       But at daybreak the next day Bernard came before king Louis and began in deceit to urge him with these most humble words: "Unconquered lord king, you have long been irreproachable and steadfast in your promises, and very much praiseworthy in your every deed. We have lost our duke and advocate through Arnulf's treachery, but through God's grace we have gained instead you, a king, as an advocate. We care nothing for his progeny, whom Osmund stole and carried off from you, nor will we ever wage war for him, devoting ourselves to his service, for it is wiser for us to be royal and palatine, than to be the servants and the retinue of such a count. But something we have heard is astonishing to us and beyond believability, and we have marvelled greatly at those people by whose narration we learned that you have granted to duke Hugh, who is always quarreling insolently against you, the ample land from the Seine to the edge of the sea and that, at this very moment, he is taking the Bessin region by assault, and occupying it with a great army. What you have reserved for yourself, sweetest king, is of small worth and provides little military force or other service. You have increased your foe by 20,000 armed men. Who has seen men more valiant in war, more judicious in deliberation than the men of Coutances and Bayeux? If you had kept for yourself that military band, you would indeed have been able, as William did, to be lord and master of all nations by means of their arms and their advice. Did not William, relying only on the moiety of this army, without the accompaniment of Hugh and Herbert, by himself conduct you to king Henry? Who will uphold and defend, profit and preside over this city which you have kept for yourself? The men of Bayeux and Coutances used to guard this town, a prominent Frankish and Anglian port. The abundant goods of that land were made available to us, and we were made opulent by the treasures of that country. Therefore, accept this city, for we do not have the resources to live in it, and give it to Hugh, whereby he may be able to rebel against you all the more easily. We, with all of our fellows, will go back to Dacia on a nimble navigational course and, once we have gathered an even greater military multitude, we will lay waste this land, as Rollo once did; later it will be neither yours, nor Hugh's." But the king, incited by these deceptive complaints, prayed Bernard to advise him about these matters. Then Bernard replied: "Send an ambassador to duke Hugh the Great to deny him the fields of the Bessin, and to say that he is not to hold them more than three nights, nor to stay there any longer for, in offering them to him, you yielded to evil counsel." Truly, the king immediately sent someone to say this speech to Hugh.
       And as the ambassador stood before duke Hugh and announced the news to him, he was stupefied and, his gaze fixed and frozen, said: "The cunning of two leaders has forced the king to send such a message." Retreating to Paris, therefore, at this word of denial, duke Hugh sent an ambassador to king Louis saying: "Why has what you gave me of your own accord been taken away?" The king replied: "The land of Normandy will never be upheld except by the advocacy of a single lord. That which it befits to be whole ought not to be divided. Long ago Rollo, banished beyond the limits of Dacia, claimed this land wholly for himself, and it has since been divided by no one. The Dacian nation only knows how to serve a single lord." The ambassador, moreover, diligently recounted for duke Hugh what he had heard the king set forth. Meanwhile Bernard of Senlis, hearing of the unexpected and extremely speedy retreat of his lord duke Hugh, came to him on speedy horses and said: "Duke (so steadfastly trustworthy!), since you have been released from the fetters of a noxious oath of allegiance, be mindful of that oath of allegiance whereby you betrothed yourself to help the boy Richard." And Hugh replied: "I will be unable to aid him, for the whole Norman nation is subjected to the king." Against this Bernard replied: "Wait attentively for the outcome of the affair and what future days will spawn for him."


O king, hardly mindful of yourself
And of that one's father, who benefitted you,
By whose uninterrupted assistance you now hold these realms,
And who did many things
For your sake, and who fell a sacrificial victim 
Of the Starry King, who knows what lies hidden and what bursts forth,
Why do you after this now do damage
To this yet harmless, upright boy
Richard, nobly sprung from a celebrated family,
For both his sire and his grandfather once stood fast, 
Rich in never-ending, truth-telling fame,
Excelling in sacred arms.
Through the plague of this disgraceful act
Countless misfortunes will shackle you, will one day
Capture you, will destroy you in the end, because of this.


1. Possibly La Croix-Saint-Ouen.

[ 40 ]

       Meanwhile, king Louis, tarrying within the walls of the town of Rouen and setting Norman affairs in order as though he were lord, would spend his fleeting time there in a leisured manner, imagining (because of the false rumor of the [Normans'] intended fraud) that he was indeed the king and advocate of the Normans. And one day, a certain Frankish new recruit asked the king to grant to him the affluent wealth of Bernard the Dacian, yea indeed even his wife, who was extremely beautiful. And, having heard (in secret) a report concerning this request, the rest of the new recruits then came to the king, saying: "Lord king, we have always served you incessantly, and yet we are endowed with a sufficiency of nothing, except of food and drink! We pray, drive out and banish these Norman foreigners from here and, after granting us their wives, bountifully give us their beneficia. Truly, we will rule this town in faithful service to you, nor will you be able to doubt the fidelity of any of our followers."
       The abominable meeting concerning this matter becomes known to Bernard and the Dacians but, having taken counsel among themselves, they have kept silent. But once king Louis had retreated to Laon, having made himself disgusting to the Normans by the zeal of his stepmotherlike hatred, they reconsidered the matter, of one mind, musing over the king's ruin, still saddened by the desire for power of those new recruits who had made the unseemly request. Moreover, in order to ensnare the king by some sly effort, the Norman magnates had already sent warriors of rather influential nobility and wealth to Aigrold king of Dacia so that he would hasten to assist his relative Richard, son of the great duke William, because the king of the Frankish nation was claiming for himself the monarchy of all Normandy, taking away by force every honor from the boy Richard, even though the boy had been plucked from Louis' chains. 
       Truly Aigrold, the magnanimous king of Dacia, honorably received the Norman ambassadors, for love of his close relative Richard and, having constructed ships and filled them with victuals and warriors, came as quickly as he could with an incredible multitude of young recruits to the shores near the salt-works of Corbon, 
(note 1) where the Dives with a rapid motion casts itself into the tempestuous sea. Moreover, the men of Coutances and Bayeux, hearing of the arrival of king Aigrold, came to serve him for love of the boy Richard. Immediately did the report swiftly penetrate the regions of Francia, announcing that an inestimable multitude of pagans was come to the Norman shores. Therefore Bernard and the rest of the people of Rouen, pretending fidelity to king Louis, sent to him in deceit, saying: "Because an innumerable and well-supplied multitude of pagans, glittering in the first flower of youth, has come to our territory, we pray you (note 2) to come swiftly to our assistance, with a gathered military band, if you wish to continue to enjoy dominion over the Norman region." Moreover king Louis replied to the ambassador: "I have already learned from common report that what you say is true." Wherefore king Louis, incited to action by the narration of this baleful embassy, came speedily to Rouen with the assembled army of the Frankish nation, bringing with him count Herluin and Herluin's brother Lantbert.
       However on the fraudulent advice of the Normans, king Aigrold, hearing of the arrival of the king of Francia, sent word for Louis to come to meet him at a conference. Moreover Bernard of Rouen, pretending to be a fidelis of the Franks, said to king Louis (who was trusting confidently in the multitude of his armies and preparing to go to the conference that would condemn him): "You are about to attempt to procure the favor of a nation which loved our count William, venerating him with deep love, and one which hates, with a deeply heartfelt emotion, the person for whose sake he was martyred. For the Normans, deprived of such a great duke as a result of count Herluin's dispute, will accost him with the intention of killing him should they, peradventure, see him. For that reason, do not take him with you, lest perhaps strife be born between the two armies when he is recognized." Then one of the young recruits is said to have replied to Bernard: "Should a count such as Herluin be carefully concealed, laid aside in some hidden recesses, because of you and the rest of the foreigners?~" Bernard, however, would contemplate in silence the actions of the Franks and kept concealing in his heart his resentment at the scolding. Moreover king Louis, setting the Frankish army in motion, did lead count Herluin forth with him, and pitched camp on this side of the river Dives. 
       The men of Coutances and Bayeux, with king Aigrold, fixed their tents on the other side of the flowing Dives. Arising first thing in the morning, Bernard came to king Louis, saying: "Lord king, arise swiftly and explore secretly with your followers what ought to be done. This nation, very full of proven cunning, has customs different from the Frankish ones." Then, with the king's assent, someone lying inside the tent replied to Bernard, who was standing outside it: "Go back to sleep, for we are not concerned about such things." And Bernard, irritated by this type of talk, returned swiftly to the rouennais encampment. But when the sun was blazing at the third hour of the day, the hosts of men from Coutances and Bayeux began to cross the bed of the Dives. However Bernard, observing this, sought out the king a second time, saying: "Be diligent now, king, you have all been dreaming long enough, for the Dacian nation, having crossed the river Dives, is standing mounted on the bank, with what wrathful intention I do not know." 
       Truly the king, awakened by these threatening words, arose on the spot and, surrounded by a crowd of counts and warriors, was making haste to get to the conference that would be his ruin. And calling Bernard, Louis said to him: "I do not know why my anxious soul, not refreshed by my placid repose, is now giving me a presentiment; it is warning me to prepare either for battle or for something else unexpected." To these things Bernard: "Did I not, pursuing the matter repeatedly, urge that count Herluin not be brought here?" These things said, Louis came to the place which had been arranged for the conference. However, king Aigrold was standing there with the men of Coutances and Bayeux, while on the other side king Louis stood with the Franks. Moreover, the beloved youth of the Dacians was also standing there, leaning on javelins, and holding oblong shields in their hands; they were searching for an opportunity to kill the Franks and the king.
       Therefore while king Louis and king Aigrold of Dacia and their armed Frankish and Dacian and Bessin associates were standing around, all intermingled, at this mutually-desired conference, count Herluin said to a certain soldier who had been at one time known to him: "How is the health and success and wealth of you and your family?" He replied: "I am of sound health, and of opulent happiness and of affluent richness." But the men of Coutances and Bayeux began to ask the one who had been inquired after who that was, who was asking so familiarly about the condition of his fortunes. He replied to those who were asking: "Herluin, the extraordinary count of the fortress of Montreuil." Moreover the men of Coutances said to the men of Bayeux: "Is this not the one in whose quarrel and for whose sake our lord William (that most respectable duke and marquis) was ensnared and martyred? Shall this troublesome man slip through our fingers?" That said, all the Dacians with a disordered, unrestrainable roaring, vexed with madness and enraged with blazing bile at the death of so great a lord, brandish their arms, attack count Herluin (the opportunity taken) and, undaunted, slay him.
       The Franks, however, desiring to avenge count Herluin and to uphold themselves in arms, rise up, unshaken, against their foe. Now that the battle has been violently initiated through the [Normans'] deceit, the Franks, their spears and lances broken by the fighting, would at first valiantly struggle against drawn swords. Yet, at length, surrounded by the copiously flowing and destructive company of the men of Coutances and Bayeux, and also of the pagans, they would be slaughtered, torn to pieces, as sacrificial animals are by wolves. Thus, accosted in battle by a deadly shock, twice nine most noble counts from king Louis' side fall prey to death, perishing as Mars vents his rage, nor would there be any hope either of life or flight for those left behind. But king Louis, perceiving himself to be foresaken by the protection of the Franks and knowing the risk of battle, to avoid having to fight, would seek refuge in flight. 
       Indeed king Aigrold, seeing king Louis from a distance, would pursue him with a speedy course, flying straight through the center of the host on a winged steed. King Louis, on the other hand, would flee this way and that, for in his hands he merely held the reins of the bridle, which had itself slipped from his horse's head. Moreover king Aigrold has soon made for Louis, who is hampered as described, and, grasping Louis' sword by the shining hilt, has ripped it from the king's side and out of its hollow sheath, and has committed Louis to his own Dacian warriors, with the provision that he neither escape nor be killed. But he himself, rejoicing in the king's capture, has returned quickly to the battle field, and has thrown down to destruction whatever Franks have been still upholding themselves by their arms, and has thrust the men of the Frankish nation, mangled by blows, down to the Lower World. But having obtained victory and arms and spoils, the Normans, able to survey the battlefield untroubled, have bourne away the lifeless men of their nation for burial. 


Oh Norman chiefs, mighty enough
In the combat of battle and in triumph,
And circumspect and upright in all deliberation,
Worthily do you now, by warring, hold that homeland
With a steadfast uninterrupted course, preserving the peace
And a rightful claim on a sacred promise,
Both for the sake of your own fidelity
And for that meritorious future duke
Richard, celebrated and good, equitable,
A flashing boy and a sacred genius.
Now be well, be strong, God bless you always,
You who hold the realm of this homeland,
By virtue of your potent and tenacious force,
In fidelity to the boy Richard,
And may you and your offspring and your sacred nephews,
The entire lineage of that consecrated race,
Draw the twice-dual and twice-octave lot of good fortune,
Both being reckoned among the saints
And being renewed in the highest good,
In that place fit for the sevenfold repose,
After the mournful dissolution of your limbs.


1. Perhaps Corbon-en-Auge, nowadays 15 km. from the sea.

2. Preferring the "subvenias" of Bongars 390.

[ 41 ]

       Thus the kings, terrified and smitten by the trembling of a very great fear at the nocturnal murmuring of the bustling populace and at the din of the steeds, kept thinking Richard, with his followers, had come in the gloom of the night in order to fight. Suddenly, everyone's safety has been bewailed as lost, and the assurance of life and the hope of living has passed away from all. For, moving to and fro, they did not know what they were doing, where they were turning in flight. Indeed, each one's mind would waver at the alarmed circumstances and each one's heart, extremely alarmed and desirous of the truth, would fall hither and thither in confusion. 
       One would flee, embracing swords as though out of his senses, another would wander through the coverts, plucking away oblong shields with a nearly insane spirit. Truly some would throw their tents and encampments to the ground, while others would equip their horses with trappings for forehead and breast. The one would run this way and that, whither he did not know, the other would be brought to a standstill, stunned and quivering and his gaze fixed and frozen. The one would look earnestly for his lord among the wave-driven and quivering populace, the other would feel his way, defenceless, among the mingled crowd, bawling out for his vassal. One would take flight on foot at a swift pace, others would flee, defenseless, on horses quickened by spurs. Some would carefully conceal, by stealth, mail coats and leather helmets ornamented with gold, others would claim for themselves royal and other accoutrements. The roaring of the quaking armies would resound on high, and the uproar of their inarticulate cry and the outcry of their howlings would ring confusedly. 
       Therefore the people of Rouen, awakened by the disordered and soaring outcry of this hastily-raised and ringing populace, fearing lest they be suddenly attacked at dawn the following day, have fortified the town with armed guards and, themselves ever-watchful, were awaiting the sad event of the expected battle. However, as the dawn, shining in its reddish mantle, dried up the mist of the shadowy night and both the outward appearance and the mental image of its species returned to objects, the Transrhenish ones have begun to set their little tents on fire and to return to the road of their desired retreat and, not knowing the ways, to wander hither and thither, quaking. Truly, the great-souled duke Richard, decorated with the blooming down appropriate to manhood, merry and glad at the outcome of this affair, has wished to attack them with all his own readied battle-lines. But the people of Rouen, attempting to put away from so great a duke the intention of this much-desired attack, have said carefully, of one mind: "Mightiest lord duke, you are still blooming with tender age, and you are our hope for safety and confidence; we fear lest, if you were to go, you fall prey to death. They believe that we are deceived by this sham and, in our opinion, they plan to capture the town once we have burst forth from it in this way. It is not our advice for you to go with us to the battle of this combat but, whatever the fortune of this matter may be, manfully to guard the town with very many followers. But we will cautiously pursue them and will try to challenge them at arms." 
       That youth of celebrated nobility, Richard, (barely prevailed upon by the skirt-tails of this persuasion) has remained in the town with very many followers, and the rest of his retinue and his new recruits, pursuing the royal hosts, would overthrow very many, killing them. At length a certain band of the warriors of Rouen has joined battle with them in the wood which is called "Maliforaminis" 
(note 1) and, with God's aid, has gained the victory over the defeated enemies. And likewise another assembly of the men of Rouen, awaiting the two kings' army at the outlet of the wood has overthrown and killed very many enemies and has sent the rest fleeing to the district of Amiens. Moreover, once they had obtained victory over those foes, returning to the protection of the town, the men of Rouen have recounted for Richard everything that has happened. Then the most mild marquis Richard of worshipful memory, both a duke and a most distinguished patrician, has given, with all his clergy and people, the very greatest thanks to the King of Ages and, as glad as possible, has apportioned many pious donations and votive offerings (note 2) to the sacrosanct church. With these things thus fulfilled (by divine command), he has begun to be considered a chief in all the land of the Normans and the Bretons, the Franks and the Burgundians. 
       For he would glitter with the noblity of his lineages, he would be distinguished for his representation of all goodnesses. He would be famed for his manners and loftier than the stars in his merit. He would shine in his image and be second to none in compassion. A mellifluous ruler, he would embellish the condition of the state, and be known to all above the clouds through the fame of his uprightness. Skilled in the continuous deeds, studies, warning examples and lessons of an imitable goodness, he would ordain all things useful. He would be bright in countenance and brighter than all the rest in his every action. He would shine, sweet in eloquence and more agreeable than everyone in dress and gait. Glittering, with a mellifluous mouth, always serene, with a most pleasant heart. For he would indeed glow with faith, hope and charity, and with the double love of God and neighbor. He would flash with discreet simplicity and he glitter with simple discretion. He would actively calm strife and disputes and quarrels and would rule the people in a friendly manner, as a father does his children. He would abound in the profits of goodness, he would instruct very many with examples of uprightnesses. Indeed there would be truth and glory in his house, equity and justice would gleam in his works. 
       For indeed the actions of the Frankish and Burgundian magnates would be directed by his providence, and those things beneficial to the state would be pondered by his practical judgment. For the proven rumor of his sanctity, dignity and abundance would be poured forth far and wide, indeed, Flemings and Easterners would obey his command. Truly, since it is least effective that a lamp, laid from heaven on a lamp-stand, be concealed under the shadow of a bushel, he whom the Lord Christ disposed to be made public, through marvelous signs, has begun to be considered among his followers as the very greatest possible man.
       How estimable the clergy and the people who would submit to the orders of so great a duke! For indeed through the aiding mercy of omnipotent God and the caring ingenuity of its duke Richard, the church of Christ would be, in those days, beautiful and greatly decorated. Indeed it would be, at his admonition, constructed upon sacred customs and illuminated with badges of the virtues, having neither blemish nor wrinkle through crime or duplicity. For indeed it would beam with solar loveliness in the loftiness of its prelates, and with lunar brightness in the humility of those ranged under it. Truly he himself would be mindful, in his most kind mind, of the condition of the innocent life and, although of the lay order, would himself equip the helm of ecclesiastical stewardship with a most serene heart. He would surpass all in action, word and propitious thought, he would glitter with good manners and with the light of his merits. 
       For truly he would be opulently endowed with the grace of the Holy Spirit, and he would be very readily filled full with the wisdom of the seven-fold gift, he would daily be very worthily enriched with an abundance of merits and of all goods, with diligent and precise investigation he would search through everything that he had been able to learn with a lay understanding. For indeed, with the grace of the Holy Spirit leading the way, he would be endowed with the ornaments of moral purity, renowned for the wares of his magnanimity. He would attend closely to celestial things, caring little for vices, and would draw the inhabitants of the Norman region together under the law. He would be, moreover, a gentle youth, filled full with all uprightness, aged in the goodness of his habits, and established by Christ in the grades of humility. He would show in word and deed with what intention of mind he had been brought forward for the assistance of the rule of the whole homeland. 
       For indeed he would be the mellifluous sweetness of the strong, the courage of the weak, the defender of the orphaned, the supporter of the wretched, the calmer of evils, the staff of the destitute, the repairer of churches, the genuine light of the blind, the summit of the clergy, the salvation of the needy, the pillar of the children, the ornament of prelates, the salvation of widows, the apex of the priests, the lover of alliances, the cultivator of virtues, the greatest hope of everyone, the compassion of the sorrowful, the memorable assurance of friendships, the glory of the despairing, the safeguard of presbyters, the throne of the laws, the ruler of the people, the shepherd of the poor, the model of the upright, the weapon of warriors, the judge of accusers and accused, the scale of judicial investigations, the assuager of quarrels, the father of the exiled, the receiver of the fugitive, the apportioner of offices, 
(note 3) the sweet love of servants, the example for all, the punishment of thieves, the defeat of bandits, the corrector of believers, the labor of kindnesses, the wall of regions, the light of all, the ideal of sanctities, the sweet chief of magistrates, the aider of kings, the protector of all peoples. 

                     Apostrophe to Richard

Patrician, count, duke, marquis, prince,
Warmed by religion, distinguished as an image of uprightnesses,
Gentle in address, celebrated for the rewarding of goodnesses, 
Guarding the footpath of judicial investigation by management of the law,
Richard, whom praise (the judge) stretches from west to east
To north through the common talk of recounted praise,
Your great deeds outstrip this unskilled, insignificant       pleader, although he still longs to write,
But is greatly hindered by the very mound 
(note 4) of manifold acts,
Nor does he have the strength to describe them, 
For the vehemence of your uncommon action has overmatched him.
Let him struggle, however undeserving, that he might be able to write!
Hark! may you, God's athlete, flourish in the summit of the sky,
May you have joys with the saints in the pastures of peace.


1. The particular site in question is usually said to be the hamlet of Maupertuis.

2. Beneficia et donaria.

3. Honores.

4. Preferring the aggere of CC 276.

[ 42 ]

       But queen Gerberga, completely deserted by paternal and fraternal patronage, and having endured such a discomfitting defeat, and supported by no hope of relief (but rather dreading to lose the realms), on the advice of the bishops requested the aid of duke Hugh the Great. Duke Hugh the Great respectfully received the queen and the bishops who accompanied her and, honorably apportioning to them whatever was needed, kept her with him for many days; however, in the meanwhile, he sent count Bernard of Senlis to the warrior Bernard of Rouen so that, having called a council of the Norman magnates, he would hasten to meet the duke at St. Clair. No sooner said than done: [the Normans] came hastily, under Bernard's leadership, to the aforesaid place to meet duke Hugh, in fulfillment of the latter's bidding. 
       Then the great duke and the bishops said to the Normans: "Return to us our lord king Louis." And they: "He will not be returned, but rather he will be held in captivity." Then Hugh the Great: "We will give you, in exchange for him, his son and two bishops and as many young recruits of his household as you would like, as surety that the Frankish prelates and counts and leaders and abbots will come to meet you at a conference, at some predetermined time, where all will confirm and corroborate and ratify by the oath of allegiance 
(note 1)of a most irreproachable and true promise that the Norman land belongs to Richard and to his descendants in perpetuity." The leaders of the Normans, very much praising this advice and trusting in the promise of duke Hugh the Great, returned the king, accepting in exchange for him his son, (note 2) and two bishops, Hildierus of Beauvais and Guido of Soissons, (note 3) and very many warriors. Truly, Hugh the Great escorted the king to the former's own home, to rejoice with [the duke's] followers and wife.
       But at the appointed time, having gathered a military band and the prelates of Francia, the king came with duke Hugh the Great to the river Epte to meet the Normans. And although his son, whom he had given in exchange for himself, had died in the town of Rouen, Louis himself, in his own name, with his hands placed upon reliquaries, and the bishops, counts and reverend abbots and the leaders of the realm of Francia, all made a guarantee to the blameless boy Richard that he would have and hold the realm which his grandfather Rollo had obtained for him by force and power in wars and battles, and that Richard himself and his successors in office would render service to no one except God, and that if someone should accost Richard in some quarrelsome corrupt attack, or attack the realm in some hostile quarrelsome attack, Louis would himself be, through it all, a most trusty helper in every exigency. 
(note 4) Then, when these things had been settled according to this eloquent termination of legitimacy, as king Louis and duke Hugh the Great and their followers stood by, the chiefs of the Bretons and the Norman magnates, having with greatest pleasure given their hands (in place of their hearts) to the boy Richard (so unutterably upright!), made a second promise of military service, aid and payment of dues through the most trusty guarantee of a Christian oath of allegiance. 
       Then the Normans and the Bretons, rejoicing greatly, have brought the boy Richard (so honorable and so dignified and so splendid!) to Rouen. When, morever, the inhabitants of the town and of the territory of that district 
(note 5) , old and young, children and infants, of both sexes, ascertained that the boy Richard (whom they so desired to see!) was speeding toward them, they would be running to meet the boy (so bountifully and mellifluously blameless!) even though they would have no power to reach him, hindered as they were by the obstacle of the pressed-together masses, for the multitude would crush together everywhere because of their joy, and the populace would rush into one another on account of their relief at the recovery of their supporting safety, while the crowd would fiercely squeeze together into innumerable exaggerated mobs. Having prepared the appropriate religious items, the clergy of the whole region has barely managed to extricate itself from the suburbs of Rouen because of the assaults of the turbulent multitude, yet in the end, bearing the bodies of saints in feretories and all the while praising God for the transports of joy occasioned by the returned progeny, has escorted him to the altar of the holy Mother of God. (note 6) 


Splendid town, gleaming with that sacred warrior
And plenteously full of all goods,
Abiding, fierce, in a tranquil port,
Glad Rouen, seize that patrician and duke,
Brought back from imprisonment,
Filled with never-ending divine nectar, mighty by right,
For this one will be for you a marvelous and bountiful
Duke, mellifluous likewise, a count
And a patrician, a constant marquis,
And one day the four corners of the world
Will acknowledge his fame, redolent
Of his augured of uprightness,
Because there will be no one more holy than he himself
In action, word, yea even in thought,
For he stands at the summit of human achievement in all these three things.


1. Preferring the "sacramento" of Bongars 390 and CC 276.

2. His second oldest son, named Charles.

3. Hildierus was bishop of Beauvais c. 933 - 972, Guido of Soissons c. 957 - 970.

4. "Licetque - exstiterit" must be read as one sentence in order to provide a subject ("ipse et omnes episcopi") and an indirect object ("Richardo puero") for the main finite verb of the passage ("fecit securitatem"), therefore I have overriden the sentence divisions of the manuscripts.

5. Pagus.

6. The cathedral of Rouen, dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

[ 43 ]

       However, since he would rejoice in the becoming advice of a consort of such great nobility, and would calm with salvation-giving right the peoples of the Breton and Norman fatherland and, with the power of worthy lordship, would restrain with advantageous deliberation the rising evils of any unexpected disturbances throughout almost the whole of Francia and Burgundy, a certain viceroy, 
(note 1) one rich in treasures and most affluent in warriors, Tetbold by name, irritated with malevolent madness and jealousy and hatred, has begun to plot against him and to wrangle with him, with much mockery, and to storm his land to no purpose. Perceiving, however, that he accomplishes nothing against him, he has travelled to queen Gerberga and her son king Lothar of the Franks, sojourning at Mont Laon. He has begun to urge them, pursuing the matter repeatedly, to bring him down from so great an honor, by ensnaring him. 
       And, corrupted by the poison of malice, he would say to the king and his mother: "It is marvelous to me and to all how count Richard (so presumptuous!), holding the Norman and Breton realm, calm, puffed up with presumptuous rashness, insolent beyond all others, rules over Franks. He wages war for, attends and serves neither God nor anyone else but, in the ostentation of his audacity, he trusts confidently in his own disrespectful soul and silly heart. Every one of us he esteems lightly and, like a king, he rules and dominates the Franks with an arrogant authority. Through his resolution, happenings, all of which are troublesome to the Franks, are being compassed. For it pertains to neither your nor our official dignity that such a count should be our lord and master. Indeed it is a blemish on your sovereignty that he commands the Burgundians, censures the Aquitanians and rebukes the Bretons, and rules and governs the Normans, threatens the Flemings and ravages the Dacians and binds and makes friendly the Lotharingians, nay rather the Saxons, to himself, and even the Angles are obediently subjected to him, the Scots and the Irish are ruled by his patronage. Indeed all nations of all realms attend him and yield obedience to him nor is there anyone, except you, who may be able to halt his arrogant rashness and that of his warriors. He is much strengthened and grows very strong, more and more violently and beyond what is sufficient, nor does he become any more reasonable, for he trusts confidently in his copiously-flowing mass of warriors. See that he does not try to attack, in addition to you yourself, your hereditary realm and to banish you and drive you out from it. If you held what he holds, unjustly, you would be able to claim all realms for yourself."
       Indeed, having heard the fallacious tergiversations of this conflict-inciting address, the queen, saddened and moved, has replied to Tetbold: "You, privy to our secret conversation and trusty privy counsellor and advisor of our more private deliberation, give us advice concerning these matters. We, propped up by no one's helping valor, except God's, pray that you, moved by compassion in this affair, might mercifully assist us. We avoid every quarter and keep to ourselves, and secure trustworthiness is nowhere to be found." Truly count Tetbold, desiring through this deceit completely to ruin patrician Richard (so upright!), added this advice for the queen:


Hark! why just now do you rage, o Arnulf, 
(note 2) inflamed by hatred and treachery,
Extremely weakened and mangled by the pitch-pine torches of envy?
Stop struggling against a higher will and ability,
The exertion which you are now reconsiding in your heart, is utterly useless,
He will not be captured whom the right hand of God has ratified and protects,
For the equitable, upright, harmless, holy and celebrated
Marquis and patrician, count and bountiful duke Richard,
Glorified by a shining bulwark of quadrifid virtue,
Enriching the people entrusted to him, will correct, protect,
Aid, save, and refresh them, just as does a father.


1. Satraps.

2. The reading "Arnulf" does not seem to be one of the frequent mistakes concerning proper names, though it might at first seem to be so. The names of the villains of the work were never rubricated and so the opportunity for confusion would not have arisen as it so frequently did with the names of the heroes of the work. Dudo seems to be insulting Tetbold here by calling him by the name of some great villain, in this case "Arnulf," just as authors sometimes insult traitors by calling them by the name "Judas."

[ 44 ]

       For indeed king Otto, urged by many persuasive requests, moved his army (so large!) and set out with king Louis for the river Epte which is the separating boundary between the realms of Francia and Normandy. Then Otto summons Arnulf, inciter of the entire evil, and asks for the keys of the town of Rouen to be fetched, just as Arnulf had promised him. But Arnulf began to speak to king Otto, in accordance with a plan hatched in his sharp mind: "Lord king, none of the people of Rouen dares to approach you, for the land from here to Rouen is wooded and those who sojourn in its groves and thickets busy themselves in highway robberies. Nearby there is another water course, called the Andelle, which provides access to meadows and to an abundance of all things; we request you to fix your tents there tomorrow and thither will the magnates of Rouen come, bringing you the keys of the town and presents of precious value." And retreating, constrained by these deprecative words, king Otto thereafter settled in the meadows by the river Andelle. 
       But at dawn the count (so sly and cunning!) stood before king Otto, brightly shining and surrounded by a company of bishops and a crowd of dukes and prelates. Moreover [Arnulf], desiring to torment the young man Richard (so youthful and glittering!) and to conduct the kings to the town of Rouen, said to Otto: "The people of Rouen, disturbed by the potential disgrace of future mockery, are ashamed to send you the keys without being overpowered by hostile heinousness. Therefore, surrounded by an army led by two kings and by such great dukes and prelates, they will not hesitate to hand the city over to you, Otto. For that reason, my lord king Louis beseeches you with all his strength to set out in the morning for the town of Rouen. Send before your own majesty your hardiest legion which, attacking, by force of arms will take possession of the city. Let it thrust savagely back to the city, before your arrival, whatever combatants it might find positioned outside the walls and, after this, you may fix your tents, untroubled by them, at the Beauvais gate. Moreover, once you yourself have approached the town, both your army and that of my lord will, together, fill the people of Rouen with apprehension, while we will have already been able to observe through the exertion of actual combat and battle precisely how vigorous and courageous is this town." 
       Then a certain nephew of king Otto said in a self-exalting speech: "If it is agreeable, lord king, I will go and, preceding you, pitch your camp. If peradventure an army should assail me, I will crush even thousands of warriors with my sword. I will ascertain both their condition and vigor and courage in battle, and their caution and forethought and practical judgment in war. I have often contended with Dacians and Alans and Goths and Hungarians but I have never gone into combat against Normans. Challenging them with readied battle-lines, I will take the city by assault and I will demolish, scattering them, the populace of that foreign nation." However, he was speaking this way with youthful ostentation, not knowing that the outcome of a battle is changeable and fortuitous. Once he has put his army into motion, king Otto himself immediately marches forward (forced as he is by the most humble admonitions of [king Louis'] requests), sending before him his nephew (so mistakenly self-exalting!) with fully-equipped legions.


Great and venerable king Otto, why do you strive
With an inimical company and malign exertion
Now to mangle and defile
The celebrated and sacred,
Noble and just, upright, modest
Marquis and holy patrician
And magnanimous and strong duke Richard?
And to take away the honor of his dominion?
Indeed, to resist in your thoughts
The mighty command of the supernal and highest king?
For no one can resist the supernal power
Nor, again, turn back the starry will.
This highest count, duke, patrician and
Holy, celebrated, modest marquis,
Will keep the populace within bounds by nourishing laws
And, shrewd, will torment the mangled guilty
And consign worthy rewards to the just.
Flashing with holy habits and merits
He will thus ascend to the brilliant stars of heaven.
You, mighty and vigorous and powerful king,
Will be crushed by the eternal divine will
And will brood over this facetious mockery
And will go back, shamed, to your residence hall,
Condemned by the Normans.

[ 45 ]

       However, when king Otto's nephew has approached the city gate which is called the Beauvais gate, with a well-equipped army he has struck at the Normans with the foaming wave of a glittering riding and the warlike combat of a hostile attack, but the Normans themselves, skillful at such wrestlings, would swiftly return to the protection of the town, shamming flight as though overcome by their foes. But the Saxons, merry because of this artifice of feigned flight and steeled by the success of these events, would pursue them by force of arms. Truly the king's nephew kept reckoning that the armed assembly would at length take the walled town by an assault upon the drawbridge of the Beauvais gate. But the Normans, assembling fully armed on that very spot and springing upon them as do lions on each beast in a herd, overthrowing them, have begun to tear them to pieces and kill them with glittering spears and swords, and to mangle them with hatchets, as wolves do sheep. Truly when many Saxons have been killed and very many exhausted and wounded, the king's nephew passes away, among swords and lances, upon the drawbridge.
       At length the Normans, having obtained the victory, comprehend that many of the leaders are now in the contest of the combat of death. But the rest of the Saxons, perceiving that the king's nephew lies dead upon the drawbridge and seizing him with great vehemence and rough impulse, would be carrying him back to the rest of the host while the Normans were leading very many of the others away, as prisoners, to the walled town. After the strife of the rough and extended battle has been in this way disjoined, Saxons and Franks would stand on one side and Normans on the other, nor would the Transrhenish nation strive any longer to mingle with the latter. 
       Meanwhile a death-bringing report, announcing the cruel death of his nephew, has struck king Otto with consternation, and hearsay about so great a defeat has deranged the entire army. After shared deliberation, they have immediately attacked the city by force of arms, desiring to avenge the blood of the young man (so awesome!). But the Saxons and the Franks, accomplishing nothing around the town but wailing greatly over the very many killed from their armies, would return to the camps carrying the corpses of the deceased. Truly king Otto, sorrowful at the death of his nephew and at these new unseemly events, and seeing the countryfolk of the land approaching the town from the other side, has said to his leaders: "Can this town be surrounded by our army so that those who are conveyed by ship not pass through?" They have replied: "Not at all, for the simple and solitary Seine strikes the walls of the city with its tempests, nay rather, increased and restrained by the billows of the sea, it continuously attacks the gates and walls of the town with its foaming flood, with a seven-fold increase prescribed by the course of the waxing and waning moon." 
       Then king Otto has sent to Richard to permit him to make for St. Ouen for prayer. Truly, having been given permission to pray there, the king comes with his bishops and dukes, who have set down their arms, to the monastery dedicated in honor and worship of St. Peter and St. Audoenus, which is in a suburb of the city. There indeed he himself and his followers have bountifully given many votive offerings and, still abiding in the monastery, he has said to the gathered magnates: "Resolve in your souls on what we ought now to do and let each one announce what seems right to him in this affair. At the prayer of king Louis and ensnared by the sly sophism of count Arnulf, we have come here where we are basely suffering shame and a blemish on our honor, and are not recovering our honor but instead suffering greater loss. By no hostile effort might we have been able to prevail in anything against the Normans, for all good fortune is furnished to them through the bed of the Seine. Thus am I afflicted by unbearable sadness and stung by extremely great wrath. For I do not know what ought to be done in the case of such a baleful crushing and such sad misfortunes. You who are greater in age and understanding and with whose advice I determine for everyone what things ought to be carried out, explore with the deep musing of sagacious thought what it would behoove us to do in order to act in a praiseworthy manner. If it please you, I will capture that wicked sophist Arnulf and I will send him, bound in chains, to count Richard so that he might avenge his father on him, because Arnulf compelled us and king Louis to hasten here fraudulently, desiring to kill duke Richard, just as he once killed his father." 
       Then the prelates and magnates have replied to king Otto, saying: "If he is captured and if he is sent to Richard for punishment, it will be detestable to all and blameworthy before everyone. The shame and disgrace of filthy blemish and loss, which you are suffering in recompense of a fitting retribution, will not be obliterated, because your army, taking Richard and his followers by surprise in an unbecoming seige, remains here unjustly; but strive after advantageous advice concerning our retreating departure and take heed, with all purpose, that nothing even worse or baser befall you. Justly have you lost, in the strife of this seige, your nephew and your counts and your retinue and so very many warriors because, attacking this city, unjustly did you beseige it. For indeed you hastened here, without advice, at the prompting of crafty Arnulf; take precautions not to retreat without advice. All the inhabitants from the sea to the Seine are being massed and, after these past two years, are longing to attack you with prepared armies. It is not in the interest of our good health nor of our resolution or wealth to remain here for a long period of time. King Louis very much rues that he came here, for he knows that he accomplished nothing in the prolongation of this seige. But, keeping out of the way now that his inclination for mendacity has been published abroad, Arnulf, entangled by the tergiversations of very many sophisms, no longer strives to have discussions with you. And therefore, reconsidering with the musing of deep thought, weigh carefully what we from beyond the Rhine ought to do about this seige. The town will not be captured, hostages will not be given but, for us, the unavoidable damage will swiftly increase. Would to heaven that, by the mere injunction of your order, each one of us might be in that place where he sought out the earth at the commencement of his own birth! But since wishes have been availing us very little thus far, we pray, turn the soles of our feet in propitious retreat so that they will fall again upon the land of our birth." 
       Thus king Otto, given a hint by this discussion and fearing the baleful danger of future misfortunes, musing for a long time, begins to speak to the leaders as though to himself, withdrawn into his own mind: "Lest we possibly suffer worse misfortunes than before, and lest our foes revel any further in the happy results of our defeat, tomorrow let us return to the road of our retreat, if it please you all." Then the men from beyond the Rhine, praising every aspect of this advice very much indeed, return merry to their tents, having poured forth a prayer in the basilica of St. Peter and St. Audoenus. But, informed by the report of certain people to take precautions not to be captured, count Arnulf, departing at night silently and cautiously and privately, was returning as swiftly as possible to the Flemish fields, having awakened his army in the first part of the dark night, secretly folded up their encampments and tents, and loaded their horses and wagons with all their household furnishings. 

Otto, arise swiftly, and flee now speedily,
Make for your natal soil,
For the supernal avenger affrights your hosts!
Withdraw speedily now, arising,
Your sly general has vanished, come,
Rescue yourself now, nimble, by flight!
Why are you reclining still, against God's will?
Flee, now, go, now, flee, now, now,
And, although the Norman hosts hinder you,
You will go, alas! alas! even more dishonourable.
Now direct your step, now flee, now take to the road,
Compel your trusty followers to withdraw,
Now king, flee, withdraw, melt away, lest you perish,
Lest you be ruined, hedged in by that company.
The upright 
(note 1) and compassionate and good youth Richard
Highest marquis and duke, patrician count,
Already puts his prodigious host into quick motion,
He also longs for you to withdraw.
Whether you like it or not, he is the
Opulent, good and sagacious ruler of this region.
An equitable judge, he will distribute reins of law
And of governance among the populace
And, after the mournful debt of his lamentable loss,
He will worthily ascend to heaven.

                     Apostrophe to Louis
Why do you, who boast the royal dignity
And an exceptional authority, glittering everywhere, 
Whom a royal lineage has put forth 
From the royal pedigree of both parents,
Whom it is fitting to exalt, with the highest effort,
When you accomplish royal things,
And whose great-grandfathers are said to have made 
Twice thrice three realms friendly to themselves,
Long to throw to the ground, through such misfortunes,
That most celebrated youth Richard?
Having surrendered yourself to treachery, 
You will indeed attempt the above-mentioned things in vain.
This decision is now preferable, let you rather flee
On a nimble and winged horse.
At one time you desired to lash out 
(note 2) against the Normans,
You are mindful of what came to pass.
For, captured in the effort of the war, you surrendered
To innumerable misfortunes.
Now flee, withdraw, fall back, take to the road with nimble step,
Should you desire to live.
Let you not recommence strife against him whom the right hand 
Of the ethereal judge has hallowed,
Whom the judgment of omnipotent God predestines
To such manners and merits
Whereby he might build, might found, churches,
Exalting them to the high summits and,
Strengthened by the sevenfold nectar of the celestial spirit,
Might protect, might defend,
Might rescue from enemies,
And, supporting, might help, might raise high the populace,
And might supply, adorn, bind together and increase 
The religious acts of each order and each rank
And, urging, might force them to live according to a regular law
In service to the one enthroned on high,
And so, gaining the fellowship of the supernal flower-garland,
He will live at the pinnacle of heaven.

                     Apostrophe to Richard
Good, worshipful Richard,
Venerable, worthily beloved
Marquis, duke and bountiful count,
Let you no longer dread, anxious,
For lo! alarm before the omnipotent Lord
Has now rushed upon these kings,
Making them extremely faint-hearted
And, struck with consternation in their souls by God's dart,
Very many will be captured by your bands,
Very many will die by the sword, 
Thus, they will barely get back to their fatherland,
By fleeing now, swift.
And you, the judge, will again tame the souls
Of the people through laws.
And by the founding of churches
You will compel, you will drive and you will trouble
This host of the threefold order
To concern itself
With the Deity of the sacred Trinity,
Through active and contemplative obedience.

               Apostrophe to Arnulf 
(note 3) 
Betrayed by your plots and your wide-gaping clefts
And all your evils,
Hated exceedingly, like a putrid beast,
A hateful, hated scourge,
And a harmful mischievous person, nay rather a traitor,
A plague injurious to all,
Harmful to all,
Guilty in word and deed and thought,
You will, in the future, renew strife only with difficulty, 
(note 4) 
You will put no one into quick motion with your quarrels.
Leave Richard alone, that upright youth,
Predestined already for God.
A marquis, patrician, 
(note 5) duke and count,
Elect, bountiful, extremely mighty,
Illustrious, equitable, compassionate and upright,
Holy and modest, blameless,
Both a famed summit of sacred religion
And a very celebrated model of organization,
This shining man's highest idea 
(note 6) of good
Enfolds the Norman populace.


1. Preferring the "probus" of CC 276.

2. Preferring the "feritare" of CC 276.

3. Preferring the "ad Arnulfum" of CC 276.

4. Preferring the "haud" of CC 276.

5. Preferring the "patricius" of CC 276.

6. In Greek.

[ 46 ]

       Thus the kings, terrified and smitten by the trembling of a very great fear at the nocturnal murmuring of the bustling populace and at the din of the steeds, kept thinking Richard, with his followers, had come in the gloom of the night in order to fight. Suddenly, everyone's safety has been bewailed as lost, and the assurance of life and the hope of living has passed away from all. For, moving to and fro, they did not know what they were doing, where they were turning in flight. Indeed, each one's mind would waver at the alarmed circumstances and each one's heart, extremely alarmed and desirous of the truth, would fall hither and thither in confusion. 
       One would flee, embracing swords as though out of his senses, another would wander through the coverts, plucking away oblong shields with a nearly insane spirit. Truly some would throw their tents and encampments to the ground, while others would equip their horses with trappings for forehead and breast. The one would run this way and that, whither he did not know, the other would be brought to a standstill, stunned and quivering and his gaze fixed and frozen. The one would look earnestly for his lord among the wave-driven and quivering populace, the other would feel his way, defenceless, among the mingled crowd, bawling out for his vassal. One would take flight on foot at a swift pace, others would flee, defenseless, on horses quickened by spurs. Some would carefully conceal, by stealth, mail coats and leather helmets ornamented with gold, others would claim for themselves royal and other accoutrements. The roaring of the quaking armies would resound on high, and the uproar of their inarticulate cry and the outcry of their howlings would ring confusedly. 
       Therefore the people of Rouen, awakened by the disordered and soaring outcry of this hastily-raised and ringing populace, fearing lest they be suddenly attacked at dawn the following day, have fortified the town with armed guards and, themselves ever-watchful, were awaiting the sad event of the expected battle. However, as the dawn, shining in its reddish mantle, dried up the mist of the shadowy night and both the outward appearance and the mental image of its species returned to objects, the Transrhenish ones have begun to set their little tents on fire and to return to the road of their desired retreat and, not knowing the ways, to wander hither and thither, quaking. Truly, the great-souled duke Richard, decorated with the blooming down appropriate to manhood, merry and glad at the outcome of this affair, has wished to attack them with all his own readied battle-lines. But the people of Rouen, attempting to put away from so great a duke the intention of this much-desired attack, have said carefully, of one mind: "Mightiest lord duke, you are still blooming with tender age, and you are our hope for safety and confidence; we fear lest, if you were to go, you fall prey to death. They believe that we are deceived by this sham and, in our opinion, they plan to capture the town once we have burst forth from it in this way. It is not our advice for you to go with us to the battle of this combat but, whatever the fortune of this matter may be, manfully to guard the town with very many followers. But we will cautiously pursue them and will try to challenge them at arms." 
       That youth of celebrated nobility, Richard, (barely prevailed upon by the skirt-tails of this persuasion) has remained in the town with very many followers, and the rest of his retinue and his new recruits, pursuing the royal hosts, would overthrow very many, killing them. At length a certain band of the warriors of Rouen has joined battle with them in the wood which is called "Maliforaminis" 
(note 1) and, with God's aid, has gained the victory over the defeated enemies. And likewise another assembly of the men of Rouen, awaiting the two kings' army at the outlet of the wood has overthrown and killed very many enemies and has sent the rest fleeing to the district of Amiens. Moreover, once they had obtained victory over those foes, returning to the protection of the town, the men of Rouen have recounted for Richard everything that has happened. Then the most mild marquis Richard of worshipful memory, both a duke and a most distinguished patrician, has given, with all his clergy and people, the very greatest thanks to the King of Ages and, as glad as possible, has apportioned many pious donations and votive offerings (note 2) to the sacrosanct church. With these things thus fulfilled (by divine command), he has begun to be considered a chief in all the land of the Normans and the Bretons, the Franks and the Burgundians. 
       For he would glitter with the noblity of his lineages, he would be distinguished for his representation of all goodnesses. He would be famed for his manners and loftier than the stars in his merit. He would shine in his image and be second to none in compassion. A mellifluous ruler, he would embellish the condition of the state, and be known to all above the clouds through the fame of his uprightness. Skilled in the continuous deeds, studies, warning examples and lessons of an imitable goodness, he would ordain all things useful. He would be bright in countenance and brighter than all the rest in his every action. He would shine, sweet in eloquence and more agreeable than everyone in dress and gait. Glittering, with a mellifluous mouth, always serene, with a most pleasant heart. For he would indeed glow with faith, hope and charity, and with the double love of God and neighbor. He would flash with discreet simplicity and he glitter with simple discretion. He would actively calm strife and disputes and quarrels and would rule the people in a friendly manner, as a father does his children. He would abound in the profits of goodness, he would instruct very many with examples of uprightnesses. Indeed there would be truth and glory in his house, equity and justice would gleam in his works. 
       For indeed the actions of the Frankish and Burgundian magnates would be directed by his providence, and those things beneficial to the state would be pondered by his practical judgment. For the proven rumor of his sanctity, dignity and abundance would be poured forth far and wide, indeed, Flemings and Easterners would obey his command. Truly, since it is least effective that a lamp, laid from heaven on a lamp-stand, be concealed under the shadow of a bushel, he whom the Lord Christ disposed to be made public, through marvelous signs, has begun to be considered among his followers as the very greatest possible man.
       How estimable the clergy and the people who would submit to the orders of so great a duke! For indeed through the aiding mercy of omnipotent God and the caring ingenuity of its duke Richard, the church of Christ would be, in those days, beautiful and greatly decorated. Indeed it would be, at his admonition, constructed upon sacred customs and illuminated with badges of the virtues, having neither blemish nor wrinkle through crime or duplicity. For indeed it would beam with solar loveliness in the loftiness of its prelates, and with lunar brightness in the humility of those ranged under it. Truly he himself would be mindful, in his most kind mind, of the condition of the innocent life and, although of the lay order, would himself equip the helm of ecclesiastical stewardship with a most serene heart. He would surpass all in action, word and propitious thought, he would glitter with good manners and with the light of his merits. 
       For truly he would be opulently endowed with the grace of the Holy Spirit, and he would be very readily filled full with the wisdom of the seven-fold gift, he would daily be very worthily enriched with an abundance of merits and of all goods, with diligent and precise investigation he would search through everything that he had been able to learn with a lay understanding. For indeed, with the grace of the Holy Spirit leading the way, he would be endowed with the ornaments of moral purity, renowned for the wares of his magnanimity. He would attend closely to celestial things, caring little for vices, and would draw the inhabitants of the Norman region together under the law. He would be, moreover, a gentle youth, filled full with all uprightness, aged in the goodness of his habits, and established by Christ in the grades of humility. He would show in word and deed with what intention of mind he had been brought forward for the assistance of the rule of the whole homeland. 
       For indeed he would be the mellifluous sweetness of the strong, the courage of the weak, the defender of the orphaned, the supporter of the wretched, the calmer of evils, the staff of the destitute, the repairer of churches, the genuine light of the blind, the summit of the clergy, the salvation of the needy, the pillar of the children, the ornament of prelates, the salvation of widows, the apex of the priests, the lover of alliances, the cultivator of virtues, the greatest hope of everyone, the compassion of the sorrowful, the memorable assurance of friendships, the glory of the despairing, the safeguard of presbyters, the throne of the laws, the ruler of the people, the shepherd of the poor, the model of the upright, the weapon of warriors, the judge of accusers and accused, the scale of judicial investigations, the assuager of quarrels, the father of the exiled, the receiver of the fugitive, the apportioner of offices, 
(note 3) the sweet love of servants, the example for all, the punishment of thieves, the defeat of bandits, the corrector of believers, the labor of kindnesses, the wall of regions, the light of all, the ideal of sanctities, the sweet chief of magistrates, the aider of kings, the protector of all peoples. 

                     Apostrophe to Richard

Patrician, count, duke, marquis, prince,
Warmed by religion, distinguished as an image of uprightnesses,
Gentle in address, celebrated for the rewarding of goodnesses, 
Guarding the footpath of judicial investigation by management of the law,
Richard, whom praise (the judge) stretches from west to east
To north through the common talk of recounted praise,
Your great deeds outstrip this unskilled, insignificant       pleader, although he still longs to write,
But is greatly hindered by the very mound 
(note 4) of manifold acts,
Nor does he have the strength to describe them, 
For the vehemence of your uncommon action has overmatched him.
Let him struggle, however undeserving, that he might be able to write!
Hark! may you, God's athlete, flourish in the summit of the sky,
May you have joys with the saints in the pastures of peace.


1. The particular site in question is usually said to be the hamlet of Maupertuis.

2. Beneficia et donaria.

3. Honores.

4. Preferring the aggere of CC 276.

[ 47 ]

     Since, however, the celebrated marquis Richard, that is to say Christ's dove, gleamed (without arousing bitter acrimony) with tokens of every good and kept the area of the Norman and Breton realm both calm and safe from its foes, and no nation dared to lash out against Richardians, the great and marvelous duke Hugh, nearing the end of his days, constrained by the indisposition of his body, said before he passed away to all his assembled warriors: "Although she be of tender age, I have, on your advice, through an oath of fidelity for a future wedding, committed in marriage to Richard, mightiest duke of the Normans, my daughter, whom you must not hesitate to give bountifully to him when she shall be suitable and fit for a husband. Truly let him be the advocate of my wife and my son, while the latter is underage, and may you all adhere of your own accord to his most advantageous advice and commands." Truly, once duke Hugh of the Franks had passed away, of one mind, they all came together to the powerful marquis Richard and placed themselves under the care and deliberation of his patronage. 
     Moreover, all would devote themselves voluntarily to his service and would willingly attend him as their very lord. Moreover he would endow them with the very greatest presents and marvelous gifts and would load them with most bountiful beneficia. Moreover they would value him highly with minds full of goodwill and would look upon him with the awe of the very highest reverence. They would humbly submit to his orders and dictates and would obediently obey his instructions. He would rule them carefully, as the head of a household does his slaves, and would nourish them sweetly with benign warmth, as a father does his children. The convenience of the more retired order, which exerts itself in the school of the speculative life, would be judiciously pondered by him, and those things beneficial to the order leading a wider life, which wrestles in the public contest of an active life, would be furnished by his splendor. He would compell the prelates to rule the republic actively and carefully and gently, and he would threaten them and demand that they do no damage to anyone. Truly while duke Richard advantageously ruled almost the whole of Gaul with the sagacious and equitable direction of his laws, the citizens of heaven would rejoice exceedingly, reciting laudations of immense praise to the indivisible Trinity. The whole land would rejoice, shouting to the Lord in delight. All would applaud and give thanks to the all-powerful One in the highest, who bountifully gave them a patrician and duke famous for his augmentation of such goods. 
     But the Normans, showing their joy in so great a censor and so great an advocate, and wishing not only to enjoy him in the present but planning also for succeeding generations, came to him so that the glory of a descendant not be lacking from that man and so that they not be defrauded of that man's offshoot in succeeding generations, saying: "It is needful that, in every matter, all the conditions which have been prescribed by the oath of fidelity of a true promise be fulfilled by orthodox persons within the prescribed period of fore-appointed time. Therefore should she be suitable and fit and marriageable, it is worthy that you couple to yourself under matrimonial law the daughter of Hugh the Great, duke of the Franks, that daughter whom, during his lifetime, you ratified through an oath of fidelity was to be joined to you in marriage before the end of an established time be reached. Truly she, a virgin of most elegant mein and appearance, as we have heard, hesitates little to yield to the force of a masculine seed, for she is now fit for the mingling of nuptial marriage and for the appropriate embrace of delightful copulation." Truly Richard, rich in the power of virile fertility, is said to have replied to his followers: "Because it was ratified by a promise that it would be accomplished, it is now according to reason to carry it out. Let whatever is required for the expense of the wedding be immediately prepared, and let a marvelous betrothal gift composition be furnished." Thus, once the band of magnates of the Norman and Breton region had been called together and all the things which were necessary for the nuptual ceremony had been prepared, he becomingly and honorably escorted her, with an incomputable assembly of leaders, to the town of Rouen.


Oh, Norman prelates and warriors,
Inflamed by the fire of lively minds,
Always desirous and needful
Of the hoped-for posterity of a descendant,
No descendant or heir to rule the populace
Will be born to this maiden who is now being conveyed
But, by command of the divine will,
At a future time there will appear a celestial maiden
Of the Dacian race, noble, nourishing,
Beautiful, celebrated and reverend,
Worthy, forechosen and worshipful,
Cautious in deliberation, prudent, discreet,
She alone will the equitable marquis, duke Richard,
Select for himself from among many,
Uniting with her in marriage and, after the alliance has been covenanted,
As time passes to her will be born 
The nourishing offshoot of a worthy heir.

[ 48 ]

[note text for this chapter was missing from internet back up sites]

[ 49 ]

       "If your son, king Lothar, 
(note 1) sets out for Richard's most fortified towns with the gathered military band of all Francia and Burgundy, Richard will struggle against Lothar, perhaps preferring to halt his advance. If not, Richard will settle himself within the extremely durable ramparts of his highly secure cities. Then, with an amassed army of Christ-worshippers and pagans, he will go to Lothar's towns, pillaging everything along the way, and if he should peradventure capture those towns, he will hold both realms, untroubled by Franks or Burgundians. To a certain extent it is more sensible and more appropriate to capture him through deceit, than to lay waste his monarchy and besiege his towns, for in this enterprise we will accomplish nothing. For he will realize our intention and so will guard himself even more cautiously. Truly, send an ambassador to the extraordinary Lotharingian duke, that is to say your brother archbishop Bruno of Cologne, (note 2) to come to you to undertake the business of this deception, and let him ensnare that man Richard (so self-exalted!) with some cunning sophism." 
       The queen has immediately sent to Bruno and confided to him the entire sequence of this deception. In fact Bruno has immediately made for Francia and, coming to the district of Vermandois, has sent a certain bishop to say to Richard in deceit: "Bruno, although unworthy, archprelate of Cologne, sends you his faithful prayers. Indeed, because our lord well knows what the evangelical speech said by announcing 'Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God,' he therefore prays with all his strength that you come swiftly to meet him in the district of Amiens. For he has heard of the deceptions of those quarrels that are rising up against you and because of his love for you he wishes with an ardent soul to calm their commotions. He will bring you and his nephew the king together in an inextricable alliance, he will reconcile you with Tetbold and the other spiteful people, after removing their baleful will. He is striving to regulate and make serene all his nephew's realms through the law of right authority and to disperse and tread down all strife. For he desires to bind everyone in fidelity to his nephew and, after the whirlwinds of quarrels have been calmed in this way and peace has been covenanted by all, to march back home." Then, ensnared by these deceitful addresses, the most benign marquis Richard has undertaken, with his fideles, to go meet Bruno. 
       And when he has come to the district of Beauvais, and Bruno to Amiens, on the day designated for them to confer together, two of Tetbold's men, inspired by divine command, have come to Richard saying: "We wish, duke, to speak to you privately." As Richard withdraws, they have mentioned to him: "Would you prefer to be duke of the Normans than the shepherd of sheep and she-goats outside your region?" But count Richard has been marvelously brought to a standstill and is staring fixedly and giving them (absolutely astounded) no reply! Having almost withdrawn within himself and thoroughly examined the meaning of this mentioned proposition, he has said the two men: "Where are you from, and whose fideles are you?" They have replied: "Why do you ask whose? Are we not yours?" Richard, realizing that they are his fideles and that they do not wish that fact to be made public, thanking them and bidding them farewell, has secretly honored them greatly. In fact he has given one a sword, glittering in a hilt made from four pounds of gold, but the other an armlet constructed from just as many pounds of purest gold. 
       For indeed as they depart, he has announced to his magnates what they alleged. Then the magnates, having reconsidered and explained the two men's scolding and comparing proposition, have forced him to go back to the walled town of Rouen and to send an ambassador to Bruno to report that he was not about to come to the conference. But archbishop Bruno has been astounded at the ambassador's report that Richard will not come to the conference, and believes that the latter has recognized the plan for deception, and he has said to the ambassador: "Go speedily and tell great duke Richard to come at least to the river Epte, if he desires to have rest and an increase of peace from his foes, and I will travel there, because of my love for him, in order to support him." Then the ambassador: "Neither because of me, nor because of any other of your followers would he come to meet you at a conference." Thus, before the obstacle of this reply, and with the deceit of so great a betrayal so completely exposed, Bruno returns home, ashamed.                      Apostrophe 
(note 3)

O kind Richard,
Duke and patrician and great count,
And bountiful to all,
Behold, very many are attempting
Mightily to subjugate you
By crafty cunning
And each one reconsiders how
To ruin you, unfairly, by deceit,
Therefore strive vigorously 
To gleam with determined hope
And faith and gleaming force,
Whereby you might be able always to bloom
With merits and a just recompense
And, with ready uprightness,
To keep to the right road
And to the equitable path of the scales,
Where you will never be captured
But, rescued from such a lot,
You will flourish,
Now, through all eternity.


1. Lothar, king of Western Francia (954 - 986), son of Louis IV and Gerberga.

2. Bruno, duke of Lotharingia and archbishop of Cologne (953 - 965), son of Henry I, king of Germany and brother of Gerberga, queen of Western Francia.

3. Preferring the "Apostrophe" of CC 276 and others.

[ 50 ]

       Then indeed through all of Francia, Burgundy and the other realms is the hearsay of so great a betrayal and so great a deception made public, and Bruno and Tetbold and the other promoters of such a plan and of such cunning are disparaged by everyone. But most holy duke Richard, rescued from the snares of such great deception and cunning, would devotedly give thanks daily to the King of kings who, gracious, rescued him from the danger of death and captivity. 
       Thus would he be, in all his works, always subject to the lord Christ, armed with the force of devotion and mildness. Extraordinary in manners and merits, worthy in his advocacy of the sacrosanct Norman church. As much as possible filled full with faith, hardy in hope, bountiful in benevolence. Yielding obedience to God's instructions, full of confidence in divine promises. Opulent in the abundance of all things and goodnesses, ready in wordly and divine worship. Docile in deed, patient in hope. Wise in speech, discreet in deliberation, constant and vehement in correcting, burning with the love of God and neighbor. Long-suffering in adversities, strong in dangers. Gentle in divine and secular teachings, most bountiful in almsgiving. Unremitting in his zeal for good works, anxious in his fear of death. Extraordinary in his fear of God, eminent in the lay habit and order. Extremely devoted before all relics, glorious in mercy and compassion. Well endowed with distinguished talent, active in every deed. Remarkable in judgment and justice, dreadful in his harshness towards the guilty. Gentle in his mildness towards the upright. Inclined to grace towards the deserving, prepared to pardon the offensive. Highest in the ranks of humility, extraordinary in every attention to hospitality. Most compassionate foster-father of monks and canons and all flocks, prudent advocate of his own followers. Faithful distributor of the talent 
(note 1) entrusted to him, remarkable mitigator of quarrels. On guard against his own transgression, harshly punishing that of others. Cherishing the common people as a father does his children, faithfully fulfilling Christ's instructions. Vanquishing the wanton sometimes by arms, sometimes by forbearance, subjecting pagans to the light and extremely sweet yoke of Christ. Most strong defender of the homeland, most holy supporter of widows.
       Judicious, magnanimous, good and modest, he would draw the people together through established laws. Distinguished father of the exile and the needy and incomparable supporter of the orphan and the minor. He would furnish bountiful food for paupers and he would flashing, an unremitting repairer of churches. He would marvelously honor, before all others, the sacred orders of the ranks of the churches and he would furnish them with every religious thing. He would be attentive, benevolent and docile in every deed and, dissipating complaints, he would balance plaintiff and plaintiff on an equable scale. He would not look with any worshipful reverence upon the persons of the poor or of the mighty in his judgment but, reviewing the complaints of assaulters and assailers, he would decide after having removed any uncertainty of an intricate case. In every matter he would be distinguished, beyond all others, for his merits and deeds, and he would be a marvelous refuge of goodness and esteem for all. He would account the presumptious and the self-willed of slight value, he would punish the insolent and the guilty. He would raise high the humble and the benevolent, he would tread down the ravisher and the wrongful. He would spur the young recruits of his household to serve by rewards and presents, he would copiously endow the older ones with gifts. 
(note 2) Hardly anyone in his realm would dare to do any damage and no one would dare to pilfer anything from anyone. All would live, untroubled by evils, under his authority and would exert themselves hastily in accelerating all their productive labor.


With profuse prayers, reader, I, a suppliant, speak to you.
An eloquence well and expertly capable of the seven-fold art
Is wanting, I cannot raise up this man
As much as would behoove his innumerable laudable actions,
Neither can I reduce to numbers nor submit to words
What evils he checked, what goods he apportioned,
That good duke, count, marquis, patrician,
Splendid guardian and defender of his homeland.
But if anyone were an extremely eloquent orator,
He would be able to write whatever truth-telling things he desired;
But I, foolish, dull and destitute of all theory,
Do not have the strength to write what I desire to say.
His goodnesses are acknowledged and written down 
In the book of the one who sits on the starry throne.


1. A Greek coin.

2. Beneficia.

[ 51 ]

       Count Tetbold 
(note 1) would be set ablaze, tortured by envy and madness at these and other liberalities scattered hither and thither, here and there, and at the plentiful abundance of diverse things being ever more readily proclaimed. Imbued with the poison of malice and treachery, he would daily prompt king Lothar to ensnare the man Richard (so worthy!) through deceit and to keep Normandy under the yoke of his own authority. 
       In fact, king Lothar, blinded by the sophistical promptings of that very count, has at length sent someone to Richard to speak to him this deceitful address: "How long will I have to wait for some repentent and mindful regard from you? Do you esteem me so lightly, as though I were the trifling thing of just any nation? Having intercepted your friends, am I not able, relying on the assistance of your foes, to beseige and capture your ramparted towns? Will you never subjugate yourself to anyone? Do you know that I am king of the Franks? Could I not be injurious to you were I, mean-spirited, to hasten against you with a gathered military band, which is mine by right? Were I to believe those persons envious of you, and were you in fact to befriend, in your mind and heart, any of those who have broken their oaths and been unfaithful to me, we would never be reconciled in a favorable alliance. Stop exploring such possibilities, and may it please you to be joyful and rejoice with me. Thus let us be joined together by agreements of our reciprocal wills in such a way that no one of our followers will, in himself, possess the ability to do anything whatsoever. Should anyone, wrangling, busy himself in strife against you or against me, you crush and demolish my opponent, as I will yours. Let us be of one heart and and one mind and one will, and let us crush and scatter and subordinate Tetbold, with his followers. Truly, let us reduce under the yoke of a harsh law the Flemings and the other nations who are rebellious against us, and drive them by force and power to serve us. Therefore, swiftly make haste to come meet me at a conference so that, bound by an indissoluble agreement of friendship, we might rejoice of one mind, safe from enemies and opponents."


Merciful, compassionate, equitable, holy king Lothar,
Upright, modest, noble, bountiful light of the globe,
Why are you attempting, corrupted by filthy malice, to ensnare
The holy, equitable duke Richard?
It will cause you shame that you have now planned this corrupt thing,
And that, inglorious, you have had, alas, this perverse wish.
But your ability hardly matches your wish!


1. Tetbold I, count of Blois and Chartres (+ 977), husband of Leyarda, widow of William Longsword.

[ 52 ]

       Thus the most distinguished duke and count Richard, ensnared by the allurements and threats of these lying embassies, has set out, with a gathered military band, to meet king Lothar at a conference. But the king, having gathered together in the deceit all of Richard's enemies, namely Tetbold of Chartres, Geoffrey of Anjou 
(note 1) and count Baldwin of Flanders, (note 2) having indeed secretly amassed an entire army of Richard's enemies, would linger, in a fraudulent spirit, by the river Eaulne. (note 3) Truly, on the day of the enjoined conference, the day established (deceitfully) for the two to become allies, great duke Richard has sent scouts to report to him concerning any transactions in the king's camp, and to inquire who was with the king and whether any deception was concealed in the conference that was about to be held. 
       However, having travelled thither, the scouts have discovered Tetbold and duke Richard's 
(note 4) other foes before the king. They have been, moreover, brought to a standstill, greatly astounded indeed at the king's messages. Furthermore, while they still lingered with the king in view, behold the cuirassed and helmeted armies of counts Tetbold, Geoffrey and Baldwin have come surging to that very spot, riding swiftly, desiring to be ordered to attack Richard (note 5) and his followers as a hostile assembly. Each one, however, seeing this, would signal to himself the need to report swiftly to count Richard what they have seen. Then one of them, mounted on a nimble horse, has sought out the most worthy count Richard with a fleet course, leaping over the entire host and crying out with a great groan and saying: "Lord, mightiest lord duke, rescue yourself, lest you be undone by enemy heinousness, for all your foes, assembled with the king, are longing either to capture or to slay you and your followers!" 
       Undaunted by what he has heard, duke Richard has arisen and has said to his gathered fideles: "Behold, dinner has been prepared for us. Before we turn aside, let us taste it in the name of the Lord. And secured in this way by the banner of the sacrosant cross, let us wait, unshaken, for the battle-wedged troops of our enemies. For their own vileness and treachery will deservedly exhaust them, whereas the uprightness of pure faith and hope will rescue us. Do not let the vehemence of their corrupt multitude terrify you, but let your remembrance of those who preceded you, strong in every adversity, make you valiant." However while he, sitting at dinner, profers these and very many other things by way of persuasion (although very many of his fideles were absent), another messenger has come reporting the approach of the enemy army, and as the most holy duke Richard would interrogate him concerning how many thousands numbered the king's men and whether the king himself was part of the enemy attack, a third messenger has come with spur-quickened horses. He has said to Richard: "Lord duke, behold the king, with his iron-clad army, hastens to accost you with readied battle-lines." Just as he would set forth all this in his quivering voice, the battle lines have appeared, with armed men springing forth onto that very spot. 
       Then the unutterable duke and count Richard, observing the imminent danger closer at hand, has arisen speedily, foresaking dinner, and has turned away from them and has withdrawn across the bed of the Dieppe, 
(note 6) and would wait there waiting for the support of his own army. But the king's army has blocked the fords of the Dieppe in order that it not come to him. Moreover certain pursuers from among his foes, following after duke Richard, have attacked, by force of arms, in the middle of the shallows of the Dieppe. But as all were wrestling in battle, duke Richard, recognizing there a certain one of his own hunters, named Walter, has run thither undaunted along with his household retinue, and has snatched him away, having either put his enemies to flight or having killed them, and has withstood the king's entire army at the outlet of the river Dieppe.
       But as the army of the king and of Richard's foes flocks together from every quarter, the elders have said to the duke, who is harshly defending the entrance to the shallows: "Magnanimous lord duke, the fraud of this treachery, the deceit of this abominable deception, has been exposed by God's will. Therefore turn aside, we beseech you, lest you fall prey to death or be captured. And make for the town of Rouen, riding swiftly, lest peradventure your foes hinder us with an even fleeter course and, finding the town devoid of warriors, claim it for themselves." However duke Richard, rejecting their counsels, would long to attack the hosts of those coming against him with his own new recruits. Then the elders, seeing him continue steadfast in the intention of his own mind and not assent to these words of advantageous advice, approach him and, laying hold of the reins of his bridle, would beseech him to withdraw. But at length, barely constrained by the beseechings of the warriors of greater age, he has withdrawn and has made hastily for Rouen, that it not be captured. 
       As common talk would immediately make public the conspired deception of that detestable conference, all the people of that region have flowed swiftly to the great duke Richard, incessantly urging him with repeated and manifold admonitions to retaliate against the king and count Tetbold for the attempted deception by attacking their realm. But he himself would devotedly give thanks daily to the King of kings, who snatched him from the ruin of death or capture. Therefore he would honor churches, even more completely than before, with altarcloths and various liturgical things and with a bountiful hand he would even more abundantly furnish food and drink for paupers and, devoting himself, he would lavish every care upon the duty of divine service. He would even more correctly weigh his judgments on the scale of equitable examination; restraining quarrels and disputes and disagreements, he would govern the populace with even greater moderation. He would even more wisely accomplish all good works, he would be himself even more perfect, subject to God in all his works. He would sustain even more gently orphans and minors and exiles, as a father does his children, and he would refresh widows and fugitives even more delightfully. He would even more strictly drive monks and canons and laypeople to obey God, he would even more judiciously feed the people under his advocacy with the nourishment of safety, repelling pagans and miscreants.

                      Apostrophe to the Town

Oh city, more plentifully furnished than very many others
With an abundance of goodness and with sacred warriors,
Behold how your judicious, compassionate, holy, good duke,
Snatched from the snares of such chiefs,
Accomplishes things which are of God and are suitable for you,
Through it all on the path of right judgment!
But, because I was not at the time your inhabitant, 
I do not know how to relate what he strove to do.
If only you possessed chattering poets who sang in verse,
Composed with great labor, the good deeds after which he strove!
But it is a defect, you lack masters, bards.
Now teach innumerable boys the arts;
They will know how to compose, with great labor, in a       harmonious
Whatever the successors of this great father accomplish!


1. Geoffrey "Greymantle," count of Anjou circa 960/961 ff.

2. Baldwin III of Flanders (+ 962), son of Arnulf I.

3. Dep. Seine-Maritime.

4. Preferring the "Richardi" of Rouen 1173 and others.

5. Preferring the "Richardum" of Rouen 1173 and others.

6. Now called the Bethune.

[ 53 ]

       Meanwhile, as the goodness of so great a duke and so great a patron was being profusely published far and wide throughout all Europe, Tetbold, corrupted by the poisonous malice of treachery, again sought out king Lothar and said to him with a deceitful heart: "Will you, agreeing with the contention of the insolent Richard, suffer his harmful presumption to persist in your realm? And will he continue to hold the Norman realm without your voluntary bounty? How are you with justice to be called king, if you are not able to rule the realm of the Franks? Besides, he may possibly decide, in his bragging haughtiness, to attack, with gathered Dacian heathen, the realm under your authority, just as his grandfather Rollo once did to your grandfather Charles. I will give you some propitious and advantageous measures to assist you against any attempts on the part of his audacious cunning. You attack and besiege and capture for me the city of Evreux, I will claim the whole Norman region for you." 
       Truly the king, delighted and merry about this offer, sent for all his fideles to come to him as an armed assembly. Thus, once the leaders of all Francia and Burgundy had been hastily massed, he rushed upon and beseiged and captured Evreux in an unexpected contest and gave it, of his own accord, to Tetbold, in accordance with their covenant.


Highest marquis and reverend duke,
Celebrated, worthy and noble,
Defender of the clergy and champion of the populace,
Equitable and bountiful ruler of the people, 
Irrevocable and kind supporter
Of the orphan, the exile and the widow,
Your moderate desire will not now be diminished
By these accidental misfortunes,
Nor will you be harrassed by doubt
While your 
(note 1) misfortunes increase.
At once does the eternal ruler violently mangle this man,
Refreshing instead the one whom he cherishes,
As does a father sweetly reviving his offspring.
What you are accomplishing now, accomplish always,
What you are doing now, do these things always.
The town, carried off from you by stealth,
Will also be returned to you by the highest judge.


1. Preferring the "tibimet" of Rouen 1173.

[ 54 ]

       Thus the mightiest duke Richard, sad and sorrowful at the sudden misfortune of these events, called together the hardiest legions of the Norman army and, trusting to that innumerable military band, marched on Tetbold and, pillaging and setting fire to the Chartrain and the county of Dunes, returned home undaunted. After duke Richard the great's armies 
(note 1) had scattered and returned to their own homes, count Tetbold stole secretly into Norman territory with his own amassed his army. When, however, duke Richard the great had learned by the report of certain people that Tetbold, approaching Norman territory, had arrived, he sent a certain Richardulus to report swiftly on the size of the army. Truly he, riding rapidly towards the place where Tetbold was staying, slew several men whom he encountered separated from their army and, darkened by the blood of the slain, reported to duke Richard that count Tetbold was at hand.
       However duke Richard the great, seeing him covered with blood and his weapons drenched with gore, said to those present: "This man has indeed taken part in a struggle with Tetbold's followers," then said to him: "How many thousands are in his army? On what side of the Seine is he approaching our borders?" He replied: "Three thousand. And he is, by force of arms, rushing upon us from the left side, that is near Evreux." The great duke replied to him: "If he strove to give battle against us or to beseige the town of Rouen, he would hasten to strike us from the other side, where the town is conspicuously located. But because the deep main of the Seine stands as an obstacle between us and them, and he lacks the boats to cross it, in no way is he trying to challenge us in war, but cruelly resolves to disgrace us by creating disorder, pillaging and consuming by fire the fatherland under our authority. But let us, for whom boats are available, cross towards them with our gathered leaders, and let us ascertain which of us is more pleasing to God." Having said these things, he took refuge in the beneficial aid of efficacious prayer, making for the hall of the sacrosanct mother of God and placing the precious present of a corporal upon her altar. Truly God, who resists the arrogant, exalts and raises up the humble, hearkened to the most humble wish of his devout prayer. 
       But count Tetbold, in the malevolent aim of his Norman plan, would act fiercely, maliciously in that land and would travel, surrounded by an iron-clad army, all the way to the houses of Ementrudeville, 
(note 2) situated in the harbor on the other side of the Seine river from Rouen. But that hardiest marquis Richard has sought another harbor for navigation and, crossing the bed of the Seine throughout the night, has initiated (with a few followers) the war against Tetbold, rushing upon him at dawn. Indeed in the first combat encounter they would do battle with mutilated spears and lances. But in the second with glittering swords. For at that time a hardy band of Normans, approaching as a battle-line of glittering swords, their brazen shields joined and strapped together, has attacked those of the Franks who are armed and opposing them and, mangling and overthrowing and smashing right and left the wedge-shaped battle-formations of their enemies, has cut through the thick host of opponents, riding over the corpses of the slain. And in that very spot the tide of battle is turned against the wedged-shaped formations of the remaining enemy.
       Hereupon a great carnage of Franks is brought to pass in that place, and the varied company is tormented and slain. For the warlike and fierce nation of the Normans, running to and fro, traverses the hazardous battle like wolves through sheepfolds, harshly killing and overthrowing the enemy hosts. Indeed, as the great duke Richard's followers cry out, of one mind, that the field of battle is his, the confidence to do battle has departed from all of Tetbold's men, and the very assurance of life itself is bewailed as lost. No one even recognizes where he turns in trying to deliver himself, or where he conceals himself, trying to keep out of the way. In order not to be killed by the Normans, some preserve themselves in thickets dense with grown-together shrubs, others in marshes thickly rooted with alders and poplars.


If peradventure you had been there, you would have seen
Fields and woods, lying open, boil with a new carnage
And foaming streams turn red with sacred blood,
And lukewarm gore steam upon the grass,
Bodies lie prostrate, of the deceased and the mutilated,
Bodies whose garments the fierce rustic nation would utterly despoil,
Each one picturing 
(note 3) for himself the critical moments of variable                      death,
And duke Richard congratulate the glad warriors, the carnage finished.


1. Preferring the "exercitibus" of Bongars 390 and others.

2. Today Saint-Sever, a suburb of Rouen.

3. Conjecturing "pingere" where the ms. is blank.

[ 55 ]

       But meanwhile count Tetbold, stripped of his fideles (put to flight or overthrown and killed), swiftly sought aid in flight with a few followers. Once their horses had been spurred into quick motion, he did not even turn aside at the town of Evreux, which his followers were holding. For he deeply, deservedly, felt on that day the misfortune of a four-fold defeat at the hands of the blessed marquis Richard, namely, he observed his fideles overthrown in battle; he himself emerged mutilated and put to flight; one of his sons fell, overcome by death; the town of Chartres and its garrison tumbled down, utterly burned up by fire. But marquis Richard, most famous for goodness, returned to Rouen at nightfall, wearied by combat and by the extended pursuit of his enemies. Arising, however, at dawn, approaching the field of battle, finding six hundred and forty dead, he felt, in his compassion, severe pain at the destruction of so many; he commanded them to be interred; he caused those who were still alive to be carried gently on a bier to Rouen and healed. Beyond that, he had the thickets and the marshes searched, and found many dead and many wounded, to whom he offered indulgence with the same compassion.


When the losses, changes and increases of the lunar cycle
Twist it, pushed backwards by the waves of the threatening ocean,
The nimble stream of the undulating river Seine meanders, with a cerulean whirlpool, 
A wave moves the coursing tide of the vast deeps
And laps the florid pastures of the odiferous banks,
And gently and abundantly washes the grassy foliage,
Both hills, dressed in shady shining branches, and meadows,
And the delightful field, containing distinguished vineyards,
All shine sufficiently, due to the refreshing course of its waves.
Rouen, celebrated city, you now shine because of it,
Lavishly decorated by the slipping river's pleasant profits
(Whereby it is able to pacify itself with a reward of varied advantage),
But you gleam even more as you are fortified by the merits
And in every way equitable manners of the illustrious patrician
Richard, marquis, duke and count, marvelous and stupendous in deeds,
Especially worthy, upright and holy, compassionate, good and modest,
Who, filled with the bounty of unbeatable strength,
Protects, exalts, rules and, cherishing, guards you
And, more constant than a wall, 
(note 1) chases, hinders and censures your enemies.


1. Preferring the "muro" of CC 276.

[ 56 ]

       With these things triumphantly accomplished, the great duke Richard has swiftly sent to Dacia extraordinary ambassadors from his household, so that the hardy Dacian folk might hasten to assist him. Truly cheered by these embassies, the Dacians hastily approach Rouen with swiftly outfitted and loaded ships. But that most steady duke, observing the leaders of so great a multitude, and striving to avenge the ill-will of wrath and displeasure visited upon him, has commanded them to make for Jeufosse, and to devastate the holdings of Tetbold and of the king. 
       But after this the Dacians, going away and accosting the king and Tetbold, would pillage indiscriminately whatever they hit upon. With all the villas of the countryfolk layed waste, they would torch suburban areas and throw many castles to the ground. They would kill in a cruel manner whoever stood against them and, lamentably, would toss the rest of the company into their ships. All the land of the king and of count Tetbold is deserted, vilely ruined by such enemies. Famine appears, for the land is not cut by the plow. The thoroughfares, roads and by-ways cannot be recognized, because they are beaten down by no one's footsteps. Safety and hope and confidence are bewailed as lost by those left behind, for they are ruined by the dishonor of a universal plague. But duke Richard the Great's land would remain safe and calm, not distressed by any disastrous destruction, but worked by all with voluntary exertion. Each inhabitant, having perceived his ability to achieve his own purpose, would freely strive for whatever he had in view. 
       Francia, distressed for nearly a year both night and day by the countless misfortunes of such great strife and rapine, and of so great a Norman scourge, would no longer be able to bear the hazards of such great misfortune. In these circumstances, well-nigh all of Francia under Tetbold's rule has been deserted by its residents; the churches, abandoned because of these events, are visited by no worshippers of Christ. Therefore the prelates of all Francia, having endured the fury of the Norman pagans, have called together a holy synod to explore what they should do, for the Christians, exposed to dangers, would be tormented, harassed by countless misfortunes and by so very many fires and by the greatest possible robberies and plunderings. But with the false deceit of a fraudulent aim, Tetbold, stirring up strife, would excite the bishops and royal officials to wrangle with Richard's pagans as well, for the sake of the state and of their loyalty to the king. However, since the goodness of the most holy duke Richard was known and acknowledged, the bishops would only marvel at the words of count Tetbold. 
       Thus, taking counsel about this matter, they deprecate the bishop of Chartres, 
(note 1) whose will it is that duke Richard the Great be questioned about the dishonor of that baleful scarcity and loss. Moreover, constrained by the admonitions of his fellow bishops, he has sent a certain monk to duke Richard, who has relayed to him this message: "The bishop of Chartres sends you the faithful gift of his prayers. For he wants to approach you and exchange words with you, wherefore he is asking that a wayfarer be given to him as a guide and helper on his trip, so that your devils and wolves shall not devour and eat him." The most serene duke Richard, smiling at what he had heard, has sent someone to lead the bishop to him safe and sound. 
       The latter, reaching duke Richard the Great, begins to speak: "The metropolitans of the Frankish nation, along with their fellow bishops, send you the gift of their incessant prayers. For we, struck senseless, are wondering why you allow pagans to rage harshly against Christians, when you are renowned throughout the world as a worshipper of God and as an extraordinary Christian? Once I had passed, under the safeguard of your assistance, through that fearful region tyrannized by immense enmity, I found the inhabitants of this land untroubled by enemies; their shrines were not in dread of any sudden adverse misfortune, and I saw the churches reverently attended by the inhabitants and the mystery of the divine office solemnly celebrated. Truly, it is important unceasingly to carry out everything necessary for the worship of the true faith, to increase the name of the Christian faith. We are exhausted by robberies and fires, yea indeed by the misfortunes of sudden and nocturnal death, and we do not know by whose design this execrable calamity is being stirred up against us. Wherefore do we pray with all our might, on bended knees of body and soul, that the reason why this detestable damage is being stirred up against the Frankish nation be made clear with words of truth, since we have come to you for this purpose."
       Then duke Richard, veracious and equitable: "Remembering, do you recall the many evils that were repeatedly visited upon me? Did not Bruno, Lothar's duke, try to ensnare me at the deceitful prompting of count Tetbold? Did not king Lothar, ensnared by the deceitful lies and subterfuges of that same count, try to apprehend and kill me, whom God rescued in his bountiful mercy? Did not that count also promise the Norman region to king Lothar, if he would give him Evreux, a city which he now holds? Besides, did he not challenge me, ravaging and burning in the harbor of Rouen with an immense enemy host?" Then the prelate: "You do not all owe him revenge for his reviling challenge 
(note 2) to battle. But the count brags even now that he will battle and fight against you yourself, on account of the condition of the sacrosanct church and of the state. However this accursed affair turns out, we beseech you now to procure some increase of peace, so that you might be able to boast of yourself along with the bishops and king Lothar, and so that the bishops and the king might likewise boast of you, so great a duke and a most Christian patron."
       However most mighty Richard, recognizing that no offering and sacrifice is as acceptable to God as the increase of peace, and desiring to reconcile the Frankish and Norman realms, but unwilling to show, because of Tetbold, his goodwill, has said to the prelate, go-between of his fellow bishops: "I do not know whether I shall be able to procure the happiness of a peace from the pagans, which is why you have come to me, and that is why, doubting, I am wavering. Therefore, when the sun has passed halfway through the month of May, come to me with some of your fellow bishops and royal officials. And I, in the meantime, will try, through flattery, to restrain the headstrong arrogance of the haughty 
(note 3) pagans." 
       However, as the bishop of Chartres was reporting to the king and to his fellow bishops what he had heard from duke Richard the Great, count Tetbold immediately realized and ascertained that, without his advice, a peace had been sought. He at once sent a certain monk to duke Richard the Great, to say the following words: "Count Tetbold sends you his faithful allegiance. For he is repentant that, deceived by the perverse advice of certain Franks, he brawled and wrangled with you without cause, and that he has caused whatever ill he has wrought. And he declares publicly that he will cause evil no longer. He now strives, if it be agreeable to you, to speak to you privately as a servant to his lord, and to return to you Evreux, which the king has taken away from you, in order to obtain the grace of your love. The land under his authority, exposed to tyrannical enmity, is being pillaged by robberies and fires, and he is incapable of withstanding the fury of so great a multitude, nor even of appeasing it by collecting money from the whole realm, except through you, who are the commander of this affair. He prays on bended knees of body and soul that, restraining the baleful attacks of Dacian savageness, you be indulgent to the sacrosanct church and to the foresaken population, and take him as your faithful servant."
       Truly duke Richard, when he heard these things, silently thanked God in his own mind. Also, he replied to the monk: "Are you saying that these things can be true?" He answered: "They are true. And, returning the town of Evreux to you, he does not long to earn any other favor 
(note 4) unless, continuing steadfastly in this declaration of deep love for you, he stays with you, as the peace and concord of an indestructible alliance, all the days of your life. And, for the sake of this business, he will come whenever you like, at night, with his privy counsellors, to the walls of the town of Rouen, to affirm what I have offered you by an oath of allegiance of true trustworthiness." Then Richard replied: "Because of our faith in God, through which we live and are invigorated and which is the tenacious prop of our own career, we highly approve that he come to us, if it be to his liking, six days hence, and that we be joined together in an indissoluble alliance, to be maintained through unbroken and inextricable laws." And the monk reported what he had heard to count Tetbold.
       Six days later, moreover, delighted and merry over the report, Tetbold himself came by night to Rouen, with his privy counsellors. Each of them, as 
(note 5) he caught sight of the other, ran to meet the other one and, embracing one another, they kissed and (note 6) were seated. Then Tetbold spoke first: "A suppliant, I come before you, your unutterable Grace, for I stand in need of your compassion, both in itself and as the propitiatress of the God of all. Scorched, everywhere, are the lands I hold, and my rightful region is like some desert. I am, therefore, ready to carry out with pleasure what the monk offered you. I will correct all damage to you resulting from my advice and action. And in order to accomplish that, I will fight for you, serving as though in return for some boon. (note 7) I am returning the fortress of Evreux to you willingly and, suppliant, I ask your compassionate pardon and indulgence for having held it against your will." 
       The most humble duke Richard the Great, compelled by Tetbold's humble devotion, replied to the count: "You have come here, wavering at nothing, without a hostage or an oath of from me; you shall obtain whatever you seek. You shall have the happiness of uninterrupted peace; none of my followers shall henceforth be hurtful or injurious to you and yours. But from now on I am yours, as you are mine, and by the mutual assistance of common aid, we will support each other confidently. Through inextricable ordinances, let there be between us a splendid peace, a delightful repose, a tranquil calm, a steadfast and perfect concord." They thus made an alliance on the saints' relics which had been brought to them. The privy counsellors of each count likewise confirmed these same things by an oath of allegiance of true trustworthiness. 
       Then that most generous marquis Richard 
(note 8) honored him copiously with the greatest possible number of presents and gifts; the latter, moreover, delighting in that longed-for kiss and desired embrace, departed and returned secretly to Chartres that same night. For that very day the Tetboldians, withdrawing from the town of Evreux with all their goods, as had been commanded, sent for duke Richard to take it back. He, however, taking it back, secured it with an abundance of warriors and made it fruitful, embellishing it with an outpouring of all good things.


However much the rustic style of our inexperience 
(note 9) may adorn,
With various metres of diverse type, this extremely useless work,
A work both needful of assistance and destitute of skill,
And deprived of the redolent nectar of the rhetorical honeycomb,
It would be most fitting were it to be rich in the heroic metre,
Since in this metre do the strong deeds of men, composed by lamplight, bloom.
For this man, strong, constant, robust in arms,
Peace-making, good and upright, compassionate, himself moderate,
Eminent, deserving, very lofty, noble, bountiful,
Illustrious, distinguished, marvelous and handsome,
The greatest, exceptional, excellent and magnanimous,
Extraordinary, equitable, holy and humble, charming,
Gracious, lenient, gentle, mild, rigorous,
Patient, celebrated, solemn, lovable and
Clement, indulgent, merciful and avenging accursed deeds,
Protector, censor, defender, bountiful giver of offices, 
(note 10) 
Judicious and wise, diligent, skilful, immense 
And knowledgeable in the languages of diverse regions,
Attentive, docile, eager and thirsting for good,
Wonderful, steadfast, agreeable and trusty, faithful,
Tranquil, placid, glad, without gloom, serene,
Pleasant, delightful and persuasive, courteous to everyone,
Witty, happy, frugal and truth-telling, 
(note 11) 
Finely formed, rich, opulent and a bestower of gifts,
Delightful head of the people, hope and confidence for the populace,
Tall and handsome, elegant, splendid in appearance,
Foot for the lame, and eye for the blind, and staff for the tottering,
A generous drink, sufficient for every thirster,
A dinner of varied and very generous food for every hungerer,
Immoderate guardian of the pauper, the exile and the needy,
Protector of the widow, like a spouse and husband,
Supporter of kings and dukes, prelates and counts,
Become, in this way (as long as he flourished in this world) all things to everyone,
He harmed no one, he tried to benefit all.


1. Vulfadus, bishop of Chartres c. 962 - c. 967.

2. Preferring the "provocationis" of Bongars 390 and others.

3. Preferring the "arrogantium" of Bongars 390 and others.

4. Beneficium.

5. Preferring the "ut" of Bongars 390 and others.

6. Preferring the "-que" of Bongars 390 and others.

7. Beneficium.

8. Preferring the "Ricardus" of CC 276.

9. Preferring the "inscitiae" of Rouen 1173.

10. Honorum.

11. Preferring the "veridicus" of CC 276.

[ 57 ]

       Once all this had been (privately and with circumspection) brought to completion, the celebrated marquis and duke Richard commanded a tent of marvelous breadth and width to be built on the bank at Jeufosse in time for the arrival of the royal officials 
(note 1)and pontiffs of the Frankish nation. Thus at the settled time of the ides of May, (note 2) that is when the Twins are kindled by the blazing sun, (note 3) the royal officials (note 4) came there with the bishops to procure a peace from duke Richard the Great, and he commanded them to be properly and reverently received and lodged in tents set up next to that marvelous tent. 
       For indeed the next day, coming before duke Richard, they offered him, on the part of the Franks, the tribute of faithful allegiance and prayer, and they said: "Duke of unheard-of power, affluence and valor, the magnates of the whole Frankish realm, of one mind, pray with the knees of their hearts bent to the ground that you pardon our sacrosanct church and our annihilated nation. Moreover the king, and we ourselves, and the rest of the remaining Franks, and all the clergy of the entire realm, wish you every present and future good if you would restrain the rage of the pagans and rescue Francia from their baleful assault. Whatever the king has done against you, he did at the urging of count Tetbold's deceitful prompting and he is disgusted at his behavior, recalling the good which your father brought to his father. Thus, just as his father, king Louis, once he had been chosen to succeed to the realm, flourished with your father's assistance, so does he desire to hold realms and dominate the arrogant with the great help of your power. 
(note 5) May the two of you be united by the common prayers of a reciprocal agreement and, trusting confidently, may you continue steadfastly, of one mind, each of you with the aid of the other. Moreover the king himself and the magnates of all Francia, swearing with their own hands, will ratify for you and your heirs in perpetuity, the Norman realm; after that, not one of them shall in any way compass any damage unfavorable to you." 
       The most distinguished duke and marquis replied to those discharging the instructions of their embassy: "O reverent prelates, profusely endowed with an abundance of all virtues, and no less you magnates, readily fertilized by a plenteousness of all good qualities and public deeds, I will not hesitate to confide to you confidently my next intended and willed plan. Therefore, learn beyond a shadow of a doubt that my utmost desire is to carry out and confirm my labor with the happiness of peace, rather than to aim for any good fortune or official dignity. Peace has always been most important and special to me but, in order not to be destroyed, I have not been able to hold to it, because of the inconveniences and quarrels of your followers. For there is nothing that tortures someone more than not to see what he desires or to see what he shall lose, because in each case the soul wavers, oppressed by the weight of great anxiety, both to possess lastingly what it anxiously beholds and not to let slip what it has begun to possess. Therefore, reflect upon and be mindful of the plots and ills I have suffered from him, and realize and contemplate which of our and your followers has been harmed. You are not ignorant that, at count Tetbold's prompting, Bruno, archbishop of Cologne and likewise duke of Lotharingia, wanted to ensnare me. You are not ignorant that, provoked by the lying ingenuity of that same man, your lord king Lothar wanted to capture or kill me. What can you reply about the town of Evreux, which God has returned to me? Moved by these and many other such inconveniences, disgusting to recount, I sent for the Dacians to assist me swiftly. I commanded them, having come to me in haste, to visit upon you this tyrannical scourge so that even a fool would recover his senses, were the matter considered at all! If, therefore, what you have reported to me is true, set up with me a fitting time for the needful peace." 
       Then, when all the Normans had been gathered together, that most famed marquis Richard began to flatter and calm them with the gentlest addresses: "Oh fathers of highest reverence, marvelously revealing yourselves in great and middle and youthful age, I ought incessantly to give thanks to you, yea indeed I ought affluently to offer gifts to you because, foresaking the land of your birth due to the damage inflicted, without cause, upon me, you have until now brawled and wrangled with foreign nations because of your love for me. 
(note 6) However, the king, dukes and counts of those very nations, incessantly (and by force of arms) distressed by your pillaging, supplicatingly seek that an interval of negotiated peace be granted them. It is according to reason that the request be granted if it is agreeable to you; if not, it behooves us to deny it. Resolve upon the matter of this request through common deliberation, and let us explore how to respond to it." 
       Then the Normans (who were also Dacians) presented themselves to duke Richard, 
(note 7) saying of one mind: "In no way shall an uninterrupted peace, not even for a limited interval of time, be granted; but all Francia, her leaders banished or killed, will be obtained for you by force and military power. Alas, alas, what will the other Dacians and the Norwegians say or do, they who, having readied and loaded their ships to aid in this matter, are to attack along with us, with monstrous enmity? What about the Irish, what about the Alans, what about all the rest of the many nations? This declaration of your will, which you have layed bare before us, will not be fulfilled while we are alive. Furthermore, if it is agreeable, we will claim Francia, which we have attacked, for you. But if that is not agreeable, let it fall to us. Therefore choose which of the two you prefer, that it be yours or ours." 
       Having heard this, the very mighty duke Richard would beset them with many repeated appeals and, twice a day for twice two days, would deprecate them with all his strength to ally with the Frankish people after agreeing upon a peace. Thus, the prelates and magnates of the Frankish nation would stand by each day, stunned, and would observe this contest over the making of peace. But finally duke Richard the Great, not having the power to calm the fury of such men by any of his efforts at beseeching them, spoke separately with his trusty gathered leaders: "For as long as we have appealed to this entire rough and valiant nation all at the same time, it has not assented to our entreaties. Let the elders and the mightier among them be called together secretly in the first part of the coming night and, with the greatest possible gifts and plentiful reward, 
(note 8) let us cause them to withdraw (if perchance they favor our prayers and our desire)." The leaders of the Franks would allege this advice to be advantageous and propitious indeed, and would affirm it as beneficial to themselves.
       Therefore, at dusk on the following night, he made known to the mightiest elders of the Norman nation, called together privately, what he would meditate upon in his own heart, and he said with mellifluous speech: "O deservedly venerable fathers, battling so for the sake of temporal rewards, 
(note 9) in return for which you will miss eternal life and instead deservedly enjoy the river Phlegethon,(note 10) obediently heed my speech. Although the human race was begotten by the Lord, himself lacking either beginning or end, as a replacement for the fallen angels, foolish error leads it away along changing and contrary roads, so that it not return to its creator: you all suppose that your souls will be destroyed along with your bodies, therefore you do not shudder to commit any evil act. Indeed, beyond this life there is another life, one which you now disregard, yet whatever you have done in this life will certainly be displayed before you in that one." Then they: "Recount for us, we pray, the sacred secret of this proposition, and make clear to us, as quickly as possible, how we were created." 
       Then that most judicious count spoke, softening them with persuasive speeches: "This is the theory of our creation that is discerned to be true by orthodox men. After, due to the insolent contention of his own presumption and bragging, the tenth of the twice five orders of heaven dwellers, created both to journey over this entire mundane mass and as its own marvelous, perfect adornment, had fallen, God formed man, joining two elements, namely the living and the dying, into one, so that he might crown man (being immortal though made from the mud) with glory and honor and set him over all the works of his own hands, and so that man might at some time pass, without the death of the flesh, to the heavenly glory of the angels, which that haughty one had lost. In this way, he was to be truly immortal if he would bind himself with chains of charity to obedience to his creator, nor would he have been dependent upon the laws of death. But alas, the grief!, deceitfully entangled in the treasonous cunning of the ancient enemy, and allured by the allurements of greed, and carelessly scorning the injunctions of his maker and, foresaken as a result, he himself received the judgment of condemnation; but he carried the offspring of the entire human race with him into detestable villainy and the anguish of death. After this the ancient enemy deceitfully possessed dominion over all men, and vilely subjected them to himself. 
       "But since I have briefly described the sequence of events of creation and proto-creation to which we cleave with our hearts and minds, I long to proclaim for you the faith in which we believe. For we worship one God in substance, we adore a Trinity in persons and, although the Father be God, the Son God, the Holy Spirit God, nevertheless God is believed to be only one. We call the Father the Genitor, we avow that the Son is Begotten, we believe that the Holy Spirit flows from both of them, and in these three persons, namely the Genitor and the Only-begotten and the One Proceeding out of both, we profess a single divineness, and one of equal glory and majesty. For this God vaulted the heavens with precision, he established the earth with his might, he bound the seas together by his own calculations, and in all these, he made everything he desired with his Word and then made it lasting with his Spirit. 
       "For he alone possesses immortality, and inhabits the inaccessible light. With him there is no changing, nor any darkening of alteration. 
(note 11) The nature of his being is to endure, always eternal and immutable. Indeed he alone truly is, for he alone endures immutably. He, without change to himself, is able to dispose changeable things; without variation in himself, to do diverse things; without any alteration of thoughts, to fashion dissimilar things. He is both everywhere, and entirely without location, for God is himself above, himself below, himself within, himself without all creatures. By ruling he is above, by carrying he is below, by filling he is within, by surrounding he is without. Within the omnipotence of his judgment, all things are contained, and his might is not surpassed by the nature of any creature, for the loftiness of his divinity neither begins to be nor stops being, and he is neither born through some commencement nor confined by some end. 
       "Indeed, this God disposed that the Word, which was with God in the beginning, and which he begat without time, become incarnate for our redemption. With the annunciation of the angel, he entered, from the flesh of the sacrosanct Virgin, into flesh, abased to the ignominy of a human beginning and to the filth of swaddling clothes and to the baseness of a manger, a nativity at which we can indeed marvel, but which we are not in the least able to contemplate. For who can, worthily, say how he was born, co-eternal, from the eternal one? And how, existing before the ages, he begat one equal to himself? And how the one born is not posterior to the one begetting? Because the father is, he begat this one: God begetting God, light light, a vast one a vast one, an incomprehensible one an incomprehensible one, an omnipotent one an omnipotent one, who is one with him, and coeternal, and coequal to him. One who, born from a father without time, deigned to be born from a mother within time and, like electrum, 
(note 12) to be a single individual in both and from both natures; he both remained God with the Father and was made a mortal man from his mother, for our redemption, in order, in his own bountiful compassion, to rescue the human race, formed in his own image and likeness, from the hostile heinousness of the fallen angels. 
       "Both humanly enduring the course of fleeting time, and marvelously working diverse miracles, namely bountifully giving the ability to walk to the lame, hearing to the deaf, sight to the blind, their former health to those struck with palsy, clean and agreeable and delicate skin and flesh to the leprous, and commanding the very sea and the winds, making the swellings of the sea treadable for himself and Peter, he raised the dead (for instance Lazarus after four days in the sepulchre) and did everything whatsoever that he wished in heaven and on earth and in the sea and in hell. Finally, he came to the public spectacle of his voluntary death and, undergoing it affixed to the cross, as he produced water and blood from his side, he delivered to himself the Virgin and the immaculate church, redeemed by his blood, cleansed by this liquid, to have neither blemish through crime nor wrinkle through division. 
       "Indeed, with the mystery of death celebrated and hell harrowed, he rose on the third day and, showing himself (made public) to his fideles, in the sight of the apostles bore up into heaven the flesh which he had taken on from the Virgin, having abided with them until the fortieth day after his resurrection. For he paid the debt in full to abolish for his servants that death which the ancient enemy brought upon the first man and his race, and when he pulled our flesh with him to the stars, he showed the inviolable road by which they might ascend from whence they had fallen. Wherefore if that combination of the two elements, namely man, has served God in this life and has obeyed his commands with every able effort, the living and more potent part of him, the sojourner, which draws its germ from heaven, will carry the flesh of the body back to heaven with it, having rejected the infections of the malign enemy. If, perchance, his earthly will has savoured that which is vile and striven after that which is unwholesome and execrable and oppressed the virtues of the soul under the weight of sins, having collected a mass of vices and renounced the promises pledged in baptism, it shall turn the soul awry, dragging it to hell with it. 
       "Therefore, the greatest care is expended by Christians on their tombs, and the bodies in them are not believed to be entirely dead, but consigned to the last stage, for a time will come when vital heat, partner of the soul, will visit those bones and carry off its former habitation, namely the bodies putrefied in the tombs, now animated by live blood, and they will be taken up, winged, into heaven, joined to the souls which they had before, since the destruction of this death is the restoration of a better life. For even if decaying duration has entirely dissolved the body, so that it is but the smallest handful of ashes, and the wandering winds and gentle breezes have borne those ashes, useless, through the void, it will still not be permitted for that man to die, but his soul will either be rewarded along with he himself, with whom it practised the virtues, or be punished with him, with whom it sinned and thus, with Christ the Son of God as judge, the ungodly will go into the eternal fire, however the just will go into eternal life. 
       "This is the catholic faith which, without believing steadfastly and firmly, no one can be saved. This is the main point of our salvation-giving belief, this the creed of beneficial faith and salvation." 
       Hearing these things, the Dacians were astounded and, drawing a cry from deep in the breast, they said: "Alas for us, that, unacquainted with all these blessings and ignorant of the scriptures and of the power of God, we differ in nothing from the beasts, nor from the birds of the sky. They look earnestly for the means to live for the present, and store up nothing for themselves. Truly we live similarly, in that we procure incessantly through robbery, although we differ from them in that we save for the future by treasuring up whatever food and drink is superfluous. Give us advantageous advice, we beg, so that we might have the power to live both in the present and for eternity." 
       Then the duke replied: "If you wish to follow our advice, I will first have you baptized in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and then profusely instructed by bishops through a fuller preaching of the complete faith, after that endowed with the most bountiful gifts and the most ample favors, 
(note 13) whereby you shall be able to live and will not perish for eternity. But if you do not deny us the happiness of the complete peace for which I ask, you will enjoy, without end, the comfort of this present life, the reward of future repayment." And they: "We pledge you both a guarantee of peace and to hold fast to the sacrosanct faith, and may inconstant wandering never press us to turn away from your advice!" Indeed that night, once the alliance had been made and the calm of a peace had been sworn, Richard (note 14) spoke, softening them with this mellifluous address: "Return to your ships as part of my own forces and my own soul, with stealthy steps lest you be seen, taking precautions so that no one knows that you came here. But at dawn I will call you back, and likewise that bustling populace of abominable boldness, and with all kinds of prayers I will earnestly request your and their compassion for an increase of peace and a calm relationship to be granted. Reject and resist my words, fighting along with them, but in the end, once this extended sham has barely ceased, assent to my wishes." Once all this had been thoroughly discussed privately, each one turned his footsteps toward home. 
       Thus, first thing in the morning, the great duke hastily arose and said confidently to the innumerable legions of gathered Dacians: "Having waited until this point upon the malevolent tergiversations of your perverse intention, I will again and again demand departure from your obstinate hearts. We pray, grant us the oft-denied advantage 
(note 15) of peace." Then different Normans, speaking with one will, put forth: "He labors in vain who throws seeds upon a rock. You are uselessly casting your verbal exertions to the ground, while you superfluously speak idle words. That peace and concord, to which you superfluously bustle to make us assent, will never and in no wise exist between us and the Franks. They will be exiled or killed, and their whole nation completely obliterated. If a certain someone is found to be unbecoming of our created condition, you too will be overcome. For did not your grandfather, having pillaged the realm of Francia, claim for himself by force of arms the land over which you now preside?" Then all, from the least to the greatest, said with a reverberating cry: "Either they shall die, or [that land] will be claimed." Truly, duke Richard the Great would put forth one prayer after another, and with all his strength would ask them to grant peace. But their will would not in the least assent to his prayers. 
       Then the ones who had pledged a peace during the night said to the rest: "It is according to reason that we should be obedient to the prayers of the one for whose help and defence we came here. It is meet to do what, soliciting us, he desires, and willingly to satisfy his wishes. To whose advise will we cleave, if not his, and to whose beseechings will we assent, if not his, whose favor 
(note 16) we daily enjoy?" Scarcely had they heard these things when those who were ignorant of the nocturnal deliberation, impetuously agitated, began (with rising outcries of objections) to wrangle even more impetuously. And they said: "In our opinion you are promoters, nay rather sycophants, of this man's advice, wherefore are you offering us such execrable things. Things will not work out according to the intention of your pleasure, nor will the peace which is sought be granted by any of us. You have, in a gaping manner, made plain to us the plan suited to your will, a plan which will be boldly resisted as long as we live. We will not in the least submit, through your intercession, to what the duke commands and beseeches, but Francia shall be savagely pillaged by force of arms to the point of destruction." Then those already persuaded during the council of the nocturnal assembly, enraged, spoke with the most stinging madness: "The peace will not be granted through our intercession, but we will bountifully give it to the great duke whether you like it or not. What comparison is there between you and us? Are we not older than you, of more noble lineage, more robust in arms? We ought to have been called 'givers of the peace,' not 'intercessors.'" Duke Richard, withdrawing after having heard this, said to his gathered leaders: "Allow them to wrangle fiercely with each other, and let us see which of them shall emerge the mightier and stronger." 
       Thus, when thrice three days had been spent in this dispute, to the wonder of both the Franks and the Richardians, the opposers of peace said to those already obtained at night by the prudent advice of the viceroy: 
(note 17) "You are the mightier in age, lineage and arms, and therefore we will agree with you whether we like it or not. If Richard, this duke of great power, should grant us the most liberal expenses for our journey and have us led to where we might live and take some realm by assault, we shall spare the realm of Francia, as you ask. But if he does otherwise, we will sternly attach Francia, which we have attacked, to ourselves, having crushed it with war and fire and robbery." Then the pagan magnates, delighted with this response, reported what they heard to duke Richard. With that embassy fulfilled, the most potent duke, delighted at the peace to come, spoke: "I will bestow upon them both the most ample victuals and voyagers both numerous and circumspect, and beyond that the most bountiful ornaments, (note 18) and I will have them led to a splendid land." 
       When this most bountiful promise had been reported, and as duke Richard sat, with his followers, in the presence of the Frankish people, [the pagans] came of one mind and pledged to them all, with lowered countenance, the promise of a peace. Truly Richard sent the king's ambassadors, endowed with the greatest possible presents, back to king Lothar. Thus, with the date and place of the peace-making conference having been designated and a temporary truce of hoped-for peace having been granted, he kept the pagans with him so that the Franks would not kick against him.
       Thus, when the time for the desired conference arrived, king Lothar has come with the Frankish people to the river Epte, and he has pledged to duke Richard the promise of an inextricable peace, and both he himself and the magnates of the realm have sworn that the Norman realm would belong to him and to his descendants. Especially since neither he himself nor anyone else, by his urging, would cause the least bit of damage to his rule. When the conference concerning the procuring of peace has been concluded, and the king and duke Richard have become allied, and each has bountifully endowed the other with gifts, each returns home along a prosperous course. 
(note 19) 
       The duke (so magnificently pious!) having returned to town (so bountifully plenteous), has forced the heinously savage Normans to attend him there. He says to them: "Lest your confidence in my promise waver, behold, I am ready to carry out what it promised to you earlier. Bountifully giving gifts, 
(note 20) I will have some of you be reborn in the sacred font; to the others, I will grant provisions for a sea voyage, once the ships have been loaded with grain and heads of swine." Thus, the great marquis has stood sponsor for the former, anointed with oil and chrism, at the prepared font of sacrosanct regeneration, bestowing upon them most sizeable boons (note 21) from which they might live in peace. But he has had the latter, who desired to keep wandering astray in pagan rituals, led to Spain by travellers from Coutances. 
       Indeed, in the course of that march they have subdued twice nine cities and claim for themselves everything they have found in them. Pillaging on this side and that, attacking Spain by force of arms, they have begun harshly to weaken it through fire and robbery. But, the country-people having been run through by swords, at length the Spaniards accost the Normans with an amassed army. Yet, as Mars rages, the Spaniards have turned their backs to the strangers, in the wake of a tremendous slaughter. The Normans, returning three days later to the battlefield and turning over the dead in order to remove their garments, have discovered that sections of the bodies on the ground, adjoining and depending upon parts whiter than snow, are dark and sunburnt. But they have seen the rest of the body retaining its original color! Truly, I wonder what logicians who see the alteration here will write about this case, since they categorize the accident [of color] as inseparable from both the raven and the Ethiopian.
       We are not concerned to publicize this further, but let us turn our presumptuous pen to our intended 
(note 22) design. For [this presumptuous pen] will, with pleasure, illuminate whatever it can, yet be unable to relate in order the things which are necessary for the narration! For its good works are known to him alone who knows all things which happen.


As the storm surged, I played on the hissing flute of our stupidity, 
(note 23) 
Having been borne thus far by the wave-sounding billow
(Whipped up and put down in turn by the variable whirlwind)
Through great denials of marine doom, through
The forked alterations of cloven fortune, now happy, now       bitter.
I have ploughed the marine depths with my little oar,
I have arrived at a harbor, stable and free from winds,
In which are everywhere the sacred life's eight happinesses,
By which the highest good is purchased by the sincere heart.
But my mind, musing over whether it shall be able,
Is trying with this trifling reed-pipe to strive after some gift of goods,
Acquired as the scanty profit of paltry wares.


1. Palatini.

2. May 15.

3. Under the zodiacal sign of the constellation of Gemini.

4. Palatini.

5. Preferring the "potestatis" of Rouen 1173 and others.

6. Preferring the single sentence "O...jurgati...gentes" of Rouen 1173 and others.

7. Preferring the "Ricardo" of Rouen 1173 and others.

8. Copioso beneficio.

9. Beneficiis.

10. A river of fire in the Lower World.

11. James 1.17.

12. Electrum is a mixed metal, whether natural or artificial, normally composed of gold and silver, which resembles amber in color.

13. Beneficia.

14. Preferring the "Ricardus" of Rouen 1173 and others.

15. Preferring the "opportunitatem" of Rouen 1173.

16. Beneficium.

17. Satraps.

18. Honores.

19. This agreement is frequently referred to as the Treaty of Gisors of 966.

20. Beneficia.

21. Beneficia.

22. Preferring the "intentionis" of Rouen 1173 and others.

23. Preferring the "stultitie" of CC 276.

[ 58 ]

       For, with Francia now cleansed (as recounted) of the poison of this baleful enmity, and with all accusations and losses of evil assailants now denied, and with the condition of the state of Francia (preceeded by the victory of desired peace) now everywhere embellished and established as favorable, most blessed duke Richard's shining fame, renowned as a result of his publicized merits, would grow vast, and the merit of his blessedness would be profusely spread abroad through the every realm. But in the course of that time, his wife, that is the daughter of duke Hugh the Great, passes away and, sorrowful over this desolating loss, he has sent to Hugh, his deceased wife's brother, for some household servants who would disburse to the sacrosanct church and to the poor whatever his sister possessed by feminine right. Truly duke Hugh has sent back to Richard, duke and patrician, to distribute everything abundantly and abundantly according to his own will. Then Richard, that mightiest duke of copious bounty, has divided that great treasure of gifts among all the churches 
(note 1) of all Francia and Normandy, yea indeed he has copiously disbursed very many of his own possessions to the poor for the sake of her soul. 
       And then, conquered by the needling frailty of pleasure-seeking humanity, he has sired by his concubines two sons (and as many daughters), one of whom is named Godfrey, the other William. 
(note 2) Finally, he has joined himself to a maiden (note 3) of shining majesty, descended from an extremely famed family of noble Dacians and the most beautiful of all Norman maidens and the most circumspect concerning the constantly-changing results of public and civil affairs and well versed in the talents of feminine artistry and discreetly strong in richly fertile eloquence and profusely endowed with the treasure of a capacious memory and power of recollection and fortified by an abundance of all goods, and he has amicably alloted her to himself in an alliance of forbidden union. 
       But, knowing her to be descended from the well-known stock of an extremely noble seed, the Norman magnates, very much planning both for a successor and an heir and an offspring who would be salvation-giving for the populace, have spoken to the mightiest duke Richard with soft voices and downturned 
(note 4) faces: "Although you, mightiest lord duke, may be as judicious as is possible in your wisely-musing scrutiny of all the Franks, and the Normans, and the Burgundians, and of all realms, we wonder why you still have not devised who shall rule the populace, now subordinated to your extremely mighty authority, after your lamentable and obligatory death? (note 5) For, becoming very much frightened at the possible downfall of a future defeat, we fear lest, lacking an advocate and heir after the mournful loss of your death-day, foreign nations tread us under foot." Then Richard: "I have until now presided over and benefitted this state, as I have been able, with the aid of your extremely advantageous advice; will you make clear to me what you have decided in your hearts about this matter?" 
       And they: "In our opinion, the providence of the highest divinity has joined to you this Dacian woman whom you now cherish, so that an heir might be born for this land from a Dacian father and mother, an heir who will be its hardiest defender and advocate. For she is descended from a domineering race, beautiful and elegant in her appearance, circumspect and prudent in her deliberations, of devout mind, disciplined heart, discreet speech, gentle comportment, diligent and wise in every matter. We request that she be joined to you by the inextricable alliance of matrimonial prerogative so that, as the final lot of your death draws near to hand, the land of your duchy might be ruled advantageously and steadily by her salvation-giving offspring." Thus has the extremely holy duke Richard, applauding this advice with pleasure, betrothed her to himself according to matrimonial law, in the presence of a gathering of bishops (with the clergy) and rulers 
(note 6) (with the laity), and in the course of time he has sired by her five male progeny and three female. 
       Thus, he would walk along the straight path of good deeds and actively rule the populace with the just reins of the law. Rebuilding the churches of the Norman region at his own expense, he furnished them with religious things and, as a gift of his own treasury, he wonderfully constructed very many sanctuaries in the Frankish land. Indeed, in the town of Rouen he enlarged the marvelous monastery in honor of the Mother of God, honorably extended by an augmentation of its length, width and height. In the maritime mount, surrounded on all sides (according to lunar direction) by a whirlpool of refluent inundation, he constructed a shrine of wondrous size and a spacious mansion of monastic habitation, 
(note 7) and there he assembled monks, obliged by the celebrated method of regular ordinances, to serve Christ in the wretched (note 8) wrestling-place of the contemplative life.
       Since, moreover, he was rich in innumerable increments of overflowing goodness, having one day approached the walls of his residence at F
camp and, standing in the raised place before the entrance to his own house and observing that very house to be higher and more ornamented than the basilica dedicated in honor of the sacred Trinity, he said to a worker in stone, skilled in the architectural art, who had been called there: "It is fitting and needful that this house of God and of prayer tower over all the dwellings of the city by the special beauty and elegant altitude of its superlative summit because, in his gracious mercy, the maker and redeemer of the human race selected it for himself, and because it is the mother of marvelous rebirth by virtue of its bath of symbolic cleansing, and because in it we must hear the words of divine erudition and bewail our own sins. For this hall, which heaven-dwellers inhabit and of which they have charge, is called and is the gate of heaven. For this house, as the psalm-writer said, is God's mountain, a fertile mountain, a mountain in which the one who is pleasing to God is to live, for the Lord will forever inhabit it. (note 9) For this is the mountain on which my grandfather, by an oracle of divine vision, observed himself standing and being cleansed in the salvation-giving font, and in that dream he kept perceiving himself being purified of the leprosy of sins by which he had been corrupted. Wherefore, since it is meet that God's house be distinguished from the house in which we live by the more magnificent summit of its higher shape, ascertain whether you may perhaps be able to find, in the slopes and hills of the nearby mountains, some stone materials with which you might have the power to build a sanctuary of God that is higher than the house of our frequent abode."
       But he immediately went, taking a grub-axe, first to the slopes of the mountains, and tore away at their edges with a light hoe and, finding no stone material suitable to use for a wall, he made for the slopes of the mountains lying between the two little streams near F
camp and there discovered a lump of gypsum, (note 10) and hewed out a single stone of gypsum in the shape of a cube and brought it before duke Richard. Then the great duke Richard: "Will you be able to find enough of such stone?" He answered: "Enough, lord." But he: "Lay this stone aside in a secure place, and send many workers to hew out the rocks, and construct many furnaces for the unslaked limestone for, once all the necessary preparations have been made, I will place that first stone as the beginning of the foundation in token of the erecting (note 11) of God's house."
       When the limestone had been prepared, and the stones hewed and collected, and the bricks artfully made up (how marvelous to see and to tell!), that most famed marquis finally constructed, according to the model of a marvelous shape, a shrine in honor of the holy Trinity, girded on every side with towers and marvelously doubly arched and artfully covered with linked-together bricks. After this he whitewashed it on the outside, however on the inside he painted a narrative history, and he graced the altars with gold and with gems obtained as great tribute, he constructed crosses of marvelous magnitude out of the very purest gold, to which he joined chalices both of great weight in gold and of great value, and he set before the sanctuary golden lampstands larger than the human figure. He made over to it golden censers of unheard-of size and value, and garments embellished by the Phrygian art of weaving with gold thread, not simply scalded in purples dyes, and he even added linens embroidered even more densely with gold and emeralds, and snow-white and purple ones covered with gold, and added pure silk embroideries of marvelous handicraft and, to serve Christ, he assembled a numerous multitude of clergy, daily receiving their prepared food and sweating in the wrestling-place of the active life.
       Indeed, with that sanctuary filled full with a plenteous abundance of religious stores and solemnly dedicated by episcopal benediction, he would remake at his own expense all the smashed churches situated in Norman or Frankish land. He would glitter with marvelous deeds, ones equitable and good, and the report of his liberality would spread profusely to far-flung regions. His mien, crowned with the ornament of astonishing beauty, would pour forth from his countenance a brightness like unto the brightness of the sun. Wherever his name would be heard, the highest esteem would be his, and all Gaul would wonder at his bountiful goodness. A vigorous cultivator of justice, he would flash with a love of compassion, and would both carefully conceal the lawsuits of all men within his own breast and defend rights for the sake of the pious repose 
(note 12) of the populace. He was most handsome in appearance, supplied with the very whitest hoary brows, the keenest glittering eyes and magnificent cheeks and nose, honored with a long and white (note 13) beard, tall in stature, polished in speech, filled with strength of soul and body, prolix in his goodness, extremely wise in his mind, fortified by God's grace and the sole assistance for everyone. For, raising up his friends, he would tread his arrogant enemies under foot and, cherishing his subordinates, he would crush those who were fierce and rebellious; no storm of wrath or discord would enter his heart in any bustling dissension, since the fixed anchor of his extremely wise mind would always be at hand for him in the salvation-giving steadfastness of its justice and judgment and charity and hope and faith. No breeze of adversity would fan his constant soul with any uproar, nor undermine his soul through the plenteousness of copiously-flowing and plentiful success. Moreover, when any seditious situations would spread in his realm by some variegated murmuring, he would calm them with his legal ordinances and his salvation-giving power. Indeed, his promise would be held firm by so vigorous a foundation of truth that a mountain would sooner withdraw or depart than his words be fruitless. Whatever he promised would abide, true, damaged by no action; likewise whatever he offered would endure, unbroken.

                            Apostophe to Robert

Beloved prelate, do you see
The enormous surplus of this patrician's goodness?
Beloved prelate, do you see
Him who deservedly grows in the eight signs of uprightness?
Beloved prelate, do you see
What the Evangelist writes concerning those twice twice-two                                                  blessed ones? 
(note 14) 
Blessed prelate, do you see
Whatever your sire completed with his splendid deeds?
Blessed prelate, do you see
That there was no one better in words than he? 
Beloved prelate, do you see
That there was certainly no one mightier in actions than he?
Beloved prelate, do you see
That there is no man more hallowed in thoughts?
Beloved prelate, do you see
That we have reached this point with sluggish and cheap writing?
Beloved prelate, do you see
The extremely beautiful subject matter and motive of these words?
Beloved prelate, do you see
That the statement of the subject is trifling, rustic, cheap?
Now hail, beloved prelate, now
Wrest his sweet deeds from this cheap statement!


1. Preferring the "ecclesias" of Rouen 1173.

2. Both, in turn, held the title of count of Eu.

3. According to other Norman historians, her name was Gunnor.

4. Preferring the "proclivo" of Bongars 390.

5. Preferring the "excessum" of Bongars 390.

6. Satrapes.

7. The monastery of Mont-St.-Michel.

8. Preferring the "aerumnosa" of Bongars 390 and others.

9. Psalm __________.

10. White lime.

11. Preferring the "erectionis" of Bongars 390 and others.

12. Preferring the "requie" of Rouen 1173 and others.

13. Canifera.

14. Gospel reference: _____________________.

[ 59 ]

       Having briefly summed up his deeds, we accordingly say with merit and equity and credibility that Richard, duke of the Norman region, is blessed and holy: all the gifts associated with the evangelical beatitudes 
(note 1) are certainly found in him. 
       The first of these is "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven." This is something which appears, clearer than daylight, to have been present in this confessor who, with the effort of all his heart and the emotion of all his mind, gave himself over to the imitable poverty of Christ, only retaining the monarchy of the Norman region lest the condition of the sacrosanct church be imperilled by attacking pagans, and not for the sake of any transient esteem. Whatever humans, of wordly creation, hold fast as being of great value, in his own mind: dangerous; whatever as being great, in his heart: fleeting; whatever as being delightful, to him: not everlasting. Veraciously foresaking all those things in his own mind and wholly spurning them in his own heart, through Christ's generosity he reached the kingdom of heaven, which he long desired. Since He has chosen that the kingdom of heaven be composed of the poor in spirit, we believe that he has been assigned to it.
       The subsequent words of the Gospel promise the following: "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." Whoever reads this brief sequence of his life will have been able to become thoroughly acquainted with something of his agreeableness: how agreeable, how meek, how benevolent, how extremely kind he was! He restrained count Tetbold in part through arms, in part through piety. He subdued king Lothar through humility. He regulated the Dacians through the agreeableness of his words and through gifts. He gathered together Franks and other nations, calling them to himself through extremely humble words and through presents. He protected the inhabitants of the Norman region through his extreme piety. As a devoted head of the family, he cherished the residents of his household. He was benevolent in every pursuit, he uttered agreeable words in every affair and deed. For he has indeed deserved to abide in the land of the living, he who watched over the land of his fleshly life with such gentle kindness.
       There follows the third beatitude, in which it is said: "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be consoled." For he was indeed rich in treasures and tributes and warriors and household servants, wherefore would he mourn that he was so involved in, and trapped by, worldly affairs. Moreover, he would mourn the perversities of monks whom, by means of the deceitful goods of this duping world, inconstant error would draw away from the abandoned straight and narrow into an execrable headlong fall. He would mourn the mistakes of canons who fell away from religious injunctions. He would mourn the ignorance and delights of his own youth, and would lie humbly prostrate on the ground, weeping greatly. 
       It goes on: "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be sated." No one who precisely weighs his peace-making acts doubts that duke Richard truly had this hunger and thirst. For he would flash with earnestness for equity, he would incessantly seek the road to a court of justice. He would overpower with the abominable yoke of the law those who neglected equity, he would correct with a stern word those who rejected it. For, while he lived, as the Psalmist reports, in his realm mercy and truth met one another, justice and peace kissed one another. Thirsting, he would hunger to gain for Christ both himself and his followers so that, on judgment day, he might be able to share eternally with God. This was his most urgent and inexhaustible desire, this his most lasting hunger, and this his unfailing thirst: that he cause everyone to convert.
       It goes on: "Blessed are the pure of heart, for they will see God." Who doubts that the heart of that duke and patrician and confessor (so great!) was a sanctuary of the lord and a hall of the eternal king? The pureness of his heart would shine far and wide, and his most serene face would clearly disclose the purity of his mind. Even as a layman, he would carry out with a pure heart the commands of the divine law: with his benevolent mind, he would nourish the rich, the middling and the poor. It is evident from the churches of the Norman region, so wonderfully furnished with religious objects, what sort of heart and mind and will he possessed.
       It goes on: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God." However, the reward of the peacemakers is that they both be called and be children of God. That they be in perfect love what they are called in worthiness. That duke flourished with the gift of that boon, 
(note 2) for he pacified whomever he could. Moreover, he would work at that most fully on Sundays and on the festivals of the saints: truly he would, carefully and gently, procure the favor of rebels and sowers of discord. The count of Flanders, Arnulf by name, (note 3) at one time refused to serve and wage war for king Lothar. Thus king Lothar, in his wrath over this matter, having gathered in his enmity a band of Frankish people and Burgundians, beseiged and captured Arras and subjugated to himself other ramparted towns all the way to the river Lys. Mournful at the grief of this misfortune, a suppliant and devout count Arnulf begged duke Richard to reconcile him with the king and the leaders of the Frankish people. Truly Richard, mighty because of his accustomed habit of benevolent peace-making and proceeding to a conference with the king concerning the matter of this loss, reconciled count Arnulf with the king and, through the extraordinary emotion of his beseeching, forced the latter to return Arras to the former! Nor should it be skipped over how, after king Lothar's death, duke Hugh, enthroned in the kingship, (note 4) wished to ride against count Albert (note 5) with an amassed hostile army. Thus Albert, fearing the future arrival of the raging king, sent a certain cleric named Dudo, a canon of Quintinus the precious martyr of Christ, to the said Richard, that patrician of highest forbearance, to intercede for him before the king, filled with baleful wrath, so that, by his active intervention, the district of Vermandois would not be ravaged by armed heinousness. Truly, duke Richard received the cleric with a respect of the highest reverence, and went to the king who wished to ride on Albert with a gathered enemy army. And, restraining the wrathful king through the pursuit of various kinds of requests, once sureties had been given, he reconciled Albert with the king. Therefore, that duke was profusely distinguished by the token of this particular beatitude, for he would reconcile whomever he heard to be in disagreement, either by himself or through ambassadors. For he pacified Frankish people and Lotharingians, Burgundians and Flemings, Angles and Irish, Normans and Bretons. For he knew that there was no sacrifice or offering so acceptable to God as the increase of peace. Therefore, that duke is reverently numbered among those who are, both through faith and through imitation, called children of God, for he fulfilled with every faithful effort whatever he understood to be suitable for one of that dignity, knowing that God does not prohibit as many people as possible from becoming gods through their participation in the Godhead.
       Thus, let us look at the following part of the Gospel, where it is said: "Blessed are those who suffer persecution because of justice, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." If the cause of the persecution of this duke is sought, without a doubt, none other will be found than the justice of Christ, that is, of him whom he would love with all his heart, all his soul, all his strength; whom he would venerate and adore with complete faith, with the utmost piety; for whose sake he would construct churches for monks and canons and would apportion whatever was needful, would force them to hold to the veneration of the monastic way of life; he would drive pagans to believe in Christ and would himself bear the burden of their assault so that they would not ravage Francia. Although persecuted in those evil-doers' manner by king Lothar and count Tetbold, he did not cease his praise of Christ, attending closely to religious things. Persecuted, indeed, in many ways, he has entered the kingdom of heaven which, we believe, he sought. He has been soothed by the saying of our savior, where it is said: "Blessed are you when, because of me, they curse you and persecute you and, lying, speak every evil against you. Rejoice and exult, for your reward is plentiful in heaven." 
(note 6) None of us has the power even to enumerate which and how many abuses and blasphemies that duke suffered for the sake of reaching the kingdom of heaven. For he sustained abuses for the sake of the catholic faith, for the sake of safeguarding realm, for the sake of most harshly crushing pagans, for the sake of a most holy contrition on the part of monks who disregarded the rule, for the sake of harmony among canons who disagreed amongst themselves, for the sake of the peace so often broken amongst the laity. But Christ was on the side of that duke, therefore the threats of evil-doers could not prevail against him. For, having overthrown the vileness of his enemies and of those who envied him, he would indeed rejoyce and exult in his promised heavenly reward.


Although I am released from cheap topics
Through the wonderful and eminent
And celebrated (among all worshippers of Christ)
Actions of the distinguished and honorable
Count and patrician and duke Richard,
The section of his deeds already treated seems better,
For what has not yet been disclosed 
Brings stinging disaster, ah!, to stupid me,
And the shining sequence now grows groggy.
Most excellent reader, you will be greatly defrauded
Of the reward of very great enjoyment
Because the muse has hardly touched the greatest hardship:
Alas, alas! my mind, shuddering, prophetic
Of death and grief, dreads defining 
Funereal and extremely mournful ends.
A sorrowful thing deserves to be kept silent,
A sorrowful thing, full of grief.
Yet, however much it may be sad and menacing 
To say this thing, both complaining and strange to everyone,
However much it may be doleful to write, I will write.
Moaning (because I grieve, because I weep), I will write
How that duke and patrician, that highest marquis 
Approached life
Through the required threshold of the death of the flesh,
Joined to Christ the never-ending lord
And, gratified (may you be even more astounded!),
Both experienced God and is God. 
(note 7)        


1. The Beatitudes are described in Christ's Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5: 3 - 10).

2. Beneficium.

3. Arnulf II, count of Flanders (+ 988).

4. Hugh Capet, son of Hugh the Great count of Paris and duke of France, was elected king of the Western Franks in 987, and died on 24 October 996.

5. Albert I, count of Vermandois circa 949 - 987.

6. Luke 6: 22 - 23.

7. In Greek.

[ 60 ]

       When, however, he was blazing in this way, emitting a scent as from a lighted torch of beatitudes (as was briefly described above with great labor, though in a sluggish style), he commanded a sarcophagus to be cut for himself from the rock and located within the church of F
camp, consecrated in the name of the sacred Trinity, before the spot where he would stand during assembly, and commanded as much wheat as it could contain and five gold pieces to be disbursed to the poor each and every Saturday. Finally, with innumerable misfortunes of manifold adversities and various hardships having been endured (with equanimity, for the love of God), with the management required by this temporal life having been well performed, with deeds of bountiful and varied mercy having been enacted, with guiding and imitable examples of how to live having been left behind, with innumerable throngs of captives having been redeemed, with the cloisters of monks and canons having been repaired, with a vast bulk of varied goods having been profusely apportioned to the needy, he began to anguish and languish and fail in strength, and to withdraw from the district of Bayeux to the hall of his residence at Fcamp so that, after his death, there would be no haughty, full-fledged transfer of his remains. 
       When, moreover, he was there at the palace of F
camp, count Rodulf (that is, his brother) said humbly to him in the presence of the rest of his fideles: "Lord, most compassionate duke, we bemoan, grieving, that you are incommoded by infirmity; but say to us, we pray, which of your sons will be the heir to the realm under your authority?" Then he: "The one who bears my name will be the duke and count and heir of my inheritance, with your deliberative approval." Then count Rodulf: "What about the others, lord?" He replied: "Once they have become, by the oath of allegiance of a true promise, the fideles of my son Richard, having presented their hands (in place of their hearts) to his hands, let that land which I shall have pointed out to you, land from which they shall be able to live honorably, be bountifully given to them."
       Next, as his sickness grew, the Norman towns began to tremble with fear and to strike the sky with their unrestrainable sorrow, and the abominable alarm that he might perhaps already have fallen began to run through the doubtful minds of the Normans, and so they would seek out the hall of his residence at F
camp, weeping with a great howling and wailing. Truly, the great duke Richard, incommoded by his rude infirmity, dressed in sackcloth, with bare feet, sought the temple of the sacred Trinity and, placing diverse votive offerings and presents both precious and varied upon the altar, his face drenched with a shower of tears, suppliant and devout and doleful, took up the tree-trunk symbolic of salvation-giving journey-provisions, that is support for the way. Then count Rodulf said secretly to him: "Lord, in which section of the sanctuary shall the tomb of your repose be prepared?" He replied: "A corpse of such great calamity will not rest within the entrace of this sanctuary, but at the door by the gutters of the monastery." 
       Indeed, the following night his most holy limbs are harassed by a gentle pain, and a penetrating and death-dealing flame violently attacks his delicate marrow. Now his feet, and now his tender shins grow numb, and his eyes grow weary in his dying body. All his limbs slip away, but his mind perceives God and he desires the eternal world. Everyone's cheeks and faces would fill with tears, and an unbearable sobbing would seize everyone's voice. Their hesitating tongues would be shaken by their agitated bowels, and all speech would be interrupted by immense shaking groans. But he, his suppliant eyes and hands raised to heaven and silent as he supplicatingly poured forth vows and prayers, breaking with difficulty into speech, said: "Into your hands, Christ, I commit my soul." Thereupon, in the midst of this wish, he breathed out his most holy soul. 
       Indeed, once his holy soul, snatched from the package of the flesh and liberated from earthly distress and glad, had travelled to its creator, the sorrow of his servants would resound to the sky. Immediately, report of this mournful loss rose up through the towns of the Norman region, and people of every age and of both sexes ran, howling and wailing, to his funeral rites. Once the body had been laid out according to custom and carried to the church which he had founded, the entire multitude took turns on sentry watch, as the clergy spent that thoroughly-vigilant night in singing psalms, the laity in lamenting. Oh, how vast the weeping and how much sorrow, how many laments would ring through the courtyards of all the Normans! Indeed a choir, overcome by tears and sobs, would recite psalms, and the common host would make the air resound with their mournful cries; the vast groaning of the populace would shake the small town of his residence at F
camp, and shrieking howls would touch the summit of heaven. For a symphony of antiphons mixed with lamentations would indeed resound in that choir, and the wailing of the Normans would make the heavens resound. The clergy would pour forth funereal songs all along the foot-paths, and there would be an unbearable wailing throughout every habitation. A multitude would stand, wailing, at every cross-roads in the Norman region, and would fill the ears of passers-by with doleful cries.
       For his body, surrounded by a great crowd and defended by a great retinue, would be carried to the tomb, and troops of psalm-singers would precede it, a host of common people would continually wail, and the disordered, inarticulate cries of the populace would resound. And no one could even discern how the clergy or the multitude was making noise for all the cries of the wailers! Indeed, the bier kept being held back, and pulled back, by the crowd so that the tomb would not be closed, and so that the body would remain for some time in the open air, whereby they might satisfy their desire. At length, the mourning crowd is wrenched apart and the body is (with difficulty) seized by the bishops and by the relatively courageous and is transferred, with great wailing, to the tomb and at once covered with a large stone. 
       On the following day, when count Rodulf opened the tomb, a prodigious fragrance flowed out from it, overwhelming him with the perfume of opobalsam; he found all his limbs blowing out their smell as though of one still alive: a perfume more agreeable than the fragrance of terebinth and balsam. Finally, they built above the tomb a chapel of astonishing beauty, marvelously connected to the larger basilica and there, wonderfully surrounded by pillars and by the tomb, he is revered, about to rise again in glory with Christ. For, completing the course of this fragile life, the great duke Richard died in the year 1002 from the Incarnation of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
       Truly, who had a breast so iron and so stolid and so stony that he did not burst out weeping when the bier was being held back by the crowd due to their motivating grief, when it was being held up due to their ardent desire, when it was being pulled back due to their emotional love? Weeping, his comrades would clap their hands; wailing, his guards would together sing sorrowful psalms; weeping aloud, maidens and widows and wives would tear out their hair; moaning, residents of his household, both male and female, would buffet their breasts with blows; beating their breasts, his warriors would tear themselves to pieces; greatly-lamenting clerics would pour out tears along with the psalms; a mob of peasants and rustics would bite the earth with their own teeth; an assembly of the poor (deprived of such helping support) and the populace in general (pressing ominously against itself, it would send out diverse expressions of grief) would howl with pain; having cried out in diverse and various ways, each one would berate these great calamities; at length, once the crowd had been (with difficulty) broken up and cut through and wrenched apart by the bishops, and the bier had been placed upon the tomb, along with that body besprinkled with holy water amidst the perfume of incense, pouring out great groans they transferred the body to the sarcophagus and, keeping it in great honor, hastily occupied themselves with the large stone covering.
       The following day, count Rodulf, coming with the bishops to the sepulchral mound, plucking away the cover of the sarcophagus, and there flowed out towards you a perfume more agreeable than the fragrance of terebinth and balsam, blowing out the smell of those. Finally, they built above the tomb a chapel of astonishing beauty, marvelously connected to the larger basilica. And there, wonderfully surrounded by pillars and by the tomb, he is revered, about to rise again in glory with Christ for, completing the course of this fragile life, the great duke Richard died in the year 1002 from the Incarnation of our Lord, Jesus Christ. 

camp, always plentifully furnished with sacred embers,
And preserving, as your ornament, in the bosom of your already-hallowed ground
The gleaming ashes of deserving saints,
You glitter profusely,in three ways, 
(note 1) with the endowment of salvation.
At one time you gleamed with a sacred virginal pedigree
When, from duke Ebroin, 
(note 2) filled with the malice of accursed deeds,
You guarded Leodegar, 
(note 3) deprived of eyesight and a sacred mute 
And blind due to much lashing,
Yet here, through Christ's favor for that sanctified populace continually obeying Christ,
Glorified with plenteous speech!
With Gildeberta rightly 
(note 4) yielding to sacred law,
With the virginal pedigree removed from ever-changing hazards,
There grew up in you afterwards an active manly order,
Exerting itself, for a prolonged time, for Jesus Christ.
Now, you deservedly shine with a very lofty name and a life
Which is enclosed within strict, confined bounds:
It does not sail over level ground, it struggles always towards the steep.
This life, one and the same, is both apostolic and contemplative, 
(note 5) 
Rejoycing, glad, in an everlasting private retreat.
Worthily bolstered by these three blessed orders,
You put before you the sacrosanct body 
(note 6) of bountiful Richard,
By whose prayers you will be purifed of every stain
And by whose worthy merits you will journey to heaven.
Behold, you possess the cast-off remains of him at whose birth you bloomed,
And by whose patronage you have been bolstered
And by whose bountiful, very lofty tribute you shall flourish.


O you who, with your guidance, dispose all things by right,
Binding the elements in a favorable, neighboring alliance
In so far as the rattling heat, joined to cold,
And the air, joined to the waters, yields under the mutual law.
We now dedicate deserved thanks and honors 
To you, the Father with the Scion, likewise the Spirit, 
Who grant polyform gifts to your own servants.
Everyone carries talents subject to the gain of some reward.
This one, keeping back his wares, diligently exercises
The five talents that were given to him.
He, having gained twofold profits by his active motives,
Now rejoices that he has indeed brought back double.
That one, the debtor of only one talent,
Which he hoarded in grimy pits, will be judged.
Indeed, as you dissipate the hazards facing everyone,
Let the former bring back rewards of glorified value.
This one, alas, whom the buried money of theft and fraud condemns,
Suffers, stuck into deep Stygian graves,
Dislodged from the ramparts of the peaceful hall,
Weeping bitterly for his neglected bodily openings, amidst deserved punishments.
Fearing that the punishment of hell might condemn me,
I would freeze, anxious, trembling because I made this.
Christ, the Norman land suddenly presses me to write
The official duties, the contests, of your warrior.
The weightiness of the subject matter, and the splendor of the                             labor,
My stolid heart, the barrenness of my dry tongue,
My character of cheap art and unskilled in any ability,
So many things would greatly terrify me, frozen before such things,
Both because every praise of God, for these knavish lips, is                                           rude,
And because I was not able to produce what I desired,
And because this man has gone away unpraised by songs,
Although he conferred every good on stolid me.
But your confidence, Christ, came present to me,
Whereby you were able easily to invigorate my mouth
And, having struggled, I pushed my stolid self forward into this work,
With you as a contributor, with you as my leader, with you as the author.
Thus do I, suppliant, now beseech you, king, 
With heart, with voice, with suppliant mind, with all gathered force,
That it might be pleasing willingly to receive what it was pleasing to give.
Sinking down into avowed, refluent crimes,
I acknowledged that I was affected by a stolid man's                                                                                                   uncleannesses,
Forced to grind out various kinds of varied evil deeds
Into a wretched life; five decades whirl by
And a fear of the torturing Styx oppresses me,
For I remembered that I had done hardly anything good
And nothing useful in such an interval of time.
These things do not intoxicate me, they torment me to the depths of my conscience,
And they afflict, anguish, tear to pieces, lacerate me.
But you, Almighty, the true hope of our salvation,
The famed order of all things, whatever flourishes, whatever lies hidden,
Lift me up again, having fallen, and purge me of the filth of vice
King of kings, render me exempt from future fault
So that, clean, I might be able to make resound with you, God
(Whom your creation celebrates with connected boomings),
Whatever the land carries and whatever the heavens bore,
Whatever the watery deep and the plume-fluttering air
Cherished for diverse uses.
And since, in your Father's will, you will be the judge,
Giving torture to the reprobate and rewards to the upright,
From on high you shall see me, conquered, in my stinking habitation,
For tokens of remembrance promise me, alas!
That the right hand of the Nourishing One shall first transfer into the flock of lambs 
Those whiter than me,
Whose fellow lamb is Quintinus, rightly known above the heavens,
Whose useless servant and slave I am.


1. F
camp was originally a female monastic community, then a community of male canons, then a community of male Benedictine monks.

2. Mayor of the Palace of the Merovingian realm of Neustria, 658 - 673; +680.

3. Leodegar, bishop of Autun and political rival of Ebroin.

4. Reading the "just" of the manuscript as "juste."

5. In Greek.

6. In Greek

Source. Dudo of Saint-Quentin. Gesta Normannorum (Also known as Libri III de moribus et actis primorum Normanniae ducum and Historia Normannorum).. Translated by Felice Lifshitz, 1998. Originally published online at the now defunct ORB website. Republished her 2019 along with a transcription of the Latin manuscript. Copyright remains with Dr. Lifshitz.

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