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which she had claims to geographical affinity and long social intercourse. Men were unwilling to forget this connection, and fifty years more passed before it was altogether broken. In 1150 Count Geoffrey of Anjou had united Normandy to Anjou and Touraine; in 1152 Poitou and Aquitaine were added by his son Duke Henry upon the occasion of Henry's marriage with Eleanor of Aquitaine; in 1154 Henry became king of England. The great roads which linked Rouen and Caen to Bordeaux thus came under an authority as single and as firm, if not so natural, as that which in later years united Rouen and Caen to Paris. The fall of Rouen in 1204 was echoed by the fall of Chinon, the chief fortress of Touraine, in 1205; Anjou, Touraine, and the greater part of Poitou fell under French control; but it was not until 1259 that Henry III, in whose veins the blood of southern nobles mingled with the blood of Rollo and Fulk Nerra, surrendered his claim to unite Aquitaine, Normandy and Anjou.
Even in the twelfth century an intercourse of fifty years could leave an enduring mark. In spite of many differences in custom, a single administration controlled the continental empire of Henry II; in time of war the various countries of which it was composed were, for military and financial purposes, regarded as one. It is impossible to write of Normandy without reference to the political system in which it shared.
In the second half of the twelfth century Paris was still but one among the great cities of France. Even in the limited Francia of that period, Paris, Etampes, and Orleans
1. For Henry III's descent from the houses of Courtenay, Turenne, Angoulême, and his connection, through his great aunt Adelmodis of Angoulême with the houses of Albret and Armagnac, see Jaurgain, La Vasconie (Pau, 1898—1902), vol. ii, p. 592. Henry refers to his Gascon kindred in a letter of June 28, 1243, to Amadieu VII of Albret (Róles gascons, No. 1030).
could be mentioned in the same breath, and beyond its borders Rouen, Tours, Bordeaux, Toulouse were the centres of districts which were independent in a social and economic as well as in a political sense. It is true that intense influences were already at work to make Paris the capital of a larger France, influences which, as modern geographers remind us, were geographical as well as political; the royal revenues from Paris, though they do not point to an overwhelming superiority in size and wealth, were much greater than those from other places;2 but the process was slow, and was not ended until in the eighteenth century the road system of France was perfected, and radiating from Paris, proclaimed her supremacy over all provincial rivals. In the days of Henry II and his sons, the geographical conditions of the west and north of France could still be defined by the great roads laid down by the Romans.3
The salient facts in this definition were the connection between the north-west and west of France by way of Angers or Tours, and the comparative isolation of Paris. The old cities of Angers and Tours held the lower valley of the Loire and the roads from the north to Poitiers; indeed the strip of road which passes, through a geological gap, from Tours through Poitiers commanded, throughout the middle ages, the whole of north-western France, and was the key to north and south. Around its northern end were clustered, in Angevin times, the fortresses of Angers, Loudun, Chinon, Loches. Communications were easy, not only between it and the great cities of north and
1. Amold of Lübeck, in the story of Otto of Brunswick's ride through France, lib. vii, c. 15 (Monumenta Germaniae, Scriptores, xxi, 246).
2. Brussel, Usage des fiefs, ii, Appendix, p. cxlvi. For Paris at this period see Halphen, Paris sous les premiers Capétiens (Paris, 1909).
3. I am indebted here, as elsewhere, to the description of France written by M. Vidal de la Blache for the Histoire de France, edited by Lavisse (vol. I, i).
south, but also between it and the towns lying along the ridges, which climb from the sea to the mountains of central France. On the heels of Goths and Vandals the Franks had passed along this road, and, as the place names show, had stamped a northern civilisation upon Poitou; it is possible that their outposts would have been pushed still further had the forest not turned them back. The races of east and west had met there : for there Charles Martel had routed the Saracens. In later times the counts of Anjou and Poitou fought for the possession of the road, and the house of Plantagenet, after losing it, tried in vain to recover a footing in Anjou and Normandy. And just as this district had been the stronghold of the Angevin Empire, so it became in the fifteenth century the last defence of the kings of France; through it the empire of Henry II had been possible; when it separated Rouen from Bordeaux, the empire of Henry V was impossible. The king of Bourges' was able to maintain himself against the king of Paris,' because he held Tours and Poitiers and Chinon. Charles VII received Joan of Arc at Chinon; she was examined by the doctors of the church at Poitiers; the sword which she carried to the border city of Orleans was found at Sainte-Catherine-deFierbois in the way between Poitiers and Tours.
A combination of causes, some temporary, others permanent in their nature, had contributed to the importance of this district in the twelfth century. By a happy accident the Normans of the Seine bad acquired the country between the valley of the Seine and the borders of Brittany, and thus were enabled to avail themselves of the traditional connection between what became western Normandy and the lands to the south, Maine, Anjou, Touraine, Poitou. The main routes from Rouen and the Seine to Tours, by way of Dreux and Chartres, could be easily closed to the Normans, and when Dreux became an appanage of the French house under Robert the son of Louis VI, they fell definitely under