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story of Rollo of the equality of kings of France and dukes of Normandy;1 but the partisans of Anjou claimed for their lord the title, seneschal of France.'2 The continuous dependence of Anjou upon the kings of France was not unimportant in the history of the Angevin empire as a whole.
Within the county and its neighbourhood the successors of Fulk the Red gradually built up a strong and independent state. In earlier days the main function of the viscounts of Anjou had been the defence of the lower Loire against the northmen; and in consequence their energy had been chiefly spent in the district west of the Mayenne; but in this direction the long wars of the later counts with the counts of Rennes and Nantes had small result. To the west they gained permanently only a strip of forest land on the bank of the Mayenne. In the north, Maine was for some time subject to Fulk Nerra and Geoffrey Martel, but after some experience of the intolerable dominatio of the Angevin, its count Herbert II did homage to William the Conqueror duke of Normandy. In this way Anjou and Normandy were brought into collision; and the long struggle lasted until the marriage of the Empress Matilda to Count Geoffrey of Anjou in 1127. By this marriage Henry I of England and Normandy, finding that it was
1. Lot, pp. 227–233; and below p. 428.
2. For the famous tract, De senescalcia Franciae, composed in the reign of Henry II, see Baluze, Miscellanea, iv, 486; Viollet, Hist. des institutions politiques, ii, 110–1, and the authorities there mentioned. Lot, p. 234.
3. Perhaps special circumstances account for the charter in which Philip I of France, at the request of Fulk of Anjou, freed a serf belonging to Fulk, at Orleans in 1069 (Prou, Actes de Philippe 1, no. 41, p. 118). If not, it is significant.
chapter of Saint Etienne at Limoges, was written after Richard's coronation, in order to claim fictitious precedence for Limoges as the seat of quasi-royal prerogatives. Lasteyrie, Et
comte vicomtes de Limoges, pp. 36–7.
impossible to keep the Angevins out of Maine, united the two families and prepared the way for the union of Anjou, Maine and Normandy under Matilda's son, Henry II. Towards the south, the counts of Anjou secured useful but less brilliant successes. For some years they were lords of Saintonge and its capital, Saintes; but the geographical separation of this district from Anjou prevented the endurance of the union, and Saintonge was lost, probably in 1061. Anjou, on the other hand, never relaxed hold on the great fortress of Loudun, a place of great strategic importance on the way to Poitiers, which Geoffrey Greygown (960—987) had wrested from William II of Poitou, the enemy of his suzerain Hugh Capet. The possession of Loudun and northern Poitou also exposed the southern frontier of Touraine to attack, and when Touraine had been annexed helped to knit the Angevin territories together.
The union of Anjou and Touraine was, as has been explained earlier in this chapter, the essential fact in the history of the Angevin empire. The eastern neighbour of Anjou was the count of Chartres, or, as he was generally called, of Blois. By his rule over the three Frankish pagi of Tours, Chartres and Blois, he held the valley of the Loire and the approaches to Tours from the north-west and from Paris. Conflict was inevitable between the counts of Blois and their ambitious rivals of Angers, and was so prolonged that even the struggle between Stephen of Blois, brother of Theobald the Great, and Geoffrey of Anjou, the husband of Matilda, in which England and Normandy were at stake, was only an episode in its course. The history of this rivalry falls into two periods. In the first
1. For Maine, see especially Halphen, Essai sur l'authenticité du fragment d'histoire, pp. 20–21; Latouche, Histoire du Comté du Maine pendant le xe et le sie siècle (Paris, 1910), pp. 31–56; and Flach, Origines de l'ancienne France, iii, 555. Latouche (p. 55) points out that William the Conqueror and his so Robert recognised the suzerainty of Anjou over Maine.
period the counts of Anjou could rely, as a rule, upon the support of the French king, for Blois was near the royal domain, and its union with Champagne between 1022 and 1027 made the counts of Blois dangerous neighbours to the king The value to Anjou of royal friendship was most apparent in the first half of the eleventh century. In 996 Fulk Nerra of Anjou had actually captured Tours, but the city was retaken during his absence on pilgrimage to Jerusalem, owing to an alliance between King Robert II and the count of Blois. In a few years the situation completely changed, and the kings of France lent their approval to the steady advance of Angevin influence in Touraine. Henry I definitely granted the county to Geoffrey Martel in 1044,1 but the great successes of this year were but the last steps in a long penetration of the country. The first count of Anjou, Fulk the Red, had, by his marriage with the daughter of a rich landholder of Touraine, added Loches and other places in Touraine to the Angevin domain. These fiefs, which were of course held of the counts of Blois, became the nucleus of the Angevin settlement in the country between Loches and the Angevin possessions in northern Poitou. Gradually, with the exception of Saumur, which held out in the extreme west of Touraine under an intractable and courageous lord, the borders between the two counties became for all practical purposes indistinguishable; Saumur also fell in 1026, and it was only a matter of time before Tours and the rest of Touraine fell away from the counts of Blois altogether. The end came, as we have said in 1044. At first the counts of Anjou did homage for Tours to the counts of Blois—for example, Fulk le Réchin did homage in 1068—but later the county was held immediately of the king of France.
Still another bulwark of Anjou against aggression was found in Vendôme, to the north-east. A count of Vendôme married the daughter of Fulk Nerra, and with
1. Lot, pp. 166–7.
the consent of Henry I of France, their young son did homage to his uncle Geoffrey Martel, who administered his lands. Henceforward the lords of Vendôme were vassals of Anjou. Geoffrey left a lasting memorial of his period of government in the famous abbey of La Trinité.
The second period in the history of the relations between Anjou and Blois may be said to begin in the years in which occurred the deaths of Theobald the Great and Geoffrey of Anjou, the union of Anjou and Normandy and the marriage of Henry Plantagenet with Eleanor of Aquitaine, Louis VII of France finally turned his back upon the Angevin alliance, and joined himself to Theobald's children in Blois and Champagne. It is true that signs of rivalry between the counts of Anjou and their suzerains may be traced in the eleventh century, in the original chronicle of St. Maurice of Angers, and in the claims put forward by Fulk Réchin to a Carolingian origin for his title. The capture of Tours in 1044 was, in a large sense, the origin of these assertions; it had caused a widespread sensation not only in Touraine itself, where the practical supremacy of the count of Anjou was asserted with masterful effect, but also abroad; and as M. Halphen has said, but for the death of Geoffrey Martel without children in 1060, the power which the counts had won within seventy years might have been strengthened by still greater triumphs. But the succeeding century, though very important in the inner history of Anjou and Touraine, brought no increase of prestige beyond their borders, until the startling successes of Geoffrey the Fair and his son
1. Recueil d'annales angevines et vendômoises, ed. Louis Halphen (Paris, 1903), p. 57. See also p. 49, note.
2. Halphen, Essai sur l'authenticité, p. 17.
3. A charter of Marmoutier, quoted by Halphen in Le Comté d'Anjou, p. 59, contains the phrase 'in illa rerum conversione et mutabilium mutatione quae facta est cum comes Gaufredus Turonorum civitatem cepisset.'
4. Le Comté, p. 12.
Henry spread Angevin rule from sea to sea, 1 and divided France into two halves independent of each other in all but name. Then Paris and Troyes drew together to resist the combination of Caen, Tours and Poitiers; and from this time onwards historical minds on both sides invented claims and counterclaims in support of their masters. The assertion that the counts of Anjou were entitled to be seneschals of France dates from the early years of Henry II; the solemn coronation of the boy Richard at Limoges came soon after; on the other side, the young Philip Augustus was trained in a circle where the poetical renascence of Carolingian legend especially flourished. The third crusade first disclosed in their full strength the rival schools of patriotism. Men from all the provinces of France were crowded together, and soon lost sight of their holy purpose amidst the daily temptations to conflict. Thoughtful men reflected on the contrast between the troubled and divided age in which they lived, and the days of Charles the Great, when all Franks lived together in unity. The death of Richard, however, revealed what may also be traced in the history of the crusade, 3_—the essential lack of union in the Angevin Empire, and the tendency to the formation of local groups. The young duke of Brittany became the rallying point of one of these groups, the count of La Marche of another. Philip Augustus seized his opportunity, and summoning legist and antiquary to his aid, cut asunder the ties which bound Poitevin, Breton and Norman. And so, in his person, on a wider field, the old counts of Blois avenged themselves upon their adversary.
1. The annals of Saint Aubin, containing the annals of Saint Maurice, describe Henry II, ‘famosus et potentissimus a mare usque ad mare (MS. B. a. 1189, Recueil d'Annales Angevines, p. 19).
2. Ambroise, L'Estoire de la Guerre Sainte (ed. G. Paris), 11. 8479 onwards.
3. According to Ambroise, Angevins, Manceaux, Poitevins, and Bretons marched together during the third crusade. At a tournament in 1174 they fought together against French, Normans, and English (Hist. de Guillaume le Maréchal, iii, 20).