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Court of Rome in 1198, they made the surrender at Messina the basis of their case against Philip.1 So long as this district between Epte and Andelle threatened with its fortresses the French domain, the valley of the Seine. was safe. If it were lost, the king of France could control, from its uplands, the rich pastures of the land of Bray, and pass along the right bank of the Seine as far as Rouen. It is certain that such a strategist as Richard would be ready to make sacrifices in order to secure the unchallenged right to the Norman Vexin. It is incredible that he thought of surrendering, in return for the meagre benefits which came to him from the rest of the settlement, a land already in his possession, which, save for a period of sixteen years, had been an integral part of Normandy during three centuries. 2
1. Innocent III thus summarises the English view of the treaty, bearing out the text in Rymer; "in qua pro decem millibus marchis argenti quas ei reddere promisisti praedictus Rex a contrahendo cum sorore sua matrimonio te absolvit, et Gisortium cum Vulcassino tibi quietum in perpetuam omnino dimisit" (Migne, Patrologia Latina, ccxiv, 196-199; Potthast, no. 235; Histor. de France, xix, 359–361).
2. The Vexin, both Norman and French, remained a whole ecclesiastically as an archdeaconry, attached to the diocese of Rouen (Prou, Recueil des Actes de Philippe I, p, 323, No. 127) though it seems to have been divided in the twelfth century (Longnon, Pouillés de la Province de Rouen, p. 11). The county of the Vexin after the Norman settlement of 911 was the French Vexin, between the Epte and the Oise. It was held of the abbot of St. Denis, since the Vexin, both Norman and French, had been a fief of the abbey. The duke of Normandy held the Norman Vexin originally as advocate of the abbey. (See Flach, Les Origines de l'ancienne France, ii, 525.) For a time after 1032 the county also came to the duke of Normandy, and the archbishop of Rouen always had considerable land within it (Cartulaire Normand, p. 31, no. 202) some of which seems to have been held of the duke of Normandy ("si vero est de archiepiscopatu, de comite Normannorum teneat, cuius est archiepiscopus": Philip I's charter of 1092, in Prou, p. 323). The county came to the French king in 1076. In 1144 Geoffrey of Anjou bought off the French king by the grant of the Norman Vexin. It came back as a marriage portion in 1160. For the bailiwick of the Norman Vexin, see above p. 105.
By the treaty of Messina, then, Richard was released from his promise to marry Alice of France, and retained the Norman Vexin in return for 10,000 silver marks of Troyes. The fortresses on the Epte were only to return to France if Richard should die without direct male heirs. The English king could not foresee that he would die without legitimate children, and would live to see the Norman Vexin wrested from him. His marriage with Berengaria opened a new chapter in Angevin policy. The French alliance had not brought peace, nor prevented the steady advance of French influence in Aquitaine. Once the main object of the unnatural series of agreements had been secured by the recognition of his rights in the Norman Vexin, Richard preferred to establish his base in the south. He was a southerner, and had spent the greater part of his life amid the stormy politics of Aquitaine. Thanks to him, this magnificent dowry had been a source of weakness to his father. Richard deter
mined to make it a source of strength.
Henry II, in the closing years of his life, had found that he could not hold the heart of his ancestral possessions, because the gradual advance of French authority in Berri and Poitou had opened a way into Touraine from the rear. If the key to the empire could be threatened in this way, it was useless to expect Normandy and Aquitaine to remain united. Richard was not likely to forget those memorable days in the summer of 1189, when the old king, deserted by his sons, forced from Le Mans, driven to bay at Chinon, heard the news that Philip Augustus had taken Tours.1 Hence, with his mother's help, he began to find allies in the south. The marriage with Berengaria of Navarre was the first step; it not only led to quicker trade between the Angevin provinces and the kingdoms of Spain; it also brought about a political alliance which was of great value to John in later days. The next step was the treaty with Raymond VI of Toulouse in 1196. Ever since, in 1. Histoire de Guillaume le Maréchal, iii, 106–111.
the last years of the eleventh century, Raymond of Saint-Gilles (1088-1105) had usurped the lordship of Toulouse, the dukes of Aquitaine had claimed the county. 1 Henry II had taken up the quarrel, and forced Raymond's successors to do homage for Toulouse. The king of France had acknowledged the rights of the dukes of Aquitaine, but made the continual quarrels between Raymond V and Richard an excuse for asserting his own authority. In 1168 Richard agreed to submit his contentions to the court of Louis VII, and at Messina twenty-three years later Philip Augustus formally acknowledged his rights to Querci, with the exception of the royal abbeys of Figeac and Souillac. This advantage, however, could only be another source of trouble so long as the count of Toulouse refused to acknowledge the rights of the duke of Aquitaine to Querci, which Richard had seized so lately as 1188. Richard therefore decided to get rid of annoyance, and made the agreement of 1196 with the young Raymond VI. 2 Querci was restored to Toulouse; Raymond married Richard's sister, Joan, the widow of William II of Sicily; and the Agenais was ceded to him as her dower. On his side Raymond consented to hold the Agenais as a fief of Aquitaine, and to contribute a force of 500 knights for one month in case of war in Gascony.3 From this time Toulouse gave little more trouble. When their own trial came to the count and his men, these heretics of the south were glad to seek the alliance of Henry III, and that orthodox monarch was not unwilling to grant it.1
1. Lot, p. 127. The claim rested on the fact that the heiress Philippa was married to duke William IX of Aquitaine.
2. Philip tried in vain to bind the count of Toulouse to his interests by giving him his rights over the abbey of Figeac (1195). Delisle, Catalogue des actes de Philippe August, no. 433.
3. Richard, Les Comtes de Poitou (Paris, 1903), ii, 298; Lot, pp.
4. See the letter of December, 1226, from the consuls of Toulouse to Henry III [P.R.O. Ancient Correspondence, vol. v, no. 61], quoted in Revue historique, lxxxvii (1905), 58–9.
This southern policy was continued by John. Within the borders of the duchy he turned from the house of Lusignan to Angoulême and the Limousin.
means he was able to command the entire length of the road from Tours to Bordeaux. Beyond the Pyrenees he made terms with the king of Castile.
The treaty of Messina dealt with wider questions than that of the Norman Vexin. The Angevin empire was destined to be broken up by the barons of Poitou, and especially by the barons of Poitevin Berri. Henry II had claimed Berri as part of Aquitaine,' but since the year 1100 when the viscount of Bourges gave up his lands, the kings of France had made more active claims. The viscounties of Déols, with its enormous wealth,2 of Issoudun and of Châteauroux remained in dependence upon the counts of Poitou; the rest of Berri, except the barony of Graçay, was secured by the king of France. At Messina Richard accepted the terms which Philip Augustus had forced upon Henry II in the last conflict for the marches of Aquitaine. He surrendered all his rights over the Auvergne, and all claim over the baronies of Issoudun and Graçay. But the settlement was not lasting. To Richard the mountain fortresses on the bounds of Aquitaine were always an attraction, and to the end he bandied songs of defiance with their lords, for whom, as for him, war and politics were not a serious dogged business, but were rather like one vast tournament, in which men were friends one day and foes the next.3
Lastly, Richard acknowledged Philip as his liege lord for all his continental provinces and consented to make the succession to them a matter of public treaty. As duke of Aquitaine he had refused to do homage to his elder
1. Above p. 30.
2. The heritage of Denise, daughter of Ralf of Déols (d. 1176) was said by some "tantum valere quantum valet redditus totius Normanniae." (Robert of Torigni, ed. Delisle, ii, 69.)
3. Cf. Cartellieri, iii, 146.
brother, and consistent in this, he arranged as king that if he should leave more than one son, though the eldest should be responsible for the obedience of all the Angevin provinces, the second should hold his share, whether Normandy, or Anjou and Maine, or Poitou and Aquitaine, directly of the French king. The law of parage was thus extended to the succession. Although there is no reference to Brittany in the treaty of Messina, Philip is said to have acknowledged its dependence upon the duke of Normandy; 2 and it should be remembered that, in case Richard should die childless, the young Arthur of Brittany was at this time recognised as his heir. 3
Within a few months the agreement at Messina was torn up by the sudden return of Philip from the Holy Land, by his understanding with the pope Celestine III and with the emperor Henry VI and by the captivity of Richard in Germany. The centre of interest was transferred from the borders of Aquitaine to the Rhine.
The death of Philip of Alsace, count of Flanders, during the Crusade (1 June, 1191) was probably more connected with King Philip's return than the Normans and English were willing to admit. In the disappearance of this great statesman and warrior, the king of France saw an opportunity of resuming his earlier success in the north-east of France; and as he reflected upon his policy the chance of including within its scope the conquest of the Norman
1. This seems to follow from the words of the treaty; "et, si Rex Anglie haberet duos heredes masculos aut plures, voluit et concessit ut major natu teneat in capite a nobis (i.e., Philippo) totum id quod debet tenere a nobis citra mare Anglie, et alius unam ex baroniis tribus tenebit a nobis in capite, videlicet dominium Normannie, aut dominium Andegavie et Cenomannie, aut dominium Aquitanie et Pictavie.' (Rymer, i, 54). See Guilhiermoz, p. 204; Rad. Dic., ii, 18; Gesta, 1, 291, for Richard's earlier action.
2. Gesta, ii, 161.
3. Treaty with Tancred of Sicily at Messina, Cartellieri, ii, 144–6, and the authorities given.
4. Cartellieri, ii, 255; Gesta, ii, 229; William of Newburgh, p. 359.