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hostile control. On the other hand, the roads from Caen and other towns of Normandy by Le Mans fell under Norman control, first by the conquest of Maine, afterwards through the union of Anjou and Normandy. It is worthy of note that, when linguistic differences become clear in the tenth century, western Normandy is found to have peculiar affinities with the counties of the Loire, distinct from its peculiar affinities with the rest of Normandy and northeastern France. Social intercourse was now strengthened by political union.
The succession of Henry of Anjou to Normandy would, however, have been precarious if his Angevin predecessors had not secured possession of Touraine, and especially of Tours. The absence of mountains in this part of France tends to obscure the fact that, in the middle ages, Tours dominated the
passage from north to south. From this great city roads radiated towards Blois and Orleans, Dreux and Rouen, Le Mans and Caen, Angers and Nantes, Poitiers and Bordeaux, Bourges and central France. It was undoubtedly the greatest religious and commercial centre west of the Rhine, and it attracted to itself from Berri, Poitou, Brittany and the north the wealth and energy which were later to be diverted to Paris. The union of Anjou and Touraine will be referred to later in this chapter; here it is sufficient to note that the possession of Tours had placed the house of Anjou in a position of strategic advantage. A ring of fortresses protected the eastern approaches to Anjou, and from them it was as easy to direct affairs in the heart of Aquitaine as in the heart of Normandy. The only way by which the king of France could control the west was closed to him, and the Plantagenets shared in the benefit which the merchants from Flanders and Navarre who passed each other in the great south road, or the pilgrims bound for Compostella who crowded the
1. See Gaston Paris in Romania (1885), xiv, 598–9.
streets by the noble abbey of St. Martin, brought to the citizens of Tours. 1
The possession of Tours by the counts of Anjou blocked, we have said, the only way by which the kings of France could hope to control the west. The frequent references in this narrative to the attacks made by Philip Augustus upon the city are sufficient proof of its importance as the key to the Angevin Empire, and as the gate between Paris and Poitou. The reasons for this were based upon a simple geographical fact; Paris was separated on the south-west from Berri and Poitou by a stretch of difficult baffling country, the district known as Sologne. 2 Free though they were to penetrate into the valley of the Rhone, the French kings found it very difficult to master the barren lands which stretched between the mountains of Auvergne and the valley of the Loire. In consequence of this barrier the turbulent landholders of Berri and Auvergne had fallen, by natural causes, within the boundary of the old duchy or kingdom of Aquitaine. They looked across from their strongholds upon the rich countries along the Atlantic, or along the chalk ridges to the castles and cities of Poitou, or down the tributary valleys of the Loire into Touraine. This confederation, loose and troubled though it was, had given a unity to Aquitaine; and in consequence Henry of Anjou, on his marriage with Eleanor, entered upon a vast dominion which comprised nearly ten of the modern departments of France. It is true that Bourges, in the
1. The dean of St. Paul's makes a special note of a voluntary gift of 2000 marks which the citizens gave to Richard I in 1194 (Rad. Diceto, ii, 117). See the pæan on the land of 'Martinopolis' in the Narratio de commendatione Turonicae Provinciae, edited by Salmon, Recueil de Chroniques de Touraine (Tours, 1854), p. 292.
2. Vidal de la Blache in Lavisse I, i, 154–5. See also Arthur Young's remarks on this 'wretched country' in his Travels in France (edited Betham Edwards, 1905, p. 19).
3. For the extent of Aquitaine, see Longnon, Atlas historique de la France, Texte, p. 226. M. Lot, in his Fideles ou Vassaux ? (Paris, 1904), p. 49, has described the contests of the counts of Auvergne, Poitou, and Toulouse for the dukedom.
extreme north-east, which had for some time been the capital of the Frankish duchy, 1 had been bought by Philip I of France, from its crusading viscount, in 1100;2 but the successors of Philip had done little to profit by the bargain. Louis VII and Philip Augustus made it part of their policy to force a way into Aquitaine by way of Bourges, but their progress was slow and uncertain. Even when Philip Augustus had succeeded, after his father and he had made several compromises with Henry II and his two successors, in allying himself with the barons of Poitevin or western Berri, the relations between the latter and Paris continued to be very precarious for nearly half a century and were firmly established only after the destruction of Henry's empire. The footing which Louis VIII secured in Languedoc, to the rear of Auvergne, and the strong rule of his son Alfonse in Poitou really made success in this direction possible; and in the meanwhile, through the possession of Touraine, the French kings had been able to keep in touch with the south, and to separate Henry III's well-wishers in Normandy from his Aquitanian vassals. In this case also lordship over the northern half of Aquitaine was made possible through lordship over Anjou and Touraine.
Such were the geographical conditions which had secured a cohesion for the Angevin Empire which has often been underestimated. It is clear that the Angevin conquest of Touraine made the empire possible. This conquest was part of a steady advance in all directions over an area which possessed natural unity, including parts of several Frankish divisions, Poitou, Saintonge, Touraine, Vendôme, Maine and Nantes; and the gradual advance was accompanied by a progressive system of government and defence. There was no sudden victory, no hard and fast distinction between the methods of conquest and the methods of 1. Lasteyrie, Etude sur les comtes et vicomtes de Limoges (Paris, 1874),
2. Longnon, p. 226.
occupation. In this respect the rise of Anjou to power in western France was similar to the steady extension of the French domain in the Vexin (1076) and in the district between Paris and Orleans.
II. Anjou first appears as a semi-independent country in the first half of the tenth century. Fulk the Red, who is known to have been viscount of Anjou and abbot of SaintAubin in 898, was in all probability the deputy of the dukes of France. In later years, when the counts of Anjou had quarrelled with the house of Paris, they liked to maintain that their title was derived from a Carolingian grant, but there seems to be no doubt that in the ninth and tenth centuries the whole borderland between the Seine and the Loire was in the hands of the dukes of France, and that the viscounts of Anjou, of Touraine, and of each of the three counties of la Beauce were their deputies.2
In the district of la Beauce, Theobald, viscount of Tours, absorbed the jurisdiction of his two neighbours Chartres and Blois, and assumed the title of count of Chartres (943), and similarly, from 929 onwards Fulk the Red seems to have called himself count of Anjou.3 Although he and his successors took up the traditional position of Frankish counts in a Frankish pagus, they remained faithful to the duke of France and supported him after his elevation to
1. Halphen, Le Comté d'Anjou (Paris, 1906); Miss Norgate, England under the Angerins, vol. i, pp. 97–260. Halphen has also contributed a valuable study on the early expansion of Anjou in his Essai sur l'authenticité du fragment d'histoire attribué au comte d'Anjou, Foulque le Réchin, in the Bibliothèque de la Faculté des Lettres of the Univer: sity of Paris, xiii (1901), pp. 7-48.
2. It must be remembered that the ducatus Franciae which delegated by the later Carolingians to the counts of Paris, was not a geographical title. It involved the subjection of princes far beyond the narrow limits of Francia. Lot, Fidèles ou Vassaux ? p. 188 and note.
3. See Guilhiermoz (p. 162, note 66) for examples of the ease with which the title could be assumed in late Carolingian times.
the French throne in 987. This fact is of importance in comparing the status of Anjou with the status of Aquitaine or Normandy. In the controversy which has been fought over this question in recent years, the truth seems to lie with those who insist that there was no legal' distinction between Anjou and the greater provinces of France so far as their feudal relations to the king of France were concerned. Francia, in its geographical sense, was the limited area over which the kings of France had direct dominion; the counties between the Seine and the mouth of the Loire did not form an ethnic group bound together by closer ties than those which bound the duke of Normandy or the count of Flanders to his lawful suzerain.1 Yet, though this was the case, the whole history of the lands between the Seine and the Loire forced the counts of Anjou and Chartres into closer feudal dependence upon
the king of France than the dukes of Normandy and Aquitaine allowed for themselves. They could not, like the duke of Normandy, point to rights of conquest, nor, like the dukes of Aquitaine, to the great traditions of a duchy which had, for a time, been a kingdom. When, in the twelfth century, actual power sought legal right by means of fictitious claims, the dukes boldly acted as independent princes, but the counts of Anjou only insisted upon a more dignified dependence. Richard of Aquitaine was crowned as duke at Limoges ;2 Anglo-Norman writers sought proofs in the
1. M. Flach follows Pardessus in regarding ‘Francia' in this sense, as a group of counties immediately subject to Paris, bound together in some special manner. For the contrary view seo Halphen's review in the Revue historique (1904), vol. 85, p. 276 : 'aux yeux d'un Angevin, d'un Manceau ou d'un Vendômois, la Francia est une province étrangère à la sienne.' Halphen's evidence is quite conclusive for the eleventh century.
2. M. Lot, while insisting upon the close feudal ties between Richard and Louis VII, to whom he did homage in 1169, remarks that this coronation of 1167 shows that he was regarded as almost absolute (p. 82). The “ordo ad benedicendum ducem Aquitaniae,” in a manuscript of the