Archiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2002-07 > 1027906533

From: "Stewart, Peter" <>
Subject: RE: The Henry Project - one year later
Date: Mon, 29 Jul 2002 11:40:51 +1000

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Stewart Baldwin [mailto:]
> Sent: Friday, 26 July 2002 11:13
> To:
> Subject: The Henry Project - one year later
> <snip>
> Recently, when Todd Farmerie and I were both in Salt Lake City during
> overlapping vacations, we discussed some ways in which the scope of
> the project might be expanded in order to encourage submissions from
> more individuals. A couple of the possibilities mentioned were:
> 1. Expand the scope of the project to include a number of Henry II's
> contemporaries in other countries (and their ancestors through the
> tenth generation), so that a more representative sample of early
> medieval European nobility is included.
> 2. Expand the scope of the project to include some of the English
> peerage and gentry between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries,
> perhaps by picking one or more English individuals of the early
> fifteenth century and then adding them and their ancestors to the
> scope of the project.

Given the chore of quality control that you have generously taken on, I
wonder if it isn't better to stick with Henry II's ancestry and expand the
methodology instead.

At present I'm not sure that the project isn't falling between two stools -
by inviting users to focus on primary sources, but giving only preferred
conclusions from these, sometimes debatable, with bare references which most
people won't have the time, energy or resources to follow up. I would be
happy to consult the Henry Project, and ready to submit new pages, provided
room could be made for more discussion of detail & generally a more
thorough-going approach in quoting from as well as citing primary sources.

The main problem that can arise from what is basically a finding aid on a
website which also purports to give basic facts is obvious: many readers
will simply accept and copy the information without question. Others would
possibly reach different opinions from studying the same material as the
author, if they could do so without too much trouble. Occasionally sources
are at odds with each other and their reliability on specific points can be
confusing; there may be unacknowledged contradictions within the evidence
from a single source; there may be mistakes in transcription or lapses in
editing, apart from scribal or printing errors; and the interpretation or
translation may be open to challenge from studying the original text/s, even
in fragments.

Some examples of the issues I'm referring to can be found in versions of
medieval documents given in _Monumenta Germaniae Historica_, which will
necessarily be used & cited frequently. These are the standard or sole
editions available in many libraries, but are sometimes outdated or
otherwise unsatisfactory. For instance, Georg Waitz, editor of the
genealogical report on Queen Ingeborg compiled for King Philippe II Auguste
[Scriptores series, vol XIII] simply left out a few lines [on p 257] that
struck him as tendentious. The missing text linked Jean, seigneur of
Saint-Simon (still reportedly alive at the time of writing) to the
Carolingian counts of Vermandois, as grandson of the disinherited Odo the
Insane. This interesting information is given fully in _Les Registres de
Philippe Auguste_ edited by John W Baldwin et al (Paris, 1992), vol 1 p 551.

Stewart and I have communicated off-list about the interpretation of a
sentence of Folcuin, where he wrote that a count of Flanders took to wife a
lady with whom he had exchanged vows previously - so, did they actually
marry at the time in question, or did they perhaps consummate an already
existing marriage when the wife had reached an appropriate age? Giving just
a marriage date and reference to Folcuin in MGH is not too enlightening for
most readers.

I don't think a great deal of space, or bytes, would be wasted by adding in
some judicious quotation and discussion. As an example, if Stewart is
interested I would be happy to prepare a draft page for someone about whom
much is recorded by hints and indirect evidence for dates, instead of direct
& definite information - say, Robert II, king of Franks, along the following
lines (which would be made more readable on removing the bibliographic
details to end notes):

Robert II "Pius"

King of the Franks 996-1031

Robert was the only son of Hugues Capet, and was crowned as associate king
with his father in Sainte-Croix cathedral at Orléans on or shortly after
Christmas Day 987. Richer wrote "Et quia tunc in navitate Domini regnorum
principes convenerant ad celebrandum regiae coronationis honorem, in
basilica Sanctae crucis ejus filium Rotbertum Francis
laudantibus....sollempniter coronavit" [_Histoire de France (888-995)_,
edited & translated Robert Latouche, 2 vols (Paris, 1930-1937, reprinted
1964), vol II p 166], which seems a likely choice of occasion as
appropriating Carolingian tradition to the upstart Capetian dynasty.
However, 30 December is given by another plausible source: "Anno 987....3
Kal. Ianuar. Rodbertus, filius Hugonis, Deo iuvante rex ordinatus est"
[_Annales Sanctii Dionysii_, edited by Georg Waitz, Monumenta Germaniae
Historica, Scriptores XIII (Hanover, 1881), p 720)], and perhaps Richer
meant that Robert was crowned during the Christmas festival rather than
actually on 25 December. The decision of Hugues Capet to crown a second king
was controversial, and by Richer's account was taken in order to ensure the
leadership of the Franks under threat of invasion from Muslim Spain
("Petebat itaque alterum regem creari, ut, si bellico tumultu duorum alter
decideret, de principe non diffideret exercitus", op cit p 164). Robert's
reign was usually dated from the death of his father in October 996.

Date of Birth: probably 972
Robert's earliest biographer believed him to be aged 60 at his death
(Helgaud wrote "....sexagenarius, ut credimus" [_Epitome vitae regis
Rotberti Pii_, in Patrologia Latina, edited by Jacques-Paul Migne, 224 vols
(Paris, 1844-1903) vol CXLI column 933], suggesting that he was born before
the same date in 971 or, if he was still in his sixtieth year, in 972, but
this may have been a guess shared by the king himself and his entourage.
Ferdinand Lot opted for 972 [in 'La date de naissance du roi Robert II et le
siège de Melun', _Recueil des travaux historiques de Ferdinand Lot_, 3 vols
(Geneva, 1973), vol III p 38, reprinted from _Mélanges Julien Havet_ (1895)
p 156], determining this from the concordance between an interpretation of
Helgaud's statement and a retrospective from the likely date and order of
several events described by Richer.

etc, etc - Robert's marriages, divorces, etc are all somewhat vexed as to
date & circumstances.

Peter Stewart

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