GEN-MEDIEVAL-L ArchivesArchiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2004-08 > 1093650403
From: Peter Stewart <>
Subject: Re: Charlemagne to Agnes Harris
Date: Fri, 27 Aug 2004 23:46:43 GMT
References: <BAY11-F8K9W1IpMKX9s000014ca@hotmail.com> <pbDXc.9574$D7.email@example.com> <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Pierre Aronax wrote:
> "Peter Stewart" <> a écrit dans le message de
>>The date generally accepted is 24 October 996.
>>However, as often happens with even the most important personages of his
>>time, the sources that ought to be most credible differ on the details,
>>and Hugo Capet _may_ have died a day earlier or later, and _possibly_ a
>>full year earlier or later though this is rather less doubtful.
>>According to the obituary of Saint-Denis abbey, compiled in the 13th
>>century from a records presumably contemporary with the event (Hugo was
>>buried there), he died on 24 October - see _Obituaires de la province de
>>Sens_, tome I, Diocèses de Sens et de Paris, edited by Auguste Molinier
>>(Paris, 1902) part 1, p 329: "VIIII kal. [novembris]...Hugo rex".
>>The second anonymous continuator of the chronicle of Ado, archbishop of
>>Vienne, in Monumenta Germaniae historica, Scripores II p 326, wrote
>>"Regnavit autem Hugo rex inclitus X annis, et moritur nono Kalend. Nobr.
>>anno incarnationis 997 (trans: The illustrious King Hugh reigned, then,
>>for 10 years, and died on 24 October in the year 997 of the
>>Incarnation); NB the tenth anniversary of his election as king was in
> But did he really count his years of reign like that? I have under the eyes
> the edition of a charter of Hugh and Robert which puzzles me by his date:
From the very few extant documents of Hugo Capet, we can't be sure that
he counted his reign accurately & consistently by our understanding of
chronology, much less that any fixed discipline in this respect ever
spread from his court to the monastic scriptoria around Francia.
As a general observation, the fairly reliable regnal and calendar dating
practice of earlier Carolingian chanceries fell into chaos through the
tenth century, under the shadow of the millennium, and this didn't
recover under the Capetians until late in the reign of Hugo Capet's
grandson Henri I. This was perhaps due in part to the uncertainty of
monks who couldn't agree on when a new year started or how to count from
the Incarnation, and evidently got confused between ordinal & cardinal
numbers in this & other contexts as a result. We saw a vestige of this
problem in controversies about the millennial new year in 2000/2001.
For interest, I once analysed the documents in _Catalogue des actes
d'Henri Ier, roi de France (1031-1060)_ by Frédéric Soehnée, BEHE 161
(Paris, 1907), of which 41 are dated with both calendar and regnal year;
of these twenty-four are consistent with his known succession on 20 July
1031; a further eleven apparently indicate succession in 1030 but may be
equally consistent with 1031 depending on which date was counted locally
as the first of a calendar year (usually 25 December or 1 March in
different places at that time), or if King Henri's second regnal year is
counted as starting from the first day of the calendar year following
his father's death, a probable variant practice; one definitely
indicates succession in 1029; three just as positively indicate 1032;
and two others indicate 1033.
> "Actum Parisius civitate publice, anno dominice Incarnationis DCCCCXCIII,
> indictione VI, anno VII regnante gloriosissimo Hugone et inclito filio ejus
This is presumably the diploma for Abbo of Fleury regarding Yèvre. This
was dated at Paris, where the calendar year at that time might be
counted from 25 March or 1 April (Easter day in 994). William Mendel
Newman explained this, stating that that style in this instance was
unknown, in _Catalogue des actes de Robert II, roi de France_ (Paris,
1937) p. 6, no. 6.
> Counting the years of reign in a logical way, this date is almost certainly
> impossible: Hugh was crowned 3rd July 987, Robert II 25 December 987, so the
> period belonging to the seven year of *both* kings wants from 25 December
> 993 to 3 July 994 and, since the style used at the time was most frequently
> the style of Christmas, is entirely in the year 994 (25-31 December 993 n.s.
> being in 994 v.s.), without a single day in 993. Anyway, considering the
> indiction, the charter must be between 1st September 992 and 31 August 993.
> So, there is a problem with the years of reign of Hugh, or at least with
> this charter. Have we to understand here that the seventh year of reign is
> only of the reign of Hugh, not of Robert? (and so the charter would be from
> between 3 July and 31 August 993).
> The editor doesn't seem to see any difficulty here and pretends that the
> charter is from between 25 December 992 and 3 July 993: if I'm not wrong,
> that would be correct of a charter with the same date but from the *sixth*
> (and not seventh) year of Hugh and Robert.
Newman, loc cit, gave a range of 3 July 993 to 24 or 31 March 994.
Applying logic to such questions may be necessary, but can't be
conclusive unless the same was done on the same premises at the time of
Did you find the dating of 25 December 992 to 3 July 993 in tome I of
_Recueil des chartes de l'abbaye de St-Benoît-sur-Loire_ edited by
Maurice Prou & Alexandre Vidier (1900)? I don't have this to check - but
I suppose that any edition published after Newman's catalogue would at
least take account of his remarks.