Studies in the Politico-Religious Ideology of French Poetry

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0024731/00001

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Title: Studies in the Politico-Religious Ideology of French Poetry Middle Ages and Renaissance
Physical Description: 1 online resource (148 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Petrosky, David
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2009


Subjects / Keywords: france, french, king, middle, renaissance
Romance Languages and Literatures -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Romance Languages thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Abstract: STUDIES IN THE POLITICO-RELIGIOUS IDEOLOGY OF FRENCH POETRY: MIDDLE AGES AND RENAISSANCE By David Petrosky August 2009 Chair: William Calin Major: Romance Languages This dissertation is a group of three studies based on poems from both the Middle Ages and the sixteenth century. The medieval epic poems were written over a period roughly one hundred and ten years long. The earliest, Chanson de Roland, was composed around 1090. The latest, Renaut de Montauban, was written in the early thirteen century. The three other medieval epics poems included in these studies are: Le Couronnement de Louis, Girart de Roussillon, and Garin le Lorrain. There are also two books of poems from the Renaissance. These poems were written as responses to the same crisis: the French Wars of Religion. Ronsard published the Discours des mise graveres de ce temps in 1562. Aubigne acute published the first version of Tragiques in 1616. The political ideology of these centuries centers on the generally held belief that society should have a system of government based on the institution of kingship. The king is chosen by God, and ought to rule, in general accordance with a Christian ordering of affairs. In the first two studies, I will look at the ideal king figure, using three different categories: personal qualities, their role as defender of Christendom, and finally, as the instrument of God. In the second study of the king, I will concentrate on the poetic representations of the flawed king. I will first look at how, young or child kings, were particularly vulnerable. I then discuss the more complex nature of the adult flawed king. Finally, I shall divide the last study into three parts: the conditions leading up to exile, the political and spiritual duality of the exile itself, and the return of the protagonist from exile. Clearly, such a lengthy time frame between the poems from the Middle Ages and the poems from the Renaissance contradicts all accepted ideas regarding the periodization of French literature. I hope to encourage others to look at texts in a multi-dimensional way.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by David Petrosky.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2009.
Local: Adviser: Calin, William C.

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Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2009
System ID: UFE0024731:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0024731/00001

Material Information

Title: Studies in the Politico-Religious Ideology of French Poetry Middle Ages and Renaissance
Physical Description: 1 online resource (148 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Petrosky, David
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2009


Subjects / Keywords: france, french, king, middle, renaissance
Romance Languages and Literatures -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Romance Languages thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Abstract: STUDIES IN THE POLITICO-RELIGIOUS IDEOLOGY OF FRENCH POETRY: MIDDLE AGES AND RENAISSANCE By David Petrosky August 2009 Chair: William Calin Major: Romance Languages This dissertation is a group of three studies based on poems from both the Middle Ages and the sixteenth century. The medieval epic poems were written over a period roughly one hundred and ten years long. The earliest, Chanson de Roland, was composed around 1090. The latest, Renaut de Montauban, was written in the early thirteen century. The three other medieval epics poems included in these studies are: Le Couronnement de Louis, Girart de Roussillon, and Garin le Lorrain. There are also two books of poems from the Renaissance. These poems were written as responses to the same crisis: the French Wars of Religion. Ronsard published the Discours des mise graveres de ce temps in 1562. Aubigne acute published the first version of Tragiques in 1616. The political ideology of these centuries centers on the generally held belief that society should have a system of government based on the institution of kingship. The king is chosen by God, and ought to rule, in general accordance with a Christian ordering of affairs. In the first two studies, I will look at the ideal king figure, using three different categories: personal qualities, their role as defender of Christendom, and finally, as the instrument of God. In the second study of the king, I will concentrate on the poetic representations of the flawed king. I will first look at how, young or child kings, were particularly vulnerable. I then discuss the more complex nature of the adult flawed king. Finally, I shall divide the last study into three parts: the conditions leading up to exile, the political and spiritual duality of the exile itself, and the return of the protagonist from exile. Clearly, such a lengthy time frame between the poems from the Middle Ages and the poems from the Renaissance contradicts all accepted ideas regarding the periodization of French literature. I hope to encourage others to look at texts in a multi-dimensional way.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by David Petrosky.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2009.
Local: Adviser: Calin, William C.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2009
System ID: UFE0024731:00001

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2009 David Petrosky 2


To Barbara, Olivier 3


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I extend my sincere thanks to Dr. William Calin, who chaired my committee and who provided guidance, professional expertise and co nstant encouragement throughout the writing of this dissertation. He helped to shape this work and encouraged me to explore new areas of research. I thank all the members of my committee who accompanied me on this exciting journey. I offer a sincere thank you to Dr. Carol Murphy for her much appreciated support. I wish to express my gratitude to Dr. Sylv ie Blum, Dr.George Diller, and Dr Nora Alter for their kindness and patience. Finally, I thank various members of my family : my wife Barbara, who helped me further my intellectual development over the years th rough a continuing and challenging scholarly dialogue, my son Olivier, my good friend Bob for his selfless and generous assistance, John, Joann, and Rene who were ever present despite the distance. 4


5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ............................................................................................................... 4ABSTRACT ...................................................................................................................... ...............6 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................................ ....82 THE IDEAL KING .................................................................................................................18Personal Qualities ...................................................................................................................26The King as Defender of Christendom ...................................................................................34Instrument of God ............................................................................................................. ......383 THE FLAWED KING ............................................................................................................43The Young King .....................................................................................................................44The Adult King .......................................................................................................................584 SPIRITUAL REDEMPTION AN D POLITICAL EXCLUSION ..........................................89Circumstances Leading to Exile .............................................................................................91Return from Exile .................................................................................................................1175 CONCLUSION .................................................................................................................. ...131LIST OF REFERENCES .............................................................................................................143BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .......................................................................................................148


Abstract of Dissertation Pres ented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy STUDIES IN THE POLITICO-RELIGIOUS IDEOLOGY OF FRENCH POETRY: MIDDLE AGES AND RENAISSANCE By David Petrosky December 2009 Chair: William Calin Major: Romance Languages This dissertation is a gro up of three studies based on poe ms from both the Middle Ages and the sixteenth century. The medieval epic poems were written over a period roughly one hundred and ten years long. The earliest, Chanson de Roland was composed around 1090. The latest, Renaut de Montauban was written in the early thirteen century. The three other medieval epics poems included in these studies are: Le Couronnement de Louis, Girart de Roussillon, and Garin le Lorrain. There are also two books of poems from the Renaissance. These poems were written as responses to the sa me crisis: the French Wars of Religion. Ronsard published the Discours des misres de ce temps in 1562. Aubign published the first version of Tragiques in 1616. The political ideology of these centuries cente rs on the generally held belief that society should have a system of government based on the institution of kingship. The king is chosen by God, and ought to rule, in general accordan ce with a Christian ordering of affairs. In the first two studies, I will look at the ideal king figure, using three different categories: personal qualities, th eir role as defender of Chri stendom, and finally, as the instrument of God. 6


7 In the second study of the king, I will con centrate on the poetic representations of the flawed king. I will first look at how, young or child kings, were particularly vulnerable. I then discuss the more complex nature of the adult flawed king. Finally, I shall divide the last study into three parts: the condi tions leading up to exile, the political and spiritual duality of the exile itself, and the return of the protagonist from exile. Clearly, such a lengthy time frame between the poems from the Middle Ages and the poems from the Renaissance contra dicts all accepted ideas regardi ng the periodization of French literature. I hope to encourage others to look at texts in a multi-dimensional way.


CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION To include, in the same dissertation, poems written (in the two extreme cases) over five hundred years apart may, at first glance, seem, at best, to be overly ambitious, and at worst, unfeasible. Clearly, such a lengthy time frame contradicts most widely held ideas regarding the periodization of French literature. The canonical works of French literature have been, since the nineteenth century, divided into centuries: the Middle Ages being the exception. It was inconceivable for a scholar to juxtapose and compare texts from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Moreover, a scholar was usually associated with one century, hence terms such as medievalist. This dissertation is intended to be a group of studies, for which I draw upon poems from both the Middle Ages and the sixtee nth century. I make no claim that these two periods are either interconnected or interdependent. Nor do I presume, that it is possible to consider these poems as part of a coherent period one tied together by a common set of literary and socio-political ideas. It is for this reason that I believe that studies are a more logical and effective format. The historical contexts in which these poems were written, were different, not only when comparing poems from different periods, but also from within the same. The medieval epic poems were composed during a period spanni ng, roughly, one hundred and ten years: from the earliest, Chanson de Roland from about 1090, to the latest, Renaut de Montauban written in the early thirteen century. Both Renaissance poems, were written as responses to the same crisis: the French Wars of Religion. Ronsard began work on his Discours des misres de ce temps, in the wake of the massacre at Amboise in 1560. Aubign dictated his premieres clauses of Tragiques in 1577, -although the first publication of the work would not be until 1616. 8


Mindful of the lack of historical proximit y, I have chosen these poems because they are alike in some very significant ways: they are ma rked by similar political and religious ideologies. I use the word ideology in its very general sense the manne r, or content, of thinking characteristic of an individual, a group, or a cu lture. The political ideology, with which I am most concerned for the writing of th is dissertation, centers on the ge neral held belief that society should have a system of government based on the institution of kingship (in some cases the ruler could be a queen or regent.) The king is chosen by God, and ought to rule, in general accordance with a Christian ordering of affa irs. Regardless of the strength and weaknesses of the individual kings, the office of the king must endure and succ eed. This message is present in all of these poems, though with varying degrees of insistence. Another distinguishing element in all of these poems, is that the king is both the defender of Christendom, as well as the ultimate source of justice in society. The challenges, with which the kings are confronted, are of va rious types. They come in the fo rm of direct challenges to the kings authority, disputes over le gal questions, and criticisms re garding both the personal nature of the ruler; as well as his or her political competence. These challenges can manifest themselves in several ways: rebellion by pow erful counts and barons, threats from foreign European powers, attacks from pagan armies, and trial, whose judges can be th e king, ones peers, or God. The primary focus of these poems, with re gard to the figure of the king, is his effectiveness as a political rule r. In the first two studies, I wi ll focus on the king primarily as a socio-political figure. With the exception of Charlemagne, the poets seem unconcerned with creating rulers who lead exemplary Christian lives. If the institution of kingship is, however, the basis upon which society is built, in none of these poems is there a portraya l of a king who must, himself, undergo the challenges th at all Christian face with re gard to their salvation. The 9


anointing of the king at the coronation signifies that the king will not be merely a king, but is christianisimus A king, or queen, must always perform the two tasks of ruler of his or her country, and defender of Christendom. Much of the kings success, depends on how well he masters certain skills; military, and administrativ e. Of equal importance, are his or her personal attributes: courageous, just, self-possessed, God fearing being some of the most important ones. The truest test of a ruler is how he or sh e responds to crises. How do these poets using historical and literary legends, shape the way in which their contemporar ies view their rulers? What are the sociopolitical factors that alter the style of the poems? To answer these questions, I will look at the ideal king figure, or queen, in the case of Catherine de Medici, using three different categories: personal quali ties, their role as defender of Christendom, and finally, as the instrument of God. In the second study of the king, I will concen trate on the poetic representations of those kings who fall short, for various reasons, of the ideal. In many ways, studying the weak, or flawed kings, provides the reader with a much more engaging perspective. It is the sovereigns humanity, with its foibles and passions, which creates conflicts, sometimes comical, sometimes harsh, with his or her subject s. These poems offer a critic al view of kings, ranging from pathetically pusillanimous, to capable, although ruled by hubris obsessions, or passions. In what ways do these criticisms, implicit or explicit, of indi vidual rulers, become, ironically, a means of strengthening the image of the institution of kingship? I will first look at how young or child kings were partic ularly vulnerable having, as yet, not been able to learn the necessary skills, either martial or political, that a good ruler po ssesses. I will then discuss the more complex nature of the adult flawed king. 10


For those who, unsuccessfully challenge the kings authority, or who, in one way or another, disturb the peace and st ability of society, the punishments could be severe. Exile in general, and pilgrimage, a particular form of it, we re one way to force rebel barons and traitors to suffer for their crimes. Exile, is rather more of a political punishment imposed on the rebel baron or traitor. In a few cases, however, exile is li nked with spiritual or religious itinerary. How does exile function as a means for lay aristocratic characters to achieve rec onciliation with society, usually in the person of the king, as well as the salvations of their souls? I shall divide the third chapter into three parts: the condi tions leading up to exile, the polit ical and spiritual dual nature of the exile itself, and the return of the protagonist from exile. It is neither practical, nor necessary, to provide a complete summary for all of the medieval epic poems. I have, nonetheless, provided an outline of the events that are beneficial to my dissertation. The Chanson de Roland written between 1087 and 10951, is the most famous chanson de geste in French. The oldest version of th is song is the Oxford manuscript and contains 4,002 assonant decasyllabic verses. This manuscript is written in the Anglo-Norman language and was signed by Turoldus. Charle magne has conquered most of Spain, only Saragossa remains under Saracen occupation. In or der to avoid further bloodshed, Charlemagne sends one of his barons, Ganelon, to offer peace terms to the enemy leader, Marsile. Angered at having been nominated for the mission, by Roland, Charlemagnes nephew, Ganelon, furious, plots with Marsile to kill Roland in an ambush. At the battle of Ren cesvals, Roland leads the rear-guard of Charlemagnes army. Accompanying him are some of the bravest knights in the French army, among them are Olivier, the duke of Naimes, the archbishop Turpin, and the count Grin. The rear-guard is completely annihilate d. Everyone dies. Roland is taken up to heaven by 1 See Jean Dufournets introduction in his edition of La Chanson de Roland Paris: GF Flammarion, 1993. 11


angels. Charles and his army attack the Saracen s routing their army, and sacking Saragossa. Ganelons treachery is uncovered. He is brought to trial. His cousin Pi nabel fights a duel with Thierry, the champion of the kings cause, to decide Ganelons guilt or innocence. Thierry is victorious, and Ganelon is quartered. Le Couronnement de Louis was written around 11302. This song contains 2,695 assonant decasyllabic verses. It is one of the oldest of the Guillaume of Orange cycle. The coronation of Charlemagnes son, Louis, occupies only a small nu mber of verses at the beginning of the poem. Charlemagne wishes to pass the crown to his son be fore dying, so that he may be sure that it is his son who succeeds him. Louis is terrified by the responsibility of being king. The traitor Arns offers to act as regent until Louis pr oves able enough to rule. The count Guillaume, enraged by such a disloyal offer, slays Arns. Th e remainder of the poem is a series of episodes describing how Guillaume, tirelessly and ceaselessly, works to protect Louiss person, brings rebel barons under the crowns control, uncovers and eliminates all plots against the king. Girart de Roussillon was composed during the first part of the thirteenth century3. It is a very long song of 10,000 decasyllabic verses. This poem has three different manuscripts and one fragment; the manuscript of Oxford is written in a mixed language. This song tells the very long, violent, quarrelous relationships between a power ful territorial prince, Girart, and his suzerain, Charles Martel. Girart, the literary character, has been associated with the historical count Gerardus. He was regent of the kingdom of Provence during the reign of Charles le Chauve. In other epic poems, Girart is named differently : Girart de Vienne a nd Girart de Fraite. 2 See Ernest Langlois, introduction of Le Couronnement de Louis: Chanson de geste du XIIe sicle Paris: Librairie Honor Champion, 1984. 3 See W. Mary Hacketts introduction of Girart de Roussillon. Paris: Editions A. et J. Picard et Cie, 1953. 12


This epic poem belongs to the group known as the rebel barons poems. The origin of the dispute, is that Girart be lieves that he holds his lands as all ods. Therefore, he is not beholden to any suzerain. Charles Martel sees things from a di fferent perspective. He lays siege to Girarts castle at Roussillon. After severa l battles and the loss of a good many knights, Girart is defeated. He flees, with his wife Berthe, in to exile in the forest of Ardennes. There they remain for twentytwo years. At first, they rely solely on charit y to survive. After several months, they become employed he as a coal-merchant, and she as a seamstress. They live, fairly comfortably, while in the forest. Eventually, they return to the soci ety of the court and the aristocracy. Girart makes peace with Charles, after anothe r seven year period. While in exile, Girart promises to renounce his hatred of Charles. He must do penance until he has expiated his sins : hubris, failure to pay homage to Charles, and the deat h of countless Christia n knights. His journey to salvation, and Berthes as well, run a parallel course to the feudal dispute with Charles, until the end of the poem. Garin le Lorrain was probably composed between 1160 and the end of the twelfth century4. It is part of the Loherain cycle. There are twenty-one different manuscripts of this song, most of them complete. The 18,650 verses make this one of the longest poems I have selected. It tells the story of two families, the Lorrainer family and the Bordelais family. The first branch of the poem recounts the end of Charles Martels life. He dies fighting to defend his kingdom from pagan invaders. He entrusts the care of his son, Ppin, to his most loyal and valiant vassal: Hervis de Metz. Hervis is Garin s father. Hervis dies defending his home from pagans, and Garin and his brother, Begon, are for ced to go and live with their uncle. Garin and Begon eventually go to Ppins court. They both ea rn the title of seneschal. From this point on, 4 See Anne Iker-Gittlemans edition of Garin le Loherenc Paris: Librairie Honor Champion, 1996. 13


the narrative becomes a long series of battles between the Lorrainers and the Bordelais. King Ppin, can do little to end these wars, which eventual ly lead to the end of almost every one original principal characters. The poem ends with a new reference to the next generation o Lorrainers and Bordelais renewing th of the f eir hostilities. Renaut de Montauban or Les Quatre fils Aymon dates from the beginning or the first half of the thirteenth century5. There are two complete versions of this song, the La Vallire manuscript, edited by Ferdinand Castet, and the Douce manuscript, edited by Jacques Thomas. This is a very long epic poem, which contains between 14,300 and 28,000 alexandrines verses, according to the different manuscripts. This song relates one of the most famous medieval French legends, probably origina ting in the Ardennes region. The first part of the poem, as with Garin le Lorrain, begins with the generation preceding that of the main characters. Renauts father, Aymon of Dordogne, and hi s three brothers, break their vassalic oath to their king Charlemagne, also called Charles. Charles is obliged to use force to make the rebel barons pay homage. But before this is done, Charles loses his son, Lohier, and Renaut his uncle, Beuves dAygremont. The four brothers, Renaut Alard, Guichard, and Richard, are chased from Charlemagnes court af ter Renaut kills the king nephews Bertolai. With the help of Maugis, their cousin, and th eir horse Bayard, both of them possess magical abilities, they succeed in hiding from Charles. This song relates the different sieges and wars between Charles and th e four brothers. After the battle of Trmoigne, known today as the c ity of Dortmund, Renaut makes peace with Charles. Renaut departs on a five year pilg rimage, accompanied by Maugis to the Holy Land. Upon his return to Trmoigne, Renaut settles one last matter with the long-standing rival family 5 See Jacques Thomass edition of the Douce manuscript of Renaut de Montauban Paris: Droz, 1989. 14


of traitors. He finishes his life in Cologne, working as a poor la borer. He dies a martyr, and is afterwards made a saint. The Discours des Misres de ce Temps and Tragiques do not lend themselves to any easy summation. They are poems which lack any narrativ e. Ronsards work is a series of letters, addressed to various persons, both royal and noble. Aubigns Tragiques, while not necessary a story in itself, situates the various events of the religious wars w ithin the much larger narrative of biblical history. Discours des Misres de ce Temps was composed bewteen1562 and 1563 by Pierre de Ronsard6. Ronsard was born in 1524 in the chateau de la Possonnire in Vendmois and died in Saint-Cosme in December 1585. He was from an old noble familythough not of the upper nobility. He studied in Paris from 1533 to 1534. He traveled to Scotland as the page of Madeleine de France who had married Jacques Stuart of Scotland. After his patrons death, in 1540, Ronsard went to Germany for three months It was there that Ronsard began learning classical literature taught by his cousin Lazare de Baif. In 1543, Ronsard was tonsured, in order that he receive money from the church. From 1550 to 1558, his fame increased, earning him the reputation as the prince of poets. In 1558, Henri II gave him the position of conseiller et aumnier ordinaire du roi In 1560, at the outbreak of hostilities between French Protestants and French Catholics, Ronsard was st ill a court poet to Charles IX. In the Discours, Ronsard writes in the role as prop agandist for the French monarchy. He urges the queen, Catherine de Medici, and in his second Discours her son, Charles IX, to put an end to the terrible wars and suffering that ha ve befallen France. Ronsard calls on Frances leaders to react in a way that would bri ng France to her past glory. In the last Discours Ronsard 6 According to the notes of Jean Card, Daniel Mnager, and Michel Simonin, in the edition of La Pliade. It is after the tumulte dAmboise in 1560, that Ronsard starts writing about the subject of the Civil Wars. 15


turns his attention to the leaders of the Protes tant movement. In them he lists the numerous abuses and perversions of the Reform movement doing so using a decide dly vitriolic language. In the final Discours the Remonstrance au peuple de France Ronsard calls on moderate Catholics to undertake certain degr ee of reform within the Church something that has been neglected for too long. Les Tragiques was first published in 1616, and ag ain in 1623 by Agrippa dAubign7. He was born in Saintonge in 1552 and died in Gene va in 1630. At once a soldier, a poet, and a religious man, he was, unlike Ronsard, a man of ac tion. After his mother had died giving birth to him, he was raised by his father, a Calvinist. He learned Latin, Greek, and Hebrew at a young age. He studied both in Paris and Geneva. Af ter the massacre of Amboise in 1560, his father made Agrippa swear to avenge the Protestant s who had been execute d. In 1568, he ran away from the house of his tutor, in order to become a soldier in the Huguenot army. Fortunately, he was not in Paris during the Saint-Bartholomew massacre on August 23, 1572. In 1573, he became Henri of Navarres squire. During his stay at the court, he began formulating his ideas for the Tragiques In 1577, he was seriously injured figh ting a battle in Casteljaloux. During his convalescence, he st arted dictating the Tragiques which he first published in 1616. He continued fighting at the side of Henri de Navarre until 1594. Aubign was very disappointed and disdainful of Henri IVs abjurati on, and with the terms of the Edic t of Nantes. He retired to the Vende region, where he became governor. Unable to continue fighting for his cause, he was forced to flee the France of Louis XIII. He went to Geneva where he died in 1630. The Tragiques is an epic poem divided into seven different books: Misres, Princes La Chambre dore Les Feux Les Fers Vengeances and Jugement Colorful, at times baroque, in its style and its tone, 7 See Jacques Bailbs, Marguerite Soulis, and Henri Webers edition of Aubign in the Bibliothque de la Pliade 16


17 the message of the Tragiques is clear. The verses are replete w ith his hatred of Catholicism, the pope, the Valois dynasty, and especially Catherin e de Medici. There is, however, a laudatory element in the poem. Aubign wrote this as a hy mn to Protestantism and as a testimony to the countless martyrs who died for the reformed faith.


CHAPTER 2 THE IDEAL KING And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a ki ngdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom sh all not be left to other people but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. (The Holy Bible Daniel 3-44) And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one. ( The Holy Bible, Zechariah 14-9) To most who lived during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, there was ultimately only one true kingdom and one true king. They w ould have understood that God put kings and popes on this earth to rule men until the day of the Fi nal Judgment. In the Middle Ages, the society over which they ruled was immutable since it wa s willed by God. Western Christian society was formed in the image of celestial realitie s, which was divided into three groups: the oratores, those who prayed, the bellatores or pugnatores, those who fought, and the laboratores, those who worked and labored. This study will concern its elf almost exclusively with the second of the abovementioned divisions the bellatores By about the end of the first third of the elev enth century, this visi on of the three orders had been expressed by certain leading clerics such as Gerald of Cambrai and the bishop Adalbero of Laon. In his work Carmen ad Rotbertum regem Adalbero states that the oratores are the most important of the three orders, for it is they who are the in termediaries between God and his children, both in their translation of His will, and in their in tercessions through their prayers and liturgies. The bellatores were the lay princes, in particular the kings. It is they, with guidance from the bishops, to whom God entrus ted the rule of this world, the defense of Christianity, and the maintenance of peace in His name. The Chanson de Roland and the Couronnement de Louis are the two medieval poems I have c hosen to illustrate this ideal king. 18


Adalberos simple descriptions of the worl ds socio-religious di visions would become insufficient to describe the orders of sixteen th century French societ y. By this century, the political and social divisions had become more detailed and complex, and consequently much more difficult to differentiate. At the time our poems were written, that is to say the second half of the sixteenth century, the knigh tly class such as it existed in the twelfth century, had been considerably changed. The king was still at the top of the hierarc hy and there were still powerful noble families, who were not always easily cont rolled by the king. There were also many houses of lesser nobles, but their political role had b een diminished, due to the importance of the new and well established members of the machiner y of royal government bureaucrats, royal councilors, and the noblesse de robe The Institution of government had significantly increased in number as did the number of civil servants. It is against these civil servants that second and third sons of minor noble families (for example Ronsard and Du Bellay) were forced to compete for positions at court. Aubign also for a time, was a member of the court but eventually was unable to adapt the skills n ecessary to be a successful courtisan This deception is symbolized in a scene towards the end of Princes where a young courtesan decides to take the advice of the allegorical figure Vertu and not that of Fortune : Que je vous plains, esprits, qui au vice contraires/ Endurez de ces cour s les sejours necessaires! ( Princes vv.1487-1488) In the poems of the Middle Ages there is a somewhat simplified view of the political, religious, and social tensions of th e world in which the characters liv e. This is due in part to the fact that by the end of the eleventh century, Charlemagne was already known to be the ideal king. The figure of Charlemagne in the Couronnement de Louis, in many respects does not function as an actual character (identifiable as having depth and motivation) but functions as a stock character. This would suggest that the poet borrowed and simplified the more developed 19


character of Charles in the Chanson de Roland reducing him to a mouthpiece for the propaganda that was being developed at this time by those adherents of the cult of Charlemagne, associated with the abbey of Saint-Denis. If these two chansons de geste present a particular king as th e ideal one, it is because they were confirming an already wide spread percep tion. This is not to say, that the poets words would not have served as a source of edificat ion for any contemporary princes who would have read or more likely heard them. The use of the legendary king might have masked any criticism, intended or not, that might have been dire cted at any particular prince or princes. The poems of Ronsard and Aubign reflect a much more detailed and troubled French society in the second half of th e sixteenth century. Both Ronsar d and Aubign are writing their poems in a response to various socio-political even ts of their lifetimes. In the case of Ronsard it takes the form of an exhortation, or what e ssentially amounts to a form of council addressed directly to Catherine de Medici Aubign was every bit as engage d in the polemic of his time as was Ronsard, but his contribution to it was less direct and immediate. The first publication of the Tragiques would not come until 1616, long after the main players in his epic poem had left the world stage. In the Aux lecteurs Aubign writes of Henri IV: Ce Prince, qui avoit desj leu tous les Tragicques plusieurs fois, les voulut faire lire enco re pour justifier ces accusations .(8) in his notes on the edition of the Tragiques, Frank Lestringant states th at this probably would have taken place before 1589, the year in which Henri de Navarre became Henri IV of France. Both poets were primarily concerned with the ways by which the rulers of that time could end the bitter conflicts between Protestants and Catholics. Here, however, the ideal king that the reader sees is one presented indirectly, that is to say not in the form of a specific character such as Charlemagne in the Chanson de Roland 20


Ronsard sees in the queen Cath erine de Medici the only ruler who can lead France out of these dangerous and tempestuous waters: Las! ma Dame, en ce temps que le cruel orage Menace les Franois dun si piteux naufrage, [] Prenez le gouvernail de ce pauvre navire : Et maugr la tempeste, et le cruel effort De la mer et des vents, conduisez-le bon port. (Discours la Royne vv. 43-50) Ronsards optimism comes not from his belief in her individual and unique personal qualities. Because of her unique authority as queen, she is the one to bring about the necessary change: La France jointes mains vous en prie et reprie ( Discours la Royne, v. 51). Ronsards Discours is not an epic poem filled with the heroic gestes of the great kings of history although he does use some of them, in particular Charlemagne, as models knowing that Catherine de Medici is familiar with them through her reading of French history: H! que diront l bas sous les tombes poudreuses De tant de vaillans Rois les ames genereuses! Que dira Pharamond! Clodion, et Clovis! Nos Pepins! Nos Martels! Nos Charles, nos Loys: Qui de leur propre sang tous perils de guerre Ont acquis leurs fils une si belle terre? (Discours la Royne, vv. 55-60) His verse is also replete with mythical heroes from classical literature such as Ajax, Achilles, and Jason. What this Discours is not is an epic poem recounting the deeds and greatness of Catherine de Medici. Her place among the great rulers will be set once she leads Fran ce to a time of peace and stability of course using Rons ards didactic verse as her guide. In the Tragiques we find no central character that represents the ideal ruler, although before the apostasy of Henri IV, Aubign had thought that the young Henri de Navarre would be the one to save France. Like Ronsard, Aubign is commenting on events that have unfolded, and are continuing to unfold, in his li fetime. While his verse is meant to be every bit as edifying as Ronsards, he is not in the pr ivileged position of court poet and propagandist for both the Valois 21


monarchy, and the moderate reformers of the Church. In fact Aubign himself, under the acronym le bouc du desert, writes from the vantage point of hi s self-imposed exile. In scathing, venomous, prophetic, even damning rhetoric he co mposes for the reader, a series of grotesque, violent, and at times baroque tableaux and images whose purpose, is to depict the misery and suffering of the Protestants, evoking the martyr s of the Old Testament as well as more recent European history. Aubign offers us his vision of the ideal prince knowing that such leader will not come from among any of his contemporaries. Aubigns ideal king will be the only true king, the King of Kings. For our purposes I will analyze the way in wh ich some of the poems in this selection present the image of the ideal king, or as Aubign called him the true or vrai king. The kings in Chanson de Roland Couronnement de Louis and Discours had responsibilit ies and duties in their capacity both as a religious and a secula r ruler. The two were by no means mutually exclusive for their success, or lack thereof, in one sphere often determ ined their effectiveness in the other one. The kings ability to lead successfully in both th e religious and political areas, his ability to resolve crises, is in large part dependent upon his powers and his personal qualitie s. Adalberos opinion that of the three orders the most important is the oratores, was not shared by all. Whichever side the poets of the Chanson de Roland and the Couronnement de Louis may have taken on this issue, the Charlemagne in their songs is very powerful, and neither the Pope nor any archbishops or bishops, have any power of importance relative to the emperor. This would seem to accurately reflect the historical situa tion at the time of Charlemagnes coronation. The emperor judges the popes role as very limited. Th e pope and the clergy have but one function: to 22


aid the Christian armies of the emperor with pray ers. A king should take care of all other matters, religious and secular. On Christmas day 800, Charlemagne was ma nifestly the lord of Christendom. Charlemagne was crowned by Pope Leo III as Charles Augustus, Emperor of the Romans, and protector of the Republica Romana These new titles were added to the title of king of the Franks and of the Lombards, which Charlemagne already possessed. It was God himself who crowned Charlemagne as emperor through the pope. This was important since it establ ished the theocratic origin of the office. How one views the signifi cance of this event depends on whether one favors the papal or the royal position. The papalists felt that both the coronation of Ppin III and that of Charlemagne proved the supremacy of the pope over the emperor for it is he, in the name of God, who confers the titles and powers onto the secular ruler. The political reality of the situation was th at the pope and his lands in Italy were completely dependant on the military power of the Franks. What is of importance here, is that the medieval theory of Papacy and Empire had taken form.1 In the Chanson de Roland and in the Couronnement de Louis this is the background against which events unfold. More importantly, this theory shapes the poets vision of the ideal king such as he is exemplified by Charlemagne in the Chanson de Roland and by the advice Charlema gne gives Louis in the Couronnement de Louis. The idealization of Charlemagne, as W. G. va n Emden asserts, reached its pinnacle in the Chanson de Roland : the figure of Charles never again attains the same heights as in the Roland (312). In both the coronation scene in Couronnement de Louis and in the overall portrait of 1 Although as early as the fifth century Pope Gelasius I (492-496) had formulated the idea of the Two Swords. This notion asserts that both temporal and spiritu al powers were of equal importance to the establishment and the continuance of Christendom. 23


Charlemagne in the Chanson de Roland the king is portrayed in all his power and majesty as he was in the year 800. However, these works clearl y do not represent the actual state of relations between the papacy and the secular rulers as they were at the end of the eleventh century. In the almost 300 years since Charlemagne was crowne d emperor and when the poem was written, the popes had gradually increased their power and in fluence in Western Europe. They had become rulers over large domains, and at times the most powerful of Italian prin ces. Throughout Western Christendom they had become supreme in their function as spiritual and moral leaders. By the twelfth century, a legendary and romantic image of Charlemagne far rem oved from the intricate and realistic picture the m onk Einhard gives us in his Vita Karoli Magni (830-833), emerges in all its glory. Charlemagne becomes first and foremost the superhuman Gallic champion of the Church and the defender of the faith he becomes the defender of Christianity in France and in Germany. The emperor is viewed as a supreme demi-god a rex in Gallia not as the proud and human Franconian of the Rhineland and Aachen. The first 243 verses of the Couronnement de Louis are replete with the duties, responsibilities of a king as defender of the Christian church and of the kingdom of France, as well as the moral character needed to successfully rule. In 813, Charlemagne confers the crown on his son Louis. He tells him to take the imperial crown and placed it on his head. The significance of this act was that God spoke through the emperor not the pope: Filz Loos, vei ici la corone: / Se tu la prenz, emperere is de Rome ( Le Couronnement de Louis vv. 72-73). Charlemagne died in 814 and is buried in Aachen. In the ninth century, folk tales were told about him making him a superhuman. Sainthood would not come any time soon after his death, for too many people remembered the br utality of his acts. However these memories faded; later people would remember him as a soldier of God, a champion of the Faith, and a builder of nume rous churches. In the eleventh century, 24


Charlemagnes image would continue its tran sformation. It is generally believed that Charlemagne was extolled as a martyr on account of his many adventures. The picture of the king now took on the aspect of a Christian eccl esiastic or a monk. Thes e purely ecclesiastical legends about Charles originated in the twelft h century, though his life was regarded as more ascetic than holy. He was canonized in 1165. By the second half of the sixt eenth century, the idea that French kings were the defenders of Christendom had become an anachronism. The threat from the Ottomans was no longer very serious being limited to Eastern Europe. The Reformation brought about divisions not only within Christianity and the Chur ch, but in the way European states regarded one another. The Church underwent several divisions and subdivi sions: Catholics and Protestants, moderate Catholic reformers, Ultramontanes, Calvinists, Lu therans, Presbyterians, et al. The political map of Europe was redrawn and redefined; on the one hand, Protestant England and those states sympathetic to the cause of the Reformation, on th e other, Catholic France, Italy, Spain, and the Holy Roman Empire rivals themselves. In France, the Catholic Valois monarchy he ld firm. Strong opposition to their power came from the powerful Bourbon and Guise families. The death of Francis II in 1560 led to a struggle for power that ultimately led to the assertion of power by Catherine de Medici and the house of Valois. Although the Discours were meant as a polemic against the Protestant threat, it is not unlikely that Ronsards encouragement of the Queen to be the one who e nds Frances sufferings, did not also reflect his unders tanding of the political situat ion in which the Valois found themselves. He would have seen that the need for unity in France, was a prerequisite of the ability of France to withsta nd strong foreign opposition as well particularly from Spain. 25


The ideal ruler for Ronsard would be one to protect the Gallican Church and the monarchys political position, while at the same time ending the reli gious wars. There is nothing in the Discours to suggest that the Queen Mother a nd her son Charles IX should undertake any crusade against the pagans, nor that they were still responsible for the protection of the Roman See. Aubign in the Tragiques stressed with more conviction that the French monarchy needed to be strong if it were to bring peace and stability to France. However, he saw the Valois rulers as being the cause of Frances woes and not the solution. His ideal ru ler would be one who worked to create Gods kingdom on earth, and who would lead a strong and united France against the papal Antichrist, evil Sp ain, and the ultra-Catholic Empire. Our study of the ideal ruler will show some si milarities among all four of the texts; their differences are due to the poli tico-religious circumstances addr essed in the poems. If, as was suggested earlier, the coronation scene in the Couronnement de Louis offers merely an enumeration of the Emperors duties and respons ibilities, as well as those personal traits necessary to accomplish these, Charlemagne in the Chanson de Roland demonstrates what it is to rule. Personal Qualities For the most part, the personal qualities necessary to rule fall into two general categories : physical traits necessary to perform difficu lt military tasks, and impress the enemy, and personnality traits that allow the king to deal affectively with hi s subjects, in attempt to both win their respect and their admiration. Virility and handsomeness are two physical traits used to describe Charlemagne : Blanche ad la barbe et tut fleurit le chef, / Gent ad le cors et le cuntenant fier. (Chanson de Roland vv. 116-117) He is also described as robust and elegant : Gent ad le cors, gailla rt e ben seant, / Cler le visage e de cuntenant./Puis si chevalchet 26


mult aficheement. (Chanson de Roland, vv. 3115-3117). In the face of the pagans, all Christian knights must show valor : Mult est vassal Carles de France dulce. ( Chanson de Roland v. 3579). The Couronnement de Louis offers an amusing contrast between the ideal king Charlemagne and his pathetically weak son Loui s. Charless first commands that Louis in accepting the throne agree to act as a true king : Filz Loos, ne te celerai mie, / Or avras tot mon reiame en baillie, / Apres ma mort, si Deus me benee. (vv. 166-168) Here also Charlemagne is depicted as a vaillant king: R eis de France porte corone dor / Prodome deit estre e vaillant de son cors. (vv. 20-21), and he is fearful to the wicked : Et sil est ome qui li face nul tort, Ne deit guarir ne a plain ne a bos De ci quil lait o recreant o mort. (vv. 22-24) Much to Charlemagnes disappointment he is forced to recognize that his son is neither courageous nor vaillant. This is the opinion that Arns shares as well when pointing out that Louis is not strong enough to lead anyone in battle : Mes sire est jovenes, na que quinze anz entiers, Ja sereit morz quin fereit chevalier. (vv. 103-104) Arns propos es that after a three year period they reassess the situation : Sil vuelt proz estre ne ja bons eritiers, Je li rendrai de gr et volentiers, Et acreistrai ses terres et ses fiez. (vv. 107-109) Other personal qualities that Charlemagne possesses in the tw o medieval poems relate to various Christian virtues. The most important virtue is to live a life without sin. In the Couronnement de Louis the ideal king must commit no sins: Tort ne luxure ne pechi ne mener (v. 65). A ruler must be patient : De sa parole ne fut mie hastifs: / Sa custume est quil 27


parolet a leisir. ( Chanson de Roland vv. 140-141). He must also display generosity and largesse : Ben le conuis que gueredun vos en dei E de mun cor, de terres et daveir. Vengez vos fil[l]z, vos freres e voz heirs, Quen Rencesvals furent morz laltre seir (Chanson de Roland vv. 3409-3412) Another important point stressed in these poems is that the king has a responsibility to care for widows and orphans, particularly those whose hus bands or fathers fought with Charlemagne : Ne trason vers nului ne ferez, / Ne orfelin son fi ne li toldrez (vv. 6667) or Ne orfe enfant retolir le suen fi. (v. 84). Piety is another virtue that is expressed in these poems. In a couple different places the narrator of the Chanson de Roland notes that Charles attends holy offices : Li empereres est par matin levet ;/ Messe e matines ad li reis es cultet. (vv. 163-164). Charles also tells Louis that he needs to be a pious man : Et sainte eglise pense de bien servir ( Couronnement de Louis, v. 155). Physical strength is another way for the ideal ruler to deal with his enemies: Qui me guerreie, bien sai quil te desf ie, / Cil qui me het, bien sai ne taime mie. ( Couronnement de Louis, vv. 69-70). However, to be truly successful a king must be wise and unwavering in his enforcement of justice upon his subjects: Ainz deit les torz batre soz ses piez, Encontre val et foler et pleissier, Envers le povre te deis umeliier ; Se il se claime, ne te deit enoier, Ainceis le deis aidier et conseillier. (vv. 80-84) In the Discours and the Tragiques, we find many of the same personal qualities of the ideal ruler. For Aubign physical strength and military prowess are important : Et que fait la Foiblesse au tribunal des Rois ? ( Chambre Dore, v. 439). Gwenda Echard examines the ways 28


in which the ideas exposed in Erasmuss Enchiridion Militis Christiani (1503), and the Institutio principis Christiani (1516), are present in the work of R onsard and Aubign; she points out that both of Erasmuss works stress the need for personal pietas in a prince: While owing much to classical and to medieval sources, [these works] are distinctive in this emphasis they place on pietas and are the antithesis of a Machiavellian pragmatism that seemed frequently to be the order of the day in sixteent h-century power-politics. (28) Echard goes on to say that Erasmus whose perspective is one marked by an evangelizing zeal sets himself up as the conscience of Europe (31), whereas Ronsard, in his capacity as propagandist for the French monarchy, is not interested in presenting in the Discours anything that would detract from the image of the good king, or the monarchy. Ronsards relation to Er asmus lies in his didacticism concerning the formation of the Christian monarch. Yet the total effect of his work is not quite un-Erasmian in its impact. (Echard 28-29). It is likely that Aubign shared Erasmuss conviction that before all else he [the king] must put his inner house in order, and [] the notion of kingly responsibility is inseparable from his notion of individual pietas. (Echard 27) However Aubigns kings are scavengers lacking royal dignity, courage, and honor. Among the kings of Aubigns world none would be capable of performing such acts of pious devotion. According to Arlette Jouanna : Le vrai roi est un adu lte, viril, guerrier, matre de lui et de ses choix. (625). Both poets poi nt out the importance of bei ng a king who exemplifies virtue, and who corrects vice. Ronsard also believes that a ruler should recognize virtue in others so as to surround himself with the best possible councilers : Il faudra de vous-mesme apprendre commander ouyr vos sujets les voir et demander, Les coignoistre par nom et leur faire justice, Honorer la vertu, et corriger le vice. (Institution pour ladolescence du Roy Charles IXe de ce nom, vv. 91-94) And he points out later : 29


[] Ce nest pas tout de savoir la vertu : Il faut coignoistre aussi le vice revestu Dun habit vertueux, qui dautant plus offence, Quil se monstre honorable, et a belle apparence. (Institution vv. 79-82) Aubign writes also : Debteur au verteux, persecuteur du vice. ( Princes, v. 521). How a ruler acts toward his subjects is very important in that it not only sets a good example, but also creates a positive impression : Vous ferez vostre charge comme un Prince doux, / Audience et faveur vous donnerez tous. ( Institution, vv. 103-104). Ronsard also s uggests that a king should be even tempered when dealing with his subject : Punissez les malins et les seditieux : Ne soyez point chagrin, despit ne furieux : Mais honneste et gaillard, portant sur le visage De vostre gentille ame un gentil tesmoignage. (Institution, vv. 171-174) Above all a kings subjects should not fear him. On the contrary, he should be loved and remembered by his people, and la ter on again Ronsard states : Il faut que dun bon il le peuple vous regarde, Quil vous aime sans crainte : ainsi les puissans Rois Ont conserv le sceptre, et non pas le harnois. (Institution, vv 138-140) Charles tells Louis that it is important to be respected and admired by his subjects : Tes chevaliers pense de chiers tenir ; Par els seras onorez et serviz, Par totes terres et amez et cheriz. (Le Couronnement de Louis vv. 157-160) The historical Charlemagne attached great importance to education, including his own. Numerous scholarly works have been written about Charlemagnes desire to better the education of his clergy: What the leaders of the Carolingian so ciety wanted to do was to prepare the clergy, the soldiers of the Church, to lead the people of God to the pasture of eternal life. (Contreni 709) 30


Charlemagnes biographer, Einhar d, writes briefly on the subject of the emperors studies: [] Alcuin, was the greatest scholar of his time []. Under his direct ion, the king spent a great deal of time and effort studying rhetoric logic, and especia lly astronomy. [] He also tried his hand at writing [] but [] he never became very acco mplished in this art. (93). Little of this ambition is found in the Chanson de Roland or in the Couronnement de Louis, for the poets concerns were for other matters. The sixteenth century was very different drawing on a long and rich tradition of Christian and classical writings. Poets and scholar s of this century stressed the need for the Christians princes to be learned. In the Institutio Erasmus emphasizes this blend of the classical and the Christian using the platonic tradition of the philosopher king, as well as the idea that the king is the earthly counterpart of God. Knowledge and understanding of Scripture was of course paramount. Ronsard believes that a ruler is we ll-served [] par les beaux mestier que les Muses nous donnent. ( Institution v. 30) He stresses the particular importance of the Trivium and the Quadrivium : Quand les Muses sont filles de Jupiter (Dont les Rois sont issus) les Rois daignent chanter, Elles les font marcher en toute reverence, Loin de leur Majest banissant lignorance : Et tous remplis de grace et de divinit, Les font parmy le peuple ordonner equit. Ils deviennent appris en la Mathematique, En lart de bien parler, en Histoire et Musique, En Physiognomie, fin de mieux savoir Juger de leurs sujets seulement les voir. (Institution, vv. 31-40) While important in its own right, formal education is only one type of knowledge necessary to be a good ruler. Knowledge of oneself and of ones role is perhaps equal, if not superior in value. Formal education, wisdom, and congeniality, are of little use if one is not in possession of ones emotion. In the chansons de geste dmesure is the antithesis of self31


possession. My intent in this chapte r is not to add to the plethora of studies done on the former. It is the latter which concerns us here. This topic is not one of those Charlemagne discusses with Louis in the Couronnement de Louis However, this personal qua lity does appear to be of importance in the Chanson de Roland The behavior of Charlemagne in the Chanson de Roland is a topic of long debate. There is the well supported view, according to which Charlemagne despite the power, majesty, and dignity of his appearance does have one weakness namely that he appears weak and vacillating especially in the council scenes. Such a foib le would alter our perc eption of this perfect Christian ruler, would undermine the idea that Ch arlemagne is the very model of self-possession. In his insightful article on Charlemagne, John D. Niles rejects this interpretation.2 Placing Charlemagne as the central hero of the epic as he does, Niles is able to read these scenes of supposed weakness in the opposite manner. He views Charlemagne as the embodiment of serene majesty (124). Furthermore, Niles argues that what appears to be passivity is really selfcontrol: The emperor is literally impassive : that is, he has an active control over his passions. He is self-possessed in the full meaning of that term. Even during the trial of Ganelon, when he wishes nothing more than to see the traitor die, he subordinates his own passion to judgment by the court: that is, to law. (136) Whichever argument seems more compelling, each shares one idea that self-possession and restraint are essent ial in the ideal ruler. The massacre of Vassy in 1562 was an act that went beyond the bounds of reason. Whole groups in societ y were now allowing passions to control reason and tolerance: Au ciel est revole et Justice et Raison Et en leur place, helas! Regne le brigandage, La force le harnois le sang et le carnage. 2 In his article The ideal Depiction of Charlemagne in La Chanson de Roland Niles refutes in particular the position taken by W. T. H. Ja ckson in his standard history, The Literature of the Middle Ages p. 169. 32


(Discours la Royne vv. 182-184) This is a world plunged into madness and disorder. Ronsard exhorts Catherine de Medici to not allow her passions to overrule her and to be true and constant to who she is: De l vous apprendrez vous coignoistre bien, Et en vous cognoissant vous ferez toujours bien. Le vray commencement pour en vertus accroistre, Cest (disoit Apollon) soy-mesme se coignoistre: Celuy qui se coignoist, est seul maistre de soy, Et sans avoir un Royaume, il est vraiment un Roy. (Institution, vv. 83-84) In the Tragiques Aubign adds the element of laws to the need for self-mastery. Aubign approaches Erasmuss belief that indomitable passions in a prin ce are the very dregs of the mob. ( Enchiridion 65). Ceux-l regnent, ceux-l sont de vrais Rois Qui sur leurs passions establissent des loix, Qui regnent sur eux mesme, et dune ame constante Domptent lambition volage et impuissante (Princes, vv. 664-666) One of the ways the king can bridle his pass ions is by respecting the law. The ideal king must recognize that to rule is not to act without any constraint; following ones whims and desires. Arlette Jouanna interpretes these verses: Aux despens de la loy que prirent les Gaulois / Des Saliens Franois pour loy des autres lois. ( Misres vv. 735-736) as a statement that the kings should act in accordance with certain laws: Cest dabord la loi par excellence, celle de Dieu. [] Les lois, ce sont aussi les lois humaines du droit positif, sacres pa rcequanciennes, inscrites dans la tradition du royaume ; parmi elles, la loi salique (625) Obedience to Gods law by the king would seem to be an evident part of being a king. In Christian Western Europe, since the first time a ki ng was recognized as being a representative of God on Earth, it was obvious that he was not a de mi-god, but rather an instrument of God. He was to rule Earth according to a Christian orde ring of affairs whic h implies following as 33


closely as possible, the model of what the heavenly kingdom was. If a king was unsure, or if he consciously strayed from this path, the popes and bishops would be there to interpret the will of God and give council. Ultimately, the only real way the pope and the Church had of pressuring a ruler to mend his ways was with the threat of excommunication. In the sixteen th century, scholars such as Erasmus and Jean Bodin began to take it upon them selves to guide the Christian princes, as we mentioned above. Many of the classical and Chris tian ideas regarding the role of the king, are expressed by the scholars of that century, and are echoed in the poems of Ronsard and Aubign. The King as Defender of Christendom For the king in the eleventh and twelfth century poems we know that one of the benefits of the wars against the pagans, either defensive or offensive, as was the case with the Crusades, was to allow young knights or milites to prove their prowess and valo r in the hope of obtaining lands, titles, and wealth. If the Crusades were to be effective, however, the Christian armies needed capable and well equipped knights. The men and resources the lay princes had at their disposal depended on how well they were able to main tain peace and order within their realms. A common theme in numerous epic poems is the danger of long and bloody wars between Christian nobles and barons. They were conde mned by some as being wrong on the grounds that they weakened the Christian forces. In Garin le Lorrain for example, Charles Martel is unable to respond to the recent pagan invasion because of the protracted and bloody wars he had fought with Girart de Roussillon: Charles Marteax ne les pot pas soffrir que de ses homes fu forment apovris. Poi en i ot armes post soffrir: mort sunt li pere, petit furent li fill, si com lestoire le nos tesmoigne et dit. (vv. 14-18) 34


In Girart de Roussillon these same two adversaries do manage to put aside their differences for a period of five years during which they both part icipated in a campaign against the Saracens. However the hostilities would be gin again and would deprive France of her young warriors and also severely weaken both the ki ng and his great vassals: Tant franc baron lai restent mort e sanglent, / Noal en er en France a ton vivent. (vv. 3157-3158) Also in the Epilogue: Era es fenitz lo lhibres e la cansos De K. e de G. los rixs baros [] Lhi cop si foro fer e engoissos Que de sai que de lai remanen blos [] (vv. 1-5) This fear of depleting Frances human and financ ial resources, and the impact it would have on Frances ability to fight the pagans, was certain ly shared by Ronsard and Aubign. The violent and barbaric nature of killing during the Renaissance was scar cely different from what is described in some of the passages of medieval ep ic poems. What is differe nt is the expansion of the scope of the killing during the wars of religion. It is no longer the knight s killing only knights, but it becomes a question of people of al l social classes being killed by each other: Dieu [] donne que la fureur de la guerre barbare Aille bien loin de France au ravage Tartare: Donne que nos couteaux de sang humain tachez Soyent dans un magazine pour jamais attachez: Et les armes au croq, sans ester embesongnes, Soyen pleines desormais de toiles daraignes. (Discours la Royne vv. 213-224) Jai vu le reistre noir foudroyer au travers Les masures de France, et comme une tempeste, Emporter ce quil peut, ravager tout le reste [] L de mille maisons on ne trouva que du feux, Que charongnes, que morts ou visages affreux. (Misres, vv. 372-380) Bitter and bloody, the butchery was also to be found among members of the same family: 35


Ce monstre arme le fils contre son proper pere, Le frere factieux sarme contre son frere, La soeur contre la soeur, et les cousins germains Au sang de leurs cousins veulent tremper leurs mains [] Les enfans sans raison disputant de la foy, Et tout labandon va sans ordre et san loy. (Discours la Royne vv. 159-166) Je veux peindre la France une mere affligee, Qui est entre ses bras de deux enfans chargee. Le plus fort, orgueilleux, empoigne les deux bouts Des tetins nourriciers ; puis, force de coups Dongles, de poings, de pieds, il brise le partage Dont nature donnoit son besson lusage [] Si que, pour arracher son frere la vie, Il mesprise la sienne et nen a plus denvie. (Misres, vv. 97-106) There are similarities in the circumstances desc ribed in the poems from both the sixteenth century and the Middle Ages. In all these poems, there is a violent society in which Christians kill Christians. Yet when reading one of the mediev al poems the reader is hardly filled with the horror and revulsion that he would experience when read ing Ronsard and even more so Aubign. In the chanson de geste, the violence alone to Christians by Christians is virtually an affair between members of the warrior aristocracy, the nobility, and the royalty. Warfare is a part of their chivalric code. This is not to say that violence among the warrior aristocracy was acceptable no matter what the reason, but it certainly was justif ied in certain situations. In general, society condemned the use of force when resolving private conflicts. Guillaume in the Couronnement de Louis killed Christians for purely political reasons because they committed treason, as in the case of Arns of Orlans. A second reason is that powerful barons threatened the stability of th e kingdom, Richard of Normandy being one of the most important This is not inconsistent with the advice Charle magne gives Louis: Por lamor Deu de son dreit adrecier ; Vers lorgoillos te deis faire si fier Come liepart qui gent vueille mangier ; Et sil te vuelt de neient guerreier, 36


Mandez en France les nobles chevaliers Tant quen aiez dusqua trente miliers ; Ou mielz se fie la le fai assegier, Tote sa terre guaster et esseillier. (vv. 185-192) In Girart de Roussillon Garin le Lorrain, and Renaud de Montauban Christians fight but they do so as part of conflicts arising from politic al and social tensions. In these three poems, the sheer number of knights who were killed is quite considerable especially in Garin le Lorrain and Girart de Roussillon While it seems that in Girart de Roussillon and Renaud de Montauban, the narrator does sympathize with the plight of the rebel baron, there is no doubt which of the belligerents is at fault. No matter the circumstances, baronial revolt against the king is never morally justified. The looming and dangerous threats to the ki ngdom and to Christianity never become reality in the Chanson de Roland Girart de Roussillon and Renaud de Montauban The kingdom is weakened but order is always, eventu ally restored, and any menace to Christendom dealt with. The case of the Couronnement de Louis is slightly different. Guillaume is able to secure the throne for Louis, the young king, turn back the pagans threatening Rome, and bring to heel some of the more troublesome rivals to Louiss power. The end of the poem ends with Guillaume going off to once again serve his king. What these three epic poems have in common is that the king is a viril and powerful warrior. No matter how ridiculous, illogical, or dmesur Charles Martel is in Girart de Roussillon and Charlemagne is in Renaud de Montauban their military abilities are formidable. While it is obvious that Louis is clearly not the ideal ruler, it is possible to read this as an example where Gu illaume though not a king himself still remains true to the ideals that Charlemagne had passed on to Louis during the coronation. This is the suggestion that Jeanne Wathelet-Willem makes in her article where she describes Guillaume as 37


the one who recognizes the need to support the office of kingship no matter how incompetent the king may be: Guillaume, successeur moral de Charlemagne ce thme, particulirement illustr dans le Couronnement de Louis et, en fait celui de toute la geste. Cest peut-tre son caractre presque royal qui fait de Guilla ume le hros pique le plus clbre, aprs Charlemagne et Roland, comme le prouve notamment la diffusion de sa lgende dans les littratures trangres. (218) In Garin le Lorrain there is really no conclusion to sp eak of. Ppin III is unable to bring the hostility to an end. The conflict will last for at least three generations, but will never weaken the kingdom to the point of collapse. The society depicted in the Tragiques and the Discours are another matter. The Saracen threat does not factor into the problems affecti ng the world of the second half of the sixteenth century as it is described in these two poems. Memb ers of the aristocracy at court do at times kill each other, though for reasons of honor or politic s as much as for religion. Aubign comments on the absurdity and danger from the increase in the numbers of duel fought as a result of the influence of Machiavellian ideas at a court consisting of a good many Italians. Instrument of God Defenders of the traditional notion of royal power claimed that the king exercised his power in accordance with a God given order. In the two poems from the Mi ddle Ages, the role of Charlemagne as instrument of God is most evident in the Chanson de Roland Both poems do present the notion that the king is the instrument of God whose two primary functions is first, the smiting of all enemies of Christendom whether they be pagans, Saracens or even other Christians who disrupt the peace and stability of Christian soci ety. Charlemagne himself in the Chanson de Roland participates in the defeat of the Sa racens after the devastating defeat at Rencesvals. The war ends with Charlemagne killing the Saracen emir Baligant and then 38


continuing on to take Saragossa. Here we have Charlemagne as the military arm of God. God himself intervenes or send his angel Gabriel, directly in the affairs of the king, marking him clearly as one who wields God given powers. At two different moments God intervenes. First to stop the sun in mid-sky: Pur Karlemagne fist De us vertuz mult granz, / Car li soleilz est rems en estant. (vv. 2458-2459) Then he sends Gabr iel to keep him from losing his duel with Baligant at that critical moment when the fate of Christendom hangs in the balance: Seint Gabriel est repairet a lui, /Si li demandet : Reis magne s, que fais-tu ? (v. 3610) In the Couronnement de Louis Charles advises his son Louis to go on crusades against the pagans : Filz Loos, vei ici la corone : Se tu la prenz, emperere is de Rome, Tu puez en ost bien mener cent mile omes, Passer par force les aives de Gironde, Paiene gent craventer et confondre. (vv. 72-76) Louis does not possess any military skill. The ta sk of defending Christendom and the Holy See falls to Guillaume. This can be viewed as Guillaume usurping the role of the king as defender of Christendom. This is actually, an example of the Canonical writings during the Gregorian reform movement, which sought to pl ace the responsibility of defending Christendom on the soldiers of the warrior ar istocracy. This of course coinci ded with the need to support the Crusades. If Gregory VII could have created a knight who would exemplify the ideal soldier of God, it would have been Guillaume. Among other writings, the pope stated that those who seem to fear or to love God flee from the wars of Christ. They wrongly placed their own interests before the salvation of their bretheren ; and in so doing fail in their duty to love their neighbor. Killing pagans, Saracens, or any enemies of Christendom was a necessary and justifiable action. At times this killing extended to those who did not fight against the Christian forces. 39


Charles also destroys the syna gogues and the mosques in the city of Saragossa and therefore becomes an iconoclast : Li emperer ad Sarraguce prise. A mil Franceis funt ben cercer la ville, Les sinagoges et les mahumeries ; A mailz de fer e a cuignees quil tindrent, Fruissent les ymagenes e trestute les ydeles : N remeindrat ne sorz ne falserie. (Chanson de Roland vv. 3660-3665) The other way the ruler served God would be to gain converts to Christianity. Marsile was offered the opportunity to convert as part of his surrender to Charlemagne. Before killing Baligant, Charlemagne tries to convert him as well : Carles respunt : Mult grant viltet me semble[e] ; Pais ne amor ne dei a paien rendre. Receif la lei que Deus nos apresentet, Christientet, et pui te amerai sempres ; Pui serf e crei le rei omnipotente (Chanson de Roland, vv. 3595-3599) The one successful concession of importance is at the end of th e poem when Bramidoine of her own free will decides to become Christian : En ma maisun ad un caitive franche. Tant ad ot e sermuns e esamples Creire voelt Deu, chrestientet demandet. (vv. 3978-3980) Ronsard and Aubign both understand that the ki ng is an instrument of God and a mediator between humankind and their creator. The king s hould remember that as a Christian, he should fear God and submit himself to his laws as would any other Christian have to do. One of the first differences is that as a propagandist for the monarchy, Ronsard paints Catherine in a positive light throughout the Discours la Royne. Ronsard knows that if France is to be saved from the monster that is Protestantism, then God will have to aid their ruler: Dieu qui de l haut nous envoyas ton Fils, Et la paix eternelle avecques nous tu fis, 40


Donne (je te suppli) que ceste Royne mere Puisse de ces deux camps apaiser la colere (vv. 213-216) Aubign also believes that the king has been elected by God to be an isntrument of his will : Heureuse franoise Province Quand Dieu propice taccorda Un prince, et te choisit un prince Des pavillons de son Juda (Prface des Tragiques, vv 279-282) Yet Aubign differs from Ronsard in his belief that the king is also sent as an instrument of punishment : Dieu veut punir les siens quand il leve sur eux, Comme sur les meschans, les princes vicieux, Chefs de ses membres chers (Princes, vv. 391-393) Aubigns disappointment with the apostasy of Henri IV put an end to his hopes that the ideal ruler would be found among his contemporaries. At the same time, he sees in the king a tragic hero figure who did have certain good inten tions which Aubign feels are what led to his assassination. That is to say th at Aubign saw Henri IV as havi ng his own crusade that against the papacy and Spain. This is the opinion of Jean-Raymond Fanlo who writes : La Papaut nest pas seulement une Institution religieuse pour Aubign : cest lAntchrist []. Cest donc contre la bte de lApocalypse quHenri IV partait en croisade (400) For Ronsard the ideal king can be found among the ruling Valois dynasty. He knows however that it will only be with help from God that France will eventually be ab le to return to a period of peace and stability. Daniel Mnager writes : [] seule lintervention de Dieu peut donc couronner de succs les efforts de la reine. Dieu interviendra galement si la reine, malgr ses efforts, ne peut viter la guerre, et il donnera la victoire aux ar mes catholiques : dans les deux cas, cest donc bien une action divine que Ronsard fait appel. (198) 41


42 Perhaps Ronsard and Aubign, in their hope of finding an ideal ruler, wondered what had happened to all the glorious kings in Frances history as well as the biblical kings who led Gods people through their times of crisis. For A ubign there is clearly a presence in the Tragiques of the millenarian myth which says that the true emperor would be the emperor of the Last Days. In that respect, Ronsard knows that it is impossible for those living during this crisis to see the situation with total clarity.


CHAPTER 3 THE FLAWED KING Not all of the French kings depicted in our body of poems measure up, either in terms of their physical strength, or their pe rsonal qualities, to the grandiose and near perfect image of the ideal king.The literary figure of the ideal ki ng is Charlemagne, such as he is in the Chanson de Roland, and in the Couronnement de Louis In none of our poems, is the discrepancy, between the ideal and the flawed king more apparent than when the two figures are juxtaposed in the same poem: the Couronnement de Louis. The poem begins with the coronation scene. Charlemagne wishes to see his son crowned during his lifetime. Before of fering the crown to his son, Charlemagne explains which skills, and personal qualities, are necessary to be as successful a ruler as he was. The young boy proves to be most unwilling to replace his father. Though perhaps the most pathetic one, Louis the Pious is not the only flawed king in these poems. Another flawed literary king is Charles Martel, who appears in both Girart de Roussillon and Garin le Lorrain There is another weak king in Garin le Lorrain who plays a more significant role: Charles Martels so n Ppin III. There is one poem, Renaut de Montauban, in which Charlemagne is portrayed as much less id ealized ruler. Of the two sixteenth centurys poets, Aubign offers, by far, the most scathing and at times diabolical image of the flawed French kings particularly those who are contem poraries. He focuses most of his criticism on Catherine de Medici, her son, Henri III, and the first Bourbon king, Henri IV, crowned in 1589. In writing the Discours it is not Ronsards intention to dir ectly criticize either his queen, or the young future king, Charles IX. I will, however, analyze the first three Discours as a list of flaws that the French monarch must avoid, or overcome, if they are to be succes sful rulers. I will also, include Charles IX in the secti on on the difficulties associated with being a young, or adolescent king. 43


According to Edward Pe ters, the idea of the rex inutilis is first developped in two letters, written in 1076 and 1081, by Pope Gregory VII (1 073-1085). Before Gregory VII, the term had been used to criticize some of the weak Merovingian kings. In the thirteenth century, the term rex inutilis became a part of the legal theory: In 1 245, at the instance of the magnate and higher clergy of Portugal, Innocent IV formalized in canon law [] the rex inutilis the legitimate ruler whose weakness and incompetence caused disaster in his realm. (Peters 20) Jean Bodin and Thomas More, discuss the role played by the king in their contempory society. Jean Bodins Les Six livres de la Rpublique (1583), analyzes the figure of the ideal king; and that of the weak king: After describing the effects of beneficent, then of tyrannical ruler, Bodin sets out in a long series of symmetrical pairs the opposing characteristics of each type and contrasts in a conventional manner the misery of the tyrants life, death, and subsequent reputation, with the corresponding felicity of those of the just king. (2) In the first half of this chapte r, I will look at the types of problems associated with being a young king. By young king, I mean those who inherit the crown as children or adolescents, and consequently, are not yet ready to rule. In th e second part of the chapter, I will focus on the adult king. The Young King The young king or the child king, as he appears in Garin le Lorrain, Le Couronnement de Louis, Tragiques and Discours is weak in that he lacks both the knowledge and the experience to perform the duty of his office. He is unable to impose his authority, and therefore must rely on others. The young king Charles IX, is the addressee in Ronsards Institution pour ladolescence du Roy Charles IX. In Discours la Royne and in Aubigns Tragiques, he is also one of the subjects of the poem. 44


In Tragiques Aubign focuses little on the youn g king: O quel malheur du ciel, vengeance du destin / Donne des Rois enfants et qui mangent matin. (Princes, vv. 655-656) He places them in a category with two other groups, whom Aubign feels should never be allowed to rule: women; especially those who do rule, as does Catherine de Medicis1, and those whose excessive passions make them too easily influenced: Rois, que le vice noir asservit sous ses loix, Esclaves de pech, foraires non pas rois De vos affections, quelle fureur despite Vous corrompt, vous esmeut, vous pousse et vous invite A tremper dans le sang vos scepters odieux, Vicieux commencer, achiever vicieux Le regne insupportable et rempli de miseres, Dont le peuple poursuit la fin par ses prieres? (Princes, vv. 459-466). While much of the criticism in this passage is levied against the last Valois king Henri III, his comments regarding the young king are directed at Charles IX.2 He came to power in 1560, but for his entire reign would remain influe nced by his mother. His weak personality made him susceptible to manipulation from certain prelates and nobles from other powerful houses.3 Based on Ronsards notion of the ideal king, as expressed in the Discours it can be inferred that he, as a general rule, thinks a dolescent should not be allowed to govern. In his Discours la Royne, Ronsard recognizes that the queen is the only one capable of leading 1 Arlette Jouanna observes that Aubign makes an exception of Queen Elizabeth of England: lizabeth fait cet gard figure dexception; mais sa vocation et sa virginit llvent aux yeux de dAubign au-dessus de son sexe. (Le sujet, le roi, et la loi note 26, p. 625) 2 Henri IIs sudden demise in July 1559, left the Valois monarchy in a precarious position. His successor Franois II was fifteen years old when he became king. His reign would last until only December of the following year. 3 The most powerful noble families sought control of the regency of Charles IX. The Bourbons while the nearest relations of the Valois, were una ble to produce a viable leader. Charles IX turned to the Guises for support lead by Duke Francis of Guise and his brother Charles Cardinal of Lorraine. After the attempted coup by the Huguenots in March of 1560, the Guises, were forced to give much more power to Catherine de Medici. The Guise family did remain close advisors to the Queen Mother, in particular Charles, the Cardinal of Lorraine whom Aubign vilifies in Princes. 45


France out of its bloody and miserable condition, caused by the conflicts between Protestants and Catholics. The issue of the young king, is not of primary importance in the Discours. Ronsard's immediate concern, is with the restoration of peace within the kingdom. Knowing that the young king would rule, in the relatively near future Ronsard understands the necessity of preparing Charles for that day. The Institution pour ladoles cence du Roy Charles IX is, essentially, a poem in which Ronsard councils Charles IX as to what a great king is and does. Implied in the advice he gives to the young king, is the idea that an adult king is better prepared than is a young one to meet the challenges of the office. In his capacity as court poet, Ronsard su pports the idea that the crown should remain in the hands of the Valois. Th is is one of the main differences between the regencies of Charles IX and those of Ppin in Garin le Lorrain and Louis in the Couronnement de Louis The two kings, although the legal sovereigns exercise only a nominal authority. The actual power rests in others who are not closely related to the two rulers. The young kings rely heavily on the most power ful vassals of the kingdom, for virtually everything: estate management, military defense, political advice. As a result, this shifts the focus of the poems onto these vassals, thereby placing the king figure in the background. At the same time, it brings to the fore the idea that powerful nobles and counts support, above all, the institution of kingship more th an the individual king. The reje ction of this idea, would be destabilizing to society. It calls into question the legitimacy of the kings power (chosen by God). It would be a denial of the feudal hierar chical structure of society. Those who seek to ignore or challenge these ideas are labeled as usur pers as is Arns in Couronnement de Louis To that effect, those who attempt to benef it from being ruled by a young king, are labeled as traitors or felons. The Bordelais clan, in Garin le Lorrain is a good example of characters who are traitors 46


The kings of the Middle Ages were considered to be primer inter pares. Their lands were not extensive and were surrounded by strong territori al principalities. The Bordelais clan, and the Lorrainer clan, rule over two such geographical areas. The Bordelai s clan has lands in the region around Bordeaux, and near Gascony. Hardr de Lens has considerable estates up in the north, near Lens and Saint-Quentin. In the beginning of the poem, the lands be longing to the Lorrainer clan, are mostly in Lorraine, and around Metz. Other powerful families, of secondary importance in the poem, include Normans, Angevins, and Flemish. Even over these lesser families, Ppin cannot easily exert his influence. After the death of Charles Martel, the kingdom is left without an adult male heir. Before dying, Charles Martel asks his trusted comrade, and strong warrior friend Hervis de Metz, to protect Ppin until he is old enough to rule on hi s own. Ppin comes to power, when the crown is passed to him, by his father Charles Martel upon his death. Pepin inherits a kingdom in a terrible state. Many of the noble families have lost most of their male descendants and financial resources. An intertextual reference is made here to the long and protracted wars between Charles Martel and Girart de Roussillon. A lthough Hervis and Charles Martel defeat the Saracens at the battle of Soissons, Fr ance is weakened and fairly divided. The issue of stewardship in the Couronnement de Louis, is looked upon both favorably and unfavorably. In Garin le Lorrain it is for the most part, viewed unfavorably. It is possible to consider the question of stewardship, in these two poems, as being near opposites in several respects. In the case of the Couronnement de Louis, Guillaume steps in to defend the crown and the principle of the hereditary monarchy. He also intends to keep the cr own in the Carolingian family. At the time Guillaume places the crown on Louiss head, he is only a loyal and faithful 47


vassal, not related to the Carolingians. In the Couronnement de Louis, it is the count Guillaume who assumes the task of protecting Louis. At the time of the coronati on, it is still unclear, whether or not, Guillaume is motivated by self-interest. At the end of the poem, Louis marries Guillaumes sister Alis, tying the families clos ely together. Those assembled at the coronation of Charlemagnes son are, for the most part, in favor of this decision: Quant cil lentendent, grant joie en ont men; Totes lor mains en tendirent vers D: Pere de gloire, tu seies merciez Questranges reis nest sor nos devalez! (vv. 57-60) Only when Louis begins to display his cowa rdice, do some begin to question the wisdom of this choice. There is, however, some resistance to the id ea of Ppin becoming king. Hervis de Metz is unable to accept this task right away. He must return to his home land in Lorraine, because he has received news that his lands are being attacked by pagan forces. He rvis de Metz asks Hardr de Lens to assume his duties as Ppins protector. Threatening to kill anyone who does not loyally, and unselfishly, carry out this duty, Hervis assigns to Hardr the additional responsibility of defending the royal domain, and ma naging the estatesfinances: Sire Hardr, soiez loiaus et fis! Sor tant de terre com avez a tenir, Me gardez bien le roi et son pas. Car de loig sui, ne puis demorer ci. (vv. 729-732) Hardr accepts this task with some reserv ation, for he and a group of nobles initially balked at Herviss crowning of Ppin: De mainte je nt i ot le contredit, / Qui nel voloient otroier ne soufrir. (vv. 705-706) Hervis, at first, asks Ppins mother to watch over her son, and to make sure to keep the estates intact and prospero us for him. She replies that she is too grieved, and too distressed, about the death of her husband, and does not feel capable of assuming such a 48


task. Because of his mothers indifference, the young king will be left in the hands of advisers who are not closely related to the family. The fa mily, which has proven to be the most supportive and loyal, much more so than the Bordelais cl an, does not take control, allowing the less loyal family to take over Pepins regency. In order to avoid their captur e after their fathers death, Ga rin and Begon are sent to stay with Herviss brother, the bishop of Chlons. The leader of the most loyal family, therefore, is dead and is not around to ensure the king is gi ven proper advice and guid ance. The same fate does not befall Louis. In the Couronnement de Louis, the noblest and strongest vassal does manage to defeat all threats to Louis. Even though Guillaume often departs in order to fight against Louiss enemies, he leaves L ouis in the care of loyal people. A clear example of the negative consequences of Herviss decision, to leave Ppin in the care of Hardr de Lens, comes at a crucial mome nt. Hervis comes back to ask the young king if he would send troops to fight the Saracens, who have invaded Lorraine. Following the advice of Hardr de Lens, Ppin denies th is request and does not grant the aid necessary to Hervis. This scene brings to mind the opening scene of the poem. Charles Martel, in de sperate need of money to finance his defense of the kingdom against th e Saracens, asks the pope, and other powerful prelates, that he be given money to aid him in his campaign. At first, Charles Martel is denied the necessary funds, for reasons very similar to those given by Hardr de Lens later in the poem. The decision is based on personal inte rests -the bishops di d not see any reason to weaken their position, and endanger their security so that Charles Martel could continue to fight. They are unable to see that supporting Char les would be to their benefit. Hardr de Lens advises agains t helping Hervis. He does not base his argument on personal reasons but rather on the poor financial state of the kingdom, as well as the weak state of the 49


army. He does not think that Ppi n has the men, or the resources, to go to Herviss aid. For, if he does, this would only seriously weaken Pepi ns position. The king cannot afford, at this particular time, to put himself in a disadvantageous position, since there are still very real threats from the pagans. Hardr de Lens, might also have be trying to keep Louis from giving any aid to any of the other powerful families. Therefore, he himself can continue to profit from the influence that he and his clan exert over the young king. Ppin greats Hervis warmly, yet he is drawn away into council w ith Hardr. The king, however, does recognize all that Hervis has done for him. He knows that it is Hervis who made him king. Despite the resistance, and the disagr eement among various barons and nobles, Ppin also remarks how loyally and faithfully Hervis serv ed his father Charles. What is particularly interesting, is that the king, despit e his gratitude and rec ognition of the debt he owes Hervis, does not follow his own intuition to go to Herviss aid. Hardr informs He rvis that aid is not forthcoming. Hervis, furious, replies that he will no longer govern his lands in Ppins name, and asks the king to relieve him of his feudal obliga tions to him. Hardr responds that the king will relieve him of his obligations and will do so before all of his friends as witnesses. Hervis asks Ppin to say himself that he agrees with the deci sion, and Ppin says: Ol, dist il, certes ce poise mi. (v. 892). The young king is under the in fluence of Hardr de Lens. Hardr gives advice that the king always accepts, simply because he is not strong enough to make up his own mind. He is unable to do what he himself believe s to be the right thing. As a result, he loses Herviss fealty who, soon afte r, dies defending his lands. One of the issues that arises, when st udying the young king, is his lack of physical strength, to not only defend his ow n person, but to lead an army into battle against the Saracens, or a rebel baron. Such a ruler would, therefore, la ck the ability to bring any vassals firmly under 50


his command except the most blindly faithful one s. Without the help of strong councilors and strong military leaders, the political situ ation can prove to be very tenuous. After Guillaume kills Arns, five years pass before the king Charlemagne does indeed die. Louis has grown up even more, a nd the first similarity with Garin le Lorrain, is that before the death of Charlemagne, Guillaume also asks to leave to go for a personal pilgrimage to Rome. Charles grants his request. Guillau me departs leaving the young king with his father. While he is on this pilgrimage, he learns of Charlemagnes death. Louis is truly alone. Guillaume rushes back immediately, to help Louis out of his first difficult situation, that of being held prisoner in the church of Saint-Martin de Tours. One of the differences between the Couronnement de Louis and Garin le Lorrain is that Louis throughout the whole poem is a young boy or an adolescent. He is characterized as being young in many different occasions, and of ten called a child by the narrator: Ot le Guillelmes, sil corut embracier, Par les dous flans le lieve senz targier: En nom Deu, enfes, cil ma mal engeigni Qui te rova a venir a mon pi, Car sor omes dei je ton cors aidier. (vv. 1742-1746) In this scene, Louis kneels down in front of Guillaume, who at first, does not recognize him. According to Jeanne Wathelet-Willem: Il est absolument insolite quun souverain, mme trs jeune, se jette aux pieds de son vassal; cest au vassal plier le genou devant son souverain, en signe dhommage. Dailleurs, Guillaume ne le supporte pas. (217) Guil laume, who wants to serve his lord, fights many battles after the episode at Tours in order to se cure Louiss throne. He brings the rebel barons to Louis so that th ey may pay homage, and recognize Louis as they legitimate lord. The first baron whom Guillaume addresses is the son of Richard of Normandy, Acelin. Acelin and his father do not recognize Louis as their legitimate lord. Acelin says to 51


Guillaumes messenger Aliaume that he should be given the crown, and that France will be lost with this young boy. According to Acelin, Louis will never amount to anything: Dist Acelins: A Deu beneon! Va, si me di a Guillelme le pro Que il otreit ce que li altre font. De la corone mest delivrez li dons; Bien sereit la France perdue a cel garcon: Ja ne valdra Loos un boton (vv. 1813-1818) Guillaume becomes angry, and kills Acelin, since Acelin refuses to submit to Louiss authority. During the next three years, Guillaum e travels throughout the land in order to fight many battles to secure Louiss throne, and to es tablish him as the legitimate king. He first subdues king Amarmond of Bordeaux, next he br ings to heel Dagobert of Carthage, and the count of Andorra, and afterwards he heads north into Brittany. In the last major episode of the poem, a messenger from Rome arrives in Orlan s. He tells Louis and Guillaume, that Gui dAllemagne has again taken the major fortificati ons of Rome. The pope is dead, as is Galafre, whom Guillaume had left in charge after his first pilgrimage in Rome. He urges Guillaume to go to Rome in order to defeat Gui dAllemagne. Louis accompanies him: Gui dAlemaigne a ses oz assembl; Pris a de Rome les maistres fermetez. Toz li pas est a dolor tornez, Gentilz om sire, se vos nel secorez. (vv. 2242-2245) In Rome, Louis, once again demonstrates his cowardice and weakness. According to Wagih Azzam: Faible, lche, sot, et finalement ingrat e: lhritier de la couronne ne bnficie daucune circonstance attnuante dans Le Couronnement de Louis On ne saurait dresser portrait moins flatteur, plus oppos surtout-systmatiquement contraire aux prceptes de la royaut nonc au dbut de la chanson. (163) Gui dAllemagne attacks the French army before it can prepare the camp, and set up its defenses properly. They catch the French army off guar d. While Guillaume is off fighting the Romans, 52


and Guis army, Louis is running from tent to tent and hiding in each one: Et Loos sen vait fuiant a pi, / De tref en autr e se vait par tot mucier [] ( vv. 2311-2312) Eventually the raid is stopped and, Louis receives a messenger from Gu i saying that he does not have any legitimate claim on Rome, nor does he have a claim on the inheritance on the lands of Rome and around Rome. He is asked to go back to France. If neces sary, Gui is also ready to challenge Louis to a duel or anybody else that Louis appoints as hi s substitute. Louis tells his barons that Gui challenges him and that he is too young and certainly not strong enough to even hold up his weapon: Seignor baron, entendez mon langage: Gui dAlemaigne me mande grant oltrage; Par noz dous cors me mande la bataille, Et je suis jovenes et de petit eage Si ne puis pas maintenir mon barnage. A il Franceis qui por mon cors le face? (vv. 2405-2409) Not a single French barons offers to fight in Louiss stead. This is a blatant condemnation of Louiss inability. He does not ha ve the support of his own barons and they are not willing to fight and die for him, none except Guillaume. Louis begins to cry: Quant cil lorent, sem bronchent lor visages. Veit le li reis, a pou que il nenrage; Tendrement plore desoz les pels de martre. (vv. 2411-2413) Guillaume enters the tent, and asks why Louis is crying. Louis explains to him the situation, and Guillaume decides to represent him. Guillaume kills Gui dAllemagne, he then puts Louis on the throne and has him crowned the ruler of Rome: Par dedenz Rome fu Guillelmes li ber, Sa Loos son seignor coron: De tot lempire li a fait sert. (vv. 2649-2651) 53


After, they return to France, Louis returns to Laon and Guillaume is called off to fight a powerful rebel baron in attempt to defend Louiss kingdom and the throne. The empire that Louis inherits in the Couronnement de Louis is considerably larger and stronger. The empire, over which the historical Charlemagne ruled, was quite vast and extensive. His son, Louis the Pious, was unable to maintain the size and stability of the empire. King Louis, in the epic poem, is faced with a few immediat e threats to his kingdom an d to Christendom. In Rome, Gui dAllemagne has besieg ed the city, gaining much pow er in the region and among the Roman nobles. This threat is, however, of less immediate importance to Louis. Some powerful and independent feudal barons, such as Richard of Normandy and his son, Acelin, are the ones who pose the most dangerous threat to the kingdom. Another point in common, that these two young kings share, is their lack of physical strength. These young kings, even Pe pin, after seven years under Hardrs tutelage, are neither admired, nor respected, for their physi cal abilities. At no point in the Couronnement de Louis does Louis lead an army, or even demonstrate an ability to fight. Unable to master the military skills, and lacking courage, Louis never achieves the level of excellence that his father had. Ppin III is told, quite bluntly, by Hardr de Lens, that he is weak and should be more prudent when exerting himself. Pepin arrives with his army in Maurienne. He over-exerts himself while participating in chivalric, and fall s sick: Sire, fait-il, bien vos avoie dit / Ne porriez pas endurer ne soufri r. (vv. 1513-1514) This is evid ence of his weak constitution. Pepin, therefore, is unable to partake in the battle to rescue Thierry, and is forced to retire. Ppin is not the only one of the young kings, whose constitution is called into question. In the coronation scene of the Couronnement de Louis Arns of Orlans tell s Louis that he is too 54


young and not physically strong enough to lead an army or to defend the kingdom. Arns proposes to allow Louis to rule, onc e he proves his prowess as a knight: Dreiz emperere, faites paiz, si moiez. Mes sire est jovenes, na que quinze anz entiers, Ja sereit morz quin fereit chevalier. Ceste besoigne, se vous plaist, motreiez, Tresqua treis anz que verrons comment iert. (vv. 102-106) However, there is nothing later on in this poem to suggest that Louis will become a great warrior. To the contrary, he continues to show unrelieved cowardice and physical weakness. The weakness of these two kings, howev er, is not limited to their cor poral states. Their youth and inexperience do not allow them to ma ke decisions necessary to rule. During the seven years, before Garin arrives at the court of Ppin, Hardr de Lens has time to exert his influence over the young king. He does not miss his chance. Ppin is easily influenced by Hardr de Lens, Isidore le Gris, and other councilors, who at times put forth the Bordelais interests before those of Louis and the kingdom. On several other occasions, Ppin is under the influence of one or another person. He does not show himself to be independent minded, and capable of making a decision by himself. It is true that a good king listens to the advice of his barons before deciding, Charlemagne in the Chanson de Roland is the ideal example of a king who does just that Yet, throughout most of the poem Ppin, shows himself incapable of deciding what he thinks is be st for his kingdom. He is sometimes led into decisions that he makes for purely personal reasons. It is important to remember, that while the Bo rdelais clan is portra yed as being villainous, they have a fairly good relationship to the king. From the beginning of Ppins reign, the Bordelais and Lorrainers, are faithful vassals, providing invaluable military assistance. Garin and 55


Froment are close companions during the first years of Ppins reign. Pe pin is responsible for bringing this friendship to an end. From the beginning of their arrival at Ppins court, Begon and Garin are protectors of the king and among his most faithful knights and vassal s. They show great skill at hunting and as warriors. While hunting, Begon kills a stag. Impressed, the king grants him the fortress of Belin, in Blaye, bordering on the lands of the Bordelai s. At first, the Bordelais think this to be disrespectful, and potentially th reatening. Ppin also makes Garin and Begon seneschals of France. Froment, jealous of the rewards given to the two brothers, extracts a promise from Ppin. When the first land becomes available, he, Froment, will be granted the land. Just before his death, Thierry of Maurienne, to whom Garin a nd Begon gave assistance in defending his lands against the Saracens, asks Garin to marry his da ughter Blanchefleur. Thierry leaves all of his lands to Blanchefleur and Garin once they are married. Froment, livid, feels that he should be given Thierrys lands. Essentiall y, it is this issue which causes the split between Froment and Garin. This controversy, is what ultimately l eads to many decades of civil war between the two clans: weakening the country and stripping it of its resources. An important point of interest also is the upbringing, the ca re, and the protection of the young Ppin, which is given to somebody outside the immediate family of Charles Martel. This decision will be of political significance late r on in the poem. The ones who would advise the king, Hardr de Lens, Bernard de Naisil, and Isid ore le Gris would perhaps put forth their own families interests before those of the kingdom. There are many parallels and similarities betw een the portra it of the young king in both the Couronnement de Louis and in Garin le Lorrain They share traits, such as physical weakness, lack of courage, lack of inte lligence, and ability to rule and understand the nobles. Louis does not 56


have many opportunities to consult other nobles There are very few council scenes in the Couronnement de Louis Consequently, he is simply told what to do by Guillaume. When Guillaume is not by Louiss side, the king is left in the charge of other people. Guillaume often goes off to fight battles, to secu re Louiss position. These absences do not have a negative impact on Louis, for those who take care of him, duri ng Guillaumes absences, are faithful to the count. Although written more or le ss half a century apart, Garin le Lorrain and the Couronnement de Louis both at least in part, illustrate the necessi ty of a faithful and l oyal nobility to a king, who is either a boy or an adol escent. In the case of the Couronnement de Louis, the baron who not only supports but extends and consolidates the throne and the power of Louis, is Guillaume of Orange. In Garin le Lorrain, the situation is less clear. The family that is the most faithful, and the most supportive of the young king ends up being one of the families opposed to the adult Ppin. Nevertheless, during the reign of Charles Martel, Hervis de Metz, who was his strongest and most loyal vassal, ardently defends not only the empire from the pagan invasions, but also the king himself. Later, he also defends his young heir against the plots of some powerful noble families from Bordeaux and from Lens, and unite d through marriage. Without the help of these powerful and loyal vassals, who defeat traitors who wish to usurp the throne, or bring the young king under their influence, these young kings would not have rule d long. Youth and inexperience were not their only deficiencies. The adult king Ppin, is not much different than the child king, except in so far as he is a sli ghtly better warrior. He is al so slightly more courageous possessing certain attributes which make him a moderately successful king. Ppin never matches the pathetic incompetence that Louis displa ys. Louis does remain a young king throughout the entire poem. The adult Louis is revealed to us in other chansons de geste 57


The Adult King In those poems whose narratives involve a weak adult king, the point of interest centers on various problems pertinent to the feudal relati onship between the king and his vassals: rewarding loyalty, matters of feudal rights, privileges, and duties, and questi ons of justice. One message is constant: dissention, and disagreeme nt are tolerated only to a very narrow degree. With the king always at the top of the hierar chy, rebellion is ultimately seen as unjustifiable though at times understandable. Adult kings are by no means perf ect. To analyse the flawed and weak king I study Charles Martel in Girart de Roussillon, and in Garin le Lorrain, Charlemagne in Chanson de Roland Renaut de Montauban and in Couronnement de Louis as well as Ppin in Garin le Lorrain. The sixteenth century poets offer two very diffe rent perspectives on the kings of their day, that is to say the Valois monarchy. Ronsards first two Discours Discours la Royne, and Institution pour ladolescence du roy Charles IX are both more concerned with the qualities and attributes of the flawed king, rather than with the ideal king. Nevertheless Ronsard discusses the behavior and policies the king should avoid, as well as which would make him unpopular or ineffective as a ruler. Aubign is considerably more transparent, in his study of the Valois kings, but also of the first Bourbon king Henri IV. The main focus of Aubigns criticism lies with Catherine of Medici or Jesabel and with Henr i III, who succeeded Char les IX. The poems from the sixteenth century differ significantly from t hose of the Middle Ages. Their tone, content, and perspective, are all part of an evolving, very active, and hostile political situation in France form the Massacre at Vassy in 1562, right up through He nri of Navarres apostasy. Both Aubign and Ronsard offer opinions and perspectives, reflect the ongoing and developing debate in the field of political theory that marked many of the writings of those who lived in the sixteenth century. 58


In the five medieval poems, all the kings are in some way flawed. Charlemagne, as portrayed in the Chanson de Roland and in the Couronnement de Louis, most closely approaches the ideal we discussed in the previous chapter. He is still human and does have his faults. There is a distinct difference between the types of flaws such as th ey are found in Charles Martel, particularly in Girart de Roussillon, and in Charlemagne, or Charles in Renaut de Montauban Of the three adult kings, Charlemagne, Charles Martel, and Ppin, the weakest by far is Ppin, and I will look at him separately since his case is rather different than of the other two kings. If we I to place them in order from the least weak to the weakest king, I would find at the top, Charlemagne in the Chanson de Roland and in the Couronnement de Louis, followed by Charlemagne in Renaut de Montauban and Charles Martel in Girart de Roussillon followed by Ppin in Garin le Lorrain and finally Louis in the Couronnement de Louis I will approach this section chronologically, that is to say I will look at the tw o earlier poems, the Chanson de Roland and the Couronnement de Louis. I will group together the three other poems, Renaut de Montauban Garin le Lorrain, and Girart de Roussillon In the Prologue of the Couronnement de Louis, the character of Charlemagne is as close as he will ever be to ideal depiction. This is the Charlemagne of the Chanson de Roland This is the Charlemagne of the culte de Charlemagne as was started and devel oped by the abbey of SaintDenis in a propagandistic attempt to give le gitimacy both to the Capetian monarchy and the abbey itself. Saint-Denis used the legend of Charlemagne to illustrate the legitimacy of the monarch, and the concept of the he reditarian crown as symbols, and to defend national unity. In his article about the Couronnement de Louis, Jean Frappier states the importance that the Capetians placed on both the hereditary aspect of the crown, and also the naming of the heir during the lifetime of the king: 59


Le souci majeur des premiers Captien s fut de rendre hrditaire en fait la couronne lective en droit. Ils parvinre nt raliser cette pense politique en confrant par la crmonie du sacre un prestige religieux la personne du roi et en associant par avance leur fils la royaut. Cest de leur vivant mme que les six premiers rois de la dynastie firent sacrer et couronner leur fils. Cette pratique nalla pas toujours sans rsistance, mais le ur patiente habilet russit instituer par voie de coutume le principe de lh rdit, que consacrait en definitive lide dune royaut de droit divin. (200) Yet, in the Couronnement de Louis there is a certain paradox in th at the royal figure, Louis, is anything but strong, powerful, and a worthy representation of the ideal Capetian monarch. Frappier rightly points out that: Le trouvre clbre non pas Louis mais le roi franais, quon se rappelle la joie des barons apprenant que Charlemagne tran smit la couronne son fils et quelle nchoie pas un prince tranger, autrement d it le roi de Saint-Denis, de labbaye o lon conservait la banire du royaume, loriflamme. (201) In the first chapter, the Charlemagne of these two poems was very close to the ideal, if not the ideal royal figure of the Middle Ages. This ideal was a blend of the classical ideal of the imperium romanium and the Christian ideal of the emperor as protector of the faith, and invested with the universal authority of the C hurch whose mission it is to protect. There are a few scenes both in the Chanson de Roland and one scene in the Couronnement de Louis which suggest that Charlemagne was indeed only a man, in that he was fallible in some extent. This flaw or fallibility of Charlemagne is in evidence at the time of the battle against Baligant after the death of Roland, where he is on the point of being vanquished. At this time Gabriel intervenes, saves Charlemagne from d eath, which aids Charlemagne in vanquishing the Saracen ruler. Without the aid of divine inte rvention, Charlemagne would have been vanquished. This episode would not at all have been accepta ble, to those who believed in the legend of Charlemagnes infallibility. This scene shows that Charlemagne was a privileged king, and that he was looked after by God, acting through th e angel Gabriel. It is clear though that Charlemagne is protected by God, yet he is unabl e to save Roland from his fate. For, it is 60


Charlemagne who embodies the idea l of the great Christian emperor. He alone must live, and he alone must survive to fight the pagan en emies who threaten western Christendom. Yet, Charlemagne is not without his doubts, and at times even questions his ability to carry out the task assigned to him. This is made clear in one of the several scenes in which Charlemagne dreams. In one of these scenes, Ch arlemagne sees his army, being massacred and attacked on all sides. Then he himself is attacked but he wakes, and remembers the feeling of powerlessness and his inability to help: Karles se dort cum hume traveillet. Seint Gabriel li ad Deus enveiet: Lemperer li cumandet a guarder. Par avisiun li ad nunciet Dune bataille ki encuntre lui ert: Senefiance len demustrat mult gref. Carles guardat amunt envers le ciel [] E Franceis crient: Carlemagne, aidez! Li reis en ad e dulur e pitet; Aler i volt, mais il ad disturber. (vv. 2525-2548) This dream shows the human weakness of Char lemagne. Even he, is incapable of defending everyone, and winning every battle. The Charlemagne in the Couronnement de Louis, is approaching the end of his years. He is no longer the Charlemagne of ac tion, nor of battles. He is a figure who now rests upon his laurels, and whose career, reputat ion, and lifetime all serve as an example of his greatness, and his majestic nature. There is one scene in the Prologue of the Couronnement de Louis in which Charlemagne does demonstrate uncertainty, as if to indicate that he is despite his desires, unable to alter events such as they have befallen him. This is in refe rence, to the fact that his son deplorably demonstrates his unwillingness and his incapacity to accept the throne from his fathers hands. During this scene, Arns of Orlans, a noble who is not of the family of Charlemagne, proposes to take L ouis under his protection. The curious part about this scene is 61


that at first, Charlemagne realizing that this is perhaps the best way for him to assure that his son will eventually take the throne, agrees in principle to this proposal by Arns. Yet, even if the emperor does not see anything wrong with this proposition, Guillaume who is also not of the family, but yet is a loyal supporter of the m onarchy, essentially countermines Charlemagnes decision. It is rather curious, that it is Guillaum e who seems to be pointing out to Charlemagne the unwise decision that he had made. However, it is clear that both Guillaume and the narrator, do judge Arns a traitor and a felon. This lead s us to the question then: why is Charlemagne himself unable to see through the ruse, and unable to identify the traitorous nature of Arnss proposal? In the Chanson de Roland the oft written about scene of Ga nelons trial, raises yet again the thse that Charlemagne himself perhaps did not act as decisively as he should have. In fact at one point, he was on the brink of accepting his fate, that is to acquit Ganelon of all the charges. Yet again, another noble points out to Charlemagne th at there is an alterna tive, and that indeed Ganelon has committed treason. If it were not fo r Thierry, Ganelon would have gone free, and justice would not have been rendere d. It is not my intent here to recreate the fairly long and ongoing debate about how to interpret Charlemagne s behavior during the trial of Ganelons. Convincing arguments are made on bot h sides, some view this as being a normal natural part of his role, as feudal king, to allow justice, and law to take its course above that of the personal interest of the emperor. Yet, we may ask our selves why Charlemagne himself again does not think of this alternative, or doe s not try to find recourse in th e law on other grounds. There are of course those who see in this an example of Charlemagnes weakness, and inability to be decisive at a critical moment. This is not wholly incons istent with Charlemagnes character, for much earlier in the poem there are the two scenes, in wh ich Ganelon is chosen to be the emissary to 62


Marsile in Saragossa and where the emperor also refuses to exercise his prerogative to name the messenger. In the second scene of interest Roland is desi gnated and accepts the assignment to lead the rear guard during the retreat of Charlemagnes arm y. In the first scene, one in which an emissary is chosen to go to the Saracens, Charlemagne immediately rejects the offer on the parts of Roland, Olivier, and Turpin, to be the emissar y. Essentially, he feels that these men are too important to him, and they need to be near him. This of course prompts Roland to suggest that Ganelon be the one to go to the Saracens, at wh ich point Charlemagne himself agrees. But in this scene, as in many others, Charlemagne essentia lly makes his decisions based on the advice and council of his barons. He seems to rely heavily on them, to the extent that he implements or puts into action decisions that his barons had alrea dy made. Yet, when something displeases him he does not even allow the barons to express their opinions, because he immediately dismisses the idea of these warriors he is fond of, getting sent as emissaries. This said in the second scene in which Ganelon designates Roland for the rear guard, Charlemagne has the power to yet again say: No, Roland is too important for me, I do not think he should go and perform this task. But instead, he simply laments the choice, and he he lplessly says; So who is going to stay with me and lead my army? (v. 748) At which point Ganelon says: Ogier de Danemark will ride with you, and protect you while Roland leads the rear gua rd. So, while at time Charlemagne seems to be able to intercede and control events when he wants to, he seems to be powerless to change Rolands fate. This is an inconsistency on the part of the poet, but also do es reveal the inability of Charlemagne to indeed affect the outcome of the decisions of the barons, so that he may see his will done. After all, it would not have been a breach of justice for him to refuse to allow Roland to go, nor would it have been a particular insult to anybody among the Peers of France. 63


Yet, with so few obstacles in his way, Charle magne did not in fact do what he wished to do. Although these episodes show the more human and therefore fallible side of Charlemagne, he still remains in these two poems the ideal figure of the Christian king, that is not to be debated. In Renaut de Montauban Charlemagne is portrayed very differently. He is not at all depicted as the ideal king and, exhibits many foible s. He represents the de-idealized figure of the legendary king. He is a Charlemagne who is gi ven to petty jealousy, who is obsessed with revenge, and who at times is most unreasonable toward his barons. This is not however, a Charlemagne who has been de-idealized to the point where he resembles Louis in the Couronnement de Louis For the Charlemagne in this poem is a strong Charlemagne, he is an able military ruler, and he is someone who still can command the respect of the Peers of France, and of his vassals. This is not a Charlemagne wh o is weak in mind, indecisive, or coward. Yet, there is not doubt that the poet wishes to portray this king as being flawed. He is most unreasonable, given to tantrums, and to irrational behavior. Yet, at no point does the poet ever suggest that such a king should not be king, it is never a question of replacing Charlemagne or of Charlemagne being defeated. In fact, at the end of the poem, Renaut de Montauban and Maugis do succumb to Charlemagnes desire; they leave th e country to go into exile, and they do accept peace on Charlemagnes terms. Therefore, in term s of Charlemagnes responsibilities and power as a feudal lord, Charlemagne has seen justice d one. Charlemagne should not be criticized for his insisting on Renaut s exile, no matter how unwarranted it may seem to the reader, whose sympathies seem to often lie with Maugis and Renaut. In what way is this king flaw ed? In what way, is he different and more limited than the more ideal version depicted in the two ear lier poems? The fact that Charles in Renaut de Montauban is not even accorded the formal name of Charlemagne is significant, in that it points 64


out that his character is not worthy of the magnanimity, the prestige, and the overall praiseworthy reputation of the legendary king. This is not to say that Charles does not possess certain admirable qualities. In this epic poem, Charles does display a good amount of courage, ferocity, and even military prowess in battle.He is also able to use and manipulate his barons to arrive at his desired ends. He is also still treated with resp ect and deference by the Peers of France, if not by Renaut and Maugis and their families. While his Peers may not agree always with his actions, for the most part, they follow him and they follow his lead. At no point do they speak aloud such disparaging remarks as those heard from the Bordelais clan in Garin le Lorrain or the various noble barons opposing Louis in the Couronnement de Louis This Charles, however, lacks some of the essential funda mental traits necessary to be the ideal ruler. Throughout virtually the whole of this epic poem, Charles is pushed and motivated by revenge. The immediate catalyst for Charless desire for revenge is Renauts slay ing of Charless nephew Bertholai in Charless castle. As the poem progresses, it beco mes clear that a second, perhaps stronger obsession begins to form with regard to Maugis, who is a cousin of Renaut and his brothers. The first most obvious quality Charles lacks, is self-possession. He is driven by the pursuit of his bte noire, that is to say his overwhelming need to rid himself of Renaud, and perhaps even more so, Maugis. Frequently unable to cont rol his emotions, Charles demonstrates a rather illogical, and sometimes very violent behavior. This motivation by self-interest, is what puts Charles in a negative light, and ea rns him the disapprobation of the na rrator. It is the very pursuit of his personal vendetta, that pushes Charles bey ond the scope of acceptable behavior in an ideal medieval king. 65


One of Charless most poignant and even nefarious character flaws, is his recurrent torturing of those whom he holds as prisoner. It is perhaps not surp rising given his obsession with the capture of Maugis, that when he does finally have him in his grasp, Charless passion overcomes him and his treatment of the prisoner becomes violent: En .I. piler de chaisne les fait .III. fois passer; En .I. grandisme tronc furent li coing ferm, Et li charcan del col sunt grant enchaien, Et les moufles de fer li fait es maint fermer; Parmi toutes les ongles en fait le sanc voler. (vv. 11591-11595) The same extreme treatment of a prisoner is seen with Renauts brother Richard: Richars estoit as trs angoiseus et destroys; Les oels avoit bands, les poins lies estrois; Tres par miliu des ongles en va li sans tos frois. (vv. 9921-9923) We can imagine that some of those listening to the trouvre sing his tale, might have felt consternation, and disapproval at the brutality of the kings act. In their edition of Renaut de Montauban translated into modern French, Miche line Combarieu-du Grs et Jean Subrenat mention the significance of these scenes: Le sang jaillissait sous ses ongles : les mauvais traitements infligs un prisonni er sont rprouvs dans lunivers chevaleresque. Cest donc la conduite de lempereur qui est ici stigmatise. (332) Some of these scenes in which excessive violence occurs are marked by certain levity. After his capture by Roland, Renauts brother Richard, taunts Charles by telling him, that Maug is will kill him if Charles dares hurt him: Quant Charlemaignes lot, si a pris .I. baston Et fiert parmi le chief Ricart le fil Aymon. Le cuir li a tranci et la char li derront, Li sans li est cols aval sor le menton (vv. 9712-9715) So, Charles decides to hit Richard with a stick. This is a variation of an earlier scene in the poem, in which Clarisse and her two sons carry sticks with the intention of hitting King Yon, who had 66


betrayed Renaut. Here the narrat or is making the obvious comparis on of Charless behavior with those of a woman and her two boys hardly be fitting a king. Rather th an ignoring Richards taunts, he picks up not a sword but a stick, a tool that a child would use perhaps to hit somebody else. The siege of Montauban, is the final scen e where Charless obse ssion, and uncontrollable temper push him to act beyond all measure of reason. Charles refuses to end this siege even after the proposal made by a messenger, that if he di d not end the siege, Re naut would hang Richard of Rouen, whom had been taken prisoner. In most of the medieval epic poems, when a French king does battle one of his vassals, it rarely gets to the point where al most everyone in the besieged castle dies of hunger or famine. Usually before that time, one or the other would have given up, and some sort of peace would have been restored. Charles became very angry when he learned that Aymon gave some food to his sons during the siege. Aymon, ce dist li rois, ne maves gaires cier, Quant tu mes enemis dones si mangier, Bien sai tote tovraigne, tu ne le pues noier. Par icel Dameldeu [qui tot a ] jugier, Je men voil ainz la nuit si hautement vengier Que le cief me laires, se on le velt jugier. (vv. 13597-13602) This anger would again suggest, that in his state Charles would have perhaps let everybody perish within the castle unless, he got what he wanted which was Maugiss dead body: Charlles o ses homes qui lont contraloi; Adonc jura par ire, comme hon renoi, Ja Renaus naura pais, ne ja niert adreci, Sil ne li rent Maugis qui si la corre[ci]. [De Richart na il garde, par lui soit vergoigni; Miex voudroit de sa teste avoir .I. oeil sachi.] (vv. 14982-14987) It is his barons and the Peers of France, who can no longer bear to see the pain, and suffering of those who are in the castle of Montauban. They can no longer go along with Charles completely 67


obsessive, and illogical behavior, an d finally decide to abandon him. Charles, left alone without his barons, does accept the peace with the condition that Renaut leaves the country, and becomes a pilgrim. Viewed from the perspective of feudal justice, this outcome is perfectly normal and acceptable by medieval standards. Many times a def eated lord or noble was either killed, usually in battle, forced to submit to the king, or forced to flee the country. Here it is clear that Renauds presence in the kingdom would not be tolerated by Charles, for he is so blinded and so angered by Maugis and Renaud that it would have been im possible for them to co-exist in the same kingdom. The most logical choice would be for Renaut to keep his life, but to be forced to leave the kingdom. He is no longer able to live among his friends and his peers. This conclusion to the siege of Montauban indicates that the narrator while never conde mning the revolt of the barons of the kingdom, does to some extent critici ze Charles by not allowing him to have his blood thirst satisfied. In this sense, the narrator makes Charles suffer a personal defeat for this type of vendetta is not viewed as acceptable by the narrator. But, in his role as king in a feudal society Charles has every right to avenge the death of his nephew Bertolai, and in that he was vindicated. At not point are the poets views made clearer than in the critical scene where Charles finds himself a prisoner in Montauban, after ha ving been kidnapped by Maugis, while asleep. A debate ensues between Renaut, Ri chard, Roland, and Names. Richard is in favor of killing the king, but Renaut wants to release him. In what may seem today an odd bid of loyalty when the king awakens, all the knights and barons, including those who are his captors, kneel before him in homage. This act confirms the idea that the poet places above all else the need for loyalty, and fidelity of all vassals to the king, and that the decision to release hi m, is indicative that the rebel barons also come to the same conclusion. 68


This de-idealized portrait of Charlemagne in Renaut de Montauban is made all the more remarkable by the fact, that for centuries the legend of Charlemagne existed, and that such a portrait obviously went agains t the common perception of how the great king lived and fought. This particular chanson de geste did nothing in the long term, to alter the belief that Charlemagne was indeed the model Christian medieval emperor. Charles Martel in Girart de Roussillon, is another thirteenth century portrayal of yet another legendary figure. Although Charles Martel never attained the same almost demi-god status that Charlemagne does, he nevertheless was remembered in French history as being one of the greatest of the Frankish rulers particularly after his famous batt le at Poitiers, where he turned back the Saracen invaders in 732. The Charles Martel of Garin le Lorrain as he is represented in the prologue, is also fighting the Saracens, and defending France. This literary Charles Martel separates from the troops of Hervis de Metz, and goes to Troyes. In the epic poem it is Hervis de Metz who organizes the defense of Soisson and w ho turn back the Saracens there. Afterward, he rides to the aid of Charles Mart el in Troyes, but arri ving too late, he finds the emperor fatally wounded. These historical inaccuracies do little to diminish the image of Charles Martel as a brave and fierce warrior, as well as an ardent defender of the Christian faith. In Garin le Lorrain, there is another Charles Martel who uselessly and re cklessly wastes the youth, and the fighting force of France, fighting his protracted wars against Gi rart de Roussillon. It is this facts which leads Hardr de Lens to advise the young king Ppin against going to the aid of Hervis de Metz. From a literary perspective this view of Charles Martel is born out in Girart de Roussillon which recounts the life of Charles Martel leading up to the end of his wa rs with Girart de Roussillon. 69


This later poem gives a much more in depth a nd psychologically complex view of the character of Charles Martel. In many ways, Charles Martel in Girart de Roussillon is not that different from Charles in Renaut de Montauban Both are strong and excellent warriors both have a firm tight control over their kingdoms, and for the most part are able to keep their vassals in line. Both are even able to rally the forces of Christendom, to ride out in defense of the empire, and defeat the Saracens. But just as Charles Martel shares many of the positive qualities of Charles in Renaut de Montauban he also shares some of the negative ones. At the beginning of Girart de Roussillon, the emperor of Constantinople has given his two daughters in marriage. Charles wi ll marry Berthe, and Girart, th e most powerful baron of the realm, will take Elissent as his wife. Howeve r, Charles changes his mind when he sees the beautiful Elissent, and decides that he will be the one to marry Elissent. Girart should have Berthe instead. Girart gets very angry because of this abuse of power by the king, an abuse which will be at the origin of the whole feud: Don, co respont labaz de Saint Denis Ceste autre est ta muilliers que tu pelvis, E que avam jurade en son pas. -Per mon cap, co dis Charles, tot en devis. Se Girarz lai partit, eu cai causis. E labaz respondeit: Don, mareu dis. (vv. 366-371) He does not listen to the abbot and acts selfishly. From the beginning, the narrator calls Girart a noble, and courteous character. With regard to Charles, the narrato r paints a critical and at times derisory portrait of this king. This will begin when he decides to take Elissent as his wife. Ultimately, the narrator will ma intain the opinion that regardless of his numerous faults and bellicose irrational acts, Girart is to blame for this extremely long conflict, therefore, it is up to Girart to make amends. Once the agreement is ma de, Girart is free from vassalic links. Girart 70


does ask Charles to allow his fief to become an allod, and Charles says yes, but is clearly unhappy about having to do this. Charles will then hunt on Girarts land which will begin the conflict. Charles also mistreats prisoners such as Eble, Senebrun de Bordeaux, Yons son, and Guillaume from Toulouse. He wishes to punish th em because they are now his prisoners, but Aymon tells him they need to be re spected, however, Charles ignores him. Per mon cap, dist lo reis, molt me sat bon. Co sunt me anemic li plus felon. Tros a breus jorz naurunt ta gaardon, Ja mais non caucera uns esporon [] -Seinor non lo pouz faire sens mespreison. [] E coilli les Girauz en sa mauson; Anz rendre nes nos vol senaisi non Que uns non I perdes mais raencon; E de co li fesem ben plevison. -Eu lor derai, dist Carles, deital poison, Toz li plus ris dira: Garniz en son. (vv. 5378-5396) It is clear here, that Char les does not listen to Aymon, and intends to poison these prisoners, even though Aymon has given his words to Girart that nothing w ould happen to them. Charless behavior is also to blame, when a monk sent by Girart arrives at his court and talks to him about his trial. Charles wants the monk to pay for all the harm Girart has caused him, and actually threatens to cut his testicules. Sobre vos cuit, dun monges, quen tort li sorz; En talent mes vengut ques coils non porz Li monges, quant lot, vougre ester estorz. Li monges ot de Carle qui o lui tence, E entent la razon con la comence. E tem noil face torre la genitence, Carl ore quen fust fait la penitence. (vv. 6698-6704) This is actually the only comedic scene in the poem, especially because of the monks reaction. He is afraid in front of the king and says he would like to be far away, in his monastery. 71


Seven years pass after the death of Hervis de Metz, and the arri val at the cour t of Ppin of Garin and his brother Begon. Ppin as an adult, is not the redoubtable figu re, leader, and warrior that was his father Charles Martel such as he is portrayed in Girart de Roussillon He is less able to impose his will on his vassals than was his fath er. His personality is not marked with a strong streak of independence as is his fathers. It is for these reasons that I pl ace Ppin, slightly below Charles in Renaut de Montauban and Charles Martel in Girart de Roussillon, as approaching the ideal king. Ppin is not however anywhere near as weak, incompetent, and pathetic as Louis in the Couronnement de Louis. He does have some qualities that suggest a certain strength, but on the whole, Ppin is someone who is rather incapab le of influencing events between the Bordelais clan, and the Lorrainer clan. Most of Ppins pr oblems come from his inability to think, and reason when given poor advice. From the tim e he was a young boy, he was raised by and influenced by Hardr de Lens, who often gave advice which would favor his clan, therefore, Louis was never able to really develop the capacity to think on his own in a critical, and intelligent manner. Ppin is reluct ant to fully choose a side between the long, bloody, and costly succession of wars between the Bordelais and the Lo rrainer clans. Ppin tries his best to always regulate this feud, with the goal of uniting the two clans, making peace, and making a stronger unified kingdom. This underlines the rather ambiguous nature of P pins role in this epic poem. On the one hand, he seems to have sided with th e Lorrainer clan and for just reason, during most of the poem. On the other hand, that does not prevent Ppin from equally supporting, and welcoming various members of the Bordelais clan into his court, as well as recognizing their importance to the kingdom. While Ppin may support the Lorrainer clan thro ughout most of the epic poem, at certain critical moments, he fails in th is support, and he is able to be influenced, and controlled through 72


nothing short of bribery. It is at these moments that Ppin shows his weakest moments as a king; in the moment where he is motivated by personal in terest, rather than an interest in the kingdom. In reading Garin le Lorrain, one quickly get the sense that the actual protagonists, that is to say those who drive the plot forw ard, are not the king himself as in the case perhaps in Girart de Roussillon They are those who surround the king, th at is to say, Garin and Begon, and the influential Bordelais group of Hardr Bernard de Naisil, and Froment. Much of the action is also advanced by the ro le that queen Blanchefleur plays in shaping events. She is decisively in favor of the Lorrain er clan and would do anyt hing to keep Ppin from perhaps taking a course of action which would in fluence the Bordelais clan instead of Garins clan. For, it is clear from the be ginning that the Bordelais clan is a race of traitors and felons, who really are motivated by self -interest rather than the co mmon interest of the kingdom. Therefore, it is perhaps Blanchefleur who infl uences Ppin the most, and who also perhaps influence events in general the most. She prot ects the interests of the Lorrainer clan, and undoubtedly keeps the kingdom from falling into the hands of the less competent and treacherous Bordelais clan. It is clear, that both clans at some point in the poem, recogni ze the deficiencies of Ppin. Only one of these clans actually openly verbalizes its criticism, and its lack of belief in Ppins ability to rule the kingdom. The other clan, the Bordelais, seems to adapt a much more sanguine and resigned attitude. They seem to think that even though Ppin is not always capable of ruling the kingdom, he is the king, that he should be respected as such, and that the institution of kingship, is more important than the individual king. The fidelity is, therefore, not to the king necessarily, but to the principle of royalty and the institution of kingship. 73


Ppins biggest advantage is that he possesse s a large number of troops in his royal army. Combined with the army and the troops of the Lo rrainers, that advantage puts the most fear in the Bordelais clan. Judging that Froment is in the wrong, from this point on, Ppin and for a long time throughout the rest of the poem, takes the side of Garin and the Lorrainers. He does add his military force and his wealth to the army of Garin, and they successfully lay siege to SaintQuentin. He also takes Soissons away from Froment de Lens. For the most part, Ppin acts as an arbiter betw een the two feuding clans. If in theory, he is the sovereign lord over all of his vassals, in reality he is most unable to actually control anyone of the clans himself. The best he could hope to do would be to sway events in his favor. What are the interests of Ppin? Fo r the most part, Ppin intervenes when it is to his personal benefits. In the scene discussed earlier when Froment breaks with Garin, it is Froments overweening pride, that places him in a position of opposition to hi s sovereign lord Ppin. Ppin therefore must defend his honor, and that of the crown, and decides to go pursue Froment and so begins the first war. The reason why Ppin goes to the aid of Begon in Bordeaux is because Begon has married Ppins niece, his niece was threatened by the Bo rdelais clan, and Ppin s chateau was attacked. But it is Ppins wife Blanchefle ur, who provides the final bid of motivation needed for Ppin to go to Begons aid. She says that if he does not go down and defend Begons lands, then the Bordelais would have grown too strong in that region, and that Pepin, th erefore, would not be able to resist them, if they were to continue their assaul t against his lands: Sire, faist ele, nel devez pas soufrir. Cest granz otrajes quil ont fait, ce mest vis. Devant voz ont vos barons entrepris, Par maintes fois et batus et laidis, Ne fust duz Begues et ses freres Garins De douce France vos eussent for mis. Rois, car chevauche et mande tes amis, Ainz que li dus soit retenus ne pris. Se tu le pers, tu en seras plus vis. (vv. 7915-7923) 74


Ppins ultimate goal is not to crush or weaken the power of the nobles, for even if desired to do so, it is improbable that he would have been able to do so. In fact, most of the time what Ppin seeks even after military intervention is a reestablishment of peace, and order within the kingdom. After the siege of Saint-Qu entin, Ppin says: Lacorde voel isi. / Je vos doins jor a la cort a Paris. (vv. 5494-5495) Though essentially it is a war between th e Bordelais and the Lorrainers, the ultimate end of the war will onl y come when the Bordelais, and in particular Froment, come and ask the kings forgiveness. He re again the poet is making a strong point that no matter individual grievan ce, ultimately all the nobl es are the vassals of the king, and that they depend on him for their lands and their estates: Enten, Fromons, ci menvoie Pepins Li enperere de cui tu dois tenir. Par moi te mande que ta foi as menti, Sanz son congi que tu as fame pris, Par to orguel as son baron asis. Vien li droit faire a Rains ou a Paris. Se tu nel fais, malement iez baillis. O mors ne vis te pesses gesir. Soisons te tolt, encore te fera pis. (vv. 3882-3890) Eventually, Froment presents himself before Ppin who accepts peace to be achieved between Garin and Froment. To this extent, Ppin was su ccessful in forcing the feudal law upon Froment, and acquiring his submission. However the weakness of his character lies in the fact that these agreements, or truces, never lasted very long, a nd that ultimately, Ppin could not control the two clans. There are two occasions where Ppin really acts for personal motive that go beyond his function as king. The first of these scenes take place just after Froment presents himself to apologize and Blanchefleur arri ves to be wedded to Garin. No sooner does Blanchefleur arrive, than the schemes of the Bordelais begin to take form. In an effort to prevent the marriage of 75


Garin to Blanchefleur which would have given c onsiderable power to Garin, the Bordelais at the instigation of the archbishop of Reims, Henri, come up with a plan to prevent the marriage. He points out that Garin and Blanchef leur are too closely related. Th e archbishop points out to Ppin that he will bring dishonor to Fr ance if he allows this wedding to take place, that none of the Bordelais would want to serve him again, and th at they would throw France into a war which will never end. Ironically while Ppins intentions may be to avoid war, preventing the wedding of Garin and Blanchefleur does not bring about peace for quite a long time. Henri suggests that Ppin meet Blanchefleur, and perhaps marry her hi mself. Ppin meets Blanchefleur, and falls in love with her and desires to have her for his own. At this point, he cares little about the practical details of how he stops the wedding between Ga rin and Blanchefleur. He accepts the testimony of two monks, that Henri, found saying that they are too closely related. Ppin brings in some relics and has the two monks swear on the relics. This becomes then a satisfactory excuse to not allow the wedding to continue. We could say that the way Ppin announces the change of plans before the whole of the court, brought some embarrassment to Garin. Garin at first is quite angry, and Blanchefleur tries to ask Garin to taker her away to Maurienne, wh ere they would live as husband and wife. This plot is foiled as well by the Bordelais. They in formed Ppin of their pl ans, and essentially Begon tells Garin to accept the situation, because he ca n find another woman another time. So Ppins intervention for purely personal reasons, while it should have created quite a stir among the Lorrain clan, did not itself lead to any breach of the peace. Perhaps the most striking scene of Ppin bei ng motivated for what could be considered to be less than admirable reasons, is the scene whic h ultimately will lead to a breaking-up of the close relationship enjoyed by the family of Gari n, and king Pepin, and Blanchefleur. Acting out 76


of purely selfish reasons, the king accepts a brib e by Guillaume of Blanquefort, in return Ppin would not intervene by taking side with either Garin and his relatives, or with Froment: Et dist Guilliaumes: En vostre conduit ving. De mon avoir voz fas ici venir, Plus que ne pueent porter .iiii. roncin; Par tel covent le voz donrai, Pepin, Que naiderez Fromont ne ses amis; Ainz vos lairez de guerre maintenir Et as espees le chaple porsivir, Jusqua .i. an porra la grant guerre soufrir. (vv. 13893-13903) This decision on the part of Ppin does indeed set off the final series of wars, massacres, and battles that would ultimately lead to the death of the hero Garin. This analysis of these weak and flawed kings in the medieval epic poems, the full range of behaviors examined, often times, put the king in a negative light with re gard to his personal conduct. But, in so far as his role as king with the exception of Louis in the Couronnement de Louis, the king on the whole is able to defend Christianity from the Saracen invaders, and is able to insure that even the most powerful barons and their families, at least would respect the theoretical ideal that the king is above them. This was particularly in Garin le Lorrain Girart de Roussillon and Renaut de Montauban Even the two portraits of the ideal king in the Chanson de Roland and in the Couronnement de Louis did contain certain elemen ts that pointed out if nothing else that the king is only chosen by God to govern his kingdom on earth. However, in spite of his strength, and virtues that place him well above all other men, he is still human and capable of weakness and error. In the two poems of the sixteenth century, th e ultimate aims of Ronsard and Aubign in writing their poems were completely different; they do, however, offer insights as to what caraterizes a weak or even bad king. Their ideas were shaped by political theory advanced by Machiavelli, Erasmus, and Jean Bodin, and whic h contributed to the debate over the actual 77


nature of the king and the limits of his power Our two poets ideas a bout what the bad king would be were essentially influenced, by how th ey felt that the ruler should deal with the political and religious turmoil th at marked contemporary society. In reading Ronsards Discours much of it is reserved for advice for Catherine de Medici and particularly for the young king Charles IX as to which qualities are necessary to be an ideal ruler. The lack of some of these qualities, or the inability to perform certain functions, would of course mean that the king was flawed and inadequate. First and foremost, Ronsard feels that a weak king would be one who is not well educated: Il faut donq d s un jeunesse instruire bien un Prince, / Afin quavec prudence il tienne sa province. ( Discours la Royne vv. 35-36), and: Un Roy pour estre grand ne doit rien ignorer. Il ne doit seulement savoir lart de la guerre, De garder les citez, ou les ruer par terre, De picquer les chevaux, ou contre son harnois Recevoir mille coups de lances aux tournois: De Savoir comment il faut dresser une embuscade, Ou donner une cargue ou une camisade, Se renger en bataille et sous les estendars Mettre par artifice en ordre les soldats. (Institution, vv. 12-20) In particular Ronsard stresses a need for education in the classics both Greek and Latin, as well as history. In his Discours la Royne, he appeals to Catherines know ledge of history in order to present his argument. History also can be used in order to show examples of rulers -Charlemagne, Charles Martel, who possessed both m ilitary skills, and a great ability to rule and administer the kingdom. Ronsard attaches great impor tance to the ability of a king in the art of war. A weak king lacking in this ability is unable to not only defend his own city, but also the borders that his ancestors have worked so hard to earn and to increase: Ils se repentiront davoir tant travaill, Assailly defendu guerroy bataill Pour un peuple mutin divis de courage Qui perd en jouant un si bel heritage (Discours la Royne vv. 65-68) 78


History also provides crucial information to a young prince about the laws and costumes of his ancestors, and cautions against the mistakes of not upholding those laws and customs. Ronsard firmly stresses the idea that to be French, and to recognize ones history and traditions is to be Catholic. One of the greatest mistakes a ruler can make would be to switch from the Catholic faith to another: [] quil soit devotieux / Vers l Eglise approuve, et a que point il ne change / La foy des ses ayeuls pour en prendre une estrange. ( Discours la Royne, vv. 38-40) As critical as the acquisition of knowledge and the ability to think, is the education of a prince. This can only be useful if the king learns not only self-knowledge, but also selfpossession of his faculties: De l vous apprendrez vous coignoistre bien, Et en vous cognoissant vous ferez tousjours bien. Le vray commencement pour en vertus accroistre, Cest (disoit Apollon) soy-mesme se coignoistre: Celuy qui se coignoist, est seul maistre de soy, Et sans avoir Royaume, il est vrayment un Roy. (Institution, vv. 83-88) Ronsards stress on the rational nature of mental faculties does not exclude the idea of imagination. For in the Institution he discusses the idea that a bad king does not know how to bien imaginer: Apres il faut apprendre bien imaginer, Autrement la raison ne pourroit gouverner: Car tout le mal qui vient lhomme prend naissance Quand par sus la raison le cuider a puissance. (Institution, vv. 70-74) For Ronsard, perhaps the least effective, and the most dangerous of rulers are those who rule by violence, and blood shed: Les Rois les plus brutaux telles choses nignorent Et par le sang vers leurs couronnes honorent. Tout ainsi que Lions qui sestiment alors De tous les animaux ester veuz les plus fors, Quand ils ont devor un cerf au grand corsage, Et ont remply les champs de meurtre et de carnage. ( Institution, vv. 21-26) 79


One of the most important re sponsibilities to ruling a kingdo m is how one manages ones finances, and ones resources. According to R onsard, a bad king is one who wastes the most precious resources of all, the lives of his subj ects. A bad king is one who is motivated by poor motives or greed: Et pensez que le mal le plus pernicieux / Cest un Prince sordide et avaricieux ( Institution vv. 143-144). In particular, he is on e who neither guards his wealth, nor his possessions. He does not either spend his money wisely. For, eventually a king who is unwise in how he spends his money, runs into the problem of where he gets his money. A king should try to not overtax his subjects with unnecessary ransom s: Ne pillez vos sujets par ranons ny par tailles. (Institution v. 133) A king should therefore defend his countrys wealth and resources, and hopefully allow his subjects to prosper as well. He should act as a model of behavior and as the protector of his people, even from those who wi sh to prey on the less fortunate of the society: Ne souffrez que les grands ble ssent le populaire, / Ne souffrez que le peuple au grand puisse desplaire. (Institution vv. 153-154) Above all, while the ki ngs acts are important, the most important attribute of a king is to lead an exemplary life of virtue. An ideal king would be one who has a royal body and soul: Comme le corps royal ayez lame royale. ( Institution v. 141) The weak king, therefore, is one whose s ubjects fear him, and rules by oppression, not one who maintains authority, and combats vice: Morte est lauthorit: chacun vit en sa guise: Au vice desreigl la licence est permise: Le desir, lavarice et lerreur insens Ont sans dessus dessous le monde renvers. On fait des lieux sacrez une horrible voirie (Discours la Royne vv. 175-179) Ronsard states the importance of virtue at the beginning of the Institution : Un Roy sans la vertu porte le sceptr en vain, / Qui ne luy est sinon un fa rdeau dans la main. ( vv. 3-4) For Ronsard if a king is to combat vice, he must first lead a vi rtuous life in order to recognize this vice. More 80


importantly, the ideal prince will also be able to recognize virtue, and thus surrounds himself with loyal and wise subjects: Ayez autour de vous personnes venerables, Et les oyez parler volontiers vos tables: Soyez leur audituer comme le fut vostre ayeul Ce grand Franois qui vit encores au cercueil. (Institution, vv. 146-148) He should maintain a degree of humility and remember that he is only human: Vous souvenant tousjours que vous estes humain ( Institution, v. 132). But a good ruler, will recognize his errors and shortcomings, and will take it upon himself to punish himself before God does: Punissez-vous vous mesme, afin que la justice / De dieu qui est plus grand, vos fautes ne punisse. ( Institution, vv. 177-178) Unlike good Christians, the king who is flawed does not learn to fear God, nor does he lear n to concern himself with the sa lvation of his own soul. In her article about the influence of Erasmus, Gwenda Ec hard shows that such an idea, which will be echoed even more forcefully in Aubign, come s from Erasmus: Erasmus however does more than reproduce classical notions of kingship. His prince is at the same time set apart from all men by his responsibilities and one with them as a man answerable to a Christian God for his actions. (27) The message present in Aubigns Tragiques, is not intended to be vague, polite or instructive, it is meant as a criticism of th e family of rulers who have led France down a disastrous, sinful, and bloody pa th. At his head, is the queen Catherine of Medici. In Misres, he expresses his hope that the future Henri IV, will end this reign of tyrants: Henri, qui tous les jours vas prodiguant ta vie, Pour remettre le regne, oster la tyrannie, Ennemi des tyrans, resources des vrais Rois, Quand le sceptre des lis joindra le Navarrois, Souvien-toi de quel oeil, de quelle vigilance, Tu vois et remedie aux mal-heurs de la France; Souvien-toi quelque jour combien sont ignorans Ceux qui pour ester Rois veulent ester tyrans. (vv. 593-600) 81


There are three categories of i ndividuals whom Aubign feels s hould never be able to rule a nation. The first group would be the child or the adolescent king. Aubign feels that it is impossible that a being of such a young age and give n such great responsibility would be able to either emotionally, or intellectually carry out th e duties necessary to be an effective king: O quel Malheur du ciel, vengeance du destin, / Donne des Rois enfants et qui mangent matin! ( Princes 655-6) As a general rule, th e second group that should neve r be allowed to rule would be women. But, Aubign bases most of his obser vations on the reign of Catherine de Medici. The third category, would be those kings who trul y are weak in spirit, and in mind, and who are easily influenced. Those are often simply controlled by their passions or their desires, rather than their interest in being king. These are kings, par ticularly the last of th e Valois kings, who live a life of sin, corruption, and futility: Rois, que le vice noir asservit sous ses loix, Esclaves de pech, foraires non pas rois De vos affections, quelle fureur despite Vous corrompt, vous esmeut, vous pousse et vous invite A tremper dans le sang vos scepters odieux, Vicieux commencer, achiever vicieux Le regne insupportable et rempli de miseres, Dont le peuple poursuit la fin par ses prieres? (Princes, vv. 459-466) Using the metaphor of the body of which the ki ng is the head, and his subjects are his body, Aubign says that the false ki ng is a king who cuts off his me mbers, and who remains just a head, becoming a beast or a monstrosity. In a passage in Princes he goes on to compare the two kings, the ideal and the false king. In this passage, Aubign uses the same attributes and criticism that Ronsard employs in his description of th e bad and the weak king: the king who destroys villages and wars with his own subjects, the king who prefers to rule by fear, and the bad king 82


who rather than being the shephe rd, is indeed the wolf himself, preying on his own people whom Aubign equates to the flock: Ces tyrans sont des loups, car le loup, quand il entre Dans le parc des brebis, ne succe de leur ventre Que le sang par un trou et quitte tout le corps, Laissant bien le troupeau, mais un troupeau de morts: Nos villes sont charongne, et nos plus cheres vies, Et le suc et la force en ont est ravies. (Misres, vv. 601-608) Aubign is concerned that fore ign nations seeing a country go verned and ruled by such an hideous monster, will see the weakness, and will s eek to profit form this opportunity, and invade France. Aubign questions whether or not the France he knows has the strength to withstand such attacks because of the inte rnal conflicts that weaken it: France, bien quau milieu tu sens des guerres fieres, Tu as paix et repos tes villes frontieres: Le corps tout feu dedans, tout glace par dehors, Demande la biere et bien tost est faict corps. (Misres, vv. 645-648) Ici marquez honteux, degenerz Franois, Que vos armes estoyent legeres autresfois, Et que, quand lestranger esjamboit vos barrieres, Vos ayeux desdaignoyent forts et villes frontieres: Lennemi, aussi tost commentr combattu, Faisoit la campagne essai de leur vertu. (Misres, 659-664) Later in Misres, Aubign specifically names the foreign threat to be Rome: Nous nosons pas nous armer, les guerres nous fletrissent, Chacun combat part et tous en gros perissent. Voila letat pituex de nos calamitez, La vengeance des cieux justement irritez. En ce fascheux estat, France et Franois, vous estes Nourris, entretenus par estrangeres bestes, Bestes de qui le but et le principal soin Est de mettre jamais au tyrannique poin De la beste de Rome un sceptre qui commande LEurope, et encore plus que lEurope nest grande. Aussi lorgueil de Rome est ce point lev Que dun prestre tout Roi, tout Empereur brave Est marchepied fangeux; on void, sans quon sestonne, 83


La pantoufle crotter le lys de la couronne. (vv. 1205-1218) At the end of this passage, Aubign makes a refere nce to the fact that in 1595, Henri IV went to Rome, for absolution, an event which both Gallicans and Protestants found humiliating. Another point on which Ronsard and Aubign agree is th at the king being only human, should recognize that he is Gods servant, and th at he is also bound by the same laws as other men. These laws are first of all part of the tradition of French hist ory, for example, the Salic law. Above all a false king, is one who does not recognize or live according to Gods law: En vain vous commandez et restez esbahis Que, desobeissans, vous nestes obeis: Car Dieu vous fait sentir, sous vous, par plusieurs testes, En leur rebellion, que rebelles vous estes; Vous secoez le joug du puissant Roy des Rois, Vous mesprisez sa loy, on mesprise vos loix. (Princes, vv. 443-448) Like Ronsard, Aubign felt that good and loyal service on the part of a kings subjects should be rewarded. A bad king is unable to di stinguish between those who serve him well, and those who do not. Therefore, he will give honor and favors to the unworthy and to the proud, rather than to those who deserve them: Faites misericorde celuy qui supplie. ( Institution v. 121). Voici un gros amas qui emplit jusquau tiers Le Louvre de soldats, de braves chevaliers, De noblesse paree: au milieu de la nu Marche un duc, dont la f ace au jeune homme inconu Le renvoye au conseil dun page traversant, Pour demander le nom de ce prince passant; Le nom ne le contente, il pense, il sesmerveille, Tel mot nestoit jamais entr en son oreille. (Princes, vv. 1145-1152) In Misres Aubign severely criticizes Catherin e de Medici, who succeeds in limiting the strength of the stronger houses in France. He accuses her of manipulating them through various means, such as murder, poison, and even the Machiavellian concept of due ls. He also expresses 84


his concern that she will keep the wealth of the land from these stronger houses, and use them to support her interests, her family, and her frie nds back in Italy. This touches on a strong undercurrent of anti-Italianism which runs through all of the Tragiques, and which has as its target, not only Catherine de Me dici but Machiavelli, and the Pope in Rome, as well as several foreign advisers who had been promoted to ke y positions in the French government, during the reign of Catherine of Medici and her son: Mais toi qui par sur eux triomphes, seigneureries, Use de ton pouvoir: tu veux bien triompher Sur eux, puis que tu es vivandiere denfer ( Misres, 950-2) Monstre leur le success des ruses Florentines, Tes meurtres, tes poisons, de France les ruines (Misres, 957-8) Vous garderez les biens, les estats, les honneurs Pour dItalie avoir les fins empoisonneurs, Pour nourrir, employer cette subtile bande, Bien mieux entretenu, et plus riche et plus grande Que celled u conseil; car nous ne voulons point Que conseillers subtils, qui renversent point En discords les accords, que les traistres qui vendent A peu de prix leur foy, ceux-la qui mieux entendent A donner aux meschans les purs commandements, En se servant des bons tromper leurs instruments. (Misres, vv. 967-976) According to Henry Heller: [] It is noteworthy that the Protestants were not the only group menaced by the violence of the Parisians during the 1570s. In June 1572, two months before the Massacre of Saint Bartholomews, there was a riot in the streets of the city against the Italians. [] The mob was inflamed on this occasion by the accusation that the Italians were ki dnapping and murdering young children in order to siphon off their blood. [] Othe rs asserted that it was the queen mother Catherine de Medici herself who was making use in some way of the blood of the slain children. (80-81) A final point of particular in terest is in how Aubign view ed the responsibility, and the duty of the subjects to obey the king. For Aubign, the society in which he lived required a very different socio-political relationship between the king and his subjects. It is no longer a question 85


of a feudal system of fidelity and service to on es lord. Throughout the course of the sixteenth century, new attitudes began to emerge which di scussed more an idea of reciprocity, as opposed to the feudo-vassalic notion of the relationship between the king and his vassals. Arlette Jouanna writes about this relationship: Elle est en fait plus un service offert quune obissance; elle navilit donc pas celui qui la donne librement. Mais elle ex ige du matre une cont repartie, sous la forme de bienfaits et de rcompenses; si celui-ci ne se conforme pas cette rgle, il offense gravement son serviteur. Il faut voir dans les plaintes de dAubign sur lingratitude des rois beaucoup plus que de mesquines rcriminations; cest tout dabord une conception de la royaut qui est en jeu. tre roi, cest dabord donner: donner de largent, des honneurs, des ftes. (623) For Aubign therefore, loyalty to the king must be earned, and one should not blindly serve ones king simply because he is ones king: Si la di scretion napprend aux vertuex / Quels Rois ont merit que lon se donne eux. (Princes, vv. 619-620) In Ronsards Discour s, and Aubigns Tragiques there is a shift in emphasis with regard to the criteria by which a ruler was judged. Roughl y three hundred and sixty years separate the date in which the last of these medieval poems was composed and the writing of Ronsards Discours Perhaps surprisingly, there are a number of similarities in the types of flaws the poets from both periods criticized. One of the most im portant differences between these texts, is the degree to which the two poets of the sixteenth century placed more stress on the need for kings to be examples of Christian ideals and virtues. Because it was widely believed that kings and queens ruled by divine right, then it naturally followed that such a ruler should, above all, seek to rule with the aim of creating a kingdom that approaches, as closely as possible, the Kingdom of God. The ability to reach this goal was made virtually impossible, because of th e deep seeded political and religious divisions within Western Europe. 86


In some significant ways, the Christian world de picted in our two sixteenth century poems, was the complete opposite of the one in the eleven th and twelfth centuries poems. In spite of the divisive political divisions with in the medieval society of the eleventh and twelfth century, the countries of western Europe and in particular the kingdom of France, rema ined a united Christian front when facing the constant invasions from pagans and Saracens. There existed throughout the Middle Ages, several dissident relig ious sects which the Church named as heretical. These sects never really posed a serious threat to the social and political stability of western Christendom. By the mid-sixteenth century, the pagan threat for the most part coming from the Turkish Empire, had diminished both in its scope and its intensity. The France in which Ronsard lived, found itself facing a very strong opposition, within its borders from both Protestants, and the Ultramonta ne factions within th e Catholic party. What had changed by this point, was that western Ch ristendom no longer presen ted itself as a unified front. Now Christian states and kingdoms; France, England, Spai n, the Holy Roman Empire, and various different powerful states within Italy, including the Papal States, vied for power among themselves. In these two poems, Ronsard and Aubign both felt that the flawed or inadequate king would be one who failed first on a political level in his inability to bring unity and harmony within the French kingdom itself, but also in its ability to maintain a stro ng France in the face of foreign threat. The second criteria by which Ronsard and Aubign judged their king, was their ability to lead France through the religious crisis that also divi ded not only France, but all of Western Christianity. Their goals were quite di fferent, however, Ronsard sought to achieve this peace through the Valois monarch itself, firs t through Catherine de Medici in the more immediate term, but eventually through her son, Charles IX. 87


88 Aubign was an apologist for no regime, and no royal family in particular. He especially loathed the House of Valois. Aubi gn had placed his hopes in the king Henri of Navarre, but his hopes proved to be in vain, when having been crow ned Henri IV, he converted to Catholicism in an attempt to implement a political policy of to leration. Henri IVs adoption of a more tolerant political policy as well as his apostasy at the beginning of his reign, led to Aubigns final disillusionment with regard to the secular rulers of his days. In his book seven of the Tragiques, Jugement Aubign in fact ends with an apocalypti c tableau in which God establishes his reign on earth, and separates the elected from the damned.


CHAPTER 4 SPIRITUAL REDEMPTION AN D POLITICAL EXCLUSION I propose to look at Girart de Roussillon and Renaut de Montauban as being characterized by two primary spheres of action. On the one hand, there are the laws and customs that shape the feudal society in which our protagon ists live. Most of the actions; the disputes and hostilities to which they give rise can be viewed within the fram ework of the political and social relationships of a king to his vassa ls. I include in this sphere of activity, elements such as feudal laws and customs. The second sphere of action is the religious and spiritual one. What drives the narratives in these two poems are the wars broug ht about by the failure of certain vassals to accept and perform their duties to their liege lord who in this case is the king. The political and military events which shape the story also create, within the individual protagonists, a moral and spiritual crisis. These ch aracters undergo a spiritual conversion at the same time that they seek a way to end their differences with their king. While the initial crimes are political in natu re, it is only through religion that the heroes will eventually find their way back into societ y. What I will discuss in this chapter are the circumstances that lead up to the period of sepa ration from the court, as well as society in general. Then I will examine the way in which the types of crimes or faults change the way the heroes experience their exiles. Finally, I will look at the way the spiritual journeys of our protagonists conclude. I will argue that how each ch aracter ends his or her life is directly related to three things: the nature of the crime or offens e which forced him or her to flee, their attitude towards their punishment, and their goals upon returning from their exiles. The questions of feudal laws present in Renaut de Montauban and Girart de Roussillon can be viewed as examples depicting how the so ciety, of the late eleventh and early twelfth centuries, sought to create a stronger political and social order. Th e kings of the eleventh century 89


governed over a small territorial domain. Many of the dukes and counts of other principalities within the kingdom, were very powerful in their own right. The period of 1031 to 1108 was a critical one for several reasons. The kings of Fr ance during this period exer cised direct power in a small area that was situated be tween the territories of the great French principalities. These were the powerful duchies and counties of Normandy, Aquitaine, Flanders, Troyes, Burgundy, the Vermandois, and an area includ ing Chartres, Blois, and Tours. There were areas, for example Gascony, Provence, and Brittany that were hardly affected by the politics of the French kings. The strongest of these territo rial principalities held the powers of military coercion, justice, and minting money.1 The kings of these periods relied heavily on the support and loyalty of those great princes some of whom did not offer their services willingly. Constance Brittain Bouchard points out that despit e the precarious positi on of the French monarchy in this eighty year period, society underwent a f undamental transformation in the direction of greater stability and organization: The eleventh-century kings did not simp ly lose power that the twelfth-century king regained. The eleventh-century king s, who actually had an advantage over the tenth-century Carolingians in that they were never seriously challenged for the throne, lived in a period in whic h there were far-reaching attempts to organize, create hierarchies and understand the moral and social structures of the universe. [] The French kings had to find a place for themselves in a new political and social order, and in doing so laid the foundations for the power of their successors a century later. (120-121) Charles in Renaut de Montauban and Charles Martel in Girart de Roussillon are not weak leaders of a fragmented and decentralized society. In fact, they s eem to be more like the Capetian rulers of the twelfth century. In terms of thei r military and political strength, vis--vis their powerful nobles, both Charles and Charles Martel resemble the Cape tian kings of the second half of the twelfth century. In hi s study on Capetian France, Eric Hallam discusses the gradual 1 See the article by Jean Flori, Knigthly Society (chapter 6), in particular p. 150 in The New Cambridge Medieval History IV c. 1024c. 1198 Part I. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2004. 90


changes in the structure of the po litical and social hierarchy in Fr ance that seem to strengthen the kings position at the top. He points out that: the implications of homage and fidelity were not the same in 1200 as in 1000. (95) In the early eleventh century, to pay homage to ones king meant to enter into an alliance more than it did to subordinate oneself to ones princes authority. By the middle of the reign of Ph ilip Augustus, the obligations of the princes to the king had been strengthened. This resulted in the revival of royal feudal power. The exile of the protagonists in these two poems is the result of feuds whose roots lay in the political power struggle between the territorial princes and their kings. In addition to the political dimension of th ese conflicts, there is also a personal element which greatly enriches the quality and scope of the narrative. I will begin my examination with Girart de Roussillon Circumstances Leading to Exile This examination of the circumstances leading up to the exile of the main characters in these two epic poems, will begin with a look at the socio-political relationships of the protagonists to the king. These poems both depict the political and military tensions that arise between the king and some of his most powerful va ssals. This is a fairly small group, at the apex of the political and social hierarchy. Among the nu merous protagonists that inhabit the world of medieval epic poetry, most of them are members of the warrior aristocrac y. Their ranks include, among others, Peers of France, dukes, counts, ba rons, and archbishops. Although all Christians were thought to be equal in the eyes of God, th e king and the warrior aristocracy as well as the most important members of the clergy: popes, archbishops, and bishops, all lived in a world separated from the vast majority of the populat ion. These three groups were indispensable to medieval society. This society, however, was marked by violence stemming from political and military disputes. 91


As Renaut, Maugis, Berthe, and Girart show us, they were just as fearful for their personal salvation; as were most Christians at the time. Those of the warrior aristocracy were responsible for the protection of we stern Christendom from the pagans. Renaut de Montauban, and Girart de Roussillon show a world that differentiates between the conduct and duties necessary to maintain peace in society, and the personal journey all Christians undertook which ended in their day of reckoning with God. In his article analyzing the relationship betw een Girart and Charles Martel, Claude Galley writes: Les chansons de geste ont la rputation mrite dexalter des valeurs qui sont avant tout celles des guerriers [] mais chaque pope nest-elle pas avant tout la difficile rsolution dun point de droi t extrmement dlicat, et la dmonstration clatante de lexercice dune justice supri eure qui fait un bilan dfinitif des torts de chacun, la providence. (Claude Galley 150) In examining the crimes and circumstances whic h eventually resulted in the flight of our protagonists, I will make a distinction between the ways the crimes or faults are viewed, either from the perspective of the king or from that of the vassals. The king is the ultimate source of justice. In all the chansons de geste in this study, what makes a good and wise king is one who protects Christian society from threats, both from within and without the kingdom. Even by the most powerful vassals, the office of king was recogni zed as that of the nomi nal leader of all the subjects of the kingdom. The king is chosen by God to rule in His name, and by His laws. Girarts character is cast from the mold of these powerful princes. Girart and his family are arguably more powerful than Charles Martel: Puis Deus vos a estors de sa prison, Eu ne pris vostre perte un moisserun. Tress en castels aveis en sa reion, Trente citaz demenes ob Avignun. (vv. 1095-1098) 92


His wealth, military strength, and overweening pride make Girart a difficult vassal to control. He does, on the whole remain a loyal vassal if a di sobedient one. He is perfectly willing to go to war with his king to protect what he feels are his own rights. He does, stop short of killing the king or usurping his powerdemonstrating a prof ound respect for the king as his sovereign. In her seminal study on the epic poems and their re lationship to the conso lidation of the royal power under the late Capetian ki ngs, Dominique Boutet writes: Mais laristocracie, qui avait parfaitement admis que la royaut se dfint comme valeur et bnficit de ce fait dune preminence trs lche, a videmment mal accueilli cette transformation de la royaut en vritable pouvoir. Des refus dhommage, des rbellions ouvertes en tmoignent historiquement. Il est certain que, dans ce milieu (et dans ceux de sa mouvance) limage de la royaut en a pti: celle-ci devenait ladversaire, sinon lennemi. Il a fallu du temps pour que les mentalits non clricales saccoutument suffisamment la notion de pouvoir royal et acceptent dassocier nouveau la royaut une valeur minente de dfinir la royaut la fois comme une valeur et comme un pouvoir. (3) Girart is not altogether neglectf ul of his vassalic obligations to Charles. After the battle of Vaubeton, one of the conditions of the peace was that Thierry de Scanie be forced to leave on a pilgrimage. This begins a five year truce duri ng which Girart aids Charles in subduing other powerful territorial princes, in particular Reim bart de Fraise, and fight s alongside Charles during his battles against the pagans near the Gironde River. At this batt le Girart proves himself to be not only a loyal vassal but also Ch arless most skilled warrior: Ainc ne vistes nul rei quaisi rancor Quant Girarz sajostet, li cons, a lur. Ainz non vi tan baron, tan prou, si dur, Ne proee de conte quaisi mellur. (vv. 3296-3299) Moreover, Charles recognizes Girarts value as a vassal and as a reward gives all of the loot taken in the battle to Girart so that he may distribute it among his men: Per le consel Folcon, quest molt senaz, Fu li eschaz a Carle sanz presentaz. E li reis dis Girarz: Cons, tot prennaz, E donaz la vos omes cui mels amaz. 93


Per itau cors de conte serai preizaz E cremuz e tensuz e redotaz; E amerai vos mai que ome naz, Si ne reste en vos la mauvaistaz. (vv. 3311-3318) This episode in the poem emphasizes the inconsta nt nature of the rela tionship between the two men. It adds a certain degree of levity to the overall tone of the poem. This is especially revealing since this episode falls right in the middle of decades of war between the two. A war whose loss of thousand of Christian lives include s close relatives for ex ample Girarts father Drogon, and his uncle, Odilon. Girarts final defeat, resulting in his exile, comes after the tr uce. Before this five year period there were several incidents which lead to the commencement of the wars. Before the first time Charles attacks Roussillon, he and his vassal ar e on good terms. It is in this state that we find their relationship at th e beginning of the poem. The first scenes of the epic poem are about the joint adventure of Charles Martel and Girart, who go to Rome to help the emperor of Constantinople defend the city from pagans. For their services, they are granted a gift, which th e emperor decides will be his two daughters in marriage, one for Girart, and one for Charles. Ch arles returns to France and Girart, accompanied by the Pope goes to Constantinople to escort the two young ladies back to Charless court. While in Constantinople, Girart and Elissent fall in love The emperor decides that therefore Girart will marry Elissent, and that Charles will marry Bert he. However, Charles decides to alter this arrangement himself. The choice of one sister ov er another offers no political advantage since both are the daughters of the emperor. It is merely because Charles finds Elissent to be prettier that Berthe, that he decides he wants to wed the former. This causes a bitter argument between the king and his count. After initially refusing to allow Charles to wed Elissent, Girart is persuaded by the Pope to accept a compromise. Charles will be allowed to wed Elissent, while 94


Berthe will wed Girart. Furthermor e, Charles grants that Girart wi ll now hold his lands as allods and not as fiefs. The idea of a king choosing to disregard a pr eviously agreed upon ma rriage is not unique to Girart de Roussillon In Garin le Lorrain, Ppin upon meeting Blanchefleur, Garins betrothed, is so taken by her beauty that he decides to let himself be persuaded to marry Blanchefleur himself. Interestingly, the reaction of Ga rin is very similar to that of Girart. At first, Garin is absolutely furious at what Ppin has done, not for depriving him of Blanchefleur, but the rather underhanded way he goes about it. After Gari n and Blanchefleur discuss the possibility of absconding, Ppin learns of it and has them stopped. Garins anger is fairly quickly appeased and his brother Begon points out to him that he can have anyone of a hundred women that he desires. Blanchefleur for her part, accepts the situation wi th relative equanimity and agrees to marry Ppin. It is not here a question of the two young lovers seeking revenge for their separation. They all accept the situation and end up marryin g other people anyway. The episodes regarding marriage in both Garin le Lorrain and in Girart de Roussillon illustrate the point that in these poems such disagreement of a more personal natu re is secondary to any considerations of a political nature. It is not a quest ion here of feudal law but rather of the selfishness of Charless desire to have Elissent. The issue that leads to open hostilities between Gira rt and Charles is that of the allods. Since the time of the Carolingians, most feuda l relationships, between a lord and a vassal, did not necessarily have to include a grant of la nd. As the royal power dissipated during the ninth and tenth centuries, the powerful te rritorial princes essentially were able to exercise seigneurial rights over their lands; that is to say they could tax their inha bitants and perhaps mint money. They were for the most part not compelled to swear homage and fealty to the king. During the 95


second half of the twelfth centur y, there is a decline in the numb er of allods. It was during the reign of Philip Augustus that th e central monarchical power was reconstituted and was able to base its relations with its vassals on the concep t of feudalism, the primary element of which was the fief. An allod is a hereditary land of no lord. The holders of most allodial lands were not required to either render homage or services to their nobles. This type of feudal land was held by barons and castellans who were very powerful, some of whom were outside the immediate influence of the French monarchy. Such nobles did recognize that the king was their legal sovereign. They understood that the king was in vested with special powers conferred upon him by prelates during the coronation ceremony. Charle ss decision, therefore, to not recognize Girarts lands as allods, was for Girart a breech of the basic feudal agreement between the two. As Claude Galley points out, this type of agre ement was at the very foundation of the feudal society: Dautre part le droit qui rgit les rapports entre lautorit et les fodaux nest pas un droit commun mais un droit contractuel et pe rsonnel qui tablit des engagements rciproques beaucoup plus quitables que le droit contempor ain. (Galley 151) Further on Galley develops this point ; particularly with regard to Girart de Roussillon : Par exemple les revendications des Girart successifs, Girart de Vienne alias Girart de Roussill on, sont strictement rattaches la coutume fodale. Le principal hros de chaque chanson se dclare al leutier pour une raison particulire. (Galley 151) Girart is a good example of a powerful rule r who felt that his lands were his own, and that he was not beholden to Charles. While he was willing to, and often did, enter onto alliances with his king, for Girart they were just that. This attitude does seem consis tent with the political realities of the eighth century; the time when Charles Martel ruled as Mayor of the Palace. Charles Martel is jealous of Gira rts power and in fact desires hi s lands for himself. Without any 96


provocation the king simply attacks Girarts cast le at Roussillon in Burgundy. Before further elaborating on this point, however another incident occurs whic h sets in motion the inevitable conflict between the two. As I pointed out above, the character of Charles is more closely akin to the Capetians of the twelfth century. These kings, through warfare and insistence on feudal duties, sought to subjugat e turbulent nobles. Dominique Boutet points out that: Girart perd de vue quil reste loblig du roi, et surtout que le roi est plus quun suzerain. Mme si les terres de Girart ne sont plus des fiefs, le roi conserve un droit minent sur son ancien vassal. Le tort essentiel de Girart est doublier ce caractre transcendant de la royaut. (10-11) This battle does not end in Girarts defeat, nor does it end in Charless. Prior to this battle, Charles has challenged Girart and has offered him the opportunity to fight him. If Girart wins the battle, then Charles will declare himself vanquished, and if Charles wins the battle, Girart will leave on pilgrimage. The subject of the pilgrimage will be discussed in the final section of the chapter, what is important now is that the outcome of the battle is such that neither Charles nor Girart wins. After a day of fighting, God interv enes by shooting thunder and lightening from the sky burning the various standards and frightening the soldiers so that they leave the field of battle in terror. La nuit lo rest vengude e jors failliz, E li celz est teners e bruneziz. Dex lor mostra miracles qui fu chastiz: Flamme lor ciet del ciel ques entrubriz, Quel gonfanons Girart est toz bruiz, E li Carlon, qui fu ab aur escriz. Tot en tranblent les cars as plus ardiz, E terre soz lor piez des la raz. Ce dist li uns a lautre: Segles feniz. (vv. 2880-2888) As a result, Girart does not l eave on a pilgrimage and a peac e is made between Girart and Charles. One of the conditions of this peace, howe ver, is that Thierry de Scanie must himself leave on a pilgrimage. He is responsible for both the death of Girart s father and uncle: 97


Jan en crerai consel que lon men die, Se Teuri de gerpist e sa parie E puis ne me fait dreit de la bauzie, Qua tort a ma onor preze e saisie, E ma mon paire mort, ma gent delie. Se cest plait ne me fait e ne mautrie, Ja ne sera mos seindre ne eu siens die! (vv. 3010-3016) Girart insists on this point because he feels that given his position of relative strength he can negotiate. Rather than personally seeking to av enge their deaths by ki lling Thierry, Girart chooses to settle the matter using a common form of punishment pilgrimages. The king refuses, initially, to allow Thierry to depart fo r his pilgrimage. He is not happy at the idea of losing one of his most trusted and powerful al lies. It is Thierry de Scanie who, perhaps recognizing the sin and the suffering that he has caused Girart, insists on accepting Girarts term and departs on a pilgrimage: E Teiris respondet: Segnor, marchei. Ne place a Damlideu, au manne rei, Que ja mais per mon cors nus om gerrei! Cent anz a qui fui naz e mas, ce crei; [] De France fui jetat a grant beslei, E u lai tornerai per son autrei, Quen sera bien Girarz li cons au rei. (vv. 3122-3134) One can look at Thierry de Scan ies action as also being a rath er shrewd understanding of the political situation. Hoping to diffuse any furt her hostilities and putting an end to the bloodshed, Thierry de Scanie nobly agrees to leave on a pilg rimage. For five years a truce is then declared between Charles and Girart, the time necessary for the pilgrima ge of Thierry de Scanie. At this point, the narrative of the epic poem changes course. After five years of exile, Thierry de Scanie returns only to be murdered by Fouque and other rela tives of Girart. Although Girart is not directly respons ible, nor had he any knowledge of Fouques intentions, Charles naturally blames him. Here again, it is a questi on of the duty and obliga tion toward ones feudal 98


lord. Perhaps if Girart was faithful to Char les he would have handed over those who were responsible for the death of Thierry, which Char les had taken so personally. Girarts obstinacy, in not handing over Fouque, leads to the next war. This eventually costs Girart not only his place within French society, but also threatens to lead to the damnation of his soul. Only when Girart recognizes his mistakes, and pays homage to Char les, will he be fully welcomed back into the court. Since he refuses to do so, only a resoundi ng military defeat will force him into exile. Although it is Girarts second de feat at Roussillon that caus es him to flee, this defeat comes because of an earlier incident The purely evil acts of murder and sacrilege, that Girart and others commit, are ultimately the cause of his exile: Cent en trobet tenent a une crouz; Tuit li crident mercet ensenble a vouz. Lo cons e su neis Bos les ocist touz. (vv. 6185-6187) A hundred of the kings royal soldiers take re fuge around a cross, which should provide them with protection from any further assault. Bos on comes and massacres every one of them. The second massacre takes place is on the plain of Va ucouleurs. Fearful for their lives, a prior, several monks, and an abbot as well as one thousand soldiers take refuge in a church. It is Girart himself who decides to make Charles suffer by watc hing as he sets fire to the church, killing everyone in it: Un moster ac el plan soz Vaucolor; Abat i a e monges e prior. Mil chevaler lai entrent por pour. Girarz les arst a fuc e a calor, Veient les ulez Carlon lenperedor. Grant tort i fait ver Deu e son senior. (vv. 6190-6195) The narrator says: Non pout mudar ver lui Dex nos corouz; / Per quei tornet de gerre Girarz desouz. (vv. 6188-6189) The importance of this scene is made more cogent by viewing it within the larger context of the political and religious reforms which were a prominent factor in the 99

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eleventh and twelfth centuries. The Peace of God movement which started in the 1030s was a response to the excessive violence that had th reatened the stability of society. Many of the chansons de geste condemn the sinful and costly wars fought among members of the aristocracy against each other, and against the king. The events leading up to Renauts flight from Charlemagnes court are thematically similar to the beginning of Girart de Roussillon In the Vallire manuscript, which serves as the basis for Ferdinand Castets edition of Les Quatre fils Aymon ou Renaut de Montauban the first section tells the story of how Renauts father entered into a bitter a nd deadly dispute with Charles. The trouble starts when two of Rena uts uncles, Doon de Nanteuil, and Beuves dAigremont, refuse to answer Charless summon s to come to his court and pay homage to him. Renauts father, Aymon, who does answer Charless summons attempts to defend his two brothers. This draws Charless ire, which leads to Aymons e xpulsion from the court. Charles sends one of his faithful vassals Enguerrand to th e lands of Aigremont to ask him to come to court. Aigremont embushes Charless envoy and kills Enguerrand. The conflict now goes from just a simple matter of dispute over feudal dutie s, and becomes a dispute of a more personal nature. Charles next sends his son Lohier with an entourage of four hundred knights to bring Aigremont back to Charless court so he ma y be judged and hanged. At Aigremonts castle, Lohier fills his message with insults and threat s to the point of even unsheathing his sword. A battle ensues during which L ohier is killed by Beuves. After mourning seven days for his son, Char les invades Aigremont laying his lands to waste. Aigremont calls on his three brothers to come to his aid, which they do. In the ensuing battle Girart de Roussillon proposes that they go to Charles and ask for his pardon. Beuves offers to come to the court and pay homage. After whic h, if Charles still desires it, he will leave on a 100

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pilgrimage to the Saint Sepulcre. All four brothers present themselves at Charless court, kneel before the emperor, and promise to be loyal va ssals. Charles pardons them. As was the case in Girart de Roussillon the primary concern here is not punish ment or justice for the murders of Lohier and Enguerrand, rather it is for the rest oration of the feudo-vassa lic relationship between Charles and his vassals. But here, in his turn, Charles changes his mind and following the advice of felons, lays an ambush which ends in Beuvess death. This is the background to the story concerning Renaut and his three brothers. In spite of the murder of Beuves, Aymon is once again welcom ed back in Charless court. He brings his four sons; Renaut, Guichart, Rich art, and Alard, to Charless court so that they may become squires and eventually be knight ed. Renaut shows exceptional abilities and promise so Charles decides to knight him the following day. Soon after the end of the knighting ceremony Be rtolai, Charless nephew, and Renaut are playing chess. At one point Bertolai becomes a ngered and insults Renaut and then strikes him on the face. Renaut taking umbrage at this act, rather than immediat ely rushing to try to defend his honor goes to Charles so that he may have an eq uitable judgment. On the surface it would appear that Bertolai is in the wrong and that Charles sh ould judge in favor of Renaut. Instead, Charles insults Renaut and tells him to stop being a sniveling coward. Th is injustice infuriates the young Renaut, causing him to reproach Charle s for the death of his uncle Beuves: Sire, dist-il au roi, quelle merveille ci a ? Or laisons ce ester, je nen parlerai ja; Mais de la mort de mon oncle li parlemens sera, Que festes ocire, dont malement vos va. De lui vos demant droit par cel qui nos cria. Mi honcle et li miens peres saimenerent piea; Mais endroit moi, dans roi, nel creanterai ja. (vv. 1927-1933) 101

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Charles then strikes Renaut. Rena ut reacts by seeking out Bertol ai and killing him on the spot. An enraged Charles commands his knights to sei ze Renaut and his three brothers, but they are able to flee the castle and make their way b ack to their homeland of Dordogne. According to ve-Marie Halba: La mort de Bertholet (neveu de Charlemagne), voquant celle de Lohier (fils de lempereur tu par Beuves), aggrave la situation de Renaud. Il nest pas seul porter la responsabilit de ce crime de le se-majest, son lignage tout entier est coupable. Do la fuite des quatre frres et le dsengagement du pre par le forjurement. Les Aymonides portent le poi ds de la maldiction familiale, qui se traduit par la mort physique (excution de Beuves) ou la mort civile (bannissement). (121) The reasons for the Aymonidess flight from Charless justice, are different than those which would eventually drive Girart into the forest of Ardennes. In the first of the poem, Charles, although profoundly distressed over the death of his son Lohier, is ready to welcome Beuves and his brothers back to court and to pardon them for their transgressions. It would appear that of the two offenses, the murder of Lohier and the failure to fulfill their vassalic obligations, the latter is more severe. In the case of Renaut de Montauban, the poet wishes to add another element which shifts the focus of Charless anger toward his vassals, Renaut and hi s brothers, to a more personal nature. It is unacceptable for anyone to si mply kill the kings nephew; especially in the kings castle. However, while this act leads to th e immediate flight of the four brothers from Charless court, the energy and th e obsession that drives Charles throughout the rest of the poem, comes from his hatred of both Re naut and Maugis, the son of Be uves dAigremont. The fact that Renaut mentions, and in an accusatory tone, th e incident between Charles and Beuves, adds a dimension of personal hatred to the relationship. This hatred stay s with Charles for most of the poem. According to William Calin, Renauts qu estion to Charles about his uncle Beuves is irrelevant to his pr oblem with Bertolai: 102

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Killing Bertolai would have been far too grave a punishment for the blow he had received. He was in fact also punishi ng Charles for his insolence and avenging his uncles betrayal. Now Renaud is wrong, not only for stirring up an old feud but, far more important, for shedding royal blood. In spite of the affront, Charles is emperor and Bertolai a Prince of the Blood. Renaud, however justified emotionally, has undermined society in the same way as his cruel uncle. (81) In Girart de Roussillon Charles Martel and Girart both claim to hate one another and to wish to see the demise of the other, as I mentioned above, their feud was primarily a political one that took on personal dimensions as the poem progresses. In the case of Renaut, the initial and the primary motivation for this feud are personal rather than political. My use of the term personal is meant to bring to the fore the idea that, while it may be perfectly normal for Charles and Charles Martel to want to reestablish their control and their dominance over their vassa ls, their pursuit of justice is not necessarily for any particul ar crime that the outlaws have committed. Exile from Court and Society The question of the personal and the political nature of the dispute between the two kings and their rebellious vassals, is crucial to our understanding of the meaning of the ensuing periods of exclusion. No longer welcome in the social and political world of th e royal court, Girart, Berthe, Renaut, and Maugis will al l experience both a spiritual and physical metamorphosis. In the next section, I will examine in detail how each of these characters experiences the trials and tribulations of their time as outlaws. I will focu s on the way in which these periods of exile from court, and in the case of Girart and Berthe, the aristocratic wo rld altogether, are shaped by two fundamental factors. The first concerns the re asons, both political and personal, that these characters have been banished by their kings. The second, is the way in which their attitudes toward their plight shape the way they live the ex perience, and how they ev entually bring it to an end. 103

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While in exile, for twenty two years, Girart does not show any genuine remorse for his sins. His primary goal is to return to society a nd to the position he enjoyed before losing the second battle at Roussillon. Girart enjoys himself, but must go back because of who he is, that is to say because of the class to which he bel ongs. One does not permanently change classes, especially when it is a questi on of moving down. Only later does he understand and accepts the seriousness of his crimes and his sins: Linfluence de Berthe est dterminante sur la rsolution de Girart et cest elle aussi qui va lui donner lexemple de labaissement social car elle prendra avant lui un mtier manuel. Girart va donc senga ger dans un long temps de pnitence: il faut considrer comme une expiation du pch dorgueil la vie de travailleur manuel qui va tre la sienne dsormais: pch lgard de son suzerain, et, ce qui est plus rare au 12me sicle, lgard de lhumanit. (504) Physical hardship does not push Girart to re pent. He suffers when confronted with the orphans and widows that are dest itute, because of the wars he waged involving their husbands and fathers. If anything, he lame nts his suffering more than he f eels remorse. Girart and Berthe both live ascetic and difficult lives eventually they work hard as seamstress and a coalmerchant. This is more of a social punishment, one relating to the loss of material wealth, and the necessity for manual labor. Reflecting upon Girarts iti nraire spiritual, as Comb arieu du Grs puts it in her introduction of Girart de Roussillon I am tempted to view it as being on a parallel course to Berthes spiritual journey. Berthe since their entry into the Arde nnes Forest, is now irrevocably linked with Girart and his quest for redemption. Sharing none of his sins: excessive pride, massacring prisoners, killing members of the cl ergy, destroying countless Christian warriors, devastating lands, looting church es, Berthe must nonetheless endur e the same punishment as her husband. 104

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In the mind of the medieval public, who eith er read the poem; or more probably listened to it being performed by a trouvre, there was nothing extraordinary about Berthe having to share her husbands and masters fa te. I believe the poet elevates Berthe to a loftier status than Girart; at least in terms of her worth as a Chris tian. All of Girarts transgressions are related to his role as a member of the warrior aristocr acy. Berthe, while of noble lineage, does not live a life that even remotely resembles Girarts. In her article, Rgine Colliot points out that Berthe would know how to sow for that would be one of th e many talents that the la dy of an aristocratic lord would learn during her educ ation. In short, while neithe r participating in, nor condoning Girarts crimes, Berthe suffers the same fate of being punished simply because of her relationship to Girart. Of the four exiles that I am discussing in this chapter, Girarts is probably the least spiritual and religious in its nature Girarts exile, as well as the remainder of his life, is viewed in contrast to that of Berthe. The one consuming and constant goal Girart has during his exile, is simply that of eventually returning to his homeland of Roussillon and regaining his place in society. It is this sole ambition that shapes the entire period in which Girart and Berthe are forced to flee Charless attempt to find him and kill him. After Girart and Berthe leave the second hermit, they come across some merc hants who tell them that they have seen Girart put into the earth. The merchants run back to Charless court to inform him that Girart is indeed dead news that is well-received by Charles. During his exile, Girart receives constant gu idance and support from Berthe as well as from a couple of hermits. In the beginning, Berthe is there to keep Girart from plunging into selfpity. In the second stage of the exile, Girart falls sick. Du ring this time, Berthe works as a seamstress for the lady of a house in which they are staying so that Girart may have time to 105

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recover. They are both thrown out of the house be fore Girart can completely regain his health. All of this points to a rather glaring fact th at Girart, without the he lp and support of Berthe, would have had a very difficult time enduring his penance. Upon entering the forest, just after his defeat at Roussillon, Girart stays the night in an encampment in the forest, whereas Berthe, takes sh elter in the nearby church of Saint Nicolas. This suggests the difference in the attitude that each adopts from this point on. Berthe immediately seeks refuge in Gods house, knowi ng that her salvation must come through Him. Whereas Girart, has not yet begun to realize that he too must turn towards God, and with all his heart and soul confess his sins and accept his penance. For the tim e being, therefore, Girart will continue to live in sin, the most important of which being the cardinal sins of pride and wrath. I will divide this analysis of Girarts exile into two parts. The first part will cover his arrival in the forest of Ardennes up until the end of his sickness. The second will be the twentytwo years that he spends working as a coal-merchan t. The first exile is divided into stages that result in a general decline in Girarts material st atus. After the first night in the forest, a group of thieves comes along and steal Girarts horse and weapons. These two objects are symbols of Girarts former political and social status in the aristocracy. A little further on in this first exile, Girart is forced to renounce the use of a horse or weapons until he has completed his penance for his sins. The narrator has very little sympathy for Girart loosing his horse and weapons: Qui trop mainten orguel, nol prez uns gans. / Per Girart vos o diu, qui maintint tans / Quen fun deseritaz vint e dous ans. (vv.7384-7386) One of the ways by which penitents endure their punishment is by embracing a life that is clos er to the way Christ lived. Suffering physical hardship through mortification of the flesh, and through the first beatitude, poverty, are ways in which penitents express their sincere desire to change. At no point does Girart practice 106

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mortification of the flesh. However, the second hermit he encounters is practicing mortification of the flesh, when Berthe and Gi rart arrive at his abode. This hermit is also practicing another kind of self-punishment -that of physical su ffering through the wearing of certain types of clothing such as goat skin: Vienent a lermitage de meriene; Troberent lo saint ome qui per Deu pene. Il non a drap vestit, mais pel cabrene, Les escriz lieges vielles sobre lesquene Nuz cotes e genoilz, a terriene. (vv. 7406-7410) Girarts particular form of suffering also comes in the form of a reduction in the material comfort of his life. The first night they spend at the first hermits house, Girart and Berthe are given a warm fire, a bed of straw, bread, and cider. This is a far cry from the standard of living that they enjoyed in the castles on Girarts la nds. However, this will be a relatively sumptuous meal, and rather fine accommodations, compared to what await them in the first part of his exile. After receiving absolution from the hermit Gira rt and Berthe begin th e next stage of their penance. Girart and Berthe are forced to travel a very difficult path sown with obstacles: and rocks, boulders, uneven terrain, and various types of brambles. They are given shelter at another hermits house, yet this time the accommodations ar e more austere. The meal consists of stale bread and water. The third place Girart and Bert he stay is at the house of an unkind bourgeois. Girart does not find many material comforts here either. He falls very ill for a period of forty days and cannot even get up from his bed. Not wa nting to keep him under his roof, the bourgeois sends him to a vaulted cellar underneath the stairs.2 2 The number of days Girart is sick, forty, is highly symbolic in biblical literature. They are many references to the passing of forty days and at times forty days and forty nights. In the Synoptic Gospels Jesus spent forty days in the desert before beginning his public ministry ( Mark 1:13; Luke 4:2). Other significant episodes in the Bible relating to the time period of forty days is when Moses spends forty days and forty nights on Mount Sinai, receiving the Law from God ( Exodus 24:18). After his resurrection, Jesus appe ars to his disciples for forty days before ascending into heaven (Acts 1:3). 107

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In the final passage in this first section of exile, Girart and Berthe are taken in by a good citizen, after having been thrown on the street by the bourgeois and his wicked wife. This scene is a transition from the first part of the exile to the second part. Girart and Berthe go to another part of the forest and work as a coal-merchant and a seamstress respectively. This passage is reminiscent of the parable of the Good Samaritan from the Gospel of Luke (10:25-37), which illustrates that human kindness must be available to all; even to one as wretched and sinful as is Girart: Aiqui pasmet la donne de dol que ac. Lo prosdom lesgardet, si com Deu plac, E fait len aportar, tot freit e flac. Loc li fes laz son foc e let o jac; Pois lid et car de bos e peis de lac, E retret lo [si] tant que gari lac. (vv. 7650-7656) This scene indicates the beginning of the return of Girart and Berthe back to society. It is not, however, indicative of a fundamental change in Girarts attitude towa rd his situation. In this first part of the exile, in spite of the oaths given a nd confessions made by Gira rt, he sees himself as being punished by God for his sins. While he accepts that he deserves to be punished, he himself does not express a desire to perform the penance required. Before Girart can begin in earnest his journey towards abso lution, and the salvation of his soul, he must first recognize his sins. Yet this do es not come easy to Girart. In fact, Girart; at least at the beginning of his exil e, believes sincerely that it is Charles who has wronged him. Upon meeting the second hermit, Girart compla ins his horse and weapons were stolen causing him to make their way on foot. He then tells a st ory about why he and Berthe were forced into the forest. Ignoring most of the circumstances le ading up to this scene, Girart tells the hermit only that Charles had accused him of murder and of helping the traitor who murdered Charless closest vassal Thierry de Scanie. He then goes on to tell the hermit that Charles declares war on 108

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him and has victimized him by taking his fief s and his lands and by attacking him. Although Girart recognizes that he does deserve to be punished for having committed certain sins this does not prevent him from complaini ng and feeling sorry for himself at various points during this exile. At one point during his j ourney after leaving the second he rmit, Girart cries out: Abanz plore des uelz, tirel cabel; / Dist melz vougrei ester morz en plan canpel, / Quel reis loges ocis e si fiel.(vv. 7577-7579) Towards the end of this stage of hi s exile, after having been cared for by the good neighbor who finds them in the street, Girart once again crie s out in affliction: E Deus, dis el, tans es vers moi teners! Les obres que ai faites molt lai me mers. Folche e Landris mou dist, cil de Nivers; Bernart, Folcher, Se gin, Bos e Gilbers, Pos vesquei aprs vos, molt sui cuvers! (vv.7659-7663) Neither the narrator, nor Berthe, nor the he rmit, have any pity whatsoever for Girart. They recognize that Girarts biggest obstacle to finding salvation is his own stubbornness and hubris. At the house of the second hermit, it is clear that Girart views th is exile as a purely political punishment. As a result all of his thoughts are focused on him ending his exile so that he can return to society, and not on truly repen ting for his sins. When first asked by the hermit whether or not he has faith, Girart answers that he puts all of his hopes in God. The hermit then asks him to renounce all of his enmity towards those who have wronged him. Girart does so, with the exception of Charles. Girart has not abandone d the hope of being able to exact his revenge on the king: -Seiner, ja ne prendrai jor penitance Entros que li ferai de mort dotance. Se ja mais pois portar escut ni lance, En qualke gen prendrai de lui venjance. (vv. 7458-7461) 109

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Girart continues to refuse to pardon Char les, and still fails to recognize his own sin, causing the hermit to launch into a very detailed admonishment of Girart during which he even compares him to Satan: Bons om, or sai qui ta si confundut: Cil orguelz que troberent li cornut Qui jus de ciel en furent abatut. Angres furent en cel de grant vertut; Per orguel sunt diable devengut. De la o eres cons de grant salut, Pechaz ta e orguelz si confundut [] Pecaz e enemis ta decobut. En itse voluntat criemque te tut. Aiduns taura tot quite conquesut. (vv. 7477-7490) It is at this point that it becomes clear that Girarts remorse and repentance do not include a recognition of the full scope of the past sins he has committed namely those at Vaucouleurs. To this extent I agree with Pierre Le Gentil when he writes: Certes, depuis le jour o, devant lermite, il a cd aux objurgations de Berte, Girart nest plus un pcheur endurci. Toutefois, malgr sa docilit et sa patience, il na que pa rtiellement triomph de son orgueil et de son gosme.(64) Pride and egoism would have, without doubt, been sternly condemned by the church; especially the former which is a mortal sin. Instead what the hermit chooses to focus on is the political importa nce of Girarts decision to renounce his hatred towards all including Charles: -E lermites respont: Deu en aor, E de sa part me clam vostre fessor; Que sil faiz de bon cor e senz dotor, Enquor auras barnat, terre e onor. (vv. 7517-7520) Girart seems to attach importance only to those sins that relate directly to his feudal ties with Charles. Both the hermit and Berthe seem to st ress the seriousness of his crimes of hubris and disloyalty to his feudal lord, more than they do Girarts other crimes. Even the chastisement 110

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regarding the devastating effect his wars with Charles had on families (the loss of lands, fathers, and sons) focuses on Girarts defiance of Charle s not towards any sins against humanity. This is seen most clearly in a passage spoken by the hermit: Bons om, co dis lermites, ke nas paor, Quen ton jovent as fait tante felor, E as en mal usat de tei la flor. Encore vols ocire to seignor! vv. 7498-7501 Later during their journeys, Bert he and Girart receiv e hospitality from a family that saw both father and son perish in one of Gi rarts war. Listening to the tale that the family recounts Girart becomes distressed. Berthe gently reminds him: Seiner, laise lo dol, si ten esclaire. Toz tens fus orgueillous e gerreaire, Bataillers e engres de ton afaire; E as plus omes morz non saz retraire, E lo[s] ris paubresiz e tout lor aire. Er en prent Deus justice, lo dreiz jujaire. (vv. 7589-7594) The first part of the exile of Girart and Be rthe, ends rather abruptly with the simple announcement that they will endure much more su ffering and hardship. Then the second part of the exile begins when Girart meets some woods men who offer him employment as a means of performing his penance. Girart acce pts and Berthe also finds work as a seamstress. This part of the exile is significantly different from the first one in that the couple enjoys a much less difficult life. There are no more meetings with hermits w ho offer them guidance or chastise them for a lack of repentance. Girart complains no longe r about his plight. Ther e is no longer anything specific about the spiritual or religious aspect of Girarts exile. This section focuses more on the social degradation that comes with exclusion from the life at court and, in particular, the aristocratic life that Girart and Berthe were used to. 111

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This passage in the poem marks a certain logi cal step in Girarts return to society. After twenty-two years of physical hardship, severe poverty, and living under humiliating circumstances, Girart and Berthe now begin to regain some of thei r lost wealth and status. They both earn a fairly good living as manual laborers enough to make them bourgeois rather than ascetics. Both Girart and Berthe seem to be quite co ntent with their new life and the success they enjoy: Chascuns settan dener vent son carbon. Gerart veit lo gaain, e sat li bon; Cil nen unt plus de lui mige un billon. Or li doinz Dex ostal e tal maison Per quei poissent venire a garison! (vv. 7696-7700) For a former member of the warrior aristocrac y, not only performing but enjoying and thriving in the profession of coal-merchant, is indeed a rare thing in medieval literature. That Berthe would know how to be a seamstress is less exceptional. Th is would have been considered part of her education as being a lords wife. As Rgine Colli ot points out: Alors qui l est trs rare de voir un homme de laristocratie accepte r de vivre longtemps dans un au tre ordre que le sien, il nest pas rare dans la littrature p ique de rencontrer une femme n oble dans une condition servile ou mdiocre durable. (512) Success and contentment not withstanding, it would be inadmissible that the couple be allowed to remain in this situ ation for the rest of thei r lives. It is Berthe who eventually would have to convinc e Girart that such a place in society is unworthy of his noble character. The day of Mardi Gras, while watching warriors jousting, Berthe is reminded of the life that they left behind twenty-two years previously. With tears in her eyes Berthe asks Girart to return to his social class: Seiner, se mes conselz en fus auiz, Nos tornesem en France, o fus nuiriz. 112

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Or a vint e dous ans quen es eisiz, Et assez de mau traire roz e fraitiz. (vv. 7756-7759) In analyzing this passage, Rgine Colliot rightly points out that the return to their social class was inevitable: Nous retenons de ces propos de Berthe que le dclassement est un tat dabaissement et de pnitence, mais que la pnitence acheve, le noble se doit de sortir de cet tat, et de regagner son or dre, selon lthique de la grande fodalit. Le comte acquiesce aussitt: Cest bien dit. Jirai l. (512) By examining Berthes experience in exile; a nd comparing it to Girarts, there appears to be a more profound and spiritual commitment on the part of the former. Berthe is not guilty of any of the crimes which Girart has committed. She has every right to lament the situation that has taken her from the life she was born into as a princess of the emperor of Constantinople. And yet it is Berthe who exhibits a much more pious and sincere attitude towa rds the salvation of her soul. Moreover, she is not only a councilor but also a source of support and inspiration for Girart. She seems to have taken it upon herself to keep Gira rt from relapsing. The fact that Berthe seems to be playing a role secondary in importance to that of he r husband, indicates the political importance of this exile at least in the mind of the poet. Yet, exile can easily be seen as a statement about the true nature of penance. For while Berthe and Girart live twenty-two years of exile side by side, th eir paths are different. Berthes attitude towards their time in exile is considerably differe nt than is Girarts. Berthe never complains about her situation. Sh e expresses no desire to seek vengeance.3 Girart does not understand or appreciate th e role Berthe plays in his twen ty-years in exile even at the end. Berthe, seeing the warriors jous ting, cries for her husband and not for herself. Girart at first 3 Both at the beginning and the end of the poem, Girart expresses his regret that he has caused Berthe to suffer the same punishment that he had to endure. When first asked by the second hermit about Berthe, Girart makes the statement: Diste donne me pese, qui mare fon.(v. 7431) 113

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does not understand the reasons for he r tears. He says to her that he know realizes that he has not provided her with the kind of life that was due her as the daughter of the Emperor of Constantinople: Donne, or sai ke tes cor ves mei repent. Care ten vais en France senz mai[n]tenent; [E] eu te jurerai sor sains vertent Ja mais ne me veiras, ne tei parent. (vv. 7746-7749) Girarts proposal that sh e return to their lands and to their formal life without him, annoys Berthe who expresses to him her unwavering fidelity and re peats her pledge to stay by his side no matter what. Berthe will never go back completely to the world they left behind, even though they will return to Roussillon. Her time in exile leads her down another path, one which she continues to follow until her death. This path runs parallel to the everyday life of the chateau. In addition to her loyalty to Girart and her devotion to God, Berthe also ha s learned the virtue of humility. Having suffered without clothing and food, havi ng lived in meager circumstances, in poor shelter, Berthe accepts her fate, never letting this weaken her resolve to continue to work toward the salvation of her soul. In some ways, the spir itual and religious journe y of Renaut and to some degree Maugis, resembles Berthes more than Girarts. After the death of Bertholai, Renaut and his th ree brothers flee Charles court. After first heading to their homeland in Dordogne, they then go to the forest of Ardennes; following the suggestion of their mother. As in Girart de Roussillon, the forest of Ardennes, is a place of multivalent significances. In both epic poems, the forest is a place of refuge from those fleeing from the wrath of their lords, which in both ca ses is the king. Throughout medieval history, the forest was considered a place of superstition, danger, solitude, and the supernatural. In Girart de Roussillon there are very few incidences of dange r from brigands and outlaws during the twenty-two years, with the exception of Girarts horse and weapons being stolen just after he 114

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enters the forest. In Renaut de Montauban, Renaut and his brothers are considered to be villains while living in the Ardennes. Young knights who were not attached to a household, either their own or one which has taken them on as squires, were forced to go out into society in order to win honor and riches. They did this by attaching themselves to other lords in various parts of the kingdom. Renaut and his brothers accompanied King Yon on his campaign to fight the Saracens, during which they perform heroically. They earn Yons favors. As a reward Yon gives them a plot of land upon which they build their castle at Montauban. Renauts ties with Yons family are strengthened when he agrees to marry Yons sister Clarisse. It is now a case where Renaut and his brothers have essentially risen up in soci ety to secure themselves their ow n lands, and to reestablish their social status in society. Alt hough they are still excluded from the society surrounding the court, they are able to live liv es as fairly powerful barons. This is all contingent on their whereabouts remaining secret to Charles. This period of thei r lives comes to an end when Charles, returning from a pilgrimage at Saint-Jacques of Composte lla discovers their whereabouts. He forces king Yon to honor his oath to him by betraying the four Up to this point, Rena uts banishment from Charles court can be seen as merely a consequence of a political feud between the king and his vassal. There is very little that indicates that Renaut is committed to a spiritual journey of repentance. This is simply a case of a fugitiv e, one who has killed the kings nephew, being pursued by an increasingly vengeful and obsessed Charles. What becomes apparent after this point is that Charles is going to settle for nothing short of the deat h of Renaut and his brothers, as well as that of Maugis. Charles is unable to ha ng Maugis, despite the fact that on many occasions Maugis was in his custody. Charless hatred of Maugis and Renaut becomes stronger and stronger but the shift seems to move towards Maugis as the poem progre sses. It is at the battle of 115

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Vaucouleurs that Renaut, for the first time, is shown to be a character of exceptional religious and spiritual depth. He and his brothers despite overwhelming odds, are able to survive the battle and again must flee until they reach the relative safety of Montauban. The three brothers recognize that it is Renaut who need s to survive, if any of them ar e to. They pledge their lives to his protection: Ils vont baisier Renaut le pi et le talon. Ahi! frere, font il, car nos dones .i. don, Por amor cel seignor ki vint passion. [] Vos aves tel espe ki na mellor el mont. Bien vos pores garir et nos ci remandron. Nert mie grant damage, se nos .iii. i moron, Et vos en ires, Montalban, ens el maistre donjon. (vv. 7290-7304) Unlike Girart, Renaut does not have vast amount s of lands, men, and resources to fight a long and protracted war with Charles. He and his brothers eventually are forced to end their running and withstand a siege of Char less army at Montauban. Renaut has, up to this point, tried to make peace with Charles by offering to leave on pilgrimage if Charles in return, will end his atte mpts at capturing and killing them. By this time Charless thirst for the death of Maugis has made this the only acceptable solution to the feud between Renaut, Maugis and Charles. At this po int in his exile, Renaut has begun to show signs of remorse and regret about what he has done. He recognizes both his desire and his need to leave on pilgrimage. He realizes, however, that simply giving himself up to Charles will not enable this to happen. So, he and his brothers try to withstand a si ege as long as they can against the increasingly obsessed Charles. It is Maugis who, after having captured Char les and brought him inside their chateau in Montauban, decides that it is time that he leav es for good. Fearing Charless wrath, as well as remorse for the pain and suffering he has cause d, Maugis sneaks by Charless army and decides 116

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to live a more eremitic existence. The two heroes have separatedleaving Renaut to deal with Charles. Renaut and his brothers escape from Montauban. Their flight eventually ends up in the city of Trmoigne, where Charles, one last time attacks Renaut. Long before this final battle, probably since Vaucouleurs, the read er has become sympathetic to Re nauts cause, even if he is guilty of having killed Bertolai and defying his lord. His unheeded attempts at trying to make peace with his lord, serves only to attract more sympathy for th e rebel baron. Although Charles succeeds in seeing Renaut leave on a pilgrimage, ironically, it will be after being forced to make peace. Charles is unable to win at Trmoigne b ecause his nobles, seeing the extent to which Charles will go to have his revenge, finally ab andon him by withdrawing their support, making it impossible for him to win the battle. As Jean Subrenat states: Lempereur se donne bon compte une apparence dautorit, voire de clmen ce; il ne fait quordonner ce que Renaut ne cessait de proposer. (225) Charles gains a political victory, even in military defeat. Here, in contrast to Girart, Renaut does not wish to return to society. He ha s by this time committed himself to another path, one that eventually leads to hi s becoming a saint. The period, from the moment they flee the court after Bertolais death, to the end of the battle of Trmoigne, can be viewed as an exile consisting of multiple stages. During this exile, Renaut and his brothers also enjoy a period of social and financial success. Renauts departur e on his pilgrimage is for Charles a political solution to his problem. This only serves to satisf y Renauts wish to undert ake a new path in his life. Return from Exile In the final section of our ch apter, I will look at the way in which the four protagonists each continue their spiritual journey. Once the politi cal issues are resolved (as much as they can be), the poets can now complete the religious itineraries of their heroes. Girarts continued 117

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attempt at finding redemption takes place as a memb er of the warrior aristocracy. Berthe being his wife, accompanies him back to his former position, yet will continue along her own path. I will examine how for both Renaut and Maugis, the period of pilgrimage often used as a punishment for those who needed to repay a debt to society, turns out to be in the case of Renaut, the first step towards sainthood. After his pilgrima ge, Renaut returns to society where he is a member welcomed back into Charless court. Maugis, after his pilgrimage returns to his eremitic life, essentially ending his role in the poem. Fina lly, I will look at the im portance of the return from exile, with regard to how Berthe, Girart, and Renaut pursue their salvation and redemption. In other words I will answer the question: why do Renaut and Berthe become saints, whereas Girart and Maugis end their days differently? The exile of Girart and Bert he concludes with the couple, albeit through trickery and deceit, being allowed to take possession of thei r lands. Believing Girart to be long dead, Charles sees no harm in hypocritically expressing his regret at no longer having him at his court. It is his certainty that allows the king to accept Elisse nts request to renounce hi s anger towards Girart: De Girart, de cel conte qui fu faidis, Ben avez tuit aui quil est fenis. Car li pardonez tuit qui rien forfis; Plus soau len sera pares. (vv. 7948-7951) Once Charles realizes he has been duped, this sets the stage for the conflict to continue until its final resolution eight years later. The way that Gi rart resumes his place, only leads to renewed anger and plots, on the parts of Charles, to kill Girart. It has been suggested by Pierre Le Gentil, among others, that Girarts attitude towards this new period of conflict with Charles, lacks the same conviction that it had during the preexile wars. In fact, Girart does not attempt whol eheartedly to make peace with Charles until after the murder of his son. Renaut is more sincere in his efforts to make peace with his king. The 118

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important difference between Renauts attempts a nd Girarts is that Rena ut is not seeking to regain his position in society, with all of its accompanying benefits and prestige. Renauts only desire is to be able to leave on a pilgrimage. A pilgrimage indicates th e crossing of a frontier, making the pilgrim a stranger in lands that were often very hostile a nd dangerous. It was not uncommon for pilgrims to not retu rn from their journey. In the Christian world of the twelfth century, there were three main reasons that one would undertak e a pilgrimage. A common reason is to seek a cure, in the form of a miracle, for a terminal illness or severe affliction. Many pilgrims viewed this undertaking as an act expr essing ones piety; often by journeying to the sites of veneration of a particular saint. A third reason, the one that is most relevant to this discussion, is the need to do penance for ones sins. This type of pilgrimage would either be imposed on the penitent as a punishment, or pe rformed as a type of self-punishment. The conclusion of the peace at Trmoigne results in Renauts departure on his pilgrimage. It is interesting to note that Girart, whom critics have thought of as having undergone a full conversion, does not himself l eave on a pilgrimage. At the batt le of Vaubeton, Charles states that the loser of the battle would have to depa rt on a pilgrimage. Give n the context in which Charles sets the conditions, there is little doubt that he ha s no interest in Girart s salvation. He is simply looking for a logical and expedient political solution to the situation: La nuiz lo rest vengude e jors failliz, E li celz est teners e bruneziz. Dex lor mostra miracles qui fu chastiz: Flamme lor ciet del ciel ques entrubriz, Quel gonfanons Girart est toz bruiz, E li Carlon, qui fu ab aur escriz. Tot en tranblent les cars as plus ardiz, E terre soz lor piez des la raz. Ce dist li uns a lautre: Segles feniz. Dunc fu Girarz li cons espaveriz E Carles entres seus fort esmariz. Dunc sesloignent des autres e seupartiz; Puis ni fu cols menbraz, nautres deriz. ( vv. 2880-2892) 119

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It is this event that will lead Girarts barons to suggest that the following peace be made: Mais pos Dex nos ou a mis en corage, Quin a fait demonstrance a son barnage, E Carles quert tamor per sos message, Ne responden orguel, mal ne oltrage. Girarz fu sos om liges, queu vi lomage, Quen pres de lui en feu son eritage [E] en recut amor e segnorage; Si sen retor li cons en son omage, El reis li rende tot son eritage, Si com fu devisat au marriage. (vv. 3048-3057) This would be an in ideal plac e for the epic poem to conclude. Of course, it is far from its final verse. It seems reasonable to interpret Gods intervention as a way of keeping the Christian armies from completely annihilating one another. This scene is important, however, for another reason. Neither Charles nor Girart has to leave on a pilgrimage. Such an occurrence would have prevented Girarts more important exile in the forest of Ardennes from taking place. Girarts greatness is contingent upon first re solving the political dispute. On ly that will force Girart to make the final commitment to his salvation. It wi ll not be until after the battle of Vaubeton that Girart will be forced to begin his exile. At th e end of the battle of Vaubeton, Girarts military strength is still equal to Charless. He is filled with rancor and a desire to revenge the death of his father and uncle who were both killed as a resu lt of the battle. His pride pushes him to ignore the advice of his councilors. Only his promise to his uncle Odilon keeps him from renewing the hostilities. In contrast to this episode, the one which sees the first peace concluded between Charles and Renaut comes at a point much further on in the narrative. The overwhelming withdrawal of support by almost of all Charles best knights; including Roland and the twelve Peers of France, is a stern rebuke of Charless indefatigable and destructive obsession. Even at this moment, 120

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however, Charles retains his pride and honor. For he does not really lo se the battle, he is merely forced to make peace with Renaut: Li rois ala encontre qui auques ere sol, Et dit a ses barons: Vos me tenes por fol Qui me voleis pais fa[i]re trestot oltre mon vol. [Ja h ja] tant Renaut, par lo cors de saint Pol, Nel porroie veoir en face ne an col. Outre meir sen ira [vestus sol] dun laniol, Tout nu pies [et en langes] tranent son tijol. (vv. 15144-15152) His sanction is to not be able to see either Renaut or Ma ugis dead. The conditions of the peace are not without political significance. Renauts three brothers will be able to go back to their lands. Richard de Normandie, so moved by the honorable and Christian way in which he was treated while Renauts prisoner, encourages Charles to ob serve his duty, by watching over Renauts brothers and his wife in Renauts abse nce. The more important result is that this initiates Renauts journey towards his redemption. This is exactly what Renaut had hoped for: Dame, ce dist lid us, vos me sambles lissarde. Je men irai par tans, [leure venire] me tarde Ci remanront mi frere qui de vos penront garde. (vv. 15216-15218) In Girart de Roussillon and in Renaut de Montauban there are four characters, who in the end, and to varying degrees, have removed themselves from the social milieu in which they belong. All of them distance themselves from th e political and social affaires of the kingdom. They all accept, to some degree, a lifestyle marked by poverty, humility, and hardship. In the end, only two of them are judged by God to be wo rthy of sainthood: Renaut and Berthe. Girart leads a very pious and prayerful life following hi s withdrawal form the world. Maugis during the siege of Montauban leaves. He plays an important role in the siege of Trmoigne. He accompanies Renaut on his pilgrimage. He chooses not to return to Trmoigne with Renaut. He decides to return instead to his isolated eremitic life to earn his redemption. These four characters 121

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represent very different perspectives on how those of the twelfth century aristocratic society, sought to reconcile their roles and actions in this world, with their Christian world view. The time following Girarts return from his twenty-two year exile, cannot be characterized by a sincere effort to apply the lessons of humility and obedience he learned while in the first part of his exile. His pride is still very much in evidence. Even after the seven year truce between Girart and Charles, the count still lets show his bellicose nature and his hubris: E qui monges devent, molt est malvaz. Eu aim molt chevaliers e ai amaz, E fe(a)rai quant viu(e)rail or volentaz, E donrai volunteers, car ai assaz. Trop me sui longement humiliaz; Nen ert mes ainemis per mei preiaz; Ains comfundrai glotons oltrecuidaz! (vv. 9126-9132) These words arouse fear in the baron Guy de Ri snel. Not wanting to se e the hostilities begin anew, Risnel lures Girarts fi ve year old son into the ga rden where he kills him: Fai, cons, de mei justice a ton plazer; Car melz en vuel murir, pendre u arder, Que face ceste gerre mais remover. (vv. 9164-9166) After learning of the death of their son, Berthe pl eads with Girart one last time to put aside his hatred and his anger and to make peace with his king: Girard, dist la contesse, charz amis doz, Por Deu, laissaz estar tot cest coroz. Tant as perduz amis rix e neboz, Quanc tant nen perdet om ne de si proz. Eu pregerai a Deu quauge ma voz, Que te donst paz del rei e de seu toz. (vv. 9206-9211) After his return from exile, Girart is a more doc ile and patient man; but one who is still capable of relapsing into his former sinful ways. The di scovery of an abandoned Saracen treasure in the old arenas of Autun, provides an opportunity fo r Girart, Berthe and E lissent to show their 122

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generosity. Girart rewards all of those noble warriors who fought for him. He gives half of the treasure to Charles as a gesture of reconciliation. Only after anot her five hundred verses, during which a seven year truce is in effect, will the definitive peace with Charles be concluded. During this part of the poem, Girart is still not able to completely give himself over to his penance. He does, with his generosity, try to expiate his sins. In order for Girart to be able to withdraw from the world he must first settle various matters. He makes sure that his relations are pr ovided for. He also sees Aupas and Fouque married. He offers money to the church. Most importantly, Girart renounces his former way of life. Unfortunately, it takes the murder of his s on for Girart to finally realize that he can no longer continue his bellicose and rebellious ways His desire for peace sets him at odds with the next generation of knights. This marks the psyc hological beginning of Girarts separation from other members of his class. Girart plays a relatively passi ve role in bringing about th e changes that lead to his withdrawal from society. Throughout the whole of the poem, solutions are found and enacted by several other characters. Many of the attempts to broker the peace come from the queen Elissent; with the support of Berthe and some of Girarts vassals. Elissents role is vital, not only in settling affairs between Charles a nd Girart, but also those concer ning many of Girarts relations. The final peace is only made through the interv ention of the pope. The pope does not need to appease Girart and Charles for they are ready fo r peace. It is the knights who, not wanting to end the conflict, make it difficult for Girart and Charles to do so. The popes message during his long speech is cl ear: Breu sermon vos ferai de veritat./ Dirai vos que Deus fait en magestat:/ Orguel be sse e cha[r] ten humilitat. (vv. 9431-9433) This passage outlines almost all of the causes and cons equences of those disastrous wars. In these 123

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verses are contained echoes of ideas that formed the basis of the Peace of God movement. Though it began roughly one hundred y ears prior to the writing of Girart de Roussillon it was designed to reduce the costly and violent wars which were extremely disruptive to Christian society: Mais iste gerre lait mis en error: Gerrer e male genz e robeor Les unt arses a fuc e a calor, Quen sunt li monge sanz e li prior E lordres Deu tornas a desonor, E paubre genz at mise en grant dolor, E de toz crestianz aucis la flor, Dunt sunt tornat li loc ric en sotror E li publes menuz en crid e plor. (vv. 9385-9393) Instead of these words being directed solely at Girart; and for his benefit, the popes plea for a change in the attitudes and actions causing these wars, is now directed at the younger generation of knights. The popes words underline a ph ilosophy that aims to cr eate a social ideal. Ernst-Dieter Hehl points out that one of the results of this re form was that war and the Christian life came together. Not every type of fighting was inadmissible. The Crusades were an accepted activity for a Christian warrior. The Peace of God m ovement more clearly defines the role of the king, the Church, and the warriors: At the same time, however, the duty of th e warrior to the socio-political unit in which he lived was stressed ever more strongly. Not only the church, but also kings, as heads of such units, took advantage of this integration of warlike activity into a Christian order and way of life. The essence of this integration was that the warrior must pursue not his own interests but those of his fellow men. The ideal justification of his struggle was no longer the old aristocratic striving to increase his own fame and self-esteem, but love of his neighbour, that fundamental Christian virtue through which he expressed his love of God. (ErnstDieter Hehl, The New Cambridge Medieval History IV, Part I 185-186) Seen in the context of the Peace of God movement, Girart is the aristocratic warrior trying to reconcile his role, bot h as a feudal vassal and a lord, with that of trying to be a Christian. Admitting his sins of hatred and a nger towards his feudal lord, and suffering the 124

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punishment of his exile, were only steps taken by Girart to regain his land s and titles. These steps were essential for Girart. He needed, first of all, to return to society so that he might become the exemplary Christian warrior. Only after the conc lusion of the peace with Charles, can Girart remove himself from society. By this time, Girart has lost both of his sons. His wife has given herself over to doing Gods work. These two facts c ontribute significantly to Girarts decision to no longer remain a part of the feudal society. I agree with Le Gentils stat ement that the poet had to bri ng about a spiritual victory to follow the political conclusion: La chanson nest cependant pas termine. Pour tre jusquau bout logique avec lui-mme, le pote ne pouvait, en effet, se contenter de raffirmer les principes dune morale purement politique et sociale. Il devait aussi donner au dnouement de la geste une large porte spirituelle. (65) What prevents Girart from ever reaching sainthood, is the fact that he never truly adopts the life of one who must seek out his salvation of his own accord. Girart has to always be led, prodded, made to suffer, in order for him to finally arrive at redemption. Girart is told that he is being punished by God and for which sins in particul ar. First it is the hermit in the forest who compares Girart to Satan. It is Berthe, late r on in their exile, who points out to Girart that he s hould suffer from seeing the pain of the widows and orphans of the wards he has caused: Que ne paraula melz nus predicaire: Seiner, laise lo dol, si ten esclaire. Toz tens fus orgueillous e gerreaire, Bataillers e engres de ton afaire; E as plus omes morz non saz retraire, E lo[s] ris paubresiz e tout lor aire. Er en prent Deus justice, lo dreiz jujaire. Menbre tei del saint ome del bois de caire (vv. 7588-7595) Even towards the end of the poem, Girart su ffers his cruelest puni shment, having his son murdered as a result of Girarts renewed hubris. There are, however, other sins, some of them 125

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cardinal, which Girart commits and are only me ntioned indirectly. Yet these sins weigh as heavily, if not more so, on his conscience than do his transgressions related to his failures as a feudal vassal. At no point does Girart neither reco gnize nor repent his acti ons after the battle on the plains of Vaucouleurs. This sin is neither mentioned nor criticized by either the hermit in exile, Berthe, the pope, or anyone. The narrator only mentions the fact that because of this Girart will lose the war against Charles. The crimes to which I am referring, are the mu rder of prisoners taken in battle and of clergymen. Girart continues this massacring of enemies, as well as desecrating and pillaging churches, all the way to Bayeux: Non lait bon chevaler tro a Baiol, Ne tensar en moster ne soz arvol, Teste ni encenser, croiz ne orcol; Tot done a chevalers quan que lai ol. Pois les mest de la gerre en tal tribol, Non pout ome baillar saive ni fol, Non laucie o nel pende o ne lafol. (vv. 6203-6209) Not all scholars attach much importance to Gira rts actions. Pierre Le Gentil, for example, underestimates the gravity of thes e sins: Quoi dtonnant si, pour finir, il pousse lgarement et la dmesure jusqu limpit et au sacrilge, lorsque, par exemple, il incendie les glises o ses ennemis cherchent refuge? (60) In a society which was seeking ways to cure excessive and unjust violence, these heinous crimes must have seemed shocking4. Persons and property of the clergy were sacrosanct. The killi ng of those who sought refuge a nd were not engaged in combat was equal to murder. During the eleventh and tw elfth centuries, many Chri stian thinkers, offered views on issues such as just war and the morality of killing. Many of these views were influenced by the writings of Saint Augustin ( 354-430). He stressed that sins should be seen no 4 For an indepth study of the reform movement and the papacys role in it form 122 to 1128, I refer you to the study of I. S. Robinson, in the Cambridge Medieval History fourth volume, Part II, pages 317-383. 126

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longer as merely deeds but also in relation to the will and mentality of the sinner. In his work on ethics, Scito Teipsum, seu Ethica Peter Abelard (1079-1142) devel ops his ideas on the concept of intentionalism. He writes that moral rightness or wrongness is a function of the intention of the agent. Girarts sins, after th e battle at Vaucouleurs, fall we ll beyond the realm of just killing and of just war. It is both these acts in additi on to Girarts unconcern for the consequences of these acts, which are what separate Girart from Berthe and Renaut. That Girarts wife Berthe, and not he, shoul d become a saint is not surprising. She is loyal to Girart. This is even more impressive when considering that she shared a difficult experience with Girart; even t hough she herself did not merit such a punishment. Not only does she not leave Girart, she inspires, encourages, motivates, even chides her husband. She prays from her Psalter for Girarts redemption. It seems that during the beginning stages of the exile, Berthe is probably more concerned for Girarts salvation than he is. Unlike her husband, Berthe never complains about her unwarranted punishment. She recognizes her sins and accepts her punishment. After her return from exile, she increasingly devotes herself to the salvation of her soul. By the end of the poem, she has given herself, body and soul, to her commitment to earning Gods forgiveness: Quant la contesse vait a Verselai, La paubre gent del ren por li sI trai, Por la grant caritat e bien que fai, Que Dex gart son segnor lai u sen vai. E cel, qui bien conoist son cor verai, Li monstret per samblant que ne sesmai Damar lui e server, quar molt li plai. (vv. 9528-9534) Being the wife of a powerful feudal lord obliges Be rthe to play an active role in the running of her household. This worldly task is insignifican t compared to her othe r vocation. It was not unusual for a lay nobleman or woman to seek ou t a more religious life without necessarily 127

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entering into a coenobium. Berthe is not as solitary as are the two hermits she encounters at the beginning of her exile. She lives, even after her return from exile, in semi isolation from her familial duties. The second way that Girart and Berthe di ffer with regard to how they view their salvation, is the way each one shows their devoti on to God. Girart uses really only material means to show his desire to redeem himsel f by having churches built, paying for monks and priors to attend them, and having relics brought to them: Quant la gerre finet, au main viaire, / Girarz en fez mosters ne sai cans faire, / En quel mes assaz monges a saintuaire. (vv. 31943196) In the Epilogue is a list of all that Gira rt did before his death: bu ild monasteries, churches, abbeys. He patronized them with a considerab le amount of money. The narrator tells us that Girart did penance in the monastery that he himself had built. In this way, he spent the remainder of his days in prayer and contemplation in the hope of receiving eternal salvation: Si G. fetz gran mal tot en prumier El sesmendet molt be tot en derier Que fetz gran penedensa en un mostier Quel meteis fets bastir molt bo e chier E mes i .c. donselas e i fetz mongier Nulha re no fan alres mas dieu preier (Epilogue vv. 23-28) Berthe chooses the path of service to fellow Christians. After the murder of her son, Berthe begins construction on the abbey of Vzelay. In a remarkable show of devotion, she turns this tragedy into a chance to serve God: Ne pot ses curs suffrir ne sostener; Vuelge u non, laven de dol cader. E li cons len levet, fait la seder: Donne, ne deiz is dol mais mentever. -Segner, quant Deus non vol no fil sofrer, Nos fazam, se lui plaist, de lui nostre er. Melz val od lui donar qua nos tener. (vv. 9181-9187) 128

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Her goodness becomes widely known attracting all of the poor, the weak, and the suffering to Vzelay in the hope of receiving some of Bert hes charity. These poor and wretched are not disappointed. They see Berthe as Gods intermedia ry whose one desire is to serve Him: Quant ot dat caritat gent paiberine, / Pan e char e dene rs, vin e ferine, / Si s en vai as ovres dovre caucine. (vv. 9558-9560) In the final analysis, Girarts effort to re deem his soul and find salvation is rewarded. Only Berthe will be granted sainthood. Le Gentil writes: Berthe en revanche avait droit aux plus exceptionnelles faveurs: si donc, au terme dune geste belliqueuse et brutale, les victoires que lhomme est appel remporter sur lui-mme, devaient tre ex altes, ce ne pouvait tre quen elle et par elle. (65) In the same way that Berthe led a life of piety, humility, and of service to God, Renaut shares a similar fate. Renauts path to sainthood and salvation w ill first lead him on a pilgrimage. While it was the condition for the end of his war w ith Charles, Renaut accepts his punishment as a means of doing penance for his sins against so ciety. Renaut chooses to seek out Gods grace, fighting the pagans in defense of Christians in th e Holy Land. In this Renaut performs one of his primary functions as a member of the Christia n warrior aristocracy. Af ter returning from his pilgrimage, Renauts next duty is to restore the honor and reputa tion to his family. There is an episode during which Renauts sons, Yonet and Aym onet, defeat two of th e sons of the traitor Fouques de Morion -Constant and Rohart. This episode of justic e by trial ultimately yields the judgement that the Aymonides were finally able to exact their revenge on th e family of traitors who, for generations, had murdered and ruined th e lives of many of the Aymonides. After his debt to society is paid, and th e honor and reputation of his family is restored, Renaut now turns to the final stage of his search for salvation. Knowing that his sons are in a good position in society, and also having lost his wife Clarisse, Renaut departs for Cologne. Renaut will not end 129

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130 his days quietly as a hermit (in the way that hi s cousin Maugis does), living a life of extreme asceticism and prayer. Like Berthe, his salvatio n will come by doing Gods work in society. But his will not be a peaceful end. He is murdered by jealous co-workers while helping to build the Cathedral. Renaut dies a martyr while performi ng penance, and serving God, as well as others. William Calin points out the significance of this fact: Now we see why he was not allowed to perish in the Ardennes and again at Vaucouleurs and Montauban, why Maugis and Bayard appeared so often to aid him at a crucial moment it was ordained that his great strength and fine heart should be used ultimately in the service of Christ and not against him, this alone being sufficient to remit all previous sins. ( The Old French Epic of Revolt, 96) Both Renaut and Girart, as members of the Christian warrior aristocracy, must be judged within the context of their dutie s and responsibilities to society. They are powerful lords as well as vassals to the king. They come from a class whose function is to safeguard Christendom from the pagan threat and maintain pe ace and justice in the society. That is why much of their quest for salvation includes penance for faults and cr imes related to their failure to uphold their vassalic oath. It is necessary that their place in society, their familys hon or, and their lands and titles, all be restored to the level due them before any personal penance can be performed. William Calin writes: The secular honor of the warri or class is never to be sacrificed for purely religious considerations.(93) No such consideration need be given to Be rthe. Hers is a purely religious journey. She has no debt to repay to society. She is the quintessential example of what lay monasticism is at its best.

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CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSION The original idea, to group these poems togeth er in the same studies, was born out of my interest in French and European history. I chose these particular poems for various reasons. First of all, I wanted poems that treated the fundament al socio-political and religious isssues, of the historical period in which they were compose d. I was less concerned with whether or not the poems were of outstanding aesthetic value. Th is is not to say that the poems from the Renaissance were not clearly superior in their erudition, richne ss, and poetic style. I look at these poems, as having been created for two different types of audiences, yet sharing a similar function. In the medieval epic poems, the creations of the poets, drew on a base storyline predating the year in which the poem was written. The trouvres altered these stories to suit their audiences. They were s ongs, primarily sung, as a source of entertainment, at either the royal court, or the entertainment halls of th e wealthier and more pow erful members of the aristocracy. They are loosely based on the lives of what where even then, well-known figures from the Merovingian and Carolingian periods. Any releva nce, intended or not, these poems had to the contemporary political and religious issues of their day, was less transparent. The Renaissance poets had as their aim, to s tir into action, or seve rely criticize, the prominent political and religious leaders of the societ y in which they were living. Direct, and unreserved, these poets hoped that their verse would bring about change in their world. In the first chapter of this di ssertation, I focused on the ideal king, such as he is described in the Chanson de Roland the Couronnement de Louis the Discours and the Tragiques The second chapter was dedicated to the study of the weak or flawed king as he is perceived by medieval poets in the Couronnement de Louis Girart de Roussillon Renaut de Montauban 131

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Garin le Lorrain, the Discours and the Tragiques Finally, the third chapter represented an analysis of the themes of politic al and spiritual exiles. I have st udied the scenes of banishments, and of pilgrimages, and compared the charac ters of Renaut, Maugis, Girart, and Berthe. What have we learned about these different king figures? Charlemagne represents the ideal leader, in both the Chanson de Roland and the Couronnement de Louis His son Louis, who is still young when his father dies, re presents one of the types of fl awed kings Aubign describes in his work. Louis represents the young, or child king, absolutely unable to rule over his kingdom without the help of Guillaume, his faithful baron. Guillaume can be viewed as the spiritual successor of Charlemagne, even though Louis is s upposed to be anointed, and therefore chosen by God. Charles Martel in Girart de Roussillon and Charlemagne in Renaut de Montauban represent the flaw ed king, full of dmesure who never controls himself. He thinks about his own gain before the affairs of the kingdom. Finally, we have learned that even though Renaud committed a sin when he killed Bertolai, Charless nephew, he was really penitent for his crime, and in that sense he can be compared to Berthe. Both of them, even though Berthe has ne ver committed a crime, finish their lives doing Gods work and salvaging their souls. The ideal king in these poems, is not only the instrument of God, but works to create Gods kingdom on earth. The first, indispen sable quality of the ideal king, is that he must live a life of Christian virtue. Of the two of the Renaissance po ets, only Aubign criticizes, and quite severely, the contemporarily kings. His poem, heavily influenced by his religious convictions, leaves the reader with no image of a earthly ideal ruler. He places all kings, within the context of his visions of biblical history. In the final analysis, all Christians, kings, as well, are subjects of the divine ruler. 132

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Ronsard, too, stresses the importance of Christian virtue. In the first two Discours addressed to Catherine de Medicis, there is both a humanist, and biblical element to his instruction. His focus here is more on the presen t crisis. The ideal ruler is one who must bring about an end to the political tr oubles affecting France. Having acc omplished this, the ideal ruler would be one, who, through personal and politica l abilities, would solidify the monarchys positions vis--vis other powerful rival houses, pr otect the Gallican Church, and defend France from foreign threats. The Discours written to the young Charles IX, with regard to its content and tone, resembles the first scene of the Couronnement de Louis: a father instructing the future king, on all that is needed for him to rule well. Ronsard uses the great ki ngs of Frances past as models for the ideal. They are also witnesses and judges to the way which French rulers lead their subjects. These legendary historical and literary figures, become in the medieval poems, much more than references. The epic poem, in wh ich they are characters, celebrates the glorious period of Charlemagnes reign. In the Chanson de Roland Charlemagne is a virtual demi-god. This is evidenced by his strong connection to God, through the constant intercessions of the archangel Gabriel. He is an in spiration to a Christendom beginning to be caught up in the fervor of the first Crusade. The Charlemagne in Couronnement de Louis, is a much less profound literary character. Most of the poem is about what happens after th e coronation. Yet the co ronation scene serves a dual purpose, that of reinforci ng the legitimacy of the idea of the hereditarian monarchy. This, coupled with the efforts of Suger, in particular to link the Capetians to the Carolingians, gives weight to the idea that this poe m was written to be a propagandist ic tool for the Capetians. In the two medieval poems, the king is the id eal; both through his acti ons and his council. He is, among other things, pious, valorous, and just. There is, however, more of an emphasis 133

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placed on the king as the defender of Christendo m than on his exemplary Christian life. The Couronnement de Louis offers a more detailed view of how an ideal king rules the subjects of his kingdom. In the Chanson de Roland the loyalty, and admiration, that Charlemagnes subjects show to him, with the exception of Ganelon, is complete. When Charlemagne must prepare his son for the task ahead, nothing is presumed. Th is is why there has to be such a detailed description of all the duties a nd responsibilities of being kin g. Louis represents all French monarchs, who, though never able to be Charlema gne, are able to benefit from his example and wisdom. Could this be read as a tutelage for the young Louis VII? This study of the ideal king, offers an idea, if only partial, of the relationship between literature and history. It is much easier, in the case of Discours to pinpoint the historical events, which prompted Ronsard to write his polemical poems. In his capacity as court poet, Ronsard responds to a specific threat to th e political and religious unity of France the Protestants. It is a considerably more daunting task, to establish such a cause and effect relationship, when looking at the Chanson de Roland and the Couronnement de Louis These three poems, offer a glimpse at the cha llenges facing the French kings at various times of crises. Only Aubigns poems, expand the scope of the question to universal proportions. The ideal Christ ian French king, in the Tragiques can no longer be associated with the Catholic Church. The kings in the other thr ee poems, are the rulers of the secular world, of which the pope is the spiritual and religious head. This is a far from a complete perspective. Much work remains to be done, in order to build a comprehensive picture of the French king, as the most Christian king, such as they are depicted in all of French literature. It would be problematic, to equate the id eal king, with the absolute monarch. The progressive struggle of French ki ngs, to consolidate royal power, while expanding their sphere of 134

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influence, reached its zenith under the Bourbon ki ng Louis XIV. How, if at all, can we follow this gradual, centuries-long, pro cess through the representation of the king in Fren ch literature? This study neglects over three hundred year s of literature, between the writing of Renaut de Montauban and the Discours I chose to focus on two periods in French history during which poetry, as opposed to other genr es, was the dominant mode of e xpression. Secondly, I felt that the two periods were marked by significant and sweeping politico-religious and social changes. It is for that reason, that any fu rther studies of the ideal king in these two periods, should include a more complete account of the political theory that provided the framework for these poems. Another logical way to expand this study, would be to look at all of the poems, from the same millenarian perspective that Aubign gives us in his Tragiques This would shed some light on the similarities between Tragiques and the other three poems, with regard to their teleological role in a biblical in terpretation of history. The depiction of the flawed king in French poetr y is much more prevalent than that of the ideal king. With the exception of Chanson de Roland and Discours all of the poems have at least one literary figure depicting a weak king. There are different ways that a king can be flawed. There are those, su ch as Charles Martel in Girart de Roussillon and Charles in Renaut de Montauban, who possess considerable strength is some areas: military prowess, and courage. They are successful in so far as they defend Christendom from the pagans, or Saracens. They also, with the notable exception of certain rebel barons, maintain a strong unifying presence within the kingdom. Their weakne ss, however, lies in their ex cesses: hubris, and their passion, beyond limits of self-possession and reason, to bring their bte noire to justice. Henri de Navarre, in Tragiques is the king whom Aubign follows for a time. He possesses some positive attributes: skilled politicia n and able military leader. Henris flaws begin 135

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to manifest themselves in his political agenda. He is unable to extricate himself from the numerous, misguided, and in some cases, just ev il influences surrounding him during his rise to the throne. The first issue over which they disagree is Henris shift toward the moderate position of the politiques, those who believe that a policy of tole rance is essential. The more dramatic break comes after Henris apostasy. For Aubign, Henri had betrayed the Protestant cause. Aubigns more venomous portrayal of the flawe d, or weak, king is dire cted at the last of the Valois rulers beginning with Catherine de Medici. The less dangerous rulers of the Valois family are described as inept, corrupt, and effeminate. The worst are murderous demons. Children (Charles IX), women (Catherine de Medici), and those influenced by selfish and corrupt councilors (Ita lians at court), are three categorie s of people who should never rule. Aubign looks on the tyrants of his days as being the most recent in a long biblical history of rulers sent by God to punish His children. Th ese rulers, under the in fluence of Satan, turn away from a life of piety and devotion to God. On some points, he and Ronsard agree: the weak king does not fear God and is not concerned with the salvation of his own soul. Such kings are inevitably going to fail as political rulers. Th is last point has a different, almost opposite, meaning for each of the poets. For Aubign, Fr ance would be ruled by a tyrant, one who is influenced by foreign powers, who persecutes Protes tants, and who is in league with the Church in Rome. Ronsard fears that a w eak king, or queen, would be unable to guide France out of the traitorous waters under which she is in dange r of being submerged. Ronsard knows that only a strong Valois monarchy can achieve this. Religious conflict is not the only danger to the Valois dynasty, according to Ronsard. If a ruler is not properly educated in the art of war, and political administration, France risks losing the glory and identity that generations of rulers have built up. Weak rulers will not be able to 136

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withstand various other pressures: challenges to the Valoiss throne from within France, threats from foreign powers, and an ever present attempt, on the part of the Roman Catholic Church, to bring the Gallican Church more firmly under its control. The literary Pepin, sons of Charles Martel, is in Garin le Lorrain, both a boy king and an adult ruler. His flaws as an adu lt king, manifest themselves as a lack of personal qualities; such as a dominating physical force, a tendency to be opportunistic, and a force of character to bring about an end to the ceaseless wars between the Bordelais and the Lorrainers. I have divided this chapter into two categorie s: the adult and the young king. In writing this section on the young king, I focus on Pepin in Garin le Lorrain and Louis in Couronnement de Louis. I show that the way in which an adult king deals with problems is different than the way the young king does. I also point ou t that the young kings must re ly on older barons to make decisions for them and to enforce them. Such a dependency puts the young kings in a very weak position. It is just this vulnerabil ity, which the poets make use of to establish the initial dramatic effect of the poem. The message sent is that above all the rule of the legitimate heir to the throne, should never be challenged. It is the duty of th e strongest, and bravest, vassals to protect the young ruler. More importantly, the institution of ki ngship should never be threatened, either by usurpers, or rebel barons. This is vital to the stability of the kingdom. The ideological message is that France needs a strong kingship one that is respected by all. This chapter offers a different way of unders tanding the importance of the literary king figure, even though he is flawed, to the politicoreligious ideology put forth in the text. This ideology is a shaping force of medieval epic poetry. Many of the contemporaries who read, or heard, these chansons de geste did not consider the weak king to be a divisive element in society.Some times ridiculed, some times dismissed all together, the weak king remained a 137

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literary creation that served a dual and perhaps contradictory purpose: st rengthening the position of the institution of kingship, while at the same time giving a sympathetic and flattering image of the aristocracy. One of the difficulties in approaching a study this way (young and adult kings), is that many of the problems they face do overlap. It could be argued, that Pepin, and Louis, do indeed represent the dangers of a count ry being ruled by such a young king. In that case, these two poems, could be read as a statement on the nece ssity of a quasiindepe ndent aristocracy. This may be more applicable to the Couronnement de Louis During the entire poem, Louis is a young and weak king. The number of years that pass in the narrative are at least eight putting Louis at about twenty years old by the poems end. He is no better a king than he was at his coronation. It is important to bear in mind, th at this poem is just one of ma ny in the Guillaume Cycle. In Aliscans, and Charroi de Nmes Louis, still as flaw ed, is now an adult. In the case of Pepin, his seven or so years under the tutelage of Isidor e le Gris and Hardr de Les, does not seem to end in disaster at l east as far as Pepin is co ncerned. If anything, this period underscores the advantage the Bordelais sei zed from the Lorrainers. They are able to influence the young king, into making deci sions that weakened their rival. With regard to the adult kings, more attention could be given to the king as mediator between the earthly kingdom and Go d. In all of the medieval epic poems, there is the idea that the king, by virtue of being the me diator is ultimately more importa nt than his subjects. Aubign places the king in his role as mediator but only w ith the assent of his subjects. This difference indicates that the role political theory played in shaping the id eal kingship had changed in the three hundred years betw een the two periods. 138

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In writing this chapter, it became clear, that the whole question of what an ideal king is, versus a weak one, can be approached through a study of the interactions of the kings with councilors. This could range from the full court of barons presen t at Ganelons trial, to the numerous scenes in which the king is in council with one or two indivi duals. One question to consider is how the number of indi viduals involved in these scenes alters the way the king reacts. Very often, it is while in indi vidual council that the kings are shown to be at their weakest. Analyzing the council scenes would also provid e an opportunity to include a study of certain female characters. Berthe and Elissent in Girart de Roussillon and Blanchefleur in Garin le Lorrain offer a rich opportunity to view the impor tant and decisive way in which these women shape the narrative. This leads us to question the wisdom of Aubigns position that women should never rule. In the study on exile, I limited my analysis to two epic poems : Girart de Roussillon, and Renaut de Montauban. In both of these poems, ther e is a religious, as well as a political, aspect associated with the banishment of fo ur characters: Renaut and Maugis, in Renaut de Montauban and Girart and Berthe in Girart de Roussillon These two poems are part of a group that is called the epic poems of revolt. The ba nishment from society, whether as pilgrimage, exile (imposed or self ), or simply as a fugitive, is a form of political punishment. In Girart de Roussillon the king, Charles, seeks to force Girart into admitting his guilt, and to come and kneel before him in order to swear homage. By performing this act, Girart will be recognizing that his lands are not a llods, and that he owes service and fealty to Charles. Girart comes from a very strong, quasi -independent principality. He is the most redoubtable and ferocious of Charless vassals. The extent of his skill and bravery can only be matched by his hubris Only after several military defeats does Girart take refuge in the forest of Ardennes. The 139

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pilgrimage brings about a marginal change in his attitude. While re nouncing his hatred of Charles, as well as the use of arms, he does be gin to understand that, only by doing true penance, will he earn his true salvation. The exile in the forest, only introduces th e idea of Girarts eventual salvation. The complete spiritual transformation comes only afte r Girart makes peace with Charles. I viewed this first twenty-two year exile as having mostly socio-political implications. His exclusion from his lands, and his social milieu, are the two mo st immediate sanctions. After a long period of social debasement, during which Girart is forced to do manual labor, he returns to society. It will be several more years before Girart is at peace with his king. In contrast to Girart, Renaut is a young, newly knighted member of Charless court. He is not himself the head of a powerful family. His flight from Charless thirst for justice comes about rather abruptly. He is guilty of having killed the kings nephew Bertolai. He doe s not have men and resources with which to engage in pitched battles. He and his three brothers are forced to run as fugitives, taking refuge in the forest of Ardennes. Renaut, after a period of several years, does recognize his sins and wishes to make peace with Charles. So long as Charles wishes only to hang Renaut, a peace will not be concluded. Only when Charles is forced to does he allow Renaut to repay his debts by leaving on a pilgrimage after which he, like Gira rt, is able to regain his place in society. A comparison of Girarts and Renauts experi ences, yields some interesting differences. The first is that Renaut ends his days as a saint, whereas Girart, although securing his own salvation through penance, gener ous financial donations, and prayer, is never elevated to the same status. Secondly, Girart ne ver shows complete remorse for the serious crimes he commits against the members of the clergy, as well as Ch urchs property. The third difference, is that Renaut voluntarily leaves on a pilgrimage de monstrating a sense of understanding, about what 140

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he must do to redeem himself. This self-awareness is something Girart does not possess. Is it not significant that Girart does not leave on a pilgrimage either imposed upon him as a political punishment, or self imposed as a spiritual necessity? Compared to Renaut and Girart, Berthe undertakes a life of tr ue devotion, and piety, in the service of God. There is nothing political about he r journey. This is fitting, since she commits no sins, or political transgre ssions. She is only guilty by association with Girart. These three characters show us the increased importance given to the religious aspect of the lives of the aristocracy. I believe this to be meant as an example of the gradual linking of the Christian ethic with the warrior aristocracy. There is little doubt, that while Girart and Re nauts crimes are severe, the reader is, nonetheless, inclined to view them as being interesting and praiseworthy. The desire to not judge the protagonist harshly, is influen ced by the belief that God intervened on their behalf: Renaut, at the battle of Vaucouleurs, and Gi rart at the battle of Vaubeton. The theme of divine intervention, and its role in furthering the sp iritual journey of Berthe and th e two rebel barons, would be a useful addition to this study. In what way should we interpret the spiritua l journey of Maugis? He remains, throughout the poem, an outsider, albeit an influential one, w ith regard to the nature of his quest within the political and religious parameters of society. Is his preference for the eremitic life simply a religious and spiritual one? Th e relationship of Maugis and Ch arles gives the poem a comedic element. Maugiss character does not fit the ty pical mold of the feudal baron. Is it because Maugis is not totally of this world? Is the presence of this supernatural character meant to act as a form of divine intervention one that enables Renaut to complete his search for salvation? Charless inability to capture or punish this magical characte r suggests the presence of a 141

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142 significant spiritual dimension to their relationshi p. The ridicule Charles suffers at the hands of Maugis, is it not the closest thing to a public punishment, for the sins of Gods chosen representative on earth?

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LIST OF REFERENCES Adler, Alfred. The Dubious Nature of Gu illaumes Loyalty in Le Couronnement de Louis. Family, Kinship, and Lineage (1948): 179-91. Aubign, Agrippa d. Oeuvres. Paris: Bibliothque de la Pliade, 1969. Azzam, Wagih. Guillaume couronn. La roya ut dans le couronnement de Louis. Lpope Romane au Moyen ge et aux Temps Modernes Actes du XVIe Congrs International de la Socit Rencesvals pour ltude des popes Romanes (1997) : 163-171. Bailb, Jacques. Limage dHenri IV dans loeuvre dAgrippa dAubign. Travaux de linguistique et de littrature publis par le Centre de philolo gie et de littrature romanes de luniversit de Strasbourg XXII (1984) : 27-40. Barbero, Alessandro. Les Institutions et leur fonctionnement dans lpope. Lpope Romane au Moyen ge et aux Temps Modernes. Actes du XIVe Congrs International de la Socit Rencesvals pour ltude des popes Romanes (1997) : 141-61. Bouchard, Constance Brittain. Boutet, Dominique. La politique et l histoire dans les Chansons de geste. Annales conomies, Socits, Civilisations 31 (1976) : 1119-1129. _____. Les chansons de geste et laffe rmissement du pouvoir royal (1100-1250). Annales conomies, Socits, Civilisations 37 (1982) :3-14. Calin, William. A Muse for Heroes : Nine Centuries of the Epic in France. Toronto : University of Toronto Press, 1983. _____. The Old French Epic of Revolt : Raoul de Cambrai, Renaud de Montauban, Gormont et Isembard Genve : Librairie Droz, 1962. _____. Ronsards cosmic warfare. An interpretation of his Hymnes and Discours. Symposium XXVIII (1974) : 101-118. Colliot, Rgine. Girart Charbonnier ou le personnage aristocratique dclass ; propos de Girart de Roussillon. Actes du VIe Congrs International de la Socit Rencesvals pour ltude des popes romanes (1974) : 501-524 Combarieu de, Micheline. La violence dans le Couronnement de Louis. Mlanges Jeanne Lods (1978) : 126-152. Contreni, John J. The Carolingian Renaissance : Education and Literary Culture. The New Cambridge Medieval History II c. 700-c. 900 Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1995. 143

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Dictionnaire des Lettres Franaises Paris : Fayard/La Pochothque, 1964. Dictionnaire du Moyen ge Paris : PUF Quadrige, 2002. Echard, Gwenda. The Erasmian Ideal of Kingshi p, as Reflected in th e Work of Ronsard and dAubign. Renaissance et Rforme (1981) : 26-39 Einhard. Vita Karoli Magni : The Life of Charlemagne Coral Gables : University of Miami Press, 1972. Fanlo, Jean-Raymond. Croisade et mill narisme dans luvre de dAubign. Formes et millnarisme en Europe, laube des te mps modernes. Actes du Colloque international de lAssociation Renaissance, Humanisme, Rforme (1998) : 397-408. Frappier, Jean. Les thmes politiques dans le Couronnement de Louis. Mlanges de linguistique romane et de philologie mdivale II (1964) : 195-206. Galley, Claude. Dieu, le droi t et la guerre dans les dive rses chansons de geste. La justice au Moyen-Age (Sanction ou Impunit ?) CUER-MA (1986) : 148-162. Garin le Loherenc. Tomes I, II, et II. dit par Anne Ik er-Gittleman. Paris : Librairie Honor Champion, 1996. Garin le Lorrain. Chanson de geste traduite en franai s moderne par Bernard Guidot. Nancy : Presses Universitaires de Nancy Editions Serpenoise, 1986. Girart de Roussillon. Chanson de Geste.Tomes I, II et III Publie par W. Mary Hackett. Paris: Socit des Anciens Texte Franais. Editions A. et J. Picard et Compagnie, 1953. Gosman, Martin. Representing the chose publique Royal propaganda in early sixteenth century France. p. 99-119. Vernacular literature and current affairs in the early Sixteenth century France, England, Scotland 6 (2000): 99-119. Grisward, Jol. Essai sur Garin le Lohe rain. Structure et sens du prologue. Romania 88 (1967) : 289-322. _____. Knights and knighthood in Girart de Roussillon. The Ideals and Practice of Medieval Knighthood II (1986): 40-45. _____. La fodalit dans la Chanson de Rola nd et dans Girart de Roussillon Socit Rencesvals IVe Congrs International (1969) : 22-27. Heller, Henry. Anti-Italianism in Sixteenth-Century France Toronto : University of Toronto Press, 2003. 144

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Jouanna, Arlette. Le sujet, le roi et la lo i. (Les Tragiques Livres II et III). Revue dhistoire littraire de la France 4 (1992) : 619-29. Kantorowicz, Ernst H. The Kings Two Bodies : A Study in Medieval Political Theology Princeton : Princeton University Press, 1957. La Chanson de Girart de Roussillon Traduction, prsentation et notes de Micheline de Combarieu du Grs et Grard Gouiran. Paris : Lettres Gothiques, 1993. La Chanson des quatre fils Aymon Daprs le manuscrit de La Vallire. Introduction de Ferdinand Castet. Genve : Slatkine Reprints, 1974. Labb, Alain. Guerre sainte et guerre prive dans les chansons de geste : Girart de Roussillon, Garin le Loheren, Gerbert de Mez. Littrature et religion au Moyen Age et la Renaissance (1997) : 47-64. Langer, Ullrich. A courtiers problematic defense. Ronsards Res ponce aux injures. Bibliothque dhumanisme et Renaissance, Genve XLVI (1984) : 343-355. Le Couronnement de Louis : Chanson de Geste du XIIe sicle. dite par Ernest Langlois. Paris : Editions Champion, 1984. Le Couronnement de Louis : Chanson de Geste du XIIe sicle. Traduit en franais moderne par Andr Laly. Paris : Honor Champion/Traductions, 1983. Le Gentil, Pierre. Girart de Roussillon : la rdemption du hros. La Technique littraire des chansons de geste. Actes du Colloque de Lige (1959) : 59-70 Les Quatre fils Aymon ou Renaud de Montauban dition de Micheline Co mbarieu du Grs et Jean Subrenat. Paris : Folio Classique, 1983. Mnager, Daniel. Ronsard, le Roi, le pote et les hommes Genve : Librairie Droz, 1979. Nagri, Antonella. Le conseil des barons dans lpope franaise mdivale. Lieu juridique et cart littraire. Lpope romane au Moyen Age et aux temps modernes (2001) : 353-364. Nichols, Stephen, G. Jr. Poetic reality and histori cal illusion in the old French Epic. The French Review 43 (1969/1970):23-33. Niles, John D. The ideal depiction of Charlemagne in La Chanson de Roland. Viator VII (1976): 123-139. Peters, Edward. Shadow King : rex inutilis in Medieval Law and Literature New Haven : Yale University Press, 1970. 145

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Picherit, Jean-Louis. Le silence de Ganelon. Cahiers de Civili sation Mdivale XXI (1978): 265-274. Rigolot, Franois. French Renaissance Write rs and the Wars of Religion : Ronsard, Montaigne, and dAubign. French Literature Series XXV (1998) : 1-23. _____. Tolrance et condescendance dans la littrature franaise du XVIe sicle. Bibliothque dhumanisme et Renaissance LXII (2000) : 25-47. _____. Trois misres en scne littraire s du politique. Ronsard, Agrippa dAubign, Montaigne. Spielwelten. Performanz und In szenierung in der Renaissance XIV (2002): 147-63. Ronsard, Pierre de. uvres Compltes II Paris : Bibliothque de la Pliade, 1994. The New Cambridge Medieval History II c. 700-c. 900 Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1995. The New Cambridge Medieval History III c. 900c. 1024 Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1999. The New Cambridge Medieval History IV c. 1024c. 1198 Part I. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2004. The New Cambridge Medieval History IV c. 1024c. 1198 Part II Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2004. The New Cambridge Medieval History V c. 1198c. 1300 Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1999. Thomas, Jacques. La tratrise de Ganelon. Romanica Gandensia XVI (1976) : 91-117. Emden, Wolfgang G. van. Kingship in the old French epic of revolt. Kings and Kingship in Medieval Europe (1993): 305-350. Walpole, Ronald N. Le sens moral de la Chanson de Roland Travaux de linguistique et de littrature 4 (1966) : 7-21. Waard van, R. Le Couronnement de Louis ou le principe de l hrdit de la couronne. Neophilologus 30 (1946): 52-58. Wathelet-Willem, Jeanne. Charlemagne et Guillaume. Charlemagne et l pope romane. Actes du VIIe Congrs International de la Socit Rencesvals CCXXV (1978): 215-222. 146

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147 Zalloua, Zahi. Ronsard et Aubi gn, potes-polmistes rivaux dans Discours des misres de ce temps et Les Tragiques: Obje t referential et construction potique. Romance Notes 41 (2000): 55-67.

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH David Petrosky was born in New Haven, Connectic ut. He graduated with a B.A. from the University of Connecticut in 1990. He completed a Licence de Lettres Modernes from the Universit de Paris X-Nanterre in 1996, and a masters in French from the University of Massachussetts in 2000. In 1996, he married Barbara, a native French speaker, in Paris. They moved to the United States in 1997. After spending one year at the Universit de Toulouse-Le Mirail, where he taught English, he moved to Gainesville in 2000. There, he began his doctoral studies at the University of Florida, as a teaching assistant. In July of 2004, his son, Olivier, was born. In 2006, he moved to Johnstown, Pennsylva nia, where he has taught French at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. 148