Encyclopedia | Library | Reference | Teaching | General | Links | | About ORB | HOME

2.  The Rollonid Principality

2.6.  For Further Reading

Robert Helmerichs

Sources. The most substantial source for early Norman history, though deeply flawed, is edited in Dudo of Saint-Quentin, De moribus et actis primorum Normanniæ ducum, ed. Jules Lair, Mémoires de la Société des Antiquaires de Normandie 23 (Caen: F. Le Blan-Hardel, 1865), and translated in Dudo of Saint-Quentin, History of the Normans, trans. Eric Christiansen (Woodbridge: Boydell, 1998). A much-needed new edition (with translation into French) is in the works from Pierre Bouet. A transcription of one manuscript with translation into English can conveniently be found at Dudo of St. Quentin’s Gesta Normannorum, ed. and trans. Felice Lifshitz Important discussions of Dudo’s usefulness as a historical source can be found in Henry Howorth, “A Criticism of the Life of Rollo as Told by Dudo of St Quentin,” Archaeologia 45 (1880): 235–50 [old and often ignored, but remains fundamental]; and Henri Prentout, Étude critique sur Dudon de Saint-Quentin et son histoire des premiers ducs normands (Paris: Picard, 1916) [extremely thorough and dripping with disgust at its subject]. Recent accounts that see Dudo not as a failed historian but rather as a successful writer in his own, eleventh-century context, include Eleanor Searle, “Fact and Pattern in Heroic History: Dudo of Saint-Quentin,” Viator 15 (1984): 119–37; Victoria B. Jordan, “The Role of Kingship in Tenth-Century Normandy: Hagiography of Dudo of Saint-Quentin,” Haskins Society Journal 3 (1991): 53–62; Felice Lifshitz, “Dudo’s Historical Narrative and the Norman Succession of 996,” Journal of Medieval History 20 (1994): 101–20; Leah Shopkow, “The Carolingian World of Dudo of Saint-Quentin,” Journal of Medieval History 15 (1989): 19–37; Leah Shopkow, History and Community: Norman Historical Writing in the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries (Washington D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 1997); and Emily Albu (Hanawalt), “Dudo of Saint-Quentin: The Heroic Past Imagined,” Haskins Society Journal 6 (1994): 111–18.

Other important tenth-century narrative sources include the works of Flodoard of Reims‹Les Annales de Flodoard, ed. Philippe Lauer, Collection des textes pour servir à l’étude et à l’enseignement de l’histoire 39 (Paris: Picard, 1905) and Historia Remensis ecclesiae, ed. Martina Stratmann, Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores 36 (Hannover: Impensis Bibliopolii Hahniani, 1998)‹discussed at great length in Michel Sot, Un historien et son Église au Xe siècle: Flodoard de Reims (Paris: Fayard, 1993). Another is Richer of Reims, Historiae, edited by Hartmut Hoffmann, Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores 38 (Hannover: Impensis Bibliopolii Hahniani, 2000). Richer’s career is discussed in Jason Glenn, “Political History: The Work of Richer of Saint-Remigius,” Ph.D. diss. (University of California, Berkeley, 1997); one hopes this dissertation will soon become a book.

A very few Norman sources for the tenth century exist. A lament for William Longsword has been printed twice, in Philippe Lauer, Le règne de Louis IV, Bibliothèque de l’École des hautes études 127 (Paris: Émile Bouillon, 1900), 319–323; and in Phillipp August Becker, “Der planctus auf den Normannenherzog Wilhelm Langschwert (942),” Zeitschrift für französische Sprache und Literatur 63 (1939): 190–197. For more on the Planctus, see The Planctus for William Longsword. And four or five charters of Richard I survive in later copies; Recueil des actes des ducs de Normandie de 911 à 1066, ed. Marie Fauroux, Mémoires de la Société des Antiquaires de Normandie 36 (Caen: Caron et Compagnie, 1961), nos. 2–5 and possibly 6, discussed in detail in Robert Helmerichs, “Princeps, Comes, Dux Normannorum: Rollonid Designators and Their Significance,” Haskins Society Journal 9 (forthcoming).

Studies. For an introduction to the context of the West Frankish kingdoms, the best general political narrative remains the relevant volumes of the old but not yet superceded Annales de l’histoire de France a l’époque carolingienne series: Auguste Eckel, Charles le Simple, Bibliothèque de l’École des hautes études 124 (Paris: Émile Bouillon, 1899); Philippe Lauer, Robert Ier et Raoul de Bourgogne, rois de France, 923–936, BÉHÉ 188 (Paris: Émile Bouillon, 1910); Philippe Lauer, Le règne de Louis IV, BÉHÉ 127 (Paris: Émile Bouillon, 1900); Ferdinand Lot, Les derniers Carolingiens, Lothaire, Louis V, Charles de Lorraine (954–991), BÉHÉ 87 (Paris: Émile Bouillon, 1891). Briefer but more up-to-date are Rosamond McKitterick, The Frankish Kingdoms Under the Carolingians (London: Longman, 1983) and the earlier chapters of Jean Dunbabin, France in the Making, 843–1180 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985).

The standard English-language surveys of early Norman history are David Bates, Normandy before 1066 (London: Longman, 1982) [2nd edition in preparation] and Eleanor Searle, Predatory Kinship and the Creation of Norman Power, 840–1066 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988). Unfortunately for the neophyte, these books tell utterly different stories (Bates favors strong continuity between the Carolingians and the Normans, while Searle believes that the Normans remained fundamentally Viking almost to the Conquest), and neither author has yet seriously engaged the arguments of the other. More recently, see François Neveux, La Normandie des ducs aux rois (Xe–XIIe siècle) (Rennes: Ouest-France, 1998), although to my mind he takes Dudo far too seriously. Henri Prentout, Essai sur les origines et la fondation du duché de Normandie (Paris: Honoré Champion, 1911), though dated, is still of value. And now, for a provocative and important reinterpretation of some aspects of tenth-century Normandy, see Felice Lifshitz, “La Normandie carolingienne: Essai sur la continuité, avec utilisation de sources négligées,” Annales de Normandie 48 (1998): 505–24.

Rollo is discussed in David C. Douglas, “Rollo of Normandy,” English Historical Review 57 (1942): 417–36; Lucien Musset, “L’origine de Rollon,” in Nordica et Normannica: Recueil d’études sur la Scandinavie ancienne et médiévale, les expéditions des Vikings et la fondation de la Normandie, Studia nordica 1 (Paris: Société des études nordiques, 1997 [originally published 1982]), 383–87; and, rather more fancifully, Louis de Saint-Pierre, Rollon devant l’histoire (les origines) (Paris: J. Peyronnet, 1949). His posterity is discussed in Isabelle Richard, “Rollon, premier duc de Normandie: Légende et réalité,” Thèse de doctorat (Paris: Université de Paris IV, 1993), and Isabelle Richard, “Rollon, premier duc de Normandie et son mythe,” Études Germaniques 50 (1995): 691–98. The only dedicated study of William Longsword is the very dated Jules Lair, Étude sur la vie et la mort de Guillaume Longue-épée, duc de Normandie (Paris: Picard, 1893). For Richard I, see the new popular biography by Jacques Choffel, Richard sans Peur, duc de Normandie, 932–996 (Paris:  Fernand Lanore, 1999), although he is far too trusting of Dudo and even Wace and Benoît (12th-century poets who adapted and expanded Dudo).

For Herbert II of Vermandois, see Helmut Schwager, Graf Heribert II. von Soissons, Omois, Meaux, Madrie sowie Vermandois (900/06–943) und die Francia (Nord-Frankreich) in der 1. Halfte des 10. Jahrhunderts, Münchener historische Studien. Abteilung mittelalterliche Geschichte 6 (Kallmünz/Opf.: Michael Laßleben, 1994).

For a much more extensive bibliography on Norman history, see Rob’s Norman Bibliography.


Encyclopedia | Library | Reference | Teaching | General | Links | | About ORB | HOME

Copyright ©1999-2001, Robert Helmerichs. This file may be copied on the condition that the entire contents,including the header and this copyright notice, remain intact. The contents of ORB are copyright © 1995-2001 Laura V. Blanchard and Carolyn Schriber except as otherwise indicated herein.