Chapter 57

[ 57 ]

       Once all this had been (privately and with circumspection) brought to completion, the celebrated marquis and duke Richard commanded a tent of marvelous breadth and width to be built on the bank at Jeufosse in time for the arrival of the royal officials (note 1) and pontiffs of the Frankish nation. Thus at the settled time of the ides of May, (note 2) that is when the Twins are kindled by the blazing sun, (note 3) the royal officials (note 4) came there with the bishops to procure a peace from duke Richard the Great, and he commanded them to be properly and reverently received and lodged in tents set up next to that marvelous tent.
       For indeed the next day, coming before duke Richard, they offered him, on the part of the Franks, the tribute of faithful allegiance and prayer, and they said: "Duke of unheard-of power, affluence and valor, the magnates of the whole Frankish realm, of one mind, pray with the knees of their hearts bent to the ground that you pardon our sacrosanct church and our annihilated nation. Moreover the king, and we ourselves, and the rest of the remaining Franks, and all the clergy of the entire realm, wish you every present and future good if you would restrain the rage of the pagans and rescue Francia from their baleful assault. Whatever the king has done against you, he did at the urging of count Tetbold's deceitful prompting and he is disgusted at his behavior, recalling the good which your father brought to his father. Thus, just as his father, king Louis, once he had been chosen to succeed to the realm, flourished with your father's assistance, so does he desire to hold realms and dominate the arrogant with the great help of your power. (note 5) May the two of you be united by the common prayers of a reciprocal agreement and, trusting confidently, may you continue steadfastly, of one mind, each of you with the aid of the other. Moreover the king himself and the magnates of all Francia, swearing with their own hands, will ratify for you and your heirs in perpetuity, the Norman realm; after that, not one of them shall in any way compass any damage unfavorable to you."
       The most distinguished duke and marquis replied to those discharging the instructions of their embassy: "O reverent prelates, profusely endowed with an abundance of all virtues, and no less you magnates, readily fertilized by a plenteousness of all good qualities and public deeds, I will not hesitate to confide to you confidently my next intended and willed plan. Therefore, learn beyond a shadow of a doubt that my utmost desire is to carry out and confirm my labor with the happiness of peace, rather than to aim for any good fortune or official dignity. Peace has always been most important and special to me but, in order not to be destroyed, I have not been able to hold to it, because of the inconveniences and quarrels of your followers. For there is nothing that tortures someone more than not to see what he desires or to see what he shall lose, because in each case the soul wavers, oppressed by the weight of great anxiety, both to possess lastingly what it anxiously beholds and not to let slip what it has begun to possess. Therefore, reflect upon and be mindful of the plots and ills I have suffered from him, and realize and contemplate which of our and your followers has been harmed. You are not ignorant that, at count Tetbold's prompting, Bruno, archbishop of Cologne and likewise duke of Lotharingia, wanted to ensnare me. You are not ignorant that, provoked by the lying ingenuity of that same man, your lord king Lothar wanted to capture or kill me. What can you reply about the town of Evreux, which God has returned to me? Moved by these and many other such inconveniences, disgusting to recount, I sent for the Dacians to assist me swiftly. I commanded them, having come to me in haste, to visit upon you this tyrannical scourge so that even a fool would recover his senses, were the matter considered at all! If, therefore, what you have reported to me is true, set up with me a fitting time for the needful peace."
       Then, when all the Normans had been gathered together, that most famed marquis Richard began to flatter and calm them with the gentlest addresses: "Oh fathers of highest reverence, marvelously revealing yourselves in great and middle and youthful age, I ought incessantly to give thanks to you, yea indeed I ought affluently to offer gifts to you because, foresaking the land of your birth due to the damage inflicted, without cause, upon me, you have until now brawled and wrangled with foreign nations because of your love for me. (note 6) However, the king, dukes and counts of those very nations, incessantly (and by force of arms) distressed by your pillaging, supplicatingly seek that an interval of negotiated peace be granted them. It is according to reason that the request be granted if it is agreeable to you; if not, it behooves us to deny it. Resolve upon the matter of this request through common deliberation, and let us explore how to respond to it."
       Then the Normans (who were also Dacians) presented themselves to duke Richard, (note 7) saying of one mind: "In no way shall an uninterrupted peace, not even for a limited interval of time, be granted; but all Francia, her leaders banished or killed, will be obtained for you by force and military power. Alas, alas, what will the other Dacians and the Norwegians say or do, they who, having readied and loaded their ships to aid in this matter, are to attack along with us, with monstrous enmity? What about the Irish, what about the Alans, what about all the rest of the many nations? This declaration of your will, which you have layed bare before us, will not be fulfilled while we are alive. Furthermore, if it is agreeable, we will claim Francia, which we have attacked, for you. But if that is not agreeable, let it fall to us. Therefore choose which of the two you prefer, that it be yours or ours."
       Having heard this, the very mighty duke Richard would beset them with many repeated appeals and, twice a day for twice two days, would deprecate them with all his strength to ally with the Frankish people after agreeing upon a peace. Thus, the prelates and magnates of the Frankish nation would stand by each day, stunned, and would observe this contest over the making of peace. But finally duke Richard the Great, not having the power to calm the fury of such men by any of his efforts at beseeching them, spoke separately with his trusty gathered leaders: "For as long as we have appealed to this entire rough and valiant nation all at the same time, it has not assented to our entreaties. Let the elders and the mightier among them be called together secretly in the first part of the coming night and, with the greatest possible gifts and plentiful reward, (note 8) let us cause them to withdraw (if perchance they favor our prayers and our desire)." The leaders of the Franks would allege this advice to be advantageous and propitious indeed, and would affirm it as beneficial to themselves.
       Therefore, at dusk on the following night, he made known to the mightiest elders of the Norman nation, called together privately, what he would meditate upon in his own heart, and he said with mellifluous speech: "O deservedly venerable fathers, battling so for the sake of temporal rewards, (note 9) in return for which you will miss eternal life and instead deservedly enjoy the river Phlegethon,(note 10) obediently heed my speech. Although the human race was begotten by the Lord, himself lacking either beginning or end, as a replacement for the fallen angels, foolish error leads it away along changing and contrary roads, so that it not return to its creator: you all suppose that your souls will be destroyed along with your bodies, therefore you do not shudder to commit any evil act. Indeed, beyond this life there is another life, one which you now disregard, yet whatever you have done in this life will certainly be displayed before you in that one." Then they: "Recount for us, we pray, the sacred secret of this proposition, and make clear to us, as quickly as possible, how we were created."
       Then that most judicious count spoke, softening them with persuasive speeches: "This is the theory of our creation that is discerned to be true by orthodox men. After, due to the insolent contention of his own presumption and bragging, the tenth of the twice five orders of heaven dwellers, created both to journey over this entire mundane mass and as its own marvelous, perfect adornment, had fallen, God formed man, joining two elements, namely the living and the dying, into one, so that he might crown man (being immortal though made from the mud) with glory and honor and set him over all the works of his own hands, and so that man might at some time pass, without the death of the flesh, to the heavenly glory of the angels, which that haughty one had lost. In this way, he was to be truly immortal if he would bind himself with chains of charity to obedience to his creator, nor would he have been dependent upon the laws of death. But alas, the grief!, deceitfully entangled in the treasonous cunning of the ancient enemy, and allured by the allurements of greed, and carelessly scorning the injunctions of his maker and, foresaken as a result, he himself received the judgment of condemnation; but he carried the offspring of the entire human race with him into detestable villainy and the anguish of death. After this the ancient enemy deceitfully possessed dominion over all men, and vilely subjected them to himself.
       "But since I have briefly described the sequence of events of creation and proto-creation to which we cleave with our hearts and minds, I long to proclaim for you the faith in which we believe. For we worship one God in substance, we adore a Trinity in persons and, although the Father be God, the Son God, the Holy Spirit God, nevertheless God is believed to be only one. We call the Father the Genitor, we avow that the Son is Begotten, we believe that the Holy Spirit flows from both of them, and in these three persons, namely the Genitor and the Only-begotten and the One Proceeding out of both, we profess a single divineness, and one of equal glory and majesty. For this God vaulted the heavens with precision, he established the earth with his might, he bound the seas together by his own calculations, and in all these, he made everything he desired with his Word and then made it lasting with his Spirit.
       "For he alone possesses immortality, and inhabits the inaccessible light. With him there is no changing, nor any darkening of alteration. (note 11) The nature of his being is to endure, always eternal and immutable. Indeed he alone truly is, for he alone endures immutably. He, without change to himself, is able to dispose changeable things; without variation in himself, to do diverse things; without any alteration of thoughts, to fashion dissimilar things. He is both everywhere, and entirely without location, for God is himself above, himself below, himself within, himself without all creatures. By ruling he is above, by carrying he is below, by filling he is within, by surrounding he is without. Within the omnipotence of his judgment, all things are contained, and his might is not surpassed by the nature of any creature, for the loftiness of his divinity neither begins to be nor stops being, and he is neither born through some commencement nor confined by some end.
       "Indeed, this God disposed that the Word, which was with God in the beginning, and which he begat without time, become incarnate for our redemption. With the annunciation of the angel, he entered, from the flesh of the sacrosanct Virgin, into flesh, abased to the ignominy of a human beginning and to the filth of swaddling clothes and to the baseness of a manger, a nativity at which we can indeed marvel, but which we are not in the least able to contemplate. For who can, worthily, say how he was born, co-eternal, from the eternal one? And how, existing before the ages, he begat one equal to himself? And how the one born is not posterior to the one begetting? Because the father is, he begat this one: God begetting God, light light, a vast one a vast one, an incomprehensible one an incomprehensible one, an omnipotent one an omnipotent one, who is one with him, and coeternal, and coequal to him. One who, born from a father without time, deigned to be born from a mother within time and, like electrum, (note 12) to be a single individual in both and from both natures; he both remained God with the Father and was made a mortal man from his mother, for our redemption, in order, in his own bountiful compassion, to rescue the human race, formed in his own image and likeness, from the hostile heinousness of the fallen angels.
       "Both humanly enduring the course of fleeting time, and marvelously working diverse miracles, namely bountifully giving the ability to walk to the lame, hearing to the deaf, sight to the blind, their former health to those struck with palsy, clean and agreeable and delicate skin and flesh to the leprous, and commanding the very sea and the winds, making the swellings of the sea treadable for himself and Peter, he raised the dead (for instance Lazarus after four days in the sepulchre) and did everything whatsoever that he wished in heaven and on earth and in the sea and in hell. Finally, he came to the public spectacle of his voluntary death and, undergoing it affixed to the cross, as he produced water and blood from his side, he delivered to himself the Virgin and the immaculate church, redeemed by his blood, cleansed by this liquid, to have neither blemish through crime nor wrinkle through division.
       "Indeed, with the mystery of death celebrated and hell harrowed, he rose on the third day and, showing himself (made public) to his fideles, in the sight of the apostles bore up into heaven the flesh which he had taken on from the Virgin, having abided with them until the fortieth day after his resurrection. For he paid the debt in full to abolish for his servants that death which the ancient enemy brought upon the first man and his race, and when he pulled our flesh with him to the stars, he showed the inviolable road by which they might ascend from whence they had fallen. Wherefore if that combination of the two elements, namely man, has served God in this life and has obeyed his commands with every able effort, the living and more potent part of him, the sojourner, which draws its germ from heaven, will carry the flesh of the body back to heaven with it, having rejected the infections of the malign enemy. If, perchance, his earthly will has savoured that which is vile and striven after that which is unwholesome and execrable and oppressed the virtues of the soul under the weight of sins, having collected a mass of vices and renounced the promises pledged in baptism, it shall turn the soul awry, dragging it to hell with it.
       "Therefore, the greatest care is expended by Christians on their tombs, and the bodies in them are not believed to be entirely dead, but consigned to the last stage, for a time will come when vital heat, partner of the soul, will visit those bones and carry off its former habitation, namely the bodies putrefied in the tombs, now animated by live blood, and they will be taken up, winged, into heaven, joined to the souls which they had before, since the destruction of this death is the restoration of a better life. For even if decaying duration has entirely dissolved the body, so that it is but the smallest handful of ashes, and the wandering winds and gentle breezes have borne those ashes, useless, through the void, it will still not be permitted for that man to die, but his soul will either be rewarded along with he himself, with whom it practised the virtues, or be punished with him, with whom it sinned and thus, with Christ the Son of God as judge, the ungodly will go into the eternal fire, however the just will go into eternal life.
       "This is the catholic faith which, without believing steadfastly and firmly, no one can be saved. This is the main point of our salvation-giving belief, this the creed of beneficial faith and salvation."
       Hearing these things, the Dacians were astounded and, drawing a cry from deep in the breast, they said: "Alas for us, that, unacquainted with all these blessings and ignorant of the scriptures and of the power of God, we differ in nothing from the beasts, nor from the birds of the sky. They look earnestly for the means to live for the present, and store up nothing for themselves. Truly we live similarly, in that we procure incessantly through robbery, although we differ from them in that we save for the future by treasuring up whatever food and drink is superfluous. Give us advantageous advice, we beg, so that we might have the power to live both in the present and for eternity."
       Then the duke replied: "If you wish to follow our advice, I will first have you baptized in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and then profusely instructed by bishops through a fuller preaching of the complete faith, after that endowed with the most bountiful gifts and the most ample favors, (note 13) whereby you shall be able to live and will not perish for eternity. But if you do not deny us the happiness of the complete peace for which I ask, you will enjoy, without end, the comfort of this present life, the reward of future repayment." And they: "We pledge you both a guarantee of peace and to hold fast to the sacrosanct faith, and may inconstant wandering never press us to turn away from your advice!" Indeed that night, once the alliance had been made and the calm of a peace had been sworn, Richard (note 14) spoke, softening them with this mellifluous address: "Return to your ships as part of my own forces and my own soul, with stealthy steps lest you be seen, taking precautions so that no one knows that you came here. But at dawn I will call you back, and likewise that bustling populace of abominable boldness, and with all kinds of prayers I will earnestly request your and their compassion for an increase of peace and a calm relationship to be granted. Reject and resist my words, fighting along with them, but in the end, once this extended sham has barely ceased, assent to my wishes." Once all this had been thoroughly discussed privately, each one turned his footsteps toward home.
       Thus, first thing in the morning, the great duke hastily arose and said confidently to the innumerable legions of gathered Dacians: "Having waited until this point upon the malevolent tergiversations of your perverse intention, I will again and again demand departure from your obstinate hearts. We pray, grant us the oft-denied advantage (note 15) of peace." Then different Normans, speaking with one will, put forth: "He labors in vain who throws seeds upon a rock. You are uselessly casting your verbal exertions to the ground, while you superfluously speak idle words. That peace and concord, to which you superfluously bustle to make us assent, will never and in no wise exist between us and the Franks. They will be exiled or killed, and their whole nation completely obliterated. If a certain someone is found to be unbecoming of our created condition, you too will be overcome. For did not your grandfather, having pillaged the realm of Francia, claim for himself by force of arms the land over which you now preside?" Then all, from the least to the greatest, said with a reverberating cry: "Either they shall die, or [that land] will be claimed." Truly, duke Richard the Great would put forth one prayer after another, and with all his strength would ask them to grant peace. But their will would not in the least assent to his prayers.
       Then the ones who had pledged a peace during the night said to the rest: "It is according to reason that we should be obedient to the prayers of the one for whose help and defence we came here. It is meet to do what, soliciting us, he desires, and willingly to satisfy his wishes. To whose advise will we cleave, if not his, and to whose beseechings will we assent, if not his, whose favor (note 16) we daily enjoy?" Scarcely had they heard these things when those who were ignorant of the nocturnal deliberation, impetuously agitated, began (with rising outcries of objections) to wrangle even more impetuously. And they said: "In our opinion you are promoters, nay rather sycophants, of this man's advice, wherefore are you offering us such execrable things. Things will not work out according to the intention of your pleasure, nor will the peace which is sought be granted by any of us. You have, in a gaping manner, made plain to us the plan suited to your will, a plan which will be boldly resisted as long as we live. We will not in the least submit, through your intercession, to what the duke commands and beseeches, but Francia shall be savagely pillaged by force of arms to the point of destruction." Then those already persuaded during the council of the nocturnal assembly, enraged, spoke with the most stinging madness: "The peace will not be granted through our intercession, but we will bountifully give it to the great duke whether you like it or not. What comparison is there between you and us? Are we not older than you, of more noble lineage, more robust in arms? We ought to have been called 'givers of the peace,' not 'intercessors.'" Duke Richard, withdrawing after having heard this, said to his gathered leaders: "Allow them to wrangle fiercely with each other, and let us see which of them shall emerge the mightier and stronger."
       Thus, when thrice three days had been spent in this dispute, to the wonder of both the Franks and the Richardians, the opposers of peace said to those already obtained at night by the prudent advice of the viceroy: (note 17) "You are the mightier in age, lineage and arms, and therefore we will agree with you whether we like it or not. If Richard, this duke of great power, should grant us the most liberal expenses for our journey and have us led to where we might live and take some realm by assault, we shall spare the realm of Francia, as you ask. But if he does otherwise, we will sternly attach Francia, which we have attacked, to ourselves, having crushed it with war and fire and robbery." Then the pagan magnates, delighted with this response, reported what they heard to duke Richard. With that embassy fulfilled, the most potent duke, delighted at the peace to come, spoke: "I will bestow upon them both the most ample victuals and voyagers both numerous and circumspect, and beyond that the most bountiful ornaments, (note 18) and I will have them led to a splendid land."
       When this most bountiful promise had been reported, and as duke Richard sat, with his followers, in the presence of the Frankish people, [the pagans] came of one mind and pledged to them all, with lowered countenance, the promise of a peace. Truly Richard sent the king's ambassadors, endowed with the greatest possible presents, back to king Lothar. Thus, with the date and place of the peace-making conference having been designated and a temporary truce of hoped-for peace having been granted, he kept the pagans with him so that the Franks would not kick against him.
       Thus, when the time for the desired conference arrived, king Lothar has come with the Frankish people to the river Epte, and he has pledged to duke Richard the promise of an inextricable peace, and both he himself and the magnates of the realm have sworn that the Norman realm would belong to him and to his descendants. Especially since neither he himself nor anyone else, by his urging, would cause the least bit of damage to his rule. When the conference concerning the procuring of peace has been concluded, and the king and duke Richard have become allied, and each has bountifully endowed the other with gifts, each returns home along a prosperous course. (note 19)
       The duke (so magnificently pious!) having returned to town (so bountifully plenteous), has forced the heinously savage Normans to attend him there. He says to them: "Lest your confidence in my promise waver, behold, I am ready to carry out what it promised to you earlier. Bountifully giving gifts, (note 20) I will have some of you be reborn in the sacred font; to the others, I will grant provisions for a sea voyage, once the ships have been loaded with grain and heads of swine." Thus, the great marquis has stood sponsor for the former, anointed with oil and chrism, at the prepared font of sacrosanct regeneration, bestowing upon them most sizeable boons (note 21) from which they might live in peace. But he has had the latter, who desired to keep wandering astray in pagan rituals, led to Spain by travellers from Coutances.
       Indeed, in the course of that march they have subdued twice nine cities and claim for themselves everything they have found in them. Pillaging on this side and that, attacking Spain by force of arms, they have begun harshly to weaken it through fire and robbery. But, the country-people having been run through by swords, at length the Spaniards accost the Normans with an amassed army. Yet, as Mars rages, the Spaniards have turned their backs to the strangers, in the wake of a tremendous slaughter. The Normans, returning three days later to the battlefield and turning over the dead in order to remove their garments, have discovered that sections of the bodies on the ground, adjoining and depending upon parts whiter than snow, are dark and sunburnt. But they have seen the rest of the body retaining its original color! Truly, I wonder what logicians who see the alteration here will write about this case, since they categorize the accident [of color] as inseparable from both the raven and the Ethiopian.
       We are not concerned to publicize this further, but let us turn our presumptuous pen to our intended (note 22) design. For [this presumptuous pen] will, with pleasure, illuminate whatever it can, yet be unable to relate in order the things which are necessary for the narration! For its good works are known to him alone who knows all things which happen.


As the storm surged, I played on the hissing flute of our stupidity, (note 23)
Having been borne thus far by the wave-sounding billow
(Whipped up and put down in turn by the variable whirlwind)
Through great denials of marine doom, through
The forked alterations of cloven fortune, now happy, now       bitter.
I have ploughed the marine depths with my little oar,
I have arrived at a harbor, stable and free from winds,
In which are everywhere the sacred life's eight happinesses,
By which the highest good is purchased by the sincere heart.
But my mind, musing over whether it shall be able,
Is trying with this trifling reed-pipe to strive after some gift of goods,
Acquired as the scanty profit of paltry wares.


1. Palatini.

2. May 15.

3. Under the zodiacal sign of the constellation of Gemini.

4. Palatini.

5. Preferring the "potestatis" of Rouen 1173 and others.

6. Preferring the single sentence "O...jurgati...gentes" of Rouen 1173 and others.

7. Preferring the "Ricardo" of Rouen 1173 and others.

8. Copioso beneficio.

9. Beneficiis.

10. A river of fire in the Lower World.

11. James 1.17.

12. Electrum is a mixed metal, whether natural or artificial, normally composed of gold and silver, which resembles amber in color.

13. Beneficia.

14. Preferring the "Ricardus" of Rouen 1173 and others.

15. Preferring the "opportunitatem" of Rouen 1173.

16. Beneficium.

17. Satraps.

18. Honores.

19. This agreement is frequently referred to as the Treaty of Gisors of 966.

20. Beneficia.

21. Beneficia.

22. Preferring the "intentionis" of Rouen 1173 and others.

23. Preferring the "stultitie" of CC 276.

Go to next chapter( English and Latin )
Go to next chapter( English )
Go to next chapter( Latin )
Go to the Index