The Peace-Pact of Drogo, bishop of Thérouanne, and Baldwin, Count of Flanders (ca. 1035-1067)

Translated by Oliver J. Thatcher and Edgar H. McNeal, in A Source Book for Mediaeval History: Selected Documents illustrating the History of Europe in the Middle Age (New York, 1905; reprinted New York: AMS Press, 1971), no. 244, pp. 417-418.  Translation thoroughly revised with introduction and notes by John S. Ott, Department of History, Portland State University, from the Latin edition of Ludwig Weiland, MGH Legum, sectio IV, Constitutiones et acta publica imperatorum et regum, vol. 1, 911-1197 (Hannover: Hahn, 1893), no. 422, pp. 599-601.  The translation by Thatcher and McNeal is in the public domain.  Revisions, introduction and notes are (c) John S. Ott, but may be employed without the author's permission for classroom use.  Revised 15 December 2008.


Considerable uncertainty surrounds the precise dating of this text, and the Count Baldwin in question might be either Baldwin IV "the Bearded" (r. 988-1035), his son Baldwin V (r. 1035-1067), or his grandson, Baldwin VI of Flanders and Hainaut (r. 1067-1070).  Of these three Baldwins, Baldwin IV is the least likely candidate to have co-authored the text.  The document's most secure terminus ante quem is thus supplied by Baldwin VI's death in 1070, but the likeliest co-author of the text was Baldwin V, who died in 1067.  This attribution is given added heft by the notation in a later (post-1119) account of the peace legislation passed in the diocese of Thérouanne that Drogo and "Count Baldwin of Lille" had issued the decree; "of Lille" was an epithet sometimes used for Baldwin V.  Bishop Drogo ruled the diocese of Thérouanne from 1030 until his death at an advanced age in 1078.  Some years ago Roger Bonnaud-Delamare, in a seminal article on the peace-pacts of the archdiocese of Reims, proposed an early limit for the text of 1036, and this has remained in usage.[1]  Bonnaud-Delamare argues that the language of Drogo and Baldwin's pact borrowed heavily from a 1036 peace document issued at Douai, a town in the county of Flanders and in the neighboring diocese of Cambrai.  Subsequent scholarship has called both this attribution and the date of the Douai peace conference into question, however, so it seems best to leave the document's termini as the beginning (1035) and end (1067) of Baldwin V's countship.  The text survives in a single manuscript from Thérouanne of the late twelfth century.[2]

Despite a general uncertainty as to its date, there is strong evidence to place the peace-pact either in the early 1040s or early 1060s.  If the former, its issuance may well be connected to the murder of Walter II, the castellan of Lens, in 1041.  Walter was a contentious figure in Flemish politics, hostile to the bishop of Cambrai, Gerard I (r. 1012-1051), and was murdered while praying at the cathedral of Notre-Dame of Cambrai.  Gerard had previously excommunicated Walter for the latter's refusal to observe the peace-pact sworn with him some years before at Douai.  When Walter was murdered, Gerard refused to bury the body in his diocese.  Count Baldwin V protested and Walter's widow, Ermintrude, attacked the lands of Cambrai.  A negotiated settlement saw Walter buried at the abbey of Saint-Amand d'Elnone, and both Bishop Drogo of Thérouanne and Countess Adela of Flanders, Baldwin V's wife, attended the services.[3]  Also present was Leduin, the abbot of Saint-Vaast of Arras, who had been instrumental in peace legislation issued in 1023 at the city of Compiègne.[4]

Alternatively, and for some time, the document's date was fixed to the year 1063, and while this dating is ultimately speculative, the pact nevertheless may belong to the 1060s, when Count Baldwin and the ecclesiastical dignitaries of Flanders gathered on numerous occasions for liturgical and legislative events that signalled, directly and indirectly, the necessity of maintaining peace in the land.[5]  Even if 1063 cannot be independently established as the pact's actual date, then, it fits well with the prevailing historical context and political environment in Flanders at that time.

Endnotes to introduction

[1.]  Roger Bonnaud-Delamare, “Les institutions de paix dans la province ecclésiastique de Reims au XIe siècle,” Bulletin philologique et historique (jusqu’à 1715) du Comité des travaux historiques et scientifiques (Années 1955 et 1956) (Paris: Imprimerie Nationale, 1957), 143-200, at pp. 187-196.  Bonnaud-Delamare's article contains both an (incomplete) edition of the document and black-and-white plates between pp. 192 and 193 depicting the manuscript containing it (see note 2, below).
[2.]  This is Wolfenbüttel codex Gud. 212, fol. 64, published in Max Sdralek, Wolfenbüttler Fragmente. Analekten zur Kirchengeschichte des Mittelalters aus Wolfenbüttler Handschriften (Münster: Heinrich Schöningh, 1891), 143-44.  For the manuscript's date, see p. 5.
[3.]  See on these events, most recently, Theo Riches, "Bishop Gerard I of Cambrai-Arras, the Three Orders, and the Problem of Human Weakness," in The Bishop Reformed: Studies of Episcopal Power and Culture in the Central Middle Ages, ed. John S. Ott and Anna Trumbore Jones (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007), pp. 122-136, at pp. 133-34 and 134 nn. 65-66.  See also the reference to the work of Geoffrey Koziol, below, who attributes the document to the years 1042 or 1043 (p. 239 and 240 n. 4), as does, among others, Henri Platelle, "La violence et ses remèdes en Flandre au XI siècle," Sacri Erudiri 20 (1971): 101-73, at p. 117.
[4.]  Bonnaud-Delamare, "Les institutions de paix," 145-157.
[5.]  Peace-making activity was prevalent at this time in Flanders, in various forms, including extended relic tours by monks of Lobbes and Saint-Amand (Elnone) in 1060 and 1066, respectively, as well as relic elevations at St. Bavo's, Ghent, in 1067 and Saint-Pierre of Hasnon in 1070.  On the peace-making tour of the monks of Lobbes, see Geoffrey Koziol, "Monks, Feuds, and the Making of Peace in Eleventh-Century Flanders," in The Peace of God: Social Violence and Religious Response in France around the Year 1000, ed. Thomas Head and Richard Landes (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1992), 239-258, and the references there in notes 1-5.  Hartmut Hoffmann offered 1063 as the possible date based on a reference in a sixteenth-century edition of Flemish annals; see his seminal Gottesfriede und Treuga Dei (Stuttgart: Anton Hiersemann, 1964), 146-48.  More recently, Dominique Barthélemy, L'an mil et la paix de Dieu: La France chrétienne et féodale, 980-1060 (Paris: Fayard, 1999), 536, has again argued the plausibility--if not verifiability--of 1063.  The participation in the events of 1041/2 and the 1060s by the monks of Saint-Amand d'Elnone is noteworthy, although unstudied.

Bishop Drogo of Thérouanne and Count Baldwin have established this peace with the clergy and people of the entire land.

Dearest brothers in the Lord, these are the conditions which I say to you most firmly in spirit that you should henceforth observe during the peace, which is commonly called the truce of God, and which begins with sunset on Wednesday and concludes with sunrise on Monday.

1.  During those four days and five nights, let no man or woman assault, injure, or kill another man or woman, nor assault, plunder, burn, or capture a castle, town, or villa by any craft, violence, or deceit.

2.  Should anyone--heaven forbid!--violate [this peace] by not observing what we have decreed, if he does not agree to thirty years' penance and exile and does not make amends for whatever he did in violation of the peace before he leaves the diocese, let him be excommunicated by the lord God and cut off from all Christendom.

3.  Indeed, those who knowingly communicate with him in any way or give him advice or aid or any suggestions--except that he should do penance and, as was said, leave the diocese--shall similarly be excommunicate until they make satisfaction.

4.  And if that most wretched violator of the holy peace (sancte pacis)--having accepted his penance of thirty years--should die before he is exiled, let no Christian presume to visit him or remove the body from the place where it lies, nor receive anything from his possessions.

5.  Moreover, brothers, you shall observe this peace and truce of God concerning lands and animals and above all concerning all those things which you possess among yourselves.  And if anyone shall carry off an animal or even a single obol [1] or piece of clothing from another during this peace, he shall be excommunicate until he makes amends.  But if he wishes to make amends, let him first return what he seized or something equal in value to what he took.  Then let him do penance within the diocese for seven years.  If, however, he should die before he makes satisfaction and assumes penance, he shall neither be buried nor moved from the place where he died, unless his relatives shall make satisfaction on his behalf to the one he wronged.

6.  Furthermore, during this peace no one but the count of the land shall ride on cavalcade or military expedition; and let whoever is in the count's cavalcade or war-party in this diocese not take in sustenance anything more than what is necessary for themselves and their horses.

7.  May merchants and all men who pass through your lands from other regions have peace from you.

8.  You will keep this truce of God every day from the beginning of Advent until the octave of Epiphany, and every day from the beginning of Lent until the octave of Easter, and from Rogations until the octave of Pentecost.[2]

9.  Moreover we order that priests on feast days and Sundays shall bless all those who observe this peace by offering prayers on their behalf, and shall curse (maledicant) all those who either break it or give consent to others who break it.[3]

10.  If anyone denies that he has broken the peace, let him first swear an oath (sacramentum) and then carry the hot iron of judgment.[4]  If he is then found guilty, let him do penance within the diocese (patriam) for seven years.

Endnotes to text

[1.]  An obol was the smallest denomination of currency, a halfpenny.
[2.]  The period of truce here stipulated thus ran from four weeks before Christmas through early January (Epiphany celebrates the adoration of the infant Jesus by the Three Wise Men, traditionally January 6; the octave is an eight-day period following the holy day, traditionally January 13), then from February/March 40 days before Easter (a moveable holiday) until eight days after Easter Sunday, and from Rogations (April 25) until the octave of Pentecost.  Pentecost falls fifty days after Easter and ends the Easter season, bringing the main cycle of the liturgical calendar to a close.  In all, the better part of six months was included under the truce, plus the usual weekly stipulation from sundown Wednesday till sunrise Monday.
[3.]  The command to curse was to be taken literally--a liturgical rite designed to denounce truce-breakers in the strongest possible terms and cut them off from Christian society.  For an overview of liturgical cursing, see Lester K. Little, Benedictine Maledictions: Liturgical Cursing in Romanesque France (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1993); for connections between liturgical cursing and the peace and truce of God, see Chapter 6.
[4.]  This is a reference to the ordeal by hot iron, one of many different kinds of ordeals practiced in the central Middle Ages.  An individual accused of a crime, or anxious to prove his innocence, would pick up a red-hot iron and walk three paces with it.  His hand would then be bandaged.  Three days later, the bandage was removed and the hand inspected.  If it was healing properly, his innocence would be shown; if the wound had become infected, his guilt was thereby demonstrated.  On ordeals, see the brief survey of Robert Bartlett, Trial by Fire and Water: The Medieval Judicial Ordeal (Oxford: Clarendon, Press, 1986).