Presumptionis est 
(Letter collection of Admont cod. 759) 
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[2] The safekeeping of writing is praiseworthy. For writing will resist emerging calumnies and it speaks the text of events with unchanging truth.1

[3] Thus by the testimony of this page we wish to make known to present and future an agreement celebrated and confirmed between us, Louis and Henry, kings of the Franks and of the English. After disagreements have so long been ventilated between us in the disharmonious storm of wars, the issue itself has finally been lulled into tranquillity, as follows.

[4a] I Louis, do relinquish to my vassal Henry, king of the English, the property of Poitou which I had previously claimed for myself quite deservedly by marital right. But I do retain this lordship for myself, that he himself, subservient to me, must repay the debt of that land, which he taught that easements shall have been provided to me. Whoever had raised arms against the aforesaid <king Henry>, shall now have peace with him, <let> the captive be liberated to me, his whole right restored to him, unless it has been consumed by these arms and by fire.

[4b] I, H.<enry>, do relinquish to Louis, king of the Franks, the property and lordship of Brittany2 and Auvergne,3 with this exception: that which on the other hand we had quietly possessed, while the prince of Aquitaine,4 my father,5 was alive. OR: that which the prince of Aquitaine, my father held against us/you while he was alive.

[5] And lest the stability of this agreement quaver in the future, I, B., have confirmed that by the hands of <...>, I, H.<ermengarde>6 of the counts of Narbonne, have sworn that, strengthening the present page with the impressions of our seals. This was done in the year 11687 of the incarnate Word.


1 Charter of a peace treaty between the kings of France and England. After a Schriftlichkeitsarenga ---the only one found in 'Presumptionis est' [2], the two kings jointly make notification of an accord ending their long, bellicose disgreements [3]. Louis VII relinquishes the property of Poitou to his vassal Henry II, which land Louis had previous claimed for himself by marital right and over which he continues to retain suzereignty. Louis requires his vassals who had fought against Henry II to observe this peace treaty (see also letters no. 30, 33, 35, 42, 54-55). He asks that those who were taken captive be released to him with their property restored, unless it had been destroyed by arms or by fire [4a]. Henry relinquishes to his lord Louis VII the property and lordship of Brittany and Auvergne, with the exception of those lands held while the prince of Aquitaine, his father, was still alive [4b]. --- The charter is witnessed by the baron B., by Hermengarde, viscountess of Narbonne, impressed by both royal seals and dated 1168 [5]. On the dating, see also below, note 7).

2 See B.-A. POCQUET DU HAUT-JUSSé "Les Plantagenets et la Bretagne" Annales de Bretagne 53 (1946) 1-27; A. LUCHAIRE "Huges de Clers et le De senescalcia Franciae" in Melanges d'histoire du moyen age publies sous la direction de...Luchaire Bibliotheque de la Faculte des Lettres de Paris, fasc. 3  (Paris 1897) 1.1-38; A. LUCHAIRE Histoire des institutions monarchiques de la France sous les premiers Capétiens (Paris 1891) 1.173-81; W.L. WARREN Henry II (Los Angeles 1972) 72-77, 100-101, 228-230.

3 On the claims of the duke of Aquitaine to parts of Auvergne: ELIZABETH M. HALLAM Capetian France 987-1328 (London 1980) 53, CHARLES PETIT-DUTAILLAIS The Feudal Monarchy in France and England tr. E.D. HUNT (New York 1964) 170, but see also W. L. WARREN Henry II (Los Angeles 1972) 102.

4 William X, the Toulousain, duke of Aquitaine (1126-37). William was succeeded by his daughter Eleanor, queen of England (1137-1152) and of England (1152-1204). She shared rule over the duchy of Aquitaine with her two royal husbands, but renounced the title for her son Richard's sake in 1169. -- Matters relating to the duchy of Aquitaine also figure in letters no. 8 and 11.

5 Geoffrey Plantagenet, count of Anjou (1129-1151) and duke of Normany (1144-1151) was the father of Henry II. It is not clear whether Geoffrey is meant here, or Henry II's father-in-law, William X, or a mixture of both!.

6 Ermengarde, vicountess of Narbonne (1143-1192).  For a recent article on her, see JACQUELINE CAILLE "Ermengarde, vicomtesse de Narbonne (1127/29-1196/97). Une grande figure féminine du midi aristocratique" in La femme dans l'histoire et la société méridionales (IXe-XIXe siècles).  Actes du 66e congrès de la Fédération Historique du Languedoc Méditerranéen et du Roussillon, Narbonne, 15-16 octobre 1994 (Montpellier, 1995) 9-50.  The troubadour Peire Rogier, previously canon of Clermont, spent a long period at Ermengard's court. See JOSEPH SALVAT and GENEVIEVE BRUNEL-LOBRICHON art. "Peire Rogier" in Dictionnaire des lettres francaises. Le Moyen Age edd. GENEVIEVE HASENOHR and MICHEL ZINK (Turin 1992) 1118-1119.

7 The real historical situation forming the substance of fictive charter might also pertain to the years 1158-9, as well as to 1168. Henry II and Louis VII signed an actual peace treaty in 1159, after the former's abortive campaign of that year against Toulouse: BOUQUET ed. Recueil des historiens des Gaules et de la France 16.21-23. In terms of paleography, 1168 differs only slightly from 1159 (MCLXVIII. as opposed to .MCLVIII. / .MCLVIIII., or less likely  .MCLIX.) and medieval scribes often made slips in rendering Roman numerals. The date 1168 given here could easily be a scribal slip. If so, this letter collection was composed contemporaneously or even before the Aurea Gemma <Gallica>. See Admont cod. 759.

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© Steven M. Wight, Los Angeles 1998

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