Baldwin III perhaps appears as early as 8 July 942 (when he would still have been a boy), as a witness to an act of his father Arnulf ["S. Balduini filii Arnulfi Marchysi?" Cart. S.-Pierre de Gand, 1: 26 (#18); note, however, the qualification by a question mark, indicating an uncertain reading], and he appears again as a witness on 10 July 953 ["S. Balduini filii Arnulphi" ibid., 1: 29 (#22)]. On 8 September 954, Baldwin appears with the title of count as a witness to an act of his mother Adèle ["Signum Balduini comitis" ibid., 1: 30 (#23)]. He appears in 957 fighting against Roger, count of Ponthieu, for the castle at Amiens ["Bellorum tumultus agitantur ...; item in Francia inter Balduinum filium Arnulfi et Rotgarium quondam Erluini ob castrum Ambianense." Flodoard's annals, s.a. 957, MGH SS 3: 404]. He is said to have ruled briefly as joint count with his father Arnulf I [Chronicon Trunchinense, s.a. 958, de Smet 1: 596], but he died before his father, leaving a son Arnulf who eventually succeeded. Count Baldwin's name appears in lists of abbots of St. Bertin [MGH SS 13: 391, 607], and he would appear to have held that office for a short period.
Date of Birth: Say 936.
Since Baldwin's parents were married in 934, and he was active by 957, this estimate should not be too far off.
Place of Birth: Unknown.
Date of Death: 1 January 962, of smallpox
Place of Death: Unknown, buried at Saint-Bertin
Folcwine states that Baldwin came down with smallpox on Christmas of a year which appears to be 961, that he died on the first of January, and that he was buried at Saint-Bertin in 961 ["Post hoc autem adveniente nativitatis Christi die, prefatus comes Baldwinus morbo quem medici variolam vocant cepit egrotare tristemque nobis festum sua reddidit incommoditate. Die autem Kalendarum Ianuariarum, quo celebrantur octavae nativitatis dominicae, quod lacrimosum est etiam dicere, cursum presentis finivit vitae. ... Sepultus est autem in hoc ipso monasterio, in medio beati patris Bertini requietionis templo anno nativitatis Christi 961, indictione 4, regnante Hlothario rege anno 8." Gesta abbatum S. Bertini Sithiensum, c. 110, MGH SS 13: 632 (indiction 4 would match 961, the eighth year of Lothaire would match 962)]. Annales Blandiniensis, Annales Elmarenses, and Annales Elnonenses (minores) all give 962 as the year [Grierson (1937), 20, 86, 151; with a duplicate entry under 967 in Annales Elmarenses (p. 86)]. It is evident that 962 is the correct year.
Father: Arnulf I, d. 27 March 964×5, count of Flanders.
Adèle (Attala), d. 960, daughter of Heribert II, count of Vermandois.
["Ipse namque iam predictus comes venerabilis Arnulfus accepit coniugum nomine Adelam, domni Heriberti comitis filiam atque duorum Francorum regum, Odonis scilicet atque Rotberti, neptem. Ex qua, Deo protegente, genuit filium eligantis formae nomine Balduinum, ..." Witger, Genealogia Arnulfi comitis, MGH SS 9: 303-4; "Arnulfus marchio magnus, qui dicebatur Contractus, ex Adela filia Hereberti comitis Virmandorum filium genuit nomine Balduinum." De Arnulfo comite, MGH SS 9: 304; "Huius autem abbatis et comitis Arnulfi nobilissima coniunx Attala, ..., ipse videlicet et uxor sua supra memorata Attala filiusque eorum Baldwinus, ..." Folcwine, Gesta abbatum S. Bertini Sithiensum, c. 106, MGH SS 13: 627-8]
m. not long before 961
["... Baldwinus, juventutis flore honestissimus, cum
coniuge nuperrime desponsata nomine Mahthilda, Saxonici generis,
..." Folcwine, Gesta abbatum S. Bertini
Sithiensum, c. 106, MGH SS 13: 632]
Mathilde, d. 25 May 1009, daughter of Hermann, duke of Sachsen (Saxony). She m. (2), Godefroid/Gottfried, count of Verdun, by whom she had several children.
[See Mathilde's page for details.]
Arnulf II, d. March 987×8, count of Flanders, 964×5-987×8;
m. Rozala (Susanna), d. 1003, daughter of Berengario II, king of Italy.
["Qui Balduinus ex Mathilde filium genuit Arnolfum minorem, et immatura morte praeventus morbo variolorum periit." De Arnulfo Comite, MGH SS 9: 304]
Possible illegitimate son (status uncertain):
Azelinus) or Albert
Tronchiennes, bishop of Paris, ca. 1016- ca. 1018; deposed; d.
(probably soon after) on 29 January of an unknown year
["[29 Jan.] IV cal. [Feb.] Ob. Ascelinus Adalbertus de
[T]runcin[is]villa, episcopus Parisiensis [cca. 1019]"
Obituaire de Notre-Dame de Paris, Obit Sens 1: 224].
The History of the Bishops of Cambrai states that Azelinus was an illegitimate son of a count Baldwin of Flanders, and in 995 tried unsuccessfully to become bishop of Cambrai through the influence of Sophia, sister of the emperor ["Quidam quoque Azelinus nomine, de Truncinis villa, Balduini Flandrensium comitis de concubina filius, postea tamen Parisiorum episcopus, Sophiam sororem iuvenis imperatoris pecunia adorsus est, ut eius obtenu pontificii culmen sortiretur." Gesta episcoporum Cameracensium i, 110, MGH SS 7: 448]. In 1012, he made another attempt, also unsuccessful [ibid., i, 122, p. 454].
If the History of the Bishops of Cambrai (from the middle of the eleventh century) is accurate regarding the parentage of bishop Ascelin, Baldwin III would be the only count of Flanders named Baldwin who would make a chronologically feasible father for Ascelin. This statement is complicated by the appearance in later sources of an Albert alias Ascelin, a former bishop of Paris (identified by some with an Alberic who was bishop about that time) alleged to have been an illegitimate son of Balduinus Calvus (i.e., Baldwin II of Flanders), who supposedly became provost of Tronchiennes in 951 and died in 977 [see the page of Baldwin II for further details]. The coincidence in which both Baldwin II and Baldwin III would have illegitimate sons bearing the same two aliases, both with connections to Tronchiennes and both bishops of Paris, has been dealt with in different ways. The biographical article for Ascelin in DBF combines the two accounts into a biography of a single individual (discarding the 977 death), giving Ascelin a 67+ year career starting in 951. The DBF biography states that Ascelin was very probably the son of Arnulf I (obviously to avoid the chronological problem that someone with a 951-1018 career could not be a son of either Baldwin II or Baldwin III), but then contradicts this statement by calling Arnulf II a brother of Ascelin [DBF 3: 1238-1240]. Vanderkindere lists two different men [Vanderkindere (1902), 1: 287 (Albert, son of Baldwin II), 293 (Azelin, son of Baldwin III, with no source cited)]. Brandenburg (1964) and Werner (1967) mention the earlier man, but not the later one.
The coincidence seems too suspicious to accept both affiliations, and it seems likely that confusion has led elements of one to be transferred to the other. The present Ascelin is clearly historical, and the statement from a century later that he was an illegitimate son of Baldwin (III), while not contemporary, is a plausible enough to be considered as a reasonable possibility. These comments about Ascelin should be read in conjunction with the comments on the page of Baldwin II concerning the latter's alleged illegitimate son Albert alias Ascelin.
Falsely attributed wife
(or, falsely attributed parentage of wife Mathilde):
Mathilde, daughter of Conrad, king of Burgundy.
Falsely attributed daughter: Bertha, mother of Gerald, count of Genève.
[Anselme 2: 715] Bertha was a daughter of Mathilde, daughter of king Conrad of Burgundy, so that the false claim that Conrad's daughter was Baldwin's wife has led to the false attribution of Bertha as Baldwin's daughter. This is discussed in detail on the page of Mathilde, wife of Baldwin III.
Falsely attributed daughter: Jeanne, mother of Wolbodo, bishop of Liège. [Vanderkindere (1902), 1: 293, citing Meyer, Rerum Flandr., 67, with a remark that the attribution is in error.]
Annales Blandinenses = Grierson (1937), 1-73.
Annales Elmarenses = Grierson (1937), 74-115.
Annales Elnonenses = Grierson (1937), 132-175.
Brandenburg (1964) = Erich Brandenburg, Die Nachkommen Karls des Großen (Frankfurt, 1964).
Cart. S.-Pierre de Gand = A. Van Lokeren, Chartes et documents de l'abbaye de Saint-Pierre au Mont Blandin à Gand, 2 vols. (Gand, 1868-71).
DBF = Dictionnaire de Biographie Française.
Grierson (1937) = Philip Grierson, ed., Les Annales de Saint-Pierre de Gand et de Saint-Amand (Brussels, 1937). [Annales Blandinenses, Annales Elmarenses, Annales Formoselenses, Annales Elnonenses]
MGH SS = Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores series.
Obit. Sens = Obituaires de la Province de Sens (2 vols. in 3, Paris, 1902-6).
Vanderkindere (1902) = Léon Vanderkindere, La Formation Territoriale des Principautes Belge au Moyen Age (2 vols., 2nd ed., Brussels, 1902, reprinted 1981).
Werner (1967) = Karl Ferdinand Werner, "Die Nachkommen Karls des Großen bis um das Jahr 1000 (1.-8. Generation)", Karl der Große 4 (1967): 403-483.
Compiled by Stewart Baldwin
Uploaded 27 May 2002
Major revision uploaded 12 October 2006. (with thanks to Peter Stewart, for comments on previous version)
Minor revision uploaded 25 November 2007.
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