MALE Béatrix

Wife of Robert I, king of France.

Beatrix is mentioned in an act of Hugues le Grand dated 26 March 931 ["Hugo rector abbatiæ sancti Martini, ... et genitoris nostri Rotberti quondam regis ac genitricis nostræ domnæ Beatricis, ..." RHF 9: 719], and her name appears in abbreviated form ("Be.") in another act ["... et Rotbertus prefatus sancti Aniani pro remedio anime suæ et anime uxoris suæ Be. atque pro incolumitate filii sui Hugonis concessit fratribus." Vidier (1907), 317].

Date of birth: Unknown.
Place of birth:
Unknown.

Date of death: Unknown (but probably before 21 May 907).
The act of 26 March 931 has often been taken to indicate that Béatrix was still alive on that date, since the word quondam is applied only to Robert. However, as was pointed out by Peter Stewart in the soc.genealogy.medieval newsgroup, if Béatrix were still alive in 931, then she would have been married to Robert during the time that he was king of France (922-3), and she should therefore in that case appear as regina in the 931 act, and not merely as domna. The two interpretations are obviously mutually inconsistent, and the scenario in which Béatrix died before Robert became king seems more likely. If the countess Adèle who appears next to Robert in a document of 21 May 907 was his wife at the time, as seems likely (see the page of Robert I), then Béatrix would have died before that date.
Place of death: Unknown.

Father: Unknown.
Mother:
Unknown.
See the Commentary section.

Spouse: Robert I, d. 923, marquis of Neustria; later king of France, 922-3.

Children:

MALE Hugues "le Grand", d. 16×17 June 956, duke of the Franks;
m. (1) NN,
daughter of Roger, count of Maine, by his wife Rothilde;
m. (2) 926, Eadhild, daughter of Eadweard (Edward) "the Elder", king of the West Saxons;
m. (3) 937, Hadwig, d. 9 January after 958, daughter of Heinrich I, king of Germany.

See the page of Robert I for other children of Robert whose mother is not directly documented.



Commentary

Supposed father (very doubtful): Heribert I, count of Vermandois.

This link was commonly assumed to be correct in the nineteenth and early twentienth centuries. However, this claim was questioned by Erich Brandenburg, who objected to the apparent uncle-niece marriage and expressed doubt as to Béatrix's name ["angeblich Beatrix genannt" Brandenburg (1964), 88, n. 3]. Karl Ferdinand Werner dealt with both of these objections, by giving the evidence that the mother of Hugues le Grand was indeed named Béatrix (see above), and by pointing out that Heribert's wife could have been a daughter of Robert I by another marriage [Werner (1967), 458, n. 4]. In addition, Christian Settipani gave an onomastic argument for making Heribert I the father of Béatrix, pointing out that Béatrix's son Hugues le Grand had an illegitimate son named Heribert [Settipani (1993), 222, n. 220]. Unfortunately, neither Werner nor Settipani mentioned any of the primary evidence for the parentage of Béatrix. Other recent accounts have included Helmut Schwager arguing against the affiliation [Schwager (1994), Excurs 4, 406-9] and Constance Bouchard arguing for it [Bouchard (1981), 282, n. 34; Bouchard (2001), 215, n. 1]. Most recently, in a number of postings to the internet newsgroup/mailing list soc.genealogy.medieval/GEN-MEDIEVAL, Peter Stewart has argued persuasively against placing Béatrix as a daughter of Heribert I.

The claim that Hugues le Grand was born to Robert I by a sister of Heribert II of Vermandois appears once in the eleventh century and then several times in the twelfth century:

There are several reasons to doubt this parentage of Béatrix:

Thus, the only arguments in favor of the affiliation of Béatrix to Heribert I are Historia Francorum Senonensis, a dubious source, and the onomastics involving an illegitimate son of Hugues le Grand. Onomastic arguments involving illegitimate children are generally weak (because of the usual lack of knowledge about the child's maternal ancestry), and the evidence for the relationship does not seem to be strong enough to counter the negative evidence.

Falsely attributed father: Hugues, "duke of Burgundy".
This is due to Aubry de Troisfontaines (who is referring to Hugues le Grand as Hugues "Capet") ["At Roberto regi non in regnum, sed in ducatum successit filius eius Hugo, qui Magnus est et Cappatus a cappa Domini, quam de terra promissionis transvexisse fertur in Franciam, appellatus. Huius mater filia fuit ducis Hugonis Burgundie, unde et heredes eius adhuc ducatum retinent." Aubry de Troisfontaines, s.a. 922, MGH SS 23: 757; "Avia autem huius regis Hugonis, mater videlicet Hugonis Cappet fuit per consequentiam filia illius Hugonis Capito, qui erat dux Burgundie inferioris, et fuit frater regis Rodulphi et comitis Vitriaci Bosonis." ibid., s.a. 988, p. 774]. This Hugues, supposedly "duke of Burgundy", is apparently a reference to Hugues "the Abbot", uncle (not brother) of king Rudolf I of Burgundy.

Vajay:
Falsely attributed second husband: Udo, d. 949, count in Wetterau.
Falsely attributed children:
MALE Gebhard, d. 938.
MALE Konrad, d. 20 August 997, duke of Swabia.
MALE Heribert, d. 992, count in Kinziggau.
FEMALE Judith, m. Heinrich, count.
[Vajay (1980), 770-1] Szabolcs de Vajay's claim was that after the death of Robert I, Béatrix married the "Konradiner" count Udo, and was mother by him of four children. (The controversies regarding the parentage of some of these children do not involve Béatrix, and need not be discussed here.) No good evidence was offered for identifying the two alleged sisters as the same individual.


Bibliography

Bib. Hist. Yonne = Louis-Maximilien Duru, ed., Bibliothèque historique de l'Yonne, 2 vols., (Auxerre & Paris, 1850-63).

Bouchard (1981) = Constance Brittain Bouchard, "Consanguinity and Noble Marriages in the Tenth and Eleventh Centuries", Speculum 56 (1981): 268-287.

Bouchard (2001) = Constance Brittain Bouchard, "Those of my Blood" Constructing Noble Families in Medieval Francia (Philadelphia, 2001).

Brandenburg (1964) = Erich Brandenburg, Die Nachkommen Karls des Großen (Frankfurt, 1964).

Flodoard, Annales = Ph. Lauer, ed., Les Annales de Flodoard (Paris, 1905).

GND = Guillaume de Jumièges, Gesta Normannorum Ducum, as edited in Elisabeth van Houts, ed. & trans., The Gesta Normannorum Ducum of William of Jumièges, Orderic Vitalis and Robert of Torigni, 2 vols., (Oxford, 1992). Citation is by book and chapter, with the volume and page number of the edition by van Houts in parentheses.

GND (Orderic) = Additions to GND by Orderic Vitalis.

GND (Rob. Tor.) = Additions to GND by Robert de Torigny.

Lot (1891) = Ferdinand Lot, Les derniers Carolingiens (Paris, 1891).

MGH SS = Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores series.

OV = Marjorie Chibnall, ed. & trans., The Ecclesiastical History of Orderic Vitalis, 6 vols. (Oxford, 1969-80).

RHF = Recueil des historiens des Gaules et de la France.

Schwager (1994) = Helmut Schwager, Graf Heribert II. von Soissons, Omois, Meaux, Madrie sowie Vermandois (900/06-943) und die Francia (Nord-Frankreich) in der 1. Hälfte des 10. Jahrhunderts (Münchener historische Studien Abteilung mittelalterliche Geschichte, 6, 1994).

Settipani (1993) = Christian Settipani, La préhistoire des Capétiens 481-987 (Première partie - Mérovingiens, Carolingiens et Robertiens) (Villeneuve d'Ascq, 1993).

Vajay (1980) = Szabolcs de Vajay, "Comtesses d'origine occitane dans la Marche d'Espagne aux 10e et 11e siècles", Hidalguia 28 (1980): 585-616, 755-788.

Vidier (1907) = A. Vidier, "Notices sur des actes d'affranchissement & de précaire concernant Saint-Aignan d'Orléans", Le Moyen Age 20 (1907), 289-317.

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
This page owes much to several postings made by Peter Stewart on the topic of Béatrix on the internet newsgroup/mailing list soc.genealogy.medieval/GEN-MEDIEVAL.

First uploaded 26 July 2008.

Minor revision uploaded 23 February 2009: added note on Vajay's theory that Udo was her second husband.

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