FEMALE Gerberge

Wife of Adalberto, king of Italy, and Henri, duke of Burgundy.

Date of birth: Unknown.
Place of birth:

Date of death: 11 December, 986×992.
The obituary of Saint-Germain d'Auxerre gives her date of death as 11 December ["tertio idus decembris obiit Gerberga, comitissa, uxor Henrici Ducis" Petit, 1: 70, n. 3]. She was still alive in April 986, when she appears in a charter with her husband [Eudes-]Henri and son [Otte-]Guillaume ["... Henricus Burgundiæ dux, Erbertus Autissiodorensium pontifex, Guillelmus comes, Galterius episcopus, Giberta comitissa, ..." GC 12: Instrumenta, 320-1 (#29)]. Her husband Eudes-Henri of Burgundy had remarried to his second wife Gersende by 11 May 993 [see Lot (1903), 417, n. 6 and the Commentary section below].
Place of death: Unknown.

Father: Lambert, count of Chalon.
Gerberge was a sister of count Hugues of Chalon (for reasons discussed in great detail in the Commentary section below), who is proven by several sources to have been a son of count Lambert of Chalon [e.g., "Hugo Cabilonensis, ex patre Lamberto, comitum venerabilissimo, et matre Adelaide generosissima" Gesta pontificum Autissiodorensium, c. 49, Bib. Hist. Yonne, 1: 386-7; "... Hugo, filius Lanberti Cabilonensis comitis, ..." Rodulfus Glaber, Book 3, ii, 6 (p. 57)].
Mother: Unknown.
For chronological reasons which are discussed in the Commentary section, it is unlikely that Gerberge was a daughter of Lambert's known wife Adélaïde.


(1) Adalberto, still alive July 968, joint-king of Italy.
Adalberto was still living in July 968 [Liutprand, Relatio de legatione Constantinopolitana, c. 29-30, MGH SS 3: 353]. He is documented as the father of Gerberge's son Otte-Guillaume (see below, and on the page of Otte-Guillaume).

(2) perhaps ca. 974, Eudes alias Henri, d. 15 October 1002, duke of Burgundy.
Often called by the hyphenated form Eudes-Henri in modern literature, he usually appears as Henri in the records, but is called Eudes by Flodoard ["Otho, filius Hugonis, qui Burgundiae praeerat obiit; et rectores ejusdem terrae ad Hugonem et Oddonem clericum, fratres ipsius, sese convertunt." Flodoard, Annales, s.a. 965, 156]. He appears as the adopted father of Otte-Guillaume and husband of Gerberge in a charter of Otte-Guillaume dated 1004 ["Otto comes, cognomento Willelmus, ... Dedit idem comes Otto sancto Benigno potestatem Vivariensis ville pro anima Hinrici ducis, qui eum loco filii adoptavit, et genetricis sue Gerberge uxoris predicti ducis, ac filii sui Widonis, et Hermintrudis coniugis. Proque anime sue salute dedit predictam potestatem cum appenditiis suis, sicut dono predicti ducis Hinrici et uxoris eius sue vero genetricis Gerberge, sibi datam legaliter tenuerat annis XXX, ita integram cum ecclesiis in ea sitis: ... Facta est hec donatio anno ab Incarnatione Domini nostri Ihesu XRI M IIII, indictione II." Chron. S.-Bénigne, 162-4]. The thirty year period given in that charter has been used to estimate the time of marriage of Gerberge to Eudes-Henri [Lot (1903), 417, n. 5 suggests that the thirty year period is formulaic]. The Annales de Sainte-Colombe de Sens give 15 October 1002 as his date of death ["Idus Octobr. Heinricus dux Burgundie obiit." Annales sanctæ Columbæ Senonensis, s.a. 1002, Bib. Hist. Yonne, 1: 206; see also Lex (1892), 66].

(by Adalberto)
["Necnon etiam Willemus, Heinrici ducis privignus, Adalberti Longobardum ducis filius, ..." Rodulfus Glaber, lib. 3, ii, 6 (pp. 56-7); "Heinricus successit [to Otto, duke of Burgundy]; cuius filius fuit Odo Belnensis, et privignus eius Willelmus advena, Rainaldi comitis pater." Hugues de Flavigny, Chronicon, Book 2, s.a. 995, MGH SS 8: 368]

MALE Otte-Guillaume, d. 1026, count of Burugndy.


Falsely attributed father: Liétaud, count of Mâcon.
Falsely attributed father (mythical): Otto, count of Mâcon, supposed son of Liétaud.

The controversy over the parentage of Gerberge

No known primary source offers any direct information about Gerberge's parentage. However, there are two pieces of evidence which have been interpreted as bearing on her parentage, each leading in a different direction, and this has led to controversy among scholars regarding her origin. One source leads to the conclusion that Gerberge was a daughter of Lambert, count of Chalon, and the other leads to the conclusion that she was either a daughter or granddaughter of Liétaud, count of Mâcon. For convenience, we shall refer to these two alternatives as the Lambert Hypothesis and the Liétaud Hypothesis respectively. The problem goes further than just the existence of these two alternatives, for there are a number of other questions discussed below (listed as Questions 1 through 7 for convenient reference), some of which seem unrelated at first glance, which are intertwined to various degrees with the question of Gerberge's parentage. Some of these questions are discussed in more detail on other linked pages of the Henry Project to which they are more relevant.

This controversy has had a long history. Scholars favoring the Lambert Hypothesis have included Sackur (1892-4), Poupardin (1907), Werner (1967), Bouchard (1987), and Settipani (1994), while the Liétaud Hypothesis has been favored by Hirsch (1862-75), Pfister (1885), Rameau (1901), and Vajay (1962), among others [see also Poupardin (1907), 414; Vajay (1962), 156, n. 2, for longer lists of those who have supported the various sides of the argument]. However, scholars on the same side of the Lambert/Liétaud question have sometimes differed on one or more of the related questions below. At the present time, the Lambert Hypothesis seems to be the current consensus, and that will also be the conclusion reached here, but with a degree of confidence which is less than what would be desired. We start with an outline of the main evidence for each of the two hypotheses, and a discussion of some of the main arguments which have been given in each direction.

The Lambert Hypothesis

The main primary source for the hypothesis that Gerberge was a daughter of Lambert of Chalon is the history of the bishops of Auxerre, which states that Gerberge's second husband duke [Eudes-]Henri was married to a sister (germana) of Hugues, count of Chalon and bishop of Auxerre, son of Lambert, count of Chalon, by his wife Adélaïde ["Hugo Cabilonensis, ex patre Lamberto, comitum venerabilissimo, et matre Adelaide generosissima; ... Contigit etiam tunc temporis, post mortem scilicet Henrici ducis, qui ejus [i.e., Hugues] germanam uxorem duxerat, ut Burgundionum permaximi regi Roberto rebelles existerent, ..." Gesta pontificum Autissiodorensium, c. 49, Bib. Hist. Yonne, 1: 386-7]. The name of the wife who was a sister of Hugues is not stated in this source. Supporters of the Lambert Hypothesis argue that this sister of Hugues who married Eudes-Henri was Gerberge, while most supporters of the Liétaud Hypothesis would identify her with a later wife. In fact, Vajay takes the argument even further, arguing that the language of the passage (specifically, the words tunc temporis) implies that the wife in question was the wife to whom Eudes-Henri was married at the time of his death [Vajay (1962), 163]. This interpretation can not be sustained, for tunc temporis refers to events after the death of [Eudes]-Henri (post mortem scilicet Henrici ducis), and the marriage in question is an incidental event which clearly did not happen after [Eudes]-Henri's death [Chizelle (1986), 65; Settipani (1994), 13]. Still, as any wife whose origin is not known might qualify as the wife in question, the marital history of Eudes-Henri is clearly relevant, and is discussed in Question 3 below. As discussed there, the only two known wives of Eudes-Henri were Gerberge and Gersende, and the latter was of Gascon origin, so the natural interpretation of the Gesta pontificum Autissiodorensium would be that it was speaking of Gerberge, unless good evidence could be produced that there was a third wife. The supposed existence of a third wife is no more than a conjecture (see Question 3). Another argument which has been used by some supporters of the Liétaud Hypothesis to explain away this source is to interpret the word germana as meaning "cousin" [Pfister (1885), 393, n. 2; Rameau (1901), 139-140], mentioning a charter in which Liétaud refers to a Lambert (perhaps Lambert of Chalon) as a cousin ["ego Leotaldus et uxor mea Berta, ..., quem mihi Lanbertus, consanguineus meus, dedit, et soror mea Attala michi postea reddidit, ...", February 944, Cart. Cluny, 1: 609-610 (#655)]. However, the literal meaning of germana is full sister, and the definition sometimes extends to half sister (probably the case here, as will be argued below). Such a further extended meaning for germana as suggested by Pfister and Rameau is improbable.

Another group of documents used by proponents of the Lambert Hypothesis to support their case consists of three charters in which an otherwise unidentified count Otto is called a nepos of Hugues of Chalon. One of these appears in the cartulary of Paray-le-Monial ["Quidam nobilis miles, domnus Hugo comes Cabilonensium, ...; S. Hugonis comitis. S. Ottonis nepotis ejus. S. Teudbaldi nepotis ejus. S. Maltidis sororis ejus." Cart. Paray-le-Monial, 91-2 (#184)], another from the abbey of Flavigny, ["Landricus comes. Otto comes nepos Hugonis episcopi. Tetbaldus nepos ipsius episcopi." Poupardin (1907), 416, n. 3, citing Duchesne, Hist. de la Maison de Vergy, pr., p. 60 (the latter not available to me)], and a third of 1020 from Cluny ["Ugo, comes et episcopus, et nepos ejus, Otto, comes" Cart. Cluny, 3: 754 (#2729)]. The term nepos, which usually means "nephew" (and certainly means that for the Teudbaldus/Tetbaldus of the first two charters, i.e., Thibaud de Semur, count of Chalon), can also have a more general meaning of "relative". However, there is also the question of identification. Supporters of the Lambert Hypothesis would identify the count Otto of these three charters with Otte-Guillaume, and use this as evidence that Otte-Guillaume was a nephew of Hugues, while supporters of the Liétaud Hypothesis would identify count Otto with Otte-Guillaume's grandson Otto of Mâcon, and use it as evidence for the marriage of Otto of Mâcon's father, as is discussed below in Question 2. Each side of the question can produce an argument that points to their identification being correct. One argument concerns the Paray-le-Monial charter, in which Hugues is only called count of Chalon, with no indication that he was also bishop of Auxerre. This is a strong indication that the charter was signed before Hugues became bishop in 999. At this early date, it is extremely improbable that the charter would involve the younger Otto, who could only have been an infant at the time. On the other side, supporters of the Liétaud Hypothesis point out that Otte-Guillaume and Hugues were enemies, and suggest that Otte-Guillaume would have been unlikely to sign a charter which named him as a nephew of Hugues.

One of the strengths of the Lambert Hypothesis is that it is supported by independent sources, for the Gesta pontificum Autissiodorensium and the three charters all lead naturally to the same conclusion that Otte-Guillaume was a son of a sister of Hugues. While the supporters of the Liétaud Hypothesis explain this evidence away by alternate scenarios, the mutual support of these pieces of evidence still seems like more than a coincidence.

The Liétaud Hypothesis

The basis for this hypothesis is a charter from 1017×1025 of Otto, count of Mâcon (son of Guy, son of Otte-Guillaume, son of Adalbert and Gerberge), which, in addition to naming his father Gui and grandfather Otte-Guillaume, mentions his atavus Liétaud ["... ego Otto, comes Maticensis, ..., pro peccatorum quoque meroum abolitione, animæ etiam meæ et patris mei Guidonis, necnon avi mei Ottonis cognomento Wilelmi, et uxoris meæ et filii mei Gaufredi, omniumque parentum et fidelium meorum remedio, ... sicuti jam ante comes Leotaldus, atavus meus, ..." Cart. Cluny, 3: 735-6 (#2712)]. Since Otto, Guy, Otte-Guillaume, and Liétaud were all counts of Mâcon, the term atavus (great-great-great-grandfather) could lead one to conclude that Otte-Guillaume was a descendant of Liétaud, a great-grandson if the number of generations indicated by the term atavus is interpreted literally. Most supporters of the Liétaud Hypothesis would make Gerberga a daughter of Liétaud [e.g., Hirsch (1862-75), 1: 383, n. 4; Rameau (1901), 132, 139-140, 144-5]. Vajay satisfies the literal definition of atavus by allowing an additional generation, making Gerberge a daughter of a supposed elder son of Liétaud named Otto who is said to have died before his father after leaving a daughter Gerberge [Vajay (1962), 160-1]. This Otto, alleged son of Liétaud, is first known to have appeared in manuscripts of the seventeenth century historian Chifflet [ibid., 160 & n. 2, 4], and is mentioned by Severt, another Burgundian historian of the seventeenth century [ibid., 160, n. 4]. However, there is no good reason to suppose that this Otto ever existed, for he does not appear in any early records, and his supposed appearance in later sources does not inspire confidence [see Chizelle (1986), 63-5; Bouchard (1987), 267-8; Settipani (1994), 16-18]. Vajay's version of the Liétaud Hypothesis can be safely set aside. The version in which Gerberge is a daughter of Liétaud is at first glance at least plausible, and would have the advantage of explaining Otte-Guillaume's position as count of Mâcon as being a direct blood inheritance (see Question 7 below).

However, it is also clear that there are other possible interpretations of this evidence. One possibility is that atavus was used in the figurative sense of "ancestor" or "predecessor", since Liétaud was a predecessor of Otto as count of Mâcon [Poupardin (1907), 419, who gives classical examples of this usage]. Another is that Otto was a descendant of Liétaud in some other way, perhaps through his otherwise unknown mother. Two conjectures along those lines are discussed in Question 2 below. Yet another possibility, suggested by Sackur [Sackur (1892-4), 2: 469-471], would identify Liétaud's sister Attala as the mother of Gerberge, based on a charter from Cluny from February 944, already mentioned above [Cart. Cluny, 1: 609-610 (#655)]. This possibility is discussed further at the bottom of this page. The existence of these alternate interpretations is one of the major weaknesses of the Liétaud Hypothesis. In contrast to the independent pieces of evidence supporting the Lambert Hypothesis, the Liétaud Hypothesis has, as its main positive piece of evidence, a source with a number of plausible interpretations.

Related questions

We now discuss the answers to six questions, all of which are related in some way to the question of Gerberge's parentage, and will illustrate some of the arguments which have been given on both sides of this question. Some of these questions are discussed in more detail on other pages where they are relevant.

Question 1: Was Ermentrude, wife of Otte-Guillaume, count of Burgundy, the widow of Aubry II, count of Mâcon?

The source of the claim that Otte-Guillaume married Aubry's widow is a list of counts of Mâcon which appears in the cartulary of Saint-Vincent de Mâcon, which includes a statement that count Guillaume (i.e., Otte-Guillaume) married the widow of Aubry II ["... post hunc, Leotaldus filius ejus; atque post illum, Albericus filius Leotaldi comitis; quo mortuo, dominus Guillelmus comes uxorem illius accepit; atque post hunc, Otto comes fuit;..." Cart. Mâcon, 6 (#7)]. The usual interpretation (which there seems to be no reason to doubt) is that the Guillelmus comes who appears between Aubry II (Albericus) and Otto is Otte-Guillaume, appearing under one of his two names. This also fits very well with the fact that Aubry's only documented wife and Otte-Guillaume's first documented wife had the same name (see Ermentrude's page for more details). This evidence also provides a likely explanation of how Otte-Guillaume obtained a claim to the countship of Mâcon, as discussed further in Question 7 below.

Of the two main arguments which have been brought against the identification of Aubry's wife and Otte-Guillaume's wife, one is chronological. If Aubry II were still alive on 12 November 981, as an indirect reference to him in one charter might indicate (see the page of Aubry II), then there would not be much room to allow for Aubry's death, Ermentrude's marriage to Otte-Guillaume, their son Guy's birth, and the birth of Guy's son Otto before Otto appears as "adolescens" in a charter of July 1004 ["S. Ottonis adolescentis comitis" Cart. Mâcon, 283 (#487)]. This is discussed in more detail on Ermentrude's page. Since it is not necessarily the case that Aubry's death needs to be placed that late (see the page of Aubry II), there is no valid reason to accept this objection to the statement by an apparently reliable source that Otte-Guillaume married Aubry's widow. It is interesting to note that Vajay, in arguing against this identification, did not even mention the primary source on which it is based [Vajay (1962)].

Another objection to the identification comes from proponents of the Liétaud Hypothesis. If Gerberge were in fact a daughter of Liétaud, then the identification of Ermentrude, wife of Aubry II (son of the said Liétaud), with Ermentrude, wife of Otte-Guillaume, would have Otte-Guillaume marrying the widow of his uncle, something that would have been likely to raise an objection on canonical grounds. However, this argument also works the other way. If Otte-Guillaume did in fact marry Aubry's widow, as the evidence suggests, then it becomes unlikely that he was a nephew of Aubry, as suggested by the Liétaud Hypothesis. Thus, the evidence of this list is another thing that proponents of the Liétaud Hypothesis need to explain away.

Question 2: What can be said about the wife of Guy, joint-count of Mâcon, son of Otte-Guillaume?

There is no known direct evidence for the identity of the wife of Guy and mother of Otto, count of Mâcon. However, there are three different conjectures which have arisen regarding her identity. What is most interesting about this is that each of these conjectures involves an alternate explanation of some of the evidence which has been used to argue in favor of either the Lambert Hypothesis or the Liétaud Hypothesis. Thus, if any one of these (mutually exclusive) conjectures were true, certain evidence in favor of one hypothesis or the other would evaporate.

The first of these two conjectures involves the three charters mentioned above, in which an otherwise unidentified count Otto is called a nepos of count-bishop Hugues of Chalon (see above, under the Lambert Hypothesis). In the Lambert Hypothesis, this Otto is identified with Otte-Guillaume, and the charters form one group of the evidence arguing that Otte-Guillaume was a nephew of Hugues. For Vajay, however, these charters are all referring to Otte-Guillaume's grandson, count Otto of Mâcon, whom he made a son of Guy by Aélis, an otherwise undocumented daughter of Lambert, count of Chalon [Vajay (1962), 160, n. 4; Rameau (1901), 141 calls Guy's wife Adélaïde de Chalon without identifying her parentage]. As already noted, this interpretation of the charters is undermined by the fact that the interpretation identifying the count as Otte-Guillaume fits so well with the evidence of the Gesta pontificum Autissiodorensium, which the supporters of the Liétaud Hypothesis then have to try to explain away in a completely different way (see Question 3).

The second conjecture involves an alternate interpretation of the charter of count Otto of Mâcon of 1017×25, in which he mentions his atavus Liétaud, the same charter which forms the basis of the Liétaud Hypothesis. Chaume conjectured that this relationship came through Otto's mother, whom he placed as a daughter of Béatrix de Mâcon (granddaughter of Liétaud) by her first husband Geoffroy, count of Gâtinais [Chaume (1925), 1: 465; 533 (table 3)]. Clearly, the truth of this conjecture would eliminate the premise for the Liétaud Hypothesis. However, unlike the first conjecture (where there are only two plausible candidates for the identification of count Otto, nepos of Hugues), this conjecture is not an either-or situation. There are more than two ways of interpreting the charter of 1017×25 (for example, by interpreting in the figurative sense as meaning predecessor in the same office, as above), so even though we are arguing here that the Liétaud Hypothesis is incorrect, it does not follow that Chaume's conjecture is correct (see the page of Béatrix).

The third conjecture is a variation of the second, and is given by Anselme, who cites Samuel Guichenon [Anselme 8: 410]. This version makes Guy's wife a daughter of count Aubry II of Mâcon (son of Liétaud), and is clearly another attempt to explain the evidence of the charter of 1017×25.

Question 3: Who were the other wives of Gerberge's second husband Eudes-Henri, duke of Burgundy?

This question is important because any wife of Eudes-Henri could, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, arguably be the wife described by the Gesta pontificum Autissiodorensium who was a sister of count-bishop Hugues. Indeed, for those who seek the parentage of Gerberge elsewhere, the suggestion that this wife was someone other than Gerberge is the most natural way to explain away the evidence of the Gesta. For example, Hirsch made this suggestion without offering any specifics [Hirsch (1862-75), 1: 383, n. 4], and Vajay had a more specific conjecture regarding a third wife which we shall discuss below. However, let us first rule out the possibility that the Gesta was referring to Eudes-Henri's second wife Gersende.

The second marriage of Eudes-Henri to a wife named Gersende is well documented. After the last known appearance of Gerberge in 986, Eudes-Henri appears several times with Gersende starting with a donation to Saint-Symphorien d'Autun on 11 May 993 [Lot (1903), 417, n. 6, citing Chifflet, Lettre touchant Beatrix, comtesse de Chalon, p. 198, no. 170 (not seen by me)]. Since Gersende appears in several charters after the disappearance of Gerberge from the records, and the names Gerberge and Gersende are not variants of each other, we can safely reject Bouchard's suggestion that Gerberge and Gersende were the same person [Bouchard (1987), 268]. There is no direct evidence regarding Gersende's origin, but her probable parentage was determined by Ferdinand Lot [Lot (1903), 414-422 (Appendice XII: Date de la composition du Rythmus satiricus)]. The history of the abbots of Condom mentions a Gersende, neptis of count Gimbald, sister of Sanche, duke of Gascony (d. 1030), who went to Burgundy, where she married ["Denique quædam nobilissima femina Gavarsens nomen dicta, ejus videlicet neptis, soror Sanctii Guasconiæ comitis, rediens a quadam provincia Burgundia vocata, ubi maritum habuerat, ..." Historia Abbatiæ Condomensis, Spicilegium, 2: 585; "... sed Sanctio comes post mortem Ugonis vim inferens, dedit suæ sorori, scilicet Guarsindæ, ...", ibid, 588]. The identification of Gersende, sister of Sanche, with Gersende, second wife of Eudes-Henri, appears to be confirmed by the poem Rythmus satiricus, written by Adalbero, bishop of Laon from 977 to (probably) 1031 ["Dolis armatus justifer [furcifer?] / Heinrico tollit feminam, / Prius Widoni gratiam, / Timens sponsae prudentiam. / Uxor petit Vasconiam, / Achitophel malitiam, / Dum, per jurandi sarcinam, / Totam conturbat patriam." Rythmus satiricus, strophes 14-15, Hückel (1901), 84]. Although it has been interpreted in different ways, this part of the poem appears to state that a wife was separated from Henri (through intrigue?) and that she then went to Gascony. Hückel would place the events between the years 1017 and 1023, and identify the Henri in question with the future king Henri I. Since Henri was too young to be married at that time, Hückel would identify femina in the second line of strophe 14 as referring figuratively to the government, and would identify the wife who went to Gascony as king Robert's wife Constance of Provence, with "Gascony" having a more general meaning that might include Provence [Hückel (1901), 74-7]. Lot places the events in 996, before the death of Hugues Capet, and identifies Henri with [Eudes-]Henri of Burgundy, allowing for a more natural interpretation [I would like to thank Peter Stewart for the detailed comments he posted on this poem on the internet newsgroup soc.genealogy.medieval in response to my questions there. See Stewart (2008)]. If Eudes-Henri's second wife Gersende returned to Gascony, that would support the identification with Gersende de Gascogne. While not conclusive, the evidence fits together well enough that it is hard to believe that it is a coincidence. The main point for our present purpose is that Eudes-Henri's second wife Gersende cannot be easily identified with the wife described by the Gesta pontificum Autissiodorensium.

That leaves the possibility of a third wife. As already mentioned above, Vajay, relying on an ill-advised reading of the language of the Gesta, interpreted the Gesta as stating that that the wife to whom Eudes-Henri was married at the time of his death was the one who was a sister of Hugues, causing him to deduce the existence of a third wife. This wife he identified with Mathilde/Mahaut, known to have married Geoffroy de Semur-en-Brionnais, by whom she was the mother of Thibaud, the successor of Hugues as count of Chalon. This was just part of an elaborate group of conjectures in which Vajay made Eudes-Henri and Mathilde the parents of a daughter Aremburge, wife of Damas I de Semur (son of Geoffroy by a previous wife), with Aremburge being the mother of Hélie de Semur, wife of duke Robert I of Burgundy and ancestor of the later Capetian dukes of Burgundy [Vajay (1962), 163-5, tables 1-2]. In this scenario, Mathilde does not marry Geoffroy until after the death of Eudes-Henri in 1002. Note that if charter #184 (discussed above) in the cartulary of Paray-le-Monial (in which Mathilde's son Thibaud appears) is to be dated before 999 (as the fact that Hugues is not called bishop would suggest), then that would rule out such a late marriage for Mathilde and Geoffroy.

Question 4: Was Adélaïde's son Maurice by her second husband Geoffroy?

The Adélaïde mentioned in this question was Adélaïde, wife of count Lambert of Chalon. This question is intimately connected with the question of the identity of Adélaïde's second husband, i.e., was he Geoffroy I "Grisegonelle" (d. 987), count of Anjou, or was he another man named Geoffroy. To state the situation briefly, Geoffroy "Grisegonelle" had a son named Maurice [the the page of Geoffroy I]. Adélaïde had a son named Maurice, and was married to a second husband named Geoffroy, who is not otherwise identified in the records in which he appears with Adélaïde [see the page of Adélaïde]. So, is this just a coincidence, or should the Geoffroys and Maurices be identified as the same individuals? If Maurice were a son of Adélaïde by her first husband Lambert, then there would be no identifications and it would just be a conicidence. On the other hand, if Maurice came from Adélaïde's second marriage, then it would be difficult to explain as a coincidence, because we would then have two father-son pairs named Geoffroy and Maurice. Chizelle has argued that Adélaïde's son Maurice was by her first husband Lambert, and that there were therefore two different Maurices [Chizelle (1986, 1996)]. However, the majority opinion by far has been that there was no coincidence here, i.e., that Adélaïde's second husband was indeed count Geoffroy I "Grisegonelle" of Anjou, by whom she had Maurice. Chizelle's objections have been addressed in detail by Settipani [Settipani (1994), 35-44]. From the point of view of Gerberge's parentage the main benefit of adopting Chizelle's views on this matter would be to take care of the chronological problems discussed in Question 6 by allowing a significantly earlier birthdate for Adélaïde's son Maurice, which in turn could allow a positive answer to Question 6. In fact, Chizelle's arguments do seem significant enough to leave some lingering doubt. Nevertheless, it is much more probable that Maurice was a son of Adélaïde by her second husband, Geoffroy I "Grisegonelle", count of Anjou. The matter is discussed in more detail on Adélaïde's page.

Question 5: How late can the birthdate of Gerberge be feasibly placed?

This question of Gerberge's birthdate has been stated in this manner for a couple of reasons. First, there is no known direct way to determine Gerberge's date of birth, and the arguments available involves estimates based on the number of years in a generation, with all of the uncertainties that such estimates involve. Second, it is the answer to this question which turns out to be directly relevant to Question 6. For reasons that are discussed on Otte-Guillaume's page, it is very improbable that Otte-Guillaume was born any later than 962, and likely that he was born earlier than that. From this, it is likewise very improbable that Gerberge was born any later than 947, with an even earlier birth being much more likely.

Question 6: Was Gerberge a daughter of Lambert's known wife Adélaïde?

If the word "germana" used by the history of the bishops of Auxerre (see above) is interpreted literally, the wife of Eudes-Henri of Burgundy was a full sister of Hugues, count of Chalon and bishop of Auxerre, a son of Lambert and Adélaïde. If this wife was Gerberge, then the combined weight of several pieces of evidence leads to an inevitable problem in chronology. The problem lies in the apparently large range of the childbearing years of Adélaïde. Hirsch objected to the difference in birthdates between Gerberge and Hugues [Hirsch (1862-75), 1: 183, n. 4], but the lack of evidence regarding the birthdate of Hugues makes this argument inconclusive [Poupardin (1907), 417], and anyway the real problem lies in the difference in ages between Gerberge and Maurice, Adélaïde's son by (apparently) her second marriage. As discussed on Lambert's page, the most probable date of death of Lambert was 22 February 978, and he was certainly still alive in 977. Thus, it is difficult to place the birth of Maurice earlier than 979, and we therefore have a problem if Gerberge and Maurice had the same mother, for it is extremely improbable for a woman to have two different children at an interval of 32 years. For example, if she was only 15 when the first child was born, she would have to be 47 at the birth of her last child. As unlikely as this is, it is necessary to keep in mind that an interval as small as 32 years has been obtained only by pressing the evidence to its limits on several fronts, and it is probable that the births of Gerberge and Maurice were seperated by more years than that. While it remains in the realm of possibility that Gerberge and Maurice were children of the same mother separated by 32 years, that is not the likely solution. Accepting the likelihood that some other solution is necessary, the most probable alternatives would be that Maurice was a son of Lambert and therefore was born earlier [the solution favored by Chizelle (1986)], or that Gerberge and Maurice had different mothers. As already indicated, Vajay takes the latter alternative to its extreme by giving Gerberge a completely different parentage. However, it is not necessary to completely reject the sibling relationship of Gerberge and Hugues if we allow the definition of "germana" to extend to half siblings. Although the strictest interpretation of this word as "full sister" is the most common usage, it was also sometimes used in the more general case of half siblings. Among the alternatives, that seems like the most probable situation here.

Question 7: What was the claim of Otte-Guillaume and his descendants to be counts of Mâcon?

There does not appear to be any reasonable possibility of explaining Otte-Guillaume's claim to Mâcon through his father, king Adalberto of Italy. Thus, the two most likely places for Otte-Guillaume to have a claim to Mâcon would be either through his mother Gerberge or through his wife Ermentrude. As we have already seen, supporters of the two hypotheses would differ on this matter also. To supporters of the Liétaud Hypothesis, Otte-Guillaume's claim would be as the heir of his mother Gerberge, daughter of a previous count of Mâcon. For proponents of the Lambert Hypothesis, Otte-Guillaume's emergence in Mâcon is explained by his marriage to the widow of count Aubry II.

The explanation of a descent through Gerberge has the advantage of being a more direct route of succession, but that does not mean that it is correct. One must avoid the trap of allowing expectations about inheritance of a title to trump the more direct evidence previously given. What matters more is that the suggestion that Otte-Guillaume obtained Mâcon by marrying the widow of the previous count is also a perfectly plausible scenario. Although Aubry II is often given two sons there is in fact no direct evidence that the two boys generally assigned to him were his sons (see the page of Aubry II). In the absence of a male heir, the husband of the widow and their children could have enough power to press claims of their own. In fact, there is another example of a similar succession happening in Aubry's own family, for his daughter Béatrix was married to count Geoffroy (II) of Gâtinais, and after the death of count Aubry of Gâtinais, son of Béatrix and Geoffroy, Gâtinais was inherited by another Geoffroy (III), a son of Béatrix by her second husband Hugues du Perche (see the pages of Béatrix and Geoffroy (III) for the details).


Gesta pontificum Autissiodorensium
There is a strong probability that statement of this source that Eudes-Henri was married to a sister of count-bishop Hugues was referring to Gerberge. Vajay's attempt to explain this source as an otherwise unknown third marriage of Eudes-Henri is unconvincing.

The charter evidence for Otto, nepos of count-bishop Hugues
The fact that the identification of this Otto with Otte-Guillaume fits so well with the Gesta is a strong argument in favor of the Lambert Hypothesis, and weakens the attempt to identify Otto with the younger count of Mâcon.

The charter from 1017×1025 of Otto, count of Mâcon ("comes Leotaldus, atavus meus")
The existence of several alternative interpretations weakens the force of any argument that can be put forward from this evidence. Since this is the main piece of supporting evidence for the Liétaud Hypothesis, it lacks the solid foundation which is possessed by the Lambert Hypothesis.

The list of counts of Mâcon in the cartulary of Saint-Vincent de Mâcon
This evidence that Otte-Guillaume married the widow of Aubry II further undermines the Liétaud Hypothesis, by making it unlikely that Otte-Guillaume was Aubry's nephew.

The succession to Mâcon
The Liétaud Hypothesis would have Otte-Guillaume succeeding to Mâcon by the more conventional route of a blood relationship, and that is seen as an advantage by those arguing for that hypothesis. However, of the two early documents which could be interpreted as relating to the succession to Mâcon (the 1017×1025 charter and the list of counts), it is the list which sets out the succession explicitly, and that supports the Lambert Hypothesis. In fact, either hypothesis would offer a reasonable scenario for the succession of Otte-Guillaume to Mâcon.

The chronology of Gerberge and Maurice
This is the major weakness of the most extreme version of the Lambert Hypothesis, i.e., the claim that Gerberge and Maurice were children of the same mother but different fathers, as recently supported by Bouchard and Settipani [Bouchard (1987), 310; Settipani (1994), 38-9]. That scenario places an improbably large interval between the births of two children of the same mother. However, this would not be a problem if Gerberge were a child of an earlier otherwise unknown marriage of Lambert. In that case, it would be perfectly plausible for Lambert to have his children Hugues and Mathilde by Adélaïde in the late 960's or the 970's, and for Adélaïde to then be the mother of Maurice by her second husband Geoffroy in the late 970's or early 980's. Another way out of the chronological dilemma is Chizelle's theory, in which Maurice is a son of Lambert and Adélaïde, but this is much less likely, since then Adélaïde's son Maurice would be distinct from Geoffroy Grisegonnelle's son Maurice, and the appearance of the names Geoffroy and Maurice would have to be explained away as a coincidence.

In conclusion, the Lambert Hypothesis appears to be correct despite the problems that it presents. Gerberge was apparently the daughter of count Lambert of Chalon, probably by an earlier, otherwise unknown wife. One possibility which might be suggested is that this previously unknown wife of Lambert was a daughter of Liétaud, in an attempt to get the best of both worlds. However, this hypothesis, tempting at first, appears to cause more problems than it solves. For example, in that case, we would have the very unlikely scenario of Otte-Guillaume marrying the widow of his granduncle.

Conjectured relationships

Conjectured mother: Attala, daughter of Aubry I, count of Mâcon.
This suggestion [Sackur (1892-4), 2: 469-471], is based on a charter from Cluny from February 944, which states that certain land which was granted to Liétaud by a certain Lambert was later regranted by Liétaud's sister Attala ["
ego Leotaldus et uxor mea Berta, ... hoc est mansus indominicatus cum æcclesia Beati Martini, quem mihi Lanbertus, consanguineus meus, dedit, et soror mea Attala michi postea reddidit, situs in pago Cabillonense, in villa Flagiaco, ..." Cart. Cluny, 1: 609-610 (#655)]. For chronological reasons, it is improbable that Attala was the same person as Lambert's known wife Adélaïde, as Sackur suggested. However, Sackur's hypothesis leads naturally to the question of whether we should suggest Attala as the otherwise unknown probable earlier wife of Lambert who appears to have been Gerberge's mother. It is an attractive conjecture, which in this case would have Otte-Guillaume marrying the widow of his first cousin once-removed, which does not seem to be a problem. The main problem is the lack of supporting evidence, for the Cluny charter does not prove that Lambert and Attala were married, or even that the Lambert of the charter was the same person as Lambert of Chalon.

Conjectured daughter:
(by Adalberto)
FEMALE Willibirg, m. Liutold, count (Sundgau).
Donald Jackman states the case for this conjecture as follows: "While apparently related with the first line of Konradiner counts, Renaud of Burgundy appears to bear a more important relationship with Liutold's family. The name of Liutold's son Berengar can derive from King Berengar II of Italy; and the name of Liutold's wife may also be significant: Willibirg is known with the hypochoristic form Willa, and Willas appear regularly among Ivrean ascendants. Similarly, the name Adelheid in Willibirg's daughter was previously born by King Adalbert's mother-in-law. Liutold's wife would thus be a daughter of King Adalbert of Italy, in other words an aunt of Count Renaud." [Jackman (1997), 84, with table on p. 85]. As argued above, the case for making Adélaïde the mother-in-law of Adalberto is doubtful at best. This weakly-based onomastic conjecture should not be accepted without more substantial evidence.

Falsely attributed children:
[ES 2: 59] See the comments on the page of Adalberto.

FEMALE Gisela, m. ca. 983, Anselme I, margrave of Montferrat.

MALE Arduin, d. 1015, margrave of Ivrea, king of Italy.

MALE Wibert, d. 1030, margrave of Ivrea.

MALE Amadeus.


Anselme = Père Anselme, Histoire généalogique et chronologique de la maison royale de France, 9 vols. (Paris, 1726-33).

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

Bouchard (1987) = Constance Brittain Bouchard, Sword, Miter, and Cloister - Nobility and the Church in Burgundy, 980-1198 (Ithaca & London, 1987).

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

Cart. Cluny = A. Bernard & A. Bruel, Recueil des chartes de l'abbaye de Cluny, 6 vols., (Paris, 1876-1903).

Cart. Mâcon = M.-C. Ragut, ed., Cartulaire de Saint-Vincent de Mâcon (Mâcon, 1864).

Cart. Paray-le-Monial = Ulysse Chevalier, ed., Cartulaire de Paray-le-Monial (Montbéliard, 1891).

Chaume (1925) = Maurice Chaume, Les origines du duché de Bourgogne, 4 vols. (Dijon, 1925).

Chizelle (1986) = Henri de Chizelle, "Aperçu sur le comté de Chalon-sur-Saône au Xe siècle: à propos de la comtesse Aélis", Annales de Bourgogne 58 (1986): 45-70.

Chizelle (1996) = Henri de Chizelle, "Notes complémentaires concernant Aélis (Adèlais), comtesse de Chalon", Annales de Bourgogne 68 (1996): 79-83.

Chron. S.-Bénigne = E. Bougaud, ed., Chronique de l'abbaye de Saint-Bénigne de Dijon (Dijon, 1875).

ES = Detlev Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln (neue Folge), (Marburg, 1980-present).

GC = Gallia Christiana.

Hirsch (1862-75) = Siegfried Hirsch, Jahrbücher des Deutschen Reichs unter Heinrich II, 3 vols. (Berlin, 1862-4; Leipzig, 1875).

Hückel (1901) = G.-A. Hückel, "Les poèmes satiriques d'Adalbéron", Bibliothèque de la Faculté des Lettres 13 (1901): 49-184.

Jackman (1997) = Donald C. Jackman, Criticism and Critique. Sidelights on the Konradiner (Prosopographica et Genealogica 1, 1997).

Lex (1892) = Léonce Lex, Eudes, comte de Blois, de Tours, de Chartres, de Troyes et de Meaux (995-1037) et Thibaud, son frère (995-1004) (Troyes, 1892).

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

Lot (1903) = Ferdinand Lot, Études sur le règne de Hugues Capet et la fin du Xe siècle (Paris, 1903).

MGH SS = Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores series.

Pfister (1885) = Christian Pfister, Étude sur le règne de Robert le Pieux (996-1031) (Bibliothèque de l'École des Hautes Études, 64, Paris, 1885).

Poupardin (1907) = René Poupardin, Le royaume de Bourgogne (888-1038) - Étude sur les origines du royaume d'Arles (Paris, 1907).

Rameau (1901) = Mgr. Rameau, "Les comtes héréditaires de Mâcon", Annales de l'Académie de Mâcon, 3ser., 6 (1901): 121-209.

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

Rodulfus Glaber = Maurice Prou, ed., Raoul Glaber - les cinq livres de ses histoires (900-1044) (Paris, 1886).

Sackur (1892-4) = Ernst Sackur, Die Cluniacenser in ihrer kirchlichen und allgemeingeschichtlichen Wirksamkeit bis zur Mitte des elften Jahrhunderts (Halle an der Saale, 1892-4).

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

Settipani (1994) = Christian Settipani, "Les origines maternelles du comte de Bourgogne Otte-Guillaume", Annales de Bourgogne 66 (1994), 5-63.

Spicilegium = Luc d'Achery, Spicilegium sive collectio veterum aliquot scriptorum qui in Galliæ bibliothecis delituerant, 3 vols. in folio (Paris, 1723).

Stewart (2008) = Peter Stewart, "Gersende de Gascogne", posting to soc.genealogy.medieval, 20 January 2008.

Vajay (1962) = Szabolcs de Vajay, "A propos de la 'Guerre de Bourgogne' - Note sur les successions de Bourgogne et de Mâcon au Xe et XIe siècles", Annales de Bourgogne 34 (1962): 153-169.

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

First uploaded 24 April 2008, with thanks to Peter Stewart for his comments on this subject, especially for his detailed remarks on the Rythmus satiricus posted to soc.genealogy.medieval on 20 January 2008, in a thread entitled "Gersende de Gascogne", in response to questions I posted there.

Minor addition uploaded 20 September 2008: added the four falsely attributed children from ES.

Return to Henry Project home page

Go to Henry Project index page

Go to Henry II ancestor table