MALE Heilwig/Hélvide

Wife of count Hucbald of Ostrevant and count Roger of Laon.

Date of birth: Say 855×860.
Hélvide's mother Gisela had at least three children before the death of her father Louis the Pious in 840 [see the page of Eberhard]. Since Hélvide had two younger sisters, her birth could be placed after 860 only by assuming an improbably long interval between the births of Gisela's eldest and youngest child. On the other hand, Hélvide's first husband was still living in 894, so her birth could be placed earlier than 855 only with great difficulty if Hélvide were the mother of the children of her second husband Roger. However, the lower limit given here could be relaxed significantly if Roger's sons were by an unknown earlier wife.
Place of birth: Unknown.

Date of death: After 894.
Her first husband was still living in 894.
Place of death: Unknown.

Father: Eberhard, d. 865×6, duke of Friuli.
Mother: Gisela, d. after August 874, daughter of Emperor Louis "the Pious".
See the page of
Eberhard for a detailed account of the children of Eberhard and Gisela.

See the Commentary section.

(1) Hucbald, fl. 894, count of Ostrevant.
In his history of the church at Reims, Flodoard tells us that Hucbald married a sister of abbot Raoul ["Hucboldus quidam, sororis huius Rodulfi maritus" Flodoard, Historia Remensis ecclesiae, iv, 1, MGH SS 13: 558] and that archbishop Hervé of Reims was a nepos ex sorore of Hucbald ["Sequitur in pontificatu Remensi domnus Heriveus, ex aula quoque regis ad episcopatum assumptus, vir genere nobilis, nepos videlicet ex sorore Hucbaldi comitis, ..." ibid., iv, 11, p. 575]. Flodoard also tells us that when the relics of St. Calixtus were being transferred to Reims, bishop Dodilon of Cambrai wanted to give them to Hucbald [ibid., iv, 6, p. 569; Favre (1896), 161; Grierson (1939), 111, n. 170]. This suggests that the county ruled by Hucbald was in the diocese of Cambrai. That he was a partisan of king Eudes is shown by his appearance in a fragmentary charter of Eudes in the seventh year of his reign (13 January 894 - 12 January 895) ["fidelis noster Hucbaldus comes ... anno 7 reg. Odone gloriossimo rege" Giry (1896), 133 (#24)] and in another undated charter of king Eudes ["Hucbaldo comite" Favre (1896), 161, n. 5]. As noted by Grierson, the only counties in the diocese of Cambrai which were also in the kingdom of Eudes were Artois and Ostrevant, and since Baldwin II of Flanders was then in control of Artois, Grierson concludes that Hucbald was count of Ostrevant [Grierson (1939), 111, n. 170; independently concluded by Hirsch (1910), 81-2 (not seen by me)].

(2) Roger I, d. 926, count of Laon, lay-abbot of Saint-Amand.
Roger became lay-abbot of Saint-Amand probably in 922 or 923, succeeding king Robert I, and he appears as abbot on 6 April 925 ["... devotus fidelis noster Rotgerus comes atque memorandus abbas Elnonis monasterii coenobiique ..." RHF 9: 567 (#6)]. He appears as count of Laon in 923 ["... quas Rotgarius comes accipiens in Laudunum castrum abduxit ..." Flodoard, Annales, s.a. 923, 13]. At the record of his death in 926, he is called the stepfather of Raoul, who had died earlier the same year ["Non multo post etiam Rotgarius vitricus ejus, comes Laudunensis pagi, decessit." Flodoard, Annales, s.a. 926, 36].

Child by Hucbald:
See the Commentary section.

MALE Raoul de Gouy, d. 926, count of Ostrevant; probably also count of Amiens;
probably m. NN,
heiress of Ermenfrid, count of Amiens.
Raoul appears for the first time on 7 July 915, when he intervened in an act of Charles the Simple ["... quidam fideles nostri, videlicet Etbertus noster dilectus atque Rodulfus comes, ..." RHF 9: 522 (#55)]. He was at the assembly held at Heristal on 19 January 916 [Parisot (1898), 616-7; also RHF 9: 526 (#59) (but illegible on the Gallica website copy)]. On 8 September 920, he appears in another act of Charles along with Hagano, favorite of Charles ["... comites venerabiles Hagano ac Rodulfus ..." RHF 9: 549 (#81)]. Raoul appears as the stepson of count Roger in 923 ["Rodulfo, privigno Rotgeri" Flodoard, Annales, s.a. 923, 15]. In 925, he is first referred to as Raoul de Gouy, when his lands (along with the lands of the sons of Baldwin and the lands of Helgaud) were excepted from a treaty between Hugues le Grand and the Normans ["Hugo, filius Rotberti, pactum securitatis accepit a Nordmannis, terra filiorum Balduini, Rodulfi quoque de Gaugeio atque Hilgaudi extra securitatem relicta." Flodoard, Annales, s.a. 925, 32]. He is called the son of Hélvide at his death in 926 ["Rodulfus comes, filius Heiluidis, obiit." Flodoard, Annales, s.a. 926, 36]. His epithet of "de Gouy" (de Gaugiaco) appears again in 943 when his son appears as Raoul, son of Raoul de Gouy ["Rodulfum, filium Rodulfi de Gaugiaco" Flodoard, Annales, s.a. 943, 87]. His son Raoul is generally regarded as the historical prototype of the legendary hero Raoul de Cambrai of romance [Meyer & Longnon (1882), xv-xxii]. Raoul de Gouy was probably also the father of Gautier I, count of Amiens, Valois, and Vexin, and thus ancestor of the later counts of Amiens, Valois, and Vexin [Grierson (1939); for more details on Raoul de Gouy, see ibid., 109-115].

Children of Roger I, presumably by Hélvide:
There is no direct evidence that the sons of Roger I were also sons of Hélvide. Although no earlier wife of Roger is known, it is difficult to rule out the existence of a previous wife, given the slender nature of the evidence. See also the chronological comments above under Hélvide's date of birth, and the Commentary section.

MALE Roger II, d. 942, count of Laon, lay-abbot of Saint-Amand.
In 927, there was a disagreement between king Raoul and count Heribert II of Vermandois, in which Heribert wanted to give the county of Laon to his son Eudes, but the king granted it to Roger (II), one of the sons of Roger (I) ["Anno DCCCCXXVII, inter Rodulfum regem et Heribertum comitem, pro Laudunensi comitatu quem Heribertus Odoni, filio suo, dari petebat, concedente illum rege cuidam filiorum Rotgarii, nomine Rotgario, simultas exoritur." Flodoard, Annales, s.a. 927, 37]. He appears as lay-abbot of Saint-Amand in an act of Louis IV dated 21 August 937 ["... fidelis noster Rogerus ... res suæ abbatis S. Amandi ..." RHF 9: 587 (#4)]. He died in 942, while on a mission from Louis IV to Guillaume of the Normans ["Rotgarius comes apud Willelmum Nordmannorum principem functus legatione pro Ludowico rege, ibidem defunctus est." Flodoard, Annales, s.a. 942, 84].

MALE NN, fl. 927, 928, 931. (at least one other son)
The sons of Roger I are mentioned in the plural by Flodoard on several occasions [e.g., Flodoard, Annales, s.a. 927, 37, 39; s.a. 928, 41; s.a. 931, 48]. Grierson would identify one of these with a count Hugues, son of Roger, who appears in a charter of Hugues le Grand on 26 March 931 [RHF 9: 720; Grierson (1938), 263, n. 136; Grierson (1939), table], but that was Hugues I, count of Maine.


The marriages and children of Hélvide

The outline of Hélvide's marriages and children depends on two key identifications:

Unfortunately, I have not yet seen the most detailed study of this problem, that of Paul Hirsch [Hirsch (1910), 80-5], so I have taken Grierson's brief outline as the basis for the following description. Hopefully, there will be a revision in the future which takes into account Hirsch's important study and gives more details.

According to Grierson, the parentage of Raoul de Gouy is based on the following considerations [Grierson (1939), 109, n. 162]:

Given these points, we can identify the Hélvide who was daughter of Eberhard of Friuli with the Hélvide who was mother of Raoul de Gouy, and further identify Hélvide as the daughter of Eberhard who was married to Hucbald.

Eckhart, Krüger:
False identification of Heilwig:
Hadwig/Hathui, m. Otto "der Erlauchten", duke of Saxony.
Children of Otto and Hedwig thus falsely attributed to Heilwig:
MALE Thankmar.
MALE Heinrich I, d. 936, king of Germany.
MALE Liudolf.
FEMALE Oda, m. (1) Zwentibold, d. 900, king of Lorraine; (2) Gerard, count.
Originally due to Eckhart in the eighteenth century, this theory was later revived by others, most notably Krüger [Krüger (1893)]. The life of Hathumod, abbess of Gandersheim (sister of Otto), states that Hathumod's brother married a neptis regum ["... quod frater eius regum neptem in matrimonio habet, ..." Agius, Vita Hathumodae, c. 2, MGH SS 4: 167]. Although the brother of Hathumode in the passage is not otherwise identified, he has usually been assumed to be Otto, and the neptis regum has thus been generally identified with Otto's wife Hedwig/Hathui. Krüger would identify the kings in question as Louis/Ludwig the German and Charles the Bald, and would interpret the word neptis to mean niece in the strict sense, thus making Hedwig/Hathui a daughter of a sibling of these two kings [Krüger (1893), 32]. Placing Otto's wife as a daughter of Eberhard of Friuli and his wife Gisela would satisfy this restriction, and thus Krüger identifies Hedwig/Hathui with Eberhard's similarly named daughter Heilwig. However, Hedwig and Heilwig are not the same name, and the identification has little to recommend it. Dümmler argued convincingly against it in the same year that Krüger's article appeared [Dümmler (1893)]. The identification must in any case be false if Hirsch's convincing outline of Heilwig's marriages is correct.

False identification of husband Hucbald:
Hugues, son of Liutfrid, son of Hugues, count of Tours.
Falsely attributed children:
MALE Eberhard, ancestor of the House of Egisheim
MALE Adalbero.
Conjectured son (no basis beyond onomastics):
MALE Hucbald, ancestor of the House of Dillingen.
[Decker-Hauff (1955), 309-314] There is no good reason to believe Decker-Hauff's identification of Hucbald with the Alsatian count Hugues, and we can thus also eliminate Eberhard and Adalbero, who are assigned as his sons based on this supposed connection [Decker-Hauff (1955), 309, n. 275]. This supposed son Hucbald is based on onomastics [ibid., 310]. The attribution of the two Hucbalds as father and son was also accepted by Jackman [Jackman (2000), 131-2], but there is no reason to accept it as any more than guesswork [see Tellenbach (1956), 184].

Conjectured daughter (no basis beyond onomastics):
FEMALE Ingelmut, m. Ratold, d. 919, margrave.
The evidence is onomastic, based on the appearance of the name Eberhard as a son of Ratold, and on the similarity of the name Ingelmut to the name Ingeltrud (Engeltrude, a sister of Hélvide) [Jackman (2000), 131-2].

Conjectured son (existence uncertain, extremely doubtful):
Guy, count of Senlis.
Guy appears only in the eleventh century Norman chronicle Annales Rouennaises, which states that he was the father of Poppa, wife of Rollo of Normandy ["Mortua est Gisla absque omni prole, et Rollo duxit Popam uxorem, filiam Wydonis comitis Sylvanectensis, sororem Bernardi, de qua genuit Willelmum." Keats-Rohan (1997), 198, n. 31]. Keats-Rohan would keep Bernard as the son of this otherwise unknown Guy, but reject Guy's relationship to Poppa, and would make Guy a son of Hucbald and Hélvide [Keats-Rohan (1997), 196-7, 203]. The supposed connection between Hucbald and Guy appears to be based on the statement that Hucbald was count of Senlis around 890 [Keats-Rohan (1997), 202 & n. 48, citing Bischoff (1984), 131-2 (not seen by me)]. This thinly-based construction, using selective information from a late source, is unconvincing.


Bischoff (1984) = Bernhard Bischoff, Analecta Novissima. Texte des vierten bis sechzehnten Jahrhunderts (Stuttgart, 1984). [I have not seen this work.]

Decker-Hauff (1955) = Hansmartin Decker-Hauff, "Die Ottonen und Schwaben", Zeitschrift für Württemburgische Landesgeschichte 14 (1955), 233-371.

Dümmler (1893) = Ernst Dümmler, critique of Krüger (1893), Deutsche Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaft 9 (1893): 319-321, with response by Krüger, ibid., 321-2.

Favre (1896) = Édouard Favre, "La famille d'Évrard marquis de Frioul dans le royaume franc de l'ouest", in Études d'histoire du Moyen Age dédiées à Gabriel Monod (Paris, 1896), 155-162.

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

Giry (1896) = Arthur Giry, "Études carolingiennes", in Études d'histoire du Moyen Age dédiées à Gabriel Monod (Paris, 1896), 107-136.

Grierson (1938) = Philip Grierson, "La maison d'Evrard de Frioul et les origines du comté de Flandre", Revue du Nord 24 (1938): 241-266.

Grierson (1939) = Philip Grierson, "L'origin des comtes d'Amiens, Valois et Vexin", Le Moyen Age 49 (1939): 81-125.

Hirsch (1910) = Paul Hirsch, Die Erhebung Berengars I von Friaul zum König in Italien (Strasbourg, 1910). [I have not seen this work.]

Jackman (2000) = Donald C. Jackman, "Cousins of the German Carolingians", in Keats-Rohan & Settipani, eds., Onomastique et Parenté dans l'Occident médiéval (Oxford, 2000), 117-139.

Keats-Rohan (1997) = K. S. B. Keats-Rohan, "Poppa of Bayeux and her Family", The American Genealogist 72 (1997): 187-204. Also available in French as "Poppa 'de Bayeux' et sa famille", in Keats-Rohan & Settipani, eds., Onomastique et Parenté dans l'Occident médiéval (Oxford, 2000), 140-153.

Krüger (1893) = Emil Krüger, "Ueber die Abstammung Heinrich's I. von den Karolingern", Deutsche Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaft 9 (1893): 28-61. [see also Dümmler (1893)]

Meyer & Longnon (1882) = P. Meyer & A. Longnon, Raoul de Cambrai chanson de geste (Paris, 1882).

MGH SS = Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores series.

Parisot (1898) = Robert Parisot, Le Royaume de Lorraine sous les Carolingiens (1898, reprinted Geneva, 1975).

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

Tellenbach (1956) = Gerd Tellenbach, "Kritische Studien zur großfränkischen und alemanniscen Adelsgeschichte", Zeitschrift für Württemburgische Landesgeschichte 15 (1956), 169-190.

Compiled by Stewart Baldwin

First uploaded 20 September 2008.

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