MALE Otgive of Luxemburg

Wife of Baldwin IV, count of Flanders.

Date of Birth: Say 980×995.
As is usual for this period, it is difficult to narrow down an accurate estimate for Otgive's birthdate. However, we know from Guillaume de Jumièges that Otgive's son Baldwin V temporarily rebelled against his father Baldwin IV (who died in 1035, after a reign exceding 47 years), being reconciled by the influence of Robert of Normandy [GND vi, 6 (2: 52-5)], and Vanderkindere mentions an undated act in which Baldwin V and his wife Adèle participated during the life of Baldwin IV ["Balduinus marchysus cum Adela uxore sua adhuc vivente patre suo" Vanderkindere (1902) 1: 298, citing Van Lokeren #108]. Thus, Otgive's son was probably already an adult when he succeeded in 1035. In the other direction, her husband Baldwin IV was still a minor when he succeeded in 987×8, and was probably born after 980 (his father Arnulf II being an infant in 962). Thus, a birthdate for Otgive in the stated interval seems likely. Note that various attempts to narrow down her birthdate further have generally been based on the assumption that her parentage was known. Assuming that she was a daughter of one of the two candidates listed here, her birthdate would most likely be toward the end of the interval given above.
Place of Birth: Unknown.

Date of Death: 21 February 1030.
Place of Death:
["Obiit Odgiva comitissa." Ann. Bland., s.a. 1030, 25; similarly in Ann. Elmarenses, s.a. 1030, 90, Ann. Formos., s.a. 1031, 126]. Her claimed epitaph, which gives a death date of 21 February (9. kal. Mar.), reads as follows: "Preteriens miserere mei, qui vis misereri, / Atque mihi requiem tu deposce piam. / Nona dies Martis me sustulit ante kalendas, / Odgiva iuncta fui Balduino domino." [MGH Poet. Lat. 5: 300]. The necrology of St. Michael, Lüneburg, has an entry "Gera com" under 21 February, which Althoff would interpret as "Geva com", and assign to Otgive, noting that her husband Baldwin IV also appears in the necrology [Althoff (1984), 391 (G 17), 399 (G 55)].

Father: Either Frédéric (d. 1019) or Giselbert (d. 1004), both sons of Sigefroid "of Luxemburg".
Otgive's parentage is discussed in detail below in the Commentary section.

Mother: Unknown.
Her identity would clearly depend on whether Otgive's father was Frédéric or Giselbert.

Paternal grandfather: Sigefroid/Siegfried "of Luxemburg".
Despite the uncertainty regarding her father, both of the plausible candidates were sons of Sigefroid.

Baldwin IV, d. 29 or 30 May 1035, count of Flanders.

MALE Baldwin V, d. 1 September 1067, count of Flanders.

[See their pages for more details.]

, d. 22 May, year unknown; generally believed to be the same as:
Gisèle, m. Raoul, advocate of Saint-Pierre de Gand, lord of Alost.
A sister of Otgive named Gisèle is known from an epitaph in the chapel of Saint-Laurence at Saint-Pierre in Ghent ["Gisla, soror Otgivae, jacet in capella sancti Laurentii. Sequitur epitaphum: / Femina virtutis jacet isto Gisla sepulcro, / Quae sub apostolicis rite patrociniis / Decessit, Junii duodecimas ante Kalendas, / Illic tunc rediens venerat unde prius." Adrien de Budt, Chronicon Flandriae, Corpus Chron. Fland. 1: 274].

No direct evidence identifies Otgive's sister Gisèle with the woman of that name who married Raoul of Alost. Rubincam simply states the identification [Rubincam (1940), 3], while Sherman is more cautious [Sherman (1978), 33]. This identification is based on the fact that Raoul's wife was named Gisèle [see Sherman (1978), 27-8], along with various statements that their son Gilbert/Giselbert, ancestor of the English Gaunt/Ghent family, was related to the counts of Flanders. Thus, a medieval document printed by Dugdale states that Giselbert de Gaunt was a son of count Baldwin of Flanders, and came to England with his avunculus William the Conqueror ["Giselbertus de Gaunt, filius Baldwini comitis de Flandria, venit cum Willielmo conquestore avunculo suo in Angliam ..." Monast. Angl. 5: 491]. Following William Camden, who stated that Gilbert/Giselbert of was a nephew of count Baldwin of Flanders ["nepueu de Baudouin Comte de Flandres" Du Chesne (1631), 112], André Du Chesne, the first to notice the probable parentage of Gilbert as the son of Raoul and Gisèle, conjectured that Gisèle was a daughter of Baldwin IV of Flanders by Otgive, based on the names Baldwin and Giselbert among Raoul's sons [Du Chesne (1631), 112]. Now, Gilbert was neither a son of a count Baldwin of Flanders nor a nephew of William the Conqueror, as stated in Monasticon Anglicanum. However, the statement that Gilbert was a nephew of count Baldwin is consistent with Gilbert's mother Gisèle being a sister of Otgive, wife of Baldwin IV, especially since Otgive is known to have had a sister of that name. There is also onomastic support for the identification, for the name Giselbert appears in Otgive's family, being the name either of her father or her uncle, depending on which parentage of Otgive is correct. The identification is probable, but more solid evidence would clearly be desirable.


The parentage of Otgive

A quick comparison of most modern sources with the medieval sources regarding Otgive's parentage will reveal that the medieval sources give Giselbert as the name of her father, whereas the modern sources almost invariably give the name as Frédéric. This anomaly obviously requires some discussion, especially since it is not clear that modern scholarship has been right on this matter. The logic behind making Otgive a daughter of count Frédéric (d. 1019), advocate of Stavelot-Malmédy (but often called "of Luxemburg" in modern secondary sources), and son of Sigefroid of Luxemburg, is clear enough. Otgive is usually identified in the medieval sources as a daughter of count Gislebert of Luxemburg, and the only man of that name who can be found on the usual lists of "counts of Luxemburg" is the Giselbert who died in 1056×9, son of the above Frédéric. Even in the extremely unlikely case that Otgive was born as late as 1000, attempting to make her a daughter of count Giselbert of Luxemburg (d. 1056×9) is not plausible, as the childbearing years of Giselbert's grandmother Hedwig seem to have been roughly ca. 955 to ca. 980 [see Hedwig's page]. Although it may be possible to provide hypothetical birthdates toward this end which could not be directly ruled out, it would still result in an improbably tight chronology for several consecutive generations. Thus, this Giselbert does not make a chronologically plausible father for Otgive, resulting in the conclusion that the medieval sources are in some way flawed. Here, Flandria Generosa (ca. 1164) appears to come to the rescue, giving the same parentage, but then adding the name of five brothers, namely bishop Adalbero of Metz, duke Frédéric of Lorraine, duke Henry of Bavaria, count Giselbert de Salinis [recté Salm], and Theoderic of Luxemburg, all known to be sons of count Frédéric ["Iste Balduinus vir pulcher, formosus corpore et stature grandis, uxorem accepit Ogivam, filiam Gisleberti comitis de Lixelenborg, cuius fratres fuerunt hi: Adalbero Metensis episcopus, Fredericus dux Lotharingie, Henricus dux Baioarie, Gislebertus comes de Salinis, Theodericus de Luzelenburch" Flandria Generosa, MGH SS 9: 318]. Here, the antecedent of "cuius" is presumably meant to be Otgive and not Giselbert, since a Giselbert is listed among the brothers. Thus, with Otgive apparently being named as the sister of several individuals known to be sons of Frédéric, we have the reason that modern scholars have generally place Otgive as a daughter of Frédéric, which we shall call the "standard scenario" below.

However, this conclusion uses a source which is both late and at least partly erroneous (Otgive was not both a daughter of a count Giselbert and a sister of Frédéric's sons), and it is not at all clear that the count Giselbert who is called Otgive's father in the earliest sources was the same person as the count who died in 1056×9. The earliest sources for Otgive's parentage are various rescensions of Genealogia comtium Flandriae, beginning with Genealogia comitum Flandriae Bertiniana, probably from the middle of the eleventh century, which calls Otgive a daughter of a count Giselbert ["Balduinus Barbatus duxit filiam Gisleberti comitis Odgivam, ex qua suscepit Balduinus Insulanum, ..." Genealogia comitum Flandriae Bertiniana, MGH SS 9: 306], who is not otherwise identified in the earliest versions, but is called count of Luxemburg in most later versions, starting with that of Lambert of Saint-Omer (ca. 1120) ["Balduinus autem Barbatus Gandavi sepultus, accepit Otgivem filiam Gisleberti comitis de Lizelenbors, ex qua suscepit Balduinum Insulanum." MGH SS 9: 309]. One late source makes her a daughter of Giselbert, duke of Lorraine (d. 939), but this is obviously chronologically impossible ["Uxorem Gisleberti Gerbergam, sororem scilicet Ottonis imperatoris, Ludovicus rex Francorum duxit uxorem. Unam vero filiarum ejusdem Gisleberti imperator dedit Bertaldo, duci Bajoariorum: aliam, Ogivam nomine, Balduino comiti Flandriae dedit; ex qua genitus est Balduinus Pulchra Barba." Chronicon sancti Bavonis, s.a. 943, Corpus Chron. Fland. 1: 518; the same source later gives the more common parentage: "Balduinus Barbatus, Flandriae comes, accepit uxorem Ogivam, filiam Gisleberti comitis de Lucenborch, ex qua genuit Balduinum.", ibid., s.a. 988, p. 533].

Another weakness of the standard scenario is that the title "count of Luxemburg" is an anachronism for the first half of the eleventh century and earlier [see Twellenkamp (1991)], so that the statement by Lambert of Saint-Omer is best explained as an addition by him. Thus, it is important to ask if there are any other counts Giselbert who would make a plausible candidate for the count Giselbert who appears as father of Otgive in Genealogia comitum Flandriae Bertiniana, and is qualified as count of Luxemburg in an apparent addition of the early twelfth century. Two Giselberts appear in a charter of duke Frédéric I of Upper Lorraine for 959 [Cart. Gorze, 200 (#108)], one of whom was a brother of Sigefroid, but neither appears after the 960's [see Cunégonde's page for more details], and they make very unlikley candidates. However, it is more difficult to rule out Sigefroid's son Giselbert, who appears as count of Vaudrevange/Wallerfangen in 996, and died in Pavia in 1004 while serving in Italy with his brother-in-law, the emperor Heinrich II. The region covered by the countship of Wallerfangen (presumably named after Wallerfagen in Saargau) is not clear, but appears to have included the villages of Mutfort and Dalheim, both very near Luxemburg [Wampach (1935), 226 (#171), 292 (#207); see Giselbert's page for more details]. Thus, not only is Giselbert in the right generation, but there is a good case that an author of the early twelfth century, writing in the time just after the countship of Luxemburg emerged as a territorial lordship, would have regarded him as a count of Luxemburg. Although Giselbert is called "iuvenis" at the time of his death [Thietmar, Chron., vi, 6, MGH SS 3: 806; Adelbold, Vita Henrici Imp., c. 39, MGH SS 4: 693], that term is perfectly consistent with a man in his thirties, and he was evidently an adult when he appears as count of Wallerfangen in 996. Arguments of silence, such as the fact that Giselbert is not otherwise known to have married or had descendants [see, e.g., Hirsch (1862) 1: 538 n. 8 (Excurs XI)], do not make convincing negative evidence in an age when documentation is as thin as it is here. The following items summarize the main points for or against the two candidates.

For Giselbert as the father:

For Frédéric as the father:

While there seems to be a good case for making Otgive a daughter of Giselbert rather than of Frédéric, the case does not seem strong enough to set aside the "standard scenario" definitively. Thus, we leave the question of Otgive's parentage as unsettled between the two alternatives. It is interesting to note that Giselbert's candidacy as a possible father of Otgive has been widely overlooked (I am aware only of Hirsch's abrupt dismissal of the possibility; see above). Certainly, those who wish to argue a definitive case for Frédéric as Otgive's father ought to provide strong reasons for rejecting Giselbert's candidacy.

Main candidates for Otgive's father:
See the arguments above, and the individual pages, for more details.
Frédéric, d. 6 October 1019, often called "of Luxemburg" (anachronistically), advocate of Stavelot-Malmédy.
Giselbert, d. 18 May 1004, count of Vaudrevange/Wallerfangen (in Moselgau).

Possible mother (but only if Frédéric was her father):
NN, daughter of Heribert, count in Kinziggau, by his wife Ermentrude/Imiza.

Falsely attributed daughter (in fact a sister): Gisèle, m. Raoul, lord of Alost.
See above


Althoff (1984) = Gerd Althoff, Adels- und Königsfamilien im Spiegel ihrer Memorialüberlieferung (Munich, 1984).

Ann. Bland. = Annales Blandinenses, Grierson (1937), 1-73.

Ann. Elmarenses = Annales Elmarenses, Grierson (1937), 74-115.

Ann. Formos. = Annales Formoselenses, Grierson (1937), 116-131.

Cart. Gorze = A. d'Herbomez, Cartulaire de l'abbaye de Gorze (Mettensia 2, Paris, 1898).

Corpus Chron. Fland. = Joseph-Jean de Smet, Corpus Chronicorum Flandriae, 4 vols. (Brussels, 1837-1865).

Du Chesne (1631) = André Du Chesne, Histoire genealogique des maisons de Guines, d'Ardres, de Gand, et de Coucy (Paris, 1631).

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 of Guillaume's work, with the volume and page number of the edition by van Houts in parentheses. Unless otherwise stated, references are to Guillaume's work, and not to later additions by such authors as Orderic Vitalis and Robert de Torigni.

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]

Hirsch (1862) = Siegfried Hirsch, Jahrbücher des Deutschen Reichs unter Heinrich II, 2 vols., (1862, reprinted Berlin, 1975).

MGH Poet. Lat. = Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Poetae latini aevi carolini.

MGH SS = Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores series.

Monast. Angl. = William Dugdale, ed. (new ed. by Caley, Ellis, Bandniel), Monasticon Anglicanum (London, 1817-30).

Parisse (1981) = Michel Parisse, "Généalogie de la Maison d'Ardenne", Publications de la Section historique de l'Institut Grand-Ducal de Luxembourg 95 (1981): 9-41.

Rubincam (1940) = Milton Rubincam, "The True Origin of the House of Gaunt", The Genealogists' Magazine 9 (1940): 1-7.

Sherman (1978) = Richard M. Sherman, "The continental origins of the Ghent family of Lincolnshire", Nottingham Mediaeval Studies 22 (1978): 23-35.

Twellenkamp (1991) = Markus Twellenkamp, "Das Haus der Luxemburger", in Weinfurter & Kluger, eds., Die Salier und das Reich 1: 475-503.

Vanderkindere (1902) = Léon Vanderkindere, La Formation Territoriale des Principautes Belge au Moyen Age (2 vols., 2nd ed., Brussels, 1902, reprinted 1981).

Wampach (1935) = Camillus Wampach, Urkunden- und Quellenbuch zur Geschichte der altluxemburgischen Territorien bis zur burgundischen Zeit, I (Luxemburg, 1935).

I would like to thank Peter Stewart for his comments on the internet newsgroup/mailing list soc.genealogy.medieval/GEN-MEDIEVAL in response to many of my postings there on this subject, and for sharing copies of sources with me.

Compiled by Stewart Baldwin

First uploaded 5 April 2007.

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