MALE Renaud/Ragenold

Count of Roucy, 948-967.
Count of Reims.

The first certain appearance of Renaud is in 944, when king Louis IV gave him Montigny-Lengrain, in the region of Soissons, and later that year he pillaged the monastery of Saint-Médard de Soissons [Flodoard, Annales, s.a. 944, 91, 93]. In 947, Renaud appears for the first time with the title of count ["Ragenoldus comes" ibid., s.a. 947, 106]. In 948, he built a fortress at Roucy, and was the first count of that place ["... ad quandam munitionem, quam Ragenoldus, comes Ludowici, super Axonam fluvium, in loco qui dicitur Rauciacus, aedificabat, ..." ibid., s.a. 948, 117]. At around the same time (948×954), he witnessed a charter of a certain Sobbo as count of Reims ["Rainaldus, Remensis comitis." Cart. Cluny 1: 687 (#730)]. It was probably also at about this time that he married the king's step-daughter Alberada, a marriage which is only indirectly documented (see below). He was evidently succeeded as count of Roucy by his son Giselbert.

Based on a statement by the chronicler Flodoard that Louis IV had ceded the comitatus of Reims to the archbishop of Reims in 940, and on the fact that certain narrative texts which call Renaud a count of Reims are not contemporary (e.g., Historia Francorum Senonensis, as cited below) Vercauteren argued against the existence of lay counts of Reims, and claimed that Renaud was only count of Roucy [Vercauteren (1930); however, the above Cluny charter was not mentioned]. For the possible identity of Renaud as the Viking Ragenold who appears in records in the years 923-5, see the Commentary section below.

Date of birth: Unknown.
Place of birth:

Date of death: 10 May 967, at about 7 p.m.
Place of burial: Saint-Remi de Reims.
His epitaph reads: "Plebis amor, procerumque decus, pietatis amator, / Hic, Ragenolde, solveris in cinerem. / Inter opes clarumque genus conspectus in armis, / Prætuleras ferro pacis amore togam. / Sol quinto decimo radiabat velleris auro / Cum suprema tibi clauserat hora diem." [Moranvillé (1922), 26-7; RHF 9: 104]. Clarius of Sens states that Renaud, counselor of king Lothaire, died in June of the ninth year of archbishop Archambaud of Sens (June 967) ["... anno VIIII ordinationis suæ, mense Junio, defunctus est Rainaldus, consilarius regis Hlotarii, ..." Clarius, Chronicon Sancti-Petri-Vivi Senonensis, Bib. Hist. Yonne, 2: 487; see Lot (1891), 335-6 on the chronology of Archambaud]. However, the date appears to be not June, but 10 May, for there is an entry for a "Raginoldus comes" in the necrology of the church at Reims [Moranvillé (1922), 25]. For the false date of 973, due to the confusion with another man of the same name, see the Commentary section below.

Father: Unknown.

Spouse: Alberada, daughter of Giselbert, duke of Lorraine.
The marriage of Renaud and Alberada has been questioned. See the Commentary section for a discussion.

The first three children are documented as children of Alberada, and their documentation is discussed on the page of Ermentrude. Frotmund's wife is documented as a daughter of Renaud. Bouchard, who doubts the marriage of Renaud and Alberada, would see two unrelated families here [Bouchard (1981); Bouchard (1987), 268-9]. See the commentary section.

FEMALE Ermentrude, d. 1002×4, m. (1) Aubry II, count of Mâcon; (2) Otte-Guillaume, count of Bourgogne (Burgundy).

MALE Giselbert, d. 19 April, not long after 991, count of Roucy.
In the acts of the council of Reims in 991 written by archbishop Gerbert (later pope Sylvester II), bishop Bruno refers to his only brother Giselbert ["... id est unicum fratrem meum comitem Gislebertum, ..." Acta concili Remensis, MGH SS 3: 661]. His epitaph appeared at Saint-Remi de Reims ["Militiæ titulus et sanguine clarus avorum, / Gisleberte jaces, hoc cinis in tumulo. / Vita fugax, ætasque brevis, malefida juventus, / Divitiæ fragiles, consolidata tibi ..." Moranvillé (1922), 34]

MALE Bruno, b. ca. 956, d. 1015×6, bishop of Langres, 981-1015×6.
Bruno was 24 years old when he was named as bishop of Langres by his uncle king Lothair in late 980 ["Anno ab Incarnatione Domini DCCCC. LXXX, indictione VIII, regni Lotharii regis XXV anno, dedit idem rex Brunoni Remensis Ecclesie clerico, suo parenti propinquitate consanguinitatis existenti, Episcopatum Lingonice civitatis. Ordinatus est autem Bruno Episcopus per manus Burchardi Lugdunensis Archiepiscopi in ecclesia sancti Stephani, viginti quatuor gerens annos etatis: et eodem anno susceptus est a clero Lingonice urbis, ab Incarnatione videlicet Christi DCCCC. LXXXI." Chron. S.-Bénigne, 128-9]. Dates which have been given for his death include 31 August 1015, 29 December 1015, 27 or 31 January 1016, or 31 October 1016 [see Moranvillé (1922), 35; Anselme, 8: 861].

FEMALE NN, m. Frotmund II, count of Sens.
["Igitur Rainaldus comes Vetulus Senonum post multa perpetrata mala defunctus est, est sepultus in basilica sanctae Columbae virginis. Cui successit Frotmundus, filius eius, habens in coniugio filiam Rainoldi comitis Remorum." Historia Francorum Senonensis, s.a. 999, MGH SS 9: 369; see also Bib. Hist. Yonne, 2: 498]


The marriage of Renaud

The marriage of Renaud and Alberada is not directly documented, and has recently been questioned by Bouchard [Bouchard (1981); Bouchard (1987), 268-9]. This doubt goes back to a statement by Lauer in his edition of Flodoard's annals, where the marriage was qualified by stating that it appears to have taken place and that it would explain the good realtions between Renaud and Louis ["Le comte Renaud semble avoir épousé Aubrée, fille de Gerberge et de Gilbert. Cette alliance expliquerait les bons rapports de Renaud avec Louis IV." Flodoard, Annales, 117, n. 3]. In a footnote answering Lauer's doubts, Moranvillé missed the point somewhat by emphasizing sources giving clear proof that bishop Bruno of Langres was a son of Alberada, overlooking the fact that it is Bruno's status as a son of Renaud which is not directly documented [Moranvillé (1922), 16, n. 5]. Pointing out that Alberada's connection to Giselbert, Bruno, and Ermentrude is well documented [see Alberada's page], Bouchard regarded the identity of Alberada's husband as unknown, and even suggested the possibility that her children were illegitimate [Bouchard (1981), 518, n. 49; (1987), 268-9 & n. 39]. The following table shows how the children of Renaud and Alberada would separate into two unconnected families if Bouchard's concerns were valid.

However, although the relevant points were emphasized less by Moranvillé than they should have been, evidence for the marriage does appear elsewhere in his paper, as was pointed out by Settipani [Settipani (1994), 9-11]. In addition to the well-attested facts that Alberada was the mother of Giselbert, Bruno, and Ermentrude (see the pages of Alberada and Ermentrude), we have the following points.

Like many medieval marriages, the marriage of Renaud and Alberada is not so well documented as we would prefer. Nevertheless, the above evidence seems sufficient to establish the identity of Renaud with Alberada's husband.

Possible identification: Ragenold, fl. 923-5, Viking raider of France.
A Norse leader, Ragenold (Ragenoldus, princeps Nordmannorum), who was active in France during the period 923-5 [Flodoard, Annales, s.a. 923-5, 15-6, 24-6, 29], has sometimes been identified with count Ragenold/Renuad of Roucy. The identification was proposed by Melleville [Melleville (1859), 201-3] and accepted by Moranvillé [Moranvillé (1922), 11-15]. Chaume preferred to see the Viking Ragenold as the father of Renaud of Roucy (see below). As indicated in some of the conjectures below, a number of authors reject this identification and see him as a member of the French nobility. Against the identification, there is the long gap between the entries of 925 and 944 in Flodoard's annals, suggesting that it is a different man who appears in 944. However, even though the Ragenold of 944 and later is not explicitly identified as a Norse invader, his actions (such as pillaging monasteries) sometimes suggest that he was. This identification is possible, but uncertain.

False identification: Renaud, d. 973, count of part of Hainaut.
This Renaud, a distinct individual from count Renaud of Roucy, was, along with his brother Garnier, made count of part of Hainaut after count Regnier III was deprived of his lands. The brothers were killed in 973 by Regnier IV and Lambert, sons of Regnier III ["Raginerus et Lantbertus, filii Ragineri Longicolli, paulatim resumptis viribus a Francia redeunt, et cum Guarnero et Rainaldo, qui comitatum patris eorum occupaverant, bello apud Perronam confligunt, eosque cum multis perimunt, et super Hagnam fluvium castello Buxude munito Lotharingiam infestant." Sigebert, Chronica, s.a. 973, MGH SS 6: 351; I do not know the source of the exact date of 15 March sometimes given for that event]. A number of sources have assigned this event erroneously to Renaud of Roucy, giving him the false death date of 15 March 973 [e.g., Anselme, 8: 861; Melleville (1859), 205].

Falsely attributed father: Heribert II, d. 943, count of Vermandois.
This falsehood appears in amateur work from time to time, due to its appearance in the widely used Ancestral Roots, which also gives the false death date of 15 March 973 ["(He is called the 8th son of Herbert II, Count of Vemandois, but is not so given by Père Anselme; though Anselme does give Hugh, Archbishop of Rheims, as a son of Herbert II). (Saillot, cit.)" AR7, 133 (line #151); the cited source is Saillot, Le Sang de Charlemagne, a very poor source to which I do not have easy access]. The origin of the blunder is unclear. However, the sister of Renaud's wife Alberada, Gerberge, was married to Heribert's son Adalbert. Perhaps a statement that Renaud and Adalbert were brothers-in-law was corrupted into a statement that they were brothers.

Conjectures on the origins of Renaud

There is no direct evidence for the parentage of Renaud. Most of the hypotheses below are based almost entirely on onomastics, and there does not seem to be any strong reason to support any of these conjectures.

Conjectured father: Ragenold, fl. 923-5, Viking raider of France.
[Chaume (1925), 1: 400, n. 3; see above]

Conjectured father: Renaud I, 10th century, count of Soissons.
Conjectured brother: Walderic, d. 966×974, count of Soissons.
[Settipani (1997), 222, citing Bur (1977), 139]

Conjectured father: Walderic, d. 966×974, count of Soissons.
Conjectured half-brother: Renaud I, 10th century, count of Soissons.
[Settipani (1997), 222, citing Mathieu (1996), 15, n. 4] Note that this hypothesis has the unlikely situation of two half-brothers with the same name.

Conjectured brother (or brother-in-law): Walderic, d. 966×974, count of Soissons.
Conjectured cousin: Foulques II "le Bon", d. after 958, count of Anjou, after 941-after 958.
Settipani suggests that Renaud of Roucy might have been a cousin ("germain") of Guy of Soissons and Foulques, and a brother of Walderic, and leaves open the possibilities that the chronologically ambiguous Renaud I of Soissons was either the father or son of Walderic [Settipani (1997), 222, 225 (table)]


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

AR7 = Frederick Lewis Weis (with additions and corrections by Walter Lee Sheppard, Jr.), Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists Who Came to America before 1700 (7th ed., Baltimore, 1992).

Archives admin. de Reims = Pierre Varin, Archives administratives de la ville de Reims (vol. 1, Paris, 1839).

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

Bouchard (1981) = Constance Brittain Bouchard, "The Origins of the French Nobility: A Reassessment", The American Historical Review 86 (1981): 501-532.

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

Bur (1977) = Michel Bur, La formation du comté de Champagne (Nancy, 1977).

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

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

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

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

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

Mathieu (1996) = "L'origine de l'archevêque de Reims Guy (1033-1055) et les comtes de Soissons du XIe siècle", Mémoires de la Société d'Agriculture, commerce, sciences et arts du département de la Marne (1996), 15-22. [I have not seen this work]

Melleville (1859) = M. Melleville, "Les Comtes de Roucy", Bulletin de la Société académique de Laon 8 (1859), 198-246.

MGH SS = Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores series.

Moranvillé (1922) = H. Moranvillé, "Origine de la Maison de Roucy", Bibliothèque de l'École des Chartes 83 (1922):11-42.

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

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

Settipani (1997) = Christian Settipani, "Les comtes d'Anjou et leur alliances aux Xe et XIe siècles", in K. S. B. Keats-Rohan, ed., Family Trees and the Roots of Politics (Woodbridge, Suffolk, 1997): 211-267.

Vercauteren (1930) = Fernand Vercauteren, "Note sur les comtes de Reims aux Xe et XIe siècles" Le Moyen Age 40 (1930): 83-9.

Compiled by Stewart Baldwin

First uploaded 24 April 2008.

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