Sources and translations

This blog provides our draft translation of Carolingian texts, mostly linked to Hincmar of Rheims or the divorce of Lothar II and Theutberga.

The texts translated are as follows:

Page references are given in square brackets in the translation. All these translations are works in progress and have not been checked for errors or readability. Readers are strongly advised to check the Latin text themselves.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Letter on Stephen 1: outline of the case

[p 88] Hincmar, bishop by name, not merit of Rheims and slave to the people of God, to the reverent Archbishop of Bourges and very dear brother Rodulf and to the amiable brother and honourable Archbishop of Bordeaux Frothar with all the venerable bishops of your provinces, wishes for very many greetings in the Saviour

[p 88] Recently letters were delivered to the synod of bishops of fourteen provinces, namely Lyons, Rouen, Tours, Sens, Vienne, Arles, Besancon, Mainz, Cologne, Trier, Rheims, Bourges, Bordeaux, Narbonne, at the villa of Tusey in the parish of Tulle, in 860, indiction eight, month of November, laying down the quarrel of Count Raymond against Stephen. That namely the said Raymond gave his daughter legally to the aforesaid Stephen for the joining of marriage, but he [Stephen] did not use her legally as a wife, because, as he acknowledges, he had formerly mixed himself in carnal commerce with another relative of the same girl, but he did not want to reveal with whom or how closely joined by affinity. This meaning of these letters, if I repeat rightly something whose words I do not hold, were recited and set in the synod. Such an accusation did not merit to obtain a synodal response, since no one absent can accuse anyone by letter regularly and, if he has given his daughter legally to another in marriage, he has set her free from his power, because of which, on account of this business, which perhaps thus had been able to be hidden or interpreted otherwise than it might have been said (?), he [Raymond] cannot canonically accuse him to whom he gave her; about which thing the wife ought to join the accusation or suit against her husband, if necessity demands, but the father ought to seek for her thence either correction of her husband by persuasion or suggestion, by which means he himself would also have been able to satisfy. However, since this case has been ventilated by very many and both noble and illustrious men and powerful according to the dignity of the world for about three years, if among themselves they disagree hence for a very long time, very great scandal will be able to happen in the church and detriment in the kingdom because of this, and since the same Stephen was in service in the royal household in the same place, it seemed to the synod that it should summon him and take care to find from him what he should say about these things. But called so that this might be related, after certain things he asked contradictions (?) of his response, so that would it be allowed to him to speak with the bishops alone. And the others retreating, he intimated to the bishops the things which seemed to him. To whom among other things the bishops said, they could neither give him secret council nor pronounce private judgement about the things which the letters of Raymond had spoken and which are ventilated throughout the mouths of almost everyone in many kingdoms. Therefore also he himself said he wanted what was here before him to come to the notice of all and obtain necessary council and have judgement savingly discerned for him: yet he would like first that the synod might publicly hear his statement and only then give council to him and promulgate judgement.

[p 89] And let us exhibit his person speaking: "As is the custom," Stephen said, "in the fragile nature of my youth it happened to me youthfully with a certain woman. But also when time came to me, that I might seek legitimate marriage in the manner of my ancestors, united with the consent of my relatives and friends I asked seeking as a legal wife the daughter of Raymond, as a noble man, hoping to be legally betrothed. But returned to myself and knowing what had I done, I proceeded to my confessor and sought his counsel: that since the young woman, with whom I had been mixed in carnal commerce, was the relative of this girl, and that I had heard that those pertaining to one another from the fourth degree and in the rest were able to connect themselves, whether with this girl remaining betrothed to me, I could have joined her to me in marriage, while remaining under a secret penitence, without my and her eternal damnation. He showed me a book which, as I believe, is called canons and read before me, that as long as the nearness of affinity can be counted, it is allowed neither to me or to any Christian man to be joined with his female relative or she whom a relative has or with two relatives savingly, and as long as we might remain in such incest, neither I nor her would be able to do fruitful penitence, nor would such incest be able to be cured unless by our separation from each other. Meanwhile disagreement occurred between my superior, the lord king and my youthfulness, so much that I could not remained surely in that kingdom. Therefore, bound from either side, I could neither break my betrothal, nor dare to take my betrothed in marriage, lest the disagreement of Raymond and his noble relatives might also add to the disagreement of my lord, and thus I either might be banished totally from the kingdom, or if I were wanting to remain in the kingdom, would die. And therefore I evaded through two placita leading my betrothed in marriage. But at length, forced by necessity, since I was being threatened about my life, I endowed her and accepted her, honoured by public marriage. But lest I might lose her with me who had been healthy up till then, and I might more cumulatively acquire perdition for myself, I decided to keep her intact thus far. And since therefore the truth of reason keeps itself through all things, and I did this not from fraud or hate or despite of someone or love of another woman, but just as I told you now, God being my witness, in whatever way it now pleases you, I demonstrate through myself and my relatives and friends or faithful men this to be true to you by sacrament, or by what every other convenient way you may like. And if you want and seek it, I send as many of my slaves as you decide thence into judgement and I am ready in all things in which I should be able, to obey what council thence you should give to me according to God for my salvation and according to the world for agreeing with honour and for pacifying Raymond and for the salvation and honour of the girl herself."

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