Deeds of the fifth year of the reign of Phillip king of the Franks

26. In the year of the Lord's incarnation 1184, the fifth year of Phillip Augustus' reign, the twentieth of his age, there arose a quarrel, as has tended to happen recently, (que in novis rebus accidere solet) between Phillip the most Christian king of the Franks and Phillip count of the Flemings over a certain territory commonly called Vermandois. For the king asserted that the whole of Vermandois with its castles, towns and villages belonged in successoral title to the kings of the Franks by hereditary right, and he committed himself to prove this all by clerics and laymen, viz. Archbishops, bishops, counts, vicomtes and other princes. The count of Flanders on the other hand responded that he had long held the said lands in the lifetime of the most Christian king Louis of blessed memory and had possessed them in peace without any challenge through many times, and stated in the firmest terms that he would never give them up while he lived. For it appeared to the count that he could easily turn back the king's mind with promises and fine words because he was a boy. The hand of the princes was certainly with him, as it is said, but as we say in the proverb they blew up a wind "and wove a spider's web" [Is., xi. 9]. Finally on advice from the princes and barons, Phillip Augustus summoned all the princes of his land to "Karnopolim", a most beautiful castle commonly called Compiègne [Compans, Seine-et-Marne seems to fit the Latin better but the editor identified the place.]. He exchanged counsel with them there and then assembled an army of infinite size in the direction of the city called Amiens [Somme]. The count of Flanders, when he heard of the king's arrival exulted in his heart, assembled his forces against the king, and swore on the right arm of his courage (in brachio fortitudinis sue) that he would defend himself in all things.

More on the same

27. And so in the 5th year of the reign of Phillip Augustus and the twentieth of his age, he king went forth with his army and they covered the face of the earth like locusts [Judith, ii. 11]. When the count of Flanders saw that the king's army was very great and strong, his spirit was terrified [Dan., ii. 1] and the heart of his people turned to water, seeking protection in flight. The count consulted his men and then summoned through intermediaries the king's general, Thibault count of Blois, William, archbishop of Rheims, the king's uncles to whom as the king's most trusted familiars the job of carrying on public business had been committed at that time. With these as mediators, the count of Flanders spoke to the king in this manner:

"Let your anger towards us diminish, o Lord. Come to us in peace and make use of our service as please you. I restore to you in full, O my Lord King, the land you seek, the Vermandois, with all its castles and towns and other appurtenances, freely and without any procrastination. But if it please your royal majesty, I request that the castle of Saint-Quentin and the castle called Péronne [Nord] be handed over to me by royal grant as long as I live, and after my death to devolve to you or your heirs, the successors to the kingdom of the Franks, beyond any further argument."

On the restoration of peace between the king and the count

28. When Phillip, most Christian king of the Franks, heard this, he assembled all the archbishops, bishops, counts, vicomtes and all the barons who had gathered together as one at his call to smash savagery and pride. After taking counsel with them, they all answered as if with a single voice that he should do what the count of Flanders was offering to the king. Once this was done, the count of Flanders was brought in and he justly restored to king Phillip in the presence of all the princes and the whole crowd there assembled the said land of Vermandois, which he had for so long possessed unjustly, and immediately after the return put him in possession. Besides this, he delivered an oath to the king that he would restore completely and without delay all the losses he had caused to Baldwin, count of Hainaut and others of the king's friends, according to the king's will and order. And in this way was peace between the king and the count restored as if by a miracle, for it was achieved without the shedding of human blood. When the people saw this, they were filled with a great joy and blessed with praises God who makes safe those who place their hopes in Him. [Henry II of England was among those present at Aumale when this was concluded, 7 November 1185.]

On a miracle wrought by the Lord on behalf of Phillip king of the Franks

29. Among the other things full of wonder which the Lord deigned to display for king Phillip to the men on his lands, we have thought proper to write down this one as worthy of even greater wonder. Certain good men, canons of Amiens have told us that while the most Christian king was staying with his army near a castle called Boves [Somme, arr. of Amiens], and they were dragging horse carts one at a time (passim) through the fields, the whole army, both men and horses, trampled the harvest under foot, collected the greater part of it with sickles for fodder and gave it to the horses to eat. The result was that scarcely anything green remained that year on the land. It was the time when the harvest is in the ears of corn and producing flowers, around St. John the Baptist's [June 24]. But after the restoration of peace, some canons of Amiens, accustomed to collect the fruits of their prebends in the place where the king's army was, saw the harvest broken up by the horses' hooves and crushed to the point of total destruction and grieving for the loss of their revenues, thought to make complaint before the Dean and Chapter, humbly petitioning and asserting as their right that they [the Dean and Chapter] should in that year see fit to restore to them for the sake of brotherhood and from the common stock of all the other prebends the losses from their prebends. The Dean took counsel with the Chapter and at length asked them to bear matters with patience until the grain was harvested and threshed, and have carefully collected up whatever was left from the crops crushed by the army of the king of the Franks. Then if there were any shortfall from the usual level of fruits of the harvest, the Chapter would make it up to them in full. A wonderful thing and much to be amazed at! In the following days and weeks, by the miraculous workings of God, it turned out against everyone's expectations that the crops crushed by the king's army were so fully and abundantly restored that year that they found a hundred-fold increase, not just on the crushed ears but even on the things cut off by sickle and given to the horses to eat. But in the area where the count of Flanders' army had been drawn up, there all growing things were dried up so that no vegetation was found there that year. Are not these and other things which He did for his servant (servo), the most Christian king Phillip, worthy of being written down in the book of his deeds? When the canons of Amiens saw so great a miracle, they and the whole of the people feared the king, seeing the wisdom of God to be present in him [III Reg., iii. 28] which instructs him and teaches him to do whatever he wishes, with the help of Him who is prince and origin (principium) of all.

On the embassy sent from Jerusalem to Phillip king of France

30. In that same year, on the 17th kalends February, feria iiii, Heraclius patriarch of Jerusalem, the Prior of the Hospitallers in Outremer and the great Master of the Temple were sent to Paris and came to the most Christian king of the Franks, Phillip Augustus. At that time the Saracens had entered with a great army the lands of the Christians in Outremer, killed many of them and took many away as captives. They took Jacob's Ford, a certain very strong fortification of the Christians, killed there in wretched circumstances many knight brothers of the Hospital and Temple and dragged others off with them into captivity. For this reason, all the Christians of Outremer, afraid that the Saracens thus emboldened would take the holy city of Jerusalem and profane the Temple with the Lord's Sepulcher, sent the patriarch with the two masters mentioned above to France, bearing the keys of the city of Jerusalem and of the Lord's Holy Sepulcher to the most Christian king of the Franks, Phillip, asking him and humbly praying that he would, at God's instigation and out of love for the Christian religion, see fit to lend assistance to the desolate land of the city of Jerusalem. They faced the many dangers of the sea, frequent attacks from pirates and a long haul across land, during which the Master of the Temple died. The two survivors reached Paris, God leading them. There the patriarch was received by Maurice, bishop of Paris, his clergy and the whole community of the city. The next day he celebrated mass in the Church of the Blessed Mary and gave a sermon to the people.

On the king's kindly reception of the embassy

31. When Phillip Augustus, king of the Franks, heard this, he set aside all other business, went at once to the envoys, received them honorably with the kiss of peace, and sent most careful orders to his prévôts and baillis (prepositis terre sue sive dispensatoribus) to advance to them their sufficient expenses wherever they went through his lands from the royal rents. Now that he had heard why they had come, his paternal piety was aroused and he ordered a general council of all archbishops, bishops and princes of his land to be held at Paris. After celebrating this council together, he commanded the archbishops, bishops and all prelates of churches by royal authority to admonish their subject people by frequent sermons and exhortations to seek Jerusalem in order to defend the Christian faith and fight the enemies of the cross. For he, king Phillip, ruled the kingdom of the Framnks at that time vigorously and on his own. He had not yet received the desired heir from his wife the venerable queen Elizabeth, and so on the princes' advice devoutly sent off to Jerusalem fighting knights with a great multitude of armed foot, adequately funded from his own rents, as we have learned from report (fama referente).

On the Duke of Burgundy

32. In the meantime, Hugh duke of Burgundy assembled his army on the frontiers of his lands and laid a most vigorous siege to a castle called Vergy which he ringed with four fortifications. He claimed that this castle belonged to his jurisdiction and promised as if under oath that under no circumstances would he give up the siege until he had transferred that castle back into his power and lordship. Guy [de Vergy. Actually, his son Hugh had held the castle sinec 1179.], the lord of the castle, seeing the firmness of the duke's intention and that the duke would strive in every way possible to take the castle away from him, sent messengers to Phillip Augustus, most vigorous king of the Franks, informing him by his letters of his will that he would swiftly hand over the castle of Vergy to the king and his successors to hold permanently. The king "semper Augustus", after seeing and hearing the letters summoned his army hastened to his aid, to liberate from the hand of stronger men the needy enclosed and under siege by those out to despoil them. The king turned up unexpectedly to break up the siege and completely overturned those four fortifications which the duke had had raised, received the castle, placed keepers in it, transferred it in perpetuity to his lordship and added it to the kingdom of the Franks. A little after this, Guy de Vergy did homage to the king under oaths and promised perpetual fidelity to his successors (perpetuam fidelitatem firmavit). Once that was done, the king immediately restored the castle of Vergy with everything belonging to it complete to the lord Guy and his heirs, lordship however reserved to the king and his successors.

Incidentals. In the same year, there was a total eclipse of the sun on the first day of May, at the ninth hour, with the sun being in the sector of the bull.

On king Phillip's army against the duke of Burgundy for the defense of churches

33. A short time after these things, messengers were sent by the bishops and abbots and other religious in the whole of Burgundy to the most Christian king of the Franks, Phillip Augustus. They carried many complaints against Hugh the duke of Burgundy already mentioned and demanded justice of the king. For of old the most pious kings of the Franks inflamed with zeal for the Christian faith, as when Charles and his successors having expelled the Saracens as enemies of the Christian faith and, reigning in peace with much sweat and labor, founded with their own hands many churches and monasteries in honor of our Lord Jesus Christ and of Mary, God's blessed mother and virgin, and of all the saints, and assigned to them from their own rents adequate rents for an endowment so that the clergy perpetually serving God in proper manner there could obtain the necessary food. Some of them indeed chose during their lifetimes burial in the churches which they had founded, granting them every kind of immunity, as Clovis, who was first of all the kings of the Franks to accept the faith of the Christians, was buried with the venerable queen Clothilda, his wife, in St. Peter's Church in Paris, now known by a change of name as the church of Sainte-Geneviève, which he had founded. Childebert was buried in the church which was formerly founded in honor of the martyr Saint-Vincent, which is now called the abbey of Saint-Germain-des-près. Chlothar I lies in the church of Saint-Médard at Soissons, but that Chlothar was not the father of Dagobert. Dagobert was buried in the church of Saint-Denis which he founded, on the right hand side of the greater altar. Louis of pious record, father of Phillip Augustus our king, was buried in the church of Saint-Marie of "Barbeel" which he founded.

On the liberty granted to churches by the kings

34. And so when the kings of the Franks handed over lands to the custody of certain princes, out of a desire to keep these churches for ever in their liberty, they decided to retain them under their power and protection, so that the princes to whom the land had been transferred (delegabatur) should not presume to burden either the churches or the clergy serving God there with any carrying services or tallages or other exactions. Yet, because the duke of Burgundy had heavily oppressed the churches on the lands committed to him with frequent exactions of just this kind, king Phillip listened to the churches' complaint, warned the duke in most benign manner before all his friends that he should at the instigation of God and by the faith which he owed to the kingdom of the Franks, restore what he had taken from the churches, and never presume to take such things in future, and that he would punish him severely if he would not restore that wealth to the churches.

On the siege of Châtillon-sur Seine

35. When the duke of Burgundy saw the will of the most Christian king in all his deeds and his firm constanmcy in the Lord in his pronouncements, he left the court much disturbed and returned to Burgundy. For the royal majesty had ordered him to restore to the churches the sum of thirty thousand livres of Paris, violently seized from the churches and in addition to do satisfaction for the violence to the king. When the duke showed himself unwilling to do this by his petitions for obstructive delays, Phillip "semper Augustus", king of the Franks, moved in force against him and entered Burgundy as a knight of Christ with an army ready to fight. In defense of the liberty of churches and clergy (then being crushed for both the populace and the priests), he besieged the castle which they call Châtillon, and after a fortnight or three weeks,having constructed machines around it, had the castle stormed. In this battle, some both of the besieged and the besiegers fell, others were wounded but restored to health as before by the benefits of medicine. Finally the king, having gained the castle by the victory, had it fortified and placed keepers in it.

On the restoration of peace

36. The duke of Burgundy saw that he could not resist the most Christian king, took sensible counsel and then came to throw himself at the king's feet, seeking his pardon and promising that he would make full satisfaction for all the churches and the clerics serving God in them by the judgement of the king's court. But Phillip Augustus saw clearly enough that there was great malice among the men of the land and that all his thought was inclined towards evil for all time. He therefore wished to make precautions for the future for himself and the churches. The king had heard from many who had had prolonged contact with his father, Louis of good memory, that this duke of Burgundy had often offended that king and, freqently came to court on summons and gave security to the king that he would obey royal commands in every way he could and in future obey him in future. King Phillip, adequately forewarned by these and other things of the kind, took from the duke of Burgundy sufficient security (cautionem), three of his best castles by way of gage, on terms by which the king was to have and possess them until he had fully restored the sum mentioned above of thirty thousand livres to the churches. A little later, the king took more intelligent counsel with his friends and restored those three castles to the duke, then because he could not repay the sum to the churches from his own resources, he granted him by royal gift a fee from the lordship of Vergy. Thus peace was restored, and king Phillip "semper Augustus" returned with his men in glory to his palace in Paris, praising and magnifying the Lord.

That king Phillip ordered all the streets and roads of Paris top be paved over

37. It happened after a few days that king Phillip "semper Augustus" staying for a while in Paris was walking about the royal hall deep in thought about the affairs of the realm, when he came to palace windows from which he was accustomed sometimes to look out at the river Seine for the refreshment of his soul. Horse-drawn carriages crossing through the city churned up the mud. The king walking about his hall could not bear the intolerable stench they caused. He therefore took on a hard but very necessary task which none of his predecessors had dared to attempt because of its great expense and difficulty. He called together the burgesses and prévôt of the city and ordered by royal authority that all the streets and roads of the whole city of Paris should be covered with hard and strong stones. The most Christian king was trying to take away from the city its ancient name; for it had been called "Lutea" from the stink of the mire (a luti fetore). But the heathens hated that name on account of the stink, and so long ago called it Paris after Alexander Paris, son of Priam king of Troy. For we have read in the Deeds of the Franks that the first of all the kings of the Franks to reign over them in royal style was Faramond son of Marcomirus, son of Priam king of Austria. This Priam king of Austria [Here and later, Rigord confuses Austria with Austrasia, the northern-most of the four great regions in the old Frankish empire.] was not the great Priam king of Troy, but a descendant of Hector his son through Francio son of Hector, as the appended table teaches us.



Priam king of Troy



<= (brothers) =>


Francio son of Hector


Turchus son of Troilus

Priam king of Austria


Marcomirus his son


Faramundus his son, first king in Gaul, reigned 11 years


Clodius his son, 20 years


Meroveus of his blood, 17 years


Childeric his son, 20 years



And since many are accustomed to have doubts on the origin of the kingdom of the Franks, how and why the kings of the Franks are said to have descended from the Trojans themselves,  we decided to put as clearly as we could into this our history what we could collect from the Gregory of Tours' History and from the chronicles of Eusebius and "Hidacius" and from the writings of many others.

38. After the destruction of Troy, a great multitude fled from there, then divided itself into two peoples. One of these raised Francio, a grandson of king Priam, Hector's son, as king over it. The other followed one Turchus by name, son of Troilus, Priam's other son. And from this, as some say, two peoples, the Franks and the Turks, today take their names. After their departure, they settled together for a while in Thrace on the banks of the river Danube. But soon Turchus with his people left Francio his blood kinsman and moved to rule in Lower Scythia. From his people descend the Ostrogoths, Visigoths (Ypogoti), Vandals and Normans. Francio remained around the river Danube and built there a city which he called Sicambria. He and his descendants reigned there for 407 years until in the times of the emperor Valentinian, who ruled in the year of the Lord's incarnation 376, they were expelled for refusing to pay tribute to the Romans like the other heathen nations. They left under the leadership of Marcomirus (son of Priam king of Austria), Sonno (son of Antenor) and Gennebaud and came to live on the banks of the Rhine in the area of Germania and Alemannia in a land called Austria. When the same Valentinian had tried and failed to conquer them in many battles, he called them his own name, in northern speech (arctica lingua), Franks, that is the fierce ones. From that time on the strength of the Franks grew until at length they subjugated all Germania and Gaul up to the yoke of the Pyrenees and beyond. But later Marcomirus, son of Priam king of Austria who descended from Francio, grandson of Priam king of Troy through many generations of successors which would be long to enumerate here, came into Gaul with his people, leaving Sonno and Gennbaud behind in Austria. Others too had escaped from the demolition of Troy, like Helenus the soothsayer, Priam's son, who took himself with twelve hundred men into the kingdom of Pandrasus king of the Greeks. Later Brutus crossed with his group into England. Antenor chose to dwell on the shores of the Tyrrhennian Sea with 2, 500 men. Eneas with Ascanius his son came by ship to Italy, where Ascanius married Lavinia, daughter of king Latinus, from whom he received a son, Silvius. He, indulging in furtive love, received from his mother's niece that Brutus, who, after later joining himself to the progeny of Helenus son of Priam and to Corinneus who was a descendant of Antenor, landed on the island of Albion which he called Britain after himself. When he saw how nice the island was, he founded the city of London after the model of Troy and called it Trinovantum, that is New Troy. From his are said to have descended all the kings of England which after that first Brutus was called Britain.

Nota: And note that there were kings in Austria up to Childeric son of Clovis son of Dagobert. But there then being no kings, dukes took over supremacy and were called Mayors, as Pippin, Charles Martel etc.

[I have omitted (for the present) the rest of s. 38 , pp. 58-61 of the edition.

39. That king Henry [I], hearing rumors that people had found in the city of Ratisbon, Alemannia, in the abbey of St. Hermentramnus the martyr, a certain body which they said to be Denis the Areopagite, sent his messengers to the emperor Henry with his letters to defer the day of the corpse' s elevation until fuller information (certificaretur) arrived through trustworthy messengers whether the body of the hieromartyr Denis the Areopagite, archbishop of Athens and disciple of the apostle Paul was or was not in the church which Dagobert founded in France. When he heard this, the emperor sent great and wise men into France to discover the truth of the matter in full (ut plene rei veritatem cognoscerent). King Henry assmebled the archbishops, bishops, and barons of the whole realm in the sight of the imperial messengers and sent his dearest brother Odo to the church of the blessed martyr Denis. After prayers, the three silver sealed vessels of Denis, Rusticus and Eleutherius were bought out most carefully before the whole people. Opening the vessel of the blessed martyr Denis, they found his whole body with the head, except two bones from his neck which are in the church of Vergy, and a bone from the arm which pope Stephen III took with him to the Roman church and and deposited in the church known today as the Greek School. [Ed. says this was San Silvestro in capite and not, as one might think, Sta. Maria in Cosmedin otherwise known as "in schola graeca".] At this sight, the whole people raised their pure hands to the Lord with tears and sighs, commending themselves to God and the Blessed Virgin Mary and the holy martyrs, then withdrew in joy. The emperor's messengers returned with full speed to tell him in full what they had seen and heard. This was done in the time of pope Leo IX, in the year of the Lord 1050.

After Henry, there reigned as king Phillip [I] who sired Louis the Fat and was killed by a pig. His successor was his brother [!] king Louis the Pious who sired Phillip Augustus.

Nevertheless, since we have briefly set out the genealogy of the kings , we may add the time in which the Christian kings began to reign, proving this according to the chronicles of Hidacius and Gregory of Tours, by the years of the Lord's incarnation. You should note that St. Martin bishop of Tours left this world for the Lord in the eleventh year of the emperor Arcadius, which is the 407th year of the Lord's incarnation. And from the passing of St. Martin to the passing of Clovis, first Christian king of the Franks, flowed 112 years. Therefore there flowed from the Lord's incarnation to the passing of Clovis 519 years; and from Clovis' passing to the seventh year of the reign of Phillip Augustus there flowed 667 years. It is thus clear that the seventh year of Phillip Augustus' reign is the year of the Lord's incarnation 1186.

A further proof of the same thing. In the time of Aiot, fourth judge of Israel, Troy was built and it stood 185 years. Troy was captured in the thirteenth year of Abdon, judge of Israel, who was twelfth after Joshua. And from the capture of Trot to the nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ there flowed one thousand one hundred and seventy-six years, and from the incarnation of the Lord to the passing of St. Martin 445 [better 407 years as before?] years, and from the passing of St. Martin to the passing of Clovis 112 years. And from the capture of Troy to the beginning of the reign of Clovis flowed 1, 660 years. And note that Marcomirus began to reign in Gaul in the year of the Lord 376. So there flowed from that time to the sixth year of the reign of Phillip Augustus, king of the Franks, 810 years of the Lord's incarnation. We have thought to insert these things into our history without prejudice to others, since we believe that all the kings of the Franks have descended from this ancient root.



[Oeuvres de Rigord et de Guillaume le Breton, ed. H. Francoise Delaborde, I (Libr. Renouard: Paris, 1882).
Translation © Paul R. Hyams 1998]