Battle of Cassel (1071)

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Cassel in modern day French Flanders.

The Battle of Cassel was fought on 22 February 1071 between Robert the Frisian and his nephew, Arnulf III (son of Baldwin VI, Count of Flanders). The battle was a victory for Robert the Frisian; Arnulf III was killed in the battle. This battle severely weakened the countship of Flanders.

Events[change | edit source]

Arnulf succeeded his father Baldwin in 1070.[1] His mother Richilde, Countess of Mons and Hainaut was his regent.[1] Robert the Frisian, Baldwin VI's brother and Arnulf III's uncle, challenged Arnulf's succession to Flanders. He began gathering supporters mainly in northern Flanders (where the bulk of Arnulf's forces were located).[2] Arnulf's ranks contained individuals such as Count Eustace II, Count of Boulogne, his son Eustace III, and Godfrey of Bouillon (future king of Jerusalem). Arnulf was also supported by King Philip I of France who knighted Arnulf at the time.[3] His uncle, William the Conqueror sent Arnulf ten Norman knights led by William FitzOsbern, 1st Earl of Hereford.[4]

Robert's forces attacked Arnulf's larger army before it could organize. Arnulf himself was killed.[a] Also killed in the battle was William FitzOsborn. Captured were Richilde (by Robert's forces) and Robert (by Arnulf III's force). Richilde was exchanged for Robert's freedom.[9] Robert kept the countship of Flanders and ruled a much smaller county until 1093. He gained the friendship of King Philip I of France, by offering him the hand in marriage of his stepdaughter, Bertha of Holland.[10]

Notes[change | edit source]

  1. Arnulf III was killed by Gerbod, 1st Earl of Chester, possibly by accident.[5] Before joining William the Conqueror in England, Gerbod had been the hereditary advocate of the abbey of Saint-Bertin.[6] After the battle Gerbod fled to Rome to seek forgiveness for the sin of killing his suzerain. The Pope, Gregory VII sent him to Hugh, Abbot of Cluny who permitted him to become a monk at Cluny Abbey.[7][8] Gerbod remained at Cluny becoming a distinguished member of that monastery.[8]

References[change | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Renée Nip, 'The Political Relations between England and Flanders (1066–1128)', Anglo-Norman Studies 21: Proceedings of the Battle Conference 1998, Ed. Christopher Harper-Bill (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1999), p. 154
  2. Gilbert of Mons, Chronicle of Hainaut, Trans. Laura Napran (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2005), p. 5
  3. Gilbert of Mons, Chronicle of Hainaut, Trans. Laura Napran (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2005), p. 6
  4. Heather J. Tanner, Families, Friends, and Allies: Boulogne and Politics in Northern France and England, (Leiden: Brill, 2004), p. 104
  5. Karl Hanquet, La Chronique de Saint-Hubert dite Cantatorium (Hayez, Imprimeur de L'Academie, Bruxelles, 1906), pp. 66-67
  6. E. Warlop, The Flemish Nobility Before 1300, Part II Annexes, Volume 2 (G. Desmet-Huysman, Belgium, 1976) p. 1021
  7. Karl Hanquet, La Chronique de Saint-Hubert dite Cantatorium (Hayez, Imprimeur de L'Academie, Bruxelles, 1906), pp. 66-67
  8. 8.0 8.1 Gilbert of Mons, Chronicle of Hainaut, Translated by Laura Napran (Boydell Press, Woodbridge, 2005), pp. 6-7
  9. John France, Victory in the East: A Military History of the First Crusade (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), p. 55.
  10. Heather J. Tanner, Families, Friends, and Allies: Boulogne and Politics in Northern France and England, (Leiden: Brill, 2004), p. 105