Rollo

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Statue of Rollo in Rouen, Normandy

Rollo (c. 846c. 928), also called Rolf (Hrolf) was a Viking leader.[a] In 911 he was given lands around Rouen by the Frankish king Charles III the simple. He passed on his ever growing fief to his descendants, known as the counts and later dukes of Normandy. He was the first of the dynasty known as the House of Normandy.

Early Career[change | edit source]

Rollo was a son of Rognvald, earl of More (in present day Norway) and was a Viking raider in France.[4] He probably also raided Scotland and Ireland.[4] Rollo played a part in the Siege of Paris (885–86) and then captured Bayeux according to Dudo of Saint-Quentin.[5] While Rollo was given lands around Rouen in 911 by the French king, Flodoard of Reims says that there were many bands of Northmen raiding in western France at the time.[6] In his writing he paid more attention to another group of Vikings under a Ragenold. Flodoard had no way of knowing then that of all the Viking bands those under Rollo would grow to become the great duchy of Normandy.[6]

Beginnings of Normandy[change | edit source]

In 918 King Charles and Rollo met on the border of the Vexin and Roumois. The Roumois was the name then for the province of which Rouen was the capital.[7] In a charter the king confirmed to Rollo the city of Rouen. He also gave him the all the territory west to the border of Brittany.[7] By 924 Normandy was growing into a principality.[8] It was at this time he acquired Bayeux and also Maine.[9] Rollo appears in annals only here and there.[2] He was fighting over the castle of Eu against King Raoul. He also came to the aid of King Charles the Simple against Herbert II of Vermandois.[2] Rollo died about 928.[10] He was succeeded by his son William Longsword.[10]

Family[change | edit source]

A 14th century picture showing the marriage between Rollo and the king's daughter Gisela

Rollo married first, Poppa.[11] Together they had:

  • William I, Longsword. He succeeded his father as princeps of Normandy.[11]
  • Gerloc, wife of William III, Duke of Aquitaine.[11]

He next married Gisela, daughter of Charles III the Simple, King of France. [12] They had no children.[12]

Notes[change | edit source]

  1. While he is sometimes titled Duke of Normandy this is a title of convenience used by historians. The first leaders of Normandy used the title count or marquis. It was not until the middle of the eleventh century until the counts of Normandy called themselves Dukes.[1] Flodoard of Reims used the term princeps when writing about Rollo or his son William I Longsword.[2] Titles were sometimes assumed in the Carolingian Empire. Counts of Anjou or later dukes of Normandy at times assumed their titles without royal approval.[3]

References[change | edit source]

  1. François Neveux, The Normans; The Conquests that Changed the Face of Europe, trans. Howard Curtis (London: Constable & Robinson Ltd., 2008), p. 69
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 The Annals of Flodoard of Reims 919–966, ed. & trans. Steven Fanning; Bernard S. Bachrach (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011), p. xxi
  3. Maurice Powicke, The loss of Normandy: 1189 - 1204 ; studies in the history of the Angevin Empire (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1999). p. 13
  4. 4.0 4.1 David C. Douglas, William the Conqueror; The Norman Impact upon England (Berkeley; Los Angeles, University of California Press, 1964), p. 16
  5. François Neveux, The Normans; The Conquests that Changed the Face of Europe, trans. Howard Curtis (London: Constable & Robinson Ltd., 2008), p. 59
  6. 6.0 6.1 The Annals of Flodoard of Reims 919–966, ed. & trans. Steven Fanning; Bernard S. Bachrach (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011), pp. xx-xxi
  7. 7.0 7.1 David Crouch, The Normans; The History of a Dynasty (London; New York: Hambledon Continuum, 2007), p. 4
  8. David Crouch, The Normans; The History of a Dynasty (London; New York: Hambledon Continuum, 2007), p. 7
  9. The Normans in Europe, trans. Elisabeth van Houts (Manchester; New York: Manchester University Press, 2000), p. 16
  10. 10.0 10.1 The Normans in Europe, ed. & trans. Elisabeth van Houts (Manchester; New York: Manchester University Press, 2000), p. 2
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Detlev Schwennicke, Europaische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europaischen Staaten, Neue Folge, Band II (Marburg, Germany: J. A. Stargardt, 1984), Tafel 79
  12. 12.0 12.1 Detlev Schwennicke, Europaische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europaischen Staaten, Neue Folge, Band II (Marburg, Germany: J. A. Stargardt, 1984), Tafel 1