Arnulf I (Flanders)

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Arnulf I the Great (Dutch: Arnulf de Grote , French: Arnoul le Grand , Latin: Magnus Arnulfus ; * around 885/890; † March 27, 964 ) was a Count of Flanders . He was the eldest son of Count Baldwin II the Bald († 918) from the House of Flanders and Ælfthryd († 929), a daughter of the Anglo-Saxon king Alfred the Great . It was named after an early ancestor, Arnulf von Metz , to emphasize the ancestry of his family (in the female line) from the Carolingians .


When his father died, Arnulf and Flanders received his family's ancestral property , while his younger brother Adalolf got the counties of Boulogne and Ternois and the Abbey of Saint-Bertin . With his brother he supported King Rudolf in 925 in the fight against the Normans Rollo , against whom they won at Eu . After Adalolf died in 933, Arnulf ousted his sons and put the paternal inheritance back together under his rule. Already 931 he had the Count of Laon Castle Mortagne snatched and 932 after the death of Count Adalhelm the Artois taken.

Within the feudal nobility of West Franconia, Arnulf was a supporter of the Carolingians and allied with Count Heribert II of Vermandois against the Robertines. After the death of King Rudolf, he supported the election of Ludwig IV the overseas as the new king. On his return from exile, the king landed in the port of Boulogne in 936, in other words in the territory of Arnulf, who presumably had also received the king. After the king came into conflict with the powerful dux Hugo Magnus , Arnulf used this to gain his own power. With the support of his cousin Æthelstan , he attacked Montreuil in 939 , which he was also able to conquer. Count Herluin was able to flee to the Normans and, with the support of Wilhelm Langschwert, quickly recaptured his county. Arnulf met the growing threat from the Normans with the murder of Wilhelm Langschwert in 942 at a meeting on a summer island near Picquigny , where a reconciliation was supposedly to be negotiated. In the same year he was reconciled with Herluin von Montreuil after the mediation of King Ludwig IV, on whose side Arnulf has since been back.

Together with the king, Arnulf led several campaigns in the years to come to Normandy, where several waves of pagan settlers from Scandinavia had landed during this time. In July 945, however, the king was captured by the Normans, who soon handed him over to Hugo Magnus. This meant a resurgence of the party struggle in Regnum in West Franconia, in which King Otto the Great intervened militarily in favor of the Carolingians. Arnulf took the side of the future emperor and besieged Senlis unsuccessfully , whereupon Hugo Magnus attacked Flanders in 947. In the following year Arnulf tried to conquer Montreuil again in league with the now released king, but this failed in the defense of Count Roger . Instead, in 949, Amiens , whose bishop had supported the Robertinians, was conquered and defended against Hugo Magnus. He tried to make up for this loss by attacking Arnulf's castles in Ponthieu , to which Arnulf responded by transferring the relics from the abbeys of Saint-Valery and Saint-Riquier , of which Hugo Magnus was the lay abbot, to the Saint-Bertin abbey.

After these years of struggle, Arnulf focused the next few years on the administrative expansion of his dominion. Among other things, he implemented a monastery reform in which he gave up the lay chairmanship in the monasteries of St. Peter in Ghent and Saint-Bertin and handed it over to the clergyman Gerhard von Brogne . From 954 at the latest, Arnulf involved his eldest son Baldwin III. in the reign and handed over the county of Boulogne to him. In 962, however, his son died, which King Lothar immediately used in his favor by forcing Arnulf to reconcile with his nephew Arnulf II , whom he had once ousted , and to whom he had to cede the county of Boulogne.

Arnulf died on March 27, 964 and was buried in St. Peter's Abbey in Ghent. During his time, the threat to Flanders from the Vikings took a back seat; at his death, his domain included Flanders as well as the Ternois , Artois , Ostervant and Amiens , although the last three counties were his grandson and successor, Arnulf II the Younger , were lost again.


Since 934 Arnulf I was married to Adela (* 910/915, † 960), a daughter of Count Heribert II of Vermandois, with whom he had three known children:

  • Balduin III. (* probably around 936 - † January 1, 962), Count of Boulogne
  • Luitgard († 962, before October 18); ∞ around 950 with Count Wichmann von Hamaland († 973)
  • Ekbert († before July 10, 953)

Other possible daughters were:


  • Walter Mohr: Studies on the monastery reform of Count Arnulf I of Flanders: Tradition and reality in the history of the Amandus monasteries , in: Mediaevalia lovaniensia. Series 1, Studia (Löwen, 1992), full text at Goggle-books .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. In contemporary chronicles he was given the titles marchio (margrave) and princeps (prince).
  2. Flodoard : Annales, chronica et historiae aevi Saxonici. Edited by Georg Heinrich Pertz in MGH SS 3, (1839), p. 375.
  3. ^ Hariulf: Chronique de L'Abbaye de Saint-Riquier. Edited by Ferdinand Lot (1894), pp. 150–152.
  4. Flodoard: Annales, chronica et historiae aevi Saxonici. Edited by Georg Heinrich Pertz in MGH SS 3, (1839), p. 406.
  5. Annales Blandinienses , ed. P. Grierson (1973), p. 20; Annales Elmarenses , ed. P. Grierson (1973), p. 86; Annales Formoselenses , ed. P. Grierson (1973), p. 126; Annales Elnonenses , ed. P. Grierson (1973), p. 511
  6. Flodoard gave 965 as the year of death. Annales, chronica et historiae aevi Saxonici , ed. by Georg Heinrich Pertz in MGH SS 3, (1839), p. 156
  7. Auguste van Lokeren, Chartes et documents de l'abbaye de Saint Pierre au Mont Blandin à Gand depuis sa fondation jusqu'à sa suppression (Gent 1868), No. 48; From their children Ekbert and Arnulf it is concluded that Hildegarde was a daughter of Arnulf I of Flanders.
  8. Lambert von Ardres , Historia Comitum Ghisnensum , ed. by J. Heler in MGH SS 24, (1879), p. 568
predecessor Office successor
Baldwin II the Bald Count of Flanders
Arnulf II the Younger