Gottfried V. (Anjou)

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Depiction of Gottfried V of Anjou on the grave slab of his grave in the cathedral of Le Mans. The inscription at the head of the grave slab reads: ENSE TUO PRINCEPS PREDONUM TURBA FUGATUR ECCLESIISQ [UE] QUIES PACE VIGENTE DATUR.
Frontispiece of a manuscript by the Dragmaticon by Wilhelm von Conches . Depicted are Plato (top right) in conversation with the personified philosophy (top left) and Wilhelm von Conches (bottom right) with Gottfried V (bottom left).

Gottfried V. (French: Geoffroy , English: Geoffrey ; * August 24, 1113 ; † September 7, 1151 in Château-du-Loir ), called the beautiful ( le Bel ) or Plantagenet , was from 1129 until his death Count of Anjou , Tours and Maine ( Grand-Anjou ) from the House of Château-Landon . He was the eldest son of Count Fulk V the Younger († 1144) and his first wife Eremburge de La Flèche († 1126), heiress of the county of Maine.


After his father decided in 1129 to move to the Holy Land forever, Gottfried took over its extensive inheritance. In the first years of his rule he had to assert himself against insubordinate vassals and besieged Mirebeau and L'Île-Bouchard . In 1132 Gottfried met Pope Innocent II in Tours , whereby he recognized him as the rightful head of the church; previously he had supported the antipope Anaklet II .

As early as 1129, at the age of 16, Gottfried had his momentous marriage with the "Empress" Matilda , the widow of Emperor Henry V and heir to King Henry I of England, by whom Gottfried was knighted in the run-up to this event . This marriage was not fully approved by the Anglo-Norman barons , as the Angevines had been rivals of the Normans in western France for generations . Therefore, after the death of the old king in 1135, the barons supported Matilda's cousin, Stephan von Blois , who was able to seize the thrones of England and Normandy . Gottfried and his wife took up the fight against Stephan, which ended in the English civil war (The Anarchy) . Mathilde and her half-brother Robert of Gloucester led the fight from September 1139 in England. After they captured Stephan at the Battle of Lincoln (1141) , Matilda was proclaimed mistress of England. The war was supposed to continue after she was forced in November 1141 to release Stephan in exchange for her brother.

In 1142, Gottfried was called to England by his wife, who was besieged by Stephan in Oxford , but he refused because he wanted to concentrate his military efforts on Normandy. On January 19, 1144 Gottfried Rouen conquered and was enthroned as Duke of Normandy. In the following years Gottfried stabilized his rule in Normandy. In 1145 he threw down a revolt by his brother Elias and had him locked in prison. Mathilde could no longer survive in England, gave up her claims against Stephan and left the island in March 1148. When Gottfried came to power in Normandy, he was in direct opposition to King Louis VII of France, who viewed his increase in power with suspicion. In 1150 Gottfried besieged Montreuil-Bellay Castle , which was defended by the royal seneschal of Poitou. Thereupon King Ludwig allied himself with Eustach IV of Boulogne , the son of King Stephen and former Duke of Normandy, who invaded Normandy in the spring of 1151 and besieged Arques and Séez . An illness of the French king in August 1151 forced him to end the fight and to withdraw from Normandy.

To settle the conflict, Gottfried traveled to Paris with his eldest son Heinrich in September 1151 and convinced King Louis VII there of the right of the House of Anjou to Normandy, whereupon the young Heinrich swore the French king the feudal oath for Normandy. In Paris they also met Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine , who was to separate from her husband the following year and marry Heinrich.

On the way back to his home country, Gottfried suddenly fell ill and surprisingly died 25 km southeast of Le Mans . He was buried in St. Julien's Cathedral.


The Angevin chronicler Jean de Marmoutier described Gottfried as a great warrior, handsome, red-haired and cheerful, which explains his lesser-known nickname “the beautiful”. The Anglo-Norman chronicler Radulfus de Diceto, however, assigned him a cold and selfish character.

Posterity is best known to Gottfried by his second contemporary nickname, Plantagenet , which was used by both his biographer Jean de Marmoutier and the poet Wace in the Roman de Rou . This goes back to his habit of wearing a broom twig (Latin: planta genista ; French: [plante] genêt ) as a helmet ornament and was to establish itself retrospectively as a dynasty name from the 15th century on all his descendants . Associated with this name is the era of the so-called " Angevin Empire " ( Empire of Anjou ), which played an important historical role in Western Europe under Gottfried's son and grandsons, and the associated break in the relationship between the Angevinists and the Capetian monarchy . If Gottfried and his ancestors were still largely loyal vassals of the French kings, his descendants would become their worst rivals.

The main source of the life of Count Gottfried Plantangenet is the biography Historia Gaufredi ducis Normannorum by Jean de Marmoutier, which was dedicated to him and was written between 1170 and 1180. The version of the Gesta Consulum Andegavorum, revised by the same author, should also be mentioned. Both works were published by Louis Halphen and René Poupardin.

Marriage and offspring

Gottfried von Anjou received his coat of arms from his father-in-law on the occasion of his sword leadership.

Gottfried was married on June 17, 1128 in Le Mans with the ten years older Matilda († September 10, 1167), heiress of King Henry I and his first wife Edith of Scotland († 1118).

Mathilda, as the widow of Emperor Heinrich V, was not exactly thrilled to marry a simple count who was also half a child. The marriage was more turbulent than harmonious, sometimes Mathilda was cast out in anger by her husband, and sometimes she was accepted again with all honors.

But despite all the friction, the couple had three sons:

He also had illegitimate children:


  • Louis Halphen and René Poupardin : Chroniques des Comtes d'Anjou et de Seigneurs d'Amboise (Paris, 1913)
  • Oskar Rössler : Empress Mathilde, mother Heinrich von Anjou and The Age of Anarchy in England (Berlin, 1897)

Individual evidence

  1. Translation: "By your sword, O prince, the band of robbers will be driven to flight, and by the mighty one the churches will be given peaceful rest." Dirk Jäckel: The ruler as a lion: origin and use of a political symbol in the early und Hochmittelalter , Volume 60 of supplements to the archive for cultural history (Böhlau Verlag Köln Weimar, 2006), p. 93. - The enamel plate is currently [2015] in the Musée d'Archeologie et d'Histoire in the Carré Plantagenet in Le Mans.
  2. see web link
  3. Britain's Royal Families; The Complete Genealogy, Alison Weir, ISBN 978-0-09-953973-5 , page 59
  4. ^ Robert Wace: Le Roman de Rou et des ducs de Normandie (University of Lausanne, 1827); "Et al Conte Giffrei son fere / Ke l'en clamout Plante-Genest / Ki mult amout boiz è forest."

Web links

Commons : Gottfried V.  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files
predecessor Office successor
Fulko V. Count of Anjou
Heinrich II. Short coat
Stephan of Blois Duke of Normandy
Heinrich II. Short coat