The Peace-Pact of
Drogo, bishop of Thérouanne, and Baldwin, Count of Flanders (ca.
Translated by Oliver J. Thatcher and
Edgar H. McNeal, in A Source Book for
Mediaeval History: Selected Documents illustrating the History of
Europe in the Middle Age (New
York, 1905; reprinted New York: AMS Press, 1971), no. 244, pp.
revised with introduction and notes by John S. Ott, Department of
History, Portland State University, from the Latin edition of Ludwig
Legum, sectio IV, Constitutiones et acta
publica imperatorum et regum,
vol. 1, 911-1197 (Hannover: Hahn, 1893), no. 422, pp.
599-601. The translation by Thatcher and McNeal is in the public
domain. Revisions, introduction and notes are (c) John S. Ott,
but may be
employed without the author's permission for classroom use.
Revised 15 December 2008.
Considerable uncertainty surrounds the precise dating of this text, and
the Count Baldwin in question might be either Baldwin IV "the Bearded"
(r. 988-1035), his son Baldwin V (r. 1035-1067),
or his grandson, Baldwin VI of Flanders and Hainaut (r.
Of these three Baldwins, Baldwin IV is the least likely candidate to
have co-authored the text. The document's
most secure terminus ante quem
is thus supplied by Baldwin VI's death in 1070, but the likeliest
of the text was Baldwin V, who died in 1067. This attribution is
given added heft by the notation in a later (post-1119) account of the
peace legislation passed in the diocese of Thérouanne that Drogo
and "Count Baldwin of Lille" had issued the decree; "of Lille" was an
epithet sometimes used for Baldwin V. Bishop Drogo ruled
the diocese of
Thérouanne from 1030 until his death at an advanced age in
. Some years ago
Roger Bonnaud-Delamare, in a seminal
the peace-pacts of the archdiocese of Reims, proposed an early limit
for the text of 1036, and this has remained in usage.
argues that the language of Drogo and Baldwin's pact borrowed heavily
from a 1036 peace document issued at Douai, a town in the county of
Flanders and in the neighboring diocese of Cambrai. Subsequent
scholarship has called both this attribution and the date of the Douai
peace conference into question, however, so it
seems best to leave the document's termini
as the beginning (1035) and
end (1067) of Baldwin V's countship. The text survives in a
single manuscript from Thérouanne of the late twelfth century.
Despite a general uncertainty as to its date, there is strong evidence
the peace-pact either in the early 1040s or early 1060s. If the
issuance may well be connected to the murder of Walter II, the
castellan of Lens, in 1041. Walter was a contentious figure in
politics, hostile to the bishop of Cambrai, Gerard I (r. 1012-1051),
and was murdered while praying at the cathedral of Notre-Dame of
Gerard had previously excommunicated Walter for
the latter's refusal to observe the peace-pact sworn with him some
years before at Douai. When Walter was murdered, Gerard refused
to bury the body in his diocese. Count Baldwin V protested and
Walter's widow, Ermintrude, attacked the lands of Cambrai. A
negotiated settlement saw Walter buried at the abbey of Saint-Amand
d'Elnone, and both Bishop Drogo of Thérouanne and Countess Adela
of Flanders, Baldwin V's wife, attended the services. Also
present was Leduin, the abbot of Saint-Vaast of Arras, who had been
instrumental in peace legislation issued in 1023 at the city of
Alternatively, and for some time, the
document's date was fixed to the year 1063, and while this dating is
ultimately speculative, the pact nevertheless may belong to the
1060s, when Count Baldwin and the ecclesiastical dignitaries of
Flanders gathered on numerous occasions for liturgical and legislative
that signalled, directly and indirectly, the necessity of maintaining
peace in the land. Even if 1063 cannot be independently
established as the pact's actual date, then, it fits well with the
prevailing historical context and political environment in Flanders at
[1.] Roger Bonnaud-Delamare, “Les
institutions de paix dans la province
ecclésiastique de Reims au XIe
siècle,” Bulletin philologique et historique
1715) du Comité des travaux historiques et scientifiques
(Années 1955 et 1956)
(Paris: Imprimerie Nationale, 1957), 143-200, at pp. 187-196.
Bonnaud-Delamare's article contains both an (incomplete) edition of the
document and black-and-white plates between pp. 192 and 193 depicting
containing it (see note 2, below).
[2.] This is Wolfenbüttel codex Gud. 212, fol. 64, published
in Max Sdralek, Wolfenbüttler
Fragmente. Analekten zur Kirchengeschichte des Mittelalters aus
Wolfenbüttler Handschriften (Münster: Heinrich
Schöningh, 1891), 143-44. For the manuscript's date, see p.
See on these events, most recently, Theo Riches, "Bishop Gerard I of
Cambrai-Arras, the Three Orders, and the Problem of Human Weakness," in
The Bishop Reformed: Studies of
Episcopal Power and Culture in the Central Middle Ages, ed. John
S. Ott and Anna Trumbore Jones (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007), pp. 122-136,
at pp. 133-34 and 134 nn. 65-66. See also the reference to the
work of Geoffrey Koziol,
below, who attributes the document to the years 1042 or
1043 (p. 239 and 240 n. 4), as does, among others, Henri Platelle, "La
violence et ses remèdes en Flandre au XI siècle," Sacri Erudiri 20 (1971): 101-73, at
Bonnaud-Delamare, "Les institutions de paix," 145-157.
Peace-making activity was prevalent at this time in
Flanders, in various forms, including extended relic tours by monks of
Lobbes and Saint-Amand (Elnone) in 1060 and 1066, respectively, as well
as relic elevations at St. Bavo's, Ghent, in 1067 and Saint-Pierre of
Hasnon in 1070. On the peace-making tour of the monks of Lobbes,
see Geoffrey Koziol, "Monks, Feuds, and the Making of Peace in
Eleventh-Century Flanders," in The
Peace of God: Social Violence and Religious Response in France around
the Year 1000, ed. Thomas Head and Richard Landes (Ithaca, N.Y.:
Cornell University Press, 1992), 239-258, and the references there in
notes 1-5. Hartmut Hoffmann offered 1063 as the possible date
based on a reference in a sixteenth-century edition of Flemish annals;
see his seminal Gottesfriede und
Treuga Dei (Stuttgart: Anton Hiersemann, 1964), 146-48.
More recently, Dominique Barthélemy, L'an mil et la paix de Dieu: La France
chrétienne et féodale, 980-1060 (Paris: Fayard,
1999), 536, has again argued the plausibility--if not verifiability--of
1063. The participation in the events of 1041/2 and the 1060s by
the monks of Saint-Amand d'Elnone is noteworthy, although unstudied.
Bishop Drogo of
Thérouanne and Count Baldwin have established this peace with
the clergy and people of the entire land.
Dearest brothers in the Lord, these are the conditions which I say to
you most firmly in spirit that you should henceforth observe during the
peace, which is commonly called the truce of God, and which begins with
sunset on Wednesday and concludes with sunrise on Monday.
1. During those four days and five nights, let no man or woman
assault, injure, or kill another man or woman, nor assault, plunder,
burn, or capture a castle, town, or villa by any craft, violence, or
2. Should anyone--heaven forbid!--violate [this peace] by not
observing what we have decreed, if he does not agree to thirty years'
penance and exile and does not make amends for whatever he did in
violation of the peace before he leaves the diocese, let him be
excommunicated by the lord God and cut off from all Christendom.
3. Indeed, those who knowingly communicate with him in any way or
give him advice or aid or any suggestions--except that he should do
penance and, as was said, leave the diocese--shall similarly be
excommunicate until they make satisfaction.
4. And if that most wretched violator of the holy peace (sancte pacis
)--having accepted his
penance of thirty years--should die before he is exiled, let no
Christian presume to visit him or remove the body from the place where
it lies, nor receive anything from his possessions.
5. Moreover, brothers, you shall observe this peace and truce of
God concerning lands and animals and above all concerning all those
things which you possess among yourselves. And if anyone shall
carry off an animal or even a single obol
 or piece of clothing from another during this peace, he shall be
excommunicate until he makes amends. But if he wishes to make
amends, let him first return what he seized or something equal in value
to what he took. Then let him do penance within the diocese for
seven years. If, however, he should die before he makes
satisfaction and assumes penance, he shall neither be buried nor moved
from the place where he died, unless his relatives shall make
satisfaction on his behalf to the one he wronged.
6. Furthermore, during this peace no one but the count of the
land shall ride on cavalcade or military expedition; and let whoever is
in the count's cavalcade or war-party in this diocese not take in
sustenance anything more than what is necessary for themselves and
7. May merchants and all men who pass through your lands from
other regions have peace from you.
8. You will keep this truce of God every day from the beginning
of Advent until the octave of Epiphany, and every day from the
beginning of Lent until the octave of Easter, and from Rogations until
the octave of Pentecost.
9. Moreover we order that priests on feast days and Sundays shall
bless all those who observe this peace by offering prayers on their
behalf, and shall curse (maledicant
all those who either break it or give consent to others who break it.
10. If anyone denies that he has broken the peace, let him first
swear an oath (sacramentum
and then carry the hot iron of judgment. If he is then found
guilty, let him do penance within the diocese (patriam
) for seven years.
Endnotes to text
[1.] An obol
smallest denomination of currency, a halfpenny.
[2.] The period of truce here stipulated thus ran from four weeks
before Christmas through early January (Epiphany celebrates the
adoration of the infant Jesus by the Three Wise Men, traditionally
January 6; the octave is an eight-day period following the holy day,
traditionally January 13), then from February/March 40 days before
Easter (a moveable holiday) until eight days after Easter Sunday, and
from Rogations (April 25) until the octave of
Pentecost. Pentecost falls fifty days after Easter and ends the
Easter season, bringing the main
cycle of the liturgical calendar to a close. In all, the better
part of six months was included under the truce, plus the usual weekly
stipulation from sundown Wednesday till sunrise Monday.
[3.] The command to curse was to be taken literally--a liturgical
rite designed to denounce truce-breakers in the strongest possible
terms and cut them off from Christian society. For an overview of
liturgical cursing, see Lester K. Little, Benedictine Maledictions: Liturgical
Cursing in Romanesque France
(Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University
Press, 1993); for connections between liturgical cursing and the peace
and truce of God, see Chapter 6.
[4.] This is a reference to the ordeal by hot iron, one of many
different kinds of ordeals practiced in the central Middle Ages.
An individual accused of a crime, or anxious to prove his innocence,
would pick up a red-hot iron and walk three paces with it. His
hand would then be bandaged. Three days later, the bandage was
removed and the hand inspected. If it was healing properly, his
innocence would be shown; if the wound had become infected, his guilt
was thereby demonstrated. On ordeals, see the brief survey of
Robert Bartlett, Trial by Fire and
Water: The Medieval Judicial Ordeal
(Oxford: Clarendon, Press,