Post by zglorgy
I 've just read this.
a really big work
i would like to share...
and to have comment
Thanks for pointing out this work [François Doumerc, "Essai de construction d'un espace princier: l'exemple des Rorgonides dans le monde franc puis dans le royaume de France et ses marges (vers 600-vers 1060)" (2 vols., Université du Maine, École doctorale ED 496 SCE, EA/4284/TRAME, 2010)]. This two-volume work, the author's doctoral thesis, is very long, and so far I have had only a brief time to look at it, so my comments on it should be considered as somewhat preliminary. That being said, my impression so far is mostly negative. This ambitious work covers the family which modern historians have called the "Rorgonides" (named after Rorgon,d. 840, count of Maine), and discusses the genealogical connections of a large number of individuals who are Rorgonides (or claimed Rorgonides) or closely connected by marriage to the Rorgonides (or to claimed Rorgonides). I started by looking at the (more than 100) genealogical tables in the appendix, in order to get a feel for the kind of genealogical claims that were being made. One big "red flag" that struck me right away is that the tables make a very large number of claims about relationships in the seventh through eleventh centuries with hardly any indication of uncertainty. There is no discernable difference on the tables between conjectured relationships and well-documented ones, which, in my opinion, is bad practice. Checking the quality of the documentation for these tables is made much more difficult by the lack of an index, but there is a detailed table of contents which helps somewhat. I scanned the the tables to see if there were any novel claims being made for individuals whom I had previously researched in detail, and found one on table 93 (p. 983), which claimed that Cunégonde, wife of count Wigeric, and mother of Siegfried "of Luxembug" (among others), was a daughter of count Gauzbert (fl. 878, 893, 912), son of Gauzfrid (d. 878×885), count of Maine, son of Rorgon (d. 840). Cunégonde was the daughter of Ermentrude, who was a daughter of king Louis II of France, documented by a source which does not name the mother of Cunégonde. This source is not of the highest quality, but appears to be correct. No known medieval source names Cunégonde's father. The conjecture that has found the most recent favor is that he was Regnier I, duke of Lorraine and count of Hainaut. Doumerc's discussion on pp. 719-23 is based mainly on the following observations: (1) Wigeric and Cunégonde had a son named Gozlin (Gauzlin), which was also the name of the father and a son of Rorgon (d. 840), and is thus regarded as a "Rorgonide" name; (2) Another individual with a "Rorgonid" name, bishop Gauzfrid/Gozfrid of Strasbourg (913) is called a son of a sister of an unidentified king Charles in a poem, and Cunégonde was also a daughter of a sister of king Charles the Simple; (3) In 909, a man with the "Rorgonid" name Roric, father of a Widric/Wigeric (not the same as count Wigeric), had a charter involving land in the "comitatus" of count Wigeric, witnessed by count Wigeric and another man with the "Rorgonid" name Gauzbert/Gozbert, among others; (4) Other charters show other individuals with "Rorgonid" names in the area, including a younger Gauzbert. From this and other similarly flimsy evidence, Doumerc concludes that this Gauzbert was the same Gauzbert who was son of count Gauzfrid of Maine, and that Gauzbert was the husband of Ermentrude and father by her of of Cunégonde, Roric, the younger Gauzbert, and bishop Gauzfrid of Strasbourg. On pp. 724-5, using similar arguments, Cunégonde is assigned another brother, Gauzlin, bishop of Toul, and a half-brother, Hardrad. The alternate theory that Ermentrude's husband was count Regnier I is mentioned briefly in a footnote, but not discussed. Earlier in that footnote, the author states (without any indication of doubt) that Wigeric's maternal grandfather was count Gislebert of Maasgau who married a daughter of emperor Lothair I, based on the statement in the Life of John of Gorze that archbishop Adalbero of Metz (son of Wigeric and Cunégonde) was of royal descent through both his father and mother [p. 722, n. 73]. Since Regnier I is usually assigned as a son of this Giselbert (which may or may not be correct), Doumerc apparently felt that this was sufficient to dismiss the other theory without discussion.
The author sometimes indicates doubt, but uncertainties seem to turn into "facts" soon thereafter, which is always a bad sign. For example, the author mentions a conjecture of Ulrich Nonn ("une conjecture d'U. Nonn") that Wigeric was a son of a count Odacar [p. 731], and apparently considers that sufficient to regard the filiation as established. A few sentences after this remark, the author states that "Odacar épousa sans doute une parente (peut-être une soeur) de Régnier." I cringe a little bit whenever I see the words "without doubt" ("sans doubt") or "no doubt" or "doubtless" in a genealogical argument. I tend to regard these words as a "red flag" in which the author really means something more like "If I say that there is no doubt, maybe nobody will notice that I have no evidence." Having already stated [p. 722] that Wigeric was a grandson of Giselbert of Maasgau, without any qualification or other indication of doubt, the author briefly acknowledges doubt by stating that Odacar "without doubt" married a relative (perhaps a sister) of Regnier, but this doubt has apparently disappeared by page 733.
So, my overall impression of the thesis so far has been negative.