Cover image for Ermengard of Narbonne and the world of the troubadours
Ermengard of Narbonne and the world of the troubadours
Cheyette, Fredric L.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 2001.
Physical Description:
xiii, 474 pages : illustrations; 24 cm.
Format :


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DC611.N219 C48 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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A distinguished scholar troduces readers to the Occitania, an important region of France during the eleventh and twelfth centuries where women held important positions of power, including the remarkable Ermengard, ruler of Narbonne, who led her city through a complex and fragile time.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Cheyette (Amherst College) reveals the world of "Occitania" before the Albigensian Crusade turned it into "Languedoc." The axis of this study is Ermengard, viscountess of Narbonne, reconstructed with delicacy not only by means of the meager documentary evidence of her career, but also by exploring the lives and careers of her family, friends, allies, enemies, and retainers and through the poetry whose creators she and her cohort patronized. This book defies description: lyrical and scholarly, leisurely and densely packed, it meanders through a vast range of topics while keeping to its fundamental premise, that the Occitan region had a brilliant, lively, hybrid culture in which the "traditional" Northern European relationships of lords and vassals, city and countryside, sacred and secular held little sway. And in the midst of this complex region was Ermengard: daughter, wife, widow, warrior, patron, subject, diplomat--in short, a figure whose gender was not always connected to traditional notions about her sex. This, too, was apparently lost in the aftermath of the crusade. This is a beautiful, if occasionally difficult, book that anyone interested in the period or in "post-Annaliste" historiography should read. Highly recommended. L. E. Mitchell Alfred University

Table of Contents

Mapsp. ix
Genealogiesp. x
Prefacep. xi
A Note on Money, Weights, and Measuresp. xv
Introductionp. 1
Chapter 1. The Viscountess Comes of Agep. 14
Ermengard's City
Prefacep. 39
Chapter 2. Names and Titles, Histories and Mythsp. 41
Chapter 3. The Urban Marketplacep. 54
Chapter 4. City and Countrysidep. 66
Chapter 5. Cities of Mammon, Cities of Marsp. 80
Chapter 6. The Bishop in the Cityp. 103
The Sinews of Power: Lordship and Serfdom
Prefacep. 127
Chapter 7. Lordshipp. 129
Chapter 8. Serfdom and the Dues of Dominationp. 149
Chapter 9. Ermengard's Entouragep. 168
The Sinews of Power: The Culture of Fidelity
Chapter 10. Oaths and Oath Takersp. 187
Chapter 11. Anger, Conflict, and Reconciliationp. 199
Chapter 12. Giving and Takingp. 220
Chapter 13. Love and Fidelityp. 233
Dynastic Politics: 1162-1196
Prefacep. 251
Chapter 14. Raymond V Builds His Empirep. 253
Chapter 15. The Ravaging of Occitaniap. 274
Chapter 16. Sowing the Seeds of Crusadep. 286
Chapter 17. A War Like an Omenp. 308
Chapter 18. Impatient Heirsp. 331
Chapter 19. The Undoing of Occitaniap. 347
Abbreviationsp. 363
Notesp. 365
Bibliographyp. 441
Indexp. 463