Collection of Letters: Detail
- Gerbert of Aurillac/Reims
Though I wished to come to you according to your order, the divinity intervened, not in vain. For on the 2nd kalends of April I spoke to the captive counts, Godfrey [of Verdun] and his paternal uncle Siegfried [of Luxemburg]. I was the only one from your side among the troops of enemies whose statements about the state of your empire they would confidently believe. So I wrote exhortatory letters according to their intention/understanding to their wives, children, and friends, that they should persist in their loyalty to you and not fear any enemy attack and by their example, if fortune brought it, should choose exile to keep faith with you rather than the fatherland with betrayal. I hold these men very dear to whom it is worse that they can not carry out your business than that they are prisoners of the enemy. But since the dissension of princes is the destruction of kingdoms, the concord of your princes will be, it seems to us, the remedy of so many evils. A triple rope is hard to break.
You should know that the kings of the Franks [Lothar and Louis V] do not see us with impartial eyes because we oppose them out of loyalty to you and at the same time we enjoy the friendship of Adalbero, archbishop of Reims, whom they consider very disloyal to themselves, blaming him for similar cause. In all these things, let us know what you want us to do and if there should be any way through the enemy, how and when we might come to you; we are ready to obey you in all things. The thing has proceeded for him [Adalbero] so that nothing is done about his expulsion, which would be a tolerable evil except that they threaten life and blood. I have this in common with him, as if I had tried to incite against the kings. There is such a mass of oppression, such envy of your name, that he dare not tell you his miseries in his written answers. But if this tyranny grows stronger and there is any way of fleeing to you, he would not in vain sense better things from you, he would have certain hope, who has supported you and your son however he could.
Cupienti mihi vos adire secundum imperium vestrum, non frustra renisa est divinitas. Nam XI Kal. Aprilis captos comites allocutus, Godefridum, patruumque ejus Sigifridum, inter hostium cuneos solus repertus sum vestrarum partium, cui fidenter de statu imperii vestri suas sententias concrederent. Scripsi itaque exhortatorias epistolas secundum intellectum eorum, conjugibus, liberis, amicis: ut in fide vestra perstent, nullo hostium incursu terreantur, eorumque exemplo, si fortuna tulerit, exsilium potius eligant pro fide vobis servanda quam patriae solum cum perfidia. Hos ego viros in primis charissimos habeo, quibus gravius est quod vestra negotia non valent exsequi, quam quod captivitati hostium videntur addicti. Sed quia principum dissensio interitus regnorum est, principum vestrorum concordia remedium tantorum malorum nobis fore videtur. Funiculus quippe triplex difficile rumpitur. Noveritis etiam reges Francorum nos non aequis oculis intueri, eo quod de vestra fidelitate eis contraria sentiamus, simulque quod multa familiaritate fruamur Adalberonis archiepiscopi Remorum, quem simili de causa insectantes infidissimum sibi putant. In his omnibus quid nos velitis facere, et si inter hostes via patuerit ulla, quo et quando vestram praesentiam possumus adire certius significate nobis, paratis per omnia vobis obtemperare. Res eo processit, ut jam non de sua expulsione agatur, quod malum tolerabile esset, sed de vita et sanguine certent. Hoc mihi secum commune est, quasi se contra conatus regios incitanti. Moles denique oppressionis tanta est, vestrique nominis tanta invidia, ut suas miserias nullis audeat vobis significare rescriptis. Sed haec tyrannis si invaluerit, locusque ad vos profugiendi patuerit sibi, non frustra de vobis meliora senserit, spem certam habuerit, qui vobis ac filio vestro in quo valuit suffragium meditatus est.
Gerbert reports on his visit to captive noblemen who remain loyal to the empress and her son. The Frank kings are related to the empress by marriage: Lothar is married to her deceased husband’s half-sister Emma and Louis V is their son.
MGH BDKz 2 ep.52 p.81-82; also HGF9 ep.35 p.283-84 and PL139 ep.52 c216-17, same text.