Collection of Letters: Detail
- Emma, queen of the Franks, her daughter
My sorrow is aggravated, o my lady, o sweet name of mother. When I lost my husband, there was hope in my son. He has become an enemy. My once sweetest friends have withdrawn from me. To my shame and that of my whole family they have fabricated unspeakable things against the bishop of Laon [Adalbero]. They persecute him and strive to despoil him of his honor/position to brand me with eternal ignominy that would be a most just cause of losing my honor/position. Pious mother, be there for your daughter filled with sorrow.
My enemies exult that my brother, my kinsman, my friend, did not survive, who might have brought me aid. May the pious ruler/lady give her attention to these things: may your daughter-in-law [empress Theophanu] renew her grace to me, may she be entreated by you to allow me to love her son, whom I suffer now as my enemy. Constrain the princes of your realm to me, my connection will be of benefit to them. O[tto of Blois] and Herbert [of Troyes], very powerful counts will be with me in your council. If it can be, put aside your [our] worries(!1) so that we can enjoy mutual colloquies (talk together), or gather your ancient wisdom on all sides. Prepare opposition to the Franks where they do not expect it, so their attack, gravely raging against you [us], may be dulled. And meanwhile let us know what is to be done in writing and by very faithful messenger.
Aggravatus est dolor meus, o mi domina, o dulce matris nomen, dum conjugem perdidi. Spes in filio fuit, is hostis factus est. A me recesserunt dulcissimi quondam mei amici ad ignominiam meam ac totius generis mei. Nefandissima in Laudunensem confinxerunt episcopum. Persequuntur eum, proprioque spoliare contendunt honore, ut inuratur mihi ignominia sempiterna, quae sit quasi justissima causa amittendi honoris mei. Adesto, pia mater, filiae doloribus plenae. Gloriantur hostes mei non superesse mihi fratrem, propinquum, amicum, qui auxilium ferre possit. Intendat ad haec pia domina, redeat vestra nurus in gratiam. Sit mihi per vos exorabilis, liceatque suum mihi diligere filium, quem meum patior ut inimicum. Astringite mihi principes vestri regni, proderit eis mea conjunctio. Otto et Heribertus comites potentissimi mecum in vestro consilio erunt. Si fieri potest, absolvite nos curis, ut mutuis fruamur colloquiis. Sin, antiquam sapientiam vestram undique colligite, Francis unde non sperant contraria parate, ut in nos graviter saeviens eorum refundatur impetus. Et interim quid vobis sit faciendum, et scriptis significate et nuntio fidissimo.
Emma, rejected by her son and her friends, begs her mother for the support of the empire. She alludes to a scandal her enemies have made up about her. In fact, her brother-in-law Charles of Lower Lorraine who wanted to displace her, accused her of adultery with the bishop of Laon, an accusation that her son, perhaps even her mother, may have believed.(!2) Adultery was a common accusation by enemies or rivals against a queen who wielded political power.
(!1) The reading in HGF and PL would give "free us from worries," and "gravely raging against us" in the next sentence. (!2) The accusations of such an affair had begun during Lothar's lifetime, but were disproved to the king's satisfaction, and then brought up again after his death, see Ferdinand Lot, Les Derniers Carolingiens (Paris: Bouillon, 1891), 88, 193. Adelaide does not seem to have helped Emma perhaps because she had her own difficulties with her daughter-in-law over the regency of Otto III, perhaps because Emma's husband had been a rival for the empire, and had attacked her son's lands.
MGH BDKz 2, ep.97 p.126-27; also in HGF9 ep.50 p. 288 and PL139 ep.97 c.226-27 (same text, except MGH has vos for nos twice near the end and retundatur for refundatur).