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A letter from Adalbero, archbishop of Reims (985)

Translated letter: 

The sudden and unexpected attack, barely repulsed with great slaughter is witness to the extent to which the wrath and fury of the king erupted against us. Trusted intermediaries ordered us to destroy castles which we hold under your authority, to offer oaths according to their pleasure or to leave the city and kingdom. They came between the ancient benevolence of the divine emperor
O[tto] towards us and our owed service. These and similar things they have set against our safety for the present. Take therefore certain solace in an uncertain time; let us not be deluded by dubious hope who have never doubted in keeping faith with you.
On the 6th kalends of April an assembly of Franks has been declared where we will be accused of the crime of infidelity because we granted license to the bishop of Verdun which we did to the honor of the priesthood, so that it may be impossible for us to repeat it. If these things happen, your and our faithful Gerbert and Renier can meet you at least at Nimwegen, as you wished, or at Cologne, where they will be coming afterwards, as soon as your mercy provides them a suitable guide for their journey. On the 2nd kalends of March, we speak to counts Otto and Herbert and again, with hostages given into our hands [whom we received], we will expect to send my brother back to your service. With what anguish we are oppressed because of the loyalty we have to you and will always preserve, we have said little. We await salutary aid from you with a constant spirit, but let this be concealed from the enemy, we beg, lest his anger against us burn more fiercely.

Original letter: 

In quem cumulum ira furorque regis in nos proruperit, testis est impetus ejus repentinus et inopinatus, vixque sine multa caede partium repulsus. Qui fidi internuntii erant, castra diruere, quae sub vestro regimine sunt, nobis imperabant: offerre jusjurandum secundum eorum libidinem, aut urbe regnoque excedere. Interserebant antiquam benevolentiam divi augusti O. circa nos, nostrumque familiare obsequium. Haec et his similia propriae saluti in praesentiarum obstitere. Ferte ergo certum solatium tempore incerto, nec dubia spe deludamur, qui in conservanda vobis fide nunquam dubitavimus. VI Kal. April. conventus in Francorum indictus est, ibique crimine infidelitatis pulsabimur, quod episcopum Virdunensem licentia donaverimus, quodque in presbyterii honorem promoverimus, et ut res fiat impossibilis a nobis idem repetendus. Si haec ita se habuerint, vestri nostrique fideles, Gerbertus ac Renierus, secundum quod voluistis, Noviomago vobis minime occurrere poterunt. Sed vestra clementia Coloniae, quo post venturi sunt, tanto ducem aptum itineri eis provideat. II Kal. Mart. Ottonem et Heribertum comites alloquemur, iterumque datis obsidibus quos recepimus, fratrem meum vestrae servituti remittere attentabimus. Quibus angustiis ob fidem vobis servatam semperque servandam premamur, paucis expressimus. Salutare vestrum auxilium vestra ex parte constanti animo exspectamus, et ut hoc ipsum hostes lateat obsecramus, ne acrior eorum in nos exardescat ira.

Historical context: 

Writing to the empress and her son Otto III, Adalbero explains an action he was forced by the Frank king to take against property he held from her. Adalbero favored Hugh Capet in the struggle for power among the Franks.

Printed source: 

MGH BDKz 2 ep.89 p.116-18; also in HGF9 ep.40 p.285-86 and PL137 ep.24 c512-13, with a shift in word order, quantocius for tanto, and an extra vestrum.

date

985