Alternative Constructions of Treason in the Angevin Political World: Traïson in the History of William Marshal*
After some nobles and other fighting men surrendered Rochester castle to King John in 1215, John wanted to hang the nobles but refrained from doing so on the advice of one of his military captains. Would hanging the nobles for making war on the king have been lawful? This question about the law of treason has provoked inconclusive debate among historians who have sought to determine whether, in this period, making war against the English king was legally classified as lèse-majesté (crimen laesae majestatis), proditio or infidelitas. This article, however, asks whether the nobles whom John wanted to hang were guilty of traïson, as this vernacular term was used in the History of William Marshal (c. 1230). On this basis, the paper concludes that in all probability, the nobles who held Rochester against the king would not have been condemned as traitors, at least by their aristocratic peers.
Palabras claves :fidelidad, honor, Juan rey de Inglaterra, lesa majestad, magna carta, nobleza, Felipe II rey de Francia, Ricardo I rey de Inglaterra, verguenza, traición, William Marshal
Keywords :fidelity, honor, John king of England, lèse-majesté, magna carta, nobility, Philip II (Augustus) king of France, Richard I king of England, shame, treason, William Marshal
- 1 Henry G. HEWLETT (ed.), ROGER of WENDOVER, Flores Historiarum [henceforth RW], 2 v., Rolls Series, (...)
- 2 « Duraverat autem obsidio tribus fere mensibus unde rex, tum propter multitudinem interfectorum, t (...)
1In September of 1215, according to the chronicler Roger of Wendover, a group of nobles and other fighting men led by William d’Albini of Belvoir took over the castle of Rochester, resisted a long siege by King John’s forces, but finally surrendered to him at the end of November1. Because the siege had cost the king so much money and the lives of so many men, he was furious and angrily ordered his own men to hang all the nobles who had just surrendered to him2. However, one of John’s own followers, Savari de Mauléon – a military leader who had previously fought against the king and later abandoned him – objected. Because « our war (guerra) is not yet over », Savari said, the king should
- 3 « ‘Domine rex, guerra nostra nondum finita est, unde vobis diligenter pensandum est, quam varios e (...)
carefully consider how the fortunes of war might turn. For if you now order us to hang these men, the barons who are our enemies may, under similar circumstances, take me or other nobles in your army and follow your example by hanging us. Do not let this happen, for in such a case, no one will fight for your cause3.
- 4 RW, 2, p. 150-151.
2Reluctantly accepting this advice, which other prudent men endorsed, King John had William d’Albini and the other nobles imprisoned; he also permitted the men in his own service to ransom all of those serving the nobles in William’s group, except for the crossbowmen, who had killed many of John’s followers during the siege and who, at John’s command, were all hanged4.
- 5 In this paper, traïson is used in preference to other forms of the word. In 1352 Edward III, « at (...)
- 6 For treason as a « hybrid » concept, see Simon H. CUTTLER, The Law of Treason and Treason Trials i (...)
- 7 F. POLLOCK and F.W. MAITLAND, op. cit., 2, p. 503.
- 8 « There is the centre that is to this day primarily indicated by the word betray. [...] This eleme (...)
- 9 « [A] Roman element entered when men began to hear a little of the crimen laesae maiestatis » (loc (...)
- 10 For proditio and infidelitas, see L. J. DOWNER (ed.), Leges Henrici Primi [henceforth LHP], Oxford (...)
- 11 After noting that « The bond of fealty is another centre [of treason] » (F. POLLOCK and F. W. MAIT (...)
3Accurate or not, Wendover’s story poses serious interpretive difficulties that are integrally related to the deeper problems that historians of medieval England confront when studying the law of treason before 1352, when, for the first time in English history, making war against the king was authoritatively defined (in French) as traïson against the king5. Because historians have long been divided on the question of whether making war against the king was treason before 1352 and, if so, by what date it became so, there are different ways of explaining why King John initially ordered the hanging of the nobles who had held Rochester castle against him and why Savari de Mauléon, along with others, counselled the king against doing so. Also debatable are questions about why the king heeded Savari’s advice, and how interested observers would have evaluated the king’s conduct if he had executed the nobles instead of imprisoning them. Addressing these questions is complicated by the fact that what the statute of 1352 called treason was a hybrid concept, which, for two centuries after 1066, legal texts represented by using a variety of Latin terms6. According to Frederic William Maitland, who wrote in 1898 but whose discussion of treason remains the best starting-point for considering this subject, it is hard to « speak of treason as it was before the statute [of 1352], for we have no unbroken stream of legal tradition to guide us ». Moreover, as Maitland famously put it, treason was « a crime which has a vague circumference, and more than one center »7. The different centers of treason that he identified were : betrayal, for which Latin law books and histories used words such as proditio and seditio8; lèse-majesté (crimen laesae maiestatis), the Roman law term that Glanvill and Bracton’s De legibus used in the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries, respectively, for treason against the ruler9; and, finally, infidelitas, which the Leges Henrici Primi used in the early twelfth century as the equivalent of proditio10 and which referred to a violation of the oath of fidelity that the English king’s men were obliged to swear to him under the Assize of Northampton (1176) and had previously sworn as a matter of legal obligation during the Anglo-Norman period and before the Norman conquest of 1066 as well11.
- 12 See above, n. 8.
- 13 F. POLLOCK and F. W. MAITLAND, op. cit., 2, p. 503. According to Bracton, « If one knows that anot (...)
4Because treason was represented by legal writers through the use of different words and understood in different ways at the time of the episode related by Roger of Wendover, there are multiple ways of answering the questions already posed about hanging William d’Albini and the other nobles with him at Rochester as traitors. One possibility is that Savari’s advice not to hang the nobles was legally sound as well as politically astute. King John, in other words, had no legal grounds for hanging them and would have been condemned, had he done so, for having acted unlawfully. The basis for this reading of Wendover’s story is the assumption that the nobles whom the king had wanted to hang had not committed treason against him for one or more of the following reasons, each of which is organized around a different way of conceptualizing this « crime », as Maitland called it. First, the men John wanted to hang had not committed lèse-majesté, which both the author of Glanvill and Bracton identified, in the words of the former, with « the killing of the lord king or the betrayal (seditio) of the realm or the army » or with plotting or doing « something against the king’s life or toward the betrayal of the king’s realm or the army, or consenting to this or giving counsel about it or lending authority to it »12. Although it is possible that both of these legal writers took it for granted that openly making war against the king amounted to seditio and was therefore a form of lèse-majesté, they both associated the crime so closely with plotting as to provide corroboration for Maitland’s remark that treason was the only crime in English law that consisted, « not in a harmful result, but in the endeavour to produce it, in machination, ‘compassing,’ ‘imagining’ »13. But if plotting against the king was an essential element of lèse-majesté, then how could the nobles whom John had wanted to hang have committed this offence? They had neither conspired to kill the king nor engaged in the kind of plotting that was essential, under this interpretation, to lèse-majesté.
- 14 F. POLLOCK and F. W. MAITLAND, op. cit., p. 504, 505.
- 15 Martin AURELL, L’empire des Plantagenêt: 1154-1224, Paris: Perrin, 2003, p. 186, 196.
- 16 Robert BARTLETT, England under the Norman and Angevin Kings, 1075-1225, Oxford, 2000, p. 60-61.
- 17 Natalie FRYDE, Why Magna Carta? Angevin England Revisited, Neue Aspekte der europäischen Mittelalt (...)
- 18 C. VALENTE, op. cit., p. 33 and n. 107.
- 19 Ibid, p. 29. See WALTER of COVENTRY, Memoriale, 2:219: « regem diffiduciantes per internuncios, et (...)
- 20 In Magna Carta (1215), chap. 61, King John granted to the barons that they « shall choose any twen (...)
5One may also argue, as Maitland did, that during the Angevin period, there was nothing approaching a political or legal consensus that « the subject who levies war against the king is a traitor » because the « royal lawyers » who wrote of lèse-majesté « could not altogether destroy the connection between vassalship and treason; men were not yet ready to conceive a ‘crime against the state’ »14. Moreover, according to Martin Aurell, nobles at this time were ready to justify rebellion as a « riposte to royal coercion »15; and as Robert Bartlett points out, a « tradition of justified aristocratic violence could invest resistance to the king with a kind of acceptability »16. Such resistance seems to have been relatively easy to justify during the reigns of Henry II (1154-1189), Richard I (1189-1199) and John (1199-1216), the first and the last of whom were particularly vulnerable to the charge that they themselves were traitors and tyrants17. There were many who regarded John as a particularly appropriate target in conflicts that even royal records, according to Claire Valente, sometimes represented, not as rebellions by traitors, but as « wars » (guerrae) waged by the king’s « enemies »18. In this political climate, there were certainly ways of rebutting the charge that the English barons who fought against John had violated their oaths of fidelity to him and were therefore guilty of treason in the form of infidelitas. In 1215, according to Valente, John’s barons gave legitimacy to « coercing the king to uphold his responsibilities […] when they defied [him] in May, 1215, returning homage and taking up arms against him until he conceded their demands by granting Magna Carta »19. Furthermore, clause 61 of the Charter, which King issued only five months before the siege of Rochester, empowered twenty-five barons, including William d’Albini, to harass John by means of a guerra and to take his castles in order to force him to observe the Charter’s other provisions. Arguably, William and his associates were exercising this power when they took and held Rochester castle, where they made no attempt to kill or harm the king, whose person and members were exempted from the guerra that Magna Carta empowered the barons to wage against him20.
- 21 F. POLLOCK and F. W. MAITLAND, op. cit., 2, p. 504. On the Roman element in the medieval English l (...)
- 22 Henry II and his advisors could maintained that rebellions were sacrilegious acts, according to Au (...)
- 23 Henry G. RICHARDSON and George O. SAYLES, The Governance of Medieval England from the Conquest to (...)
- 24 F. POLLOCK and F. W. MAITLAND, op. cit., 2, p. 504.
- 25 W. J. MILLOR and H. E. BUTLER (ed.), C. N. L. BROOKE (rev.), JOHN of SALISBURY, The Letters of Joh (...)
- 26 W. J. MILLOR and C. N. L. BROOKE (ed.), JOHN of SALISBURY, The Letters of John of Salisbury, v. 2, (...)
6No matter how one conceptualizes treason as a legal offence, there are grounds for arguing that it would have been lawful for King John to have hanged William d’Albini and his associates as traitors, that Savari’s advice to the king was therefore correct in law as well as politically astute, and that if John had ignored it, he would have been justifiably condemned for executing them. However, this reading of Wendover’s story rests on the contestable view that for one or more of the reasons already given, the men whom John wanted to hang at Rochester had not committed treason against him. One way of disputing this view is to re-examine the meaning of lèse-majesté, whose introduction into English law evidently promoted an expansive view of treason by emphasizing what Maitland called « the peculiar gravity of the crime » and by treating fidelity to the king as absolute, not conditional21. The same « wave of Romanism » promoted the sacralisation of royal authority22 and facilitated the application of the law of treason, in the view of H.G. Richardson and G.O. Sayles, to « almost any act that could be construed as an act against the king »23, including speech acts in derogation of the king’s majesty24. John of Salisbury, who himself feared being accused of lèse-majesté, implied in his Policraticus that anyone « attempting or conceiving aught against the prince » might be held guilty of the crime25. Late in 1167, John wrote that « The Church is so ground down by the power of the king of England and so utterly enslaved that the mere mention of freedom seems to incur a charge of lèse-majesté »26. If so, how could the graver offence of making war against the king not be lèse-majesté?
- 27 Prior to the episode considered here, King John denounced Archbishop Stephen Langton for failing t (...)
- 28 M. STRICKLAND, op. cit., p. 232.
- 29 Ibid., p. 232 and n. 9-10, p. 233 and n. 18. According to Strickland, the « crimes against the kin (...)
7Whether or not those who made war against the king were necessarily guilty of the crime, they were certainly liable to condemnation as proditores for committing proditio27. « Certainly », Matthew Strickland writes, « if proditio might be committed by default of duty which injured the lord, or by plotting (and all rebellions need to be planned), it is hard to see how bearing arms against him could not be regarded as a worse form of betrayal »28. To substantiate this argument, Strickland shows, inter alia, that that Orderic Vitalis and Roger of Wendover applied the word proditio to acts of rebellion and called rebels proditores29. John Gillingham has reached a similar conclusion about « what the law of treason really was » in medieval England even prior to 1066. In practice, a law of Alfred that
- 30 J. GILLINGHAM, « 1066 the introduction of chivalry into England », in: George GARNETT and John HUD (...)
prescribed the death penalty for plotting against the king’s life [also established the same punishment] for rebellion since all rebellions/succession disputes threatened the life of the king, at any rate until kings, or would-be kings could be defeated and allowed to live. In this sense, i.e. in reality, levying war against the king had been treated as treason centuries before Edward I’s reign30.
- 31 Ibid, p. 44 and n.51.
8Citing, « amongst countless other examples, Roger of Howden’s frequent references to nefanda proditorum rabies when dealing with the revolt of 1173-4 [against Henry II] », Gillingham maintains that from the late eleventh century onwards, « the kings of England [...] had no hesitation about calling [aristocratic rebels] traitors »31.
- 32 « Et dicere debet haec verba, [...] fidem vobis portabo de vita et membris et terreno honore » (B, (...)
- 33 « ‘How can I be unfaithful to such a lord’, Orderic [Vitalis] has Wealthe of say of William I in 1 (...)
- 34 J.C. HOLT, op. cit., p. 334, 335. On William d’Albini, see J. C. HOLT, The Northerners: A Study in (...)
- 35 « Illi, iuramento fidelitatis omnino contempto, cum, et si rex eos iniuste gravasset, ipsi tamen n (...)
- 36 « Utinam in persecucione quam temere commovistis adversus dominum vestrum regem attendissetis prud (...)
- 37 M. STRICKLAND, op. cit., p. 233. Richardson and Sayles insisted that « there is no room for diffid (...)
9By making war on King John, moreover, the men who had held Rochester against him were obviously vulnerable to charges of violating their oaths of fidelity to him, which involved an undertaking not to cause the king harm with respect to his « body and goods and earthly honor »32, Anglo-Norman and Angevin writers, Strickland points out, « repeatedly stress that rebellion was a violation of sworn fealty and homage »33; and since William d’Albini, as previously noted, had been one of the twenty-five barons chosen « to observe, maintain and cause to be observed the peace and liberties » that King John granted and confirmed to his barons in Magna Carta34, he must have been included in Innocent III’s denunciation of English barons in the bull of 24 August, 1215 that annulled Magna Carta for « [throwing] over their oaths of fidelity [to the king] » and for « openly conspiring as vassals against their lord and as knights against their king »35. Furthermore, the Pope commanded the barons in a letter of the same date to renounce the Charter, after castigating them for their previous failure to consider prudently the oath of fealty that they had sworn to the king36. Since William, along with other barons, not only failed to renounce the Charter but took steps to enforce it, he surely merited condemnation for violating his oath to the king. Even if he and others had defied King John before making war on him, Strickland, among others, argues strongly for rejecting « the idea that rebellion might be placed on some form of legal footing by the act of diffidatio »37.
- 38 G, XIV, 1, p. 171, 172-173.
- 39 M. STRICKLAND, op. cit., p. 241, 256-257.
- 40 Ibid., p. 247-257.
- 41 J. GILLINGHAM, op. cit., p. 32, 44.
- 42 On chivarly, see Dominique BARTHÉLÉMY, La chevalerie: de la Germanie antique à la France du XIIe s (...)
10If there were legal grounds for condemning William d’Albini and all his followers for lèse-majesté, proditio, and/or infidelity, then John was surely justified in hanging them as traitors. According to Glanvill, « judgment as to [a convicted traitor’s] life and as to his limbs depends on royal clemency »38, while Bracton held that a convicted traitor against the king « shall suffer the extreme penalty with torture, the loss of all his goods, and the perpetual disherison of his heirs ». Besides, other twelfth and early thirteenth-century Latin authors, according to Strickland, « repeatedly stress that rebellion was a violation of sworn fealty and homage » and merited the penalties of execution and/or mutilation. He also points out that « there was a powerful notion that rebels had violated the sacrosanct bond of fidelity to their lord and deserved fitting retribution » and that kings « consistently claimed the right to execute or mutilate rebels and sometimes exercised it »39. One may therefore conclude that John was within his rights when he ordered that the nobles be hanged and that Savari did not oppose the executions on account of their illegality. Why, then, did he object? The valuable discussions of the punishment of traitors by Strickland and Gillingham point to two different though not irreconcilable answers. On the one hand, Strickland’s argument that political considerations often led kings to refrain from executing or mutilating traitors would suggests that Savari was simply concerned about the practical consequences that the king and his supporters (Savari included) would face if John exercised his legitimate power to hang traitors40. For reasons of political expediency, according to this interpretation, John heeded Savari’s advice and spared the men he had been legally entitled to hang. However, because Savari objected only to hanging the nobles and because only the nobles were entirely spared as a group, Gillingham’s thesis about the practical consequences of the introduction of chivalry into England for the punishment of traitors provides the basis for proposing an alternative interpretation of the same episode. Gillingham, like Strickland, insists that in medieval England, « rebellion was always treason » but argues that between the late eleventh and the late thirteenth centuries, English kings did not « execute aristocratic rebels » because of a post-Conquest reception of « chivalry », which he defines as « a secular code of values [...] in which a key element was the attempt to limit the brutality of conflict by treating prisoners [...] of ‘gentle’ birth, in a relatively humane fashion »41. If so, then King John would have had legal grounds for hanging everyone who surrendered to him at Rochester. But he heeded a reminder from Savari to be chivalrous in dealing with the nobles but not, of course, in his treatment of the ignoble crossbowmen, who were hanged as traitors. This way of accounting for occasions when kings seemingly refrained from executing nobles for treason is perfectly compatible with explaining them by reference to political considerations since there were political advantages that a king could gain by acquiring a reputation for being chivalrous42.
- 43 The text uses traïson in preference to other spellings.
- 44 On traïson, see Stephen D. WHITE, « The ambiguity of treason in Anglo-Norman-French law, c. 1150 t (...)
- 45 Anthony J. HOLDEN (ed.) and Stewart GREGORY (trans.), History of William Marshal, 2 v., Anglo-Norm (...)
- 46 D. CROUCH, op. cit., chap. 2.
- 47 Ibid., chap. 3-4.
- 48 On the political history of the period, see, in addition to the works on John’s reign already cite (...)
11Instead of trying to resolve this inconclusive debate about whether it would have been unlawful or simply unwise and/or unchivalrous to execute William d’Albini and the other nobles for committing lèse-majesté, proditio, and/or violating their oaths of fidelity to King John, the remainder of this paper takes a different approach to the interpretation of Wendover’s story by asking how other nobles would have evaluated the conduct of these men in opposing King John and whether they would have considered them guilty of traïson – that is, treason – against the king for what they had done43. Although this is the word that the statute of 1352 employs for treason, modern scholars have given surprisingly little attention to unraveling its meanings when trying to determine what the law of treason amounted to in the territories ruled by Angevin kings, where French, not Latin, would have been the main language for the most important discussions of treason in and out of court44. For the purpose of determining how treason against the king and treason generally were understood by nobles around the time when the incident related by Wendover took place, there is much to be learned from the History of William Marshal, a poem about an important magnate of the same era that was written a decade or so after the surrender of Rochester castle in 121545. Born in around 1147 in Wiltshire or Berkshire, William Marshal belonged in succession to the households of William de Tancarville, the chamberlain of Normandy; Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine; King Henry the Young; and Henry II46. Following Richard I’s accession in 1189, the Marshal, as he came to be called, benefited from royal patronage and became, according to David Crouch, « a leading actor in the history of England and France » until he did in 1219, after serving briefly as regent during the minority of Henry III47. For the purpose of understanding how William’s biographer wrote about treason, one should note that the Marshal lived in a period marked by a variety of conflicts and military confrontations. They included wars and skirmishes between the forces of Angevin and French kings, in which each monarch routinely sought to enlist support from some of his rival’s men; local risings on the continent against English and French kings and against sons of Henry II such as Richard; wars in England and/or France between one or more of Henry II’s sons and their father and, later, between John and his brother Richard I; and, finally, the disputes between English barons and King John, which eventually became linked to an invasion of England by King Philip II’s son, the future Louis VIII, who initially received support from various English barons48.
- 49 William STUBBS (ed.), ROGER of HOVEDENE, Chronica Magistri Rogeri de Houedene, 4 v., Rolls Series, (...)
- 50 Ibid., 2, p. 48.
- 51 Ibid., 2, p. 275.
- 52 Ibid., 3, p. 198.
- 53 Ibid., 3, p. 206.
- 54 Ibid., 3, p. 241.
- 55 Ibid., 3, p. 242.
12Because these conflicts provided nobles with endless occasions for changing allegiances, it is hardly surprising that treason is a significant theme in the History of William Marshal. However, the author mentions traïson far less often than would have been the case if he had applied the word consistently to every instance in which a man abandoned a king or actively opposed him in the conflicts just mentioned. When writing about many of the same conflicts that the History discusses, Latin chroniclers such as Roger of Howden, as Gillingham and Strickland demonstrate, denounced as proditores those who fought against kings to whom they owed allegiance and referred to their acts of conspiracy, treason, and infidelity. In an account of the conflict of 1173-1174 between Henry II and his sons, who received support from Louis VII of France, Howden writes that Henry II’s eldest son, the Young King Henry, « usurped the imperium and invaded the kingdom », while the entire army conspired against his father49. Soon afterwards, « the evil, animalistic rage of the traitors (proditores) burst into flames » and, « raving with diabolical fury, they laid waste with fire and sword the lands of the king of England on both sides of the sea »50. During « evil conflicts » of 1183 between Henry II and his sons, the same writer notes, the king’s son Geoffrey ignored the oath of fealty he had sworn to his father and made an alliance with Henry II’s enemies51. In 1192, according to Howden, Richard I accused his brother John of proditio, charging that his alliance against him with Philip II was a league with death and an agreement with Hell52. When in 1193, Gilbert of Guasoil turned over two castles to Philip II and joined with him, he was despised « on account of the treason (proditio) he had committed against his lord, the King of England »53. At a council in Nottingham in 1194, Richard I sought a judgment against John, who, contrary to the fidelity he had sworn to Richard, had taken over the king’s castles, ravaged his lands on both sides of the sea, and made an alliance against him with his enemy, the King of France54. At the same council, Gerard de Camville was accused of lèse-majesté for failing to answer a summons by the king’s justices and for other offenses55.
- 56 On the History’s misrepresentations, see D. CROUCH, op. cit., esp. p. 1-11.
- 57 HWM, 2, 15,031-15,036.
13By contrast, the History of William Marshal is sparing in its references to treason against the king. To be sure, the author’s reticence in this regard has something to do with the fact that he wrote under the patronage of William Marshal’s son about controversial events from the recent or relatively recent past in which the Marshal had been involved56. « I must pass over in silence », he wrote, « the war (la guerre) which broke out in England between [King John] and his barons, for there were many incidents which it would not be profitable to relate; indeed, to do so might result in harm to myself »57. Writing of other conflicts in which William Marshal, in some people’s estimation, had taken the wrong side, the author took pains to represent his hero as completely loyal to his royal lords. Nonetheless, instead of dismissing what the text says – or fails to say – about treason on account of its biases, distortions, and anachronisms and its use of literary techniques, conventions, and motifs, one should recognize its particular value for the study of treason and other categories in terms of which nobles represented and evaluated each other’s behaviour.
14Because the History of William Marshal makes it clear that treason was a political crime and the labelling of traitors a political act, the study of this text can bring out dimensions of this contested category of wrong-doing that are all but invisible in the Latin writings of royal lawyers and clerical authorities. By focusing, in particular, on instances in which the author of the History either used or refrained from using the words « treason » and « traitor » and by examining the normative discourse in terms of which he evaluated nobles and their political conduct, one can identify some broadly shared ideas among nobles about what treason was, who should be called a traitor, and whether making war against a king was treason. It is also possible to suggest some reasons why these ways of thinking and talking about treason made sense in the political world of William Marshal and possibly better sense than did the discourses of the lawyers and ecclesiastical historians who wrote about treason in Latin.
- 58 See above, n. 5.
- 59 Ibid., 1, 5,764-5,765: « un vos a fait de mei entendre/ Laide traïson e amere ».
- 60 Ibid., 1, 5,770-5,773: « ‘Veianz toz sui prez a deffendre/ K’eins vers vos ne fis mesprison,/ Felo (...)
- 61 Ibid., 1, 5,781-5,786: « ‘S’au premer ne me puis defendre,/ Si me fetes meintenant pendre,/ E se d (...)
- 62 « ‘Mareschal, ge sai sanz dotance/ Qu’os avez fait al rei de France/ Feelté, ligance e homage/ Con (...)
- 63 When the Marshal and the earl of Leicester went to Philip II, according to the story, they « ne vo (...)
- 64 HWM, 2, 13,069-13,072: « ‘Sire, ce sachiez vos molt bien/ K’encontre vos ne fis ge rien,/ E ce que (...)
- 65 When John says that the Marshal had not acted with his permission (ibid., 2, 13,073), the Marshal (...)
- 66 « ‘Onques vers vos riens ne mesfis’ » (ibid., 2, 13,117).
- 67 « ‘Si vos en trai a garantaige/ Que ge alai en vostre message’ » (ibid., 2, 13,128-13,130). (...)
- 68 Ibid., 2, 13,134-13,138.
- 69 « ‘Ce serait mals,/ Quant isi est que sis hom sui,/ Se g’i aloe contre lui’ » (ibid., 2, 13,140-13 (...)
- 70 Ibid., 2, 13,143-13,148. The key point, John says, is that « ‘il dist qu’il est hom le rei/ E qu’i (...)
- 71 « ‘Sire, ge ne fui unques fals […]/ Unques traïson ne moleste/ ne fis dunt ja couvre ma teste’ » ( (...)
- 72 « ‘Cum puet avenir/ Que nus deie terre tenire/ De vos? Non deit, ce dison nos,/ Qui refuse a venir (...)
- 73 « ‘Ge ne vei ne n’entent/ Par quele resun ne comment/ Hom tienge terre ui est cest jor/ Qui a beso (...)
- 74 Ibid., 2, 13,232-13,242.
15On several occasions, the History clearly identifies treason against the king with conduct that legal writers would sooner or later have classified in the same way. To take the most obvious example, the author assumes that it was treason for a man to have sex with his king’s wife, just as the treason statute of 1352 said it was58. In an episode that clearly owes something to romance literature, when three of William’s enemies at the court of the Young King Henry spread rumors that he was committing this heinous act, William freely acknowledged to the king that if the charge were true, he should be judged a traitor and executed. Since « ‘somebody has made you believe in a shameful and vicious act of treason on my part’ »59, the Marshal told Henry the Young, « ‘in view of all, I am ready to make a defense that I never did any wrong, felony or treason against you, whatever others may have given you to understand’ »60. Declaring that he was ready to fight each of his three accusers on three successive days, the Marshal said: « ‘If, on the first day, I cannot defend myself, have me hanged immediately, but if I overcome the first adversary, my wish is to be made to do battle on the next day against the second; if, then, I fail to defend myself let me be hanged on the spot, and, if I fail to defend myself against the third, then have me drawn and hanged’ »61. Even if this story about the Marshal is a myth, it corroborates what other texts tell us about a well-recognized form of treason against the king. The same is true of another episode in the History about the difficulties the Marshal faced by virtue of holding lands from the King of France as well as the King of England. When King John charged that William « had done homage and fidelity to King Philip of France and allied himself with the French king against King John »62, William implicitly acknowledged that it would have been treason for him to have done what the king accused him of doing. However, he denied the treason by declaring that, as the audience already knows63, that when he had done homage and fidelity to Philip for his French lands, he had done nothing « against » John and had acted with the king’s permission64. Each time the king repeated the same accusation against William, the Marshal challenged John’s statement that he had never given William leave to do homage to the king of France65. He told the king that « ‘I never did wrong against you’ »66 and even called on him « ‘to warrant that I went [to King Philip] as your messenger’ »67. The case took a new turn when John ordered William to join him without delay in going to Poitou, where the king planned to regain his own inheritance by attacking the King of France68. When William protested that « ‘it would be wicked when I am [King Philip’s] man for me to go [to Poitou] against him’ »69, John took William Marshal’s words as undeniable proof that because the Marshal had become Philip’s man, he was shamefully refusing to support his own king against the King of France70. In response, the Marshal offered to defend himself in battle against this accusation, saying: « ‘Sire, I was never false. [...] I have never done treason or any other evil deed that would make me hide my head in shame’ »71. John’s barons refused to give him a judgment against the Marshal; but some of the king’s young knights supported him by articulating the general principle that no one should hold land of John « ‘who refuses to come with you to such a place in such business, from which nobody should seek an excuse for not going’ »72. This was an oblique way of both calling the Marshal a traitor and saying that he should forfeit the lands he held from King John. Another knight made the same point somewhat differently but also implicitly: « ‘I cannot see or understand by what reason or how a man should hold land on this day who, in his lord’s hour of need, fails him’ »73. At this point, however, a supporter of the Marshal’s intervened to make an observation that was well-received by many. After silencing the previous speaker and ironically commending him for having acquitted himself well, the worthy Baldwin observed that no one present was ready « ‘to prove against [the Marshal] in battle the forfeit he is alleged to have wrongly committed against the king’ »74.
- 75 See ibid., 2, 14,179-14,324 for the entire incident; ibid., 2, 14,286-14,295 for John’s complaint (...)
16When William Marshal was accused for a second time of committing treason against King John, his defense implied that if the accusation had been true, he should have been judged a traitor75.
- 76 « Quant li evesque l’oï dire,/ Que lors esteit justise e sire,/ Que li quens herbergié aveit,/ Que (...)
When the bishop [of Norwich], who was at that time [King John’s] governor and justiciar, heard that the earl had given lodging to Sir William de Briouze and his wife and children, and knowing that to be the proven truth, most unreasonably he sent a letter to [William] informing him that he had housed a traitor to the king, a wrongful act for which great shame might come to him. In the name of the king [the bishop] ordered him to send William [de Briouze] to him without making any objection76.
17However, William Marshal did object, not because he denied that harboring a traitor to John was wrong or because he had not given hospitality to William de Briouze, but rather because he had not knowingly harbored an enemy of the king’s and had acted appropriately in showing hospitality to his guest. « ‘I keep no traitor here’ », he replied in a message to the Bishop of Norwich :
- 77 « ‘Ge n’ai çaienz nul traïtor,/ Mes j’ai herbergié mon seignor,/ Si comme faire le deveie,/ Parmi (...)
What I have done is to give lodgings to my lord, as I ought to have done, especially since I did not know that the king had any cause to deal with William other than amicably. And, since I would be betraying him if I turned him over to your hands, I shall escort him all the way until he is outside of my land. The bishop ought not to seek from me that which will leave me open to reproach or which smacks of treason77.
- 78 Ibid., 2, 14,289-14,294.
18Later, William made a similar defense after King John had publicly « accused him as regards his giving hospitality [to de Briouze], citing the fact that he had harbored the man whom he knew to be [John’s] adversary and his mortal enemy and given him safe-keeping »78. To this, the Marshal responded by arguing, in effect, that he had not harbored an enemy of the king’s knowingly:
- 79 Ibid., 2, 14,297-14,310. The Marshal’s key argument was: « ‘Vos nel devez pas a mal prendre,/ Quer (...)
I gave lodgings to my lord, who in great pain and distress landed below the walls of my castle. When I saw him, I was very pleased to welcome him, for I had no idea whatever that I was doing wrong, since he was my friend and my lord and I had never heard say that you had quarreled with him. You were both on very good terms when I left England and came to these shores79.
- 80 Ibid., 2, 14,319-14,320, 14,323-14,446. The History also makes it clear that the English barons who (...)
19Again the Marshal offered to defend himself by battle but no one came forward. The king « saw that he could do no more […] he asked him for hostages », which the Marshal provided80. In this law-case, as in the previous one, there may well have been something artfully disingenuous and manipulatively self-serving about the Marshal’s defense. But by making it clear in both cases that the Marshal had not really done what he was accused of doing and what he may have appeared to have been doing, the History simultaneously shows how man of great honor and prowess could rebut an accusation of treason and endorses the conventional view that a man of the king’s who intentionally did harm to him committed treason against him.
20Nevertheless, when it came to writing about the conduct of nobles in the conflicts mentioned above, the History of William Marshal is relatively sparing in its explicit references to traitors, even though the ones who changed sides in them arguably violated their oaths of fidelity. Instead of stating clearly that all such men committed treason against the royal lords whom they abandoned and thereby distinguishing clearly between infidelity to a king and fidelity, the History characterizes and classifies them in ways that are best explained by situating them, for purposes of analysis, on an imaginary continuum on which one can make subtler distinctions about how loyal or disloyal a man was. One may think of the continuum as extending all the way from that paragon of loyalty and honor, William Marshal, to men who « turned » from kings without necessarily betraying them, to men who truly committed treason against kings, and, finally, to the worst traitors of all, who were those who committed treason, not against any king, but against William Marshal himself. Between the Marshal and those who committed treason against the king were several kinds of men who were not perfectly loyal but still did not commit treason. The farther from William Marshal the men are situated on the continuum, the greater the personal responsibility assigned to them for their failure to be completely loyal to their kings. Nevertheless, how the text evaluates these men is not always a function of their conduct alone. It also depends, in certain cases, on how much responsibility and what kind of responsibility the author assigns to the royal lord whom they abandoned and to the king with whom they became affiliated. Whether the evaluation of the men on the continuum should be considered legal or moral, it was certainly normative and could have practical consequences for how others treated them.
21According to the History, what made the Marshal the most loyal man King John ever knew was that even when he treated him badly, he never turned from him. « When the king ran out of resources », the author writes,
- 81 « Quant li reis n’out plus de l’aveir,/ Qu’ove luis remist poi de gent/ De cels qu’i erent por arg (...)
very few of the men stayed with him (they were just there for the money) : they went on their way with their winnings in hand. But the Marshal, at least, whose heart was whole and untainted, was with him when things were tough and hard; never did he disavow [John], never did he have a change of heart, he served him in good faith as his lord and king. Not once did he leave him until death took the king away, and I can say that at the risk of life or death, he was always with him or his men, as a loyal and good man81.
- 82 « Ce fu veirs, c’est bien esprové,/ Qu’en plusors lieus a l’om trouvé,/ Que que li reis feïst a lu (...)
- 83 « ‘Ne unques ne mi messervi/ Por mal que unques li feïsse/ Ne por rien que je li deïsse’ » (ibid., (...)
22Best of all, in the author’s view, « it is true, it is a proven fact […] that, whatever the king had done to him, he never cast him off for anyone »82. The Marshal « ‘never did me a disservice’ », John supposedly said, « ‘for any evil I ever did to him or for whatever evil I ever spoke to him’ »83.
- 84 J. HUDSON, op. cit., p. 227-229.
- 85 « Cil vindrent a lui, c’est la fin,/ Por les torz que li rei de France/ Lor faisseit par sa sorqui (...)
23Although the author praises the Marshal effusively for his unshakable loyalty to a king who sometimes wronged him badly, the History does not condemn other nobles for abandoning kings who wronged them. Instead, the author simply implies that the Marshal was more loyal and honorable than they were. In the middle of our continuum, between the Marshal and the veritable traitors, are those who « turned », as the author often puts it, from this king to that king, and those who were « turned » by this king from that king. While law books and legal documents applied the word atorner to legally recognized processes by which a lord « attorned » his tenant to a new lord or a tenant made a legally compulsory « attornment » of allegiance and homage to the new lord of his tenancy84, the History of William Marshal uses the verbs torner and atorner flexibly and ironically to designate turning or being turned or twisted from one side to another and sometimes referred to those whom kings « turned » as « the turned » (li torné). Turning was not necessarily treason, nor was it always treason to be turned. But there were better and worse forms of turning or being turned; and at its worst, turning surely was treason. Nearest to the Marshal on the continuum are the nobles who turned from a king who had treated them badly to one who treated them well. Count Baldwin of Flanders and Count Reginald of Boulogne, for example, turned to King Richard, according to the History, because of the wrongs that the King Philip of France had arrogantly inflicted on them; they then became Richard’s men « in good faith »85. That the author finds nothing blameworthy or shameful in the conduct of the two counts is clear from the following story. When Richard, along with Baldwin and Reginald, came to a meeting with Philip, Richard
- 86 « Si amena molt cointement/ Les deus contes en ses deus mains,/ Quer isi l’aveit pris en mains./ Q (...)
most gracefully led the two counts by the hand, for that is what he had undertaken to do. When the King of France saw them arrive together, he did not find it in the least to his liking, indeed he was very angry. He began by addressing these words to King Richard: « ‘Lord, where are you taking these men? I had in mind talks only with you. I am very displeased, and I want nothing to do with talks with them’ ». « ‘Lord’ », replied the King of England, « ‘you have been taking their land just as much as you have mine. They have become engaged to me and you should know that I have engaged myself that you will never lack for war as long as you hold the lands of us three’ »86.
- 87 « Quant c’entendit li reis de France,/ Si out doel e ire e pesance,/ Que par maltalent s’en parti; (...)
- 88 « Unques couvenant ne tint/ Al seingnor des Roches por veir;/ Puis l’en fist bien apertineir,/ Que (...)
- 89 « Toz jors crut/ La sorquidance e li orgoilz/ Qui al rei fu devant les elz,/ Si qu’il ne pot raiso (...)
- 90 « Trop mesprist li reis qu’il nel crut,/ Quer male proëce li mut;/ Par lui perdi puis tot Anjou,/ (...)
- 91 « Maisfait out a tels se tornerent/ Li reis » (ibid., 2, 14,847-14,848).
24Although King Philip was so angry at this that he left the meeting in a rage, neither King Richard nor the two counts took any notice of this. Instead, Baldwin and Reginald simply « took their leave of the lord they loved and prepared for their war against the King of France »87. Even though Philip obviously regarded the two counts as traitors, it was he, the author implies, who incurred blame and shame for driving them to abandon him. When King John’s men turned from him, he, like Philip, often incurred blame for alienating them. As a consequence of the ill-treatment that William des Roches received from the king, who had broken an agreement with him, William « turned to the king of France »88. « Every day », the author comments, « there was an increase in [King John’s] arrogance and pride, which so obscured his vision that he could not see reason. Indeed, I know that in this way he lost the hearts of the barons of the land »89. As a result of this particular blunder in alienating William des Roches, the king supposedly lost Anjou, Maine and Poitou90. Later, the author explains, some of the English nobles who turned against King John in the barons’ war did so because he had done them wrong91.
- 92 « Bien seit l’en que chose tornee/ Est corrumpue e atornee/ A tote rien faire torner/ Ou ele se pu (...)
- 93 « La guerre des tres reis » (ibid., 1, 2,223). On the war, see W. L. WARREN, Henry II, p. 117-136. (...)
- 94 When King John was in Normandy, the French pillaged his lands « with the connivance of the turned (...)
- 95 « Ileoc oï dire a plosors/ Qui estei tornez e qui non:/ De Baione tresque a Chinon/ N’out haut hom (...)
- 96 « Li filz eut l’acost de France/ E del rei e de sa puissance,/ E si out trestoz les tornez/ Qui a (...)
- 97 « E si fu en la couvenance/ Que quite furent li torné » (ibid., 1, 2,366-2,367). Under the peace a (...)
25According to the History of William Marshal, none of the men who had good reason to turn from one king to another was blamed, much less condemned for treason; some may even have gained honor by doing so, as the two counts who abandoned King Philip apparently did. However, right next to these men on our continuum, a step closer to the real traitors, is another group of men whom the History calls « the turned » and condemns for switching sides in conflicts between kings, though without quite calling them traitors. « It is well known », according to the author, « that something that has turned is corrupted and turned so as to make everything else turn to which it can turn. So I say to you that the turned should surely smell of turning »92. « The turned » play a particularly prominent role in the History’s account of the so-called « war of the three kings »93, in which King Philip of France supported the Young King Henry and his brothers against their father, Henry II94. When Henry II rode to Chinon to meet with Henry the Young, « There he heard many tell who had turned and who had not: from Bayonne as far as Chinon there was no great man who was not turned […]. When the father heard this, it is no wonder that he was angry about it »95. Later, the History says that « [Henry] the son had the backing of France, of its king and all his might, and he had all of the turned who had turned to him »96. When the war ended, however, the peace between Henry II and Young Henry included « the agreement that ‘the turned’ were to be quit » and thus incur no legal punishment for what they had done97.
26Why not? However modern historians might now explain this outcome, the author of the History of William Marshal implies that one reason why « the turned » went unpunished was that they were already suffering for what they had done and were certain to suffer even more.
- 98 « Quant vint al prendre,/ Que si furent mal atorné/ Tuit cil qui se fut torné/ Qu’il n’avoient tui (...)
They took such a bad turn, all those who turned, that most had nothing to put in the hand of the smallest creditor. Nor could they find credit, despite securities offered and pledged made [...] and their debts were on such a scale that they had not the wherewithal to pay them off98.
- 99 « Li torné,/ Qui tuit estoient bestorné./ Bestorné! veire, j’ai dit bien,/ Que il ne veient nule r (...)
- 100 « Ne furent puis preisié en cort,/ Einz les i teneit l’om si cort,/ Quant il i aveient a faire » ( (...)
- 101 « Ne si boen ami charnel n’ourent/ Qui une nuit les herbergast/ Ne qui receter les osast./ E bien (...)
- 102 « Bien lor saveit chanter tels saumes/ Qui lor sembloent bel e buen./ Par ce saveit sauver le suen (...)
- 103 Ibid., 1, 2,281-2,285.
- 104 « Li traïtor […]/ Qui li pere e le filz meslerent./ Trop i firent de malveis gieus » (ibid., 1, 2, (...)
- 105 Ibid., 1, 2,342-2,348.
- 106 « ‘Sor eus deit li mals atorner/ Qui li loerent a torner/ Cil en deivent estre plus vil’ » (ibid., (...)
27These men « were all turned upside down. Turned upside down, yes, that’s right, because they could see no means by which they could help themselves. They could plead at court for they had nothing to lose »99. However, « they enjoyed no esteem at court [and] were held on such a short rein that when they had anything to do there, they could scarcely accomplish anything »100. To make matters worse for them, « they did not have any good close kinsmen who would give them hospitality for a single night or who dared to hide them. And [...] the greatest barons of France eagerly turned their backs on them because of their greed for gain from the King who greased their palms »101. This reference to the bribes that « the turned » received from King Philip suggests that there were other reasons why, in the author’s view, they were not condemned and punished as traitors. For one thing, because they were so easily manipulated, they were too contemptible to be worth accusing of treason. Moreover, much of the responsibility, blame, and shame for their conduct was placed on others. First, there was King Philip the palm-greaser, who « knew well how to sing the psalms that sounded delightful and sweet to [the turned]. That was how he protected his own position »102. Many condemned him because his conduct in the war « put his kingdom at risk so that the crown of France was not being raised in esteem a bit »103. Blame for the conflict also fell more generally on « the traitors [...] who set father against sons in the war of the three kings and played an evil game »104. When Henry II asked the mediators from his son Henry who should compensate him for the damage and losses he had sustained in the war, they advised him to direct his anger, not at his son or his son’s supporters, but rather at those who had advised the young king to start the war105: « ‘On those men the evil ought to turn who advised him to turn; for this they should be considered all the more base’ »106.
- 107 « ‘En France solent traïtor/ Estre traitié a desenor,/ Ars e destruit e traïné:/ E ore i sunt si r (...)
- 108 « ‘Par fei! si deivent il bien estre,’/ Dist li reis, ‘c’est ore un porchaz,/ Qu’il est d’els comm (...)
28Ordinarily, the History does not apply the term traitors to men whom kings « turned » by bribing them, much less indicate that they were liable to be executed for committing treason against the king. In the long-run, however, the worst of the men who were turned may have been gotten what they truly deserved. This is one way of reading a passage in the History where the Marshal and King Philip of France talk about traitors. William begins by alluding ironically to the fact that Philip had been rewarding castellans whom he had turned from kings of England so that they would surrender to him the castles they were holding on behalf of their royal lords. The Marshal says: « ‘In France traitors are usually treated dishonorably, burned, put to the sword, and dragged through the streets by horses. And yet, now we have traitors so well established [there] that they are all lords and masters’ »107. Philip replies: « ‘So they should be […] for I have a use for them. For now. But they are just like bits of rag for wiping yourself. Once you have had your use of them, you throw them into the latrines’ »108. Traitors were useful to kings but disposable. Indeed, they had to be disposed of because they smelled, just as « the turned » did.
29Finally, toward the far end of the continuum running from the loyal Marshal to the very worst traitors are men who made a particularly bad turn from one king to another. This really was treason. The best example is Count Robert of Alençon, who made « a bad turn » from King John to King Philip. When John came to dine with the count at Alençon, Robert did something that the History marks as being particularly shameful.
- 109 « Robert, qui le jor fist grant honte,/ Quer, quant li reis li out donez/ Ses avers e abandonez/ E (...)
When the king had given and turned over his wealth to him and kissed him on the mouth, that very same day, the count brought [John] low. That same day, he immediately made a bad turn and turned to the King of France and did him homage and became his ally and let the French into his town. Shamed is he who deliberately acts villainously109.
- 110 « Trouva il asez qui li dist/ Que li quens s’ert si atornez/ Qu’al rei de France s’ert tornez/ E q (...)
- 111 « Soz ciel n’a greinnor traïson/ Que beal semblant e quer felon » (ibid., 1, 14,076-14,077). (...)
30When John heard about this, he said that it was « cruel treason » and a great wrong against him for Robert to have first taken his wealth and immediately done him harm110. When the count took John’s gifts and kissed him on the mouth, he was already, by implication, committing treason, since, as the author once puts it, « there is no greater treason under the heavens than to have a fair countenance and a felonious heart »111. To kiss one’s lord with treason in one’s heart — as Judas had done – must have been even worse.
- 112 « Li envios orent envie/ Del bien e de la bone vie/ Del Mareschal e de l’amor/ Que il aveit a son (...)
31Still, Count Robert hardly qualifies as the worst traitor portrayed in the History of William Marshal, which accords this status, not to any traitor against a king, but to those who committed treason against the Marshal himself. Of these, the ones whom the author condemns most colorfully are the men who, in an episode already mentioned, falsely accused William Marshal of treason against Young Henry by doing it to the king’s wife. It was their envy of the Marshal, he writes, that led them to spread false rumors about him112.
- 113 « Qu’envie par dreite raison/ Si art tot avant sa maison/ Que ele puisse ardeir l’autrui/ Ne qu’el (...)
For envy, by right reason, will even burn her own house down provided that she can burn another man’s house down as well and harm him. Once she has set fire to her own, she spreads the fire and smoke to set alight the house of her nearest neighbour. A curse be upon her ways! From Paradise, Envy chased out Adam, a man placed there by God; it was base and bitter Envy that made Cain kill his brother Abel. All those who commit treason are descendants of Cain113.
- 114 « ‘Unques nul d’els dire n’oserent/ La traïson qu’il porparlerent’ » (ibid., 1, 5,163-5,164). (...)
- 115 « ‘Que ja traïtre ne devienge;/ Trop i avreit grant mesprison’ » (ibid., 1, 5,260-5,261). (...)
- 116 « ‘Si est laide e aperte,/ D’encuser home sanz deserte/ Quant ne s’en garde ne s’i pense./ Qui tel (...)
- 117 For repeated references to this act as traïson, see ibid., 1, 5,304, 5,325, 5,374, 5,389, 5,752, 5 (...)
- 118 « Engeinnier » (ibid., 1, 5333); « Traïson si tresmensongiere » (ibid., 1, 5,374); « La traïson fa (...)
- 119 See ibid., 1, 6,420-6,434, where count Geoffrey speaks of the shame his brother Young Henry should (...)
- 120 « Il fu veir qu’Adam d’Ikebeu/ Traïst de son cuer le malveis breu/ Dunt les proëces furent faites/ (...)
- 121 « Li mensongiers » (ibid., 1, 5,849); « voz traïtors, vos lozengiers » (ibid., 1, 6,428); « li fel (...)
- 122 « Mais la traïson ne pout taire,/ Qui veneit de mortel haor/ Por mesler le a son seinnor » (ibid., (...)
- 123 Ibid., 1, 13,040, 13,044.
- 124 « Eisi avient tote jor/ Que losengier e traïtor/ Sunt tuit maistre e seignor a cort/ E li prodome (...)
- 125 « Melier li faus » (ibid., 2, 13, 580); « qui fu de mal fei » (ibid., 2, 13,555); « la laide mespr (...)
32Because « none of [the traitors] dared to speak of the treason that they were plotting »114, they decided to make their false accusations to one of the Young Henry’s intimates, Ralph de Hamars, whom they knew to be on bad terms with William. They assumed that he would pass on their lies to the king; but when he understood where their conversation with him was leading, he said that he would never become a traitor and that what they had in mind would be a great wrong115. When they denied that they were plotting treason, Ralph insisted that that was what they had in mind. For « ‘it is odious’ », he said, « ‘to accuse a man undeservedly when he’s not expecting it or thinking of it. Anyone who plots such a felony is a traitor, and treason has put his heart in its prison’ »116. This particular act of treason117, the author shows, involved trickery, deceit and lying and was false and bitter118; it was inspired by envy and ultimately by the Devil119 and grew out of an « evil brew » in the traitor’s heart120. The traitors responsible for it were liars, losengiers and felons; they were « cunning, cruel, and evilly deceitful » and also « prideful and arrogant »121. Their treason « stemmed from a mortal hatred to make strife between [William] and his lord [Young Henry] »122. Almost as reprehensible as these men, according to the History, was Ralph d’Ardenes, the man who falsely told King John that the Marshal had acted against him by doing homage to Philip II. Ralph spoke « treason » but « was believed on the strength of his misdeed »123. « And so it always is », the author complains, « that flatterers and traitors are all lords and masters at court and men of honor brought up short »124. Another man who betrayed the Marshal was Meilyr fitz Henry, an Irish baron who colluded with King John harming him by treason. « Meilyr the false » was a man of « bad faith », who committed « a shameful wrong »125.
- 126 « Mais ainz dist a totes ses genz,/ A ses coisins a ses parenz,/ Qu’il feïssent ennui e mal/ A la (...)
He told all his men, his cousins and other relatives, to do harm and damage to the Marshal’s land, and that they should wage war on the Marshal’s men. [...] The week after the feast day, on the first Sunday, they set fire to the [Marshal’s] barns in Newtown, reducing them to ashes. They also killed twenty of his men, and carried before them all the booty they had taken in the town as they went on their way. So began throughout the land, the troubles and the great war against the Marshal126.
- 127 « En son cuer ert tot dis feil » (ibid., 2, 17,779); « Qui guerreia li Mareschal/ E li fist maint (...)
- 128 See ibid., 2, 17,852-17,853, 17,857-17,860. On the notorious traitor, Eustace the monk, see ibid., (...)
33Finally, there was Morgan of Caerleon, « a very wicked man at heart », who « waged war on the Marshal and did him much harm and damage »127 and later broke a truce to which William Marshal was a party. In the Marshal’s words, « ‘Morgan killed his own knights, along with other noblemen and other people. [...] His evil deeds and acts are only too horribly apparent. At the same time he has burnt down twenty-two churches and devastated the land around’ »128.
- 129 « Juratum est autem tam ex parte nostra quam ex parte baronum, quod hec omnia supradicta bona fide (...)
- 130 HWM, 1, 6,468.
- 131 The word « traitor » was, inter alia, an insult, as one can see from a passage in the History in w (...)
34By now, it should be obvious that in the History of William Marshal, treason was not just a crime against the king, as lèse-majesté was, or merely a wrong by a fidelis against his lord. Nor did treason necessarily result in physical harm. Instead, treason was understood to be a dishonorable, underhanded, and devious way of causing or simply plotting harm of various kinds, including harm to reputation. It had deeply pejorative connotations and associations. It was assumed to be driven by envy, fury, malice, and hatred – secret hatred. It was bitter, cruel, dirty, shameful, ugly, and vile. It was not just a wrong but a shameful manner of acting, linked to lying and slandering, conspiracy, plotting, acting by night, secrecy, guile, greed, conniving, ruses, felony, and outrage. Treason involved evil trickery, that is, mal engin, which, in the form of malum ingenium, appears in ordinary oaths of fidelity as well as in the ones sworn by King John and the barons to observe Magna Carta (1215)129. Treason even had a physiological dimension; it was the « evil that [traitors] had within them »130. And traitors, as we have just seen, were vile, envious, shameless, wicked, odious, and false; they were liars, connivers, losengiers, felons, and men of bad faith131.
- 132 F. P. R. AKEHURST (tr.), Philippe de BEAUMANOIR, The Coutumes de Beauvaisis of Philippe de Beauman (...)
35By representing traitors and treason in these ways, the History of William Marshal departs significantly from near-contemporary definitions of lèse-majesté as a crime against the king alone, and also from definitions of infidelity that privilege the harm that a fidelis swore not to do to the king. However, by identifying treason, not simply with the harm it caused or was intended to cause, but rather with particular ways of acting, with the particular sentiments that motivated and animated it, and with the very nature of anyone capable of committing it, the History represents treason in terms very similar to the ones used in statements about traïson by the authors of Old French and Anglo-Norman law books of the late thirteenth century. According to Beaumanoir, « treason is when you show no sign of hatred and yet you harbor a deadly hatred, so that because of the hate you kill the person you hate by treason (or have them killed) or you beat them (or have them beaten) until they are injured »132. Adding to this statement, Beaumanoir wrote:
- 133 F. P. R. AKEHURST (tr.), BEAUMANOIR, p. 303, with the same substitution mentioned in n. 136. « Nus (...)
No murder is without treason, but there may be treason without murder in many cases; for murder does not occur without a person’s death, but treason appears in beating or injuring someone during a truce or a guaranteed peace or in an ambush, or in giving false witness in order to have someone put to death, or disinherited, or to have him banished, or to have him hated by his liege lord, or in many other similar cases133.
- 134 F. P. R. AKEHURST, « Murder by Stealth » p. 460.
- 135 « Férir, et l’en ne voie pas le cop venir [est traïson] » (RAPETTI, Jostice et plet, bk. 19, chap. (...)
- 136 « Tresun est en chescun damage qu hom fet a escient ou procure de fere a cely a qi hom se fet ami (...)
36One modern commentator considers Beaumanoir’s definition of traïson to be « unsatisfactory since the word seems to be used to describe the manner in which some action is performed rather than the action itself »134. However, the study of other vernacular law books as well as the History of William Marshal suggests that the manner in which the traitor acted, along with his motivation, was an essential feature of traïson. According to Li livres de jostice et de plet, for example, it was traïson to strike someone who could not see the blow coming135. Another vernacular law book, the Anglo-Norman text called Britton, identifies another element of treason that is only implicit in what Beaumanoir and the History of William Marshal say on this subject. Since « there is treason in the harm that a man does or has done to a friend », according to Britton, the wrong often involves a breach of trust136.
- 137 See K. BOSNOS, op. cit., chap. 1-2.
37If treason was identified, not just by the kinds of harm it caused or was intended to cause, but by the shameful manner in which traitors acted and by the dishonorable motives, feelings, and innate qualities that drove them, and if only a certain kind of person was capable of committing this wrong, then publicly establishing that a nobleman had committed treason against the king and should be punished as a traitor could not have been a simple matter. It involved more than proving in court – or declaring it notorious – that he had committed an act that fell within a legal definition of traïson. Rather, it must have been necessary to reduce the noble’s conduct to one of a small set of acts identified as treason, characterize the act as deliberate, demonstrate that the accused acted with trickery and deceit, show that he acted out of envy, malice, and hatred, and, in these ways, mark the accused publicly as belonging to the class of people known to perform these acts in the ways just specified and for the reasons just given. In short, condemning a noble for treason against the king had to be accomplished though a public, ceremonious process in which many men actively or collusively participated in imposing the stereotypical identity of traitor on the accused. The process must have been easier or more difficult to carry out, depending on factors that included the kind of treason at issue, the reputations of the accused, the accuser, the men supporting one side or the other, and the king whom the accused had allegedly wronged. The process would have been particularly easy to bring to a successful completion in cases where the noble was charged with a form of treason that was considered inherently shameful, such as debauching the king’s wife or plotting to kill him. These two kinds of treason were imputed to people who fit the conventionalized profile of the traitor, just as sodomy was imputed to the Sodomite and heresy to the heretic137.
38As the History of William Marshal shows, however, making war against the king was not necessarily considered to be intrinsically shameful or wrongful and, as a result, there was no overwhelming presumption that a noble who engaged in it was, by definition, a traitor. Some men, the story shows, had good grounds for turning from a king, refusing him aid and even going against him. Even when such grounds for lacking, at least some of blame for their turning from one king to another could be shifted from those who turned to those who turned them and to the evil counselors of the kings who turned the turned. Furthermore, side-switching by the followers of kings was so common, as was war-making by Henry II’s sons against their father and against each other, that it was important to find normative as well as practical grounds for not condemning those who engaged in these activities for treason. The simplest solutions to this problem were to displace their treason onto others, to characterize them euphemistically as those who « turned » or were « turned », or to engage in the laundering of their political identifies in peace agreements. Finally, by representing kings such as John and Philip II so unfavorably and by refraining from consistently denouncing most of the men who turned against them as traitors, the History of William Marshal obliquely suggests that these kings were themselves so deeply implicated in treason that they lacked the prestige and the honor necessary to secure the condemnation of reputedly honorable men for committing treason against them.
- 138 See above, n. 133.
39This is one of the main lessons to be drawn from the two stories already mentioned about King John’s unsuccessful efforts to get his court to make a judgment against the Marshal as a traitor, even when there were evidently grounds for charging him with treason against the king. When John accused William Marshal of treason for giving hospitality to William de Briouze, the critical question was whether the accuser or accused had the power to impose his own interpretation on an act that was obviously open to two different constructions and, in this way, to brand his adversary a traitor. Had the Marshal, as John insisted, knowingly harbored the king’s « mortal enemy »? Or had he simply given hospitality to his lord? As the Marshal’s biographer tells the story, the unwillingness of king’s men to prove the truth of the king’s word in battle is an oblique but unmistakable judgment against John for committing the kind treason against the Marshal that Beaumanoir saw « in giving false witness in order to have someone put to death, or disinherited, or to have him banished »138. King John’s inability to make his baron’s respect his word is shown even more dramatically in the case where he accused William Marshal of treason for doing homage and swearing fidelity to Philip II. Here again, the issue was whether the royal accuser or the accused had the power to define an act that could be interpreted in two different ways. Had the Marshal acted « against » the king, as John insisted he had? Or had he not? Even when William Marshal’s words provided what was arguably clear evidence of his infidelity to John, none of the king’s men would fight to uphold the king’s word or even call the Marshal a traitor. Although the author of the History obviously constructed his account of this trial primarily for the purpose of showing the respect that William’s peers had for his prowess, loyalty, and honor, the story also brings out how little respect John’s men had for him and, by implication, how much honor and political capital a king needed to secure the condemnation and execution of a well-respected nobleman as a traitor.
- 139 HWM, 1, 8,071-8,110.
- 140 « Entretant ouvra couvetise/ Qui toz autres vices atise,/ Qui tant est oscure e orbe/ Que les suen (...)
- 141 « Par son conseil al rei de France,/ Qui puis torna a mesestance/ A trestoz les heirs d’Engletere, (...)
- 142 « Or descoverai la parrole/ Por quei si feitement parole/ Cist livres, de la mesprison/ O ramee de (...)
40Within the terms of the aristocratic discourse under discussion here, could a king actually be a traitor? Could a king truly commit treason? The author of the History of William Marshal uses these words very rarely with reference to King Philip of France and never, it appears, when writing about King John. Nevertheless, because he freely imputes to both kings virtually every manner of acting and feeling associated with traitors and because he repeatedly mentions the evils and wrongs that both kings inflicted on their men, he makes it easy to think of both kings as traitors. Take the case of Philip of France. As previously noted, the History blames him for treating two of his counts badly, for shamelessly turning some of Henry II’s men against him by bribing them, and for rewarding traitors who were useful to him. The author also shows, in an extended passage, how Philip engaged in treason by tricking the future King Richard, then count of Poitou, into turning to him139. At the root of the French king’s conduct, according to the History, was « covetousness, which goads all other vices into action, which is so dim of vision and so blind that it blinds and destroys its own and takes away their good sense and sense of honor, by making them covet all, and has no time or respect for honorable behaviour »140. It was by the counsel of this vice, the text continues, that Philip II « turned to the gross mistreatment of all the heirs of England, for through it they were deprived of land »141. To show why he spoke in this way of « the wrong that was wickedly hatched through treacherous plotting », the author had to reveal all the dirt142. For the French king broke his promises to Henry II’s sons, all of whom were tricked and deceived to the point where Henry himself and all four of his sons died, the author declares, by the French king’s trickery.
- 143 Ibid., 2, 11,938-11,940.
- 144 Ibid., 2, 12,597.
41According to the same text, the case for condemning John as a traitor is more oblique but, in some ways, more telling since it rests primarily on the ill-treatment that the king meted out to the undeserving Marshal. Although King John’s barons « had no respect or affection for him [...] and many times went against him »143, the reason why « the king could not win the hearts of his men and draw them to him », the author implies, had to do with how he treated even men of impeccable loyalty as William Marshal144. As we have seen, the History shows that John was all too ready to lend his authority to the lies of the Marshal’s enemies, to show his hostility towards him, and to give license to men such as Melier Fitz Henry to attack him directly. For this reason, the author’s refusal to give full support to either side in the barons’ war against King John and his insistence on blaming both sides can be read as an oblique way of saying that at least some of John’s barons had good grounds for making war on him. Following John’s defeat at the battle of Bouvines in 1214,
- 145 Ibid., 2, 14,841-14,858.
there commenced the war, the strife and wrongful acts, between the king and the barons, which, rightly or wrongly, did not come to an end until the king died. The king had done wrong to some of those who turned against him, and others against whom he had committed no misdeeds turned against him wrongfully. [...] No one could believe the evils done by both sides if he had not seen it or heard of it145.
- 146 Ibid., 2, 15,174-15,177.
42The same kind of oblique condemnation of John’s treason is implicit in the confession that the author of the History of William Marshal invents for the dying John, who begged the Marshal’s pardon for the wrongs and the harm that he had wrongfully done him and the many tribulations and troubles he had caused him146.
43These findings about how the History of William Marshal represents King John takes us back, at last, to the questions initially posed in this paper about why, in November of 1215, this ruler proposed to hang the nobles who had just surrendered Rochester castle against him, why Savari de Mauléon advised the king not to do so, and how, if John had ignored this advice, interested observers would have evaluated the executions. Although the History includes no direct evidence on these points, the preceding analysis provides some clues about the criteria that the author would and would not have used in assessing this incident. In all probability, he would not have focused closely on whether the men had violated their oaths of fidelity to John since this issue barely figures in his discussions of treason and traitors. Nor would he have reflexively branded the men as traitors either because they had caused harm to the king, as they had obviously done, or acted in derogation of his majesty, which was not a quality that the History reflexively attributes to all kings, least of all John. What would have been important for his assessment of the incident was whether William d’Albini and his associates had acted duplicitously, guilefully and with evil trickery in turning from King John, whether they had turned from the king for good reason or simply for the sake of gain, and, finally, whether the king had harmed them or, worse yet, plotted against them. Also important for the author, though totally invisible to us, would have been the reputations of each of the nobles whom King John proposed to hang. When evaluated with these criteria in mind, the nobles in question, though they had obviously turned from the king and caused him harm, would not have been considered traitors, except, perhaps, for those who were well-known for their disloyalty and deceitfulness. By all appearances, however, the nobles had not engaged in trickery or deceit but had fought against the king openly and even honorably. They had arguably turned from him because he had treated them badly, not because they were simply out for gain. Nor would it have been easy faulted for betraying a trust by going against a king who, in the eyes of many nobles, was virtually a proven traitor. For these reasons, it seems highly unlikely that the author of the History of William Marshal would have judged these men to be traitors whom King John could lawfully hang as traitors for waging a guerra against him.
- 147 For Matthew Paris’s version of the story, see above, n. 3. On the lex talionis, see William Ian MI (...)
- 148 See above, n. 135.
44Under this interpretation, Savari’s advice and that of other prudent men that King John should not hang the traitors can certainly be regarded as both politically astute and consistent with prevailing standards of honorable and chivalrous treatment of captured nobles. Nevertheless, the advice also had a normative, even a legal dimension that Roger of Wendover’s account brings out, though not as clearly as the History would have done. First, the story characterizes John’s order to hang all the nobles unfavorably by treating it as an excessively irate response to the long siege at Rochester, which had made King John so furious that he could not see reason, as the History once puts it. Moreover, when Savari refers, in Wendover’s narrative, to a guerra instead of a rebellion and talks of the king’s enemies, not traitors, his speech accords legitimacy to the cause of William d’Albini and his associates. To be sure, Savari’s fear that if John hanged the nobles who had just surrendered to him, John’s surviving enemies might hang Savari and other nobles fighting for John is represented as being based on a realistic prediction about how the king’s enemies would respond to the hangings of the nobles. But Matthew Paris’s alternative rendering of the same episode shows Savari basing his advice on a clear sense of how the king’s enemies should have acted, were obliged to act in response to the killings of their own associates. According to this account of the episode, Savari says that if John were to hang the nobles, their own people would do the same to John’s men, « rendering the talion », that is, taking justifiable, carefully measured vengeance against the men of the king for the latter’s complicity in the hangings147. Thus, hanging the nobles would not have been considered to be legitimate punishment for treason, but rather a wrong to John’s enemies, who were entitled to avenge it by hanging the king’s friends. As for the matter of hanging the crossbowmen, there is no need to argue that they had committed treason against the king by fighting against him. Killing with a crossbow was obviously treason since, as the author of Li livres de Jostice et plet put it, the victim never saw the blow coming148. Besides, from the perspective of almost everyone, crossbowmen were scum.
- 149 R. BARTLETT, op. cit., p. 13-17. « In 1204 » according to Gillingham, « there were still more than (...)
- 150 R. BARTLETT, op. cit., p. 11-13.
- 151 Ibid., p. 11; J. GILLINGHAM, Angevin Empire, p. 1.
- 152 Bartlett points out that « although there were no serious claims to the kingship [of England] from (...)
- 153 J. GILLINGHAM, Angevin Empire, p. 31.
- 154 R. BARTLETT, op. cit., p. 28.
45In the territories of Angevin kings, the practice of using these subjective, untheorized criteria for identifying treason against a king made more sense than did the legalistic application of either the Romanist discourse of lèse-majesté that royal supporters were trying to establish in this period or the clerical discourse of infidelity that Innocent III deployed against King John’s baronial adversaries. As the preceding analysis has shown, the History of William Marshal illustrates ways of representing and evaluating the conduct of nobles, including kings, in a political world that was legally as well as politically more complex than either the imaginary world of medieval Roman law, which assigned kings the role of majestic and sovereign rulers, or the Christian political community that Innocent III represented as being knit together by oaths of fidelity over which churchmen alone had jurisdiction. The History of William Marshal talks about treason in a way that was well-adapted to the political world of nobles such as William Marshal, who belonged to a « cross-channel aristocracy » with lands, political interests, and political connections149 in a « cross-channel » realm150, which, from 1144 until 1204, included a « vast accumulation of territories, stretching from the Scottish border to the Pyrenees »151. In this kind of polity, it was absurd for a single king either to assert full sovereignty or a monopoly over the use of force or to make overriding claims on the fidelity of all nobles with lands and political associates in it. It was also unthinkable for nobles to show unwavering loyalty to such a ruler. For Angevin kings to make such claims on great nobles, at least, would have been all the more impracticable, given the frequency with which their intra-familial quarrels and rebellions undercut the legitimacy of each of them and led them to make conflicting claims on the loyalties of their men.152 If nobles held lands of the French king, as the Marshal did, they faced the additional challenge of juggling loyalties to two royal lords who were almost constantly « at odds on almost every issue of secular and ecclesiastical politics »153. To make the task of juggling the conflicting claims of royal lords even more difficult and uncertain, nobles such as the Marshal were enmeshed in a system of court politics which « revolved around the ambitions, alliances, and enmities of a small group of high-born men and women who wanted to be close enough to royal patronage to enjoy its fruits, but who also had to negotiate the dangers of court politics », including « the capriciousness of royal favor »154. As the History of William Marshal tells us, nobles enmeshed in this system also had to be ready to defend themselves against false accusations of treason by political rivals and the king himself and against other royal acts of treason.
* Este artículo fue presentado en el coloquio ‘Cultura, lenguaje y prácticas políticas en las sociedades medievales’ [Proyecto de Investigación: BHA2002-03076, IP: Isabel Alfonso], que se celebró en Madrid los días 15 y 16 de febrero de 2007 en el Instituto de Historia del CSIC.
This article was presented at the Conference ‘Culture, language and political practices in medieval societies’ [Research Project: BHA2002-03076, IP: Isabel Alfonso], held in Madrid on feb. 15th-16th 2007 at the Instituto de Historia (CSIC).
1 Henry G. HEWLETT (ed.), ROGER of WENDOVER, Flores Historiarum [henceforth RW], 2 v., Rolls Series, 84, London: Longman, 1887, 2, p. 148-151. For modern discussions of the siege and the surrender, see Kate NORGATE, John Lackland, London: Macmillan, 1902, p. 248-51; Sidney PAINTER, The Reign of King John, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1949, p. 360-365; James C. HOLT, Magna Carta, 2nd ed., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992, p. 361-362, 367, 369; W.L. WARREN, King John, 3rd ed., New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997, p. 246-247, 257; Ralph V. TURNER, King John, London: Longman, 1994, p. 253-254; Reginald Allen BROWN, Rochester Castle, 2nd ed., English Heritage, 1986, p. 10-11; Matthew STRICKLAND, War and Chivalry: The Conduct and Perception of War in England and Normandy, 1066-1217, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996, p. 120, 175, 194, 207, 241, 245, 250-251, 256-257, 266, 267-268; Claire VALENTE, The Theory and Practice of Revolt in Medieval England, Aldershot, Hampshire: Ashgate, 2003, p. 34 and n. 108. My thinking about treason has been significantly shaped by Karen BOSNOS, « Treason and Traitors in Norman and Anglo-Norman History, c. 1066-1135: Representation, Discourse, Practice », Ph. D. Thesis, Emory University, 2007.
2 « Duraverat autem obsidio tribus fere mensibus unde rex, tum propter multitudinem interfectorum, tum propter infinitam pecuniae summam quam in obsidione consumpserat, nimio furore succensus universos nobiles illos patibulo suspendi praecepit » (RW, 2, p. 150).
3 « ‘Domine rex, guerra nostra nondum finita est, unde vobis diligenter pensandum est, quam varios eventus bella sortiantur; nempe, si nobis istos nunc suspendio tradatis, barones adversarii nostri vel me forte vel alios de exercitu vestro nobiles intercipere poterunt consimili casu in brevi et exemplo vestri suspendio tradere, quo absit a vobis ne contingat, qui tali conditione nullus in vestro obsequio militaret’ » (loc. cit.). For the same incident, see also Joseph STEVENSON (ed.), RALPH of COGGESHALL, Chronicon Anglicanum, Rolls Series, London: Longman, 1875, p. 176, which simply mentions that the leaders surrendered to the king (« manus regi dederunt, se et sua regiae miseracordiae committentes »); William STUBBS (ed.), WALTER of COVENTRY, Memoriale Fratris Walteri de Coventria, 2 v., Rolls Series, 58, London: Longman, 1872, 2, p. 226-227, which states that the king hanged only one of the crossbowmen, whom he had raised (« Unum soli suspendi jussit, arcubalistarium quem, ut fertur, a puero nutrierat »); Francisque MICHEL (ed.), Histoire des ducs de Normandie et des rois d’Angleterre, Paris: Jules Renouard, 1840, p. 157, 158-159, 161-162; Henry Richards LUARD (ed.), MATTHEW PARIS, Chronica Majora, 7 v., Rolls Series, 57, London: Longman, 1872-1883, 2, p. 624-627, which supplements Wendover’s account with an anecdote given below in n. 30; Frederic MADDEN (ed.), MATTHEW PARIS, Historia Anglorum, 2 v., Rolls Series, 44, London: Longman, 1866-1869, 2, p. 163-166, which represents Savari’s advice as follows: « Quos cum praecepisset rex omnes suspendi, reprehendit ipsum Savaricus de Malleone, nec permisit, dicens, ‘Si hoc de ipsis feceris, ipsi de nobis, si capiamur in hac guerra, itidem facient reddendo talionem’ » (ibid., p. 165). On Savari de Mauléon, see S. PAINTER, op. cit., p. 299-300, 306-307, 336, 359, 363, 365, 371-372; J.C. HOLT, op. cit., p. 243 n. 31, 244 n. 39.
4 RW, 2, p. 150-151.
5 In this paper, traïson is used in preference to other forms of the word. In 1352 Edward III, « at the request of the lords and of the commons », declared that it « ought to be judged treason which extends to our lord the king, and his royal majesty » in the following circumstances: « when a man attempts or plots the death of our lord the king, or of our lady his queen or of their eldest son and heir; or if a man violates the king’s wife or the king’s eldest unmarried daughter, or the wife of the king’s eldest son and heir; or if a man levies war against our lord the king in his realm, or adheres to the king’s enemies, giving to them aid and comfort in his realm or elsewhere […]; and if a man counterfeit the king’s great or privy seal or his money [...] and if a man slays the chancellor, treasurer, or the king’s justices of the one bench or the other, justices in eyre, or justices of assize and any other justices assigned to hear and determine, being in their places, doing their offices » (25º Edw. III. Stat. 5, c. 2, Statutes of the Realm, London, 1810, 1, p. 319-320, tr. in Alec Reginald MYERS, English Historical Documents, 1327-1485, London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1969, p. 403). The key phrase in the French version of the statute runs: « si hom[m]e leve de guerre contre n[ost]re dit Seign[eur] le Roi en son Roialme » (Statutes of the Realm, 1, p. 320). According to a statute of 1398, « everyone who encompasses or purposes the death of the king, or plots to depose him, or to render up his liege homage, or who raises the people and rides against the king to make war within his realm, and of this shall be duly attainted and judged in parliament, shall be adjudged a traitor of high treason against the crown » (21° Richard II, c. 3, Statutes of the Realm, London, 1810, 2, p. 98-99, tr. In: A.R. MYERS, op. cit., p. 406). Although the act of 1352 stated that « many other similar cases of treason may happen in time to come, which a man cannot think nor declare at the present time », it purported to settle previous disagreements « as to what cases should be adjudged treason and what not » (ibid., p. 403). On the treason statute of 1352, see John G. BELLAMY, The Law of Treason in England in the Later Middle Ages, Cambridge Studies in Legal History, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1970, p. 59-101, which surveys earlier views of the act. Although other statutes concerning treason were enacted during the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries, the act of 1352 remained « foundational » in English law (D. Alan ORR, Treason and the State: Law, Politics, and Ideology in the English Civil War, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002, p. 2). According to Maitland, « This statute, though in all probability it preserved a great deal of the then current doctrine, became the whole law of treason for after times; every word of it was weighed, interpreted and glossed by successive generations » (Sir Frederick POLLOCK and Frederic William MAITLAND, The History of English Law before the Time of Edward I, 2nd ed., 2 v., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1898, 2, p. 502. Strickland maintains that « the novelty of the 1352 statute [in declaring that levying war against the king was treason] is deceptive [because] William Wallace was condemned for ‘displaying a banner in mortal war against the king his legitimate’ – an unequivocal statement that armed rebellion was treason – while Edward I responded to Bruce’s rebellion of 1306 with a spate of executions » (M. STRICKLAND, op. cit., p. 231 n. 7). Bellamy points out that Edward I (1272-1307) « introduced the treason of levying war against the king, doubtless being influenced by the Roman theory that the right of levying war belonged only to princes without a secular superior » (J.G. BELLAMY, op. cit., p. 14). However, as an authoritative, fully articulated declaration that levying war against the king was treason, the statute of 1352 was a novelty.
6 For treason as a « hybrid » concept, see Simon H. CUTTLER, The Law of Treason and Treason Trials in Later Medieval France, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981, p. 4.
7 F. POLLOCK and F.W. MAITLAND, op. cit., 2, p. 503.
8 « There is the centre that is to this day primarily indicated by the word betray. [...] This element is well marked in our old [law] books; it is the seditio exercitus vel regni, a betraying of the army or of the realm. When our law crystallizes in the famous statute [of 1352], ‘adhering to the king’s enemies’ finds a natural place in the list of high treasons. Flight from battle stands as a capital crime in the laws of Cnut and the Leges Henrici [Primi] » (loc. cit.).Like subsequent writers on treason in medieval England, Maitland said little about how Anglo-Norman and French lawbooks treated treason.
9 « [A] Roman element entered when men began to hear a little of the crimen laesae maiestatis » (loc. cit.). For Glanvill’s main statements on lèse-majesté, see G.eorge D. G. HALL (ed.), The Treatise on the Laws and Customs of the Realm of England commonly called Glanvill, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993 [henceforth G], I.2, p. 3 and XIV.1, p. 172. After identifying « the crime which civil lawyers call lèse-majesté [with] the killing of the lord king or the betrayal of the realm or the army » (G, p. 3: « Crimen quod in legibus dicitur crimen lese maiestatis, ut de nece uel seditione persone domini regis uel regni uel exercitus »), G makes it clear that a man could be accused of this crime if he « had plotted or done something against the king’s life or towards sedition in the realm or army, or had consented or given advice or lent his authority to this » (G, p. 172: « accusatum machinatum fuisse uel aliquid fecisse in mortem regis uel seditionem regni eius uel exercitus, uel consensisse uel consilium dedisse uel auctoritatem prestitisse »). Bracton’s main statement « De crimine laesae maiestatis », which deviates from Glanvill’s but only slightly: « The crime of lèse-majesté takes many forms, one of which is where one rashly compasses the king’s death, or does something or arranges for something to be done to the betrayal of the lord king or of his army, or gives aid and counsel or assent to those making such arrangements, even though what he has in mind is not carried into effect » (George WOODBINE (ed.) and Samuel E. THORNE (tr.), BRACTON, De Legibus et Consuetudinibus Angliae/ On the Laws and Customs of England, 4 v., Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1968-1977 [henceforth B], 2, p 534: « Habet enim crimen laesae maiestatis sub se multas species, quarum una est ut si quis ausu temerario machinatus sit in mortem regis, vel aliquid egerit vel agi procuraverit ad seditionem domini regis vel exercitus sui, vel procurantibus auxilium et consilium praebuerit vel consensum, licet id quod in voluntate habuerit non perduxerit ad effectum »).
10 For proditio and infidelitas, see L. J. DOWNER (ed.), Leges Henrici Primi [henceforth LHP], Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972 [henceforth LHP], 10, 1, p. 108-109 and 13, 1, p. 116-117; for proditio, 55, 3a, p. 174-175; for proditor domini, 43, 7, p. 153-154; for traditio domini, 75, 1a, p. 232-233; hlafordsÞike, 12, 1a, p. 115. According to Downer, « Infidelitas and proditio more likely have much the same meaning, and would necessarily include treason » (ibid., p. 323, n. 1). In LHP, infidelitas is clearly an offense that a « man » (homo) could commit not only against the king but against any lord (dominus) to whom he had sworn an oath of fidelity. After specifying the punishments to be imposed on a man who killed his lord (ibid., 75,1, p. 232) and identifying the betrayal of a lord (traditionem domini), along with blasphemy, as a wrong that would not be forgiven in this world or in the next (ibid., 75, 1a, p. 232), LHP states that « anyone who plots the death of his lord either on his own account of by means of a person whom he has harboured or of a person of suspicious character, through any direct action in the matter or through covertly sending others, shall forfeit his life and everything which he possesses » (LHP, 75, 2, p. 233). On plotting against the king’s life or a lord’s in the laws of King Alfred, see Patrick WORMALD, The Making of English Law: King Alfred to the Twelfth Century, v. 1, Legislation and its Limits, Oxford: Blackwell, 1999, p. 280-284.
11 After noting that « The bond of fealty is another centre [of treason] » (F. POLLOCK and F. W. MAITLAND, op. cit., 2, p. 503), Maitland wrote that in the « feudal stage of its history, treason gathered round it and embraced some offences which can be regarded as the vilest breaches of the vassal’s troth, such as adultery with the lord’s wife, violation of his daughter, forgery of his seal all of them mentioned in the statute of 1352 » (ibid., 2, p. 504). On the obligation to swear oaths of fidelity to the king, see John HUDSON, The Formation of the English Common Law: Law and Society in England from the Norman Conquest to Magna Carta, London: Longman, 1996, p. 162; also p. 30, 56, 63. According to the Assize of Northampton, the king’s justices were to « receive oaths of fealty to the lord king between the Octave of Easter and the final term, the Octave of Pentecost, from all who wish to remain in the kingdom, namely from the earls, barons, knights and freeholders, and even villeins. And whoever shall refuse to take an oath of fealty may be arrested as an enemy of the lord king. The justices shall also order that all who have not yet paid homage or allegiance to the lord king shall come at a time appointed for them and pay homage and allegiance to the king as their liege lord » (David C. DOUGLAS and George W. GREENWAY, English Historical Documents, 1042-1189, New York: Oxford University Press, 1953, « The Assize of Northampton  », p. 411-413 at p. 412. According to a text erroneously identified as the « Laws of William the Conqueror », supposedly dating from c.1110-35, « We decree that every freeman shall affirm by oath and compact that he will be loyal to King William both within and without England, that he will preserve with him his lands and honour with all fidelity and defend him against all his enemies » (ibid., « The ‘Laws of William the Conqueror’ », chap. 2, p. 399-400 at p. 399). For the Latin text, see F. LIEBERMANN, Die Gesetze der Angelsachsen, 3 v., Halle: Niemeyer, 1903-16, 1, Text und Übersetzung, « William I, Articuli X [c.1110-35] », chap. 2, p. 486-488 at p. 487, on which see P. WORMALD, op. cit., p. 402-404.
12 See above, n. 8.
13 F. POLLOCK and F. W. MAITLAND, op. cit., 2, p. 503. According to Bracton, « If one knows that another is guilty [of lèse-majesté] or incriminated in some way he ought to come immediately and without delay, in his own person if he can, or through another if he cannot, to the king himself, or to some member of his household and reveal everything to him exactly as it happened. [...] If he dissembles for a time and keeps silent as though consenting and assenting, he will be a manifest betrayer of the lord king (« seductor domini regis manifestus »), whether the accused is his own man or another’s » (B, 2, p. 335). For the view that both G and B defined treason « narrowly », see C. VALENTE, op. cit., p. 33.
14 F. POLLOCK and F. W. MAITLAND, op. cit., p. 504, 505.
15 Martin AURELL, L’empire des Plantagenêt: 1154-1224, Paris: Perrin, 2003, p. 186, 196.
16 Robert BARTLETT, England under the Norman and Angevin Kings, 1075-1225, Oxford, 2000, p. 60-61.
17 Natalie FRYDE, Why Magna Carta? Angevin England Revisited, Neue Aspekte der europäischen Mittelalterforschung, v. 1, Münster, 2001, chap. 5-8.
18 C. VALENTE, op. cit., p. 33 and n. 107.
19 Ibid, p. 29. See WALTER of COVENTRY, Memoriale, 2:219: « regem diffiduciantes per internuncios, et hominia sua reddentes »; and RALPH of COGGESHALL, Chronicon Anglicanum, p. 171: « Barones Angliae regem suum diffidant et ei homagia sua resignant; occupata Norhantona, quaedam castella regis invadunt, predas ex praediis ejus viriliter diripiunt ». According to Maitland, « So long as the feudal sentiment was at its strongest, men would not have been brought to admit in perfectly general terms that the subject who levies war against the king is a traitor. The almost slavish obedience that a vassal owes to his lord is qualified by a condition: if a lord persistently refuses justice to his man, the tie of fealty is broken, the man may openly defy his lord, and having done so, may make war upon him » (F. POLLOCK and F. W. MAITLAND, op. cit., p. 505). Seconding Maitland on this point,Jolliffe argued that « [the] grievance of default of justice, with its consequence of legal diffidation, [was probably] at the back of most feudal ‘revolts’. They were hardly rebellions as we understand [them], and certainly not treason. The term guerra used for them could bear the sense of right sought by legitimate force, almost of wager of battle » (John E. A. JOLLIFFE, The Constitutional History of Medieval England from the English Settlement to 1485, 4th ed., London, 1961, p. 159; see also p. 155). Bellamy took the same position, arguing that « before the thirteenth century many a ruler recognized a subject had the right to disobey hi: tacitly this understanding was included in every act of homage » (J. G. BELLAMY, op. cit., p. 10). According to Valente, « Limitations on kingship could easily be derived from the reciprocal, quasi-contractual relationship of lord and vassal. Feudal customs gave tenants-in-chief, as vassals, the right to give judgment and counsel as a participant in the court of the king, their lord. Moreover, the failure to fulfill lordly obligations justified a vassal’s renunciation of homage and fealty, otherwise known as diffidatio, or defiance » (C. VALENTE, op. cit., p. 21).
20 In Magna Carta (1215), chap. 61, King John granted to the barons that they « shall choose any twenty-five barons of the realm they wish, who with all their might are to observe, maintain and cause to be observed the peace and liberties which we have granted and confirmed to them by this our present charter » (J. C. HOLT, op. cit., p. 469-471). If it was determined that the king had violated the terms of the charter, asked for redress but did not receive it speedily, then the Twenty-Five were to « distrain and distress in every way they can, namely by seizing castles, lands and possessions, and in such other ways as they can, saving our person and those of our queen and of our children, until, in their judgment amends have been made » (ibid., p. 471). Among the Twenty-Five was William d’Albini (ibid., app. 8, p. 478-480). According to Warren, « the rebels were trying to apply the sixty-first clause of Magna Carta and ordered distraint upon the king’s property » (W. L. WARREN, op. cit., p. 247). According to Matthew Paris, William d’Albini had ordered a crossbowman whom John later hanged to pass up a chance to kill the king: « Una dierum dum obsidio castri Rofensis duraret, rex et Savaricus circuibant castrum, ut infirmiora ejus considerarent. Quos cum cognovisset quidam optimus arcubalistarius Willelmi de Albineto, ait illi: ‘Placeat tibi, domine mi, ut occidam regem hostem nostrum cruentissimum spiculo hoc, quod promtum habeo?’ Cui ille: ‘Non, non, absit, gluto pessime, ut in sanctum Domini mortem procuremus.’ Et ille: ‘Non parceret tibi in consimili casu.’ Et Willelmus: ‘Fiat Domini beneplacitum. Dominus disponet, non ille.’ In hoc similis erat David parcenti Saul, cum occidisse potuit. Hoc postea non latuit regem, nec ob hoc voluit parcere capto, quin ipsum suspendisset, si permitteretur » (MATTHEW PARIS, Chronica Majora, 2, p. 626-627).
21 F. POLLOCK and F. W. MAITLAND, op. cit., 2, p. 504. On the Roman element in the medieval English law of treason, see also J. G. BELLAMY, op. cit., p. 1-14. In the writings of advisers to Angevin kings, the meaning of the word traitor « est très large », according to Aurell, who also writes of « [le] vaste champ sémantique qu’englobe cette notion [de trahison] », according to the supporters of Angevin kings (M. AURELL, op. cit., p. 195-196). « À la fin du XIIe, le renforcement du pouvoir royal représente un pas décisif vers la construction de l’État moderne qu’on définit souvent en termes weberiens par ‘monopole de la violence’. [...] Il va sans dire que cette évolution dans le sens d’une étatisation de la violence heurte de front les pratiques de l’aristocratie, habituée à déclencher des hostilités et à engager des combats à son gré, d’après une logique qui exclut l’ingérence de la puissance royale » (ibid., p. 194-195).
22 Henry II and his advisors could maintained that rebellions were sacrilegious acts, according to Aurell, because « Elles s’attaquent, en effet, à un être paré de la dignité surnaturelle de l’onction » (ibid., p. 196). Aurell therefore concludes that: « Le caractère sacré de la royauté est alors renforcé par la renaissance du droit romain, qui prône la notion de majesté; le roi, source unique de la loi, doit être aveuglément obéi: toute résistance à ses ordres constitue un crime gravissime de lèse-majesté » (loc. cit.).
23 Henry G. RICHARDSON and George O. SAYLES, The Governance of Medieval England from the Conquest to Magna Carta, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1963, p. 149.
24 F. POLLOCK and F. W. MAITLAND, op. cit., 2, p. 504.
25 W. J. MILLOR and H. E. BUTLER (ed.), C. N. L. BROOKE (rev.), JOHN of SALISBURY, The Letters of John of Salisbury, v. 1, The Early Letters (1153-1161), London: Nelson, 1955, no. 19, p. 31-32: « innocent as I am, I am charged with a crime far beyond my power to commit and one which might excuse one so insignificant as myself by its very magnitude. I alone in all the realm am accused of diminishing the royal dignity (« Solus in regno regiam dicor minuere maiestatem”). When they define the act of offence more carefully, these are the charges that they hurl upon my head. If any one among us invokes the name of Rome, they say it is my doing. If the English Church ventures to claim even the shadow of liberty in making elections or in the trial of ecclesiastical causes, it is imputed to me, as if I were the only person to instruct the lord archbishop of Canterbury and the other bishops what they ought to do. On these counts my position is shaken to its foundations, and they are so pressing that it is thought that I am in danger of banishment ». In the Policraticus, John asked, « Will aught then be permitted in deed or word when even thought itself and the secrecy of the chamber and the opinion of the heart is debarred from attempting or conceiving aught against the prince? » (John DICKINSON [tr.], John of SALISBURY, The Statesman’s Book of John of Salisbury, New York: Russell and Russell, 1963, p. 267). For the Latin text, see Clemens C.I. WEBB (ed.), Ioannis Saresberiensis Episcopi Carnotensis Policratici sive De Nugis Curialium et Vestigiis Philosophorum, 2 v., London, 1909, VI.26, 2, p. 79). In a previous discussion of « the crime of lèse majesté, and of the obligations of fealty », John wrote: « The acts are many which constitute the crime of lèse majesté, as for example if one conceives the death of the prince or magistrates, or has born arms against his country, or, forsaking his prince, has deserted in a public war, or has incited or solicited the people to rebel against the commonwealth; or if by the act or criminal intent of any, the enemies of the people and commonwealth are aided with supplies, armor, weapons, money, or any thing else whatsoever, or if, from being friends, they are turned into enemies of the commonwealth; or if by the criminal intent or act of any, it comes to pass that pledges or money are given against the commonwealth, or the people of a foreign country are perverted from their obedience to the commonwealth; likewise he commits the crime who effects the escape of one who after confessing his guilt in court has on this account been thrown into chains; and many other acts of this nature, which it would be too long or impossible to enumerate » (DICKINSON [tr.], Policraticus, VI.25, p. 260-261). For the Latin, see C. C. I. WEBB (ed.), John of SALISBURY, Policraticus, 2, p. 75. Here, John was following the Digest, XLVIII, 4 (Ad Legem Iuliam Maiestatis), 1-4, for which see Theodorus MOMMSEN (ed.), « Digesta », Corpus Iuris Civilis, v. 1, 20th ed., Zürich: Weidmann, 1968, p. 844-845; and, for an English translation, Alan WATSON (ed.), The Digest of Justinian, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1995, bk. 48, sec. 4, « Lex Julia on Treason ».
26 W. J. MILLOR and C. N. L. BROOKE (ed.), JOHN of SALISBURY, The Letters of John of Salisbury, v. 2, The Later Letters (1163-1180), Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1979, no. 234, p. 428-429.
27 Prior to the episode considered here, King John denounced Archbishop Stephen Langton for failing to give him custody of Rochester castle (J. C. HOLT, op. cit., p. 361-362, 367, 375 and W. L. WARREN, op. cit., p. 246).
28 M. STRICKLAND, op. cit., p. 232.
29 Ibid., p. 232 and n. 9-10, p. 233 and n. 18. According to Strickland, the « crimes against the king or lord [that] were unequivocally regarded as proditio or treason » included: « privy plotting against the king’s life or failing to reveal such a plot, aiding the lord’s enemies, ‘imagining’ or ‘compassing’ his death by word as much as deed, and default of duty by flight from battle or the surrender of the lord’s castles » (ibid., p. 231 and n. 6).
30 J. GILLINGHAM, « 1066 the introduction of chivalry into England », in: George GARNETT and John HUDSON (ed.), Law and Government in Medieval England and Normandy: Essays in Honour of Sir James Holt, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994, p. 31-56 at p. 45-46.
31 Ibid, p. 44 and n.51.
32 « Et dicere debet haec verba, [...] fidem vobis portabo de vita et membris et terreno honore » (B, 2, p. 232); « Omnis homo fidem debet domino suo de uita et membris suis et terreno honore » (LHP, 55, 3, p. 172). See also G, IX.1, p. 104.
33 « ‘How can I be unfaithful to such a lord’, Orderic [Vitalis] has Wealthe of say of William I in 1075, ‘unless I utterly desecrate my faith?’ [...]. Those who had aided Robert Curthose against Henry I in 1101 were fined, disinherited or banished after being charged ‘with the offence of violating their pledged faith in may ways’, while the rebels in 1124 were blinded ‘pro periurii reatu’ » (M. STRICKLAND, op. cit., p. 232. See also C. VALENTE, op. cit., p. 23).
34 J.C. HOLT, op. cit., p. 334, 335. On William d’Albini, see J. C. HOLT, The Northerners: A Study in the Reign of King John, corr. ed., Oxford : Clarendon Press, 1992, p. 63.
35 « Illi, iuramento fidelitatis omnino contempto, cum, et si rex eos iniuste gravasset, ipsi tamen non debuissent sic ager contra eum ut in causa sua iidem iudices et executores existerent, vassali contra dominum et milites contra regem publice coniurantes, non solum cum aliis set cum eius manifestissimis inimicis, presumpsereunt contra eum arma movere, occupantes et devastantes terras ipsius ita quot civitatem quoque Londoniensem, que sedes est regni, proditorie sibi traditam invaserunt » (Christopher R. CHENEY and W. H. SEMPLE, [ed.], Selected Letters of Pope Innocent III concerning England [1198-1216], London: Nelson, 1953, no. 82, p. 214). In a previous letter of 7 July, 1215, Innocent III had « pronounced excommunication against all disturbers of the king and the realm and any who gave them support » (J.C. HOLT, Magna Carta, p. 371).
36 « Utinam in persecucione quam temere commovistis adversus dominum vestrum regem attendissetis prudencius fidelitatis prestite iuramentum » (C. R. CHENEY and W. H. SEMPLE [ed.], Letters of Pope Innocent III…, no. 83, p. 217).
37 M. STRICKLAND, op. cit., p. 233. Richardson and Sayles insisted that « there is no room for diffidatio » in « the [Romanized] system of law » articulated in Bracton’s De Legibus ». « Whatever may have been the state of the law in France, diffidatio, the renunciation of allegiance had never been recognized in England as a means of releasing a subject from his duties to the king or regularising a state of war between a lord and his vassals » (H.G. RICHARDSON and G.O. SAYLES, op. cit., p. 148, 149). For very different reasons, Gillingham, too, denies that, in England, diffidatio was an ancient custom by means of which the king’s men could legitimate rebellions against him that would otherwise have been classified as treason. Instead, he considers it « a new practice » – one that was first used in Stephen’s reign (1135-54) and associated with « a new perception of revolt, declared in a new way » (J. GILLINGHAM, op. cit., p. 48, 49). For a persuasive argument that « the so-called ‘feudal’ defiance began life as a ritual to open feuds », not to sever ties of fidelity, see Paul HYAMS, « Homage and Feudalism: A Judicious Separation », in: Natalie FRYDE, Pierre MONNET, and Otto Gerhard OEXLE (ed.), Die Gegenwart des Feudalismus, Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht: Göttingen, 2002, p. 13-50 at p. 37 and passim.
38 G, XIV, 1, p. 171, 172-173.
39 M. STRICKLAND, op. cit., p. 241, 256-257.
40 Ibid., p. 247-257.
41 J. GILLINGHAM, op. cit., p. 32, 44.
42 On chivarly, see Dominique BARTHÉLÉMY, La chevalerie: de la Germanie antique à la France du XIIe siècle, Paris: Fayard, 2007.
43 The text uses traïson in preference to other spellings.
44 On traïson, see Stephen D. WHITE, « The ambiguity of treason in Anglo-Norman-French law, c. 1150 to c. 1250 », in: Ruth KARRAS, Joel KAYE, E. Ann MATTER (ed.), Law and the Illicit in Medieval Society, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, forthcoming; id., « The problem of treason: the trial of Daire le Roux in Le roman de Thèbes », in: Pauline STAFFORD, Janet L. NELSON, and Jane MARTINDALE (ed.), Law, Laity and Solidarities in Medieval Europe: Essays in Honour of Susan Reynolds, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2001, p. 95-115; F.R.P. AKEHURST, « Murder by stealth: traïson in Old French literature », in: Rupert T. PICKENS (ed.), Studies in Honor of Hans-Erich Keller: Medieval French and Occitan Literature and Romance Linguistics, Kalamazoo, MI : Medieval Institute Publications, Western Michigan University, 1993, p. 459-473, which also discusses treason in thirteenth-century French lawbooks; S. CUTTLER, op. cit., esp. chaps. 1-2. On the use of Anglo-Norman in court, see William ROTHWELL, « The trial scene in Lanval and the development of the legal register in Anglo-Norman », Neuphilologische Mitteilungen 101, 2000, p. 17-37. I thank Professor Paul Hyams for sharing his forthcoming work on this subject.
45 Anthony J. HOLDEN (ed.) and Stewart GREGORY (trans.), History of William Marshal, 2 v., Anglo-Norman Text Society, Occasional Publications Series, nos. 4-5, London: Anglo-Norman Text Society, 2004 [henceforth HWM], to which subsequent references include volume number, followed by line number(s). Although English translations in the present article generally follow the published translation in HWM but sometimes deviate from it, usually for the sake of greater precision on legal issues. On this text, see David CROUCH, William Marshal: Knighthood, War and Chivalry, 1147-1219, 2nd ed., New York: Longman, 2002, esp. p. 1-11 and John GILLINGHAM, « War and chivalry in the History of William the Marshal », in: P. R. COSS and S. D. LLOYD (ed.), Thirteenth-Century England, II: Proceedings of the Newcastle upon Tyne Conference, 1987, Woodbridge: Boydell, 1988, p. 1-13. On William Marshal’s life, see, in addition to Crouch’s outstanding study, Sidney PAINTER, William Marshal: Knight-Errant, Baron and Regent of England, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1933 and Georges DUBY, Guillaume le Maréchal, ou le meilleur chevalier du monde, Paris: Fayard, 1984.
46 D. CROUCH, op. cit., chap. 2.
47 Ibid., chap. 3-4.
48 On the political history of the period, see, in addition to the works on John’s reign already cited above in n. 1, Wilfrid L. WARREN, Henry II, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973; John GILLINGHAM, Richard I, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999; id., The Angevin Empire, 2nd ed., London: Arnold, 2001.
49 William STUBBS (ed.), ROGER of HOVEDENE, Chronica Magistri Rogeri de Houedene, 4 v., Rolls Series, 51, London: Longman, 1868-1871, 2, p. 46.
50 Ibid., 2, p. 48.
51 Ibid., 2, p. 275.
52 Ibid., 3, p. 198.
53 Ibid., 3, p. 206.
54 Ibid., 3, p. 241.
55 Ibid., 3, p. 242.
56 On the History’s misrepresentations, see D. CROUCH, op. cit., esp. p. 1-11.
57 HWM, 2, 15,031-15,036.
58 See above, n. 5.
59 Ibid., 1, 5,764-5,765: « un vos a fait de mei entendre/ Laide traïson e amere ».
60 Ibid., 1, 5,770-5,773: « ‘Veianz toz sui prez a deffendre/ K’eins vers vos ne fis mesprison,/ Feloni ne traïson,/ Que que l’em vos ait fait entendre’ ».
61 Ibid., 1, 5,781-5,786: « ‘S’au premer ne me puis defendre,/ Si me fetes meintenant pendre,/ E se del premier de delivre,/ El deman voil que l’em me livre/ Al secunt; se ne m’en defent,/ Si seie pendus esraument;/ Se del tiers ne me pus defendre,/ Faites mei traïner e pendre’ ». When the Young King rejects William’s offer of battle and will not accept his denial (escondit) (ibid., 1, 5,791), the Marshal makes another proposal: « ‘have a finger on my right hand cut off, whichever one you choose, and the best among [the three accusers] will be chosen to prove me [guilty] in this matter. And if he is able to make me a recreant [i.e. defeat me in a duel] then treat me, at the end of the day, as a proven traitor’ (prouvé traïtor) » (ibid., 1, 5,798-5,804).
62 « ‘Mareschal, ge sai sanz dotance/ Qu’os avez fait al rei de France/ Feelté, ligance e homage/ Contre mai e pur mon damage » (ibid., 2, 13,060-13,064). By charging that William had caused him harm, the king implied that he had violated his oath of fidelity.
63 When the Marshal and the earl of Leicester went to Philip II, according to the story, they « ne voleient estre fals » (ibid., 2, 12,882). Instead, they made an agreement with the king of France, to whom they gave 500 marks « to buy a stay for their land of one year and a day, and if King John could not manage to recover the land within the year, they would come to him and do him homage » (ibid., 2, 12,891-12,898). Later, when John secretly appointed the Marshal and another man as his messengers to seek peace with Philip (ibid., 1, 12,939-12,946), William told John that « ‘if I don’t pay [Philip] homage, I will sustain a heavy loss in respect of the possessions I thought to recover. How should I proceed with this?’ » (ibid., 2, 12,953-12,956). The king said that he was willing for the Marshal to do homage to the King of France (ibid., 2, 12,961). When William met with Philip, according to the author, « Son hommage li fist a net » (ibid., 1, 12,989). For the entire incident, see ibid., 2, 12,875-13,268; S. PAINTER, op. cit., p. 139-142; M. STRICKLAND, op. cit., p. 238. According to Crouch, the record of the Marshal’s 1204 agreement with Philip shows that he had agreed to become « Philip’s liege man in Normandy » (D. CROUCH, op. cit., p. 95 and n. 51); but this finding does not fully conclude the question of whether he acted « against » John by making this agreement.
64 HWM, 2, 13,069-13,072: « ‘Sire, ce sachiez vos molt bien/ K’encontre vos ne fis ge rien,/ E ce que g’en fis le fis gié,/ S’il vos plaist, par vostre congié’ ».
65 When John says that the Marshal had not acted with his permission (ibid., 2, 13,073), the Marshal all but calls him a liar: « ‘I certainly did, for you told me that I should do [King Philip] homage rather than lose my inheritance [i.e. the heritage William held from Philip]’ » (ibid., 2, 13,074-13,076). Later, William says that he acted on John’s orders (ibid., 2, 13,119) and by the king’s permission (ibid., 2, 13,128).
66 « ‘Onques vers vos riens ne mesfis’ » (ibid., 2, 13,117).
67 « ‘Si vos en trai a garantaige/ Que ge alai en vostre message’ » (ibid., 2, 13,128-13,130).
68 Ibid., 2, 13,134-13,138.
69 « ‘Ce serait mals,/ Quant isi est que sis hom sui,/ Se g’i aloe contre lui’ » (ibid., 2, 13,140-13,142).
70 Ibid., 2, 13,143-13,148. The key point, John says, is that « ‘il dist qu’il est hom le rei/ E qu’il ne vendra pas o mei’ » (ibid., 2, 13,147-13,148).
71 « ‘Sire, ge ne fui unques fals […]/ Unques traïson ne moleste/ ne fis dunt ja couvre ma teste’ » (ibid., 2, 13,150, 13,157-13,158).
72 « ‘Cum puet avenir/ Que nus deie terre tenire/ De vos? Non deit, ce dison nos,/ Qui refuse a venir o vos/ En tel lieu e en tel besoingne/ U nus ne devreit querre essoingne’ » (ibid., 2, 13,221-13,226).
73 « ‘Ge ne vei ne n’entent/ Par quele resun ne comment/ Hom tienge terre ui est cest jor/ Qui a besoin faut a seingnor’ » (ibid., 2, 13,229-13,232.
74 Ibid., 2, 13,232-13,242.
75 See ibid., 2, 14,179-14,324 for the entire incident; ibid., 2, 14,286-14,295 for John’s complaint against the Marshal and ibid., 2, 14,295-14,314 for the Marshal’s response. In the end, John demanded hostages, which the Marshal provided (ibid., 2, 14,315-14,564).
76 « Quant li evesque l’oï dire,/ Que lors esteit justise e sire,/ Que li quens herbergié aveit,/ Que de verité le saveit,/ Seingnor Willeaume de Braiose,/ Lui e ses enfanz e s’espose,/ Si li manda par grant desrei/ Qu’il out le traïtre le rei/ Herbergié, si esteit damaiges,/ Venir l’en porreit grant hontaiges;/ Mais de par le rei li quemande/ Qu’il li enveit sanz contremande » (ibid., 2, 14,199-14,210).
77 « ‘Ge n’ai çaienz nul traïtor,/ Mes j’ai herbergié mon seignor,/ Si comme faire le deveie,/ Parmi tot ce je ne saveie/ Que li reis eüst achaison/ Nule vers lui si bone non./ E des que ge l’ai herbergié,/ Dunkes le traïrie gié/ Se ge en voz mainz le meteie;/ Gel conduirai tote sa veie/ Tant que il sei fors de ma terre./ Li evesque ne me deit querre/ Chose dont requeste me vienge/ Ne que traïson apartienge’ » (ibid., 2, 14,213-14,226).
78 Ibid., 2, 14,289-14,294.
79 Ibid., 2, 14,297-14,310. The Marshal’s key argument was: « ‘Vos nel devez pas a mal prendre,/ Quer n’i cuidei de rien mesprendre,/ Qu’il ert mis amis e mis sire’ » (ibid., 2, 14,303-14,305).
80 Ibid., 2, 14,319-14,320, 14,323-14,446. The History also makes it clear that the English barons who supported Louis of France’s invasion by surrendering castles to him were committing « grant traïson » (ibid., 2, 15,667).
81 « Quant li reis n’out plus de l’aveir,/ Qu’ove luis remist poi de gent/ De cels qu’i erent por argent;/ A lor gaainz tindrent lor veies,/ Mes li Mareschal totes veies,/ Qui out le cuer entier e pur,/ Fu o lui al fort e al dur;/ Unques de lui ne s’estranga/ N’unques son boen cuer ne changa,/ Ainz le servi en bone fei/ Comme seignor e comme rei./ Puis de lui ne se departi/ Eins de si que mort l’en departi,/ E unquore ne di ge mie/ Qu’il ne fust a mort e a vie/ Toz dis o lui e o les siens/ Comme leals e comme boens » (ibid., 2, 15,118-15,134).
82 « Ce fu veirs, c’est bien esprové,/ Qu’en plusors lieus a l’om trouvé,/ Que que li reis feïst a lui,/ Qu’onques nel guerpi por nului » (ibid., 2, 15,135-15,138).
83 « ‘Ne unques ne mi messervi/ Por mal que unques li feïsse/ Ne por rien que je li deïsse’ » (ibid., 2, 15,180-15,181).
84 J. HUDSON, op. cit., p. 227-229.
85 « Cil vindrent a lui, c’est la fin,/ Por les torz que li rei de France/ Lor faisseit par sa sorquidance,/ E devindrent homes li rei/ D’Engletere, e en bone fei » (HWM, 2, 10,694-10,700).
86 « Si amena molt cointement/ Les deus contes en ses deus mains,/ Quer isi l’aveit pris en mains./ Quant cil les vit venir asemble,/ Li reis de France, ne li semble/ Boen ne biel, ainz en out grant ire./ Al rei Ricart emprist a dire:/ ‘Sire, ou menez vos ceste gent?/ Ja n’aveie jo parlement/ Fors a vos; molt me puet desplaire,/ N’ai de lor parlement que faire.’/‘Sire,’ dist li reis d’Engletere,/ ‘Autresi tolez lor vos terre/ Comme a mei, si sunt mi enpris/ E saciez bien que j’ai enpris/ Que ja meis ne vos faudra guerre/ Tant comme a nos treis togiez terre’ » (ibid., 2, 10,718-10,734).
87 « Quant c’entendit li reis de France,/ Si out doel e ire e pesance,/ Que par maltalent s’en parti;/ Quant li parlemenz departi,/ Li reis Ricart ne li dui conte/ Ne tindrent de s’ire nul conte,/ Li dui conte al rei qu’il amerent/ Pristrent congié, si s’en alerent/ En lor païs e en lor terre/ E se porvirent de lor guerre » (ibid., 2, 10,735-10,744).
88 « Unques couvenant ne tint/ Al seingnor des Roches por veir;/ Puis l’en fist bien apertineir,/ Quer par iceste mesestance/ Se torna puis al rei de France » (ibid., 2, 12,522-12,526).
89 « Toz jors crut/ La sorquidance e li orgoilz/ Qui al rei fu devant les elz,/ Si qu’il ne pot raison veeir,/ Enz en perdi, gel sai de veir,/ Les cuers des barons de la terre » (ibid., 2, 12,500-12,505).
90 « Trop mesprist li reis qu’il nel crut,/ Quer male proëce li mut;/ Par lui perdi puis tot Anjou,/ Si fist il le Maine e Petou » (ibid., 2, 12,527-12,530).
91 « Maisfait out a tels se tornerent/ Li reis » (ibid., 2, 14,847-14,848).
92 « Bien seit l’en que chose tornee/ Est corrumpue e atornee/ A tote rien faire torner/ Ou ele se puet atorner;/ Dunt vos di ge que le torné,/ Deivent bien puïr li torné » (ibid., 2, 12,559-12,564).
93 « La guerre des tres reis » (ibid., 1, 2,223). On the war, see W. L. WARREN, Henry II, p. 117-136.
94 When King John was in Normandy, the French pillaged his lands « with the connivance of the turned (des tornez) who turned (s’erent atornez) to them » (HWM, 1, 12,556).
95 « Ileoc oï dire a plosors/ Qui estei tornez e qui non:/ De Baione tresque a Chinon/ N’out haut home ne fust tornez,/ [...] / E quant li peres l’oï dire,/ Ne merveille s’il en out ire » (ibid., 1, 2,026-2,029, 12,031-12,032).
96 « Li filz eut l’acost de France/ E del rei e de sa puissance,/ E si out trestoz les tornez/ Qui a luis furent atornez » (ibid., 1, 2,225-2,228).
97 « E si fu en la couvenance/ Que quite furent li torné » (ibid., 1, 2,366-2,367). Under the peace agreement reached between Henry II and his sons, « ‘Our lord the king and all his liegemen and barons are to receive possession of all their lands and castles which they held fifteen days before his sons withdrew from him; and in like manner his liegmen and barons who withdrew from him and followed his sons are to receive possession of their lands which they held fifteen days before they withdrew from him’ » (W. L. WARREN, Henry II, p. 137-138).
98 « Quant vint al prendre,/ Que si furent mal atorné/ Tuit cil qui se fut torné/ Qu’il n’avoient tuit li plosor/ Que meitre en la main al menor;/ Ne il ne troverent creance,/ nor por pleige ne por fiance,/ Que il ne cloïssent lor iels./ Si en furent les detes tels/ Que il n’ourent de quei paier » (HWM, 1, 2,237-2,245). For more on the turned who had nowhere to turn, see ibid., 1, 2,246-2,258.
99 « Li torné,/ Qui tuit estoient bestorné./ Bestorné! veire, j’ai dit bien,/ Que il ne veient nule ren/ De quei se peüssent aider./ Bien poeient en cort plaider,/ Quer il n’i avoient que perdre/ Quer il n’i avoient que perdre » (ibid., 1, 2,368-2,373).
100 « Ne furent puis preisié en cort,/ Einz les i teneit l’om si cort,/ Quant il i aveient a faire » (ibid., 1, 2,381-2,384).
101 « Ne si boen ami charnel n’ourent/ Qui une nuit les herbergast/ Ne qui receter les osast./ E bien saciez tot a fiance/ Que li plus haut baron de France/ De gré les dos lor en tendeient,/ Por lor gaaing ou il tendeient/ Del rei qui lore oingneit les paumes » (ibid., 1, 2,260-2,267).
102 « Bien lor saveit chanter tels saumes/ Qui lor sembloent bel e buen./ Par ce saveit sauver le suen » (ibid., 1, 2,268-2,269).
103 Ibid., 1, 2,281-2,285.
104 « Li traïtor […]/ Qui li pere e le filz meslerent./ Trop i firent de malveis gieus » (ibid., 1, 2,211-2,213).
105 Ibid., 1, 2,342-2,348.
106 « ‘Sor eus deit li mals atorner/ Qui li loerent a torner/ Cil en deivent estre plus vil’ » (ibid., 1, 2,349-2,352).
107 « ‘En France solent traïtor/ Estre traitié a desenor,/ Ars e destruit e traïné:/ E ore i sunt si raciné/ Qu’il i sunt tuit seignor e mestre’ » (ibid., 2, 12,691-12,696).
108 « ‘Par fei! si deivent il bien estre,’/ Dist li reis, ‘c’est ore un porchaz,/ Qu’il est d’els comme de torchaz:/ Quant l’om en a faite s’ouvraingne,/ S’il jete l’om en la longaingne’ » (ibid., 1, 12,696-12,700).
109 « Robert, qui le jor fist grant honte,/ Quer, quant li reis li out donez/ Ses avers e abandonez/ E en la boche le baisa,/ Le jor meïsme l’abaissa,/ Tant tost, en icele jornee,/ Fist il la maveisse tornee,/ E se torna al rei de France/ E fist humage e aliance/ E mist les Franceis en sa vile./ Hontuz est qui de gré s’avile » (ibid., 2, 12,610-12,620).
110 « Trouva il asez qui li dist/ Que li quens s’ert si atornez/ Qu’al rei de France s’ert tornez/ E qu’Alençon ert as Franceis/ Mielz k’onques sen ne fu anceis./ Li reis de cez moz s’esbaï/ E dist tant tost: ‘Ahi! Ahi!/ Tant a ci cruel traïson!/ Fait a vers mei grant mesprison/ Robert, qui mon aveir a prise/ E si tost vers mei a mespris.’/ Lors fu li reis si esmaiez/ K’a peine pout estre apaiez,/ Ne nul saveit conseil de lui,/ Quer ne se fiout en nullui » (ibid., 2, 12,622-16,236).
111 « Soz ciel n’a greinnor traïson/ Que beal semblant e quer felon » (ibid., 1, 14,076-14,077).
112 « Li envios orent envie/ Del bien e de la bone vie/ Del Mareschal e de l’amor/ Que il aveit a son seignor » (ibid., 1, 5,127-5,130).
113 « Qu’envie par dreite raison/ Si art tot avant sa maison/ Que ele puisse ardeir l’autrui/ Ne qu’el puisse nuire a nului./ Quant ele a la soe alumee,/ De son feu e de sa fumee/ La son procein veisin alume;/ Que maudite seit sa costume!/ Envie osta de paradis/ Adam que Dex I aveit mis;/ Par envie false e amere/ Ocist Chaym Abel son freire,/ De la lingnee Chaym sunt/ Trestut cil qui traïsun funt » (ibid., 1, 5,113-5,126).
114 « ‘Unques nul d’els dire n’oserent/ La traïson qu’il porparlerent’ » (ibid., 1, 5,163-5,164).
115 « ‘Que ja traïtre ne devienge;/ Trop i avreit grant mesprison’ » (ibid., 1, 5,260-5,261).
116 « ‘Si est laide e aperte,/ D’encuser home sanz deserte/ Quant ne s’en garde ne s’i pense./ Qui tel felonie porpense/ Traïtres est, e traïson/ A mis son cuer en sa prison’ » (ibid., 1, 5,262-5,268).
117 For repeated references to this act as traïson, see ibid., 1, 5,304, 5,325, 5,374, 5,389, 5,752, 5,890, 6,463, 6,509, 6,547, 6,596, 6,598, 6,616.
118 « Engeinnier » (ibid., 1, 5333); « Traïson si tresmensongiere » (ibid., 1, 5,374); « La traïson false e amere » (ibid., 1, 5,752).
119 See ibid., 1, 6,420-6,434, where count Geoffrey speaks of the shame his brother Young Henry should incur for believing « ‘Vos menzongiers,/ Voz traïtors, vos losengiers,/ Qui mal en distrent par envie’ » (ibid., 1, 6,427-6429). See also ibid., 1, 6,440-6,442, where the count of Lusignan refers to « ‘cels qui male pensee/ Aveient vers lui par anvie’ » and ibid., 1, 6,548-6,550, where the Marshal refers to « ‘La traïson qu’ert controvee/ Par cruelté et par envie/ Des traïtors qui Dex maudie’ ». On treason and the Devil, see ibid., 1, 5,381-5,382: « lor afaire/ Que Diable enseinna a faire ».
120 « Il fu veir qu’Adam d’Ikebeu/ Traïst de son cuer le malveis breu/ Dunt les proëces furent faites/ Si mensongieres e forfaites/ Qu’eles ne font a ameinteivre;/ De malveis vaissel [punning on ‘vassal’] malveis beivre » (ibid., 1, 5,148-5,158).
121 « Li mensongiers » (ibid., 1, 5,849); « voz traïtors, vos lozengiers » (ibid., 1, 6,428); « li felon » (ibid., 1, 5,875); « Qui trop fu veisdos/ E cruels e mal engingnos » (ibid., 1, 5,643-5,644). According to Baldwin de Béthune, « ‘Oï reconter e retraire/ Tote lor ovre e lor afaire,/ Lor orguiels e lor sorquidances/ E comme il s’esbaudisseient/ E vantoient e porficheient/ E tenoient entre els grant conte/ De lor malvesté, de lor honte’ » (ibid., 1, 5,881-5,888).
122 « Mais la traïson ne pout taire,/ Qui veneit de mortel haor/ Por mesler le a son seinnor » (ibid., 1, 5,304-5,306).
123 Ibid., 1, 13,040, 13,044.
124 « Eisi avient tote jor/ Que losengier e traïtor/ Sunt tuit maistre e seignor a cort/ E li prodome tenu cort » (ibid., 2, 13,047-13,050).
125 « Melier li faus » (ibid., 2, 13, 580); « qui fu de mal fei » (ibid., 2, 13,555); « la laide mesprison » (ibid., 2, 13,577).
126 « Mais ainz dist a totes ses genz,/ A ses coisins a ses parenz,/ Qu’il feïssent ennui e mal/ A la terre li Marschal,/ E que grant guerre lor meüssent/ Tantost com passez les seüssent;/ Eisi lor dist e il si firent,/ [...] . / Aprés la feste, la semeine,/ Tot li premerein dïemeine,/ Arstrent il les granges le conte,/ E mistrent a cendre e a honte/ Qui a la Novele vile erent,/ E vint de ses hommes tuerent,/ E menerent tote la preie/ De la vile avant els lor veie;/ E commença parmi la terre/ Li troublemenz e la grant guerre » (ibid., 2, 13,557-13,561, 13,563-13,574).
127 « En son cuer ert tot dis feil » (ibid., 2, 17,779); « Qui guerreia li Mareschal/ E li fist maint enuui et mal » (ibid., 2, 17,749-17,750).
128 See ibid., 2, 17,852-17,853, 17,857-17,860. On the notorious traitor, Eustace the monk, see ibid., 2, 17,440-17,454.
129 « Juratum est autem tam ex parte nostra quam ex parte baronum, quod hec omnia supradicta bona fide et sine malo ingenio observabuntur » (J. C. HOLT, Magna Carta, p. 472).
130 HWM, 1, 6,468.
131 The word « traitor » was, inter alia, an insult, as one can see from a passage in the History in which King Richard calls a Cardinal a traitor, liar, trickster, cheat, and simoniac and frightens him so much that he flees out of fear of losing his testicles (ibid., 2, 11,618-20, 11,623-26).
132 F. P. R. AKEHURST (tr.), Philippe de BEAUMANOIR, The Coutumes de Beauvaisis of Philippe de Beaumanoir, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1992, p. 303 but translating traïsons and traïson as « treason », not « treachery ». In the original, the passage runs: « Traïsons si est quant l’en ne moustre pas semblant de haine et l’en het mortelment si que, par la haine, l’en tue out fet tuer, ou bat ou fet batre dusques a afoleure celui qu’il het par traïson » (A. SALMON (ed.), Philippe de BEAUMANOIR, Coutumes de Beauvaisis, 3 v., Paris: Picard, 1899, 1, sec. 826, p. 430.
133 F. P. R. AKEHURST (tr.), BEAUMANOIR, p. 303, with the same substitution mentioned in n. 136. « Nus mutres n’est sans traïson, mes traïsons peut bien estre sans murtre en mout de cas; car murtres n’est pas sans mort d’hommes, mes traïson est pour batre ou pour afoler en trives ou en asseurement ou en aguet apensé ou pour porter faus tesmoing pour celi metre a mort, ou pour li deseriter, ou pour li fere banir, ou pour li fere haïr de son seigneur lige, ou pour mout d’autres cas semblables » (F. P. R. AKEHURST (tr.), BEAUMANOIR, Coutumes…, sec. 827, p. 430). For similar statements about treason in a mid-thirteenth century French text, see RAPETTI (ed.), Li Livres de Jostice et de Plet, Paris: Firmin Didot, 1850, bk. 19, chap. 4-5, p. 297-299.
134 F. P. R. AKEHURST, « Murder by Stealth » p. 460.
135 « Férir, et l’en ne voie pas le cop venir [est traïson] » (RAPETTI, Jostice et plet, bk. 19, chap. 5, no. 3, p. 290).
136 « Tresun est en chescun damage qu hom fet a escient ou procure de fere a cely a qi hom se fet ami » (Francis Morgan NICHOLS (ed.), Britton, 2 v., Oxford: 1865, electronic ed. by Siân PILBOROUGH, Russell KNEATH and Michael BEDDOW, The Anglo-Norman On-Line Hub, 2002-2003, http://www.anglo-norman.net/texts/britton-contents.html (accessed 15 June, 2007), 1, ch. 9, p. 40. See also the « Difinicion de Traison » in: Joseph WHITTAKER (ed.), Andrew HORNE, The Mirrror of Justices, Publications of the Selden Society, 7, London: Bernard Quaritch, 189, ch. 7, p. 21: « Traison ne se fet forqe par entre aliez qe poet estre par linage par affinite par homage par serement e par loier ». On this way of conceptualizing treason, see S. D. WHITE, « Ambiguity of Treason ».
137 See K. BOSNOS, op. cit., chap. 1-2.
138 See above, n. 133.
139 HWM, 1, 8,071-8,110.
140 « Entretant ouvra couvetise/ Qui toz autres vices atise,/ Qui tant est oscure e orbe/ Que les suens eschine e essorbe/ E lor tout onor e saveir,/ Por ce que volent tot aveir,/ Ne nule enor n’eime ne prise » (ibid., 1, 8,071-8,077).
141 « Par son conseil al rei de France,/ Qui puis torna a mesestance/ A trestoz les heirs d’Engletere,/ Que par ice lor toli terre » (ibid., 1, 8,079-8,082).
142 « Or descoverai la parrole/ Por quei si feitement parole/ Cist livres, de la mesprison/ O ramee de traïson/ E o tresmalveise couvee;/ Sin descouverai la buee » (ibid., 1, 8,083-8,088).
143 Ibid., 2, 11,938-11,940.
144 Ibid., 2, 12,597.
145 Ibid., 2, 14,841-14,858.
146 Ibid., 2, 15,174-15,177.
147 For Matthew Paris’s version of the story, see above, n. 3. On the lex talionis, see William Ian MILLER, Eye for an Eye, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006, chap. 2.
148 See above, n. 135.
149 R. BARTLETT, op. cit., p. 13-17. « In 1204 » according to Gillingham, « there were still more than a hundred Norman tenants-in-chief who also held land in England. A man like Walter of Coutances, simultaneously archdeacon of Oxford and treasurer of Rouen, then bishop of Lincoln (1183-84), and finally archbishop of Rouen (1185-1207), seems to have moved effortlessly between the two churches. In 1204, at the highest social level there were still many like Walter, or like William Marshal, who were Anglo-Norman rather than either English or Norman » (John GILLINGHAM, The Angevin Empire, London: E. Arnold, 1984, p. 85).
150 R. BARTLETT, op. cit., p. 11-13.
151 Ibid., p. 11; J. GILLINGHAM, Angevin Empire, p. 1.
152 Bartlett points out that « although there were no serious claims to the kingship [of England] from outside the lineage between 1086 and 1215, there was virtually no decade in that period which did not witness armed struggle between members of the ruling dynasty » (R. BARTLETT, op. cit., p. 7-8).
153 J. GILLINGHAM, Angevin Empire, p. 31.
154 R. BARTLETT, op. cit., p. 28.Haut de page
Pour citer cet article
Stephen D. WHITE, « Alternative Constructions of Treason in the Angevin Political World: Traïson in the History of William Marshal », e-Spania [En ligne], 4 | décembre 2007, mis en ligne le 28 mai 2010, consulté le 09 décembre 2013. URL : http://e-spania.revues.org/2233 ; DOI : 10.4000/e-spania.2233Haut de page
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