The Battle of Nouy (1044), from Rodulfus Glaber


Rodulfus Glaber: The Five Books of the HistoriesIn 1044, Geoffrey Martel, count of Anjou, besieged the city of Tours. Theobald and Stephen, sons of Odo II of Blois, attempted to relieve the city, but were defeated by Geoffrey at the Battle of Nouy on August 21, 1044. Rodulfus Glaber, who died around 1046, gives an interesting account of this battle.

At about the same time violent conflict arose between Henry, king of the French, son of Robert, and Theobald and Stephen, sons of that Odo whose fate we considered earlier. After many bloody conflicts between the two sides, the king removed the city of Tours from their domain and gave it to Geoffrey Martel, son of that Fulk, count of Anjou, whom we have mentioned before. He gathered a great army and had been besieging the city for more than a year when the two sons of Odo came against him in force, meaning to fight in order to aid the beleaguered and starving city. When Geoffrey realized this, he prayed for the aid of St Martin, promising to restore to this holy martyr, and indeed all other saints, any property of theirs which he had stolen. then he took his standard, attached it to his lance, and marched out against his enemies with a great force of cavalry and infantry. When the two armies came close fear so struck the troops of the two brothers that they were unable to fight; it was as though they had all been bound by chains. Stephen took flight and escaped with a few knights, but Theobald was captured with the whole mass of his army and taken to Tours, which he surrendered to Geoffrey before he and all his men were sent away captive to various places. There is no doubt at all that victory over his enemies went to the man who had piously invoked the aid of St Martin. Some of those who fled from the field said that, in the very array of battle, the whole mass of Geoffrey’s army, horse and foot, seemed to be clad in shining white robes. It is true that the sons of Odo had robbed the poor of St Martin in order to supplement the pay of their troops. Everyone was terrified and astonished to hear that a force of seventeen hundred or more armed men could be thus captured in battle without blood being shed.

The previous section is from: Rodulfus Glaber: The Five Books of the Histories, edited and translated by John France (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989)

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