medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
"Ferzoco, G.P." <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>This discussion on Saint-Denis reminds me of a question
well, sometimes that happens, no matter what you do to prevent it.
>why, if Louis ordered
goodlordGeorge, where did you get *That*?
>and oversaw the construction of this basilica,
and, above all, **THAT**???
some obscure Canadian primary source, no doubt.
>did he not choose to be buried there?
far as i know, Suger (in his so-called _de Administratione_, virtually our
only source for his rebuilding of St-D.) doesn't mention the king
--since we're in the 1140's, it's Louis [VII] The Kid we're talking about
here-- as playing a big --or, indeed, any-- role in the building program (i
could easily be wrong about that, however).
what he *does* say (or strongly imply) is that the expensive construction was
paid for by his (Suger's) own tireless efforts to reform and reconstruct the
abbey's finances, esp. by rebuilding the estates belonging to the Saint in the
Beauce (where Suger had been an important at Toury) and elsewhere South of
(he also did more than a little arm twisting amongst the local
"nobility," got them --more or less-- to behave and, above all, got them to
*lean* on the peasants who belonged to the Saint and were, as usual, acting
like lazy, shifless noacounts, trying to cheat the Saint out of his rightful
(all this is in the *very* interesting chapters which were left out of
Panofsky's edition/translation, but, through the miracle of the WWW, are
available here, albeit in an undependable translation:
i don't recall any record of Louis the Kid actually contributing money to the
project, though it is quite probable that he did, of course.
the choice of a Capetian's burial place seems to have been something of a
personal matter, though Suger's new building and, with it, his
"reconditioning" of the tombs of merovingian and carolingian kings buried
there certainly enhanced the propaganda value of choosing St-D as a site.
but, again, Suger is nearly the only source for our knowledge of this (in his
_Vita_ of Fat Louis [VI]).
VI's father, Philip I, choose to be buried at Fleury (St-Benoit-s-Loire),
*even though he died at Melun*, just a few miles on the Seine from
Paris/St-Denis (hauling a body all the way down to the Loire implies a *very*
serious, deliberate intent, it seems to me).
certainly having a bunch of monks around to sing your sins away, preferably
without ceasing, was a consideration.
esp. if you had recently been excommunicated by a straight-laced, saintly
bishop of Chartres for repudiating your lawful wife and engaging in an
"irregular union with the Angevin woman" (Vita, c. 13).
Suger tells us that he "had expressed a strong desire to be buried" at Fleury,
explaining that "Some people said they had heard him explain his decision to
be seperated from the burial place of the kings, his forefathers, *who are
buried as if by natural right* in the church of the blessed Dionysius. He felt
that he had been less benevolent than his predecessors toward that church,
**and that no one would consider his
tomb important among so many noble kings** (ibid., emphasis mine).
Suger is, of course, *not* an unbiased source, by a long chalk.
among other things, he clearly had a bee or two up his bonnet about properly
serving his Saint by sumptuously rebuilding the west facade and the choir of
the church housing his Holy Relics and by banging any handy drum to "restore"
that church to what he saw as its "rightful" places as the Royal Necropolis.
(in a note to the recent english translation of the Vita which i am using,
Cusimano and Moorhead cite the testimony of Orderic Vitalis (4:284) to the
effect that it was "because of his sins" that Phil didn't want to be buried at
St-D., and note that the Moriginy Chronicle (one of the few other contemporary
narrative sources we have) tells us that the king was "benevolent and generous
they also suggest taking a look at: Alain Erland-Brandenburg, _Le Roi est
mort: etudge sur les funerailles, les sepultures et les tombeaux des rois de
France jusqu'a la fin du XIIIe siecle_ [Paris, 1975], pp. 75f, 87. which i
have not seen.)
so, in this case (and, by extension, others) it looks like the situation might
have been rather complex, with several factors in play:
--Philip's relationship to St-Denis (which is to say, his relationship to the
community and its reigning abbot, Adam, i believe it was). these were the
guys upon whom he was going to depend to Sing him Home, after
all, and if they were still holding a grudge about that little Angevin Woman
Thing, well, forget it.
--his relationship to Fleury, for the same reasons;
--innumerable other aspects of things, some of which we cannot even
come now time for Phil's son, Fat Louis, to pass to his own reward, Suger
tells us a story (cap. 33) about his falling very seriously ill in 1135 at
Chateauneuf-sur-Loire --i.e., just a few miles of easy river transport from
his father's plantation at Fleury-- and that he "wanted to be carried by any
means possible into the presence of his protectors, the holy Martyrs Dionysius
and his companions," where, "before their most holy bodies, he would lay down
the crown and the kingdom, and profess the monastic way of life."
the details of Suger's version i've not been able to verify, and it's not
clear from his text whether or not the king actually went on the road north
--a considerable undertaking, considering his state of health, and one not to
be taken lightly-- but he recovered and did end up at St-D soon thereafter,
giving thanks, passing out bounty, etc.
while he was at Paris in the summer of 1138 he again fell seriously ill with
dysentery and diarrhea, summoned Bishop Stephen and (significantly) Abbot
Gilduin of St. Victor's (the very important "reforming" collegiate which he,
Louis, had played a very critical role in founding --"building from its
foundations" and encouraging in many ways), confessed expressed the wish to
have himself brought to St-D., but died before he could make the trip and was
brought there posthumously.
obviously, de facto, Suger's scheme to have St-D "restored" as the Royal
Necropolis was sucessfully in place --for one generation, at least-- by the
summer of 1138 (*before* his building program got under way, notay benny),
otherwise VI would have chosen to be planted at St-Victor's, one might think.
Next Generation, i *believe* that Louis the Kid, though he died in 1180 at
Paris (http://www.bautz.de/bbkl/l/ludwig_vii_k_f.shtml ), was actually burried
at the (now destroyed) abbey of Barbizon, in the forest of Fontainbleau --i
haven't been able to confirm that by press time,
however. (he was moved to St-D. in the 19th c., apparently.)
i believe that he founded the abbey in the forest, as he was particularly fond
of hanging out in his hunting lodge at Fontainbleau itself, then popping over
to visit the monks, for a little praying, painting, school founding
(http://www.artlex.com/ArtLex/b/barbizon.html ), whatever.
if any of that happens to be true, he would stand a better chance of getting
personalized attention from the monks of that place --with specific endowments
made for his obituary celebrations, of course-- than getting lost in the Royal
shuffle up at St-D., as his grandfather feared might happen (according to
that brilliant argument doesn't explain why later kings chose to be burried
there, however. but that's another story.
perhaps, as may have been the case with his grandfather, he just didn't get
along with Suger's sucessor(s) for one reason or another or trust them to do
right by his bones...
in any event, it would appear that Suger's vision of a "rightful" Capetian
Necropolis just wasn't nailed down the way he wanted it to be, by the time The
Kid died, it would seem.
>Enquiring minds need to know;
did my best.
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