Runboard.com
You're welcome.
Community logo


runboard.com       Sign up (learn about it) | Sign in (lost password?)


 
WilliamtheRed Forum1 Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info

Registered user
Global user

Registered: 10-2007
Posts: 124
Karma: -3 (+0/-3)
Reply | Quote
The Conqueror and Saint Cecilia


Today is the Feast Day of Saint Cecilia.
After The Protomartyr,Cecilia stands as the second most important Saint in [sign in to see URL] was the year of the victory of The Norman Revolution in Normandy at the Battle Of Varaville where the counter-revolutionary armies of Henri 1 and Geoffroi Martel,count of Anjou,were defeated and retreated from Normandy,never to return.
It was in that year 1058, that a daughter was born to the Conqueror and Mathilde. They named her Cecile,after Saint Cecilia. She was to become the Abbess of Holy Trinity,Caen which was founded in that year of victory alongside the church of St Stephen (Etienne) The Protomartyr. For our Forum, that choice of name makes clear an historico-religious identification by the Conqueror and Mathilde with the story of Cecilia.
That story in brief was that, Cecilia,a Roman noblewoman, pledged her virginity to God and when she was forced to marry a non-Christian,she subsequently converted him (Valerius)and his brother (Tiburtius) to Christianity helped by an unnamed Angel of God. These men were both executed for converting on the order of the Roman Prefect, Almachius. In protest, Cecilia gave all her considerable wealth to the [sign in to see URL] was probably due to her belief in Christ's glorification of The Widow's Mite, a central tenet of the faith. Nevetheless, to commit such an act was criminal in the eyes of Rome and Almachius had her burned alive. However, she survived the flames and was subsequently beheaded.
Compare her sacrifice to the years 1054-58 in Normandy and it is clear why the Conqueror and Mathilde identified with her. The armies of Henri 1 and Martel devastated the province in a vicious campaign of burning,looting,murder and rape unprecedented in Normandy's history. It was obvious that the annihiliation of the province and its people was their agenda. It was nothing less than a concerted attempt to destroy the Treaty Of Saint Clair-sur-Epte agreed between Charles the Simple,The Frankish King and Hrolf Gangar (aka Rollo)established in 911, which granted permanent settlement of the people who became the Normans.
The vast sacrifice of people,land and wealth to the predatory armies of Henri 1 and Anjou was seen by the Conqueror as necessary because he believed that all those "gains" would eventually engender their downfall. And so it proved at the battles of Mortemer,Arques and ,most famously, Varaville.
But the price of victory was grim. Normandy was in ruins,a wasteland. And yet if the Conqueror had based his strategy on preserving Norman wealth which was huge, he would have been defeated. Instead, like Saint Cecilia,he gave it all away. For her, it was to the poor and her dedication to Christ's glorification of The Widow's Mite. For the Conqueror,it was sacrificed to save Normandy and its people from extinction.
Some observers might say it was a gamble that paid off or like the same observers might say about his victory at Senlac in 1066, luck. Our Forum sees it differently. The Conqueror was a profoundly pious man who was to become the archetypal Priest-King. He and Mathilde identified with Cluny Abbey and Marcigny-sur-Loire Convent and the exemplary work there of Hugues de Cluny. In Lanfranc,he had a co-thinker whose piety was legendary. His strategy of sacrifice was in the specific spirit of Saint Cecilia. It was a statement of belief that if Normandy's objectives were to be rewarded with success in the eyes of God and History,sacrifice of everything had to be at the centre of its business. It was a legacy the Red adopted with gusto and great success. Cecile herself became a much-revered Abbess of Holy Trinity in Caen and to underscore her commitment to Saint Cecilia, adopted a mute,poor boy whose welfare and education she paid for out of her own pocket.
Our Forum celebrates this day and tries to weigh the full measure of its meaning.

Bill H,Chairperson (on behalf of WTRF)
Nov/22/2008, 3:44 pm Link to this post Send Email to WilliamtheRed Forum1   Send PM to WilliamtheRed Forum1
 
mousteriana Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info

Registered user
Global user

Registered: 03-2005
Posts: 936
Karma: 6 (+6/-0)
Reply | Quote
Re: The Conqueror and Saint Cecilia


Bill H:

It's nice that you have posted the story of St. Cecilia(who was also the patron saint of music, don't ask me why), but as usual, I really fail to understand where you're going with this. Normandy at the time you describe wasn't particularly "rich", although there were a number of towns that functioned as trading centers(Rouen was one). If it had been, I doubt William would have had quite the same motivation to invade England, which really was one of the richest parts of Europe. The kings of France were supposed to be overlords to all the major rulers of various parts of what eventually became France, at the time, not just William of Normandy. William just ended up being the most powerful of them. That most of these local rulers(including William) had other ideas is hardly surprising, considering that the territory actually ruled over by the king of France was rather small. Kings always wanted to expand their territory. Finally, medieval warfare was not "nice"; nobody, on any side, expected it to be. I doubt if what the French did was any worse than what William and his followers did to them.

Last but not least, William's "piety" was of the "quid pro quo" kind. He "scratched the back" of the Church and got support in return. I don't think St. Cecilia had a great deal to do with it, though I'm sure she was a convenient excuse.
Anne G

Nov/22/2008, 11:46 pm Link to this post Send Email to mousteriana   Send PM to mousteriana
 
WilliamtheRed Forum1 Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info

Registered user
Global user

Registered: 10-2007
Posts: 124
Karma: -3 (+0/-3)
Reply | Quote
Re: The Conqueror and Saint Cecilia


Anne we consider you do not appreciate the gravity and scale of the war launched by Henri 1 and Martel. It was a war to end Normandy as a province ruled by and containing [sign in to see URL] was a war to win by the total destruction of a people and their [sign in to see URL] need to look at the Treaty of Saint Clair-sur-Epte and be clear on just what it meant to the people who became the Normans. We consider your current view makes light of this fact in that it sees 1054-1058,probably the most sacred years of Normandy, as just another war of plunder etc by a king who wanted to assert himself now and [sign in to see URL] also equate the defensive war battled by the Conqueror with the aggressive war battled by Henri 1 and [sign in to see URL] seems to be standing the historical events on their head with your not unfamiliar refrain which we would characterise as a 'on plague on both your houses'.It is,therefore, from our view, impossible for you to really, fully understand the quintessential importance of Saint Cecilia in the religious sphere and how the Conqueror and Mathilde valued it in relation to Normandy's role in The Kingdom Of The Franks. Saint Cecilia's story was not merely 'a good idea'. It had to show its relevance down the centuries by being invoked whether by individuals or peoples and delivering results of an intellectual,spiritual or historical [sign in to see URL] are clear that had the Conqueror and Mathilde not experienced the total impact of those terrible years 1054-58, which incidently exceed by a vast degree the trials and tribulations of 1066-69 in Angleland,then Saint Cecilia would not have been the Saint they identified with when their daughter was born in 1058. In sum, it was not a generalised but the profoundly specific experience they endured during those years which culminated in great joy and in the naming of their daughter after Christendom's second most important [sign in to see URL] we would also state that Saint Cecilia's patronage of Music has entirely nothing to do with the historical account.

Steve Walsh,Paul,Sammy,Bev Morton,John G,Martin Tilston,Becky (all in personal capacity)
Dec/6/2008, 4:12 pm Link to this post Send Email to WilliamtheRed Forum1   Send PM to WilliamtheRed Forum1
 
mousteriana Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info

Registered user
Global user

Registered: 03-2005
Posts: 936
Karma: 6 (+6/-0)
Reply | Quote
Re: The Conqueror and Saint Cecilia


WRTF:

I can't stop you from coming up with your rather unusual interpretations of the events in question. What I can and do argue is, they don't make much sense in the context of that time and place.
Anne G
Dec/6/2008, 8:05 pm Link to this post Send Email to mousteriana   Send PM to mousteriana
 
Xavier9 Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info

Registered user
Global user

Registered: 05-2008
Posts: 21
Karma: 0 (+0/-0)
Reply | Quote
Re: The Conqueror and Saint Cecilia


Interesting observations.I find also that Saint Catherine of Alexandria(patron saint of scholars and philosophers)is relevant to Normandy at about the same time (circa 1030-1055)when relics arrived and were used to promote religious observance and the projects of William as Duke of [sign in to see URL] he link the two saints? Cecilia was more at the material end of such a calculation and Catherine more at the theological(she was executed on the order of a roman prefect for refusing to abandon her christian beliefs).His piety was legendary and he would have had support from Duchess Mathilde.
Jun/21/2015, 10:17 am Link to this post Send Email to Xavier9   Send PM to Xavier9
 


Add a reply





You are not logged in (login)