12 August 2011

The Duke of Athens makes his will

A recent post by Kostis Kourelis mentioned the fifth Duke of Athens' will. I couldn't find the fifth duke's will but I did find the that of the sixth duke and it is fascinating.  He was Gautier (or Gauthier, or Walter) de Brienne who was got out of Athens at the age of 9, in 1311, just after his father committed suicide-by-Catalans at the Kephissos debacle.  He spent the rest of his life at war.

He was made  leader of an Angevin army to retake Athens.  They took Epiros for Robert of Anjou for a while, and made several efforts to obtain financing to retake Athens.  In 1342 Gautier was called in to manage the city of Florence, but was so harsh a ruler that the Florentines chased him out after two months.  His first wife was the niece of the King of Naples, his second -- Jeanne, 1344 -- was the daughter of the Constable of France.  In 1346 he was part of the disastrous defeat in the mud at Crecy (the French had learned precious little since the mud at Kephissos, and still hadn't learned it for the mud at Agincourt in 1415).  He was made Grand Constable of France in 1356 and was killed at the battle of Poitiers fighting the Black Prince.  You can buy a Gautier VI de Brienne toy.

His surviving lands in Greece -- the Argolid was under Athens but was never taken by the Catalans -- were inherited by his sister, Isabeau d'Enghien, whose son Guy eventually left them to his daughter Maria, who sold them to Venice.  

Gautier VI made his testament in 1347, before he went.  A Michael Hanon, clerk  in Therouanne, wrote it out. There are 145 clauses, 141 of them bequests.  Here are some of the bequests:

18. To the orfelins and poor of Brienne, 300 pounds.'
[There are many specific bequests to the poor, and local clergy.]
26. To the poor of Saint Marc, 40 pounds.
27. To the abbey of Mousterander, 10 pounds.
41. To my chaplain, messire Pierre de Mousterander, 100 pounds.
43. To my shieldbearer, 50 pounds in land for him and his heirs.
55. To my valet, Philippe de Mareuil, 50 pounds.
56. To our barber, Renaudin, 30 pounds.
57. To our tailor, Sabinet, 20 pounds.
59. To the butler, Jehannin Mignon, 20 pounds.
66. To the Brienne herald, 10 pounds.

Where it really becomes interesting is in his bequests to his Greek territories. Notice how he changes from French money to Greek.

128. On the commerce from the fustians [cotton cloth] of Argos, 60 hyperpers a year to the chapel of our chateau at Kiveri.

129. For books, chalices, and ornaments for the chapel at Kiveri, 50 hyperpers.
130. To the church at Argos, 100 hyperpers.
131. To the chapel at our castle of Nauplion, 20 hyperpers.
132. To the Friars Minor [Franciscans] at Patras, 12 hyperpers.
133. To The Friars Minor at Clarenza, 20 hyperpers.
134. To the constables and sergeants at our chateaus of Argos, Nauplion, Thermissi, Bondonitza, and St. Maura, a month's wages.

Now, what did this man know about the Argolid?  And why the distinction between the friars of Patras and Clarenza? Was it because Clarenza had been an essentially French port? What about Kiveri?  That fortress is the top of the most unrewarding climb I have ever made -- the view does not compensate.  And who knew that Argos had such a profitable commerce in cotton?

And did you know that Francis of Assisi once went to war, and in 1205 was en route to joining the army of another Gautier de Brienne when he had a dream that sent him back to Assisi, and ultimately into the spiritual crisis that made him St. Francis?

 Gautier III de Brienne

Gautier IV de Brienne

Gautier V de Brienne

Despite his fame, I cannot find a shield for Gautier VI 

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