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'The Delaforce Family History' - Chapter 48 - Early Gascony

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Chapter 48

"Dukes were three a penny" W.S. GILBERT

Early Gascony


Boggis’ son Eudes was practically an independent monarch in Aquitaine. He had defeated attempts by the Moors from Spain, lead by Abd-al-Rahman-al-Ghafiki, to invade Gascony earlier in his reign in 718 by throwing them back under the walls of Toulouse in 720. But he had backed Chilperic II, the King of Neustria, against Charles Martel (Martel = hammer), his Palace Mayor. Chiperic was the first Merovingian king, since his grandfather Clovis II, to have a backbone but Charles defeated Eudes in 719, who was fighting on too many fronts & forgave him on the understanding that he recognised Chilperic (now practically a prisoner & firmly under Charles' control) as King of all the Franks. But Chilperic died in 720.


Although by all accounts, a great general, having defeated a previous Moorish incursion into France outside Toulouse in 721, Eudes was getting old. The Moors invaded Aquitaine in force in 731 & he no longer had sufficient power to defeat them again. In 731, he married his daughter Lampagie off to Othman Ibn Abu-Nusa, Wali of Cerdagne, previously Emir de Cordova, who controlled some of the Pyrenean passes. Cerdagne is a high valley surrounded by high mountains & with easily defended entry points. This would have solved that problem had the Moorish King of Spain, Abd-al-Rahman-al-Ghafiki not immediately defeated & slain Abu-Nusa & sent Lampagie off to Damascus as a trophy.

His duchy overrun by Moors, Eudes had to call in Charles Martel, who turned the Moors back forever at the battle of Tours in 732, where Abd-al-Rahman-al-Ghafiki was killed. This gave Charles, the son of Pepin the Fat & great-grandson of Pepin of Landen, carte blanche to interfere in Gascon affairs & establish the power of France there. Eudes was murdered in 735. His family tree is complicated by cousin marriages i.e Branulphe I was his great-great-grandfather twice & also his great-great-great-grandfather but Robert Brian Stewart reckons Branulphe I was not the father of Branulphe II but his brother Gondolfus, Bishop of Tongres was .

According to some sources, Eudes allegedly married twice:-

(1) to St. Adela (? - 24/12/735), the great-grand-daughter of the first Dagobert, via his son Sigibert III King of Austrasia from 638 (634 - 656) and Inechilde (various spellings!) of Burgundy (?625 - ?670) & their son Dagobert II (652 - 23/12/679), who married an English princess, Matilda. Dagobert II is the one all the legends surround. He was usurped & murdered by Pepin the Fat, with the connivance of the church because of his anti-clerical tendencies but. as he is not a Delaforce, that is another story.

(2) to Valtrude of Verdun, daughter of Walchigise, Count of Verdun (611 - ?) & Valtrude. She is the Delaforce ancestor. Valtrude’s Verdun is the one where the World War I battle was fought, not the Delaforce Verdun-sur-Garonne.

Walchigise was the son of St. Arnulf Bishop of Metz (583 - 641) & Clothilde de Saxe (?583 - ?612). St Arnulf was born in Heristal, now a suburb of Liège but both Metz & Heristal were in Austrasia. This is the same Arnulf who worked with (& on) Clothaire II. Working back through Valtrude's male line took us to that Clodion, King of Cologne who was the great-grandfather of Clovis the Great.

Apart from the unfortunate Lampagie, Eudes & Adela had another child at least: Hatton.

Hatton (?695 - aft 744) had a son, Loup I (715 - 774) Duke of Gascony, who’s daughter Adèle married Waifre, her half-cousin once removed.

...or did they? There is some doubt as to whether Eudes married St. Adela at all & other sources attribute Hatton & Lampagie to Valtrude. Eudes & Valtrude’s children were Aznar Remistan & Hunald. These dates do not appear to add up, though, so it seems safe to assume that Valtrude was Eudes’ only wife. We suspect a spurious attempt to make these family trees 'tie up'.

Aznair Remistan, the 1st Count of Aragon (687 - 768) was hung by Mayor Pépin the Short, who had become the French King in 751. Very little seems to be known about him.

Hunold (707 - killed 774) was Duke of Aquitaine 735 - 745. After two unsuccessful wars against the redoubtable Pepin the Short, which he lost & had to pay reparations for, he retired in 745 to l’Ile de Ré monastery to expiate a crime, the details of which we do not know.

Adèle married Waifre (731 - 768), who took over the Duchy during his father’s retirement. He fought Pepin the Short, who was surprised at the strength of Gason resistance but methodically reduced the country in two campaigns, 761-763 and 766-768. Waifre, having clearly lost the war, was assassinated in Périgord by his own people. Hunold came out of retirement to keep up the challenge. Failing again, he fled to the ‘protection’ of Loup I in 774, now Duke of Gascony. Loup handed him over to Charlemagne as a goodwill gesture, who sent him back to his monastery & presumably had him murdered.

Meanwhile, Loup died in 774 & the duchy devolved onto Loup II. He did not last long. He was either killed by Charlemagne in 778 or locked up then & only killed thirteen years later. Either way, it was a poor lookout for Loup but not surprising, in view of what he had done to Charlemagne, which we will examine below. Loup had married Numabela of Cantabria in about 770, bringing more Visigoth blood into the Delaforce line. She was the daughter of Fruela of Cantabria, (?705 - ?765), who's son Roderic is also a Delaforce. We met this family in chapter 45. That Charlemagne had executed three Dukes of Gascony, Loup II, Adalric & Lope Sancho, had been an important clue.

Eudes (Otto) (665 - 735 murdered) Duke of Aquitaine & Gascony from 714 = Valtrude of Verdun

Lampagie (?700 - ? Damascus) = (731) Othman ibn Abu-Nusa Wali of Cerdagne, previously Emir of Cordova

Hatton (?695 - aft 744) = Wandrade

Loup I (715 - 774) Duke of Gascony = Wanda de Toulouse

Adele of Gascony (?735 - ?) = Waifre

see far right column

Aznair Remistan 1st Count of Aragon (687 - 768 hung by Mayor Pépin)

Hard information about this man & his descendents has proved difficult to come by. His connection to the Counts of Aragon as listed on this link is not proven. Did he even exist?

Hunold (707 - killed 778) Duke of Aquitaine 735 - 745 = ?NN

Walfar or Waifre (731 - 2/6/768 Périgord assasinated) Duke of Aquitaine & Duke of Gascony from 745 = Adele of Gascony

Adalric Duke of Gascony (abt 750 - ?812) = ?NN

See next family tree below

Loup II (755 - 791) = (abt 770) Numabela of Cantabria

See below

Adalric's family includes two Delaforce lines, stemming from his son Loup Centule, who seems to be frequently confused in published family trees with Lope Sancho, his cousin. His daughter married Aznar of Aragon, the scion of Ximen or Jimenez of Aragon, who's father, Galind carried a very traditional Gothic name. See chapter 50. It was Charlemagne who appointed Aznar Galindez as Count of the various lands South of the Pyrenees & Aznar eventaully had to flee North because of excessive loyalty to the Carolingians. With a name half-Basque and half-Goth, he should have known better.

Lope Centule's son Donat Loupa, married Faquila of the rich county of Bigorre beneath the Pyrenees.

Adalric's family

Adalric Duke of Gascony in 778 (abt 750 - 812 killed by Charlemagne) = ?

Asnar Seguin

Garcias Seguin II aka Loup Centule Duke of Gascony 812 (abt 770 - 816 killed) = ?NN

Onneca of Navarre = Aznar I Count of Aragon 809-838 abdicated (?775 - 839)

Another cousin marriage

See tree below

Donat Loupa Count of Bigorre & Gascony (bfr 827 Aude - ?) = Faquila de Bigorre (abt 828 Aude - ?) See chapter 47

Lope I Count of Bigorre (?848 Aude - aft 910) = ?NN de Toulouse de Rouergue (?840 - ?) daughter of Count Raymond I (?810 -864)

see chapter 50 for Toulouse &
chapter 51 for Lope's family

Sanche Sanche

Raymond Count of Perigord = ?NN

Arnaud Duke of Gascony 848 - 864

Loup II's family

Loup II (755 - 791) Duke of Gascony from 768 - 778 after his father Waifre's death =
(abt 770) Numabela of Cantabria, a Visigoth
in chapter 45

Lope Sancho Duke of Gascony 778 - 812 (?772 - 812 hung by Charlemagne) = Toda Aznarez de Aragón

Dhoude (Duedene Dhoda Liegarde) D'UZES (?804 - 843) Countess of Agen = (824) Bernard Duke of Narbonne & Count of Barcelona (?795 - 844 Aachen)

see chapter 50

Donat Count of Bueil (?780 - ?) = ?NN

Daton comte de Bueil (?800 - 850) = ?NN

Garcia comte de Bueil (?820 - ?) = ?NN

Uracca Quisilo Galindez de Aragon (? - 893) = Sanche Mitarra II duc de Gascogne

See chapter 50

The Counts of Aragon

Aznar Count of Aragon (? - 795) = ?

Galindo Count of Aragon (?750 - 815) = ?

Aznar Galindez d'Aragon (?775 - 841) Comte d'Aragon, Gascogne, Urgel, Jaca & Cerdagne = Onneca de Navarre, see above

Centulio Aznar

Galindo I Aznarez Count of Aragon 844 - 867 (?820 - aft 867) = Guldregut Countess of Aragon

Aznar II Count of Aragon 867-892 (? - bfr 893) = Oneca Fortunez de Navarre (847? - ?) daughter of Fortun Garces (chapter 42)

Aznar Galindo II Comte d'Aragon (bfr 893 - ?920) = 1. Acibella of Gascony, see chapter 50 4th tree

Redemptus, a Bishop

Miron of Aragon

Tota Galindez of Aragon (893? - ?) = Bernard (Bernardo) I Count of Ribagorza & Pallars (?892 - aft 949)

see Appendix IV-3 3rd tree

= 2. Sancha de Navarre see chapter 41

Teresa Endregoto Galindez Countess of Aragon (bfr 920 - 972) = Garcia I Sanchez Roi de Navarre 925-970 (919 - 970)

see chapter 51

Velasquita of Aragon = Inigi Lopez of Estigi

Urraca Anzarez of Aragon = Sancho I Garces 'Optimo Imperator' (885 - 11/12/925 San Esteban de Resa) 1st wife, no issue see chapter 51

Garcia Aznar de Comminges from 833 (?800 - 870) = ?

see Appendix IV-2

Matrona = Garcia Count of Aragon

Some sources have this Aznar as the son of Eudes of Gascony. This seems doubtful.

So, what had Loup II done to upset Charlemagne? This was not difficult but we will consult, without taking it too seriously, the most famous ballad in French history, Le Chanson de Roland. The original is now in the Bodleian library. This and other versions have produced a story of a glorious defeat against overwhelming Saracen odds. The viewpoint of the winners has never been presented before.

Charlemagne's armies had swept into Spain through the Pyrenean passes of SIZERGATE (Port de SIZER), and the pilgrim route to St. James of Compostella of St. Jean Pied de Port through the Roncevaux (Roncesvalles) pass to Pampeluna.

More than 30 of the old remote Kings and Queens of Navarre are buried in the old Benedictine monastery, Santa Maria la Real, in Najera: Garcia and his wife Istaphania de Foix, Sancho of Navarre, Clara of Normandy, Sanche the Valiant and Beatrice, Sanche the Noble and Blanche, all monarchs of a far off distant day.

The road from Pamplona to Roncesvalles is twenty eight miles of unexpected Swiss beauty: fountains, and small streams, green meadows, cows with cow-bells, chalets, pine trees, wild flowers everywhere. The road climbs steadily into the mountains to a plateau with farms and cornfields and it follows the pass, winds, twists and contorts itself until the enormous mountain peaks appear, bare, barren and lonely - the way to Roncesvalles! Now it is a small bleak village near the large gloomy monastery where SANCHO the Strong and Clemencia his wife are buried. As Tallifer wrote and sang of Roncesvalles "high are its hills, and its valleys dark, the rocks are black and the country strange and fearful". The winter ghosts are always there, The French battle cry of 'MONJOIE' can still be heard. Perhaps too the unbroken sword DURANDEL lies rusting in a mountain stream.

The modern pass road summit is 4km West of the ambush site.

The old pass route today

On his return from his campaign in Spain, almost casually, Charlemagne 'rasa les murs de Pampelune', the capital of Vasconia and Navarre. This so enraged the Gascons that Duke LUPUS II plotted with INIGO GARCIAS, King of Navarre, to lay a most substantial ambush and thus obtain revenge. (Patrick suggested that his father-in-law FRUELA, King of Asturias may have been involved but some sources say he died in 765. It was probably his wife's cousin, Fruela the Cruel, who was involved). The Chanson's detailed account of the Saracen King MARSILION plotting with the handsome, treacherous, ill-fated Count GANELON (Roland's step-father) was mostly troubador nonsense!

ROLAND, RODLANZ, or more correctly HRUODLAND, "le prefet de la marche de Bretagne" - one of Charlemagne's twelve regional governors - was one of three commanders of the rear-guard. In 770 he was allowed to strike his own coinage with CARLUS (Charlemagne) on one side and RODLAN on the other. So he was a noble of some substance in the Marches of Bretagne! He was also a thoroughly poor military commander. 'Le Senechal EGGINHARD maitre d'hotel du ROI' and 'le comte Paladin du palace ANSELME' also certainly had substantial rank. The Chanson's fighting Bishop TURPIN was a hero, as indeed was Roland's friend Oliver. The famous 12 nobles in the Chanson were possibly fictitious:

GERIN and GERIER, IVES and IVOR, OTHON and BERENGER, ANSEIS and SANS ON. However GERARD of ROUSSILLON, ENGELBERT the Gascon of Bordeaux and Count ACELIN (perhaps GARSIAS) of Gascony, may have been substantiated.

The leaders of the ‘enemy’ in battle were documented in the Chanson, but almost certainly without much substance. Still they did have splendid names - BALIGANT, CLIMBORIN, VALDABRUN, GRANDOYNE and MALQUIANT, CLARIN of BALAGATE, ESTRAMARIN and EUDOPRIN (PRINCE EUDES?), GARLON LONGBEARD, PRIAMON, RACHINER and uncle NATTHAY, JOHUN of OUTREMER, MALABAYN, BLANCANDRIN and ADELROTH, King Marsile's nephew.

Loup had a significant brother Adelric and a son, Lope Sancho. The Chanson may be referring to Adalric, who was King INIGO GARCIAS' nephew by marriage.

By the time Charlemagne's advance guard had reached VALCARLOS (valley of Charles) on 15th August 778, Roland as the leader of the rearguard had just reached RONCEVAUX, eighteen kilometres away. A long, thin straggling army just asking for trouble from the wolves in the hills. RONCEVAUX is 3960 feet above sea level, and the attacking Gascons and Basques found it easy to hurl boulders down the slopes onto the Frankish army.

"ROLLAND est proz (proud) e Oliver est sage (wise)
En bataille deit estre forz (strong) et fiers (faithful)"

This sums the man up neatly and succinctly. Too proud to stay close to Charlemagne’s main army, and then only when the battle was won and lost did he blow his famous great horn OLIVANT (olifant, elephant's ivory tusk). At the third blast the horn broke in two but Charlemagne heard, and returned.

(Shameful to appeal for help, would rather die than be put to shame).

There was no possibility of rescue. "Dieu, que le son du cor est triste au fond des bois". (A. de Vigny). So with his horse VEILANTIF killed from under him, and his sword DURANDEL useless by his side, his friends slain beside him, Roland lay dead under a large tree surrounded by dead Gascons.

No wonder the Gascons sang their national hymn over the corpse of Roland, as they set to work and "pillés les bagages de l'armée". The loot from the slain Francs with the rich trophies of their war in southern Spain must have been considerable. The troubadors spoke of 20,000 being slain in the rearguard alone. A more probable figure is that of 1,500 to 2,000. Loup II and the Kingdoms of Navarre and Asturias had probably assembled about 2-3,000 troops. The Francs were heavily laden with spoil, thinly spread out and the existing fir tree forests probably gave sufficient cover to the attackers for the ambuscade to succeed.

The French historians called the ambush 'PERFIDIE des GASCONS'. But in reality it was revenge for the sack of Pamplona by Charlemagne. Roland's body was later buried at Blaye, in the church of Saint Romain.

The French Charte d'ALAON records that Charlemagne pursued, caught, and hung Loup II for his part in that day's work at Roncevalles. Another reference is LOUBENS "Histoire ancienne Province de Gascoigne" pp.155-7.

After the conquest of Spain in 781 AD, Charlemagne created the Kingdom of the two Aquitaines for his son Louis. They comprised the Languedoc, Toulouse, Gascony, Guienne and Navarre. Louis (Le Debonnaire) appointed two regents to rule in Aquitaine, ARNOULD and MEGINARIUS or AMALGINUS.

Despite Loup II's undignified end, his brother Alaric, Adalric or Adalrius was awarded by Charlemagne vast lands west and northwest of Toulouse. Initially in 781 he was given FEZENSAC, of which ARMAGNAC was a small part, but later in 801 AD the lands of GIMOEZ, TERRIDES and VERDUN-sur-Garonne were added.

Charlemagne was very much interested in southwest France. He had founded the river port town of LA REOLE in 771 and visited Bazas and Bordeaux in 800 AD.

In 790 ADALRIC captured CHORSO, Comte de Toulouse & made him swear allegeance

Adalric & Loup II's descendants include several lines which we must follow but only after examining the line of the horrible Charlemagne.

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