A letter from Adalbero, archbishop of Reims ()
15 kalends of July, with my brother freed from the darkness of Hell, a certain light of your honor is seen to rise. But a great effort must be made to keep counts O[tto of Blois] and H[erbert of Troyes] from spoiling that light with the blind fire of cupidity.(1) So you should hear the just and honorable petitions of my brother with clemency, as much for his merit as for your benevolence towards me, and with prudent counsel you will deflect the unjust things which the tyrant extorted against reason in the destruction of the churches of God and to the shame of your realm.
Will you alienate the towns of the bishop of Verdun which count Godfrey [Adalbero’s brother] gave for the redemption of his soul together with his son bishop A[dalbero, the writer’s nephew] in perpetuity, swearing reluctantly. Will you suffer castles to be built in them at the wish of those who are now assembling furtive supplies of recruited knights to attack you when you are at Chèvremont?(2) For since duke Theodore invaded the town of Stenay, they pretend to invade Juvigny as if in revenge for the queen(3); they will commit this crime if they perceive a small hand in you [no force]. I said these things because I am sollicitous for you and will do with full faith whatever you signify through the most faithful Gerbert who asked this to be given to him as he will be the truest interpreter of your side.
XVI Kal. Junii fratre meo de inferni tenebris liberato, quaedam lux vestri honoris oriri visa est. Sed eam lucem caeco igne cupiditatis Otto et Heribertus comites corrumpant, summopere elaborandum. Itaque justas et honestas petitiones fratris mei clementer audietis, cum pro sui merito, tum pro vestra benevolentia in me: injustas autem, et quas tyrannus irrationabiliter extorsit, in destructionem ecclesiarum Domini, ac in dedecus vestri generis, prudenti consilio deviabitis. Num villas Virdunensis episcopi, quas pro redemptione sua, una cum filio Adalberone episcopo invitus donat Godefridus comes, jurejurando in perpetuum ab Ecclesia alienabitis? Num castra in eisdem ad eorum votum exstruere patiemini, qui nunc furtivas delectorum militum contrahunt copias, ut in vos si apud Caprimontem estis impetum faciant? Nam quia dux Theodericus Satanacam vinam pervasit, quasi in ultionem reginae, Juveniacum oppidum se invadere simulant, scelus facturi si vobiscum paucam persenserint manum. Haec dixi, mentem pro vobis omnino sollicitam habens, et plena fide exsecuturus quaecunque per G. vobis fidissimum significastis, qui hoc sibi donari petit, ut vestrae partis fuerit verissimus interpres.
Adalbero commends the empress for his brother’s release and warns against various initiatives of her enemies. On July 3, 987 Hugh Capet, whom Adalbero supported, was elected and crowned king of the Franks.
(1) These are the two counts whose loyalty Emma was certain of, see her letter 3) to her mother, empress Adelaide. (2) Ferdinand Lot says Otto (Eudes) and Herbert were planning to kidnap the empress while she was occupied with the siege of Chèvremont, Études sur le Règne de Hugues Capet (Paris: Bouillon, 1903), 195. (3) This is a reference to Emma, widowed queen of France, sister-in-law of Theophanu, whose enemies ejected her from the regency at least in part on charges of adultery. She had been held captive by Charles of Lorraine. She too writes to Theophanu, see 7) below.
MGH BDKz 2 ep.103 p.133-34; also in HGF9 ep.59 p.290-91, and PL137 e.26 c513-14. Variants: MGH gives July, others June; they have Dei for Domini, generis for regni, no anime after redemptione; PL has omnium for omnino.