Fulk III, Count of Anjou
|Fulk III, Count of Anjou|
Seal of Fulk III
|Spouse(s)||Elisabeth of Vendôme
Hildegard of Sundgau
|Noble family||House of Ingelger|
|Father||Geoffrey I of Anjou|
|Mother||Adelaide of Vermandois|
|Died||21 June 1040|
Fulk III (972 – 21 June 1040), called Nerra (that is, le Noir, "the Black") after his death, was Count of Anjou from 21 July 987 to his death.
Fulk had a violent but also pious temperament, was partial to acts of extreme cruelty as well as penitence. In his most notorious act, he allegedly had his first wife, Elisabeth of Vendôme (c.970 - 999), burned at the stake in her wedding dress, after he discovered her in adultery with a farmer in December 999. On the other hand, he made four pilgrimages to the Holy Land in 1002, 1008, and 1038 and, in 1007, built the great abbey at Beaulieu-lès-Loches. As a result, historiography has this to say about him:
Fulk of Anjou, plunderer, murderer, robber, and swearer of false oaths, a truly terrifying character of fiendish cruelty, founded not one but two large abbeys. This Fulk was filled with unbridled passion, a temper directed to extremes. Whenever he had the slightest difference with a neighbor he rushed upon his lands, ravaging, pillaging, raping, and killing; nothing could stop him, least of all the commandments of God.
Fulk fought against the claims of the counts of Rennes, defeating and killing Conan I of Rennes at the Battle of Conquereuil on 27 June 992. He then extended his power over the Counties of Maine and Touraine.
Fulk's enterprises came up against the no less determined and violent ambitions of Odo II of Blois, against whom he made an alliance with the Capetians. On 6 July 1016, he defeated Odo at the Battle of Pontlevoy. In 1025, after capturing and burning the city of Saumur, Fulk reportedly cried, "Saint Florentius, let yourself be burned. I will build you a better home in Angers." However, when the transportation of the saint's relics to Angers proved difficult, Fulk declared that Florentius was a rustic lout unfit for the city, and sent the relics back to Saumur.
Fulk also commissioned many buildings, primarily for defensive purposes. While fighting against the Bretons and Blesevins, protecting his territory from Vendôme to Angers and from there to Montrichard, he had more than a hundred castles, donjons, and abbeys constructed, including those at Château-Gontier, Loches (a stone keep), and Montbazon. He built the donjon at Langeais (990), one of the first stone castles. These numerous pious foundations, however, followed many acts of violence against the church.
By his first wife, Elisabeth, he left one daughter:
By his second wife (1001), Hildegard of Sundgau, he had two children:
- Detlev Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, Neue Folge, Band III Teilband 1 (Verlag von J. A. Stargardt, Marburg, Germany, 1984), Tafel 116
- Bernard S. Bachrach, Fulk Nerra the Neo-Roman Consul, 987-1040 (University of California Press, 1993), p. 16
- Richard Erdoes, AD 1000 : a world on the brink of Apocalypse (Seastone, Berkeley, 1998), p. 14
|Count of Anjou