Arnulf I, Count of Flanders

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Arnulf I
Arnulf Flandry 941.jpg
Seal of Arnulf I
Count of Flanders
Reign918 – 27 March 964
SuccessorBaldwin III
Arnulf II
Bornbetween 893 and 899 [1]
Died27 March 965 (aged 71–72)
Noble familyHouse of Flanders
Spouse(s)Adele of Vermandois
IssueBaldwin III, Count of Flanders
FatherBaldwin II of Flanders
MotherÆlfthryth of Wessex

Arnulf I (c. 893/899 – 27 March 965),[2] called "the Great",[3] was the first Count of Flanders.


Arnulf was the son of margrave Baldwin II of Flanders and Ælfthryth of Wessex, daughter of Alfred the Great.[4] Through his mother he was a descendant of the Anglo-Saxon kings of England, and through his father, a descendant of Charlemagne.[5] Presumably Arnulf was named either after Saint Arnulf of Metz, a progenitor of the Carolingian dynasty,[6] or King Arnulf of Carinthia, whom his father supported.

At the death of their father in 918, Arnulf became Count of Flanders while his brother Adeloft or Adelolf succeeded to the County of Boulogne.[4] However, in 933 Adeloft died, and Arnulf took the countship of Boulogne for himself, but later conveyed it to his nephew, Arnulf II.[7] Arnulf titled himself count by the Grace of God.[8]

Arnulf I greatly expanded Flemish rule to the south, taking all or part of Artois, Ponthieu, Amiens, and Ostrevent. He exploited the conflicts between Charles the Simple and Robert I of France, and later those between Louis IV and his barons.

In his southern expansion Arnulf inevitably had conflict with the Normans, who were trying to secure their northern frontier. This led to the 942 murder of the Duke of Normandy, William Longsword, at the hands of Arnulf's men.[9] The Viking threat was receding during the later years of Arnulf's life, and he turned his attentions to the reform of the Flemish government. Count Arnulf died on 27 March 964, allegedly murdered by Heluin in revenge for the murder of William Longsword.[1]

He was buried in the Saint-Peter's Abbey in Ghent.[10]


The name of Arnulf's first wife is unknown but he had at least one daughter by her:[11]

  • Name unknown; married Isaac of Cambrai. Their son Arnulf succeeded his father as Count of Cambrai.[11]

In 934 he married Adele of Vermandois, daughter of Herbert II of Vermandois.[4] Their children were:


Arnulf made his eldest son and heir Baldwin III of Flanders co-ruler in 958, but Baldwin died untimely in 962, so Arnulf was succeeded by Baldwin's infant son, Arnulf II of Flanders.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "FLANDERS COUNTS". Foundation for Medieval Genealogy. Retrieved 2022-10-22.
  2. ^ H. E. L. Mellersh; Neville Williams (1999). Chronology of World History. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1-57607-155-7.
  3. ^ "Arnulf I, Count of Flanders". British Museum.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Detlev Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, Neue Folge, Band II (Verlag von J. A. Stargardt, Marburg, Germany, 1984), Tafel 5
  5. ^ The Annals of Flodoard of Reims, 919–966, ed. Steven Fanning & Bernard S. Bachrach (University of Toronto Press, CA, 2011), p. xx
  6. ^ Philip Grierson, 'The Relations between England and Flanders before the Norman Conquest', Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, Vol. 23 (1941), p. 86 n. 1
  7. ^ Renée Nip, 'The Political Relations between England and Flanders (1066–1128)', Anglo-Norman Studies 21: Proceedings of the Battle Conference 1998, ed. Christopher Harper-Bill (The Boydell Press, Woodbridge, UK, 1999), p. 150
  8. ^ Jan, Régine Le; LeJan, Régine (1995). Famille et pouvoir dans le monde franc (VIIe-Xe siècle): essai d'anthropologie sociale (in French). Publications de la Sorbonne. ISBN 978-2-85944-268-2.
  9. ^ David Nicholas, Medieval Flanders (Longman Group UK Limited, London, 1992), p. 40
  10. ^ "Arnulf (Arnoul) I "the Great" or "the Old" (Arnulfus Magnus, Arnulfus Vetulus) Marquis of Flanders, 918-964×5". The Henry Project. Retrieved 5 December 2018.
  11. ^ a b c Heather J. Tanner, Families, Friends and Allies: Boulogne and Politics in Northern France and England, C.879–1160 (Brill, Leiden, Netherlands, 2004) p. 55 n. 143

Additional references[edit]

Preceded by Blason Comte-de-Flandre.svg Count of Flanders
with Baldwin III (958–962)
Succeeded by
Preceded by Count of Boulogne
Succeeded by