The Development of Southern French and Catalan Society, 718-1050

Archibald R. Lewis


Southern French and Catalan Society (778-828)

[69] During the reigns of Charlemagne and Louis the Pious a number of changes took place in the society of Southern France and Catalonia, which were more significant than the purely governmental ones discussed in the last chapter. These changes helped to modify the nature of this society and to lay the bases for its development. The most important were the emergence of a new method of landholding, especially in Septimania and Catalonia, the development of a set of personal relationships which might be called proto-feudal, and the revitalization of the Church, particularly in respect to its monastic institutions. To these should be added two more: the beginnings of an agricultural revolution which put vacant and unused land in cultivation, and a limited but no less real revival of trade.

Several points, however, need to be stressed before we proceed to examine such developments in detail. The first is the fact that the changes of these decades took place within the context of the existing society and institutions of these regions, which had the effect of limiting them and modifying them in a number of ways. The second point, equally important, is that such changes as took place did so unevenly. Not every part of Southern France and the Spanish March was affected by them in the same way. Thus, for various reasons, Septimania and Catalonia seem to have been the areas most affected by such developments, Gascony and Provence the least, with Aquitaine and the Rhone Valley area lying somewhere in between.

Remembering such qualifications let us first consider that innovation in landholding which must be ascribed to the Carolingians. It may be recalled that in our first chapter, dealing with pre-Carolingian society, we noted two systems of landholding which were to be found in the Midi. One, much the more common, was the system of holding land allodially in full outright ownership. The other was a use of precaria or benefices in which [70] land was held conditionally. To these two systems the Carolingian monarchs added a third, the aprisio.

The aprisio did not appear until 780, when, as has been noted, Charlemagne had to face the problem of providing for Spanish refugees who had fled to the Midi after the failure of his Saragossa expedition of 778. He solved this problem by allotting to these hispani tracts of uncultivated land in Septimania belonging to the royal fisc, which they were to hold under special conditions.(1) The first such specific grant that we know of was one at Fontjoncouse near Narbonne given to John, the hero of Pont, in 795.(2) Two different types of refugees were given such allotments, the important ones or majores, who arrived in the Midi with servants and many followers, and the less important ones known as minores.

As territory south of the Pyrenees was gradually liberated from the Moslem yoke, the aprisio system was extended into Catalonia,(3) until by 812 such holdings were to be found over a wide area in the maritime Catalan counties of Barcelona, Gerona, Ampurias, and Roussillon, as well as around Narbonne, Carcassonne, and Béziers, and in Provence.(4) Judging from Charlemagne's original edict which set up the aprisio system, such holdings may have spread into parts of Aquitaine also.(5)

In 812 disputes between aprisio holders and the local counts and inhabitants of the regions in which they were located caused some forty-two important spani settled in Carolingian domains under this system to carry their complaints to Aix-la-Chapelle to the emperor Charlemagne himself. They may have been accompanied by some minores or smaller aprisio holders.(6) As a result of their complaints Charles' successor Louis the Pious in 815 and 816 regulated the status of aprisiones in edicts which embodied [71] principles found in his father's original grant of 780 and his extension of aprisio rights to the inhabitants of Barcelona and Tarrassa about 802.(7) In 844 Charles the Bald made some minor changes and issued another capitulary concerning aprisiones.(8)

From these Carolingian enactments we learn the exact nature of an aprisio, particularly one held by one of the majores like John of Fontjoncouse or Asnar Galindo. In the first place important aprisio holders did homage for their holdings to the Carolingian emperor. In 812 such seems to have been the case as regards the forty-two majores who journeyed to Aix-la-Chapelle.(9) A little later on, in 814, Louis the Pious calls Wimar a vassalus in renewing the grant of Charlemagne to him and his brother -- a grant of land "ab herema" in which they had organized the villa of Ceret.(10) In 815 John of Fontjoncouse is called a fidelis by Louis when he has his land reconfirmed by the emperor.(11) So is Sunifred in a charter in 829 which concerns his villa or aprisio of Fons Cooperta.(12) The statutes reveal another fact -- they were all free men. They paid, therefore, no special dues or cens to the counts or their agents, and they had the right to settle disputes among themselves and those whom they brought in to cultivate their holdings in accordance with their own Visigothic law, without recourse to the official tribunals of the counts. The one exception concerned criminal cases or majores causas in which the counts were still to have jurisdiction, just as they did in cases involving disputes between aprisio holders and the native inhabitants of their districts.(13)

Such privileges enjoyed by the large aprisio holders also carried with them certain responsibilities. The most important one was the duty of military service. These milites, as they were sometimes called, were required, upon call, to join the count's army and take part in frontier campaigns. They also had to furnish horses and purveyance to royal missi and envoys traveling to and from Spain. They were also permitted to receive benefices from counts and to enter into a dependent relationship with them in return for such grants of lands.(14)

[72] All the above seems to make a large aprisio holder all but identical with one of the vassi dominici who had very similar privileges and very similar responsibilities.(15) Wherein lies the difference? It lies in their rights of proprietorship over their lands. A large aprisio holder held his land in what Charles the Bald in 844 called quasi proprietorship.(16) He could, like an allodial landholder, sell or exchange it or leave it to his sons, nephews, or other relatives. Indeed, Carolingian monarchs themselves, in individual cases, began to transform some aprisiones into allods early in the ninth century. Thus in 814, in renewing the aprisio of Wimar and his brother, Louis the Pious expressly regranted it to them as "jure proprietario," or full allodial ownership.(17) In the case of the charter referring to Sunifred's aprisio in 829 we find the same wording, "jure proprietario."(18) Later on in Catalonia custom seems to have prescribed full allodial ownership after thirty years. Perhaps this already was the case at the time of Louis the Pious.

Large aprisio holders, then, occupied a position between vassi dominici on the one hand and allodial landholders on the other. But what of small holders who were given aprisiones: the minores? What about these and their rights? We know less about them than the majores, other than that they were dissatisfied with their situation in 815 and complained about how they were being oppressed by the majores.(19) They were certainly numerous, particularly a little later where they formed a considerable element in the population of Catalonia.(20) Like the milites who help aprisiones, the [73] minores seem to have been free men, who were given their grants of aprisiones by larger landholders: counts, churches, or abbeys. In return they appear to have put it into cultivation and to have paid the original proprietor a cens, sometimes one third of the crop. They were certainly also subject to call for military service and responsible for the same corvées and purveyance as the more important aprisio holders.(21) Later on it was they who were the actual cultivators who repopulated the county of Ausona which Count Guifred changed from a deserted region into an important part of Christian Catalonia.(22)

What seems to have made aprisiones important, however, was not such grants to Spanish refugees, who were few in number, but the extension of the system to others -- particularly in Catalonia. This seems to have begun as early as 802 when the grant of aprisio rights to the inhabitants of Barcelona and Tarrassa expressly included in its provisions extension of the system to Goths as well as hispani.(23) Such Goths, and Gascons as well, are specifically mentioned as holding aprisiones in Besalu some years later in a grant by Charles the Bald to the abbey of Santa-Julia del Mont(24) and also in a charter from Roussillon dating from the same period.(25) Equally interesting is evidence of the extension of this system of landholding to the Urgell-Cerdanya region. The aprisio granted Count Asnar Galindo here is a case in point.(26) By the end of the century in this part of Catalonia, and in Pallars and Ribagorça as well, the aprisio had become one of the principal methods used to extend the area of settlement along the frontiers of the Spanish March.

Which leads us to a final question. Was the aprisio system used elsewhere in the Midi, as well as in Septimania and Catalonia where it took firm root? There is some indication that it was. A little later we find [74] charters from both Razes and the Toulousain.(27) More interesting is evidence that there existed a similar system during this period in Rouergue where it appears to have been called attracto as early as 801.(28) As for Gascony, lack of charters preclude anything except a conjecture that the system was not unknown in this part of the Midi. Nowhere, though, does it appear to have become as important as it did in Catalonia and the rest of the Spanish March.

To understand landholding systems found in the rest of the Midi, however, we must look for something other than aprisiones, interesting and unique though this system may be. North of the Pyrenees a system of honores, precaria, and beneficia seems to have been much more important. The honores, as they were called, present the easiest problem. An honor was a position, office, or charge, a county or series of counties, an arch-bishopric, a bishopric, or an abbey given to an individual by a Carolingian monarch; for it the individual did homage personally in a regular ceremony, and it therefore established between him and this ruler the special bond or tie of fidelitas.(29)Honores of a secular nature could be revoked and often were at the pleasure of the ruler, either because of disloyalty or incompetence or both.(30) When revocation seemed in order the monarch generally carried it out before an assembly attended by the important magnates and churchmen of the empire. The same is true of the bestowing of such honores.

Somewhat different were the benefices which Charlemagne and Louis the Pious gave to important supporters. Like honores such benefices were grants of land which established, through the personal ceremony of homage the bond of fidelitas, and those who received them were called [75] fideles and sometimes vassi.(31) But, in the Midi during this period, a benefice seems to have consisted essentially of a grant of land rather than an office. The royal fisc, consisting as it did of confiscated, conquered, and vacant land, seems to have been the source from which benefices were given, as it was for aprisiones which much resemble them. Unlike the honor, however, the beneficia seem to have been lifetime grants, unless disloyalty forced their withdrawal from the recipient. Sometimes, however, they were even given for longer periods of time.(32)

Counts in addition to their honores often received from the Carolingian monarchs grants of beneficia, a fact which shows that an individual could hold an honor as an official and a benefice as a fidelis at the same time. The villa which Count Robert had held "in beneficium" from Louis the Pious and which this emperor gave to the bishop of Maguelonne in 819 is a case in point.(33) Equally instructive is the dispute between Count Muon and the archbishop of Narbonne in 782 in which the former claimed he held certain villas "in beneficio" from Charlemagne.(34) The aprisio granted Asnar Galindo in Cerdanya which became the subject of a dispute between the later counts of this region and Galindo's heirs similarly reveals the difference between benefices and aprisiones given to individuals in a private capacity and honores which were public charges even though both established the personal bond of fidelitas.(35) Probably those lands given by Count Roger of Limoges to the abbey of Charroux between 769 and 799 were also benefices granted to him by Charlemagne since a general confirmation of this gift by a special charter signed by the monarch is to be found also.(36)

Royal benefices, however, were also given to a class of landowners or milites known as vassi dominici. Perhaps it was to this group that the [76] Astronomus refers when he says that Louis the Pious, as king of Aquitaine, gave land to "viros militares."(37) A clearer example of this class, however, was Bertrand, a vassus dominicus who, with the permission of the emperor in 823, exchanged lands which he held belonging to the royal fisc for others in Rouergue which were the property of the abbey of Conques.(38) Another was a certain Ebolatus, called a nobleman, who in 817, with the permission of the emperor, gave lands and villas he held to the monastery of Maz d'Azil in the Toulousain.(39) Sometimes even grants of lands to the Church are similarly called beneficia, like the property and privileges given Saint-Victor of Marseille by Charlemagne in 790.(40) It is clear then that Carolingian rulers in distributing land from their fisc to officials and important supporters, made use of benefices which in turn seem to have carried with them the obligation on the part of the recipient to appear as part of the armed forces when summoned by proper authority.(41)

Carolingian capitularies make it clear that these rulers also expected their fideles and vassi, particularly their counts, to similarly give their own followers benefices and so bind these latter to them by the same ties of fidelitas. Indeed the capitulary of 815 specifically allowed large aprisio holders to enter into such ties with counts, despite the fidelitas they owed the emperor.(42) But there may have been some reluctance in parts of the Midi to follow such practices. The long struggle, in the end successful, of the heirs of John of Fontjoncouse to escape this sort of control by the local counts is an interesting case in point.(43) Even more significant is a little noted statement of the Astronomus who tell us that Louis, while king of Aquitaine, forbade individuals to give out "annona militaris quas vulgo foderum vocant." This, incidentally, may well be the first appearance [77] of word "fief" in the Midi, or anywhere else.(44) It also seems to forbid the very practice of private commendation which later Carolingian enactments encouraged counts and other officials to practice. The very prohibition against such practices, though, is proof that they were not uncommon.

To discuss benefices, however, and confine one's attention to those given out by Carolingian monarchs and their officers and fideles, is to ignore the wider use of this system of landholding and the very similar precaria by other elements in the population of the Midi and Catalonia during this period. The precaria granted by churches and abbeys are of particular interest in this respect. In the Lyonnais, for instance, we find a record of a grant of a villa in 825 by the abbot of Savigny to a certain Marfinus, a landowner of the region, as a life precarium, in return for an annual payment of six denarii as a cens.(45)Similarly in a list of property owned by the abbey of Saint-Victor of Marseille, compiled sometime between 802 and 813, we find several colonicas and one villa which had been given to individuals as benefices. These benefices are mentioned as owing a cens in kind to the abbey.(46) Similar benefices were given to individuals of very humble circumstances, like the land which a certain Pinaud and his family had held in 803 for six years "pro beneficio" from the abbey of Caunes in the Narbonnaise. The charter describing this benefice reveals that they are to pay a cens or tasca for the property and hold it "per precaria" from now on.(47) A little later in 826 the inhabitants of two other villas testify before a court of boni homines that they hold land "per beneficium" from the same monastery.(48) In 820 in the nearby county of Carcassonne we hear that the abbey of Lagrasse has given two villas as precaria or a beneficium to Count Oliba and his wife in return [78] for an annual payment of twenty solidi as a cens. This grant is clearly stated to be for a lifetime only.(49)

That the practice of churches granting benefices to prominent individuals had spread into Catalonia is revealed by a charter which in 835 Louis the Pious gave to the church of Urgell. In this charter he forbids this church's giving "in beneficium" any of its property located in the counties of Urgell, Berga, Cardona, Cerdanya, Pallars, and Ribagorça.(50) The same prohibition is to be found in another charter which concerns the Limousin given by the same emperor in 817 to the church of Saint-Etienne of Limoges. In it, in granting a cella to this church, the emperor forbids it be given away "in beneficio."(51) Two charters from nearby Auvergne show the same practice there. One dating from the period 817 to 834 tells of a villa given by the abbot of Brioude as a life precarium to two landowners, Aigobert and Gouraud.(52) The second, dating from 834, mentions a mansus and some vines which a certain priest has "in beneficio" and which a certain Witard has given to the same abbey.(53)

Perhaps we should add still another kind of benefice or precarium which concerned abbeys and churches of this period -- those which resulted from gifts of land in which the owner keeps a life usufruct for himself and his family, often for more than one generation -- generally with the payment of a regular cens to the religious establishment concerned. Charters illustrating such practices in this period are to be found from Auvergne and Rouergue in Aquitaine and from Béziers and the Maguelonne region of Septimania.(54)

Finally, we have a few examples of still another type of benefice or precarium -- that used in the settlement of new land. An example of this, and the earliest which is to be found in the Midi, is an agreement between Bishop Wadald of Marseille and two individuals and their families in 817. By this agreement the latter were given some vacant land in the Arles region which they agreed to put into cultivation. After five years the [79] land, now cultivated, was to be evenly divided between the church of Marseille and the cultivators. The cultivators' half, however, was clearly a precarium since they were to hold it for a lifetime only and could not dispose of it except with the consent of the bishop.(55) It seems probable that the grant of land by Caunes to Pinaud and his family, first as a benefice for six years and then as a precarium, was a similar precarium or agreement to put land into cultivation.(56) So too was that benefice in Auvergne which Witard mentions that he gave to a priest to set out "vineale unum ad plantadum."(57) All three seem similar to a system found later on all over the Midi, which is known as medium plantum.

Examination of honores, beneficia, and precaria during this period then, seems to lead to the following conclusions. They can be divided into three categories. The first consists of those honores and benefices given officials and milites and the like by Carolingian rulers and their counts. Those who receive them do so as fideles and vassi and in return are expected to render service of a military and governmental nature to those who grant them. But the second category of benefices or precaria seem quite different and much more similar to those found in the Midi in the pre-Carolingian period. These grants are in the form of land also, but they appear to carry with them no obligation of a military or governmental sort. They may carry with them some sense of clientage, that is all. And in almost every case they call for a payment in kind or in money, sometimes merely symbolical, which is referred to as a cens. They are also almost always limited to one lifetime. Equally interesting is the fact that such grants can be large ones of a villa or more, like those given to a Marfinus in the Lyonnais, or an Aigobert in Auvergne, or an Ebroin in Provence, or a Count Oliba in Carcassonne. Or they can consist of much smaller and less important pieces of property. Finally there is a third type of precarium, still rare in the Midi, but perhaps growing in importance. This consists of a grant of uncultivated land by a lay or ecclesiastical landowner which is given under a special agreement which has as its object the bringing of this property into cultivation and its division between landowner and cultivator after this end has been accomplished.

In the light of all this, the aprisio, examined earlier, assumes an interesting place in this society. The large aprisio holding seems to very much resemble a benefice given a supporter by a ruler or important official. Its [80] purpose was essentially military or governmental. On the other hand the small aprisio holding seems very much like the medium plantum both in its purpose and in its final result.

The foregoing pages, however, dealing as they do with the development and uses of the aprisia system and honores, beneficia, and precaria in the Midi and Catalonia may give the reader quite an erroneous impression -- an impression that such systems of landholding were the most prevalent or important ones to be found in these regions during the reign of Louis the Pious and Charlemagne. Actually nothing could be further from the truth. The prevailing system remained allodial, just as had been the case in pre-Carolingian times. In the Rhone Valley, in Provence, in Septimania, the Toulousain, Rouergue, Auvergne, and the Limousin this is true, without exception. Frequently such allods were large estates like those belonging to Lempteus and his wife in the Vienne, Valence, and Grenoble regions about 830,(58) or those villas in the Limousin and Quercy which were the allodial property of Count Roger of Turenne in 823,(59) or those in Uzès, Maguelonne, and Rouergue which Dodila owned in 813.(60) They might include a castle like that owned by Sigebert and his wife in Provence in 790,(61) or a piece of property as small as the mansus which the priest Ardebert gave to Brioude in 817.(62) It seems also clear that allodial landowners understood the difference between such allods, owned outright, and lands held conditionally as benefices and precaria. We know this because two charters from Aquitaine show us landowners who specifically invoke the provisions of Roman law as giving them the right to dispose of their allods as they please(63) -- the first of many such references to be found later in the Midi which use Roman law as a general protection of allodial rights.

It is equally interesting to note that the women of the Midi in this period, as earlier, could own allodial land in their own right. The case of Karissima in Auvergne, who, between 817 and 834, gave a mansus to her son Deacon Franausius, while keeping a life usufruct of it for herself, is a [81] case in point.(64) So is that of a certain Bestila, who, in 829, gave property which she had inherited to the abbey of Aniane.(65)

Though small property owners like the above, owning only a mansus or so, are to be found, it was the villa which still seems to have been the prevailing unit of landholding in the Midi during this period. And most of these villas, judging from our sources, still seem to have been cultivated by a class of serfs or coloni, as had been the case before the Carolingians arrived. We find such serfs in the Lyonnais and Dauphiny, in Provence, in Septimania, in the Narbonnaise, and the Toulousain, and in Rouergue, Auvergne, and the Limousin.(66) Despite aprisiones and a wider use of precaria and benefices, then, the old landholding system of the Midi still continued relatively unchanged throughout the reigns of Charlemagne and Louis the Pious.

All of which brings us to the Church, the biggest landowner of all. What happened to it during this period? Here we find that, after the destruction caused by the conquest of Pepin and Charles Martel, the Church began to revive almost everywhere in the Midi and Catalonia. This seems particularly true of Septimania. Here, sparked by St. Benedict and his abbey of Aniane, we find established from the Rhone to Canegou in the Narbonnaise a whole series of new monasteries and cellas.(67)These establishments were soon joined by others newly established in Western Languedoc like Saint-Polycarpe in Razes, Arles in Vallespir, and Lagrasse, Saint-Hilaire, Caunes, and Montolieu(68) near Narbonne and Carcassonne. [82] A large proportion of these abbeys were founded on uncultivated land belonging to the royal fisc, land which was provided by the Carolingian rulers who also extended to them royal protection and other privileges.

A little later this movement spread into Catalonia where we find, as we have already noted, similar foundations in Roussillon, Ampurias, and Besalu dating from the reign of Louis the Pious(69) matching a somewhat earlier monastic revival which took place in Urgell, Pallars, and Ribagorça.(70) Even Gascony, where three monasteries and one cella existed by 817, shared in part in this founding and spread of monastic institutions.(71) Nor were cathedral churches ignored by Carolingian monarchs. Charlemagne granted immunities and other privileges to the church of Narbonne(72) and Louis the Pious extended them to Nimes in 814, to Maguelonne in 819, and to Elne a little later.(73) Somewhat similar rights were given to the cathedral churches of Gerona and Urgell(74) as well.

Carolingian monarchs began to give special privileges and lands to the church in Aquitaine even earlier than was the case in Septimania or the Spanish March. The earliest indications of their interest seem to be Pepin's gifts of villas to Saint-Martial and Saint-Etienne of Limoges between 765 and 768(75) and Charlemagne's grant of lands and villas to Saint-Cybard of Angouléme in 770.(76) A little later, Louis the Pious, as king of Aquitaine, perhaps influenced by the example of St. Benedict of Aniane, made it a regular practice to restore the churches and abbeys of Poitou, the Limousin, [83] Quercy, Auvergne, Velay, Rouergue, and the Toulousain.(77) To such restored monasteries like Moissac and Conques(78) should be added new foundations and cellas like Charroux in the Limousin,(79) and Mas d'Azil near Toulouse,(80) or the cella which Louis granted Saint-Etienne of Limoges in 817.(81) By this year the Council of Aix-la-Chapelle mentions thirteen abbeys in Aquitaine, four in the Toulousain and fourteen in Septimania.(82)

West of Aquitaine in the Valley of the Rhone as in Provence, however, our records show less evidence of rebuilding or of new foundations which date from this period. Lérins seems to have been given privileges by these Carolingian monarchs(83) and so was Saint-Victor of Marseille,(84) but there are few other indications of a vigorous monasticism. In fact that inventory in 802 of property belonging to Saint-Victor of Marseille seems to show a significant decay of the patrimony of this abbey, with only about half the villas belonging to it still in cultivation.(85) That this was not merely local can be seen when one examines the church of Lyon which, according to Bishop Ledrad in 807, needed a complete rebuilding of its churches and monastic establishments and which had many villas belonging to its patrimony vacant and uncultivated like those of Saint-Victor of Marseille.(86) In this part of Southern France a reformed and revitalized Church was still a distant prospect rather than a present reality.

Now there has been a general tendency on the part of historians to give to Carolingian rulers the credit for most of this church revival and monastic vigor which we find in Southern France and Catalonia during this period. There is much truth in this, for without their support it could [84] not have succeeded, just as there would have been no Carolingian Renaissance without their support. But one must also not lose sight of the fact that there was also strong local support for the Church, and without such support the revival could not have taken place either. The Astronomus, as a matter of fact, mentions the laity of Aquitaine who assisted Louis the Pious in his work of rebuilding the abbeys and churches of this region.(87) One should add churchmen too. Individual cases bear this out whether it be a bishop, like Aguarnius of Cahors who in 783 gave a number of villas to Moissac,(88) a count, like Roger of Turenne who in 823 endowed establishments in the Limousin(89) or a simple landowner, like Liutard who in 801 gave property to Conques.(90) In Septimania and Provence landowners like Dodila, the benefactor of Psalmodi(91) and Sigefred who gave generously to Saint-Victor of Marseille(92) reveal the same local support given the church.

Around Narbonne and in Catalonia we find the same thing happening. It was upon the request of Count Rampon that Louis the Pious gave privileges to Saint-Stephen of Banyols in 822,(93) just as it was on the plea of Count Gaucelm of Roussillon and Count Matfred of Urgell that a year later he granted immunities to the abbeys of Saint-André de Sureda and Senterada.(94) In 827 when King Pepin of Aquitaine gave a villa to Lagrasse(95) and in 835 when he added property to the patrimony of Montolieu(96) he did so at the request of Count Oliba of Carcassone. The founding of new abbeys and cellas in the Midi and Catalonia, then, like the revitalization of older establishments and churches, owed much to local initiative. It was a joint effort of Carolingian monarchs, of Carolingian officials, and of churchmen and landholders who represented the society of Southern France and Catalonia.

There remains one final aspect of this church revival that needs to be examined -- its economic results. We have already noted how most of the newly founded abbeys and cellas in Septimania, Aquitaine, and the Spanish March were located on uncultivated and vacant land which the [85] monks had to put into cultivation, either through their own efforts or by calling in cultivators to do this for them.(97) This new land which was broken for cultivation was sometimes called an aprisio since it much resembled those grants of vacant land given hispani and others in the same regions.(98) How extensive were such lands which were put into cultivation by the abbeys of the region? It is difficult to say. But it would be unwise to overestimate the extent of such land during the reigns of Charlemagne and Louis the Pious. The same is true of similar results of clearing and cultivation by the laity. In Catalonia only a beginning was made and the same seems to be true of Auvergne and central Aquitaine.(99) As for Provence and the Valley of the Rhone, the vacant colonicas of the abbey of Saint-Victor and the church of Lyon show that much remained to be done in this respect.(100) And here it seems to have been the medium plantum system rather than the aprisio which was the method used in putting new land into cultivation. But despite such limitations there can be little doubt that in many parts of Southern France and Catalonia enough was accomplished to result in some increased agricultural production, which in turn made possible an increase in the population of the countryside. A beginning had at least been made, for the first time since [86] the Roman Empire, in reversing the tendency toward rural depopulation. A foundation had been laid for further agrarian progress in parts of Southern France and Catalonia.

Peace and order and this limited agrarian advance all help explain another feature of this period - a certain commercial revival. One aspect of this can be seen in the revival of mints. In 750 there was not a single mint in operation in Carolingian territory south of Poitou and Burgundy.(101) They were rare elsewhere in Carolingian territory, but they did exist. After 770 this situation began to change. As a result, during the reign of Charlemagne we find mints reviving at Vienne, Arles, Avignon, Uzès, and Marseille in the Valley of the Rhone, and at Béziers, Carcassonne, and Narbonne in Septimania, and Barcelona in Catalonia.(102) In Aquitaine existing mints at Clermont and Poitiers were joined by others which were located at Saint-Maixent, Melle, Limoges, Augoulême, Saintes, Agen, and Toulouse.(103) During the reign of Louis the Pious others were established at Ampurias, and at Bordeaux and Dax in Gascony.(104) Coin hoards dating from the early years of Louis the Pious' reign discovered at Veuillen in Poitou(105) and at Belvezet near Uzès(106) show a wide circulation of money in the Midi during this period in contrast to the localism found during the immediately pre-Carolingian period.

This increased economic activity was reflected in commerce which reached the Atlantic coasts of Aquitaine from Northwestern Spain(107) and in commerce carried on by Arab and Jewish traders who reached Arles and other ports in Septimania and Provence.(108) Though overland trade with Northwestern Italy via the clusae was more important than that which arrived by sea,(109) the latter was important enough so that Louis the Pious felt it worth while to grant the bishop of Marseille in 822 the teloneum on salt and on ships which arrived in this region from Italy.(110) Agricultural growth and internal commerce had thus stimulated sufficient trade by 828 so that the Midi was now linked with Italy, Spain, and the wider Mediterranean world of commerce.

[87] Such then was the society of the Midi and the Spanish March at the time of Charlemagne and Louis the Pious. It was a society which still remained essentially what it had been before the Carolingian conquest, but one to which the new aprisio system, more use of precaria and benefices, and a revived Church were bringing some significant changes. It was one in which a reviving agriculture, a new series of mints, and new commerce were, for a period, modifying its parochialism and bringing it into the main stream of development of the Carolingian Empire. Such economic growth, however, was to prove in some ways abortive, as the sons of Louis the Pious in their quarrels over their heritage broke asunder the Carolingian Empire and helped bring a new and less hopeful era to lands which lay south of the Loire.

Notes for Chapter 5

1. Catalunya Carolingia, II, 412.

2. Ibid., pp. 309-311.

3. Ibid., p. 415. This extended the aprisio system to the inhabitants of newly liberated Barcelona and Tarrassa. In this connection see Charles the Balds specific extension of aprisiones to Goti and Ispani in Barcelona and the castle of Tarrassa in 844 (ibid., pp.423-425).

4. Both aprisio owners and the counts of Barcelona, Gerona, Ampurias, Roussillon, Narbonne, Béziers, Carcassonne, and Provence were summoned to Aix-la-Chapelle in 812 (ibid., appendix XII, p. 412).

5. In 780 Charlemagne addressed his original statute setting up aprisiones to his fideles in Aquitaine, as well as Septimania and Provence (ibid., appendix I, p. 412). Louis the Pious added that aprisio holders were settled "in that portion of Spain liberated by our marcher lords." See R. de Abadal i de Vinyals, "La Catalogne sous l'empire de Louis le Pieux," in Etudes Roussillonnaises, V (1956), 259-260.

6. Catalunya Carolingia, II, 313-314.

7. lbid., pp. 415-419.

8. lbid., p. 336.

9. lbid., p.420.

10. Ibid., pp. 318-319. In this charter this aprisio is called a benefice, although it is said to have been given by Charlemagne and put into cultivation "ab herema."

11. Ibid., pp. 320-321.

12. Ibid., p. 324.

13. Ibid., p. 336. See also A. Dupont, "Considérations sur la colonisation et la vie rurale dans le Roussillon et la Marche d'Espagne," in Annales du Midi, LXVII (1955), 223-238.

14. Dupont "Considérations sur la colonisation," pp. 223-238. See also Abadal, "La Catalogne sous l'empire de Louis le Pieux," pp. 260-274.

15. See F. Ganshof's remarks on the similarity between these aprisio holders and vass dominici in Qu'est-ce que la féodalité? pp. 59-60,and "L'origine des rapports féodo-vassiliques," in I problemi della Civiltà Carolingia, pp. 50-52. Note for example the interchangeability of terms by the time Louis the Pious in the case of Wimar or Guimar who is called a vassulus but holds what is obviously an aprisio (Catalunya Carolingia, II, 318).

16. Catalunya Carolingia, II, 336.

17. Ibid., pp. 318-319.

18. Ibid., p. 324. Note that at about this time a capitulary of Louis the Pious speaks of royal vassals "qui ad marcam nostram constituti sunt custodiendam aut in longinquis regionibus sua habent beneficia vel res proprias" "Capitulare missorum," ch. 4, in Boretius, Capitularia, I, no. 148, pp. 300-301. The "res proprias" referred to above were obviously land owned outright ("jure proprietario") given to fideles, aprisio holders, and vassals, similar to those mentioned in this note and in note 17.

19. Catalunya Carolingia, II, 420.

20. See mention of small aprisio holders in Roussillon in 861 in Hist. Gén. de Lang., II, no. 156; in the Barcelona region in 862 in Catalunya Carolingia, II, 357-358; in Besalu in 866 in Hist. Gén. de Lang., II, no. 167, and Catalunya Carolingia, II, 219-221; in Vallespir in 878 in ibid., pp. 70-71; in Besalu in 889 in ibid., pp. 363-364; in Gerona in 891 in ibid., pp. 365-366; in the Narbonnaise and Confluent in 891 in ibid., pp. 109-111.

21. A later charter, from 891, mentions "homines hostalienses vel Ispani," and speaks of the dues which these men owe the fisc (Catalunya Carolingia, II, 110-111). See also Abadal, "La Catalogne sous l'empire de Louis le Pieux," pp. 265-266.

22. See R. de Abadal i de Vinyals, Els Primers Comtes Catalans, pp. 73-110, and La Plana de Vich.

23. Catalunya Carolingia, II, 415.

24. Ibid., pp. 219-221.

25. Hist. Gén. de Lang., II, no. 167.

26. Catalunya Carolingia, II, 325-326.

27. In Carcassonne-Razès in 908 (Cart. de Carcassonne, I, 253), and in the Toulousain in 965 and 966 (Hist. Gén. de Lang., V, no. 116 and Cart. de Saint-Sernin, no. 396).

28. In the charter in which a certain Liutard gives land to Conques, he says this land is "tam de alode quam de adtracto" (Cart. de Conques, no. 1).

29. See the excellent summary of this system in Ganshof, Qu'est-ce que la féodalité? pp. 28 ff.

30. The Midi and Catalonia provide two excellent examples of this. One is the removal of Duke Chorson of Toulouse by Charlemagne in 789 (Astronomus, Vita Hludovici, ch. 5, p. 608). The other is the removal of Count Bera in 820 by Louis the Pious (ibid., ch. 33, p. 625). Still another case is the removal of Count Séguin by Louis the Pious in 816 (ibid., ch. 26, p. 620). Both Chorson and Bera were called to Aix-la-Chapelle and degraded there, Bera after losing a judicial duel to his accuser, the Goth Sanila.

31. In the Midi and Catalonia during this period the terms vassi, vassali, and fideles seem to be used interchangeably in our documents, so that it seems impossible to distinguish among them in any juridical sense. On a possible difference between them see C. Odegaard, Vassi and Fideles in the Carolingian Empire.

32. For an example of such a benefice which, a little later, could be inherited see Charles the Bald's grant of the castles of Mesoa and Turres near Béziers in 844 (Hist. Gén. de Lang., II, no. 105).

33. Cart. de Maguelonne, I, no. 2.

34. Hist. Gén. de Lang., II, no.6.

35. Catalunya Carolingia, II, 325-326.

36. Chartes de l'abbaye de Charroux, pp. 10-11, 55-62. The charter purporting to be that issued by Count Roger, however, seems to be either a forgery or a later interpolation (ibid., pp. 55-62).

37. Astronomus, Vita Hludovici, ch. 7, p. 611.

38. Cart. de Conques, no. 460.

39. Hist. Gén. de Lang., II, no. 46.

40. Cart. de Saint-Victor, no. 8.

41. On this see Ganshof, Qu'est-ce que la féodalité? pp. 44-45, and especially note 47 which lists the sources in the capitularies of Charlemagne and Louis the Pious.

42. Catalunya Carolingia, II, 417-419. This is also found in Boretius, Capitularia, I, no. 132, p. 262. See the same permission in the charter of 844 which Charles the Bald gave to the inhabitants of Barcelona and Tarrassa (Catalunya Carolingia, II, 425).

43. Catalunya Carolingia, II, 442-444. This is a record of a court held in 834, before which John's heirs testified of their difficulties with the counts of the Narbonne region.

44. Astronomus, Vita Hludovici, ch. 7, pp. 610-611. Marc Bloch in his La Société Féodale, I, 254-256, felt that the word "fief" had a different derivation, and found it first used in the late ninth century in Burgundy. It would seem more logical to me, however, to derive it from the term fodenum found here. In this connection one of the earliest uses of the term is in a Southern French charter of 899 (see Cart. de Maguelonne, no. 3).

45. Cartulaire de l'abbaye de Savigny, suivi du petit cartulaire de l'abbaye d'Ainay, ed. A. Bernard, no. 16.

46. "Descriptio Mancipiorum Ecclesiae Massiliensis," Nos. F, H, in Cart. de Saint-Victor, Bk. II, 638, 642, 644.

47. Hist. Gén. de Lang., II, no. 15.

48. Ibid., col. 72-73.

49. Ibid., no.56.

50. Catalunya Carolingia, II, 284-285.

51. Cartulaire de l'église de Saint-Etienne de Limoges, ed. J. de Font-Réaulx, in Bulletin de la société archéologique et historique du Limousin, LXIX (1922), no. 86.

52. Grand Cart. de Brioude, no. CCXCVI.

53. Cart. de Brioude, no. 17.

54. For examples in Auvergne see Grand Cart. de Brioude, no. CCCXXXVI, and Cart. de Brioude, nos. 252, 127, 231. For Rouergue see Cart. de Conques., no. 1. For Septimania see Hist. Gén. de Lang., II, no. 24, and Cart. d'Aniane, nos. 306 and 123.

55. Cart. de Saint-Victor, no. 163.

56. Hist. Gén. de Lang., II, no. 15.

57. Cart. de Brioude, no. 17.

58. Cart. de Grenoble, no. 7.

59. Cart. de Beaulieu, no. 185.

60. Hist. Gén. de Lang., II, no. 24.

61. Cart. de Saint-Victor, no. 83.

62. Cart. de Brioude, no. 252.

63. That of 801 which shows Liutard giving his allods to Conques (Cart. de Conques, no. 1), and that of 823 which tells of the gifts of Count Roger of Turenne to a son, a daughter, and a church (Cart. de Beaulieu, no. 185).

64. Grand Cart. de Brioude, no. CCCXXXVI.

65. Cart. d'Aniane, no. 313.

66. See mention of colonicas at Lyon in 805 in Cartulaire Lyonnais, ed. M. Guigue, I, no. 2. Serfs in Provence, Septimania, and the Narbonnaise are mentioned in Cart. de Saint-Victor, no. 291, and in "Descriptio Mancipiorum," in ibid., pp. 633-656; in Hist. Gén. de Lang., II, nos. 24, 30, 49, 71. lbid., no. 7, mentions the freeing of a serf in the Toulousain. Others are mentioned in Rouergue, Auvergne, and the Limousin in Cart. de Conques, no. 1; in Hist. Gén. de Lang., II, nos. 47, 48; in Grand Cart. de Brioude, no. CVII; and in Cart. de Beaulieu, no. 185.

67. See Annals of Aniane, anno 782, col. 9-10. On work of St. Benedict of Aniane in encouraging the building of abbeys in Aquitaine and "Gocia" (that is to say Septimania and the Spanish March) see also Vita Benedicti Anianensis, in Mon. Gen. Hist. Scriptores, XV. On Septimanian monasteries and cellas associated with Aniane see Cart. d'Aniane, nos. 1, 8, 9, 13.

68. On Saint-Polycarpe in Razes founded by Atala see Abadal, "La Catalogne sous l'empire de Louis le Pieux," p. 269. See also the charter of Carloman which mentions that this abbey was founded by Charlemagne, in Cart. de Carcassonne, II, 598. About Arles see Catalunya Carolingia, II, 20-26, and P. Ponsch, "Les origines de l'abbaye d'Arles," in Etudes Roussillonnaises, IV (1954-1955), 69-99; about Lagrasse see Cart. de Carcassonne, II, 208-209; about Saint-Hilaire see Cros-Meyrévielle, Documents, no. 4; about Caunes see Cart. de Carcassonne, IV, 67; and about Montolieu see Cros-Meyrévielle, Documents, no. 8.

69. In addition to those abbeys mentioned in Chapter I, which were founded by Louis the Pious, there were others dating from these years such as Alet, founded by Count Bera in 813 (Hist. Gén. de Lang., II, no. 23), and Saint-Clinian given privileges by Louis the Pious in 820 (ibid., no. 71).

70. On older foundations, like Taverna and Aláo, and new ones, like Santa-Grata, Gerri, and Oveix, in Pallars and Ribagorça see Abadal, Els Comtats de Pallans I Ribagorca. On Senterada in Urgell, which was founded in 823 by Louis the Pious, see Catalunya Carolingia, II, 260-262.

71. P. Labbé, Sacrosancta Concilia, IX, 603.

72. See references to the property and privileges of the archbishop of Narbonne which were protected by a court in Narbonne, in Hist. Gén. de Lang., II, no. 6.

73. Hist. Gén. de Lang., II, no. 30; Cart. de Maguelonne, no. 1; Catalunya Carolingia, II, 102-103.

74. Catalunya Carolingia, II, 121-124, 284-285.

75. Ademar de Chabannes, I, 50, pp. 60-61.

76. Ibid., II, 1, pp. 70-71.

77. Astronomus, Vita Hludovici, ch. 19, pp. 616-617. The Astronomus mentions twelve older monasteries which were rebuilt ("reparata") and nine new ones founded, mostly in Septimania and the Toulousain.

78. Hist. Gén. de Lang., II, no. 7; Cart. de Conques, no. 580. See also mention of the Abbey of Saint Antonin to which Louis the Pious gave privileges in 818 (ibid., no. 48).

79. Chartes de l'abbaye de Charroux, no. 3.

80. Hist. Gén. de Lang., II, no. 46.

81. Cart. de Saint-Etienne de Limoges, no. 86. On the immunity given this cathedral church by Charlemagne and Louis the Pious see ibid., no. 85.

82. Labbé, Sacrosancta Concilia, IX, 603.

83. This rests on a charter which may be spurious but purports to be one given the abbey in 798 by Pepin, king of Italy and brother of Louis the Pious (Cart. de Lérins, no. 290).

84. Cart. de Saint-Victor, no. 8.

85. Ibid., no. 291, and "Descriptio mancipiorum" in ibid., II, 633-656.

86. Cart. Lyonnais, nos. 2, 7.

87. Astronomus, Vita Hludovici, ch. 19, p. 617.

88. Hist. Gén. de Lang., II, no. 7.

89. Cart. de Beaulieu, no. 185.

90. Cart. de Conques, no. 1.

91. Hist. Gén. de Lang., II, no. 24.

92. Cart. de Saint-Victor, no. 83.

93. Catalunya Carolingia, II, 45-47.

94. Ibid., pp. 260-262, 268-269.

95. Cart. de Carcassonne, I, 70.

96. Ibid., pp. 70-71.

97. A charter issued by Louis the Pious in 819 says that Conques was founded where Moslem "illam terram pene totam devastenunt," and an oratorio was constructed "in heremum" (Cart. de Conques, no. 580). In 807 a charter of Charlemagne's gave to the abbey of Lagrasse, from the royal fisc, a whole valley and land that was obviously uncultivated (Cart. de Carcassonne, II, 209-210). In 819 Louis the Pious gave to the abbey of Saint-Genesius de Fonts land "ex heremo traxerunt ex apprisione" (Catalunya Carolingia, II, 206-207). In 822 the abbey of Saint-Stephen of Banyols was founded in what our charter calls a "desert" (ibid., pp. 45-47), while in 823 Senterada was founded on land called "herema," (ibid., pp. 260-262).

98. The term ex apprisione is used in a charter of 819 which mentions land belonging to Saint-Genesius des Fonts (Catalunya Carolingia, II, 206-207), while in Roussillon according to a charter of 834 the church of EIne is given land which "sui homines ex heremo traxerunt" (ibid.). Ten years later Possidonius of this church is said to possess a villa which "de heremo vastate ad culturam frugem perduxisset" (ibid., pp. 263-265). See also mention of the apprisiones of an abbey in Pallars and Ribagorça in F. Valls-Taberner, Els origines dels comtats de Pallars i Ribagorca, p. 5.

99. See later chapters on the great amount of clearing done in these regions in the late ninth and tenth centuries.

100. See earlier references to those "colonicas absas" found in the Lyonnais and in Provence. See also the comments of R. Latouche, "Quelques aperçus sur le manse en Provence au Xe et au XIe siècles," in Recueil de travaux offerts a M. C. Brunel, II, 101-103.

101. M. Prou, Catalogue des Monnaies Carolingiennes, pp. xci-cix.

102. A. Lewis, The Northern Seas A.D. 300-1100, p. 187.

103. Ibid., p. 190.

104. Ibid.

105. lbid., p. 188.

106. Ibid., pp. 188-189.

107. Ibid., pp. 191-192.

108. Theodulphus, bishop of Orleans, Pavrensis ad Judices, ed. E. Dummier, in Mon. Gen. Hist. Poet. Lat. Aevi, I, 499; and Ibn Khodâdbeh, Book of Routes, ed. R. de Groje, in Biblioteca Geographiae Arabiae, IX, 114-116.

109. Lewis, The Northern Seas, pp. 184-185, 189.

110. Cart. de Saint-Victor, no. 11.