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Informative Praise

Two years before his death I was with the exceptional duke Richard
son of Marquis William.
But Richard, a leader for the whole world, died.
I have carried out the labour in writing a book at his behest.

Dudo - to the book itself

Book, when I examine you
you are arranged according to a very weak plot.

To Richard, son of Richard

O you, wonderful good and righteous,
peace-making, charming Richard.

Thinking spirit

The very alarmed heart withers.
The one who does not know what he wants
may not go to the marketplace to buy it.


Recall, recall - with exceptional efforts be mindful
and recollect.
Be diligent in examining.

Richard erected churches
The bountiful one would flatter the untameable dacians
O venerable compassionate prelate Robert
That you might abide in the elysian field of the empyrian fatherland.

(Extracted and retold from Chap. 1)


Dudo's strove "to tell in the noblest style the story of a noble destiny", that is, to show how former pagans got more or less integrated in the Frankish society by associating the Dukes of Normandy with saintliness. Saintly qualities are given more and more to each successive Norman duke until Richard I's corpse takes on the attributes of holy relics by moulding the biographies of the dukes to hagiographic models. Rollo, the Viking maurauder who got Normandy, did not get it for saintly qualities. And yet Dudo claims Rollo had two visions- the sort of visions that comply with expectations of saintly visions.

Dudo also forms an episode where Rollo is immobilised at the sight of a robe that allegedly had been worn by Mary. By this, and by letting Christians interpret Rollo's visions, Dudo tries to show how ready Rollo was to get baptised along with his troops.

[Drawn from Victoria Jordan. "The Role of Kingship in the Tenth Century Normandy: Hagiography of Dudo of St. Quention." The Haskins Society Journal Studies in Medieval History: Volume 3, ed. Robert Patterson. Hambledon Press, 1992.]


Rollo Is Banished

In the region of Dacia there was a certain old man who held almost the entire realm of Dacia for himself. He also claimed for himself the lands bordering on Dacia and Alania, and by force and power he subjugated the populace to himself through very many battles.

When he died, his sons took over. Those sons were vigorous and well-versed in warfare. They were fair to look at.

Rollo and his brothers were also described as most hardy of spirit. The father of Rollo was a mighty duke. The banished Rollo commanded silence if his right hand was raised in greeting, that his mouth could be flowing with honey - he was eloquent. He was also huge and strong.

Rollo's king was against him and took to fraudulent deceit and camouflaged his real intentions by peace-making words:

"Let there be nothing between you and me except intimate esteem. Hold what is yours by right, and what your father held."

Rollo with a few followers separated from others, for it was not within Rollo's power to remain in his homeland "because of the king". Rollo left his homeland for good, and his people at home lamented and were shaken by great wailing. So we are told.


Rollo Sets Out after Taking Counsel

For a while Rollo lingered in sorrow in Scania. Then a divine voice cried out to him, "Arise swiftly. Hurry across the ocean's deep waters, straightway to the Angles."

Rollo told the dream to a wise one, and he got the dream explained in this way:

"In the course of time you will be purified by baptism and will become a worthy Christian. At a future time you will come to the Angles, and you will have the glory of everlasting peace."

At once Rollo went to the Angles and wanted to stay there for a while in peace and calm. But when those who lived in that region heard that Rollo had come, they brought together the greatest possible army against him and tried to chase him from their borders. Rollo managed to battle them as he was used to, without hesitation. He overthrew a lot of them and harassed the backs of the rest with a spear as they turned away from him in flight.

After that, many more peasants gathered and sent out against Rollo the hardiest possible army. Rollo wore a wonderful, gold-ornamented helmet and a mail coat against the armed throngs that attacked him.

Savagely he overthrew thousands of them with a conquering hand, and next he pursued fugitives swiftly and captured many of the leaders. After he had returned to the place of the battle, he buried the bodies of the slain and carried off the rest to his ships, where they were bound captives, discoloured by wounds.

Rollo was anguished and grieved. What now?



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Tales from Dudo of St. Quentin's Norman History, Gesta Normannorum stories,  tales of descendants from Rollo, a Norman dynasty's tales, Dudo of Saint-Quentin stories, Dudon, Norman historian tales from Normandy Normandie, stories from a Medieval classic. User's Guide   ᴥ    Disclaimer 
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