'Daughter of Fulk, Glory of Brittany'; Countess Ermengarde of Brittany

Livingstone, Amy (2018) 'Daughter of Fulk, Glory of Brittany'; Countess Ermengarde of Brittany. In: Anglo-Norman Studies. Boydell & Brewer, pp. 165-178. ISBN 9781783272976, 9781787443051

Full content URL: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781787443051.011

'Daughter of Fulk, Glory of Brittany': Countess Ermengarde of Brittany

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Ermengarde, countess of Brittany, was well known to her contemporaries. Moreover, these clerics were clearly impressed by her abilities. Yet modern scholarship has all but effaced Ermengarde's activities and, when she is discussed at all, she is often reduced to a handmaiden to Robert of Arbrissel or Bernard of Clairvaux. The quote that provides the title for this article, 'Daughter of Fulk, glory of Brittany,' comes from a poem written to Ermengarde by Bishop Marbode of Rennes around 1096. In this couplet, Marbode captured the unique position that Ermengarde, in particular, and noblewomen, in general, held as members of two influential kin groups. While some have argued that marriage severed a woman ties to her natal kin, recent scholarship has demonstrated that aristocratic daughters, wives, sisters and mothers, were successful in cultivating and maintaining relationships with two potentially opposing affinities. In other words, their gender gave them unique opportunities and space for influence. Her strong ties to her natal family in Anjou made Ermengarde the 'daughter of Fulk,' but through her marriage to Count Alan IV and her leadership of the county, she also became the 'glory of Brittany.' These two identities were inextricably linked. For, as I will argue, being the 'daughter of Fulk' helped Ermengarde to become the 'glory of Brittany.'

Keywords:Medieval, women, Ermengarde, Brittany, Fulk
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V130 Medieval History
Divisions:College of Arts > School of History & Heritage > School of History & Heritage (Heritage)
ID Code:49295
Deposited On:17 Jun 2022 09:59

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