Saithis- I promise that they deal with it in true Von Franken style. The CK version of the Von Frankens, that is.
Alfredian- Thanks for the compliments. The maps are kind of a pain to make, so I'm glad people appreciate them. I can't say for sure on the excommunication, but I promise there will be a lot of flailing.
LOka- Thanks for the comment! Hope I don't disappoint.
Without further ado, here's the next real update. Let me know if you guys want me to finish the World in 1080 updates. I wasn't sure how many of you wanted to know about Russia and the Middle East/Balkans. Anywho, on to the end of the Regency Council and the rise of Zavie de Toulouse!
Prologue - A Rising Star
Chapter 4 - Bona Fortunaeque
The year of 1080 began with good news for the Duchy of Toulouse.
While Steward Heloise's actions were unorthodox and frowned upon, no one could deny the success she had in improving the Duchy.
The Duchy had been enjoying increased prosperity ever since Heloise de Bourges, the Duchy's steward, had taken her position, and the year 1080 was no exception. In this instance however, it wasn't broad-reaching fiscal policies or brilliant new tax legislation that had made Toulouse prosper, it was more of a scheme of direct involvement. Contemporary records show that the Steward Heloise made several withdrawls from the royal treasury and personally distributed them amongst the citizenry of the city of Toulouse in order to finance several budding commercial enterprises. In the end, the tactic worked tremendously well, and the city of Toulouse prospered as a result. For her efforts, the steward was given an official commendation from young Zavie de Toulouse, who was beginning to take an increased interest in the affairs of state. There were, however, grumblings concerning the steward's actions. Records from Chancellor Frederi de Noailles, as well surviving journal entries from Zavie himself, indicate that Steward Heloise was only lauded publicly for her actions. In private, the Chancellor expressed his displeasure at the unauthorized initiative of the steward. In a letter addressed to the young Zavie, Chancellor Frederi called the whole affair a "terrible lapse of judgment at best, and outright treason at worst." Regardless of whether or not the Steward had any ill intent, she was allowed to keep her position.
There has been much debate among historians and scholars as to why certain events, much like the one involving Steward Heloise, were allowed to happen with little to no rebuke from the Regency Council. After a careful review of contemporary documents, an answer becomes clear. As regents, the members of the Regency Council were responsible for not just maintaining the order and security of the duchy so that Zavie could one day inherit his birthright, but also for making sure that Zavie himself was ready for the responsibility. To that end, the Regency Council engaged what might be considered one of the first major propaganda campaigns in the history of Toulouse. While not immediately apparent by examining any particular event, it becomes more than apparent when several of them are viewed together as part of a larger framework. One such event, occurring in March 1080, is a perfect example of the larger propaganda scheme developed by the Regency Council to enhance the prestige of Zavie de Toulouse before he began ruling in his own right. On that date, a prestigious professor of law that had fled from the Capetian court during the various rebellions of the previous decade offered to instruct Zavie on various subjects in exchange for pay and lodging for the duration of the lessons. The request, though fairly typical and reasonable, was refused. The official records indicate that the professor was turned away due to "suspected Capetian ties", which was a rationale that few questioned in 11th century Toulouse. The truth, as deduced by several historians, is that the professor was turned away as a ploy to enhance the prestige of young Zavie. In an isolated setting, this might seem a stretch, but when one steps back and looks at the entirety of the rule of the Regency Council, a pattern of such events emerges.
The Regency Council engaged in a careful propaganda campaign to cultivate a particular image of the young Zavie de Toulouse as a just and capable ruler.
Events similar to the one in March 1080 are found to occur throughout Zavie's minority. All of them seem to be linked to a carefully calculated plan by the Regency Council to cultivate a particular image of the young Zavie as someone that valued meritocracy and justice, and as a person that was naturally gifted without the need for fancy tutors or educations. Some historians have speculated that this course of action may have actually hurt the duchy by making Zavie less ready than he otherwise might have been, when he actually took over full control of the affairs of state. The affair with Steward Heloise was another event in this vast web of propaganda. Despite the usurping nature of Heloise's actions, the Regency Council couldn't very well publicly punish her for making the duchy be more prosperous. As was noted earlier, Chancellor Frederi privately fumed at the situation. The chancellor, according to his journal, believed that the steward was not to be trusted, and that she should be replaced. Other voices at court, most notably Steward Heloise's husband Marshal Ugues the younger who was the son of the most beloved Marshal Ugues the Elder, prevailed upon Zavie to reward the chancellor, and to place his faith and confidence in her. Court records from the time indicate that Chancellor Frederi, in a closed session of the Regency Council, went into a tirade against the Steward before uttering the phrase, "Les hommes doivent mettre leur foi en Dieu seul!" (Men should put their faith in God alone!) and storming out. As it turns out, history will occasionally make prophets out of men.
Heloise de Bourges's actions shocked the Duchy of Toulouse, but the commuting of her sentence was perhaps even more surprising.
It all started innocently enough at first with the proposal of a new construction project for the Duchy. Steward Heloise presented plans to the Regency Council for a new public library, which would be the first of its kind in France. The steward argued that such a construction would bring tremendous prestige to both the Duchy and its young Duke. Most of the Regency Council jumped at the idea, but Chancellor Frederi still had tremendous misgivings about the Steward, and he refused to support the plan unless someone other than Steward Heloise oversaw the construction and financing. The other councilors, however, decided to approve the project despite the Chancellor's misgivings. Upon review of the records of the library's construction, it becomes clear that the Chancellor was right to question the Steward. The library was a first in many ways. It was the first vast library open to the public regardless of rank or status. It was also the first example in Southern France of graft and "skimming off the top". In several locations in the expense reports for the construction, there are instances of "consulting fees" paid to the Steward. Fees which exorbitantly raised the construction cost and nearly emptied the treasury of the Duchy. The first record of someone noticing the discrepancies comes from, unsurprisingly, Chancellor Frederi. As it turns out, the Chancellor had been keeping an eye on the library construction project. Despite his misgivings about it, it's apparent that the Chancellor recognized the value in Zavie sponsoring the first public library in France. When he noticed the irregularities and exorbitant cost of the project, however, he was quick to bring it to the Regency Council's attention. The Regency Council acted quickly in arresting Heloise, it was only a timely intervention by both Zavie and her husband, Marshal Ugues, that save her from the gallows. In one of his first official acts, Zavie commuted the steward's sentence from death to banishment from court. Most historians also agree that this is one of the events that helped to convince Zavie that merit alone was not enough to guarantee a position at court, but that loyalty and virtue must also be considered because it was after this that Zavie began to personally review court appointments, and historical records begin to show that several very qualified candidates were turned away from the young Duke's court for "want of moral virtue" and other similar reasons. After the removal of Heloise de Bourges, the position of Steward for the Duchy of Toulouse was given to Peire de Toulouse, Zavie's cousin and second son of Marshal Ugues the Elder. Contemporary records indicate that Chancellor Frederi opposed the appointment, as Peire was also the brother-in-law of the now reviled Heloise de Bourges, and the Chancellor was convinced that the family was complicit in her actions. Zavie, however, insisted that without evidence the Chancellor's accusations were without merit, and appointed Peire to the position himself.
Peire de Toulouse was a distant cousin of Zavie, and was a successful merchant before being called to replace Heloise de Bourges as steward.
While the Chancellor didn't win the day when it came to the new appointment for Steward, he was not forgotten by the young Zavie. On Christmas Day, 1081, in recognition for his impressive service on both the Regency Council, and to the Duchy as a whole, Chancellor Frederi was knighted by Zavie de Toulouse in front of a jubilant crowd. The knighting ceremony was important in many ways. First, it was the first official act performed by Zavie in open court. Up until this point, Zavie's acts had always been behind the scenes, but beginning in 1081, and culminating in the knighting ceremony, Zavie had been pressing for more and more responsibilities. This pressing by Zavie illustrates the second reason why the knighting ceremony was important. The Regency Council had ruled the duchy for a decade at this point, and several records, including the diary of the Chancellor, seem to indicate that they were reluctant to hand over power. Some historians are quick to point out that this wasn't necessarily the self-serving power grab that it seemed to be, but rather a moment's hesitation in letting a boy they'd collectively raised take the reins they'd held for so long. Historian Pierre Laurent described the situation as similar to "a mother that didn't want her child to move away to college." Generally, it seems Laurent has described the situation correctly because, while there was some grumbling, the beginning of 1082 saw an increase in the responsibilities given to Zavie de Toulouse and a relegation of the Regency Council to mostly advice and counsel. In fact, in 1083, Zavie de Toulouse had begun taking so many responsibilities that his uncle, Raimond de Toulouse decided to retire back to his estates and take his leave of the capital. Raimond was only intermittently present on the Regency Council from that point on, with leadership falling to Chancellor Frederi though, by that point, the Council was largely without need of a leader.
By 1083, Zavie was beginning to clamor for a larger role in the affairs of state. The knighting of Chancellor Frederi is seen as his first step on that road.
By early 1083, records abound concerning the relative maturity of Zavie de Toulouse. Contemporaries describe him as a kind man, with a great concern for the well-being of both those around him, as well as the duchy as a whole. Young Zavie, for the time being at least, was enjoying immense popularity both at home and abroad due to his amiable nature. Additionally, several instances of his actions were recorded by contemporaries and they serve to illustrate the young Duke's budding personality. One such instance was recorded by then Bishop Toumas de Gourdon. Bishop de Gourdon was, at the time, recovering from a fierce battle with consumption which had plagued him for most of 1083. The Bishop explains in a letter to Zavie's uncle, Raimond de Toulouse:
"To the most noble and chivalrous Count of Rouergue,
I found His Grace [Zavie de Toulouse] today engaged in what can only be described as a brawl with one of the other children at court. Luckily, I was able to separate the children before any serious harm befell the Duke. Afterwards, His Grace informed me that one of the young fosterling children had run to him after being harassed by a group of older children in the court. Apparently, He then cornered the main bully and began berating him, after which, a fight ensued. I hope we are able to temper that zeal for justice into something more directed and useful for rulership. Either way, we are blessed to have such a virtuous ruler.
Toumas de Gourdon, Bishop for the Duchy of Toulouse"
("Pour le Comte de plus noble et chevaleresque du Rouergue,
J'ai trouvé Sa Grâce [Zavie de Toulouse] aujourd'hui engagés dans ce qui peut seulement être décrit comme une rixe avec l'un des autres enfants à la cour. Heureusement, j'ai été capable de séparer les enfants avant tout un préjudice grave a frappé le Duc. Ensuite, Monseigneur m'a informé que l'un des enfants avait fosterling jeunes courir vers lui après avoir été harcelée par un groupe d'enfants plus âgés dans la cour. Apparemment, il a ensuite acculé l'intimidateur principale et commença à le réprimander, après quoi, une bagarre a éclaté. J'espère que nous sommes en mesure de tempérer ce zèle pour la justice en quelque chose de plus dirigé et utile pour régner. De toute façon, nous sommes bénis d'avoir un tel souverain vertueux.
Dans le Christ,
Toumas de Gourdon, évêque pour le duché de Toulouse")
Zavie's first forays into being a leader met with remarkable success both in the court and in the duchy at large.
The young Duke did not, however, restrict himself to a role that involved ridding his castle of bullies. In fact, the young Zavie took to the affairs of state with a gusto that surprised even Chancellor Frederi. In May of 1084, Zavie ordered the construction of a new castle to replace the old wooden fortifications. While the project was initially suggested by the members of the Regency Council as a way to expand the prestige of the Duchy, (At the time, there were few stone castles in France, and only the wealthiest duchies and kingdoms could afford them.) Zavie soon made the project his own and made daily inspections of the work site, part of his routine. The construction of a new keep as well as other reforms instituted by both Zavie and the Regency Council saw an influx of immigrants and wealth to the Duchy. Occitan people that had emigrated to the border regions of Spain were lured back into Foix with promises of new jobs and fabulous wealth. No records exist concerning whether or not the life of the average worker in the Duchy was much improved by the new construction, but we do know from the meticulous records kept by Piere de Toulouse that both employment and tax revenues rose considerably between 1083 and 1086. Increased prosperity, Zavie's increased role in public life, and Zavie's own clamorings led for a widespread call across the Duchy for an end to the Regency Council and a formal investiture of Zavie de Toulouse as sole ruler of the realm. Chancellor Frederi succeeded in forestalling the transfer of power for most of 1086, but by November, even he admitted that Zavie was as ready as he would ever be to assume his role as Duke. Therefore, on November 25, 1086, the Regency Council was officially declared over, and Zavie de Toulouse was declared Duke of Toulouse in his own right.
Zavie wasted no time launching himself into his new role. The most important task, and the point most belabored by Chancellor Frederi, was for Zavie to find himself a bride. Historians have remained somewhat puzzled as to why this particular issue was left till such a late date. Normally, Zavie de Toulouse would have been betrothed long before he took power when he was 16, but this was not the case. Some historians have speculated that between the rebellion, treaty for independence, and other minutia of running the Duchy, it just fell beneath the Regency Council's notice. Some scholars even go so far as to speculate that, because Raimond de Toulouse was next in line for the throne after Zavie, that it may have been a deliberate act. Whatever the rationale for the delay, however, it didn't take long for Zavie, who as heir to most of Southern France was considered one of the most eligible bachelors of his time, to find himself a bride. In fact, he had to look no further than the Duchy of Provence, his faithful ally and neighbor. In December 1086, a mere month after Zavie officially assumed his role as Duke of Toulouse, he was married to Ramonda de Provence, the youngest daughter of the Duke of Provence. This union served to unite the two duchies even more closely and once again rumors were heard of the "Unity of the Occitan People." Some historians see a rather unique parallel between the marriage of Zavie de Toulouse and Ramonda de Provence and Guilhem de Toulouse and Agnes d'Aquitaine. There are, however, some notable differences. By most accounts, the marriage of Guilhem and Agnes was a largely political venture. Contemporary records indicate that while their relationship was cordial there was certainly no great amount of affection between the two. In addition, the marriage was really a ploy, according to some scholars, for Guilhem to allow for his descendants to inherit the entirety of Southern France. The marriage of Zavie and Ramonda is in many ways a stark contrast to that sort of arrangement. First, while it's true that the marriage did serve some political ends by reinforcing and strengthening the ties between Provence and Toulouse, most courtiers attending to the young couple speak of the admiration and love that they showed for one another. By all accounts, Zavie's marriage to Ramonda was a happy, loving marriage. Additionally, the marriage was not of the political import that the marriage to Agnes d'Aquitaine was, nor was it as earth-shattering. While the Duke of Provence did not have any male heirs, the succession laws which governed the duchy were not nearly as permissive as those governing Aquitaine, therefore it was unlikely that any member of the de Toulouse household would inherit Provence. Regardless, the marriage was the first step on the road to rulership for Zavie de Toulouse, and it was an apparent success both abroad and at home.
The marriage of Zavie de Toulouse and Ramonda de Provence bore some resemblance to the marraige of Guilhem de Toulouse and Agnes d'Aquitaine.
In May 1087 the Duchy was again blessed with good news. Ramonda was now pregnant with a child. Several contemporary records mention that Zavie attended daily mass for the nine months of Ramonda's pregnancy, and several of the records go on to suggest that a majority of the Duchy went with him. It's important to remember that the Duchy of Toulouse was still in a fragile position at the time. Currently, there were only two living members of the de Toulouse household that stood any chance of inheriting the Duchy. One was Zavie, the other was Raimond de Toulouse. Raimond himself showed no interest in ruling the Duchy and was already at a rather advanced age. While he had some children, it was unclear whether or not the Duchy would survive another long rule by the Regency Council. Zavie himself was still young, and therefore perceived as vulnerable to both assassinations and other random violence that the Capets or other enemies might throw his way. It was for those reasons that the court of Zavie de Toulouse would want to earnestly pray for a boy to help secure that which Guilhem and the Regency Council had worked so hard to achieve. Luckily, providence was a constant companion of Toulouse and on February 12, 1088, Ramonda de Provence gave birth to a healthy baby boy. While the birth only slightly improved the precarious position of inheritance, it did wonders for the national consciousness. Records indicate great rejoicing throughout the Duchy of Toulouse, and Zavie himself ordered a full week of feasting and tournaments to be held in every major city.
Gilbert de Toulouse helped to secure the de Toulouse dynasty.
The period of 1088-1090 was one of relative calm for the Duchy with only one notable event occurring. Chancellor Frederi had consistently lobbied Zavie for payment for members of the Regency Council for their service to the duchy during his long minority. Historians have split over whether or not this was a self-serving move on the part of the Chancellor, but there is no conclusive evidence either way. Chancellor Frederi, for his part, always maintained that it was a further attempt at bolstering Zavie's prestige by making him appear both generous and just. Skeptics, both current and contemporary, are quick to point out that it was only Chancellor Frederi that was ever actually rewarded with anything, and he was quite richly rewarded. In addition to his earlier knighthood, the Chancellor was given a large monetary payment and the title of Baron of Castres. Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, he was married to Adela de Toulouse who was the granddaughter of Marshal Ugues the Elder. While the marriage was largely seen as merely a nod to Chancellor Frederi's years of service because he was unlikely to produce children (The chancellor was 54 at the time of the marriage), it served the purpose of forever securing his loyalty.
Historians are split on whether Chancellor Frederi's requests were motivated by greed, but all agree his impressive accomplishment probably warranted the rewards he received.
It was thus that the Duchy of Toulouse ended the decade between 1080 and 1090, much like it had began: with news of good fortune. Zavie de Toulouse had taken his first steps as an independent ruler and the whole world was watching with baited breath to see where he would lead the Occitan people.
Well, there's chapter 4 all done and submitted! I'm sorry about the long delay, but I just haven't had as much time to write as I'd have liked. It's an exciting time, however, as Zavie is now the ruler and it's only a matter of time before the Duchy of Aquitaine is inherited. Only time will tell what the future holds for him and his duchy! As always, comments and feedback are appreciated!