The First Feudal Age
One of the most remarkable incidents of the ninth century, which illustrates both the havoc wrought by the Viking incursions and the instability of the population, is the wanderings of a community of monks who sought a refuge not only for themselves but for the holy body of their patron, St. Philibert. In the opening decades of the ninth century, the monks were established on the island of Noirmoutier at the mouth of the Loire River in France, near Nantes. But the ever more destructive raids of the Vikings led them in 836 to seek a safer home in the hinterland and to initiate a long trek which would take them through the heartland of France. From Noirmoutier they fled up the Loire Valley to Saumur, then to a place called Cunauld still farther inland, then south to Poitou, then to the Massif Central, and after another intervening stop to a refuge near Tournus, more than 300 miles from their original home. The following description of the first phases only of their travels and tribulations was written in 863 by a monk named Ermentarius, who included in his account an older description of miracles written in 837 and 839. The source is Ex Ermentarii miraculis sancti Filiberti, ed. O. Holder-Egger (Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores XV; Hanover, 1888), pp. 298–303.
KeywordsHuman Race Ninth Century Divine Power Roman World Holy Place
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