Siege of Chartres (911)

The siege of Chartres was part of the Viking incursions. In 858, Norsemen raided and burned down the Burgundian city of Chartres (now in the Eure-et-Loir department of France). After that, the town's defenses were rebuilt and strengthened. It turned into a fortified, trapezoid-like city, going close to the river.

Siege of Chartres
DateJuly 20, 911
Location48°27′22″N 1°29′02″E / 48.456°N 1.484°E / 48.456; 1.484Coordinates: 48°27′22″N 1°29′02″E / 48.456°N 1.484°E / 48.456; 1.484
Normandy is established
West Franks Danish Vikings
Commanders and leaders
Richard, Duke of Burgundy
Robert I of France
Charles the Simple
Bishop Gantelme
8,000 20,000
Casualties and losses
Light 6,000–7,000

In 911, Rollo led the Danes in another siege of the city. Richard, Duke of Burgundy, split his forces into three corps, the first being made up of Aquitanians, to defend it.[1] According to legend, Bishop Gantelme exposed the Virgin's tunic on the ramparts and led a mob of peasants to charge, and the Norsemen fled as a result.[2][3]

The West Frankish cavalry led by King Charles the Simple, which had arrived, now pursued the Norsemen. Short on time to be able to board his army onto his ships due to the rapid approach of the cavalry, Rollo and his men decided to make a defensive wall by slaughtering the livestock from his ships. The Frankish charge was halted as their horses were intimidated by the sight and smell of the livestock corpses.

The Franks, unable to attack, decided to instead open negotiations with Rollo. The Danes had been formidable enough to persuade Charles the Simple that they might become valuable allies.[4] And thus the battle ended, as both sides began formulating the Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte.

In 1618 the Italian painter Padovanino painted a version of the event which now hangs in the Pinacoteca di Brera.[5]


  1. ^ Lair, Jules (1901). Siege de Chartes par les Normands. ISBN 2-01-451148-9. OCLC 986617581.
  2. ^ France. New Holland Publishers. 2004. p. 328. ISBN 1-86011-881-X.
  3. ^ Ordericus Vitalis (1853). The ecclesiastical history of England and Normandy. p. 136.
  4. ^ Chibnall, Marjorie (2000). The Normans. Blackwell Publishing. p. 11. ISBN 0-631-18671-9.
  5. ^ "La vittoria dei Carnutesi sui Normanni".