Siege of Chartres (911)

The Danish incursions into Francia started in n 820 CE, thirteen Viking ships reached the shore in Francia, the site of the first Viking raid. In 876 Rollo invaded Normandy and started attacking all around France. He pillaged, looted, raped, and caused destruction against France and her people. Many were slaughtered and this led King Charles the Simple to send an army to oppose Rollo. The two forces fought and eventually Rollo was defeated. This defeat was at the fort of Chartres. After years of raiding and making himself wealthy he became a powerful foe against the King of France. Charles the simple created a treaty that would bring peace to France. It also gave Rollo a large swath of land. These long-term conflicts were all across Frankia and many of its towns and villages were massacred. These massacres led to fear all across France. Which allowed the Vikings to gain more plunder and be met with little resistance because of this fear.

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

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.

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.

Padovanino's 1618 depiction of the Siege.

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]

Rollo has an agreement formed between Charles the Simple and the Vikings directly after the battle. The date of the battle is hard to pin down because of authors unreliability for the information. Dudo has a history of Rollo and embellishes many of the tales. The battle is confirmed however by the Annals of Ste. Colobe of Sens. This article has given the date of 20 July 911.7. In 911 Rollo received Upper Normandy between the Epte and the sea.


  1. ^ Lair, Jules (1902). Le siège de Chartres par les Normands (911). OCLC 828812392.[page needed]
  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".

Further readingEdit

  • Douglas, D. C. (1942). "Rollo of Normandy". The English Historical Review. 57 (228): 417–436. doi:10.1093/ehr/LVII.CCXXVIII.417. JSTOR 554369.
  • Welsh, William E. (2017). "Laying waste to everything". Medieval Warfare. 7 (1): 16–19. JSTOR 48578076.
  • Turner, Danielle (2017). "The Viking Sieges of Paris". Medieval Warfare. 7 (1): 26–33. JSTOR 48578078.
  • ten Harkel, Letty (2006). "The Vikings and the Natives: Ethnic Identity in England and Normandy c. 1000 AD". The Medieval Chronicle. 4: 177–190. JSTOR 45375843.
  • Eley, Penny (1999). "History and romance in the 'Chronique des ducs de Normandie'". Medium Ævum. 68 (1): 81–95. doi:10.2307/43630128. JSTOR 43630128. Gale A55114842 ProQuest 194186827.
  • Benjamin, Roy (2012). "Northmen . . . Norman . . . Noman: Conquest and Effacement in Finnegans Wake". Joyce Studies Annual: 242–260. JSTOR 26288777. Project MUSE 516516.