Marches of Neustria

Marches Of Neustria

Marches of Neustria

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The marches of Neustria were creations of the Carolingian king of West Francia covering the ancient Merovingian kingdom of Neustria. Originally, there were two marches, one against the Bretons and one against the Norsemen created by Charles the Bald in 861. These two marches are often called the Breton March and Norman March respectively. They were ruled by officials appointed by the crown, known as wardens or margraves (or "marquis" in French).

Breton march

There was a Breton march created under the Merovingians in the late seventh or early eighth century. It was centred on Le Mans and eventually went by the name of ducatus Cenomannicus or Duchy of Maine. The exact extent of this duchy is unknown and it cannot be identified with either the later Breton or Norman march. One of the most famous margraves was Roland, who died at the Battle of Roncesvalles in 778 and gave rise to a famous series of legends as exemplified in the eponymous Chanson de Roland.

The Carolingian recreation of a march against the Bretons was conferred first on Robert the Strong in 861. Robert was killed fighting the Vikings in 866, revealing how the boundaries of the marches did not affect the raiders with which the marcher margraves had to deal nor prevent the two margraves from cooperating in each other's territories against the common enemies of the Franks. Robert was succeeded by Hugh the Abbot.

Norman march

The first margrave against the Vikings was Adalard the Seneschal. His march...
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