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Geoffrey Martel

GEOFFREY MARTEL, surnamed Martel (1006-1060), count of Anjou, son of the count Fulk Nerra (q.v.) and of the countess Hildegarde or Audegarde, was born on the 14th of October 1006. During his father's lifetime he was recognized as suzerain by Fulk l'Oison ("the Gosling"), count of Vendôme, the son of his half-sister Adela. Fulk having revolted, he confiscated the countship, which he did not restore till 1050. On the 1st of January 1032 he married Agnes, widow of William the Great, duke of Aquitaine, and taking arms against William the Fat, eldest son and successor of William the Great, defeated him and took him prisoner at Mont-Couër near Saint-Jouin-de-Marnes on the 20th of September 1033. He then tried to win recognition as dukes of Aquitaine for the sons of his wife Agnes by William the Great, who were still minors, but Fulk Nerra promptly took up arms to defend his suzerain William the Fat, from whom he held the Loudunois and Saintonge in fief against his son. In 1036 Geoffrey Martel had to liberate William the Fat, on payment of a heavy ransom, but the latter having died in 1038, and the second son of William the Great, Odo, duke of Gascony, having fallen in his turn at the siege of Mauzé (10th of March 1039) Geoffrey made peace with his father in the autumn of 1039, and had his wife's two sons recognized as dukes. About this time, also, he had interfered in the affairs of Maine, though without much result, for having sided against Gervais, bishop of Le Mans, who was trying to make himself guardian of the young count of Maine, Hugh, he had been beaten and forced to make terms with Gervais in 1038. In 1040 he succeeded his father in Anjou and was able to conquer Touraine (1044) and assert his authority over Maine (see Anjou). About 1050 he repudiated Agnes, his first wife, and married Grécie, the widow of Bellay, lord of Montreuil-Bellay (before August 1052), whom he subsequently left in order to marry Adela, daughter of a certain Count Odo. Later he returned to Grécie, but again left her to marry Adelaide the German. When, however, he died on the 14th of November 1060, at the monastery of St Nicholas at Angers, he left no children, and transmitted the countship to Geoffrey the Bearded, the eldest of his nephews (see ANJOU).

See Louis Halphen, Le Comté d'Anjou au XIe siècle (Paris, 1906). A summary biography is given by Célestin Port, Dictionnaire historique, géographique et biographique de Maine-et-Loire (3 vols., Paris-Angers, 1874-1878), vol. ii. pp. 252-253, and a sketch of the wars by Kate Norgate, England under the Angevin Kings (2 vols., London, 1887), vol. i. chs. iii. iv.

(L. H.*)

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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