Why did Fulk III (972-1040), Count of Anjou, have his first wife burnt to death?

Why did Fulk III (972-1040), Count of Anjou, have his first wife, Elisabeth De Vendome (born between 960 and 970), burnt to death in Angers in 999? Was her alleged adultery just an excuse to warrant her death so he could marry someone else that could bear him a son?

5 Answers

  • Lili
    Lv 7
    8 years ago
    Favourite answer

    Obviously, we have no way to know what he was thinking. Back then, to some men, adultery would have been a perfectly good excuse to have your wife executed, whether or not you wanted to remarry. Arranged marriages among the nobility often meant that husbands and wives had little sense of attachment to one another.

    Actually, it's not entirely certain that this story is true. The notion that she was discovered in adultery with a goatherd or farmer seems a bit far-fetched. And if he'd simply wanted to marry again, there were ways to do that with the approval of the church.

  • 8 years ago

    I'm not entirely sure if I would doubt that validity of the affair that Elisabeth de Vendome had. It is said that when she realized that her husband knew about the affair she gathered supporters and seized control of a citadel at Angers. Fulk then had to besiege it in order to get at her, eventually capturing her and had her burned for her adultery. There were far more easier ways at the time to get rid of an unwanted wife at the time than besieging a citadel then burning her at a stake.

  • 8 years ago

    Fulk IV is in my line of ancestry so I guess Fulk III is as well. They were pretty strange people in those days.

    My line goes from Sir Francis George Baildon to the Kings Edward I, II, III, John at the time of the Robin hood legends, etc.

    I guess the worst was Henry VIII. Not only were the men bloodthirsty but look at Bloody Mary.


  • 8 years ago

    Very, very unlikely; in the 10th century it was still fairly easy for a nobleman to shed a wife he no longer found personally or politically desirable. Half a century later Robert Giscard, Duke of Apulia, dumped his first wife simply because he had come up in the world since he married her and now felt he could do better. No, if it really happened he must have genuinely felt outraged and betrayed by her behaviour.

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  • 8 years ago

    He had his first wife, Elisabeth of Vendôme (c.970 - 999), burned at the stake in her wedding dress, after he discovered her in adultery with a farmer in December 999.

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