198 S. Lindgren &J. NeumannViking weather-vane practice influences in FranceThat the practice of gilding the vanes andtheir importance as status symbols went withthe Vikings on their conquests is best illustrated by the case of Normandy. It will berecalled that about the year 900 a Vikingforce led by Rollo conquered an area of north-western France roughly coinciding with Normandy. Gradually, the force of conquerors,plunderers and tribute-collectors became agroup of settlers. The Vikings intermarried(they had, in any case, far too few womenwith them) with, and merged into the localpopulation, adopting the local language andenriching it with words of their original ton-
In 911 Charles the Simple, king of thewestern Franks, ceded Upper Normandy toRollo. By treaty, Rollo and his successorswere made rulers of the area. In 912 Rollo didhomage to Charles whose "vassal" he nowwas and converted to Christianity. In effect,he was the first Duke of Normandy. In 923 heenlarged his dominion by acquiring the Co-tentin Peninsula and some adjacent areas,induding Bayeux and Coutances (Dép. de laManehe), a city that will be mentioned in thenext paragraph. The former Vikings and thelocal population, now merged into one, became the Normans who in 1066 successfullyinvaded England under the leadership of William, Duke of Normandy, a Sth generationdescendant of Rollo. For a brief review of thesubject, see, e.g., Jones (1968, pp. 229-232)and a map (due to T.D. Kendrick) on p. 230of the same text; see also map on p. 67 ofGraham-Campell(1980).As a first exemple of the adoption of Vikingweather-vane customs, especially that of gilding the vanes, by the Normans, we cite thecase of the Cathédral of Coutances. It is related in the story of Gaufridus (Geoffroi l
deMontbray, 1049-94), Bishop of Coutances(see pp. 78-79 in Delisle 1877) that the mag-nificent Cathédral of the city was inauguratedin the presence of William, the future Conquer-or, in 1056 amidst great pomp. The accountcontinues (p. 79): "Anno namque Dominicaeincarnat. MXCI, indiet. XV, IV nonas novembris, cum esset idem praesul Constantiisin aula episcopali quam fecerat et plantave-rat, terrae motus factus est et fulgura exstite-runt nimia, ita ut gallum deauratum qui majoriecdesiae turri eminebat minutatim conscin-derent. . ." (Our Italics.JIn other words, onNovember 2nd, 1091 there was an earthquakeand severe lightning smashed the golden cock topiéces.A few lines below the passage (p. 79) in thestory of Bishop Gaufridus quoted above, it isrecorded that when the Bishop perceived thathis death was imminent, he sent for a craftsman from England to have the Cathédral re-paired and the gilded cock restored: " . . .fecit . . .deauratum gallum, quem praedictum ful-gur destruxerat, studiosé restaurari, majo-remque (majorique turri) superimponi.. ."As a second example we cite the case of theBenedictine abbey of St.-Pierre de Chälons,near what is now Chälon-sur-Saone, Dép.Saone-et-Loire, i.e. eastern central France,över some 500 km away from the Normandy-Cotentin area. The monk author Guillaume(Guilldmus Cabillonensis Monachus; Cabil-lonum is of one of the several Latin names ofChälon-sur-Saåne; in the French literature heis referred to as Gui de Chålons) relätes (Pat-rologia Latina, vol. 134, col. 1017)that in theevening of 25 August 965: "Dum vesperascantaremus . . . subito valde fragore codumintonuit. . . Tria fulgura visa . . . terribilia ni-
quae percusserunt tria haec monasteriinostri; turrim signorum, quam rustici clocca-rium dicimus . . . Haec de turre percussasunt: similitudo galli in summo pono: ipsumpomum cum omnibus subaurationibus et oma-mentis . . ." (Our italics.) That is, three terri-ble flashes of lightning struck the cock atopthe "äpple", the äpple
with all the gilding . . .A further interesting example involvingWilliam the Conqueror, is described in thenext Section.William the Conqueror fixes a gilded weather vaneon his command shipOur third example for the use of gildedweather vanes is connected with William,Duke of Normandy who, shortly after thetime when he afiixes a gilded weather vane tohis command ship, sails to invade England.
Fornvännen 78 (1983)