Analysis of the manuscript: R 102v (103v) (Bertran carbonel; blanks staves above stanza I). – A few elements of the text are unclear (see Critical apparatus). Line 12 up to and including cant appears to have been initially omitted and then squashed into the right-hand side of the column, which may explain how two syllables have been left out. As elsewhere, the scribe of ms. R seems to have been more or less indifferent to traditional inflexions (10, 14, 19, 24, 39, 42, 51) and even els for nom. pl. ilh (42, 46), which Contini regularises (and Routledge does in 42 but not 46), though I do not: see Ruth Harvey and Linda Paterson, The Troubadour Tensos and Partimens: A Critical Edition, 3 voll., Cambridge 2010, vol. I, pp. xxii-xxvi.

Critical apparatus:

6 enuey or possibly euuey    25 . p .    31 nom crezāṭz (=crezam), though the expunctuation mark under the ‘t’ is uncertain, silh with the ‘h’ written above, entendeṛdor or entendoṛdor with the first ‘r’ expunctuated and ‘dor’ inserted above the line    38 the second ‘p’ of papabels is corrected over a ‘b’    49 can or cam | y ueian.


Dating and historical circumstances:

Bertran Carbonel was from Marseille; his social status is unknown, though the mercantile character of his point of view suggest he was of bourgeois origin (see Saverio Guida and Gerardo Larghi, Dizionario biografico dei trovatori, Modena 2013, p. 115). Both Fabre and Contini date his poetic activity to 1240-1270, for different reasons (Césaire Fabre, «Planh de Bertran Carbonel de Marseille sur la mort de Pierre Cardinal (1270-1275)», Bulletin historique, scientifique, littéraire, artistique et agricole publié par la Société scientifique et agricole de la Haute-Loire, 4, 1914, pp. 89-121, p. 103; Contini, p. 24). They agree that the pus privatz Proensals to whom the sirventes is addressed is most probably Barral of Baux, the last viscount of Marseille; Contini added support to Fabre’s arguments by identifying Selon (53) as Seillons in the Var, for which Barral paid homage to Countess Beatrice of Provence in 1246 (pp. 19-22). If so Barral’s death in Italy in 1268 would mark a terminus ante quem for the sirventes. – The song’s virulent anticlericalism does not of itself point to a particular date, but some other details are suggestive: 1) the idea that the clergy have led the whole world into error (24) and wrongly excommunicate for venal reasons (28-29); 2) the remark that in contrast to the clergy St Peter did not hold capital in France (25-26); 3) the statement that there are kings at war and in conflict, and the poet wishes they and the pope as well would go on crusade this very year (36-38); 4) the comment about warriors «here» (40); and 5) the idea that the clergy may be a particular threat to the pus privatz Proensals addressed in the tornada (55-56). – 1) Fabre’s hypothesis (p. 105) that the sirventes was composed during the period leading up to Louis IX’s first crusade in 1248 corresponds well to most or all of these points, though his particular arguments are questionable. Frederick II was at war with the papacy, and Innocent IV had had to flee from Italy and had taken up residence in Lyon, where he summoned a council in the summer of 1245. On 17 July he excommunicated Frederick and formally deposed him as emperor, then caused the dispersal of the crusading effort by authorising the preaching of a crusade against Frederick in Germany and Italy (Jonathan Riley-Smith, The Crusades. A Short History, New Haven and London, 1987, p. 158). For those of Ghibelline persuasion, the Pope had divided Christendom into two enemy camps. Innocent’s excommunication of Frederick in 1245, an event which sent shockwaves throughout Europe, lends topical force to the accusation that the clergy used excommunication unlawfully. – 2) Fabre (p. 105) saw 25-26 as referring to the Pope being in France where he was raising subsidies (captal), and hence practising usury, in support of his war against Frederick. Kolsen argued that the idea of St Peter not storing up money in France seemed odd (see the note to 25 below), and Lewent commented that this was no doubt because everyone knows and knew that the first pope never had any connection to France and could not have served as a model to dishonest priests. He explained the choice of en Fransa as a result of what he saw as Carbonel’s generally poor logic; in response Contini considered Lewent to have somewhat exagerated this, echoed Lewent in suggesting that the need for a rhyme may have played a part in the choice of Fransa, and added that there may be a vague allusion to the connivance of the ecclesiastics with the French civil authorities. All this rather underestimates the capitalist activities of Occitan towns such as Cahors and Gaillac which were financially important as the home of bankers and money-lenders. Trade in money was an international business: «Lenders, both lay and ecclesiastical, were numerous in twelfth-century Toulouse. The Church forbade usury but no-one took much notice at this time, and money-lending was a part of everyday life [...]. Men from Cahors were particularly successful at money-lending operations and competed with Italians at the fairs of Occitania and Champagne. The Manduel family from Marseilles [Carbonel’s home town] provides an example of medieval capitalists: they did not usually travel themselves, but handed over money or goods to voyagers ready to try their luck abroad. [...] Money-changers formed a powerful and probably rich corporation in Marseilles, where the Isla dels Cambis was the medieval equivalent of the modern Bourse and business quarter». Such bankers could supply funds for papal ventures: a rich merchant from Cahors, Raimon de Salvanhac, received all the booty from Lavaur in return for financing the Albigensian crusade (Linda Paterson, The World of the Troubadours, Cambridge 1993, pp. 48, 152, 156). The statement is elliptical, meaning «St Peter did not practise capitalism or usury as the present pope is doing in France». This is evidently relevant to the situation of Innocent’s move to Lyon. – 3) The reference to the warring kings (36) is less conclusive, but not incompatible with this period. Fabre (p. 105) identifies these kings as Frederick II and his ally and father-in-law Henry III of England, and those on the Church’s side, Louis IX of France and James I of Aragon. But as far as armed combat goes this is simply wrong: Frederick was not fighting Louis, who strove to remain neutral and act as intermediary between pope and emperor (David Abulafia, Frederick II. A medieval emperor, London 1988, pp. 394-395), and neither was Henry III (for his relations with Innocent IV and Frederick see Maurice Powicke, King Henry III and the Lord Edward, 2 voll., Oxford 1947, reprinted as 1 vol. in 1966, pp. 357-359). James I of Aragon was largely occupied with matters in Spain at this time, though he did visit Aix-en-Provence between August and November 1245 hoping to secure marriage with Beatrice of Provence, «but he had brought with him few, if any, troops, and, on the advance of the French, he was obliged to return to Montpellier»; Beatrice was wedded to Charles of Anjou on 31 Jan. 1246 (Francis Darwin Swift, James the First of Aragon, Oxford 1894, pp. 83-86). James cannot be regarded as at war with the papal side, though he could be seen as in desacordansa with the French. The armed conflict was between Frederick and Innocent. Carbonel might perhaps be thinking of William of Holland, elected German anti-king in 1247 after Innocent had deposed Frederick as King of the Germans, or he might be conflating the ideas of the war between Frederick and Innocent and the many as yet unarmed conflicts between other European kings. – Contini argued that 36-37 could refer to any war led by the king of France or the kings of Spain, and that as the idea of crusading was permanent at this time, the passage is of little use in dating the song (p. 142, n. 36 ff.; also Routledge, n. 40). He suggests that the song may date from much later, around 1265, since a letter from Pope Clement IV in June 1265 refers to Barral having promised to go on crusade when he paid homage to the count of Toulouse and Poitiers. However, Carbonel’s text refers only to the idea that the kings and the pope should make the passage to the Holy Land: there is no suggestion in the tornada that the dedicatee has crusading in his sights, so there is no reason to tie the song to this later date. In any case, Contini does concede the possibility proposed by Fabre that the allusion is to St Louis’ crusade for which he embarked in August in 1248. – The situation in Europe after Frederick’s excommunication would make good sense of the troubadour’s impatience for the Pope to go on crusade – an implausible idea in itself – along with the disputatious kings: the Pope is just as responsible as they for the world being turned upside-down at the expense of Christendom. – 4) Contini, Routledge and Kolsen all emend que car (40) to qu’encar. While such a scribal slip is readily envisaged, the manuscript reading makes good sense as it stands, suggesting that people are paying a high price (in both money and devastation) for the wars at home: a situation again particularly appropriate to the papal-imperial war. – 5) While Fabre does not exactly say so (he refers more generally to Carbonel having lived in the midst of the most important events in the history of Marseille in 1245-1270, p. 103), the song’s anticlericalism would seem particularly apposite during Barral’s opposition to Charles of Anjou and the power of the Church, and his assumption of leadership of the revolt by the great Provençal communes of Arles, Avignon and Marseilles against them in 1247. This would not apply once this came to an end in March 1250, when Barral changed sides to become a constant ally of the Count of Provence (see Florian Mazel, La Noblesse et l’Eglise en Provence, fin Xe-début XIVe siècle. L’exemple des familles d’Agoult-Simiane, de Baux et de Marseille, Paris 2002, pp. 411-414). Barral had been excommunicated more than once: in 1240 by Zoen Tencarari, vicar of the legate for Provence Jacques Pecoraria, and again by Zoen, who had become bishop of Avignon, in 1246-1247 (Mazel, La Noblesse, pp. 409 and 413). Barral would have had a personal reason to appreciate Carbonel’s condemnation of clerical abuse of the power of interdict. – This period saw another troubadour song, by Bertran d’Alamanon (BdT 76.9), referring to similar events, though composed from a different point of view, before Charles of Anjou sailed for the Holy Land with his brother Louis IX on 25 August 1248, and after April 1247 when the Provençal cities formed their alliance under Barral (see my edition on Rialto). – The sirventes cannot therefore be dated with certainty, but it seems plausible to place it between Frederick’s excommunication in 1245 and before Barral’s withdrawal from opposition to Charles of Anjou in March 1250.


Textual notes:

8. mostran: for mostraire as a rhetorical, quasi-legal term see Linda Paterson, Troubadours and Eloquence, Oxford 1975, pp. 14-15.

12. I follow the suppletion proposed by Contini (also Routledge): for other possibilities see Routledge’s note, and Contini’s objections (p. 141, n. 12). Contini identifies the allusion from Book I, 30 of the Disticha Catonis, which Routledge quotes more fully: Que culpare soles, ea tu ne feceris ipse: turpe est doctori, cum culpa redarguit ipsum.

14. Routledge prints qu’us without explanation, thus rendering the line hypometric.

17-18. I follow Lewent («A propos», pp. 40-41) in seeing lo repres as subject of deman (subjunctive), and quo to be equivalent to cui o. Contini («Encore à propos de Bertrand Carbonel», p. 192) accepted this in his response to Lewent’s review article, though argued that lo should be emended to le: «Or, la concordance fondamentale des mss. R et f me semble encore auourd’hui un indice suffisant pour attribuer à Carbonel la déclinaison le/lo de l’article masculin». Joseph Anglade, Grammaire de l’ancien provençal ou ancienne langue d’oc, Paris 1921, p. 211 gives lo and le as alternatives for the nominative, and I prefer not to emend. – Unlike previous editors I take dis as a preterite, as in the previous line.

25. Kolsen prints enfr’ansa, «unter einem Weihkessel», citing OF ancel ‘bénitier’: «So wäre dann ansa als pars pro toto zu dem Sinne von”Topf”, “Weihkessel” gekommen» (p. 207). Lewent (pp. 42-43) responds that even if ansa could have the sense Kolsen alleges, which he doubts, the idea of hiding money under a stoup seems highly unconvincing, given that a stoup is placed at the entrance to a church and hence visible to everyone, and is usually in stone so one could not hide anything either in or under it.

26-27. tenc drech la balansa: literally «held the scales level»; since scruples were originally very small weights on the scales, permitting close accuracy, I have chosen to incorporate this idea into my translation. – The sense of liautat here is not ‘loyauté’, the only translation given in PD, and so understood by Contini («il maintint en équilibre la balance de loyauté»), but ‘lawfulness’: compare SW, IV, 357, 1 lei ‘Gesetz’, leis ‘weltliches Gerecht’, 358, 1 leial ‘Recht u. Billigkeit entsprechend’, 2 ‘der gestezlichen Vorschrift entsprechend, gesetzmässig, rechtmässig’; also Leslie Topsfield, Chrétien de Troyes. A study of the Arthurian romances, Cambridge 1981, p. 170, who defines leiautatz «in its wider meaning of obedience to the law of a natural or ethical code», and his article «Malvestatz versus Proeza and Leautatz’ in L’Esprit Créateur, 19, 1979, pp. 37-53. Routledge, evidently dissatisfied with the sense given in Contini’s translation, ends the sentence at the end of the line and translates «il a plutôt tenu droit la balance. Vous ne faites même pas semblant d’être honnêtes».

29-30. In 29 Kolsen prints nos datz empachier, with no variant, and translates the lines as «dann (wieder) bringt ihr uns in Verlegenheit»; Contini «et ne mettez plus d’entrave»; Routledge «et vous n’y mettez plus d’entrave». The empachier does not necessarily refer to excommunication, but may evoke the Church’s willingness to grant dispensations to marital impediments; at any rate, as Contini, I see these lines as a list of different examples of the clergy’s cavalier treatment of the law. In consequence I interpret pueis in 30 as ‘then’, rather than ‘since’ (Routledge) where the logical connection with what precedes it would be unclear.

31-32. Previous scholars read crezatz, which Contini emends to crezan, and Kolsen and Routledge retain. They emend silh to si and takes fol entendedor to refer to the poet (Kolsen «Haltet mich nicht für so unvernünftig (“für einen so törichten Versteher”), dass ich sämtliche Priester tadle»), which then necessitates allotting a different subject (the clercx) to the following verb vazan (33). For creire + noun clause not introduced by que compare the examples in Frede Jensen, Syntaxe de l’ancien occitan, Tübingen 1994, §§ 592 and 595. Contini’s interpretation makes the better sense. It is easy to see how a scribe wrongly interpreted a titulus abbreviation, in the case of both crezan and non; as I cannot see the force of .m in Contini’s no.m («Que les auditeurs inintelligents ne s’imaginent pas que je blâme tous les clercs») I correct. – The demonstrative silh appears to refer to critics who have blamed Carbonel for attacking the clergy.

40. Kolsen gives no variant or note. Contini translates as «car il y a encore ici de [vaillants] guerriers»; Routledge «car les guerriers sont toujours ici», glossing in his note «[au lieu d’être déjà partis en Terre Sainte]?», but adding that in the context of war between kings being an impediment to crusading, the sense may rather be «et cela vaudrait mieux que de continuer à se faire la guerre ici», as Kolsen suggested («Das wäre besser, als dass sie sich hier noch immer befehden»).

41-48. Routledge refers here (note to 42) to Martin Aurell, La Vielle et l’épée. Troubadours et politique en Provence au XIIIe siècle, Paris 1989, pp. 222-223, who claims that Carbonel is distinguishing between the bad clergy and the Spirituals, those inspired by Fransiscanism who «prônent un retour à la pauvreté évangélique dans un contexte eschatalogique» (p. 220). While the troubadour may well have such clergy in mind, the stanza is heavily ironic, as Contini recognised (p. 142, n. 41 ff.), noting similar ironies in Peire Cardenal (see now BdT 335.60, stanza IV, ed. Sergio Vatteroni, Il trovatore Peire Cardenal, 2 voll., Modena 2013, vol. II, poem 60, p. 727). Routledge does not translate e de pezanza (45), or mas (48), and Contini skates over mas with «n’ayant pas d’autre dieu». I take mas to be undercutting the apparent praise of the previous lines. Kolsen translated mas autre dieu non an as «Aber andere haben keinen Gott», which is grammatically possible but makes little or no sense. The point is that of course the clergy despise all wordly pleasures – but this is actually all they truly worship!

49-50. Ms. can or cam | y ueian: Kolsen read mueian which he emended to mueron («wenn sie sterben»). Contini and Routledge (who repeats can y vei in his variants instead of what is in the ms.) read as I do and emend to can y vei («lorsque j’y prête attention», «quand j’y pense»), but this is feeble and does not explain the extra syllable -an. Kolsen’s can mueron does not account for the descender. I hasard the conjecture that the original reading may have been camjamen, where an obscured ‘j’ could have been mistaken by a copyist for a ‘y’ and the ame obscured and guessed at. While this may seem a bold move it does have the advantages of, firstly, accounting for the descender on the first letter and right number of syllables with their beginning and end in accordance with the ms. reading, and secondly, linking with the theme of money elaborated in stanza II. Here camjamen, ‘exchange’, would play on the idea of the hypocritical clergy’s illegitimate monetary transactions, and also on the change that will overtake them at the moment of death. – The word armier is the sole attestation on COM in this sense, the other being ‘armourer’. Did Carbonel invent it? It is tempting to see some sort of punning going on here: could armier suggest armari («the soul is lost in the treasure-cupboard»)? Or are the clergy being compared with armourers who make money out of war?

54-55. The dictionary examples and definitions of entrenan with respect to time, ‘auparavant, jadis’ (PD, LR, II, 97), ‘zuvor’ (SW, III, 86) seem to require a past tense of sostener, and Kolsen and Contini emend to sostenc. Contini (following Kolsen) translates, «lui dire qu’il protège, à l’abri des clercs hypocrites, le Mérite dont il a été le soutien dans le passé». Routledge retains sosten and translates «lui dire que c’est le mérite qu’il soutient depuis longtemps qui le protège contre les faux clercs», though he wrongly treats gart as indicative. For entrenan as ‘in the meantime’ compare Jaufre, ed. Charmaine Lee,, 4626-4632, «Seiner, per Dieu vos o deman», / Dis l’ostes, «e per amistat, / Que de so que i es adobat, / Entrenans sol un pauc manjes, / Que ja no·us en destorbares, / Qu’enantz c’om aia aresat / Vostre caval, auretz manjat». ‘In the meantime’ and the present tense may reinforce a certain urgent or precarious topicality to the wish, which would fit the dating scenario suggested above. – For the repetition of the conjunction que see Oskar Schultz-Gora, Altprovenzalisches Elementarbuch, Heidelberg 1936, p. 133, § 191.

[LP, lb]

BdT    Bertran Carbonel

Songs referring to the crusades