Traces of the Medieval Working Class in the Land of the Paris Cathedral Chapter


Lindsay S. Cook • The Pennsylvania State University


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Recommended citation: Lindsay S. Cook, “Traces of the Medieval Working Class in the Land of the Paris Cathedral Chapter.” Different Visions: New Perspectives on Medieval Art 10 (2023).



Bearing in mind Michel-Rolph Trouillot’s insight that “silences enter the process of historical production at four crucial moments: the moment of fact creation (the making of sources); the moment of fact assembly (the making of archives); the moment of fact retrieval (the making of narratives); and the moment of retrospective significance (the making of history in the final instance),” my article aims to recover as historical agents the medieval working class in the land of the Paris cathedral chapter.[1] It assembles a wide variety of textual, visual, and architectural sources to overcome silences at the four junctures Trouillot identified and to upend the framework of “dependency” that has long shaped the study of the cathedral chapter’s land.[2] My analysis builds on the work of French social historian Marc Bloch,[3] and my long-term, interdisciplinary approach to the medieval working class is particularly indebted to works of social art history by Meyer Schapiro,[4] Henry Kraus,[5] Michael Camille,[6] Jonathan Alexander,[7] Jane Welch Williams,[8] Barbara Abou-El-Haj,[9] and Nina Rowe.[10]


Archival Sources

The archival sources that define the contours of the institutional relationship between the Paris cathedral chapter and the medieval working class tell a one-sided story. The archive of the medieval cathedral chapter is robust, whereas scarcely any parish registers survive for any of the villages located in the chapter’s territory, and not even one is medieval. In order to situate the medieval working class within the institutional context of the Paris cathedral chapter, it is therefore necessary to approach the archive differently, going against the grain. Numerous documents in the “central” archive, now distributed across several series in the Archives Nationales (AN) in Paris, contain information that could contribute to a material history of the medieval peasants who lived and worked on the “periphery.” Indeed, in some cases, “peripheral” agents are manifest in the “central” archive.

Notably, the chapter’s archive indicates the location of the canons’ rural property and suggests the institutional connections forged between the cathedral chapter and its villages. The archival foundations upon which this article rests are multifarious and date to several periods.[11] To understand how the medieval cathedral chapter conceived of its rural property, the most useful sources are the two codices comprising the chapter’s cartulary, known as the Petit Pastoral and the Grand Pastoral. The historian Benjamin Guérard published an edition of both volumes in 1850,[12] and the Archives Nationales in Paris holds the original manuscripts.[13] The two volumes reflect the chapter’s institutional memory as of the second half of the thirteenth century.

The Petit Pastoral dates to the mid-thirteenth century.[14] It is arranged hierarchically and emphasizes the chapter’s privileges and rights. The Grand Pastoral was apparently produced in the last quarter of the thirteenth century. It contains transcriptions of an assortment of documents⎯the originals dating to as early as the ninth century and as late as the 1270s⎯pertaining to the chapter’s rural property.[15] In his edition, Guérard did not date the manuscript precisely; however, based on the dates of the charters copied in it, it seems likely that the Grand Pastoral was compiled beginning in the 1280s. The compilers incorporated blank spaces and extra pages to facilitate additions, and, indeed, many entries are written in a later hand.

The Petit Pastoral is arranged hierarchically, with agreements associated with people of a particular status grouped together and presented in the following order: 1) popes; 2) sovereigns; 3) nobles; 4) bishops; 5) abbots; 6) regional administrators; 7) mendicants; 8) priests; and, most relevant to the study of the medieval working class, 9) serfs.[16] The Grand Pastoral is arranged geographically. The structure of the chapter’s cartulary was typical for its place and date of facture, except that instead of a single volume with two separate organizational systems, the hierarchically-arranged documents and the regionally-arranged material were divided into two separate codices.[17] Moreover, while some institutions had a separate “book of serfs,” the records that one might expect to find in such a codex appear in both the Petit and Grand Pastoraux, although they are largely concentrated in the latter, geographically-arranged volume.

While Patrick Geary has cautioned against speaking of a cartulary “author”⎯which would imply that a motivated subject composed it⎯favoring “compiler” instead, it does seem likely that events in the institutional history of the chapter may have stimulated its production.[18] Perhaps it is more than a coincidence that manumissions occupy a large portion of the cartulary’s contents⎯particularly the Grand Pastoral. In fact, it is possible that the manumission of many of the chapter’s serfs in the mid-thirteenth century necessitated the compilation of a new institutional reference work.[19]

The mere existence of the codices suggests that the chapter scrutinized its archive in the thirteenth century, consolidating its loose charters into tidy volumes composed in modern, formal, and clearly-legible Gothic script. The volumes remained in the capitular archive until they were seized after the cathedral chapter was suppressed in 1789, its property certified biens nationaux in 1790.[20] In 1850, Guérard published the majority of the chapter’s cartulary alongside several other codices associated with the chapter and bishop of Paris.[21] While there are lacunae in Guérard’s edition, it is nevertheless an indispensable source when used in concert with the cartulary itself.

Moreover, chronologically-arranged capitular registers survive for most of the period from 1326 to the late eighteenth century.[22] They document attendance and the acts performed at Paris cathedral chapter meetings. Over the course of forty years, the eighteenth-century capitular archivist Jean-Claude Sarasin transcribed the registers, resulting in an index rightly recognized as the archivist’s magnum opus, making it possible for future scholars, myself included, to consult the registers with greater ease.[23] Sarasin arranged the capitular acts geographically, thematically, and then chronologically, introducing a new system distinct from the original chronological arrangement, thereby rendering the registers more accessible as reference works.[24]

While none of the records in the chapter’s cartulary or registers are written from their point of view, noting instances in which peasants and the places where they lived appear in the chapter’s archive provides a documentary foundation for considering the place of the medieval working class in the land of the Paris cathedral chapter. Above all, the sense of place that emerges from a systematic analysis of the chapter’s archive is a framework that medieval peasants, both free and unfree, undoubtedly would have recognized.


The Land of the Paris Cathedral Chapter

Together, the Petit Pastoral, Grand Pastoral, and capitular registers reveal that, for much of the Middle Ages, the Paris cathedral chapter owned land throughout the Île-de-France, where it exercised both secular and sacred authority. Judging by the way it is defined in the archive, the chapter’s land was not a uniform, contiguous territory, but rather a mental construct with major material implications for, on the one hand, the peasants living on the chapter’s land and especially the serfs bound to it, and, on the other hand, the canons whose offices made them custodians and beneficiaries of this constellation of rural property.

The two nouns used in the chapter’s thirteenth-century cartulary pertinent to understanding how the chapter conceived of its rural property are villa and terra. The former referred to individual villages, and the latter indicated a category of places under direct capitular control. I will thus translate villa as “village” and terra as “land.” While the former might also be translated as “estate”—particularly in the context of its earliest appearances in Carolingian charters—by the thirteenth century, when the cartulary was compiled, the toponyms described places administered by local officials and composed of free and unfree people, thus adhering to the basic definition of a village.[25] Moreover, in each place, a parish church was constructed or rebuilt at some point between the ninth and fourteenth centuries, another hallmark of a village.

In the ninth century, the cathedral chapter’s land was concentrated tightly around the city of Paris. It expanded markedly in the tenth century to include villages in the regions of Brie and Vermandois. At the outset of the eleventh century, the chapter acquired the village of Larchant, a stone’s throw from Nemours and adjacent to the forest of Fontainebleau. By the twelfth century, the chapter’s land had essentially reached its fullest extent, although individual lords continued to sell off property to the chapter in or near these places over the course of the thirteenth century (Fig. 1).[26] Likewise defining the extent of the Paris cathedral chapter’s secular authority in the Île-de-France is a 1268 record indicating the places from which the cathedral canons drew their stipends: namely, Épône (6.5 prebends), Larchant (6 prebends), Vernou (6 prebends), Orly (5 prebends), Chevilly (5 prebends), Mitry and Mory (4.5 prebends), Sucy and Créteil (4 prebends), Rozay (3.5 prebends), Andrésy (3 prebends), Itteville (3 prebends), Corbreuse (2.5 prebends), Châtenay (2 prebends), and Viry (1 prebend).[27]

Fig. 1. Land of the Paris cathedral chapter, twelfth century.


The chapter’s territorial expansion from the ninth to the thirteenth century was due not only to the bishop of Paris, who ceded land to the chapter, but also ultimately to local lords who had sold property or made pro anima gifts in kind to the cathedral of Paris, thereby consolidating the chapter’s position in its land. The locations of the villages tended to be advantageous, containing fertile soil for the cultivation of grain (as in Chevilly) or wine (as in Andrésy), situated near vital natural resources, such as forests (as was the case of Vernou), or strategically positioned on the banks of the Seine, which flowed from the southeast to the northwest of Paris (Épône is a prime example).[28] And yet, the contours of the chapter’s land were largely accidental, subject to the whims of local lords, who opted to donate their estates to the Church of Paris.

Included in the gifts was the labor of serfs bound to work the land. Due to the uneven survival of archival documents, the medieval working class would be nearly impossible to treat through medieval archival sources alone. However, considering them in tandem with other forms of written sources, as well as material, artistic, and architectural evidence, makes it possible to recover additional traces of the medieval working class in the land of the Paris cathedral chapter.


Material Contrasts in the Paris Cathedral Treasury

The oldest documented object associated with the medieval working class in the land of the Paris cathedral chapter relates to two people bound to the village of Épône, already part of the chapter’s land in the tenth century. The object itself does not survive, and thus its authenticity cannot be confirmed definitively; however, two eighteenth-century antiquarian sources attest to its existence. In 1734, the historian and cleric Jean Lebeuf examined the Paris cathedral treasury that contained mostly shrines and other examples of precious metalwork. This repository was distinct from the one, inventoried in 1343, in which the chapter stored a subset of its devotional objects and non-liturgical manuscripts.[29] Lebeuf recorded the presence of a small piece of wood, tucked away among the sumptuous objects, whose inscription linked it to an event of centuries prior involving an encounter between, on the one hand, two serfs bound to the land in Épône and, on the other hand, the canons of the cathedral of Paris.[30] Moreover, the antiquarian description of the “curiosities” of the cathedral of Paris published by Claude-Pierre Gueffier in 1763 indicated that the object remained in the cathedral treasury when he wrote his own account.[31]

The exact shape of the wooden object is not entirely clear, but according to Lebeuf’s description and the accompanying illustration, it seems to have taken the form of a rectangular prism, or rod, measuring roughly six inches in length and one inch in thickness (Fig. 2).[32] The following Caroline minuscule inscription was carved into the wooden block across its four faces: “Ebrard and Hubert, of the village of Épône, serfs of Blessed Mary of Paris, with this rod have done right to Fulk, dean, in the chapter of Saint Mary for the acquisition of their ancestors that they had held without the canons’ permission.”[33] As the inscription indicated, the wooden rod stored in the Notre-Dame treasury in the eighteenth century was a material reminder of the fact that Ebrard and Hubert, two serfs of the Paris cathedral chapter bound to the land in Épône, had made amends for illicitly inheriting land without the common consent of the chapter.[34] The mention that they did so “without the canons’ permission” (“absque canonicorum permissione”) is laced with irony.[35] After all, had the two men requested permission from the chapter to inherit property, surely their request would have been denied, owing to their status as serfs.

Fig. 2. Graphic representation of the inscribed wooden rectangular prism, in Jean Lebeuf, Dissertations sur l’histoire ecclésiastique et civile de Paris, vol. 1 (1739), 90. Courtesy of the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF).


Neither Lebeuf nor Gueffier ventured to date the object. If, as seems most likely, the dean mentioned in the inscription was the same Fulk elected dean of the Paris cathedral chapter and eventually elected bishop of Paris, holding the latter office from 1102-1104, then the wooden rod probably dated to the last quarter of the eleventh century.[36] After the chapter elected Fulk bishop, a group of Parisians challenged the decision. The controversy reached Pope Paschal II, who ultimately confirmed Fulk’s election as bishop of Paris, a decision for which the canons expressed their gratitude.[37] The written sources offer no insight into whether Fulk’s humiliation tactics factored into the Parisian resistance against him, but surely Ebrard and Hubert never forgot them. Assuming the rod was authentic, it would have been presented to the chapter before the Gothic iteration of the cathedral of Paris was built, and thus the humble wooden object would have been transferred alongside charters and sumptuous objects from the old building to the new one and stored away in the cathedral treasury, where Lebeuf and Gueffier encountered it centuries later. The apparent preservation of this object, both from one building to the next and over many centuries, must be interpreted as an intentional act of preservation on the canons’ part, ostensibly retained as evidence of its authority in its territory beyond Paris.

Also emblematic of the chapter’s secular authority in its villages was another object discovered in the Notre-Dame of Paris treasury in the eighteenth century. When Lebeuf examined the treasury, in addition to the inscribed wooden rod associated with Épône, he likewise noted a gilded silver rod, roughly two-feet tall, which was held by one of the choirboys during liturgical celebrations.[38] Determined to explain the object for his readers, Lebeuf investigated the matter thoroughly. As he later explained, “I was informed by various people of the meaning of carrying this wand or sort of scepter, which is ornamented with embossed lilies, surmounted by an image of the Holy Virgin holding the Infant Christ, and terminating below with the figure of a crushed serpent. From what I gathered, this wand apparently designated the jurisdiction⎯although no one could tell me which jurisdiction, nor since when, nor how, nor at what point this sign had gone into effect.”[39]

Not yet satisfied with the explanation the canons themselves had provided, and intent on pursuing the matter, Lebeuf’s research led him to find answers to some of his questions in the Maurist scholar Jean Mabillon’s papers, collated posthumously by his student Edmond Martène.[40] After locating the key document and discussing it with Martène himself, Lebeuf explained that Louis VII, on his way back to Paris, had stayed overnight in the village of Créteil, another village in the land of the Paris cathedral chapter, at the expense of the local villagers. When the chapter received word of what had transpired, the canons interpreted the king’s actions as infringing on the chapter’s jurisdiction. The canons, duty-bound by their office to preserve the chapter’s rights, privileges, and immunities, were incensed. When, shortly thereafter, the king arrived at the cathedral to attend the divine office, as he occasionally did, he was surprised to find the door locked.[41] The clergy expressed their displeasure to the king. The sovereign, in turn, promised to repay the inhabitants of Créteil, offering the chapter two silver chandeliers as a guarantee. According to institutional legend, a rod was produced to commemorate the event. The one used ceremonially in the cathedral in the eighteenth century was not taken to be the original, but served, rather, as a “mark of the temporal jurisdiction of the chapter in the land of the chapter.”[42] As the story goes, Louis VII delivered the precious rod to the chapter to satisfy the canons after infringing on their rights by staying in Créteil at the expense of the local villagers.[43]

In Gueffier’s version of events, the wand with the Virgin Mary at one end and a serpent at the other supposedly dated to the seventeenth century, when it replaced the one that Louis VII had given the chapter in 1147 to settle a jurisdictional dispute between the chapter and the crown. Gueffier claimed that the act of justification was written on the rod, stipulating that it was “in memory of the liberties of the Church of Paris, and for this reason, the king, the bishop, and all the canons concurred that [the rod] would be carefully preserved.”[44] This event was undoubtedly linked to the privilege Louis VII granted the chapter in 1157, stipulating that the king would not demand the droit de gîte if he visited villages in the land of the Paris cathedral chapter.[45] Art historian Laura Gelfand has argued convincingly that the dispute and its resolution also left a material trace in the form of the tympanum carved for the cathedral of Paris in the mid-twelfth century and reused in the St. Anne portal in the early thirteenth century.[46]

In the two scenarios outlined above, the cathedral chapter compelled agents from either extreme of the social hierarchy to apologize to the dean and chapter of Paris.[47] The serfs, on the one hand, and the king, on the other, marked their acts of contrition with the tangible donation of a kind of rod. The donation associated with the two enserfed men was made of humble wood, and the one associated with the Capetian king was made of fine silver, but both symbolized the chapter’s authority, commemorated the apology associated with it, and healed the metaphorical “wound” inflicted upon the chapter’s rights and privileges.


The Medieval Working Class in the Grandes chroniques de France

The two treasury objects shed new light on an event involving members of the medieval working class that transpired in the canons’ cloister in 1251. The incident involved peasants of the village of Orly, a grain-producing area immediately south of Paris. As the French social historian Marc Bloch demonstrated more than a century ago, the event had become distorted by the early fourteenth century, when the Dionysian chronicler included it in a spectacular passage of the Grandes chroniques de France.[48] In lamenting the death of Blanche of Castile, the chronicler illustrated the departed regent’s active commitment to justice and her compassion for members of the working class by recounting the following episode:

Her death upset the common people, because she would not tolerate their exploitation by rich men, and she maintained justice very well. It happened that the canons of Paris took all the men of the villages of Orly and Châtenay and other neighboring villages that were held by their church, and put them in an enclosed prison, in the house of their chapter, and left them there without sustenance. [The canons] made the men suffer such discomfort that they were on the brink of death. When the queen learned of [the common men’s suffering], she asked [the canons] very humbly to release them on bond and inquired how the task would be carried out. The canons responded that she did not possess the right to know about their serfs and villeins, whom they could take and kill or [to whom they could] administer justice as they wished [emphasis added]. Then, right in front of the queen, the canons imprisoned [the wives and children of the men of Orly and Châtenay]; and they became so overheated that several of them died. When the queen learned of it, she expressed great pity for the people who were thus tormented by those responsible for setting an example and maintaining proper doctrine. She assembled her knights and her burghers, called them to arms, and dispatched them; and then went to the house of the chapter, where the people were imprisoned: she commanded her men to knock down the door and break it into pieces, and she made the first strike with a baton she was holding in her hand. As soon as she made the first blow, her entourage knocked the door to the ground and got the men and women out; and put them in the queen’s custody: and held the canons in such low regard that she took their temporal in her hand until they acquiesced to her will; and would never administer justice so boldly as they had dared to do it in the past; as such, [the serfs of Orly and Châtenay] were released by a sum of money that they paid annually to the chapter of Paris. This justice and many others the queen did well while her son was in the Holy Land.[49]

Marc Bloch interpreted the penultimate sentence in the passage above as implying that Blanche of Castile had received credit for leading to the manumission of the cathedral chapter’s serfs.[50] Bloch’s study demonstrated that changing attitudes within the chapter itself⎯due in large part to the serfs’ own active resistance—was the main impetus for manumitting many of its serfs. Moreover, in Orly, it was well after Blanche of Castile’s death that the chapter permitted its serfs to purchase their freedom.

The chronicler’s reference to the cathedral chapter’s alleged conviction that they had the authority to do as they pleased with their serfs and villeins, retaining the right not only to imprison them, but even to kill them, portrayed the cathedral canons not only as lords over serfs, but effectively as enslavers, according to the distinction Pierre Dockès drew between slaves in Roman antiquity and serfs in medieval Europe.[51] On this point and others⎯including the image of Blanche herself wielding a club at the entrance to the canons’ cloister⎯the event was apparently dramatized to the point that the story entered the realm of the apocryphal.

Allusions to a prison located in the cloister and the chapter’s imprisonment of its serfs and villeins both loom large in the account. As it turns out, arrest and imprisonment are recurring themes in the chronicle. In fact, the claim that the chapter imprisoned its serfs and villeins in an inhumane fashion closely resembles the chronicler’s accusations against Jews of the royal domain,[52] Muslims of the Ayyubid dynasty,[53] and the Holy Roman Emperor,[54] among others. Of course, the chronicle is hardly a disinterested account, and the passages in which the chronicler accuses one group of arresting, imprisoning, or even murdering another are neither universally reliable nor wholly unreliable. Whereas, for example, its incendiary claim that members of the local Jewish community arrested and crucified a Christian during the reign of Philip Augustus is patently false, some of the actions the chronicle attributes to the Ayyubids in the context of the Crusades are more historically accurate.

How, then, might we evaluate the passage alleging that members of the Paris cathedral chapter arrested and imprisoned its serfs bound to Orly and Châtenay, even allowing some of them to die of overheating? Archival evidence external to the cathedral chapter confirms that an event along the lines of the one recorded in the Grandes chroniques did, indeed, take place.[55] However, there is reason to be skeptical about the reasoning behind Blanche of Castile’s actions. On the surface motivated by her sense of justice and her benevolence toward the “common people,” it may be more than a coincidence that her merciful act took place shortly after Louis IX was captured and ransomed by the Ayyubids, leaving thousands of crusaders behind as captives in Mansoura. We cannot rule out the possibility that the regent sought to call attention to the cathedral chapter’s harsh treatment of its peasants, in part, to deflect attention away from her son’s defeat and the subsequent imprisonment of his forces in Egypt.

Moreover, the clash was only nominally about the chapter’s treatment of its serfs. If anything, Blanche used members of the medieval working class as pawns in a concerted effort to challenge the immunity of the canons’ cloister and, by extension, the chapter’s jurisdiction there and in its land elsewhere in Paris and beyond.[56] In other words, Blanche undoubtedly chose to infiltrate the cloister because it was immune, not in spite of it.[57] The chapter, in turn, interpreted the intrusion as a spectacular challenge to its longstanding rights and privileges⎯and the immunity of its cloister, in particular.[58] While the chapter gave in to the regent’s specific demand to release the imprisoned peasants, it ultimately preserved the immunity of the cloister⎯and the chapter’s other rights and privileges⎯in accordance with the canons’ mandate. When each canon took office, he swore an oath to the dean and chapter promising to uphold the rights, freedoms, votes, exemptions, privileges, statutes, and customs of the cathedral and chapter; to preserve the immunity of the cloister; and to maintain the secrecy of chapter meetings[59]. Despite the altercation between the regent and the cathedral chapter, the rift between them was fleeting; following her death, the departed queen was commemorated annually in the liturgy of Notre-Dame of Paris.[60]

The Grand Pastoral, compiled in the last quarter of the thirteenth century, reinforces the notion that the canons were responsible for administering justice in its territories and foregrounds the manumission of many of the chapter’s serfs.[61] Book One (liber primus) of the codex is devoted entirely to Orly, and its opening pages contain the text of the general manumission of the serfs of Orly, copied from an original document signed on May 1263.[62] The production of the Grand Pastoral required the assembly and painstaking copying of documents in the chapter’s archive, some of which dated back to the eleventh century, a larger number to the twelfth century, and most from the middle of the thirteenth century⎯that is, the recent past. In fact, the organization of the codex suggests that recording and keeping track of the numerous manumissions the chapter had recently permitted (and for which the serfs had paid dearly) was one impetus for producing the new volume in the last quarter of the thirteenth century. In other words, the chapter’s relationship to the peasants formerly attached to its land changed so significantly in the second half of the thirteenth century that the institution apparently required an updated written record.

Notably, when serfs paid for their manumission, the funds entered the coffers of the church and would have been made available for building campaigns. This act coincided roughly with the construction of the Porte Rouge, which led from the north side of the cathedral into the canons’ cloister. If “gold was the mortar,” to borrow Henry Kraus’s evocative expression, then the 2,033 serfs manumitted in Orly and nearby Châtenay, Chevilly, L’Haÿ, Bagneux, Créteil, and Sucy between 1242 and 1323 supplied funds that helped bind the dressed stones of the canons’ cloister and the contemporaneous retrofit of the cathedral itself.[63]


Representing Peasant Labor at Notre-Dame of Paris and Saint-Germain of Andrésy

The cathedral chapter’s harsh treatment of some of its serfs in the mid-thirteenth century contrasts starkly with the idealized way in which the medieval working class was portrayed in the thirteenth-century sculptural ensemble and stained-glass program at the west end of the cathedral of Paris. The jambs on either side of the doors of the Coronation of the Virgin portal, on the north side of the western frontispiece, feature signs of the Zodiac on the front and the Labors of the Months on the side facing inward toward the trumeau, marking the transition between exterior and interior, and thus secular and sacred space (Fig. 3).[64] To the right of the entrance, for example, a female figure holding a scale is paired with a male figure standing inside a wooden barrel that comes up to his thighs (Fig. 4). His left hand is raised, and the cane in his right hand helps him maintain his balance within the barrel. Personifying the month of September and shown stomping grapes, the figure wears a cotte, cinched at the waist.[65] While the garment is associated with farm laborers, the iteration carved on the cathedral portal is draped elegantly in loose, linear folds, not unlike the garment worn by the pendant to this carving, the personification of Libra, who holds in her hands a set of scales, so often associated with justice.

Fig. 3. Paris, Notre-Dame, western frontispiece, north portal, right embrasure. Photo by Andrew Tallon. Image courtesy of the Mapping Gothic Project, Media Center for Art History, Columbia University. © The Trustees of Columbia University, 2011.


Fig. 4. Paris, Notre-Dame, western frontispiece, north portal, right embrasure, September (left) and Libra (right). Photo by Andrew Tallon. Image courtesy of the Mapping Gothic Project, Media Center for Art History, Columbia University. © The Trustees of Columbia University, 2011.


Fig. 5. Paris, Notre-Dame, west rose. Photo by Christian Dumolard and Cyril Preiss. <>.


The same pairing appears again in the stained glass of the west rose window above the three monumental portals (Fig. 5).[66] A roundel toward the outer edge of the rose window depicts a female personification holding a balance with both hands, her head cocked to the left side of the roundel, and her body fully covered with a floor-length, reddish-brown garment that is gathered at the waist (Fig. 6). The drapery falls in loose folds, pooling and flaring out at the bottom. Next to the roundel containing the representation of Libra is a quatrefoil in the outermost ring of the same rose window featuring a representation of the month of September. A male figure wearing a bright red, knee-length tunic is shown inside a wooden barrel, with his left hand on his hip and his right hand grasping a long, thin staff that appears to support some of his weight. The presence of two schematic grape vines, one on either side of the central figure, the placement of the figure’s legs, and the energetic folds of his drapery indicate that the figure is in the process of treading grapes. While the west rose undoubtedly contained similar iconography when it was originally glazed in the thirteenth century, the September panel is entirely modern, and the head, right arm, hands, and lower portion of the garment in the Libra panel are likewise replacements.[67]

Fig. 6. Paris, Notre-Dame, west rose, Libra (upper left) and September (lower right), thirteenth and nineteenth century. Photo by Christian Dumolard and Cyril Preiss. <>.


Both the medieval and modern figures representing the month of September at Notre-Dame are shown pressing wine by foot, the labor-intensive method used in the Middle Ages to produce wine of the highest quality.[68] And yet, the elegant twist of both bodies makes the figures appear graceful and almost weightless.[69] The idealized depiction of peasant labor at the cathedral contrasts starkly with the actual labor performed by medieval peasants, both free and unfree, in the land of the cathedral chapter in the thirteenth century and beyond. For example, if the serfs the chapter imprisoned in the mid-thirteenth century were to have laid eyes on the freshly sculpted and glazed Labors of the Months at the west end of the cathedral, apart from the cut of their clothes and the shape of their tools, undoubtedly they would not have seen their lived experience reflected there.

The winemaking process is depicted in greater detail in the much later, sixteenth-century glass of the parish church Saint-Germain in Andrésy, located on the Seine River northwest of Paris. In the Middle Ages, Andrésy was known specifically for its wine, and, from the ninth century until 1790, the village was in the land of the Paris cathedral chapter. In the background of a stained-glass window at the east end of the south aisle of the church depicting the pilgrims on the road to Emmaus, three scenes illustrate steps in the winemaking process and suggest the symbolic function of wine in the context of the Christian sacred space (Fig. 7). After all, the window is positioned adjacent to the sanctuary, where the Eucharistic sacrament took place.

Fig. 7. Andrésy, Saint-Germain, south aisle, east end, sixteenth century. Photo by Lindsay Cook.


At left, three peasants are depicted harvesting grapes. One figure appears in profile, kneeling on the ground and concentrating on the neat rows of grapevines before his eyes. His arms and lower body are obscured by a second kneeling figure, a bearded man wearing a simple tunic, leggings, and a wide-brimmed hat. He is hunched over, with his left arm extended to pick a grape, ostensibly destined for the shallow woven basket on the ground off to his left. Unlike the rest of the figures in the window, who appear absorbed in their work, this figure turns his head 90 degrees to the left, as if to meet the viewer’s gaze. A third figure carries the harvested grapes on his back in a conical woven basket. The figure’s hunched posture and his reliance on a walking stick establish the considerable weight of the parcel. As in the sculptural program and glass at the west end of Notre-Dame of Paris, here, too, the figures’ bodies are shown in motion, except not as if in a balletic attitude, but rather engaged in the kind of repetitive, back-breaking labor members of the agricultural working class in Andrésy actually performed in the course of the winemaking process.

And yet, as Deirdre Jackson reminds us, “medieval illustrations of laborers are not, of course, straightforward reflections of historical realities.”[70] Indeed, the other two compositional clusters in the same window suggest that the whole window is highly symbolic and informed by longstanding Eucharistic imagery.[71] At right, a putto treads grapes next to a woman wearing classicizing drapery, apparently a reference to Bacchic scenes, such as those seen on Late Antique sarcophagi, or in Early Christian variants with a Eucharistic valence, such as the well-known mosaic in the ambulatory of the Church of Santa Costanza in Rome (Fig. 8). In the upper left of the window at the east end of Saint-Germain of Andrésy, symbols of the four evangelists are yoked to a cart, transporting from the countryside a cask of wine, surmounted by a dove that symbolizes the Holy Spirit.[72] Overall, the composition pairs a realistic depiction of peasant labor, like the kind actually performed steps from the church in Andrésy, with its sacramental fruits: that is, the wine transformed into the blood of Christ in the context of the Eucharist.[73] The inhabitants of Andrésy who sought permission in 1517 from representatives of the Paris cathedral chapter to expand (“dilatare”) their parish church ultimately hired glass painters who had apparently observed the winemaking process closely enough for local agricultural workers to see their hard work reflected in the windows of their village church.[74]

Fig. 8. Rome, Church of Santa Costanza, ambulatory vault, mosaics, fourth century. Photo by Brad Hostetler (CC BY 2.0).


At both Notre-Dame of Paris and Saint-Germain of Andrésy, the depictions of winemaking followed stylistic conventions of the thirteenth and sixteenth century, respectively; responded to the iconographic tradition; and, in light of their Eucharistic connotations, also bore symbolic meaning. However, the emphasis differs between the two. At the cathedral, the representation of winemaking is idealized, prizing the fruits of peasant labor yet concealing the difficulty of the work itself, whereas the depiction at Andrésy fleshes out additional steps in the winemaking process and indicates the physical toll it took on the bodies of members of the medieval working class to harvest the grapes and press them by foot before the resulting wine could be transported to Paris.


Architectural Citation and Power in the Land of the Cathedral Chapter

Architectural historians have long argued that architectural likeness projected medieval institutional power, whether monastic (Cluny is the classic example),[75] royal (one thinks of the twelfth-century copies of the Saint-Denis and Saint-Germain-des-Prés chevets or the copies of the upper chapel of the Sainte-Chapelle from St. Stephen’s Chapel Westminster to the addition of c. 1300 to the palatine chapel in Aachen),[76] or secular ecclesiastical (as in the ubiquitous architectural rivalries between cathedrals). Some scholars have proposed that the Paris cathedral chapter projected its power in the same way. For example, noting the striking visual similarities between Notre-Dame of Paris and Saint-Mathurin of Larchant, a parish and pilgrimage church in the land of the Paris cathedral chapter, architectural historians Dieter Kimpel and Robert Suckale explicitly stated and Michel Lheure tacitly implied that the church resembled Notre-Dame of Paris because it “depended upon” the Paris cathedral chapter.[77] The evidence presented above challenges this interpretation of the ecclesiastical architecture in the land of the Paris cathedral chapter, where Christian members of the working class were baptized, married, and occasionally received the Eucharist.

To be sure, Saint-Mathurin of Larchant cited the Gothic cathedral of Paris on multiple occasions. The similarities are visible in the exterior articulation of the chevets, the articulation of both buildings’ crossing piers, the molding profiles of their high capitals, elements of their monumental sculptural programs, and the articulation of their tracery, gables, and dado arcades (Figs. 9-10). The citations occurred punctually at Larchant over hundreds of years, from the 1170s to around 1350.[78] There is no doubt that the Paris cathedral chapter had a hand in shaping the magnificence of Saint-Mathurin of Larchant. But in the context of the land of the cathedral chapter, the church in Larchant is the exception, not the rule. Composed of ashlar blocks, thin stone vaults, and elegant tracery, it is, by far, the grandest of all the churches in the villages subject to the chapter’s secular and sacred authority.

Fig. 9. Paris, Notre-Dame, east end. Photo by Stephen Murray. Image courtesy of the Mapping Gothic Project, Media Center for Art History, Columbia University. ©The Trustees of Columbia University, 2011.


Fig. 10. Larchant, Saint-Mathurin, east end. Photo by Stephen Murray. Image courtesy of the Mapping Gothic Project, Media Center for Art History, Columbia University. © The Trustees of Columbia University, 2011.


If expressing power were the primary impetus for forging architectural likeness, then we would expect to find numerous architectural citations of the cathedral of Paris in, for example, the places the Grandes chroniques made infamous: namely, Orly, Châtenay, and nearby Chevilly, where the medieval working class challenged the chapter’s authority in the thirteenth century. And yet, unlike Notre-Dame of Paris and Saint-Mathurin of Larchant, the churches Saint-Germain of Orly, Saint-Lubin of Châtenay, and Sainte-Colombe of Chevilly all feature rubblework walls and unvaulted naves with exposed timber roofs (Figs. 11-13). Only the columnar piers in the nave of Saint-Lubin of Châtenay bear any resemblance to Notre-Dame of Paris. In other words, the chapter did not employ the oblique tool of architectural citation to assert its power and maintain the status quo. Instead, it exerted its authority over the inhabitants of its land, directly.

Fig. 11. Orly, Saint-Germain, west end (CC BY-SA 4.0).


Fig. 12. Châtenay, Saint-Lubin, nave. Photo by Pierre Poschadel (CC BY-SA 4.0).


Fig. 13. Chevilly, Sainte-Colombe, nave. Photo by Lindsay Cook.


With respect to architecture, the chapter seems to have effectively divided its property into two categories: 1) development opportunities and 2) resources. In places fitting both descriptions, the chapter’s provosts, prebendary canons, and their agents administered justice and maintained rural residences and granaries. In the places provosts and prebends identified for development, the chapter permitted the churchwardens of wealthy parish churches like Saint-Mathurin of Larchant and Saint-Germain of Andrésy to construct magnificent buildings. The chapter likewise maintained its grip on power in places marked as resources. Indeed, even after permitting its serfs in these places to purchase their freedom, manumissions dutifully recorded in the Grand Pastoral, the chapter continued to rely upon revenues derived from these locales and levied extraordinary taxes.



Despite the relative silence of the medieval working class in the making of sources, archives, and narratives, some of the peasants who lived and worked in the land of the Paris cathedral chapter between the ninth century and 1790 did leave a trace in the textual, material, artistic, or architectural record. In reconciling all four types of evidence, it becomes clear that members of the medieval working class gave shape to the Paris cathedral chapter’s territory, made its land productive, were subject to its authority, and helped fund its building campaigns. In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, they were also used as pawns in jurisdictional disputes between church and state. In return, it had long been argued, the chapter purportedly adorned its villages with magnificent architecture in the form of miniature Notre-Dames. However, as I have shown, the villages where the chapter maintained a particularly strong grip on power are the places containing churches that least resemble the cathedral of Paris, not only calling into question the idea that architectural likeness reflected “dependency,” but also challenging the very notion that the villages depended upon the cathedral chapter. If anything, it was the other way around.



1 My thanks to Diane Wolfthal, fellow contributors to this special issue, and the anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments, as well as to Alexander K. Harper, Maile Hutterer, Stephen Murray, and Avinoam Shalem, whose feedback on earlier drafts helped shape this essay.

Trouillot, Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (Boston: Beacon Press, 1995), 26. In his influential book deconstructing the writing of history, Trouillot draws a distinction between historical agents, actors, and subjects. See Trouillot, 23.

2 Writing in the eighteenth century, Jean Lebeuf applied the ambiguous term “dependency” (“dépendance”) to characterize the landholdings of medieval ecclesiastical institutions, including the Church of Paris. See, for example, Lebeuf, Dissertations sur l’histoire écclesiastique et civile de Paris, suivies de plusieurs éclaircissemens sur l’histoire de France, vol. 1 (Paris: Lambert & Durand, 1739), 99. At the time Lebeuf was writing, the term dépendance would already be bound up with the history of French colonialism. For a cogent discussion of the way the notion of “dépendance coloniale” was deployed in the following century, see Myriam Cottias, “Esclavage, assimilation et dépendance: essai sur une relation colonial,” Cahiers du Centre de recherches historiques 40 (2007): 143-161. The concept of dependency also underpinned Marc Bloch’s notion of “feudalism.” See Marc Bloch, La société féodale: la formation des liens de dépendance (Paris: A. Michel, 1939). Elizabeth A. R. Brown later published a decisive challenge to the framework: “The Tyranny of a Construct: Feudalism and Historians of Medieval Europe,” American Historical Review 79 (1974): 1063-1088, and yet the notion of dependency persists. For an overview of the use of the term in historical writing, see Maurice Aymard, “Dépendance(s): circulation et usages d’un mot entre l’histoire et les sciences sociales,” Cahiers du Centre de recherches historiques 40 (2007): 7-14.
3 Marc Bloch, Blanche de Castille et les serfs du chapitre de Paris (Paris: H. Champion, 1911).
4 Schapiro, “From Mozarabic to Romanesque in Silos,” The Art Bulletin 21, no. 4 (December 1939): 313-374. For historiographic context, demonstrating what an outlier Schapiro’s approach was in the 1930s, see Otto Karl Werckmeister, “Jugglers in a Monastery” Oxford Art Journal 17, no. 1 (1994): 60-64; and Michael Camille, “‘How New York Stole the Idea of Romanesque Art’: Modern and Postmodern in Meyer Schapiro,” Oxford Art Journal 17, No. 1 (1994): 65-75.
5 Kraus, Gold Was the Mortar: The Economics of Cathedral Building (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1979).
6 Camille, “Labouring for the Lord: The Ploughman and the Social Order in the Luttrell Psalter,” Art History 10, no. 4 (December 1987): 423-454; Camille, Image on the Edge: The Margins of Medieval Art (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1992).
7 Alexander, “Labeur and Paresse: Ideological Representations of Medieval Peasant Labor,” The Art Bulletin 72, no. 3 (1990): 436-452.
8 Williams, Bread, Wine, & Money: The Windows of the Trades at Chartres Cathedral (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993).
9 Abou-El-Haj, “The Structure of Meaning: Architectural Representations in the Later Middle Ages,” Studies in Iconography 25 (2004): 129-171.
10 Rowe, The Jew, the Cathedral and the Medieval City: Synagoga and Ecclesia in the Thirteenth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011).
11 There are several excellent studies of the chapter’s archive and library. See Charles Samaran, “Les archives et la bibliothèque du chapitre de Notre-Dame,” Revue d’histoire de l’Église de France 50, no. 147 (1964): 99-107. Samaran vividly describes the dispersal of the capitular archive after the Revolution of 1789. After careful scrutiny of the documents by the archivist Pavillet inside a house in the canons’ cloister, the documents were dispersed in the AN, separated across the L, LL, S, and H series. The fate of the chapter’s library is another story, likewise compelling. In order to pay for the construction of the sacristy designed by Soufflot, the chapter sold its medieval manuscripts (at this point of primarily antiquarian interest) to the king for a hefty sum. See Samaran, 105-106.  See also Charlotte Denoël, “Le fonds des manuscrits latins de Notre-Dame de Paris à la Bibliothèque nationale de France,” Scriptorium 58, no. 2 (2004): 131-173. On the mnemonic function of charters, see Georges Declercq, “Originals and Cartulaires: The Organization of Archival Memory (Ninth-Eleventh Centuries),” in Charters and the Use of the Written Word in Medieval Society, ed. K. Heidecker (Turnhout: Brepols, 2000), 147-170.
12 Benjamin Guérard, ed., Cartulaire de l’église Notre-Dame de Paris, 4 vols. (Paris: Crapelet, 1850).
13 AN LL//76 is the Grand Pastoral, and AN LL//77 is the Petit Pastoral.
14 Guérard, ed., Cartulaire de l’église Notre-Dame de Paris, vol. 1, ii.
15 The Grand Pastoral (AN LL//76) is organized into books (libri), mostly arranged geographically, with a few thematic sections toward the conclusion of the codex. A table of contents appears at the beginning, in which the short description of each item is assigned a number that corresponds to the more complete description in the body of the book.
16 Temporal regional administrators were known as “provosts.” Ecclesiastical regional administrators were called “deans.”
17 On the “typical” arrangement of late medieval cartularies, see Declercq, “Originals and Cartulaires: The Organization of Archival Memory (Ninth-Eleventh Centuries)” (2000), 160.
18 Patrick J. Geary, “‘Auctor’ et ‘auctoritas’ dans les cartulaires du haut Moyen Âge,” in Auctor et auctoritas (Paris: École des chartes, 2001), 61.
19 Helpful for understanding the impetus for the creation of a new cartulary is the study of the abandoned project to compose a new cartulary for Lincoln Cathedral at the end of the thirteenth century. See David Walker, “The organization of material in medieval cartularies,” in The Study of Medieval Records: Essays in Honour of Kathleen Major, ed. D.A. Bullough and R.L. Storey (Oxford: Clarendon, 1971), 149-150.
20 The division of the chapter’s archive along a spiritual-temporal binary, as it is currently configured in the AN, disrupted the organization that had been in force throughout the “Ancien Régime,” when, as the cartularies demonstrate, temporal and spiritual authority were thoroughly intermingled, organized hierarchically and geographically, but not in terms that suggest the chapter saw its temporal authority as entirely distinct from its spiritual authority in its land.
21 Benjamin Guérard, ed., Cartulaire de l’église Notre-Dame de Paris, 4 vols. (Paris: Crapelet, 1850). The first half of the first volume contains a cartulary originally in the possession of the bishop of Paris (BNF Ms. Lat. 5526). The second half of the first volume contains the Petit Pastoral, formerly in the chapter’s possession (AN LL//77). The second volume contains most of the Grand Pastoral, likewise previously in the chapter’s possession (AN LL//76). The third volume contains the Grand cartulaire. The fourth volume presents a copy of the obituary of Notre-Dame of Paris (BNF Ms. Lat. 15439).
22 AN LL//105.
23 While the index of this repertoire features the spelling “Sarrazin,” modern scholarship has opted for the spelling “Sarasin,” and thus I likewise employ the latter spelling. Sarasin, installed as a Paris cathedral canon in 1715, held a prebend from Larchant. See François Léon Chartier, L’ancien Chapitre de Notre-Dame de Paris et sa maîtrise d’après les documents capitulaires (1326-1790) (Paris: Didier, 1897), 5-6; Léon le Grant, “Claude Sarrasin, intendant des archives du chapitre de Notre-Dame de Paris et sa collection d’extraits des registres capitulaires de Notre-Dame,” in Le Biographe Moderne (1900), 333-371; and Robert Gane, Le Chapitre de Notre-Dame de Paris au XIVe siècle: étude sociale d’un groupe canonial, ed. Claudine Billot (Saint-Étienne: Publications de l’Université de Saint-Étienne, 1999), 20n3, 234.
24 AN LL//233-354. The original registers are conserved in the range AN LL//105-232-42.
25 On the transformation from villa to village from the early Middle Ages to the Carolingian period, see Riccardo Francovich, From Villa to Village: Transformation of the Roman Countryside in Italy, c. 400-1000 (London: Duckworth, 2003).
26 Cf. the property of the Augustinian abbey of Saint-Jean-des-Vignes in Sheila Bonde, Edward Boyden, and Clark Maines, “Le développement du domaine de l’abbaye augustinienne de Saint-Jean-des-Vignes à Soissons,” in L’environnement des églises et la topographie religieuse des campagnes médiévales: actes du IIIe congrès international d’archéologie médiévale (Paris: Éditions de la Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, 1994), 156-167.
27 Guérard, ed., Cartulaire de l’église Notre-Dame de Paris, vol. 2, 434-435. To maintain the map’s overall legibility, the only place not shown on the map in figure 1 is Viry, located in distant Vermandois, northeast of Mitry and Mory. Viry is part of present-day Viry-Noureuil.
28 See Pierre-Henri Guittonneau, Dans l’ombre de la capitale (Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2015), 355-473.
29 The only rod mentioned in the 1343 inventory is one associated with St. Victor (baculus sancti Victoris). AN LL//92.
30 Lebeuf, Dissertations, vol. 1 (1739), 86, 89-91. [“Le couteau dont je viens de parler, n’est pas la seule antiquité de ce genre que j’aye vû en 1734, dans les armoires de l’argenterie de l’Eglise de Paris. J’apperçus au même lieu un morceau de bois long d’un demi pied, épais d’un pouce ou environ, & taillé à quatre faces.”]
31 Gueffier, Description historique des curiosités de l’Église de Paris (Paris: C. P. Gueffier, 1763). While it is tempting to view Gueffier’s account as corroboration of Lebeuf’s eyewitness testimony, it is also possible that Gueffier cribbed the anecdote from the first volume of Lebeuf’s Dissertations.
32 Lebeuf, Dissertations, vol. 1 (1739), 89-91; Encyclopédie du dix neuvième siècle, ed. A. de Saint-Priest (Paris, 1838), 433; Gueffier, Description historique (1763), 274.
33 Lebeuf, Dissertations, vol. 1 (1739), 90. My translation.
34 Gueffier interpreted the object as a repair, offered in person to the dean and chapter: “Ce morceau de bois est une réparation & excuse que deux Serfs de l’Eglise de Notre-Dame de Paris, demeurans à Epone, Terre située au diocèse de Chartres, entre Meulan & Mantes, & qui appartient encore à l’Eglise de Paris, firent en plein Chapitre, entre les mains du Doyen Foulques, pour s’être mis, sans l’agrément du Chapitre, en possession des biens qu’avoient gagnés leurs pere & mere.” Gueffier, Description historique (1763), 275.
35 Lebeuf, Dissertations, vol. 1 (1739), 90.
36 The name Ebrardus was in use in the eleventh century in the diocese of Chartres, where Épône was located. See, for example, Benjamin Guérard, ed., Cartulaire de l’abbaye de Saint-Père de Chartres, vol. 1 (Paris: Crapelet, 1840), 59.
37 See Robert de Lasteyrie, Cartulaire général de Paris, vol. 1 (Paris: Imprimérie nationale, 1887), 154-157. Some of Fulk’s acts as dean are preserved in the Petit Pastoral of Notre-Dame of Paris. See Guérard, ed., Cartulaire de l’église Notre-Dame de Paris, vol. 1 (1850), 305-306, 309-310, 340-344, 372-373, 448. One late-eleventh-century letter signed by the dean was also copied in the Grand Pastoral toward the end of the thirteenth century. See Guérard, ed., Cartulaire de l’église Notre-Dame de Paris, vol. 2 (1850), 15-16. Regarding other disputes between the inhabitants of Épône and Paris cathedral canons, see Lheure, Le Rayonnement de Notre-Dame de Paris dans ses paroisses (Paris: Picard, 2010), 208.
38 Lebeuf, Dissertations, vol. 1 (1739), 93. Cf. Encyclopédie du dix neuvième siècle, ed. A. de Saint-Priest (Paris, 1838), 433.
39 Lebeuf, Dissertations, vol. 1 (1739), 93. [“Je m’étois informé à différentes personnes de ce que signifioit le port de cette baguette, ou espece de sceptre qui est orné de fleurs de lis en bosse, surmonté d’une image de la Sainte Vierge, tenant l’Enfant Jesus, & terminé en bas par la figure d’un serpent écrasé. Tous ce que j’en avois pû apprendre, étoit que cette baguette désignoit la jurisdiction, sans qu’on eût pû me dire quelle jurisdiction, ni depuis quand, ni comment, ni à quelle occasion ce signe avoit été mis en usage.”]
40 Lebeuf, Dissertations, vol. 1 (1739), 93-94.
41 At this date, the cathedral the king would have visited was the previous edifice, not the building begun around 1160.
42 Lebeuf, Dissertations, vol. 1 (1739), 99. [“…une marque de la Jurisdiction temporelle du Chapitre sur les terres de sa dépendance.”]
43 Lebeuf, Dissertations, vol. 1 (1739), 94-99.
44 Gueffier, Description historique (1763), 298. [“en mémoire des libertés de l’Eglise de Paris, & pour cette raison, le Roi, l’Evêque, & tous les Chanoines convinrent qu’elle seroit conservée très soigneusement.”] Neither the wooden nor the silver rod was included in the treasury inventory of 1343. This is not proof of absence, however, as the shrine of St. Marcel, for example, did not appear in the same inventory. The 1343 inventory is a precious document, but it is not an exhaustive list of the objects in the cathedral’s custody in the fourteenth century. Moreover, by the time Gueffier published his inventory, the construction of the new choir had uprooted many medieval funereal effigies and monuments, whose contents had been deposited in the treasury. See G. Fagniez, “Inventaires du trésor de Notre-Dame de Paris: Inventaire de 1343,” Revue archéologique 27, no. 1 (1874): 250-259.
45 Guérard, ed., Cartulaire de l’église Notre-Dame de Paris, vol. 1 (1850), cxxx. See also Guérard, ed., Cartulaire de l’église Notre-Dame de Paris, vol. 3 (1850), 437; Gane, Le chapitre de Notre-Dame de Paris au XIVe siècle (1999), 52.
46 Gelfand, “A New Reading of the Tympanum of the Ste.-Anne Portal of Notre-Dame in Paris,” Gazette des Beaux-Arts 140 (November 2002): 249-260.
47 The organization of the Petit Pastoral reflects the chapter’s understanding of the social hierarchy.
48 Marc Bloch, Blanche de Castille et les serfs du chapitre de Paris (Paris: H. Champion, 1911).
49 Paulin Paris, ed., Les grandes chroniques de France, vol. 4 (Paris: Techener, 1838), 331-332. My translation. [“De sa mort fu troublé le menu peuple, car elle n’avoit que faire que il fussent défoulés des riches hommes, et gardoit très bien justice. Dont il avint que les chanoines de Paris prirent tous les hommes de la ville d’Oly et de Chastenay et d’autres villes voisines qui estoient de leur églyse tenans, et les mistrent en prison fermée, en la maison de leur chapitre et les laissèrent illec sans avoir soustenance. Tant leur firent souffrir de mésaise que il estoient ainsi comme au mourir. Quant la royne le sot, si leur requist moult humblement que il les délivrassent par pleiges, et que volentiers en enquerroit coment la besoingne seroit adreciée. Les chanoines respondirent que à elle n’appartenoit point de congnoistre de leur serfs et de leur villains, lesquels il povoient prendre et occire ou faire telle justice comme il vouldroient. Pour tant comme plainte en fust faicte devant la royne, les chanoines emprisonnèrent leur femmes et leur enfans ; et furent en si grant malaise de la chaleur que il avoient les uns des autres, que pluseurs en furent mort. Quant la royne le sot si ot moult grant pitié du peuple qui estoit si tourmenté de ceux qui garder les devoient et monstrer exemple et bonne doctrine. Si manda ses chevaliers et ses bourgeois, et les fist armer, et se mist à la voie ; et puis vint à la maison du chapitre, où le peuple estoit emprisonné : si commanda à ses hommes qu’il abatissent la porte et despeçassent, et féri le premier cop d’un baston que elle tenoit en sa main. Tantost qu’elle ot féru le premier cop, sa gent tresbuchièrent la porte à terre et mirent hors hommes et les femmes ; et les mist la royne en sa garde : et tint les chanoines en si grant despit que elle prist leur temporel en sa main jusques à tant qu’il l’eussent amendé à sa volonté ; et ne furent point puis si hardis que il osassent justicier ; ainsois furent franchis par une somme d’argent qu’il en donnent chascun an au chapitre de Paris. Celle justice et maint autre la royne fist bonnement tant comme son fils fu en la saincte terre.”]
50 Bloch, Blanche de Castille et les serfs (1911), 11.
51 Pierre Dockès, Medieval Slavery and Liberation, trans. Arthur Goldhammer (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1982), 4. Dockès used the term slave to refer to servile laborers from Roman antiquity and up to the Carolingian period. See, for instance, Dockès, 10. The author presented “serfdom” as a process of social homogenization, where, on the one hand, slaves achieved a greater degree of autonomy, and, on the other hand, the status of formerly autonomous peasants diminished by working land tenures that restricted their rights of movement or inheritance. See Dockès, 11. For a concise summary of the power dynamic between serf and lord, see Dockès, 12.
52 The following passage from the section of the Grandes chroniques that covers the reign of Philip Augustus, largely derived from the twelfth-century Dionysian chronicler Rigord’s Gesta Philippi Augusti, describes the purported imprisonment and ritual murder of a Christian: “En prison le tenoient pour ce que on luy metoit sus par fausseté larrecin et homicide. Les desloyaux Juis qui de haine ancienne haient les crestiens le prindrent et luy lièrent les mains derrière le dos et d’espines le couronnèrent, et le menèrent fustant parmi la ville ; à la parfin le crucifièrent en despit de Nostre-Seigneur : comme il déissent, au temps de la passion Jhésucrist à Pilate, que il ne povoient nulluy tuer.” Paulin Paris, ed., Les grandes chroniques de France, vol. 4 (1838), 88. On the proliferation of accusations of ritual murder lodged against Jews in medieval France, see Robert Chazan, Medieval Jewry in Northern France (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1973), 47-50; William Chester Jordan, The French Monarchy and the Jews: From Philip Augustus to the Last Capetians (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1989), 17-20; Kenneth Stow, Jewish Dogs: An Image and Its Interpreters (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2006), 75-98, 183-187, 247n17.
53 Portions of the Grandes chroniques vilify “Saracens,” a category invented and used in the Latin West, often synonymous with “Muslims.” Two passages exemplify the phenomenon. For instance, the chronicler castigates the “Saracens” for imprisoning Christians in the Holy Land: “…car Sarrasins vindrent en leurs terres, et mains en avoient occis, et plusieurs prins et menés en prison et chetivoison. Si avoient prins un fort chastel que l’en appelle le Gué-Jacob, et au prendre du chastel avoient-il occis plusieurs des frères du Temple et menés en prison.” See Paulin Paris, ed., Grandes chroniques de France, vol. 4 (1838), 27. During the reign of Louis IX, in the chronicler’s telling, the “Saracens” struck again, imprisoning French barons in the Holy Land: “Quant il sceut que l’ost des pélerins du royaume de France estoit si desconforté pour la prise des barons qui si grant avoit esté faite, et de l’occision, si en eut moult grant pitié et pourchascia tant vers les Sarrasins, que les prisonniers furent délivrés et rachetés d’or et d’argent. Et fit tant vers les Sarrasins qu’il orent sauf conduit d’aller en Jhérusalem visiter le saint sépulcre Nostre-Seigneur.” See Paulin Paris, ed., Les grandes chroniques de France, vol. 4 (1838), 262.
54 The chronicler depicted Emperor Frederick II as a traitor for having lured Louis IX and his men to Vaucouleurs under the pretense of a diplomatic meeting in 1236 and taking prisoners there instead. See Paulin Paris, ed., Grandes chroniques de France, vol. 4 (1838), 257.
55 Marc Bloch, Slavery and Serfdom in the Middle Ages, trans. William R. Beer (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1975), 164-166. Lindy Grant, Blanche of Castile, Queen of France (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2017), 142-143.
56 Josette Metman and Pierre-Clément Timbal, “Évêque de Paris et chapitre de Notre-Dame: la juridiction dans la cathédrale au Moyen Âge,” Revue d’histoire de l’Église de France 50, no. 147 (1964): 65. The cloister was located immediately north of the cathedral’s chevet.
57 For a chronological list of the chapter’s active efforts to maintain the immunity of the cloister in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, see AN LL//86, p. 226.
58 Metman and Timbal, “Évêque de Paris et chapitre de Notre-Dame” (1964): 47-72.
59 Robert Gane, Le chapitre de Notre-Dame de Paris au XIVe siècle (1999), 28. The immunity of capitular property dates to the Carolingian period. See Guérard, ed., Cartulaire de l’église Notre-Dame de Paris, vol. 1 (1850), 240. The chapter later instituted a fine for violating the immunity of Notre-Dame. Louis IX allegedly violated its immunity in 1265, and Parliament confirmed the chapter’s immunity and privileges yet again in 1318 and 1331.
60 The lay churchwardens received 12 deniers each November in return for celebrating an obit mass for Blanche of Castile, the same amount they received for most ceremonies of its kind. “En nouembre est fait lobit Blanche royne de france et y prennent les diz marreglis laiz [les dits marguilliers laïcs] xii d.” AN LL//361, fol. 18v.
61 On ecclesiastical-judicial authority in twelfth- and thirteenth-century France, see Gustave Ducoudray, Les origines du Parlement de Paris et la justice aux XIIIe et XIVe siècles (Paris: Hachette, 1902), 568-570.
62 Guérard, ed., Cartulaire de l’église Notre-Dame de Paris, vol. 2 (1850), 3-7.
63 Henry Kraus, Gold was the Mortar: The Economics of Cathedral Building (London; Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1979). On the number of serfs manumitted from the grain-producing region south of Paris, see Bloch, “Blanche de Castile and the Serfs of the Chapter of Paris” (1975), 259n15.
64 On the iconography of the Coronation of the Virgin portal, see Dany Sandron and Andrew Tallon, Notre Dame Cathedral: Nine Centuries of History, trans. Lindsay Cook (University Park: Penn State University Press, 2020), 70.
65 Jane Welch Williams referred to a similar garment depicted in a half-medallion at the bottom of the St. Lubin window as a “tradesman’s cotte.” Williams, Bread, Wine, & Money: The Windows of the Trades at Chartres Cathedral (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993), 83. For a discussion of the garments of farm laborers in the thirteenth century, see Herbert Norris, Costume and Fashion, vol. 2 (London: J.M. Dent, 1924), 171-173.
66 On the west rose of Notre-Dame of Paris, see Françoise Gatouillat, “Les vitraux anciens,” in La grâce d’une cathédrale: Notre-Dame de Paris (Strasbourg: La Nuée Bleue, 2012), 62-64; Reine Bonnefoy, “Les trois grandes roses,” in La grâce d’une cathédrale: Notre-Dame de Paris (Strasbourg: La Nuée Bleue, 2012), 283-288.
67 Jean Lafond, “Notre-Dame de Paris,” in Les vitraux de Notre-Dame et de la Sainte-Chapelle de Paris, Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi, vol. 1 (Paris: Caisse nationale des monuments historiques, 1959), 32.
68 Jane Welch Williams noted that the same motif of a farmer standing in a large barrel crushing grapes appeared in every representation of the month of September at Chartres Cathedral, and she emphasized the value of wine pressed by foot. See Williams, Bread, Wine, & Money (1993), 76.
69 The representation of the Labors of the Months at the west end of Notre-Dame responds to the iconographic tradition across media, including calendars in illuminated manuscripts. See, for example, Jonathan Alexander, “Labeur and Paresse: Ideological Representations of Medieval Peasant Labor,” The Art Bulletin 72, no. 3 (September 1990): 436-452; Roger S. Wieck, The Medieval Calendar (New York: The Morgan Library & Museum, 2017).
70 Deirdre Jackson, “Picturing Work,” in A Cultural History of Work in the Medieval Age, vol. 2 (London: Bloomsbury, 2019), 36.
71 For a diachronic survey of the iconography, see James Carson Webster, The Labors of the Months in Antique and Mediaeval Art to the End of the Twelfth Century (New York: AMS Press, 1970).
72 An earlier and more literal depiction of the transport of wine may be found in a medallion near the bottom of the St. Lubin window at Chartres Cathedral. See Williams, Bread, Wine, & Money (1993), 84-85.
73 Kristen Van Ausdall, “Art and Eucharist in the Late Middle Ages,” in A Companion to the Eucharist in the Middle Ages, ed. Ian Levy, Gary Macy, and Kristen Van Ausdall (Leiden: Brill, 2012), 541-617. See also Williams, Bread, Wine, & Money (1993), 82.
74 AN LL//320, fol. 109r.
75 C. Edson Armi, Masons and Sculptors in Romanesque Burgundy: The New Aesthetic of Cluny III (University Park: Penn State University Press, 1983), vol. 1, 7-8.
76 Arnaud Timbert, “Existe-t-il une signification politique de l’architecture gothique au XIIe siècle? L’exemple des chevets de Saint-Denis et de Saint-Germain-des-Prés,” Les Cahiers de l’Histoire de l’Art 5 (2007): 13-25; Robert Branner, St. Louis and the Court Style in Gothic Architecture (London: A. Zwemmer, 1965); Paul Binski, Westminster Abbey and the Plantagenets: Kingship and the Representation of Power, 1200-1400 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995); William Chester Jordan, A Tale of Two Monasteries: Westminster and Saint-Denis in the Thirteenth Century (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009); Mathieu Piavaux, La collégiale Sainte-Croix à Liège: formes et modèles dans l’architecture du Saint-Empire: XIIIe-XVe siècles (Namur: Presses universitaires de Namur, 2013); James Hillson, “St Stephen’s Chapel Westminster: Architecture, Decoration and Politics in the Reigns of Henry III and the Three Edwards (1227-1363),” (Ph.D. diss., University of York, 2015). The studies cited above break new ground, but all are indebted to Richard Krautheimer’s seminal article about medieval architectural copies, “Introduction to an ‘Iconography of Mediaeval Architecture,” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 5 (1942): 1-33.
77 Kimpel and Suckale, Die gotische Architektur in Frankreich (Munich: Hirmer, 1985), 162; Lheure, Le Rayonnement de Notre-Dame (2010), 201.
78 Jacques Henriet, “Le chœur de Saint-Mathurin de Larchant et Notre-Dame de Paris,” in À l’aube de l’architecture gothique (Besançon: Presses universitaires de Franche-Comté, 2005), 283-300; Henriet, “La chapelle de la Vierge de Saint-Mathurin de Larchant, une œuvre de Pierre de Chelles?” Bulletin monumental 136, no. 1 (January 1978): 35-47; Lindsay Cook, “Architectural Citation of Notre-Dame of Paris in the Land of the Paris Cathedral Chapter,” (Ph.D. diss., Columbia University, 2018), 337-356.