Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Robert F. Berkhofer III

Second Advisor

Dr. E. Rozanne Elder

Third Advisor

Dr. Luigi Andrea Berto

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


In the mid-tenth century, the lay powers of the Loire valley established the abbey of Saint-Florent at Saumur with the local aristocracy welcoming the monks and forming spiritual and economic relationships through acts of patronage. The brothers remembered gifts of property, grants of rights, and exemptions in charters which were ultimately collected into the abbey's first cartulary, the Livre Noir. Despite this wealth of sources, historians have paid only cursory attention to Saint-Florent in recent scholarship. The present study incorporates the abbey's charter sources into broader debates concerning society in eleventh-century France. The use of case studies provides insight into the societal norms of aristocratic families in the environs of Saumur. This examination demonstrates that inter- and intra-familial cooperation was a defining quality of the Saumurois, and one which the counts of the Loire valley facilitated and maintained through public acts of authority. This image of the Loire opposes traditional interpretations of social upheaval around the year 1000. A summary of interactions in the Saumurois adds to the growing scholarly rejection of the mutationiste paradigm. In doing so, the evidence of the Saumurois might be more fully integrated into our understanding of central medieval France.