the Loire, which formed the territory of the Mauges. It was bounded on the north by the countship of Maine, on the east by that of Touraine, on the south by that of Poitiers and by the Mauges, on the west by the countship of Nantes.
From the outset of the reign of Charles the Bald, the integrity of Anjou was seriously menaced by a two-fold danger: from Brittany and from Normandy. Lambert, a former count of Nantes, after devastating Anjou in concert with Nominoé, duke of Brittany, had by the end of the year 851 succeeded in occupying all the western part as far as the Mayenne. The principality, which he thus carved out for himself, was occupied, on his death, by Erispoé, duke of Brittany; by him it was handed down to his successors, in whose hands it remained till the beginning of the 10th century. All this time the Normans had not ceased ravaging the country; a brave man was needed to defend it, and finally towards 861, Charles the Bald entrusted it to Robert the Strong (q.v.), but he unfortunately met with his death in 866 in a battle against the Normans at Brissarthe. Hugh the Abbot succeeded him in the countship of Anjou as in most of his other duties, and on his death (886) it passed to Odo (q.v.), the eldest son of Robert the Strong, who, on his accession to the throne of France (888), probably handed it over to his brother Robert. In any case, during the last years of the 9th century, in Anjou as elsewhere the power was delegated to a viscount, Fulk the Red (mentioned under this title after 898), son of a certain Ingelgerius.
In the second quarter of the 10th century Fulk the Red had already usurped the title of count, which his descendants kept for three centuries. He was succeeded first by his son Fulk II. the Good (941 or 942–c. 960), and then by the son of the latter, Geoffrey I. Grisegonelle (Greytunic) (c. 960–21st of July 987), who inaugurated a policy of expansion, having as its objects the extension of the boundaries of the ancient countship and the reconquest of those parts of it which had been annexed by the neighbouring states; for, though western Anjou had been recovered from the dukes of Brittany since the beginning of the 10th century, in the east all the district of Saumur had already by that time fallen into the hands of the counts of Blois and Tours. Geoffrey Greytunic succeeded in making the count of Nantes his vassal, and in obtaining from the duke of Aquitaine the concession in fief of the district of Loudun. Moreover, in the wars of king Lothaire against the Normans and against the emperor Otto II. he distinguished himself by feats of arms which the epic poets were quick to celebrate. His son Fulk III. Nerra (q.v.) (21st of July 987–21st of June 1040) found himself confronted on his accession with a coalition of Odo I., count of Blois, and Conan I., count of Rennes. The latter having seized upon Nantes, of which the counts of Anjou held themselves to be suzerains, Fulk Nerra came and laid siege to it, routing Conan’s army at Conquereuil (27th of June 992) and re-establishing Nantes under his own suzerainty. Then turning his attention to the count of Blois, he proceeded to establish a fortress at Langeais, a few miles from Tours, from which, thanks to the intervention of the king Hugh Capet, Odo failed to oust him. On the death of Odo I., Fulk seized Tours (996); but King Robert the Pious turned against him and took the town again (997). In 1016 a fresh struggle arose between Fulk and Odo II., the new count of Blois. Odo II. was utterly defeated at Pontlevoy (6th of July 1016), and a few years later, while Odo was besieging Montboyau, Fulk surprised and took Saumur (1026). Finally, the victory gained by Geoffrey Martel (q.v.) (21st of June 1040–14th of November 1060), the son and successor of Fulk, over Theobald III., count of Blois, at Nouy (21st of August 1044), assured to the Angevins the possession of the countship of Touraine. At the same time, continuing in this quarter also the work of his father (who in 1025 took prisoner Herbert Wake-Dog and only set him free on condition of his doing him homage), Geoffrey succeeded in reducing the countship of Maine to complete dependence on himself. During his father’s life-time he had been beaten by Gervais, bishop of Le Mans (1038), but now (1047 or 1048) succeeded in taking the latter prisoner, for which he was excommunicated by Pope Leo IX. at the council of Reims (October 1049). In spite, however, of the concerted attacks of William the Bastard (the Conqueror), duke of Normandy, and Henry I., king of France, he was able in 1051 to force Maine to recognize his authority, though failing to revenge himself on William.
On the death of Geoffrey Martel (14th of November 1060) there was a dispute as to the succession. Geoffrey Martel, having no children, had bequeathed the countship to his eldest nephew, Geoffrey III. the Bearded, son of Geoffrey, count of Gâtinais, and of Ermengarde, daughter of Fulk Nerra. But Fulk le Réchin (the Cross-looking), brother of Geoffrey the Bearded, who had at first been contented with an appanage consisting of Saintonge and the châtellenie of Vihiers, having allowed Saintonge to be taken in 1062 by the duke of Aquitaine, took advantage of the general discontent aroused in the countship by the unskilful policy of Geoffrey to make himself master of Saumur (25th of February 1067) and Angers (4th of April), and cast Geoffrey into prison at Sablé. Compelled by the papal authority to release him after a short interval and to restore the countship to him, he soon renewed the struggle, beat Geoffrey near Brissac and shut him up in the castle of Chinon (1068). In order, however, to obtain his recognition as count, Fulk IV. Réchin (1068–14th of April 1109) had to carry on a long struggle with his barons, to cede Gâtinais to King Philip I., and to do homage to the count of Blois for Touraine. On the other hand, he was successful on the whole in pursuing the policy of Geoffrey Martel in Maine: after destroying La Flèche, by the peace of Blanchelande (1081), he received the homage of Robert “Courteheuse” (“Curthose”), son of William the Conqueror, for Maine. Later, he upheld Elias, lord of La Flèche, against William Rufus, king of England, and on the recognition of Elias as count of Maine in 1100, obtained for Fulk the Young, his son by Bertrade de Montfort, the hand of Eremburge, Elias’s daughter and sole heiress.
Fulk V. the Young (14th of April 1109–1129) succeeded to the countship of Maine on the death of Elias (11th of July 1110); but this increase of Angevin territory came into such direct collision with the interests of Henry I., king of England, who was also duke of Normandy, that a struggle between the two powers became inevitable. In 1112 it broke out, and Fulk, being unable to prevent Henry I. from taking Alençon and making Robert, lord of Bellême, prisoner, was forced, at the treaty of Pierre Pecoulée, near Alençon (23rd of February 1113), to do homage to Henry for Maine. In revenge for this, while Louis VI. was overrunning the Vexin in 1118, he routed Henry’s army at Alençon (November), and in May 1119 Henry demanded a peace, which was sealed in June by the marriage of his eldest son, William the Aetheling, with Matilda, Fulk’s daughter. William the Aetheling having perished in the wreck of the “White Ship” (25th of November 1120), Fulk, on his return from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land (1120–1121), married his second daughter Sibyl, at the instigation of Louis VI., to William Clito, son of Robert Courteheuse, and a claimant to the duchy of Normandy, giving her Maine for a dowry (1122 or 1123). Henry I. managed to have the marriage annulled, on the plea of kinship between the parties (1123 or 1124). But in 1127 a new alliance was made, and on the 22nd of May at Rouen, Henry I. betrothed his daughter Matilda, widow of the emperor Henry V., to Geoffrey the Handsome, son of Fulk, the marriage being celebrated at Le Mans on the 2nd of June 1129. Shortly after, on the invitation of Baldwin II., king of Jerusalem, Fulk departed to the Holy Land for good, married Melisinda, Baldwin’s daughter and heiress, and succeeded to the throne of Jerusalem (14th of September 1131). His eldest son, Geoffrey IV. the Handsome or “Plantagenet,” succeeded him as count of Anjou (1129–7th of September 1151). From the first he tried to profit by his marriage, and after the death of Henry I. (1st of December 1135), laid the foundation of the conquest of Normandy by a series of campaigns: about the end of 1135 or the beginning of 1136 he entered that country and rejoined his wife, the countess Matilda, who had received the submission of Argentan, Domfront and Exmes. Having been abruptly recalled into Anjou by a revolt of his barons, he returned to the charge in September 1136 with a