And it should be kwn that I, Galbert, a tary, though I had suitable place for writing, set down on tablets a summary of events...and in the midst of so much danger by night and conflict by day. I had to wait for moments of peace during the night or day to set in order the present account of events as they happened, and in this way, though in great straits, I transcribed for the faithful what you see and read. -From The Murder of Charles the Good On March 12, 1127, Charles the Good, Count of Flanders, was slain in the church of Saint Donatian in Bruges in a plot devised by an embittered ble family. Kwn for creating laws to protect and help the poor, Charles the Good's assassination sent ripples throughout Europe, affecting the balance of power between England, France, and the Holy Roman Empire. It also threw Flemish society into chaos as this prosperous region became engulfed in a brutal struggle for power. With a journalistic eye, Galbert of Bruges, a tary and cleric, presents a riveting portrait of the day-to-day political and social unrest that followed in the wake of Charles's murder and the military battles to control Flanders. Historians have long recognized The Murder of Charles the Good as a remarkable point of entry for understanding the most important political, legal, and social issues that confronted medieval Europe: definitions of freedom and servility; the competing claims of national and royal sovereignty; and the rise of the bourgeoisie.
James Bruce Ross was professor of history at Vassar College and the coeditor of The Portable Medieval Reader and The Portable Renaissance Reader.