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Morman[1] (died 818)[2] was a Breton chieftain who was declared King (rex) after the death of the Bretons' Frankish overlord Charlemagne in 814. He is the first personage known by name to be described as a Breton "king" and he probably ruled a warband with members drawn from throughout Brittany.[3] He had a stronghold defended by ditches, hedges, and marshes.[4]

Morman had been a faithful follower of Charlemagne, having sworn oaths to him and performed the giving of hands, probably becoming his vassus, although the Bretons rose up in rebellion in 811.[5] Morman's rebellion against Frankish lordship in 814 threatened the integrity of the empire recently inherited by Louis the Pious. While the Bretons may have contended that the elevation of Morman on the death of the incumbent Charlemagne was legitimate, the Frankish writers Astronomus and Ermold the Black viewed it as a usurpation.[6] Louis sent Abbot Witchar to negotiate with Morman. According to Ermold, the abbot asked, "Do you not remember your sworn fealty, or your right hand to the Franks / often given, and to Charles the service you showed?"[7] But after failing to bring Morman around to accepting Frankish rule, Louis prepared an army to invade Brittany.

In the spring of 818, the army, composed of forces from all the Carolingian regna (literally "kingdoms", but actually subkingdoms), assembled at Vannes, the westernmost point of sure Frankish control, and marched to Priziac in the far west of the county of the Vannetais on the bank of the Ellé. The Franks launched a series of attacks on various Breton fortresses and, after Morman was killed in battle, resistance collapsed. According to the Chronicle of Moissac, Louis returned with a "triumph of victory", although the Bretons revolted again in 822 under Wihomarc.[8]


  1. This spelling is from the cartulary of Redon. His name is also spelled Morvan, Morwan, or Moruuan.
  2. Regino of Prüm refers to a Murmanus rex Brittonum ("Murman, king of the Britons") who died in 837, but Regino's chronology is notoriously wrong.
  3. Smith, 73–74 and 116.
  4. Smith, 21 n54.
  5. Smith, 68 and n34.
  6. Smith, 65.
  7. Smith, 65 and 68 n34 ("Non memorat jurata fides, seu dextera Francis / Saepe data, et Carolo servitia exhibita?").
  8. Smith, 66.


  • Smith, Julia M. H. Province and Empire: Brittany and the Carolingians. Cambridge University Press, 1992.