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William I "Longsword"
Statue of William Longsword, part of the "Six Dukes of Normandy" series in Falaise.
Duke of Normandy
Reign 927–942
Predecessor Rollo
Successor Richard I
Born 893
Bayeux or Rouen
Died 17 December 942

William I Longsword (French: Guillaume Longue-Épée, Latin: Willermus Longa Spata, Scandinavian: Vilhjálmr Langaspjót; 893 – 17 December 942) was the second Duke of Normandy from his father's death until his own assassination. The title dux (duke) was not in use at the time and has been applied to early Norman rulers retroactively; William actually used the title comes (count).

Little is known about his early years. He was born in Bayeux or Rouen to Rollo and his wife Poppa. All that is known of Poppa is that she was a Christian, and the daughter to Berengar of Rennes, the previous lord of Brittania Nova, which eventually became western Normandy. According to the William's planctus, he was baptised a Christian.

William succeeded Rollo sometime around 927. It appears that he faced a rebellion early in his reign, from Normans who felt he had become too Gallicised. Subsequent years are obscure. In 939 William became involved in a war with Arnulf I of Flanders, which soon became intertwined with the other conflicts troubling the reign of Louis IV. He was killed by followers of Arnulf while at a meeting to settle their conflict. His son Richard the Fearless, child of his first wife, Sprota, succeeded him. William also left a widow, Liègard (Liutgard), who died in 985.

The funerary monument of William Longsword in the cathedral of Rouen, France. The monument is from the XIVth century.

Sources

French nobility
Preceded by
Rollo
Duke of Normandy
c. 927–942
Succeeded by
Richard I
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