views updated May 21 2018


City of the Maine River near its confluence with the Loire, in western France. The Diocese of Angers (Andegavensis ), suffragan of tours, comprises the Maine-et-Loire Department (2,787 square miles), of which Angers is the capital. The Plantagenet kings of England were descended from the original counts of Anjou; and from Charles of Anjou, brother of louis ix of france, descended a house that had ties with several European dynasties.

Caesar made the residence of the Gallic Andes or Andegavi a town called Juliomagus. Christianity was probably introduced rather early, and after the first known bishop, Defensor (372), the episcopal succession was regular. The rebuilding of a circus in honor of Minerva in 347 showed pagan strength, but the evangelization of the countryside, especially along the Loire, made progress under the bishops Saints Maurilius (d. 453), albinus, licinius and magnobod. In Merovingian times many richly endowed abbeys such as Saint-Aubin (chapter founded c. 530, monastery in 966) and Saint-Serge (in existence in the seventh century) flourished; of which saint-maur-sur-loire and saint-florent-le-vieil are located near Angers. Angers was a strong point in charles martel's time and a Carolingian frontier post against the Bretons. theodulf of orlÉans composed his hymn gloria, laus et honor while imprisoned in Angers, in order to gain a pardon from Louis the Pious (818). Bretons and Normans ruined ecclesiastical establishments in the ninth century. Thereafter the bishops were dominated by the counts, who restored monasteries and built many churches and buildings in Plantagenet Gothic. Bishop Ulger (112548) defended episcopal rights, especially against monasteries such as fontevrault. His reorganization of the episcopal school (where berengarius of tours, baudry of bourgueilen-vallÉe, marbod of rennes and robert of arbrissel studied or taught) made it famous enough to attract an exodus of the English nation from the University of Paris in 1229 (when the University of Toulouse was founded). Bulls of Urban V made the school a university (1366, 1373), which, however, was suppressed in 1793.

Henry II, Count of Anjou, became king of England and duke of Normandy in 1154, but louis viii restored Anjou to France. Louis IX had the present castle built during an expedition against Brittany and gave Anjou as an appanage to his brother Charles (1246). The Hundred Years' War ruined Anjou, which Louis XI returned to France on the death of "King René" (1480), who had left Angevin Sicily to return to Anjou. Protestant pamphlets circulated from 1525, and Huguenots sacked the cathedral in 1562. The Edict of Nantes gave the Protestants a refuge in Saumur, where they organized a university of sorts. Many religious houses were founded in the Counter Reformation and Jansenism gained influence under Bishop Henri arnauld (164992). In the French Revolution, Bishop Michel de Lorry (17821802) refused the oath of the civil constitution of the clergy, as did most of his clergy, 204 of whom were deported to Spain (1792) while others were drowned in the Loire at Nantes. The Vendée rising broke out at Saint-Florent in 1793 and revolutionary tribunals claimed at least 3,000 victims, including the Blessed Noël pinot. Count Frédéric de falloux, from Angers, gave his name to the law of freedom of instruction that was passed in 1850. Bishop Charles E. freppel (187091) restored many high schools and was responsible for the founding of the Catholic University of the West in Angers (1875). Bishop François mathieu (189395), of the French Academy, was transferred to Toulouse after which he became a cardinal in the Curia.

The first cathedral was burned when Childeric's Franks sacked the town in 471. Originally dedicated to Our Lady, it was dedicated to St. Maurice after St. Martin supposedly gave it a vial of the blood of the martyrs of Agaune in the fourth century. Bishop Ulger rebuilt it in Plantagenet Gothic with one nave; the choir is 13th-century. The church of Saint-Nicholas Abbey, founded by Fulk Nerra (101020), was consecrated by Urban II, who visited Angers in 1096. Fulk Nerra also added a convent of nuns to the sixth-century chapel at Ronceray. Angers had six collegiate chapters besides that of the cathedral. The abbots of the Augustinian Toussaint Abbey date from 1118; in 1635 it joined the reform of Sainte-Geneviève. The Dominican convent was one of the first in France (1219).

Angers' traditional procession (13th century) was a protest against Berengarius's heresy concerning the Real Presence even before the Feast of corpus et sanguinis christi was instituted. Jehan Michel's beautiful dramatic Passion was performed in front of the cathedral (1486). The tapestry of the Apocalypse (1380), restored and retouched, still adorns the castle hall. Louis XIV founded a literary academy in Angers (1685). David of Angers was a painter and sculptor in the early 19th century. René Bazin (18531932), a novelist known for purity of language, freshness of feeling and his vigorous Christian tradition, was from Angers.

Bibliography: f. uzureau, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart et al., (Paris 1912) 3:85114. e. jarry, Catholicisme, 1:556559. g. h. forsyth, The Church of St. Martin at Angers (Princeton 1953). j. mcmanners, French Ecclesiastical Society under the Old Régime: A Study of Angers in the 18th century (Manchester, Eng. 1961). c. port, Diction-naire historique et biographique de Maine-et-Loire et de l'ancienne provence d'Anjou, ed. j. levron and p. d'herbÉcourt, v.1 (Angers 1965) 31170.

[e. catta]


views updated Jun 11 2018


ANGERS (Heb. אנגיירש), capital of the Maine-et-Loire department, western France, and of the ancient province of *Anjou. Jews probably resided in Angers from the 12th century. They were expelled by Charles ii in 1289. The Jews who evidently resettled in Angers during the 14th century became the victims of bloody persecutions and humiliating restrictions. In 1394, soon after Anjou was reunited with France (1390), the Jews of Angers were again expelled, with the rest of the Jews of the kingdom (see *France). Jews subsequently visited Angers on business, but in 1758 the municipal council prohibited them from entering the market. The present "Rue de la Juiverie," bordering on the modern part of the city, is not the site of the medieval Jewish quarter. A number of Hebrew inscriptions may be seen on four covings above the portal of the Cathedral of Angers, describing the attributes of the savior, taken mainly from Isaiah 9:5. In 1968 there were 250 Jews in Angers.


Brunschvicg, in: rej, 29 (1894), 229–41; Joubert and Delacroix, in: Société d'agriculture, science et arts d'Angers, Memoires (1854), 129 ff.

[Bernhard Blumenkranz]