1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Maine (province)

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For works with similar titles, see Maine (province).

MAINE, an old French province, bounded N. by Normandy, E. by Orléanais, S. by Touraine and Anjou, and W. by Brittany. Before the Roman Conquest the region occupied by this province was inhabited by the Aulerci Cenomanni and the Aulerci Diablintes; under the Roman empire it consisted of two civitates comprised in the Provincia Lugdunensis Tertia — the Civitas Cenomannorum and the Civitas Diablintum, whose chief towns were Le Mans and Jublains. These two civitates were united during the barbarian period and formed a single bishopric, that of Le Mans, suffragan to the metropolitan see of Tours. Under the Merovingians and Carolingians the diocese of Le Mans corresponded to the Pagus Cenomanensis, and in the feudal period to the county of Maine. In the 16th century the county of Maine, with the addition of Perche, formed a military government — the province of Maine. Since 1790 this province has been represented approximately by the departments of Sarthe and Mayenne, the respective capitals of which are Le Mans and Laval. In 1855 the bishopric of Laval was separated from that of Le Mans. Maine was evangelized in the 3rd century by St Julian. After forming part of the kingdom of Syagrius, it was conquered by Clovis at the end of the 5th century. Owing to the scarcity of documents the history of Maine until the end of the 9th century is merged in the history of the bishops of Le Mans, which has come down to us in the Actus pontificum Cenomannis in urbe degentium (ed. Busson-Ledru, Le Mans, 1901), composed under the direction of Bishop Aldric (832-857). Roger (c. 892-c. 898) was perhaps the first hereditary count of Maine; the counts whose existence is certain are Hugh I. (c. 939-before 992), Hugh II. (before 992-1015), Herbert I. (1015-1032 to 1036), Hugh III. (1032 to 1036-1051), Herbert II. (1051-1062), William the Bastard (1063-1087), Robert Curthose (1087-1091), Hugh IV. (1091-1092) and Helias (1092-1110). Maine, which was in the vassalage of Anjou as early as the 9th century, was united to Anjou in 1110 by the marriage of Count Helias's daughter to Fulk V., count of Anjou, and passed to the English crown in 1154, when Henry Plantagenet (who was born at Le Mans) became king of England. In 1204, after the confiscation of the estates of John of England, Maine was united to France; in 1246 it was separated from France by Louis IX., who handed it over to his brother Charles, count of Provence. Again united to France in 1328, it was given in 1356 as an apanage to Louis, second son of King John II., and did not definitely return to the French crown until 1481, after the death of Charles II., count of Maine. During the Hundred Years' War Maine was taken in 1425 by the English, who lost it in 1448.

See Histoire de l'eglise du Mans, by Dom Piolin (Paris, 1851-1858), which is useful but out of date; Revue historique et archéologique du Maine (1876); La Province du Maine (1893); B. Hauréau, Histoire littéraire du Maine (1870-1877).