1st Edition

Augustine and the Art of Ruling in the Carolingian Imperial Period
Political Discourse in Alcuin of York and Hincmar of Rheims

ISBN 9781032177878
Published September 30, 2021 by Routledge
260 Pages

USD $48.95

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Book Description

The Open Access version of this book, available at http://www.tandfebooks.com/doi/view/10.4324/9781351116022, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 licence.

DOI  https://doi.org/10.4324/9781351116022

Published with the support of the Swiss National Science Foundation.

This volume is an investigation of how Augustine was received in the Carolingian period, and the elements of his thought which had an impact on Carolingian ideas of ‘state’, rulership and ethics. It focuses on Alcuin of York and Hincmar of Rheims, authors and political advisers to Charlemagne and to Charles the Bald, respectively. It examines how they used Augustinian political thought and ethics, as manifested in the De civitate Dei, to give more weight to their advice. A comparative approach sheds light on the differences between Charlemagne’s reign and that of his grandson. It scrutinizes Alcuin’s and Hincmar’s discussions of empire, rulership and the moral conduct of political agents during which both drew on the De civitate Dei, although each came away with a different understanding. By means of a philological–historical approach, the book offers a deeper reading and treats the Latin texts as political discourses defined by content and language.

Table of Contents



Note on the Text





I. Augustine of Hippo   

Influences on the ‘De Civitate Dei’

Augustine’s Stance on Worldly Rule and His Assessment of Politically Organised Communities in the ‘De Civitate Dei’

Concepts of Augustinian Political Thought


Felix/Felicitas and Beatus/Beatitudo

Iustitia and Pax


II. Alcuin of York

Alcuin’s Direct Use of Augustine in the ‘Epistolae’ 

Alcuin’s Indirect Use of Augustine: His Stance on Worldly Rule and Recourse to Augustine’s Terminology


III. Hincmar of Rheims

Hincmar’s Direct Use of Augustine in the ‘Epistolae’

Hincmar’s Indirect Use of Augustine: His ‘Expositiones ad Carolum Regem’ and ‘De Regis Persona et Regio Ministerio’



Carolingian Political Thought c. 800–c. 900

Alcuin’s and Hincmar’s Uses of Augustine in the Light of Changing ‘State-Church’ Relations



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Sophia Moesch is currently an SNSF-funded postdoctoral fellow at the University of Oxford, working on a project entitled ‘Developing Principles of Good Governance: Latin and Greek Political Advice during the Carolingian and Macedonian Reforms’. She completed her PhD in History at King’s College London.