1st Edition

Power and Its Problems in Carolingian Europe

ISBN 9781138110038
Published July 6, 2017 by Routledge
328 Pages

USD $58.95

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Book Description

A key theme in this collection of thirteen essays is the creative tension between the Carolingian dynasty and its aristocratic followers across 250 years. The first section explores the rising dynasty's attempts to consolidate its power through war and rewards. The second section focuses on the exercise of authority through a complex system of governance and representation, and the pivotal role played by the courts of Charlemagne and his successors. In the third section, we see the Carolingian system undergoing a crisis of legitimacy, challenged by civil war, royal divorce, and aristocratic encroachment on dynastic exclusivity. These essays anatomise the dynamics of power relations in the greatest empire of the early medieval west.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Part 1 The Rise of the Carolingians: The Frankish aristocracy as supporters and opponents of Boniface; Towards a Carolingian aristocracy; Narratives of triumph and rituals of submission: Charlemagne's mastering of Bavaria; Charlemagne and the aristocracy: captains and kings. Part 2 Carolingian Authority: The aristocracy in the service of the state in the Carolingian period; Bonds of power and bonds of association in the court circle of Louis the Pious; The palace of memory: the Carolingian court as political centre; Semper Fideles? Loyauté envers les Carolingiens comme constituant de l'identité aristocratique. Part 3 Crises in the Carolingian World: The world, the text and the Carolingian: royal, aristocratic and masculine identities in Nithard's Histories; Private bodies and the body politic in the divorce case of Lothar II; The nearly men: Boso of Vienne and Arnulf of Bavaria; 'Sad stories of the death of kings': narrative patterns and structures of authority in Regino of Prüm's Chronicle; The anxiety of sanctity: St Gerald of Aurillac and his Maker; Index.

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Stuart Airlie is Senior Lecturer in the Department of History at the University of Glasgow, UK.


'This selection of thirteen articles, originally published between 1990 and 2007, confirms Stuart Airlie’s standing as a foremost interpreter of Carolingian political culture, and as a superb essayist too.' English Historical Review 'Few if any historians these days write as stylishly and empathetically as Stuart Airlie, or with such wit. He has complicated, and humanized, what used often to seem a crude and violent political culture, and his Carolingian world is people with men and women who thought as well as felt ... Airlie's range of literary and interdisciplinary reference is as phenomenal as his historical one. He has made himself at home in the major scholarly traditions ... His citations ... are placed with absolute precision into substantial historical arguments where never a word is wasted.' Early Medieval Europe