Rulers and Ruling Families in Early Medieval Europe: Alfred, Charles the Bald and Others, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Rulers and Ruling Families in Early Medieval Europe

Alfred, Charles the Bald and Others, 1st Edition

By Janet L. Nelson


346 pages

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Hardback: 9780860788027
pub: 1999-07-28
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The ideas and practices involved in early medieval royal family politics are the central theme of this collection of papers by Janet L. Nelson. She first examines King Alfred of Wessex (871-99) in the context of Anglo-Saxon conditions and in comparison with his Carolingian contemporaries. When tension and conflict within the royal family are highlighted, she argues that Alfred’s talents and political thought emerge the more impressively. A second group of papers deals with the reign of Charles the Bald (840-77): his patronage of learning and his interest in Spanish martyrs are set in political context, while contemporary historiography is considered as a form of counsel and critique. The third section reflects Nelson’s growing interest in the political importance and gendered roles of royal women. Consecration rites are analysed as ritual expressions and factors in the shaping of the queenship, while two final papers also examine the making and unmaking of Frankish kings and princes.


'The appearance of a new collection of essays from Professor Nelson merely needs to be signalled for its importance to be apparent.' Reviews in History

Table of Contents

Contents: Alfred: ’A king across the sea’: Alfred in continental perspective; Wealth and wisdom: the politics of Alfred the Great; Reconstructing a royal family: reflections on Alfred from Asser, chapter 2; The political ideas of Alfred of Wessex; ..sicut olim gens Francorum…nunc gens Anglorum: Fulk’s letter to Alfred revisited; The Franks and the English in the 9th century reconsidered; Charles the Bald: Charles le Chauve et les utilisations du savoir; The Franks, the martyrology of Usuard and the martyrs of Cordoba; History-writing at the courts of Louis the Pious and Charles the Bald; La mort de Charles le Chauve; Frankish queens and princes: A propos des femmes royales dans les rapports entre le monde wisigothique et le monde franc à l’époque de Reccared; La famille de Charlemagne; The siting of the council at Frankfort: some reflections on family and politics; La cour impériale de Charlemagne; Early medieval rites of queen-making and the shaping of medieval queenship; A tale of two princes: politics, text and ideology in a Carolingian annal; Hincmar of Rheims on king-making: the evidence of the Annals of St Bertin, 861-882; Index.

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General