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La royauté et les élites dans l’Europe carolingienne (du début du ixe aux environs de 920)

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Régine Le Jan

Charlemagne and his Critics 814-829

Roger Collins

Texte intégral

  • 1 Alcuin epistolae 122 (to Osbert; dated to 797), ed. E. Dümmler, MGH Epistolae aevi karolini vol. I (...)
  • 2 Alcuin ep. 61 (c. 786/7), ibid., p. 104-105.
  • 3 Alcuin ep. 64 (c.786?), ibid., p. 107; cf. Boniface ep. 73, ed. M. Tangl, MGH Epistolae selectae, (...)

1Not long after the death of the Mercian king Offa on 26 th July 796, Alcuin criticised him in a letter to one of his former courtiers for the bloodshed that had been involved in his efforts to secure the succession of his son Egfrith1. The consequences of this violence Alcuin thought he saw manifest in the brevity of the latter’s reign and his death, although personally innocent of involvement in his father’s crimes, only one hundred days after that of Offa. With the kingdom then passing to Cenwulf (796-821), who was not closely related to his predecessors, Alcuin clearly felt better able to write freely about some of the darker aspects of Offa’s reign than had been the case in any of his earlier letters to his numerous Mercian correspondents. It is most likely that Egfrith’s premature death prompted the need to find some deeper explanation for this sudden end to his very short reign. In a letter written to Egfrith himself about a decade before, Alcuin had not only hailed him as being «a young man of good character and great nobility», but had also praised the goodness, wisdom and justice of his parents2. Whether he had long harboured doubts about some aspects of Offa’s rule or only began to articulate them in response to the need to find an explanation for Egfrith’s premature death is not clear. Some elements in his letters to Offa himself could be interpreted as conveying moral warnings, but if so they are muted to the point of ambiguity, and have nothing of the forthrightness and clarity of Boniface’s remonstrances to Offa’s predecessor Æthelbald3.

  • 4 L. Wallach, «The Via Regia of Charlemagne: The Rhetoric of Alcuin as a Treatise on Kingship» in hi (...)
  • 5 For examples from the Visigothic kingdom in Spain see R. Collins, Early Medieval Spain, 400-1000, (...)
  • 6 Alcuin ep. 122 (see note 1 above), p. 178-180.

2Whatever the nature and duration of Alcuin’s dissatisfaction with Offa, it is clear that overt criticism of a secular ruler in this period was rare during his lifetime, but it could well emerge after his death, even coming from those who had previously been closely associated with him. As in Late Antiquity, counsel and advice to a reigning monarch required careful presentation, and overt criticism is very rare4. Even after their deaths rulers might be safe from denigration and abuse as long their own immediate descendants were strong enough to hold the throne5. However, if the latter proved incapable then some parts at least of a dead ruler’s reputation might come to be revised. It was also likely that a new king of the same dynasty, inheriting a throne in difficult circumstances, might find it useful or necessary to cast doubts on some aspects of his predecessor’s reputation. Nevertheless, this rarely resulted in a Wholesale condemnation. Even while he was criticising Offa openly for the deaths of those who had appeared to stand in the way of his plan for the succession, Alcuin still referred to him as being «of blessed memory» and could write warmly of the good and wise rules of conduct that he had laid down, in the legatine synod of 786, for the Mercian people6. Damnatio memoriae of an individual dead ruler, as had been practised in the early Roman Empire, was never an option in the post-imperial period, even if the Carolingians tried in their historiography to practise something comparable at a collective level on the preceding Merovingian dynasty.

3What Alcuin (d. 804), for all of the apparent amity between them, might have said of Charlemagne after his death is of course unknown and unknowable, as he had long predeceased his master. However, it is clear that while during the Frankish monarch’s lifetime his advisors might seek to coax and direct him in particular ways with due restraint and care, after his death there could be circumstances that would allow or require even his closest former associates to criticise his conduct, or some aspects of it. That this proved to be the case with Charles may be seen clearly from at least one well documented case. In November 824, just over ten years after the emperor’s death on 28 th January 814, a monk called Wetti, of the island monastery of Reichenau on Lake Constance, is reported to have had a vision, part of which included the sight of Charles suffering in some form of Purgatory, with his genitals being gnawed by a wild beast. According to the poetic version of Wetti’s vision, composed by Walahfrid Strabo in 827, the monk was amazed and asked why, in the light of what he had achieved in his reign, the emperor was being made to suffer this torment. For Wetti Charles had been the

«…Instigator of justice for our modem age.
Mighty was the witness he bore to the cause of the Lord,
Protection and defence were duly given by him to God’s people,
Eminence of a unique kind he achieved, as it seemed, in this world,

  • 7 Contemplatur item quendam lustrata per arva
    Ausoniae quondam qui regna tenebat et altae
    Romanae genti (...)

4Righteousness he desired and sweet popularity he enjoyed in his realms»7. However, the spirit who was guiding the monk on his visionary journey replied that:

  • 8 P. Godman, ibid., lines 460-64.

«…In these torments he
Remains because he defiled his good deeds with foul lust,
thinking his wantonness would be effaced by the mass
of his good actions and wishing to end his life in the vileness
to which he was accustomed…»8

  • 9 A. Bruckner, Helvetica Sacra, Zurich, 1972, vol. I pt. 1, p. 165; Christian Wilsdorf, «L’évêque Ha (...)
  • 10 Einhard, Vita Karoli, 32, ed. L. Halphen, Eginhard. Vie de Charlemagne, Paris, 1967, 4 th edn., p. (...)
  • 11 ed. P. Brommer, Capitula Episcoporum, vol. I, MGH Capitula Episcoporum, I, Hannover, 1984, p. 203- (...)

5Walahfrid, although at the tinte a monk at Fulda, had previously belonged to Reichenau. His Visio Wettini was a versification of the prose description of Wetti’s vision, that had been written probably in 824 by his former abbot, Bishop Haito of Basle. Haito was born around 762/3, and entered the monastery of Reichenau at the age of five. He became bishop of Basle in 802/3 and abbot of Reichenau itself in 806, holding both posts until he retired into monastic séclusion around 822, and dying in 8369. He had been closely associated with Charlemagne’s court during the emperor’s final years, being one of the signatories to his will, and serving as the leader of an embassy sent to Constantinople in 81110. His episcopal decrees and probable monastic regulations show him to be strongly in sympathy with the reforming spirit that motivated much of the governmental programme of Charlemagne’s last years, particularly in the ecclesiastical sphere11. Yet he appears here as responsible for the composing and circulating of a work that is critical of at least one aspect of his late master’s personal conduct. That his point of view was more generally shared in some monastic circles is shown by the production in Fulda of Walahfrid’s poetic rendering, which would achieve a wider circulation and greater fame than the prose original.

  • 12 H. Houben, «Visio cuiusdam pauperculae mulieris: Überlieferung und Herkunft eines frühmittelalterl (...)
  • 13 See J. Jarnut, «Kaiser Ludwig der Fromme und Konig Bernhard von Italien. Der Versuch einer Rehabil (...)
  • 14 H. Houben (see note 12 above), endorsed by P. E. Dutton, Politics of Dreaming (note 12 above), p. (...)

6This is not the only text of this period that hints at Charlemagne being subjected to purgatorial punishment for some of his earthly conduct. An anonymous work known as the Visio cuiusdam pauperculae mulieris, which was almost certainly written sometime around the years 818 to 822, also includes mention of the former emperor being in torment. The nature of this is not specified, but the poor woman whose vision is being here recounted asked if he would eventually be freed to enjoy eternal life. This, she was assured, would be the case if his son, the emperor Louis the Pious, arranged for seven liturgical services to be held in his memory12. The main concern of this very short text is not so much the fate of Charles as that of his grandson Bernard, king of Italy, who had been blinded on the orders of Louis in 818, and then died from his injuries13. It has been suggested, on the basis of certain similarities in character and in points of detail, that this too was composed or commissioned by Haito of Basle14. While this can not be proved, the case that has been made in favour of this view is reasonably persuasive. Certainly the presentation of Charles in both works as being primarily a ruler in Italy is sufficiently idiosyncratic to support the idea of common authorship.

  • 15 As thus styled in the impérial diplomata; see H. Wolfram ed., Intitulatio II: Lateinische Herrsche (...)
  • 16 On the last years of the reign see the famously pessimistic assessment of F. L. Ganshof, «La fin d (...)

7That Charles should have been thought to be likely to be suffering purgatorial torments, despite the magnitude of his achievements in so many spheres and despite all that he had been responsible for in terms of the protection and the development of the Frankish church throughout his long reign, is perhaps not surprising. The contrast between the elevated aspirations and the high moral tone of the capitulary legislation and other governmental documents and certain areas of the ruler’s private conduct could have been remarked on at almost any point in his reign, but may have been especially notable in its later phases, when the pace of reform visibly quickened. In the years following his return from Italy in the Summer of 801, the new emperor had made the provision of justice the touchstone of the legitimacy of his claim to be a Deo coronatus15. This was also a period in which it could rightly be said that «mighty was the witness that he bore to the cause of the Lord», and in which the rising tempo of both legislation and moral exhortation to protect widows, orphans, pilgrims and other vulnerable groups in Frankish society reached a crescendo16.

  • 17 ed. A. Boretius, MGH Legum, sectio II: Capitularia Regum Francorum, vol. 1, item 33, p. 91-99. Wha (...)
  • 18 ed. A. Boretius (note 17 above), items 43-44, p. 120-126.

8This can be seen not least in what has been called the «Programmatic Capitulary» of 802, which amongst much else introduced a strikingly novel extension of the use of the oath as an instrument of government17. It effectively sought to tie all of the subject’s duties towards the ruler into a relationship of obligation based upon supernatural sanction. Older, Roman, ideas of maiestas or treason could be found in the earlier form of oath imposed by Charles, which confined itself to the protection of the ruler from conspiracy and from his subjects’aiding and abetting his external or internal enemies. The 802 oath, however, also sought to make any action that was economically detrimental to the emperor a treasonable one. It made mere passivity, as in failing to turn out for military service or in not looking after property provided by the monarch, an act of equal disloyalty. It equated the protection of the Church and of certain categories of persons under the emperor’s spécial protection with fidelity to the ruler. Most strikingly of all, an individual’s religious obligations were made political ones too. The thinking behind this latter extension of the meaning of fidelity would seem to have been that the emperor by virtue of his office was responsible for the spiritual well-being of those entrusted to him, but in practice was unable to exercise the kind of personal oversight of his subjects that this would require. This responsibility for leading the Christian life he therefore had to entrust to them to carry out individually, and where they failed to do so they were deemed to be betraying him. All in all, this is a remarkable attempt to construct a new theoretical grounding for the political and moral obligations of the subject. Extensions or corollaries of it can be seen in other texts of this period, such as the Thionville «double capitulary» of early 80618.

  • 19 E. Dümmler ed., MGH Epistulae aevi karolini, vol. II, p. 528-529.
  • 20 W. Pohl, Die Awarenkriege Karls des Grossen 788-803, Wien, 1988, p. 16-21.
  • 21 ed. A. Boretius (note 17 above), item 124, p. 244-246, who follows Jaffé in accepting a date of 80 (...)

9Another-notable feature indicative both of the heightened moral tone and of the more intrusive nature of the imperial government at this time (whatever may be the limitations on its ability to enforce it will in practice) are the letters relating to what may be called «national» observances of periods of fasting. The unprecedented liturgical and penitential preparations that preceded the launching of the active phase of the campaign against the Avars in 791 are well known, thanks to the survival of the letter from Charles to his wife Fastrada, describing many of the details of the three day fast, that was held between the 5 th and 7th of September19. This could appear as a unique act of spiritual preparation in the course of what at the time would have seemed a hazardous and unprecedented campaign against a powerful enemy with a formidable reputation20. However, such fasts clearly became regular manifestations of «national» penitence in the final period of the reign. Thus a letter from the emperor to Ghaerbald of Liège (784-810), that has been dated to November of the year 805, informs the bishop that «with the advice and consent of his fideles both spiritual and secular» Charles has found it necessary to order three separate periods of three day fasts, with the first one to start on the 11 th (3 Ides) of December 805, and the other two beginning on the 7 th (7 Ides) of January and 12 th (2 Ides) February 80621. Everyone was to abstain from meat and wine and to fast absolutely until the ninth hour, unless exempted by age of illness. Every priest was to say Mass, and all other orders of cleric and all monks to recite fifty psalms; almsgiving was mandatory. The bishop, as no doubt would all of his other colleagues who would have been in receipt of similar missives, was ordered to have this letter of instruction read out in his household. He was then to ensure that it was obeyed in all of the churches and monasteries under his authority, providing interpreters if necessary to make its meaning plain.

  • 22 ed. A. Boretius (note 17 above), item 127, p. 249; it was found in MS St. Gall 1394.
  • 23 None of these fasts are mentioned in ARF.

10That this trio of fasts in 805-6 was far from being the only occasions on which such general acts of penitence were commanded can be seen from the fragment of a letter, found in the binding of a St. Gall manuscript, from archbishop Riculf of Mainz (786-813) to his suffragan, bishop Egino of Constanz (781-813), informing him that the emperor had decided in council that a three day fast was to be instituted, starting on the 9 th (5 Ides) of December, and instructing him on how it was to be carried out22. This involved the usual elements of abstinence from meat and wine (beer, milschida, and mead are also mentioned), fasting until a specified hour (lost in this fragment), and the duty of the clerics to recite fifty psalms a day. A tariff of almsgiving was also laid down for three different social levels. This was obviously not the same as the fast referred to in the letter to Ghaerbald, starting on the 7 th of December, and it has been calculated that this letter relates to one that would have been imposed in the year 81023. The vagaries in the survival of evidence have at least allowed us to see such fasts as taking place in 805, 806 and 810.

  • 24 ed. A. Boretius (note 17 above), item 121, p. 238-240.
  • 25 cf. D. Hunt, «Christianising the Roman Empire; the evidence of the Code», in J. Harries and I. Woo (...)

11A similar concern with the spiritual salvation of the individual subject and the establishment of justice can be found in the document that has been called the Missi Cuiusdam Admonitio, which must be assigned to this period24. This seems to be an almost homiletic address by the emperor, to be delivered by his missi to what from the contents would appear to have been a mixed lay and clerical audience, also containing local administrative and judicial officials. The text opens by stipulating in a series of credal statements exactly what its recipients should believe, and then goes on to command how they should act; as for example in the injunctions to «entertain pilgrims in your own homes, visit the sick... redeem captives, help the unjustly oppressed... serve your lords faithfully... » While the opening sections appear to be addressed to the laity in general, they are followed by specifie requirements directed towards the clergy, to monks and to «dukes, counts and judges». The latter, for example, are ordered, amidst a flurry of Biblical quotations, to administer sound justice, avoid bribery and to condemn no man out of personal animus. While the actual commands laid upon the various groups, collectively and individually, may seem rather cliched, this provides yet another example of the constant moral badgering to which Charles’s subjects were subjected by his regime. While the preambles to Roman imperial edicts may have displayed some of the same tendency to discourse on the duties of the subject and the obligations laid on the ruler’s agents, this lacked the consistency and intensity of the Carolingian texts, which were brought much more frequently and in more varied ways to the attention of a much wider section of the population25.

  • 26 For Wala see Paschasius Radbertus, Epitaphium Arsenii bk. I, chs. 1 and 6, ed. E. Dümmler, Berlin, (...)
  • 27 As in the controversy over the authorship of the Libri Carolini; this is usefully summarised in P.(...)

12Also to be noted is the way in which all such legislation and governmental orders were issued not just in the name of the ruler but more often than not were couched as his personal commands, expressed in the first person. One consequence of this in the final years of the reign in particular is that as far as the court is concerned, it is hard to put names let alone faces to its leading characters. The idiosyncratic but intense illumination offered by Alcuin’s correspondence gives out abruptly, and even Einhard has nothing to offer by way of help. The verses of Theodulf, even his Contra Indices, hardly compensate. A few individuals flit through the Annales Regni Francorum, and there are a handful of other names preserved in the capitularies and charters. Some assertions in later hagiography can, but may be should not entirely, be taken to support belief that Charles’s cousin Wala was particularly prominent at this time26. But in general it has to be said that we were not meant to identify too clearly those who gave the emperor his ideas or who wrote the words that went out under his name. In the preceding period we may for that matter have overrated the general influence as well as the personal presence of Alcuin himself, thanks to the chance survival of so many of his letters. And perhaps too much weight has been allowed to fragile stylistic arguments in trying to identify the contributions of nameable individuals, again notably Alcuin, to royal decrees and other texts27. The charters, the mandates, the Libri Carolini and all other forms of document issued by the Carolingian central administration spoke only in the name of the ruler. We, like their original recipients and readers, may be reassured to know that by and large they emerged from processes of consultation and consent, but who contributed what to those processes neither they nor we were expected to know.

13While we may lament this lack of clear knowledge of the prominent personalities of the time and of the roles that they played, it may have had another consequence in its own time. The contrast between the moral imperatives of the general programme of reform and aspects of the ruler’s personal conduct can not but have been heightened by the latter’s unique role in the enunciation of rules of conduct and in sole responsibility for the spiritual health, and therefore the temporal well-being, of the realm entrusted to him. While the theoretical underpinning of the Programmatic Capitulary placed new and unprecedented burdens on the subject, it did so by virtue of a substantial increase in the ultimate accountability of the ruler.

  • 28 Cf. O. Pontal, Histoire des conciles mérovingiens, Paris, 1989, p. 245-305; C. Coutts, Anglo-Saxon (...)

14It is important to realise just how particular this problem was to the Carolingian monarchy at this time. Under Charles’s predecessors what could for the sake of simplicity be called the relationship between Church and State was fundamentally different, even if the origins of what was to come can be traced back to some aspects of the reigns of his father and uncle. In the 740s and 750s a limited number of councils were held in which a moderate reforming programme was developed, with the support of the secular rulers under whose aegis such assemblies were held. But from the 780s onwards, after what was virtually a lull in the two preceding decades, the pace of reform visibly quickened. Separate ecclesiastical meetings became regular features of the annual «Marchfield» assemblies, and their decisions were given force of law and were imposed by the secular power, in whose name they were issued. This is quite different to the practices of earlier periods, as may be seen in the Merovingian, Visigothic and Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, in which separate church councils were convoked, which issued acta that were normally distinct from the civil laws promulgated by the monarchs28.

  • 29 H. H. Anton, Fürstenspiegel und Herrscherethos in der Karolingerzeit, Bonn, 1968, and J. M. Wallac (...)
  • 30 S. MacCormack, «Latin Prose Panegyrics», in T. A. Dorey ed., Empire and Aftermath, London, 1975, p (...)
  • 31 R. Collins, «Julian of Toledo and the Education of Kings in Late Seventh-Century Spain», in ID, La (...)
  • 32 See L. Wallach (note 4 above) on Alcuin’s, De Rhetorica.
  • 33 J.-L. Nelson, «La famille de Charlemagne», in Byzantion, 1991, vol. 61, p. 194-212.
  • 34 ed. A. Boretius (note 17 above), item 121, p. 239-240.

15The role of the ruler, not least as envisaged in the Programmatic Capitulary, placed enormous moral weight upon most aspects of his conduct. It is therefore not surprising that a new genre of literature developed, through which it was hoped that he might be educated, however discretely, in his responsibilities. Thus was born the Speculum Principis or «Ruler’s Mirror» tradition of Carolingian writing29. In Late Antiquity advice and persuasion could be offered in literary form primarily through the highly elaborate and contrived conventions of the verse or prose panegyric30. Such arts were lost in the sixth century, and other methods of inculcating what the Church regarded as good practice in the minds of secular rulers had to be developed when the need arose in the later eighth century. Certain earlier attempts at royal education can be detected, not least in Visigothic Spain31. However, the novel and experimental nature of a literary genre that sought to convey ideas on how a secular ruler ought to fulfil his functions can be seen from the earliest examples to emerge from Carolingian Francia, principally in the form of some works of Alcuin that have been shown as having such a purpose32. There clearly were, as the reply to Wetti’s enquiry shows, some aspects of the emperor’s personal conduct up to the very end of his life, that caused concem, at least to his ecclesiastical advisors such as bishop Haito. He and others like him probably found it difficult to reconcile the high moral tone and the reforming aspirations of virtually every document that emanated from the imperial chancellery and every legal and administrative decree that was promulgated in the emperor’s last years with the clear and unrepentant backsliding in matters of sexual morality on the part of the man in whose name the whole governmental programme was being conducted. The emperor’s fourth, and almost certainly last, wife died in 800, but yet more illegitimate children were born to him in the succeeding years, up to at least 80733. In a homiletic address to the lay and clerical magnates assembled at the formal opening of a missaticum, the emperor is made to say... humanum est peccare, angelicum est emendare, diabolicum est persevare in peccato34. It is hard to imagine that bishop Haito and his friends were not sensitive to the contrast between the rules that were being laid down and features of the emperor’s own personal conduct. However, it is clear enough from the relatively copious evidence that has survived that no overt criticism of such behaviour was made to Charles at this time, any more than it had been in the preceding period when Alcuin had been active.

16If doubts and scruples had existed, as would seem probable if unprovable, in the minds of Charles’s ecclesiastical entourage over the discrepancy between his intentions publicly proclaimed and some aspects of his personal and private life, these did not have to be made public after his death. As in the case of Offa and Egfrith in 796, there needed to be some further cause or event to bring such reservations, however deeply and long held they may have been, out into the open. On the other hand, it is important to allow, in the light of the growth in the Carolingian empire from the 820s of open and immediate criticism of an increasing range of actions on the part of both contemporary rulers and of some of their dynastic predecessors, that feelings over Charles’s personal conduct in family and sexual matters may have contributed to the general rise of the sense of unease that first manifested itself openly in the reign of his son.

  • 35 Paschasius Radbertus, Vita Adalhardi, 30; ARF s.a. 822, ed. F. Kurze, p. 158.

17On succeeding his father in January 814, Louis the Pious and his predominantly Aquitanian advisors moved quickly to take control of his father’s court. The new emperor’s surviving sisters, were sent away to be immured in convents, and Charles’s cousins Adalhard, abbot of Corbie, and his brother Wala were likewise despatched into monastic seclusion35. This is often taken as marking a major change in the ethos of the court, with the Aquitanian «backwoodsmen» introducing a regime of almost Calvinistic morality in place of the hedonistic house party that was Charles’s Aachen. In reality, Louis’treatment of his relatives was probably primarily or even exclusively conditioned by political considérations.

  • 36 Vita Hludowici 21, ed. E. Tremp, MGH SRG vol. lxiv, p. 346.
  • 37 On his career see L. Weinrich, Wala, Graf, Monch und Rebell, Berlin, 1963, p. 41-86.

18The anonymous author of the Vita Hludowici, sometimes known as «The Astronomer», stated that there was a strong feeling that Wala, who had exercised considerable influence in Charles’s last years, might cause some difficulties36. In practice Wala did not either have the will or perhaps sufficient opportunity to oppose Louis. Even so, Louis and his advisors’s doubts are significant. Although he was Charles’s only surviving son and had been invested with the imperial title in 813, he had also been sent back to Aquitaine after the ceremony. Charles did not wish him to remain at Aachen. At the same time, the death of Louis’s brother Pippin in 810 had led to the succession of the latter’s son Bernard (born in 797) as King of Italy, as envisaged in the Divisio Regnorum of 806, which also forbade the emperor’s sons from killing, blinding or tonsuring any of his grandsons without due processes of law. Bernard, who had now attained his legal age of majority, was despatched from Aachen to take over his Italian realm in 812. A kingdom of Italy, under the aegis of the emperor, thus already existed in practice in 814. It would not be impossible for other legitimate male members of the ruling house to contemplate the hope of establishing themselves in similar subordinate monarchies. This was what both Merovingian and previous Carolingian political traditions might have been expected to produce. Wala was the only other legitimate member of the dynasty who was close enough to its main stem and not in clérical orders. He if anyone might have been able to establish a claim to another subordinate monarchy within the Frankish empire37.

  • 38 Astronomer, Vita Hludowici Imperatoris 21, ed. E. Tremp. MGH SRG vol. LXIV, Hannover, 1995, p. 348
  • 39 J.-L. Nelson, «La famille», (note 33 above), p. 208-212. Janet Nelson has also suggested that ther (...)
  • 40 Einhard, Vita Karoli 19, ed. L. Halphen, p. 60.

19«The Astronomer» also refers to Louis as feeling that the conduct of his sisters had long been a cause of scandal at his father’s court38. While no further details are here given, it is likely that this refers to their relationships, often longstanding but outside matrimony, with some members of the court, which had led to the birth of at least three illegitimate sons.39 However, Rotrud, the mother of one of these children, had already died in 810. Of the other legitimate daughters of Charles at least two had died in infancy and one had already been installed as abbess of Argenteuil. Others such as Gisela and a number of illegitimate daughters hardly make any mark in the historical record. Some of them were probably still infants. In 810 Charles had ordered that the five daughters of his recently deceased son Pippin should be brought up at Aachen alongside his own girls40. While some of the latter were clearly well beyond their childhoods, this command would only make sense if he still had daughters of his own of more or less the same age as those of his son. The sister whom Louis may have had most in mind in 814 would have been Bertha, mother by Angilbert of St. Riquier, of two sons. While «The Astronomer» refers to Louis’s anger against his sisters’conduct and his desire to eliminate the only cause of reproach that could be directed against his father, he also says that the new emperor was anxious to prevent any recurrence of the «scandal caused by Odilo and Hiltrud».

  • 41 More specifically it may indicate a continuing readership for the so-called «Chronicle of Fredegar (...)
  • 42 ARF and the Revised Version, s.a. 787 and 788, ed. F. Kurze, p. 74-83.

20This is an interesting reference, the significance of which the author obviously expected his readers to understand without further elaboration. It may thus also testify to a greater awareness of dynastie history on the part of the Carolingian rulers and their court entourages than might have been expected41. Hiltrud was a daughter of Charles Martel by his Frankish wife Rotrude, who fled from court on the latter’s death to wed, the Bavarian duke Odilo (d. 748) a relative of her step-mother Swanahild. Their son Tassilo III was the last of the ducal line, and was ruthlessly removed from office by Charles in 78842. While legitimist Carolingian historiography portrays Hiltrude, Odilo and Tassilo as rebels and traitors to their Frankish overlords, by almost any other standard their conduct during various periods of conflict is quite defensible. For a reader of «The Astronomer», though, the significance of this allusion would have been clear. One of Charles’s daughters could have escaped from Aachen to marry one of a number of possible claimants; either rival members of the royal line or possibly descendants of the earlier ducal dynasties who might have hoped to revive old claims in a period of political turbulence. This had happened before, as recently as the 750s, and although nothing of the sort did occur in 814, there were no grounds for Louis and his advisors’feeling confident that the periods of military and political weakness and disorder that had accompanied previous Carolingian successions would not reappear.

  • 43 Einhard, Vita Karoli 19, ed. L. Halphen, p. 62.
  • 44 Thegan, Gesta Hludowici imperatoris 8, ed. E. Tremp, MGH SRG vol. LXIV, p. 188-189.

21It is difficult from this distance in time and with the limited nature of the available evidence to make any clear judgement as to how much weight, if any, to give to the view that Louis’s concern with his sisters in 814 was primarily moral. The source that suggests this also, as just seen, gives a powerful alternative view that stresses the political threat they may have been held to constitute. It is possible that the moral explanation, of which there is a reminiscence in Einhard, was that put about at the time, following Louis’s successful instalment in Aachen43. Thegan, the author of the much shorter Gesta Hludowici Imperatoris of 836/7, gives no indication either way, but takes pains to stress that Louis ensured that his sisters received a just portion of their father’s inheritance44. If so, it was in the interior of convents that it came to them.

  • 45 Astronomer, Vita Hludowici imperatoris 21, ed. E. Tremp, p. 348; translation by P. D. King, Charle (...)
  • 46 Thegan, Gesta Hludowici ch. 13, ed. E. Tremp, p. 194; translation from P.E. Dutton, Carolingian Ci (...)

22If Louis did use the sense of scandal over at least two of his sister’s affairs and the unmarried State of all of them as justification for their enforced retreat into monastic seclusion, it can only have been through criticism, albeit of limited focus, of his father’s court. As «The Astronomer» saw it, «this was the one blemish that brought reproach upon his father’s household»45. In reality, Louis may have been led, willingly or otherwise, into broader if indirect criticism of his father. Thegan reports that immediately after his accession Louis sent out missi who «found a large number of people oppressed either by the appropriation of their patrimony or the plundering of their freedom» (multitudinem oppressorum aut ablatione patrimonii aut expoliatione libertatis). Blame for these abuses was directed against «unjust ministers, counts and subordinates» (ministri, comites et locopositi), and «All of these acts which had been impiously done in the days of his father by the hands of evil ministers, the prince ordered suppressed»46.

  • 47 On the capitularies of Louis see G. Schmitz, «The Capitulary Legislation of Louis the Pious», in P (...)
  • 48 ARF s.a. 814: Habitoque Aquisgrani generali populi sui conventu ad iustitias faciendas et oppressi (...)
  • 49 Chronicon Moissacense, s.a. 815, ed. G. H. Pertz, MGH SS vol I, p. 311:...mandavit etiam missis et (...)

23No extant capitularies seem to correspond to this enquiry by the missi soon after Louis’s accession, but very few such texts have survived from the first five years of the reign47. However, a brief statement in the entry for 814 in the Annales Regni Francorum seems to substantiate Thegan’s account48. The Chronicle of Moissac is fuller and more specific, referring explicitly to the purpose of the enquiry being to determine if there were those who had unjustly been deprived either of their inheritances or of their personal liberty. This source, however, links this investigation to the holding of the great Council of Aachen, whose opening it dates to 30 th July 81549. There are also some hints of continuing attempts to resolve some of these problems and of implied criticisms of his father in some of the available capitularies that have been dated to the years 818/9 to 822/3. There thus seem to be few grounds for doubting the general accuracy of the report that Louis did carry out such an enquiry, and that its results were declared to be highly critical of the conduct of local and other officials of the time of Charlemagne. While this may stand at the head of the long and honoured political tradition of criticising the king’s ministers but not the king himself, there is a hefty rebuke implied in Thegan’s account, in that it might suggest that Charles had failed to oversee and control his subordinates, thus allowing them to perpetrate the various abuses and injustices that are said to be prevalent.

  • 50 Wattenbach-Levison, Deutschlands Geschichtsquellen im Mittelalter, Weimar, 1953, pt. 2, p. 256; no (...)

24It has been suggested that Louis may also have wished to revise the accepted or official version of his father’s military and other achievements, as contained in the Annales Regni Francorum. By this view, the revised version of these annals, once thought to be the work of Einhard, was commissioned by Louis50. As these rewritten annals give for the first time some account of both military failures and of conspiracies against Charles, it could be argued that the point of making such revision was to highlight aspects of his reign that had been deliberately concealed in the earlier court-produced version. This interpretation is predicated upon a belief that the revised annals, which often differ markedly from the original Annales Regni Francorum in their account of events up to 801 and show some minor textual variations in their entries for 802 to 812, were prepared relatively soon after the latter year, but, because of the critical nature of some of their content, probably not until after Charles’s death in January 814. Their composition would thus fall into the opening period of the reign of Louis, and, as it is assumed that such a revision of accepted versions of events could not have been undertaken without at least his tacit consent, it is possible to speculate that he might even have commissioned them.

  • 51 R. Collins, «The Reviser Revisited: Another Look at the Alternative Version of the Annales Regni F (...)
  • 52 Einhard, Vita Karoli 8, 9, and 20, ed. L. Halphen, p. 26, 28, and 62-64.

25Intriguing as such a possibility may be, it has to be admitted that the textual history of both the Annales Regni Francorum and of the Revised Version is rather more complicated than older views allow, and there are few if any grounds for certainty that the process of rewriting the annals was undertaken early in Louis’s reign51. Likewise, the nature and purpose of the revisions may not be so easy to determine as this interpretation would suggest. The military failures are those of Charles’s subordinate commanders, and the accounts of the conspiracies of Hardrad and of Pippin the Hunchback give no suggestion that these represented serious discontent with his rule. One was strictly regional, and may relate to the temporary end of the war with the Saxons, and the other was prompted by the clear dispossession of Charles’s eldest son as his heir in favour of his younger half-brothers. Einhard clearly found no difficulty in including some treatment of both the defeats and the conspiracies in his Vita Karoli52.

  • 53 ARF s.a. 822, ed. F. Kurze, p. 158; this translation is from B. W. Scholz, Carolingian Chronicles,(...)
  • 54 Thegan, Gesta Hludowici 24, ed. E. Tremp, p. 214 for the tonsuirng in 818 of Hugh, Drogo and Theod (...)
  • 55 Astronomer, Vita Hludowici Imperatoris ch. 35, ed. E. Tremp, p. 406.
  • 56 Ibid.

26A further indication of criticism directed, this time explicitly, at Charles can be found in the account of the assembly held at Attigny in August 822 in the Annales Regni Francorum. Here Louis was recorded as having made a public confession and undertaken penance «for what he had done to Bernard, son of his brother Pepin, and to Abbot Adalhard, and Adalhard’s brother Wala»53. Thegan mentions the holding of the assembly but omits any further account of what took place during it, but «The Astronomer» corroborates the version of events to be found in the Annals. He adds that Louis firstly sought to reconcile himself with his half brothers, whom (in 818) he had had tonsured against their will54. He then offered redress to all others who had suffered wrongs. «After this he publicly confessed that he had erred, and, following the example of the emperor Theodosius, he freely accepted penance, both for these offences and those he had committed against his nephew Bernard». He also made a substantial distribution of alms55. Both the Annals and «The Astronomer» concur in the further statement that he promised «with great humility to make up for any similar acts committed by him or his father»56.

  • 57 R. Le Jan, Famille et pouvoir dans le monde franc (VIIeXe siècle), Paris, 1995, p. 42 and 44.

27The reference here, and in «The Astronomer» to Charles is surprising and little commented upon, despite the great attention that has been devoted to the understanding of this episode. In terms of the precise offences for which Louis held himself responsible, it is not easy at first sight to make out any parallels with his father’s career. Louis had ill-treated his relatives and in particular had been responsible for the agonising death of one of them. Charles had acted with much greater restraint. Tassilo III and Pippin the Hunchback had both had their lives spared, and the son of one of the leading conspirators of 785 was to be found in the emperor’s entourage in 81157.

  • 58 ARF s.a. 818, ed. F. Kurze, p. 148; Thegan, Gesta Hludowici 24, ed. E. Tremp, p. 214.

28The confession and penance at Attigny is one of the more surprising features of a reign full of extraordinary events. To all appearances, in 822 Louis should have been at the height of his power. He had eliminated most potential rivals in 814, with the monastic detention of his cousins and his surviving sisters. In 817, following a near brush with death on his own part, he had been able to make his dispositions for his succession, and had further ensured these in 818 by the permanent elimination of the only near relative who held a monarchical title not of his giving. The blinding and death of Bernard of Italy removed an anomaly that had been forced upon him by his father’s arrangements of 810 and 812. He was also able to remove any potential threat from his half-brothers, Charles’s illegitimate sons, by forcibly enrolling them in monastic life58. All parallel and subordinate branches of the ruling dynasty had been neutralised or eliminated. Ruthless all of this might seem, but it should have been effective.

  • 59 See M. de Jong, «Power and humility in Carolingian society: the public penance of Louis the Pious» (...)
  • 60 R. Schieffer, «Von Mailand nach Canossa: Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der chritlichen Herrscherbusse (...)

29Yet within four years Louis was subjecting himself to what would seem to be a humiliating public confession and penance, and allowing back into public life nearly all of those whom he had so successfully eliminated from it in 814 and 818. It has been suggested, however, that the penance at Attigny should not be seen in so sombre a light59. The emperor’s confession of his wrongdoings was followed by that of the assembled bishops, who admitted that they had been negligent in the performance of their episcopal duties and in their adherence to doctrinal rectitude. The emperor Theodosius I (379-95), whose example Louis was here said to be following, had both (apparently) willingly submitted to censure and penitential acts imposed upon him by Ambrose of Milan and had also been responsible for the suppression of paganism and the restoration of Nicene orthodoxy in the Eastern Roman Empire. He thereafter became a much admired role model for the ideal secular ruler in the Western political tradition60. Louis’s emulation of Theodosius could be seen as an accolade rather than a humiliation.

  • 61 ARF s.a. 822, ed. F. Kurze, p. 159.

30In practical terms, Louis may have been no worse off for the ritual he had submitted himself to, whether of his own accord or under persuasion. Bernard remained dead, and Italy could be entrusted to Lothar. Although Adalhard and Wala were free from detention, both were now monks and thus no threat to the succession. Adalhard soon died (in 826), and Wala was sent with Lothar to Italy, where his considerable administrative and military experience would be of the greatest value to an untried co-emperor61 Louis’s half-brothers had also been eliminated from the secular political arena by their enforced monastic consecration, and could now be brought back into public life, to serve the emperor in the Church. It may indeed be that the public ritual at Attigny served not least as a means for Louis to reverse something of the severity of the sentences he had imposed upon his relatives without losing the real benefits that he gained from the way he had treated them in 814 and 818.

  • 62 R. Collins, «Pippin I and the Kingdom of Aquitaine», in R. Collins and P. Godman, op. cit., p. 363 (...)
  • 63 J.-M. Wallace-Hadrill, The Frankish Church, Oxford, 1983, p. 131-141, 173-174, 259, 270-271.

31Even so, there was a high price to pay in the longer term. Reform, that under Charles had been formally initiated by and made to serve the needs of the secular ruler, increasingly came to be driven by the Church, and this in turn could involve increased criticism and oversight of the conduct of the monarch. This can be seen not least in the growth of ecclesiastical censure of the making of precarial grants. Once again this may have been a development that Louis initially supported for short term political ends, in this case as a way of limiting the patronage available to his sons62. But the campaign as a whole came to focus on Charles Martel (d. 741) as the archetypal perpetrator of what had come to be seen as an abuse, and the criticisms directed against the damage he was said to have inflicted on the Church by his grants of ecclesiastical land to secular supporters became in practice a way of limiting the power of his ninth century successors to use the same procedures63.

  • 64 Capitularia, ed. A. Boretius (note 17 above), item 197, vol. 2, p. 51-55; M. de Jong, «Power and h (...)

32Louis’own fate in 833, when forced into another penance at Soissons as a means of deposing him from his office, is another indicator of how rapidly and how extensively attitudes had changed. He was accused not least of perjury, in that he had failed to abide by the terms of the Ordinatio Imperii of 817, and had also broken the oath he was said to have taken to his father to protect his relatives64. The killing of Bernard, of which he may have thought that he had purged himself at Attigny in 822, was brought out against him once more. Paradoxically, this was done by or on behalf of those who had benefited most directly from Bernard’s elimination. It is notable too that Louis’s failure to abide by an undertaking sworn to his father is held so strongly against him. Here Charles appears as the instigator and guarantor of dynastic harmony.

  • 65 For an overview of the development of Charles’s reputation see R. Morrissey, L'empereur à la barbe (...)
  • 66 MGH Poetae vol. 2, p. 370-378; on this work see P. Godman, Poets and Emperors, (note 1 above), p. (...)
  • 67 P. E. Dutton, Politics of Dreaming, (note 12 above), p. 55-57.
  • 68 Ardo, Vita Benedicti 29; see Clavis Scriptorum Latinorum Medii Aevi, Auctores Galliae vol. 1: 735- (...)

33By this time, nearly twenty years after his death, the former emperor’s role had been transformed. Nothing more was to be heard about his carnal misdeeds65. The debate about Charles’s moral standing as opposed to his political and military achievements in the years immediately following his death had clearly been resolved in his favour. Even in Walahfrid’s version of the Visio, Wetti was assured that the late emperor would soon progress to the place of honour that Christ had been reserving for him. Walahfrid himself would soon afterwards represent Charles as the ideal model both as ruler and as man for his infant grandson and namesake, the future West Frankish king Charles the Bald (840-77), in his De Imagine Tetrici of 82966. Similarly, it was almost certainly in this period of the later 820s that Einhard wrote his eulogistic, if frequently misleading, Vita Karoli, which may well have been a response to the more critical attitudes of previous years67. Likewise the monk Ardo in his Life of Benedict of Aniane reported that the friendship between the emperor and the Aquitanian abbot was so strong that the Devil felt obliged to try to break it, in order to prevent the ruin of his evil plans68. The emperor, against whom no hint of criticism is here raised, failed to be moved by the false and diabolically inspired accusations raised against Benedict by his own courtiers. For Ardo Charles was someone whom it was worth presenting as the dear friend and supporter of the hero of his narrative.

  • 69 See J.-L. Nelson, «Kingship and empire in the Carolingian world», in R. Mckitterick ed., Carolingi (...)

34The image of Charles, now seen retrospectively and in a rosy glow, had taken on a new value as that of the model secular ruler, with which to encourage or chastise his successors. The one area in which he had undoubtedly been morally vulnarable no longer mattered, in that this was not something with which it was necessary to reproach Louis. However, the change in the way that Charles was presented in these decades represents a major change in Carolingian political ideology, which manifested itself in practice in many ways69. Overall, the dichotomy that had existed between the underlying ideals of the programme of reform and renewal that Charles had articulated in the formal pronouncements issued in his name and certain aspects of his personal conduct had led to a change in attitude towards the role of the secular ruler on the part of many leading figures in the Frankish Church. This had been accentuated by the unwisdom of his successor, Louis, in allowing and manipulating criticism of his father for his own short term political ends. The period of heightened conflict within the dynasty in the later 820s and early 830s allowed a new model in relations between monarch and Church to become established. In this, while the secular ruler was looked to for the protection of the Church, responsibility for the initiation and direction of reform had been taken out of his hands. The extraordinary ideological programme that had been articulated in the final phase of Charles’s reign in practice placed too heavy a burden of moral responsibility on the shoulders of secular rulers, whose own mores, as frequently demonstrated in the preceding Merovingian period, had traditionally been far more lax. If even a monarch of the power, effectiveness and prestige of Charlemagne could not live up to the expectations that had been created, what hope had a lesser man such as Louis?

Notes

1 Alcuin epistolae 122 (to Osbert; dated to 797), ed. E. Dümmler, MGH Epistolae aevi karolini vol. II, p. 178-180.

2 Alcuin ep. 61 (c. 786/7), ibid., p. 104-105.

3 Alcuin ep. 64 (c.786?), ibid., p. 107; cf. Boniface ep. 73, ed. M. Tangl, MGH Epistolae selectae, vol. 1, p. 146-155.

4 L. Wallach, «The Via Regia of Charlemagne: The Rhetoric of Alcuin as a Treatise on Kingship» in his Alcuin and Charlemagne, Ithaca, NY, 1959, p. 29-82; L. K. Born, «The Specula Principis of the Carolingian Renaissance», in Revue belge de philologie et d’histoire, 12, 1933, p. 583-612.

5 For examples from the Visigothic kingdom in Spain see R. Collins, Early Medieval Spain, 400-1000, London, 1995, 2nd ed„ p. 107-128.

6 Alcuin ep. 122 (see note 1 above), p. 178-180.

7 Contemplatur item quendam lustrata per arva
Ausoniae quondam qui regna tenebat et altae
Romanae gentis, fixo consistere gressu
Oppositumque animal lacerare virilia stantis
Laetaque per reliquum corpus lue membra carebant
Viderat haec, magnoque stupens terrore profatur :
«Sortibus hic hominum, dum vitam in corpore gessit
Iustitiae nutritor erat saecloque moderno
Maxima pro domino fecit documenta vigere
Protexitque pio sacram tutamine plebem
Et velut in mundo sumpsit speciale cacumen.
Recta volens dulcique volans per regna favore.
Ast hic quam saeva sub conditione tenetur,
Tam tristique notam sustenat peste severam!
Oro, refer!» Tum ductor: «In his cruciatibus », inquit,
«Restat ob hoc, quoniam bona facta libidine turpi
Fedavit, ratus inlecebras sub mole bonorum
Absumi, et vitam voluit finire suetis
Sordibus. Ipse tamen vitam captabit opimam,
Dispositum a domino gaudens invadet honorem. »
The name and title of CAROLUS IMPERATOR may be seen clearly as an acrostic in the opening letters of the first sixteen lines. Visio Wettini lines 446-465, ed. H. Knittel, Walahfrid Strabo: Visio Wettini, Sigmaringen, 1986, p. 66; translation of lines 453-57 front P, Godman, Poetry of the Carolingian Renaissance, London, 1985. p. 215. On the work see P. Godman, Poets and Emperors: Frankish Politics and Carolingian Poetry, Oxford, 1987, p. 130-34.

8 P. Godman, ibid., lines 460-64.

9 A. Bruckner, Helvetica Sacra, Zurich, 1972, vol. I pt. 1, p. 165; Christian Wilsdorf, «L’évêque Haito, reconstructeur de la cathédrale de Bâle», in Bulletin monumental, 1975, vol. 133, p. 175-81. See now P. Depreux, Prosopographie de l'entourage de Louis le Pieux (781-840), Sigmaringen, 1997, p. 234-235.

10 Einhard, Vita Karoli, 32, ed. L. Halphen, Eginhard. Vie de Charlemagne, Paris, 1967, 4 th edn., p. 100; Annales Regni Francorum, s.a. 811, ed. F. Kurze, MGH SS, p. 133. The text of chapter 32 of the Vita Karoli, although long seen as being that of the actual will of Charlemagne itself, is clearly nothing of the sort, but the list of witnesses was probably taken by Einhard from an original document.

11 ed. P. Brommer, Capitula Episcoporum, vol. I, MGH Capitula Episcoporum, I, Hannover, 1984, p. 203-204; For his likely authorship of the so-called Statuta Murbacensia see J. Semmler, «Zur handschriftlichen Überlieferung und Verfasserschaft der Statuta Murbacensia », in Jahrbuch für das Bistum Mainz, 1958/60, vol. 8, p. 273-285.

12 H. Houben, «Visio cuiusdam pauperculae mulieris: Überlieferung und Herkunft eines frühmittelalterlichen Visionstextes», in Zeitschrift für die Geschichte des Oberrheins, 1976, vol. 85, p. 31-42; p. 41-42 for the text. On this see P. E. Dutton, The Politics of Dreaming in the Carolingian Empire, Lincoln, Nebraska, 1994, p. 67-74.

13 See J. Jarnut, «Kaiser Ludwig der Fromme und Konig Bernhard von Italien. Der Versuch einer Rehabilitierung», in Studi Medievali, 1989, 3rd series vol. 30, p. 637-648.

14 H. Houben (see note 12 above), endorsed by P. E. Dutton, Politics of Dreaming (note 12 above), p. 70-71.

15 As thus styled in the impérial diplomata; see H. Wolfram ed., Intitulatio II: Lateinische Herrscher-und Fürstentitel im neunten und zehnten Jahrhundert, Wien 1973 p. 19.

16 On the last years of the reign see the famously pessimistic assessment of F. L. Ganshof, «La fin du règne de Charlemagne. Une décomposition», in Zeitschrift fur Schweizerische Geschichte, 1948, vol. 28, p. 533-552. For an analysis of the capitulary legislation and other administrative texts of the period see R. Collins, Charlemagne, (forthcoming).

17 ed. A. Boretius, MGH Legum, sectio II: Capitularia Regum Francorum, vol. 1, item 33, p. 91-99. What is rather surprising is that the supposedly contemporaneous and «official», that is to say court-compiled, Annales Regni Francorum make no mention of this assembly whatsoever. References to Charles’s activities in this text move directly from an account of his hunting in the Ardennes in the summer to his spending Christmas at Aachen, without making the slightest mention of the important assembly held there in October. On the other hand, some of the minor sets of annals, such as those of St. Amand, managed to include an account of this assembly in their much briefer treatments of the year’s events.

18 ed. A. Boretius (note 17 above), items 43-44, p. 120-126.

19 E. Dümmler ed., MGH Epistulae aevi karolini, vol. II, p. 528-529.

20 W. Pohl, Die Awarenkriege Karls des Grossen 788-803, Wien, 1988, p. 16-21.

21 ed. A. Boretius (note 17 above), item 124, p. 244-246, who follows Jaffé in accepting a date of 807. For the alternative dating see W. A. Eckhardt, Die Kapitulariensammlung Bischof Ghaerbalds von Lüttich, Göttingen, 1955, p. 47-49, and F.L. Ganshof, Recherches sur les capitulaires, p. 46 and n. 174.

22 ed. A. Boretius (note 17 above), item 127, p. 249; it was found in MS St. Gall 1394.

23 None of these fasts are mentioned in ARF.

24 ed. A. Boretius (note 17 above), item 121, p. 238-240.

25 cf. D. Hunt, «Christianising the Roman Empire; the evidence of the Code», in J. Harries and I. Wood eds., The Theodosian Code, London, 1993, p. 143-58.

26 For Wala see Paschasius Radbertus, Epitaphium Arsenii bk. I, chs. 1 and 6, ed. E. Dümmler, Berlin, 1900, p. 22, 28-9, and ARF, s. a 811, ed. F. Kurze, p. 134.

27 As in the controversy over the authorship of the Libri Carolini; this is usefully summarised in P. Meyvaert, «The Authorship of the «Libri Carolini». Observations Prompted by a Recent Book», in Revue Bénédictine, 1979, vol. 89, p. 29-57.

28 Cf. O. Pontal, Histoire des conciles mérovingiens, Paris, 1989, p. 245-305; C. Coutts, Anglo-Saxon Church Councils c.650-c.850, Leicester, 1995, p. 17-96.

29 H. H. Anton, Fürstenspiegel und Herrscherethos in der Karolingerzeit, Bonn, 1968, and J. M. Wallace-Hadrill, «The Via Regia of the Carolingian Age», in B. Smalley ed., Trends in Medieval Political Thought, Oxford, 1965, p. 22-41, reprinted in his Early Medieval History, Oxford, 1975, p. 181-200.

30 S. MacCormack, «Latin Prose Panegyrics», in T. A. Dorey ed., Empire and Aftermath, London, 1975, p. 143-205.

31 R. Collins, «Julian of Toledo and the Education of Kings in Late Seventh-Century Spain», in ID, Law, Culture and Regionalism in Early Medieval Spain, Aldershot, 1992, item III.

32 See L. Wallach (note 4 above) on Alcuin’s, De Rhetorica.

33 J.-L. Nelson, «La famille de Charlemagne», in Byzantion, 1991, vol. 61, p. 194-212.

34 ed. A. Boretius (note 17 above), item 121, p. 239-240.

35 Paschasius Radbertus, Vita Adalhardi, 30; ARF s.a. 822, ed. F. Kurze, p. 158.

36 Vita Hludowici 21, ed. E. Tremp, MGH SRG vol. lxiv, p. 346.

37 On his career see L. Weinrich, Wala, Graf, Monch und Rebell, Berlin, 1963, p. 41-86.

38 Astronomer, Vita Hludowici Imperatoris 21, ed. E. Tremp. MGH SRG vol. LXIV, Hannover, 1995, p. 348.

39 J.-L. Nelson, «La famille», (note 33 above), p. 208-212. Janet Nelson has also suggested that there may be grounds for accusing Charles of incestuous conduct with his daughters, on the grounds of this statement and the even more oblique reference in Einhard. Vita Karoli 19 to his inability to live without them in contuburnio. This word, despite its military significance of «Sharing a tent», is also used unambiguously in Einhard’s dominant literary source, Suetonius’s Vila Augusti (ch. 89), to mean companionship. It is impossible to believe that these Carolingian clerical authors would have been so coy and uncensorious if actual incest had been involved.

40 Einhard, Vita Karoli 19, ed. L. Halphen, p. 60.

41 More specifically it may indicate a continuing readership for the so-called «Chronicle of Fredegar» and its Continuations, which constitute the only source for this story. See J. M. ϯWallace-hadrill ed., The Fourth book of the Chronicle of Fredegar, London, 1960, continuations 25-6, p. 98-99.

42 ARF and the Revised Version, s.a. 787 and 788, ed. F. Kurze, p. 74-83.

43 Einhard, Vita Karoli 19, ed. L. Halphen, p. 62.

44 Thegan, Gesta Hludowici imperatoris 8, ed. E. Tremp, MGH SRG vol. LXIV, p. 188-189.

45 Astronomer, Vita Hludowici imperatoris 21, ed. E. Tremp, p. 348; translation by P. D. King, Charlemagne: Translated Sources, Lancaster, 1987, p. 180.

46 Thegan, Gesta Hludowici ch. 13, ed. E. Tremp, p. 194; translation from P.E. Dutton, Carolingian Civilisation, Ontario, 1993, p. 144.

47 On the capitularies of Louis see G. Schmitz, «The Capitulary Legislation of Louis the Pious», in P. Godman and R. Collins, p. 425-436, and H. Mordek, «Recently Discovered Capitulary Texts Belonging to the Legislation of Louis the Pious», ibid., p. 437-454.

48 ARF s.a. 814: Habitoque Aquisgrani generali populi sui conventu ad iustitias faciendas et oppressiones popularium relevandos legatos in omnes regni sui partes dimisit... ed. F. Kurze, p. 141.

49 Chronicon Moissacense, s.a. 815, ed. G. H. Pertz, MGH SS vol I, p. 311:...mandavit etiam missis et comitibus suis ut iustitias facerent in regno suo, et si aliqui homines iniuste privati fuissent de hereditate parentum per cupiditatem comitum aut divitum, ut reddere facerent; necnon et si aliqui homines iniuste in servitute redacti erant, ut iterum acciperent libertatem.

50 Wattenbach-Levison, Deutschlands Geschichtsquellen im Mittelalter, Weimar, 1953, pt. 2, p. 256; now also R. McKitterick and M. Innes, «The writing of history», in R. McKitterick ed., Carolingian Culture: emulation and innovation, Cambridge, 1994, p. 193-220, at p. 209.

51 R. Collins, «The Reviser Revisited: Another Look at the Alternative Version of the Annales Regni Francorum», in A. C. Murray ed., Early Middle Ages: Narrators, Sources and Historiography in Frankish and Italian History, Toronto, forthcoming

52 Einhard, Vita Karoli 8, 9, and 20, ed. L. Halphen, p. 26, 28, and 62-64.

53 ARF s.a. 822, ed. F. Kurze, p. 158; this translation is from B. W. Scholz, Carolingian Chronicles, Ann Arbor, 1970, p. 111.

54 Thegan, Gesta Hludowici 24, ed. E. Tremp, p. 214 for the tonsuirng in 818 of Hugh, Drogo and Theoderic.

55 Astronomer, Vita Hludowici Imperatoris ch. 35, ed. E. Tremp, p. 406.

56 Ibid.

57 R. Le Jan, Famille et pouvoir dans le monde franc (VIIeXe siècle), Paris, 1995, p. 42 and 44.

58 ARF s.a. 818, ed. F. Kurze, p. 148; Thegan, Gesta Hludowici 24, ed. E. Tremp, p. 214.

59 See M. de Jong, «Power and humility in Carolingian society: the public penance of Louis the Pious», in Early Medieval Europe, 1992, vol. 1, p. 29-52.

60 R. Schieffer, «Von Mailand nach Canossa: Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der chritlichen Herrscherbusse von Theodosius der Große bis zu Heinrich IV», in Deutsches Archiv, 1972, vol. 28, p. 333-370.

61 ARF s.a. 822, ed. F. Kurze, p. 159.

62 R. Collins, «Pippin I and the Kingdom of Aquitaine», in R. Collins and P. Godman, op. cit., p. 363-90, at p. 370.

63 J.-M. Wallace-Hadrill, The Frankish Church, Oxford, 1983, p. 131-141, 173-174, 259, 270-271.

64 Capitularia, ed. A. Boretius (note 17 above), item 197, vol. 2, p. 51-55; M. de Jong, «Power and humility», art. cit., (note 59 above), p. 29-30

65 For an overview of the development of Charles’s reputation see R. Morrissey, L'empereur à la barbe fleurie. Charlemagne dans la mythologie et l’histoire de France, Paris, 1997, especially p. 17-70.

66 MGH Poetae vol. 2, p. 370-378; on this work see P. Godman, Poets and Emperors, (note 1 above), p. 133-147.

67 P. E. Dutton, Politics of Dreaming, (note 12 above), p. 55-57.

68 Ardo, Vita Benedicti 29; see Clavis Scriptorum Latinorum Medii Aevi, Auctores Galliae vol. 1: 735-987, ed. M.-H. Jullien and F. Perelman, Turnholt, 1994, p. 184-187, who locate its composition around 823. However, the words of the preface suggest a date later in the 820s.

69 See J.-L. Nelson, «Kingship and empire in the Carolingian world», in R. Mckitterick ed., Carolingian Culture (note 50 above), p. 52-87.

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Edimbourg

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