In search of the Carolingian ‘dear lord’
in Frankland
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The close parallels between Janet Nelson's biography of Charles the Bald and Richard Abels' biography of Alfred the Great are clear. Both books raise issues as to the extent to which early medieval biography is possible. Yet one noteworthy distinction between the books centres on their treatment of lordship. This chapter makes some comparisons between lordship in Francia and England, focusing less on the institution itself than on contemporary depictions of the relationship, in particular in literary sources, and the moral norms associated with it. Although there have been many discussions of the practice of 'Herrschaft' in the Carolingian world, especially in regional studies, analysis of the ethos of the lord-man relationship has largely relied on 'Germanic' texts. Lordship in Anglo-Saxon England has attracted far more scholarly attention, with the 'dear lord' widely seen as a key theme in Old English literature.

Frankland

The Franks and the world of the early middle ages

Editors: Paul Fouracre and David Ganz

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