Introduction
Hincmar’s world
in Hincmar of Rheims
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The many works written by Archbishop Hincmar of Rheims are inextricably intertwined with his own life history. Hincmar did not write in a vacuum but in response to events, attempting through these to re-order the world to suit his vision of a Christian society. This introductory chapter therefore focuses on his biography, from his days as a promising student at St-Denis through to his death while escaping from Viking raiders. It outlines the different networks within which Hincmar worked, discussing his interactions with the clerics of his own diocese, with kings and other laymen, and with popes, especially Nicholas I. It also demonstrates how long-standing and intractable many of his disputes were. The chapter also highlights recurring themes in the book, such as Hincmar’s working practices and the intensely personal nature of political culture. Hincmar appears within a wider context of scholarly men in the ninth century “fighting with words” and trying to establish social norms by appeals to varied authorities. Finally, Hincmar’s legacy is briefly considered, especially how he has shaped historians’ view of the early Middle Ages.

Hincmar of Rheims

Life and work

Editors: Rachel Stone and Charles West

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