To fight with words
The case of Hincmar of Laon in the Annals of St-Bertin
in Hincmar of Rheims
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This chapter focuses on how Hincmar of Rheims as an author deliberately used varied genres of text as media to publicise his position in political conflicts. This is investigated via Hincmar’s presentation of his conflict with his nephew Hincmar of Laon in the Annales Bertiniani. Hincmar found himself in conflict with his nephew from 868, who had also provoked Charles the Bald by his disobedience. Their conflict over the question of the power of metropolitans was characterised by an enormous production of texts, with voluminous polemics surviving from both sides. Writing at the time, Hincmar of Rheims presented the case in his Annales Bertiniani, from 861 onwards. The annals developed into a key medium for persuading the king, court opinion and those around Rheims of his point of view, as a comparison with the legal texts and polemics shows. Hincmar knew the “rules of the game” of textual genres and made strategic use of exaggerations and silences. His style of presentation points both to his orientation towards his audience, and to the deployment of texts in conflicts. Such analysis clearly shows the connections between Hincmar’s life and work.

Hincmar of Rheims

Life and work

Editors: Rachel Stone and Charles West

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