An unfortunate necessity?
Hincmar and Lothar I
in Hincmar of Rheims
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The Treaty of Verdun (843) left the archdiocese of Rheims divided between the West Frankish kingdom of Charles the Bald (843-77) and the Middle Kingdom of Emperor Lothar I (843-55). After 845, Hincmar of Rheims faced the unfortunate necessity of establishing a relationship with Lothar, while giving his primary loyalty to Charles the Bald. Hincmar’s vision of dual loyalty to his two Carolingian masters was not initially acceptable to Lothar. Scholars have long recognised 847 as the particular turning point when Hincmar’s relations with Lothar warmed. The role of personality has previously been emphasised in this change; religious factors, however, were significant in the process, especially the sack of Rome in 846, which encouraged Lothar’s rapprochement with Charles and Hincmar. On Hincmar’s side, Lothar’s control of Rome and ability to support or block his applications to the pope, were amongst the many practical factors making a better relationship with the emperor valuable to the archbishop. The largely retrospective (and sometimes falsified) evidence for Hincmar’s contacts with Lothar complicates the evaluation of their developing relations, and the problematic papal letters of Leo IV in the Collectio Britannica are discussed in an appendix.

Hincmar of Rheims

Life and work

Editors: Rachel Stone and Charles West

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