The effectiveness of worship and prayer was a principle concern of the Franks and took a central position in their interpretation and design of the Christian religion. The Carolingians in particular are known for the way they accentuated a correct practice of worship in order to further the effectiveness of the Eucharistic liturgy and of prayer. This chapter focuses on the Franks' attitude towards sacred language and addresses the question of to what extent their concern with the effectiveness of the religious ritual is visible in their liturgical books. Since the Carolingians were not the first to focus on the effectus of liturgical prayer, it draws a longer line, starting in the early eighth century. It compares a liturgical book from this period with a source dated to the period of Charlemagne's reign.
Carolingian local correctio and an unknown priests’ exam from the early ninth century
Carine van Rhijn
This chapter is about one priests' exam, which the author called the Dic mihi pro quid after its first words. It dates from the late eighth or early ninth century, and it was probably composed in the south of France. The chapter takes this text and its manuscript context as a starting point to explore a few aspects of Carolingian local correctio. First, it looks at the contents of the exam and the implications of the questions and answers for what was expected of priests, as well as the knowledge and education they presuppose. This leads, secondly, to a brief examination of two manuscripts in which the text has survived, for most of these are books once owned by priests or used in their education. At the end of the chapter there is a new critical edition of the text on the basis of its six Carolingian manuscripts.
Inalienability of church property and the sovereignty of a ruler in the ninth century
Stefan Esders and Steffen Patzold
This chapter shows how elites in the time of Louis the Pious discussed landed property belonging to churches, and how old Roman law was used in the process to secure that property's status. In this debate, the recourse to sixth-century Roman law enabled certain actors to assign the ruler a distinctive position standing over the community of the ecclesia. The idea that ecclesiastical property should be treated as inalienable would have an enormous impact on both legal theory and practice. For it shaped the types of transaction that could be used when dealing with church property in a characteristic manner, so that donation, precaria oblata, infeudation and exchange dominate our ecclesiastical charter evidence from the early Middle Ages onwards. As is well known, it was from the twelfth century onwards that the idea of church property as inalienable would form the starting point for a new conception of sovereignty.
The title of this chapter refers to the early-eleventh-century Passio Friderici. In this saint's life bishop Frederic of Utrecht is murdered by a couple of minions of Empress Judith, wife of Emperor Louis the Pious, out of revenge for the bishop's accusations of incest and adultery against her. The chapter focuses on the question of how and why the author of Frederic's Life made a use of the Carolingian past in Utrecht just after the year 1000. It presents the views of Patrick Corbet on the Passio. The formation and consolidation of a bishopric, and the changing position of its oldest institutions, are important elements. A clear continuation is shown of Carolingian reform ideas in the duties of bishops. Finally, the chapter focuses on the role of Bishop Adelbold and on the function of the Passio in the education of young Utrecht clerics.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts covered in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book was itself both an outcome of and a complement to the European Science Foundation Transformation of the Roman World research project in which Mayke de Jong had been a leading spirit. It deals with religious discourse and political polemic in studies that take up the themes of identity, and the creative deployment of the language of the Old Testament within Frankish society. The book explores early medieval uses of the biblical metaphor of a 'chosen people' in the early Middle Ages. It also explores how the use of ethnic rhetoric in a Christian context shaped medieval perceptions of community. The book further considers the implications of the invocation of the Emperor Constantine in the debates about Adoptionism at the end of the eighth century.
In the case of Anglo-Saxon England the authors have fragments of three sacramentaries that provide information on Anglo-Saxon prayer. The chief evidence comes from some thirty Anglo-Saxon gospel books, which sometimes reveal which gospel passages were chosen to be read on particular days. Among these, six manuscripts have marginal notes indicating such uses: the Lindisfarne Gospels; London, BL, Royal I B vii; Durham, Cathedral Library, A II 16 and A II 17; and two sixth-century Italian gospel books. From these six manuscripts scholars have tried to reconstruct the liturgical system of gospel lections in use in Anglo-Saxon England before 800. This chapter is a discussion of one of these witnesses. Durham, A II 16 is a substantial part of a large and impressive gospel book. The remarkable feature of Durham, A II 16 is that the script in which the Synoptic Gospels were written changes dramatically.
The theme of royal monastic conversion was of major significance to Regino. This is not only demonstrated by the interpolation concerning Carloman's conversion in Monte Cassino in the Chronicle. It is also demonstrated by the examples concerned with kings and princes ending up in monasteries for one reason (or crime) or another. Regino's interest in this phenomenon may in part derive from his first-hand experience in dealing with Hugh, a member of the royal family who was relegated to a life in a monastery. Many stories about the illustrious members of the community must have circulated in Prüm and perhaps some elements of Carloman's conversion story have their origin in such tales. In addition to this practical application for Carloman's exemplum memorabile, Regino had a more general point to make about proper royal conduct and royal responsibility.
This chapter examines the context of Monte Cassino's fading into the background, in the conviction that both political and religious concerns were at play. What Mayke de Jong has emphasised in her publications and teaching is that a too sharply defined distinction of political and religious concerns and ambitions misses the mark for our period. Spiritual concerns had secular components and repercussions, and vice versa. In his efforts to further his reforms Charlemagne relied on networks based on trust, loyalty and values shared with his fideles. The two meanings of the word fides, 'faith' and 'fidelity', exemplify the interwovenness of politics and religion in the Carolingian empire. When it comes to assessing Monte Cassino's position within Charlemagne's network of renovatio, important clues are held by Theodemar's epistolary guide to the world of Benedictine monastic discipline, including his lengthy discussion of fashion.
Penance is a main topic in Louis the Pious's reign, as Mayke de Jong's book on the crisis of the late 820s and early 830s brilliantly shows. The most dramatic moment is the emperor's deposition in 833, which led to vivid discussion among the political elite. This was not the first time Louis publicly acknowledged his errors, since he had already done so in 822 at Attigny, which was associated with political success in Charlemagne's time. This was the place Louis chose for a drawing of the balance of the first years of his government and the reform he initiated. Louis's penance took place at a crucial moment of his reign because he had to change his politics in consequence of his calling back to court some of Charlemagne's main counsellors.
The making and unmaking of an early medieval relic
Julia M. H. Smith
The sandals of Christ turn out to be associated with one of the Carolingian dynasty's steps towards building the divinely established ecclesia whose nature Mayke de Jong has done so much to elucidate. This chapter follows her example in bringing scriptural exegesis to bear on questions of Carolingian political culture. Doing so reveals the unstable interrelation between textual and material forms of historical evidence for one particular relic, the 'sandals of Christ'. Full technical analysis of the construction, decoration and probable dating of the leatherwork, in due course, elucidates many aspects of the shoes' manufacture, and tells a story of elite craftsmen and women working with costly materials to produce exceptional footwear. The chapter focuses on textual evidence to examine their cultural construction as a relic and to suggest reasons why making a pair of shoes into a relic made sense in the 750s.