This chapter contains a selection of translated and annotated texts on the
Order of teh Golden Fleece. The foundation of the Burgundian curial Order of
chivalry known as the Golden Fleece was proclaimed on the market place at
Bruges on behalf of Philip the Good during the festivities of his wedding to
Isabella of Portugal in January 1430. The political value of the Order to
the Valois dukes and their Habsburg successors lay in the acceptance on oath
of the demanding statutes by a membership of high-ranking noblemen from the
Burgundian dominions, and by a smaller but growing number of foreign rulers
and dignitaries. A more neglected dimension of the political importance of
the Golden Fleece was its relevance to urban society.
The Norman kingdom of Sicily is one of the most fascinating and unusual areas of interest within the discipline of medieval history. The unification of the island of Sicily with the southern Italian mainland in the years after 1127 altered the balance of power in the Mediterranean and had a major impact on the power politics of Europe in the central Middle Ages. Count Roger II of Sicily was crowned as the first king of the new kingdom of Sicily in Palermo cathedral on Christmas Day 1130. Two principal narrative texts, the 'History of King Roger' of Abbot Alexander of Telese and the Chronicle of Falco of Benevento, reveal diametrically opposing views of King Roger and his state-building. Alexander of Telese suggested that Roger deliberately cultivated an image of restraint and remoteness that he might be feared by evildoers, and the chronicle attributed to Archbishop Romuald of Salerno said that he was more feared than loved by his subjects. If the German sources show the expedition of 1137 from the viewpoint of the invaders, the Montecassino chronicle depicts it from that of the recipients, trying to safeguard their own interests in the face of conflicting pressures on them. The 'Catalogue of the Barons' is a source of great importance for the study of the kingdom of Sicily in the mid-twelfth century, both for the military system and for the structure of landholding in the mainland provinces, but it is a problematic text.
In the middle of the seventh century Aunemund held one of the most important positions in the Frankish Church: he was Bishop of Lyons. The Acta Aunemundi do display features strongly suggestive of genuinely early composition. Alfred Coville argued that the description of Aunemund as of 'Roman stock' was an indication of early composition, early because it showed that there were people around who saw themselves as 'Roman', a consciousness which scholars had thought to have hardly stretched beyond the seventh century. The story of the martyrdom of Bishop Aunemund provides us with a valuable lesson in Merovingian history. It was by the name Aunemund that the Bishop of Lyons was known to his contemporaries in the Frankish kingdom. Aunemund certainly was one of the powerful elite who frequented the Merovingian courts. His power had two sources: his family's position in Lyons, and his own position within the Merovingian Church.
This chapter contains four additional texts: Romuald of Salerno's Chronicon sive Annales, 1153-69, Boso’s Life of Pope Adrian IV, The Treaty of Benevento, 1156, and A letter concerning the Sicilian tragedy to Peter, Treasurer of the Church of Palermo. These additional sources allow the reader to gain a fuller and more balanced picture of the history of Sicily during the reign of William I and the minority of his son William II than is obtainable from the pages of ‘Falcandus’ alone.
The rather brief anonymous Life of the Sienese Andrea Gallerani was to all appearances composed with a local and immediate audience in view. The fanciful tale which immediately follows has Andrea swept up into the sky on a cloud and should have served to maintain interest. In March 1274 Bishop Bernardo of Siena granted the indulgence for visitors to the tomb on the Monday after Palm Sunday, the first landmark in Andrea's cult. A confraternity in the name of the Crucified Christ, the Virgin and the Blessed Andrea, which met in the oratory below the Preachers' dormitory, was founded in 1344 and continued to flourish. Andrea had the distinction of being commemorated in an early example of Sienese panel painting, a small altarpiece of about 1280 from San Domenico, now in the Sienese Pinacoteca.
This book presents a rough translation of the Annals of Fulda (AF). By the ninth century annals were one of the major vehicles for historical writing within the Frankish empire. The AF are the principal narrative source written from a perspective east of the Rhine for the period in which the Carolingian Empire gave way to a number of successor kingdoms, including the one which was to become Germany. AF offer the major narrative account of the east Frankish kingdom from the death of Louis the Pious down to the end of the ninth century. The surviving manuscripts are only an echo of what must once have been a much more extensive transmission, to judge by the use made of AF by a number of later annalists and compilers. The brief description of the manuscript tradition must be amplified by looking at the content of the annals. For the years 714 to 830 the work is undoubtedly a compilation which draws on earlier annals, in particular on the Royal Frankish Annals and the Lorsch Frankish Chronicle, with occasional use of other smaller sets of annals and saints' lives. The account of the origins of AF was heavily criticised by Siegmund Hellmann in a number of articles written some fifteen years after the appearance of Friedrich Kurze's edition in 1891.