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Dagobert II was a Merovingian king who ruled for about four years in Austrasia, the Frankish kingdom which included northeastern France, Belgium and the Rhineland. His reign probably began in late 675 or early 676. This chapter first reviews what we know of Dagobert and next examines the Vita Dagoberti. It then looks at how Dagobert II was rediscovered via the Life of Wilfrid in the seventeenth century, and was subsequently re-inscribed in the history of the period. This leads readers to an evaluation of the Life of Wilfred as a source, reflections on the significance of Wilfrid himself, and further thoughts on the relationship between memory and tradition. The Life of Wilfrid is therefore a text that is to readers vital for historical research, but not one of which more than a handful of early medieval people were aware.
This volume of essays in honour of Dame Jinty Nelson celebrates the way in which Jinty has used her profound understanding of Frankish history as a frame for reflecting upon the nature of early medieval culture and society in general. It includes a tabula gratulatoria of those very many others who wish to express their appreciation of Jinty's work and their warm personal gratitude to her. She has remained at King's throughout her entire career. Her early career was combined with young motherhood, a tough experience that has made her strongly supportive of colleagues trying to balance work and family. Although she continued to write about early medieval inauguration rituals, a new departure came with the 1977 paper 'On the limits of the Carolingian Renaissance'. The book discusses what factors determined and informed their particular take on the Frankish world, and how this compares to law-codes and charters. It considers the possibility that land was sometimes taken in early medieval Europe, whether by kings or local lords, for what they claimed was the common good. Whenever only meagre information was available, it was impossible to make sense of the past, that is, to take a prosaic approach to a sense of oblivion. The book explores both the roots of the historical interpretation and the stimuli for change, by considering the long historiographical tradition, attitudes to textual sources, and the changing political environment. The subjects of queens and queenship have figured prominently among Nelson's publications.
Janet nelson was born in 1942 and grew up in Blackpool, Lancashire. After graduation she proceeded directly to postgraduate research under Professor Walter Ullmann, completing a PhD in 1967. Her thesis title was 'Rituals of Royal Inauguration in Early Medieval Europe. The research gave her an understanding of the political resonance of the liturgy in the early Middle Ages and a thorough grounding in that intellectually rigorous scholarship which is the hallmark of her work. Janet Nelson's concern with how ideology, ritual and political thought might be combined in practical action, and with how individuals made choices according to needs and opportunities, led her to work on the reign of Charles the Bald, a figure rather in need of historical rehabilitation. The result was a model of political history that set the pace for a series of studies that rethought the history of the later Carolingians.