Between 858 and 869, an unprecedented scandal played out in Frankish Europe, becoming the subject of gossip not only in palaces and cathedrals. It was in these years that a Frankish king, Lothar II, made increasingly desperate efforts to divorce his wife, Queen Theutberga, and to marry instead a woman named Waldrada, the mother of his children. Lothar, however, faced opposition to his actions. Kings and bishops from neighbouring kingdoms, and several popes, were gradually drawn into a crisis affecting the fate of an entire kingdom. This book offers eye-opening insight not only on the political wrangling of the time, but also on early medieval attitudes towards issues, including magic, penance, gender, the ordeal, marriage, sodomy, the role of bishops, and kingship.
This chapter contains the translated text ofDe divortio. It has several underlying sections, responding to the questions that Hincmar initially received. These sections were, however, further divided to make the twenty-three responses which appear in the manuscript. The original sections are as follows: the procedure at the councils of Aachen, rules on marriage, divorce and remarriage, the validity of ordeals, the next steps in Theutberga's case, the sodomy charge, Lothar's relationship with Waldrada and sorcery, Lothar's possibilities of remarriage, and the response of bishops towards appeals to them and the case of Engeltrude. De divortio also deals with seven further questions which Hincmar received six months after the first: who is able to judge the king, can the king avoid further judgement in the case, the case of Engeltrude, and the effects of communion with the king.
This introduction puts the text into its early medieval context and explaining Hincmar's sometimes-dubious methods of argument. The book is a translation of the most significant source for the attempted divorce, a treatise known as De divortio Lotharii regis et Theutbergae reginae, written in 860 by Archbishop Hincmar of Rheims. It sheds much light on the Frankish world of its protagonists and on early medieval Europe in general. In 860 those supporting Lothar II's divorce were still able to discomfort Hincmar by drawing parallels between the trials of Ebbo and Theutberga; the matter was only finally settled in 868. The book offers eye-opening insight not only on the political wrangling of the time, but also on early medieval attitudes towards a host of issues including magic, penance, gender, the ordeal, marriage, sodomy, the role of bishops, and kingship.