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Rachel Stone

The close parallels between Janet Nelson's biography of Charles the Bald and Richard Abels' biography of Alfred the Great are clear. Both books raise issues as to the extent to which early medieval biography is possible. Yet one noteworthy distinction between the books centres on their treatment of lordship. This chapter makes some comparisons between lordship in Francia and England, focusing less on the institution itself than on contemporary depictions of the relationship, in particular in literary sources, and the moral norms associated with it. Although there have been many discussions of the practice of 'Herrschaft' in the Carolingian world, especially in regional studies, analysis of the ethos of the lord-man relationship has largely relied on 'Germanic' texts. Lordship in Anglo-Saxon England has attracted far more scholarly attention, with the 'dear lord' widely seen as a key theme in Old English literature.

in Frankland
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Hincmar’s world
Rachel Stone

The many works written by Archbishop Hincmar of Rheims are inextricably intertwined with his own life history. Hincmar did not write in a vacuum but in response to events, attempting through these to re-order the world to suit his vision of a Christian society. This introductory chapter therefore focuses on his biography, from his days as a promising student at St-Denis through to his death while escaping from Viking raiders. It outlines the different networks within which Hincmar worked, discussing his interactions with the clerics of his own diocese, with kings and other laymen, and with popes, especially Nicholas I. It also demonstrates how long-standing and intractable many of his disputes were. The chapter also highlights recurring themes in the book, such as Hincmar’s working practices and the intensely personal nature of political culture. Hincmar appears within a wider context of scholarly men in the ninth century “fighting with words” and trying to establish social norms by appeals to varied authorities. Finally, Hincmar’s legacy is briefly considered, especially how he has shaped historians’ view of the early Middle Ages.

in Hincmar of Rheims
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Life and work
Editors: Rachel Stone and Charles West

Archbishop Hincmar of Rheims (d. 882) is a crucial figure for all those interested in early medieval European history in general, and Carolingian history in particular. As the powerful Archbishop of Rheims, Hincmar shaped the times in which he lived, advising and admonishing kings, playing a leading role in the Frankish church, and intervening in a range of political and doctrinal disputes. But Hincmar also shaped how those times would later be seen by historians up to the present day, by writing historical accounts such as the Annals of St-Bertin, and by carefully preserving dossiers of material for posterity.

This book puts the archbishop himself centre-stage, bringing together the latest international research across the spectrum of his varied activities, as history-writer, estate administrator, hagiographer, pastorally-engaged bishop, and politically-minded royal advisor. For the first time since Jean Devisse’s magisterial studies in the 1970s, it offers a three-dimensional examination of a controversial figure whose actions and writings in different fields are often studied in isolation, at the cost of a more integrated appreciation. Combining research from recognised experts as well as early-career historians, it will be an essential companion for all those interested in the early medieval Frankish world, and in the history of early medieval Europe more broadly.