slaves should also be included in the category of movable wealth. The
desire to acquire movables remained a very important factor in political
behaviour throughout our period, although it was land which provided the
resources needed to hang on to power in the long term. 15
The splendid cultural life so
evident at the courts of Charlemagne (768–814) and his son, LouisthePious (814–43), forms the central
colouring is contrasted with rustic speech; cf. Astronomer, Life of Louis, trans. A.
Cabaniss, Son of Charlemagne – A Contemporary Life of LouisthePious (Syracuse,
1961), prol., p. 30 (fuco adulationis); and, more generally, T. Janson, Latin Prose
Prefaces – Studies in Literary Conventions (Stockholm, 1964), p. 140.
299 Chronicle, Ep.ded., p. 91; cf. Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy, I.5, p. 161.
• Rhetoric and the writing of history •
would rather give offence to the powerful than use the ‘colours’
of rhetoric to disguise the truth.
Otto of Freising
art and marvellous craftsmanship of these constructions, he comments, now revealed the incidents to those who
had not seen them happen ‘as clearly as if they had been there’.279
Medieval historians made similar observations and drew similar
conclusions. Thus, Gregory of Tours describes histories painted
on walls; Paul the Deacon describes Theudelinda having the
deeds of the Lombards painted in her palace; Ermoldus Nigellus
how LouisthePious had the maxima gesta virum from Orosius
painted on the walls of his hall at Ingelheim, joining the acts of
caesars to the
itself upon them.
And since it is written:
‘Pass not beyond the ancient bounds which thy fathers have
set’ [Proverbs 22:28], whose true doctrine should be imitated
by us as examples, we thought it necessary to recall to the memory
that some of us were present in the palace of Attigny in the time of
the Lord Louis, thepious emperor of holy memory, when there was a