This chapter considers King Charlemagne's performance as referee in theological debates at the Councils of Aachen and Frankfurt. It also focuses on the Visigothic conciliar tradition, with King Reccared (586-601) as its most significant proponent. King Reccared is most famously remembered for having initiated the conversion of the Visigoths, the heretical 'barbarians' who had invaded the Iberian Peninsula in the mid-fifth century, to Catholicism. The chapter considers the ways in which Reccared staged his conversion, aiming at gaining support for his deed and wishing to turn the event into a public display of the alliance between regnum and sacerdotium. He was not the first king to convert from Arianism to Catholicism, but he was the first ruler to elaborate and formalise his conversion, and that of his magnates, at a general Church council.
This book, written in honour of Mayke De Jong, offers twenty-five essays focused upon the importance of religion to Frankish politics. It deals with religious discourse and political polemic in studies that take up the themes of identity, and the creative deployment of the language of the Old Testament within Frankish society. The book explores how the use of ethnic rhetoric in a Christian context shaped medieval perceptions of community. It shows that the Carolingian way of dealing with the Adoptionist challenge was to allow a conversation between the Spanish bishops and their Frankish opponents to take place. Charlemagne's role in the Vita Alcuini as a guardian of orthodoxy who sought to settle a controversy by organising and supervising a theological debate was striking. The book also discusses the admonition of an abbot of Frankish origin who came from southern France and made his monastic career in southern Italy. It showcases three letter manuscripts that share certain features but are different in other aspects. The first manuscript is a collection of the Moral Letters from Seneca to his pupil Lucilius , Paris , BnF, lat. 8658A. The book demonstrates that the lists of amici, viventes et defuncti reflected how the royal monastery was interacting with ruling elites, at different levels, and how such interactions were an essential part of its identity. It also examines the context of Monte Cassino's fading into the background, in the conviction that both political and religious concerns were at play.