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Paschasius Radbertus' funeral oration for Wala of Corbie
Authors: Mayke de Jong and Justin Lake

This book presents a new and accessible translation of a well-known yet enigmatic text: the ‘Epitaph for Arsenius’ by the monk and scholar Paschasius Radbertus (Radbert) of Corbie. This monastic dialogue, with the author in the role of narrator, plunges the reader directly into the turmoil of ninth-century religion and politics. ‘Arsenius’ was the nickname of Wala, a member of the Carolingian family who in the 830s became involved in the rebellions against Louis the Pious. Exiled from the court, Wala/Arsenius died Italy in 836. Casting both Wala and himself in the role of the prophet Jeremiah, Radbert chose the medium of the epitaph (funeral oration) to deliver a polemical attack, not just on Wala’s enemies, but also on his own.

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Mayke de Jong and Justin Lake

Arsenius’ successors, Heddo (presumably elected in 836) or Isaac, who succeeded in 837. The information on these abbots is found in the twelfth-century Vita Paschasii , p. 453; it is difficult to say how reliable it is. 186 Chapter 58 of the Rule of Benedict prescribed a one-year novitiate for those seeking to enter the monastic life. From 816/17 onwards this monastic rule was imposed as the only valid one in the Carolingian empire. See De Jong, ‘Carolingian monasticism’; Diem, ‘Carolingians’. 187 Romans 8:28: scimus autem quoniam diligentibus Deum omnia

in Confronting crisis in the Carolingian empire
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Mayke de Jong and Justin Lake

This chapter focuses on the biographical, political and literary aspects of the Epitaphium Arsenii. It introduces the author, Paschasius Radbertus, who was a monk of Corbie and later its abbot, and his subject, Abbot Wala of Corbie (d. 836), who was Charlemagne’s controversial cousin. It explains the different political context in which the two books of this work originated. Whereas the first book was probably composed while the Emperor Louis the Pious was still alive, the second followed only in the mid-850s, when Louis’ son Charles the Bald ruled the West-Frankish kingdom. The changed perspective of the second book and the author’s polemical stance stand in contrast to the more reticent first book, which makes this such an interesting text. Furthermore, this introduction also explicates this funeral oration for Wala as a literary work, and comments on the author’s Latin and his use of classical and patristic sources.

in Confronting crisis in the Carolingian empire
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Mayke de Jong and Justin Lake

The second book runs from the political crisis of the winter of 828/9 to Wala’s death in August 836, but was written with emphatic hindsight. The general drift of the narrative is backward-looking: if the rulers had heeded Wala’s advice in the early 830s, the empire would not lie in ruins in the 850s. Radbert had been abbot of Corbie since 843/4. About seven years later he was forced to retire from this illustrious office. The ex-abbot added a polemical second book to his funeral oration to Wala, in which he attacked Wala’s main enemies: the Empress Judith (Justina), the chamberlain Bernard (Naso) and, to a lesser extent, Emperor Louis the Pious (Justinian). The second book is set in an imaginary late antique Christian empire, and reflects deeply on the lost unity of the Carolingian polity. It is a treasure trove of political terminology, which was derived from classical and patristic writing but imbued with new meaning in the turbulent mid-ninth century.

in Confronting crisis in the Carolingian empire
The Chronicle of Regino of Prüm and Adalbert of Magdeburg
Author: Simon MacLean

The career, mental world and writings of Regino, abbot of Prüm, were all defined by the Carolingian empire and, more particularly, by its end. The high Ottonian period of the mid-tenth century also witnessed a revival of historiography, exemplified by the work of the two major authors who wrote about the rise of the dynasty. The first of these was Liutprand of Cremona, whose Antapodosis, a history of European politics from 888 until around 950, and Historia Ottonis, a focused account of events surrounding Otto's imperial coronation, were both written in the earlier 960s. The second was Adalbert, who most probably wrote his continuation to the Chronicle in 967/968. Regino's Chronicle, dedicated to Bishop Adalbero of Augsburg in the year 908, was the last work of its kind for several decades, and as such its author can be regarded as the last great historian of the Carolingian Empire. The Chronicle is divided into two books. The first, subtitled 'On the times of the Lord's incarnation', begins with the incarnation of Christ and proceeds as far as the death of Charles Martel in 741. The second 'On the deeds of the kings of the Franks' takes the story from the death of Charles Martel through to 906. The much shorter continuation by Adalbert of Magdeburg enjoys a place in the canon of works relating to the history of the earliest German Reich and consequently has received considerably more attention.

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Ninth-century histories, volume II
Author: Timothy Reuter

This book presents a rough translation of the Annals of Fulda (AF). By the ninth century annals were one of the major vehicles for historical writing within the Frankish empire. The AF are the principal narrative source written from a perspective east of the Rhine for the period in which the Carolingian Empire gave way to a number of successor kingdoms, including the one which was to become Germany. AF offer the major narrative account of the east Frankish kingdom from the death of Louis the Pious down to the end of the ninth century. The surviving manuscripts are only an echo of what must once have been a much more extensive transmission, to judge by the use made of AF by a number of later annalists and compilers. The brief description of the manuscript tradition must be amplified by looking at the content of the annals. For the years 714 to 830 the work is undoubtedly a compilation which draws on earlier annals, in particular on the Royal Frankish Annals and the Lorsch Frankish Chronicle, with occasional use of other smaller sets of annals and saints' lives. The account of the origins of AF was heavily criticised by Siegmund Hellmann in a number of articles written some fifteen years after the appearance of Friedrich Kurze's edition in 1891.

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Simon MacLean

Regino’s world and career The career, mental world and writings of Regino, abbot of Prüm (d.915), were all defined by the Carolingian empire and, more particularly, by its end. The Carolingians were the second great ruling dynasty of the Franks, one of the barbarian peoples which had taken up the reins of power in the Roman provinces at the end of the fifth century. Their

in History and politics in late Carolingian and Ottonian Europe
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Rachel Stone and Charles West

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.

in The divorce of King Lothar and Queen Theutberga
Rachel Stone and Charles West

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.

in The divorce of King Lothar and Queen Theutberga
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Janet L. Nelson

historians’ interpretations have diverged widely. Some see the period as a catastrophic one, when the Carolingian Empire declined and fell, the western economy re-entered a deep recession, and Christendom reeled under the blows of pagan Viking attacks. Others see this as a period of creativity and growth, when new political communities, a new and dynamic western economy, and a self-conscious Latin

in The Annals of St-Bertin