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in a collective act of contrition.12 The account in the Royal Frankish Annals is circumstantial: After receiving the advice of his bishops and nobles, the lord emperor was reconciled with those brothers whom he had ordered, against their will, to be tonsured. And because of this deed and others – that is, what was done against Bernard, the son of his brother Pepin, and what was done against Abbot Adalhard and his brother Wala – he made a public confession and performed penance [publicam confessionem fecit et paenitentiam egit]. He carried this out in the presence

in Religious Franks

Hildeprand had started to date the charters according to Charlemagne’s regnal years in order to display his loyalty to the Carolingian king. In 779 the duke travelled to France and lavishly offered the Frankish king presents in the royal villa of Verzenay (close to Reims).35 This is one of only three references to gifts in the Royal Frankish Annals, which generally seem to neglect the everyday phenomenon of gift exchange in early medieval society. It was mentioned at this point of the annals’ narrative because Hildeprand’s presents testified to Charlemagne’s strengthened

in Religious Franks
The making and unmaking of an early medieval relic

apart again over the centuries, specialists are of the opinion that they are likely to be of eighth- or ninth-century European origin. The reliquary displays them as the ‘sandals of Christ’, and presents them flanked by images of Pippinus rex and Zacharias papa worked in mock-Carolingian enamel and goldwork.1 Why is this footwear preserved, relic-like, in a liturgical space? Why at Prüm? What connection might King Pippin have had with the ‘sandals of Christ’? Why do the sandals link the first Carolingian king with the pope who, according to the Royal Frankish Annals

in Religious Franks