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I POLITICAL TRACTS The text referred to as the Laws of Edward and Guthrum survives in two twelfth-century manuscripts: Cambridge, Corpus Christi College 383 and Strood, Medway Archive and Local Studies Centre, MS. DRc/R1 ( Textus Roffensis ). Both manuscripts treat the text as an authentic example of early tenth-century Anglo-Saxon royal

in The political writings of Archbishop Wulfstan of York
The Chronicle of Regino of Prüm and Adalbert of Magdeburg

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.

Archbishop Wulfstan of York is among the most important legal and political thinkers of the early Middle Ages. A leading ecclesiastic, innovative legislator, and influential royal councilor, Wulfstan witnessed firsthand the violence and social unrest that culminated in the fall of the English monarchy before the invading armies of Cnut in 1016. This book introduces the range of Wulfstan's political writings and sheds light on the development of English law during the early eleventh century. In his homilies and legal tracts, Wulfstan offered a searing indictment of the moral failures that led to England’s collapse and formulated a vision of an ideal Christian community that would influence English political thought long after the Anglo-Saxon period had ended. More than just dry political theory, however, Wulfstan’s works are composed in the distinctive voice of someone who was both a confidante of kings and a preacher of apocalyptic fervour. No other source so vividly portrays the political life of eleventh-century England: what it was, and what one man believed it could be.

From commune to signoria , from independence to subjection The Italian communes of the thirteenth century have been celebrated for their recreation of the institutions and methods of ancient democracy. Political participation was widened beyond the families of a narrow élite. Appointment to executive boards and committees was based

in The towns of Italy in the later Middle Ages

reworked a series of genuine Wulfstan fragments into a composite homily after the archbishop’s death. 6 The three texts translated here (Napier 22–4) are those of the series which Wormald labelled ‘quasi-legislative’ and Lionarons categorised as among Wulfstan’s ‘Political Homilies’. 7 Each reworks legal material on a discrete theme – the prerogatives

in The political writings of Archbishop Wulfstan of York
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It is a truth nearly universally acknowledged that the legislators of Anglo-Saxon England lacked a sophisticated, theoretical understanding of both law and politics. In early twentieth-century scholarship, this belief underlay such blunt statements as William Dunning’s claim that ‘the Middle Age [sic] was unpolitical’, and Sir Frederick Pollock’s more elaborate, if equally

in The political writings of Archbishop Wulfstan of York

threat and to emphasise the moral dimensions of the struggle. In contrast, the somewhat shorter VIIa Æthelred dispenses with many of Latin’s specific prescriptions in favour of a more admonitory approach. In part, this revision may have resulted from changing political circumstances: as Wormald points out, the more general tone meant that ‘it was no longer the law of a king who

in The political writings of Archbishop Wulfstan of York
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predecessors, the Merovingians, had rapidly expanded their dominions out from their heartlands in north-eastern Gaul and maintained a successful dynastic hegemony that endured for some 250 years. The Carolingians were an aristocratic family from the eastern regions of the Frankish realm who by around 700 had come to control the crucial political office of mayor of the palace (in effect, second to the king

in History and politics in late Carolingian and Ottonian Europe

opposed to the glorious Christian past. 4 Complaints about learning and writing having declined from past ages are conventional in early medieval texts. 5 A reference to Regino’s descriptions of his own political

in History and politics in late Carolingian and Ottonian Europe

918. According to Widukind, RGS , I.25: 37, Conrad was mortally wounded on campaign against Arnulf. 17 ‘Discidium regni’, which could be (and often is) translated as ‘division of the kingdom’. However, the context suggests that Adalbert was referring to general disharmony in the political community

in History and politics in late Carolingian and Ottonian Europe