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.
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 Carolingianempire. See De Jong, ‘Carolingian monasticism’; Diem, ‘Carolingians’.
187 Romans 8:28: scimus autem quoniam diligentibus Deum omnia
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.
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.
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.
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.
William) inhabited the same Carolingian world. They were of course atypical – but they are about as close as it is possible to get to lay religiosity in the Carolingian moment.
In 881 Vikings stabled their horses in Charlemagne’s church at Aachen and burned down the Aachen palace. The CarolingianEmpire ended in 888, and the western branch of the old dynasty died with Louis V in 987. Aachen did not survive as a capital: what lingered was some symbolic allure in social memory which nourished a nostalgia for Charlemagne and his empire
objectives. We shall return to this below. It is useful, however, first to review in more detail both traditional and revisionist interpretations of this so-called movement in order to have a better understanding of its connection with eleventh-century reform as well as its repercussions for eleventh-century society.
Traditionally, the ‘peace of God’ has been seen as something of a ‘war on war’, in other words, as a reaction to the disorder, whether real or perceived, that resulted from the disintegration of the CarolingianEmpire during the later ninth and especially
Regino’s world and career
The career, mental world and
writings of Regino, abbot of Prüm (d.915), were all defined by the
Carolingianempire 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
secular components and repercussions, and vice versa.2 In his efforts to further his reforms
Charlemagne relied on networks based on trust, loyalty and values shared with
his fideles. The two meanings of the word fides, ‘faith’ and ‘fidelity’, exemplify the
interwovenness of politics and religion in the Carolingianempire. When it comes
to assessing Monte Cassino’s position within Charlemagne’s network of renovatio, important clues are held by Theodemar’s epistolary guide to the world of
Benedictine monastic discipline, including his lengthy discussion of fashion. But