This volume of essays in honour of Dame Jinty Nelson celebrates the way in which Jinty has used her profound understanding of Frankish history as a frame for reflecting upon the nature of early medieval culture and society in general. It includes a tabula gratulatoria of those very many others who wish to express their appreciation of Jinty's work and their warm personal gratitude to her. She has remained at King's throughout her entire career. Her early career was combined with young motherhood, a tough experience that has made her strongly supportive of colleagues trying to balance work and family. Although she continued to write about early medieval inauguration rituals, a new departure came with the 1977 paper 'On the limits of the Carolingian Renaissance'. The book discusses what factors determined and informed their particular take on the Frankish world, and how this compares to law-codes and charters. It considers the possibility that land was sometimes taken in early medieval Europe, whether by kings or local lords, for what they claimed was the common good. Whenever only meagre information was available, it was impossible to make sense of the past, that is, to take a prosaic approach to a sense of oblivion. The book explores both the roots of the historical interpretation and the stimuli for change, by considering the long historiographical tradition, attitudes to textual sources, and the changing political environment. The subjects of queens and queenship have figured prominently among Nelson's publications.
Between 858 and 869, an unprecedented scandal played out in Frankish Europe, becoming the subject of gossip not only in palaces and cathedrals. It was in these years that a Frankish king, Lothar II, made increasingly desperate efforts to divorce his wife, Queen Theutberga, and to marry instead a woman named Waldrada, the mother of his children. Lothar, however, faced opposition to his actions. Kings and bishops from neighbouring kingdoms, and several popes, were gradually drawn into a crisis affecting the fate of an entire kingdom. This book offers eye-opening insight not only on the political wrangling of the time, but also on early medieval attitudes towards issues, including magic, penance, gender, the ordeal, marriage, sodomy, the role of bishops, and kingship.
, any label used to describe such phenomena is never a neutral descriptor but always shorthand for a set of modern scholarly claims that colour its connotations and thereby influence our interpretations. 12 How this works and how this impacts scholarship is best shown by briefly retracing the origins and histories of the terms renaissance, reform and correctio . Carolingian renaissance
6 ‘… but they pray badly using corrected books’: errors in early Carolingian copies of the Admonitio generalis Marco Mostert Two of the founding texts of the Carolingian Renaissance are the Epistola de litteris colendis and the so-called Admonitio generalis.1 Together with a letter to the lectors (Karoli epistola generalis, issued in the name of Charlemagne c. 786) they set out a policy for the control of the Christian faith through the control of the Latin in which the Faith was put into words.2 Correctio, in the classical sense of amendment, improvement or
an integral part of mainstream historical research’.1 The process of deconfessionalisation and secularisation in Europe and the United States in the latter part of the twentieth century had made it possible to study medieval Christianity more on its own terms, instead of looking at it as the origin of particular trends in the Catholic Church that were often regarded as backward and/or an aberration of true Christianity. The cultural phenomenon known as the ‘Carolingian Renaissance’, or ‘Frankish reform movement’, for example, is now mainly understood as ‘the
conviction has underpinned all her work, most recently in thinking about concepts of translation. It was an approach that others immediately appreciated. Janet Nelson quickly became one of the most respected early medievalists around. Although she continued to write about early medieval inauguration rituals, a new departure came with the 1977 paper ‘On the limits of the Carolingian Renaissance’, ten pages
Raaijmakers and Van Renswoude in this volume. 12 M. de Jong, ‘Sacrum palatium et ecclesia: l’autorité religieuse royale sous les Carolingiens (790–840)’, Annales: histoire, sciences sociales 58:6 (2003), 1243–69. 13 Cavadini, Last Christology, pp. 71–3. See also G. Brown, ‘The Carolingian Renaissance’, in R. McKitterick (ed.), Carolingian Culture. Emulation and Innovation (Cambridge, 1994), 1–51, who, at p. 31, calls this a ‘set-piece debate’. 14 Christys, Christians in al-Andalus, pp. 14–27. 15 U. Vones-Liebenstein, ‘Katalonien zwischen Maurenherrschaft und
afterwards, Alcuin presented Charlemagne with the unique compendium with which we are concerned here. On the patronage of culture in the early medieval West, see Y. Hen, Roman Barbarians. The Royal Court and Culture in the Early Medieval West (Basingstoke, 2007); Y. Hen, ‘Court and culture in the Barbarian West: a prelude to the Carolingian Renaissance’, in Le corti nell’alto medioevo, Settimane 62 (Spoleto, 2015), pp. 627–50, and see there for further bibliography. See also the various papers in R. McKitterick (ed.), Carolingian Culture. Emulation and Innovation
the foundations of the contemporary world were laid, but in the Carolingian Renaissance and comparable moments of cultural innovation, ‘modernity’ was heralded ‘whenever the consciousness of a new era developed in Europe through a renewed relationship to classical antiquity’ (Habermas, 1996a: 39). As with the ‘querelle des anciens et des modernes, the dispute with the protagonists of a classicistic aesthetic taste in late seventeenth-century France, it was always antiquitas, the classical world, which was regarded as the normative model to be imitated’. It was only
used to distinguish the Christian present from the pagan Roman past. It was subsequently employed, with ‘a different content in each case’, to articulate ‘the consciousness of an era that refers back to the past of classical antiquity precisely in order to comprehend itself as the result of a transition from the old to the new’. Hence, not only from the late middle-ages, when the foundations of the contemporary world were laid, but in the Carolingian Renaissance and comparable moments of cultural innovation, ‘modernity’ was