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Life and work
Editors: Rachel Stone and Charles West

Archbishop Hincmar of Rheims (d. 882) is a crucial figure for all those interested in early medieval European history in general, and Carolingian history in particular. As the powerful Archbishop of Rheims, Hincmar shaped the times in which he lived, advising and admonishing kings, playing a leading role in the Frankish church, and intervening in a range of political and doctrinal disputes. But Hincmar also shaped how those times would later be seen by historians up to the present day, by writing historical accounts such as the Annals of St-Bertin, and by carefully preserving dossiers of material for posterity.

This book puts the archbishop himself centre-stage, bringing together the latest international research across the spectrum of his varied activities, as history-writer, estate administrator, hagiographer, pastorally-engaged bishop, and politically-minded royal advisor. For the first time since Jean Devisse’s magisterial studies in the 1970s, it offers a three-dimensional examination of a controversial figure whose actions and writings in different fields are often studied in isolation, at the cost of a more integrated appreciation. Combining research from recognised experts as well as early-career historians, it will be an essential companion for all those interested in the early medieval Frankish world, and in the history of early medieval Europe more broadly.

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The case of Hincmar of Laon in the Annals of St-Bertin
Christine Kleinjung

At least six formal episcopal depositions were discussed in councils in Western Francia and Lotharingia after 835. Archbishop Hincmar of Rheims was involved in every one. 2 However, the deposition of one of them, Bishop Hincmar of Laon, proved one of the most awkward episodes in his career. As a young man, Hincmar of Laon seemed very promising; his uncle Hincmar of Rheims must have been proud of him. 3 The future bishop of Laon was educated by Hincmar of Rheims, who played the role of a mentor. In his twenties in 858, the younger

in Hincmar of Rheims
Charles West

Archbishop Hincmar of Rheims wrote voluminously about the parish and its priest during his long episcopacy (845–82). Author of a treatise dedicated to the status of rural churches, the Collectio de ecclesiis et capellis , Hincmar also issued several sets of instructions traditionally labelled ‘episcopal capitularies’ or ‘statutes’ to rural priests in his diocese, became involved in fierce controversies over particular churches and touched on related issues in many other texts. His interest in the topic represents an important part of

in Hincmar of Rheims
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Hincmar’s world
Rachel Stone

ceremonial vestment, to be sent to Wulfad, who had already been ordained as archbishop at Charles’s command. 121 Control of bishoprics, and their large resources of land and men, was too important to rulers to be left as a purely internal Church matter. Towards empire, 868–877 In the late 860s, Hincmar again asserted his rights as archbishop over his suffragans, eventually falling into bitter conflict with his own nephew, Bishop Hincmar of Laon. 122 Hincmar of Rheims initially supported his nephew when, in June 868, Charles the Bald summoned the bishop of Laon to

in Hincmar of Rheims
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Gottschalk of Orbais and the predestination controversy in the archdiocese of Rheims
Matthew Bryan Gillis

remained an inveterate opponent to those bishops who condemned his teachings, foremost among them Archbishop Hincmar of Rheims. Hincmar first sought to contain the danger of Gottschalk’s heresy and restore order to the Church, threatened by Gottschalk’s resistance to episcopal correction. Yet the archbishop soon found himself in the position of trying to resolve the doctrinal conundrum of predestination as kings, bishops and intellectuals from other kingdoms became involved in the controversy. The two-fold problem of Gottschalk the unrepentant

in Hincmar of Rheims
Hincmar and Lothar I
Elina Screen

The Treaty of Verdun (843) left the archdiocese of Rheims divided between the West Frankish kingdom of Charles the Bald (843-77) and the Middle Kingdom of Emperor Lothar I (843-55). After 845, Hincmar of Rheims faced the unfortunate necessity of establishing a relationship with Lothar, while giving his primary loyalty to Charles the Bald. Hincmar’s vision of dual loyalty to his two Carolingian masters was not initially acceptable to Lothar. Scholars have long recognised 847 as the particular turning point when Hincmar’s relations with Lothar warmed. The role of personality has previously been emphasised in this change; religious factors, however, were significant in the process, especially the sack of Rome in 846, which encouraged Lothar’s rapprochement with Charles and Hincmar. On Hincmar’s side, Lothar’s control of Rome and ability to support or block his applications to the pope, were amongst the many practical factors making a better relationship with the emperor valuable to the archbishop. The largely retrospective (and sometimes falsified) evidence for Hincmar’s contacts with Lothar complicates the evaluation of their developing relations, and the problematic papal letters of Leo IV in the Collectio Britannica are discussed in an appendix.

in Hincmar of Rheims
The case of Trising in context
Mayke de Jong

Trising returns from Rome In the autumn of 871, Archbishop Hincmar of Rheims sent a long and indignant letter to Pope Hadrian II, defending himself against the accusations of his nephew, Bishop Hincmar of Laon. Almost as an afterthought, he added a report on a delinquent and violent priest named Trising. 1 Well over two years previously, Trising had failed to appear in front of a synod to account for himself; instead, without Hincmar being aware of it, he had gone off to Rome to take his case to the pope. Now

in Hincmar of Rheims
Sylvie Joye

here, instead underlining the bestiality of those who practised abduction. The production of the De raptu raises more questions than it answers, but it is highly symptomatic of a state of mind of the Carolingian episcopate, probably grouped around the pre-eminent figure of Hincmar of Rheims. A product of conciliar activity, and setting out to be a real ‘instrument of government’, this treatise bore the marks of episcopal concern to advise the king, to shape his actions, and to consolidate the unity of the earthly kingdom through the unity

in Hincmar of Rheims
Margaret J. McCarthy

caused a major upheaval in West Francia and is the logical starting point for a closer examination of the relationship between Louis the Stammerer and Hincmar of Rheims. With a new ruler taking over the government of West Francia, Hincmar had the opportunity to resume a primary role in West Frankish affairs, and he took it. Hincmar’s role in Louis’s accession The first major extant source that gives any insight into their relationship is a letter sent by the archbishop to the heir apparent, Novi regis instructio ad

in Hincmar of Rheims
Marie-Céline Isaïa

Among the works of Hincmar of Rheims, the Vita Remigii 1 continues to be regarded as a minor text, a little folkloric recreation that the archbishop permitted himself in old age. 2 Written after his most serious theological and political treatises, the life of Saint Remigius has been seen as a motley compilation, accumulating traditions or inventing them, about a relatively obscure Merovingian bishop. Certainly Saint Remigius, who died around  533/35, did not enjoy a very widespread cult when Hincmar began his work. An extremely short

in Hincmar of Rheims