This book presents a rough translation of the Annals of St-Bertin (AB). The AB give a detailed record of events in the Carolingian world, covering the years 830-882. They constitute the most substantial piece of contemporary historical writing of their time, a time that was a critical one in western European history. The AB contain uniquely extensive information about Viking activities, constructive as well as destructive, and also about the variety of responses to those activities. Produced in the 830s in the imperial palace of Louis the Pious, the AB were continued away from the Court, first by Bishop Prudentius of Troyes, then by the great scholar-politician Archbishop Hincmar of Rheims. The AB have little information for the year 840 after the death of Louis the Pious, and something like the earlier density of reporting is resumed only with the battle of Fontenoy. From 841 on, the AB were based in the western part of the old empire, in what became, with the Treaty of Verdun in 843, the kingdom of Charles the Bald. Thus the division of Verdun is, again, faithfully reflected in the AB's record. From time to time, information was received from Lothar's Middle Kingdom, and from Louis the German's East Frankish kingdom; but the AB's main focus after 843 was on events in the West and on the doings of Charles the Bald.
1. The importance
of the text
The Annals of St-Bertin give
a detailed record of events in the Carolingian world, covering the years
830-82. They constitute the most substantial piece of contemporaryhistoricalwriting of their time 1 – a time that was, on any
reckoning, a critical one in western European history. As on most major
Charles’s winning of Frankish consensus and his consecration with heaven-sent oil ‘of which’, Hincmar said, in a tiny phrase with a very long afterlife, ‘we still have some’ ( unde adhuc habemus ). All this makes the 869 annal the longest in the whole work, and considerably longer than any entry in other contemporaryhistoricalwriting. 36 Like the rest of Hincmar’s annals, this account is a tissue of selective truth and misrepresentation and wishful thinking, of much-wordiness and significant silences. But with Hincmar, there is a transparency about the constructed
(eds), Foundation, Dedication and Consecration in Early Modern Europe (Leiden:
Brill, 2012), pp. 79–98.
28 Though on some of the methodological issues, see Ianziti, Writing History, and A. E.
Moyer, ‘Historians and Antiquarians in Sixteenth-Century Florence’, Journal of the
History of Ideas, 64 (2003), 177–93.
29 J. Black, ‘The Duchy of Milan in ContemporaryHistoricalWriting, ca 1400–1540’,
in C. T. Callisen (ed.), Reading and Writing History from Bruni to Windschuttle:
Essays in Honour of Gary Ianziti (Farnham: Ashgate, 2014), pp. 57–70.
30 Cornazzano: BL
See note 21 above. For a discussion of
Wollstonecraft’s debt to contemporaryhistoricalwriting,
particularly that of the Scottish Enlightenment and her interest in
histories of ‘civilisation’, see Jane Rendall,
‘“The grand causes which combine to carry mankind
forward”: Wollstonecraft, History and Revolution’,
Women’s Writing, 4:2 ( 1997
Two-kingdoms theory, ‘Erastianism’ and the Westminster assembly debate on
church and state, c. 1641–48
would accept that the Long Parliament advanced a version of the Tudor royal
supremacy that increasingly diminished the ‘royal’ element of the supremacy
in favour of Parliament. Nevertheless, this blunt use of the term ‘Erastian’ in
contemporaryhistoricalwriting has been criticised for blurring contemporary distinctions about the nature of church–state relations. Alan Orr, noting
the disputes over the term, provides a ‘working definition’ of Erastianism as
being the ‘power to determine doctrine and exercise discipline over the established church’ as resting