The divorce of King Lothar and Queen Theutberga

Hincmar of Rheims’s De divortio

Authors: Rachel Stone and Charles West

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.

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‘Overall, fellow historians will appreciate the expertise, clarity and good sense with which Stone and West have approached both the text and the elucidation of its context. It is admirably abreast of current scholarship (not least that since 1992) on Frankish politics, the Frankish church, bishops, canon law, patristic and early medieval commentaries and use of Latin. This book, in short, is a valuable contribution to scholarship.'
Rosamond McKitterick, Cambridge

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