Charlemagne: The Formation of a European Identity / Edition 1

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Charlemagne is often claimed as the greatest ruler in Europe before Napoleon. In this magisterial new study, Rosamond McKitterick re-examines Charlemagne the ruler and his reputation. She analyses the narrative representations of Charlemagne produced after his death, and thereafter focuses on the evidence from Charlemagne's lifetime concerning the creation of the Carolingian dynasty and the growth of the kingdom, the court and the royal household, communications and identities in the Frankish realm in the context of government, and Charlemagne's religious and cultural strategies. She offers a completely fresh and critical examination of the contemporary sources and in so doing transforms our understanding of the development of the Carolingian empire, the formation of Carolingian political identity, and the astonishing changes effected throughout Charlemagne's 46-year period of rule. This is a major contribution to Carolingian history which will be essential reading for anyone interested in the medieval past.

About the Author:
Rosamond McKitterick is Professor of Medieval History at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Sidney Sussex College

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Recommended." -Choice

"...magisterial study of this historical figure..." -H-German, Kevin Teo Kia-Choong

" important addition to our understanding of the diplomatic and non-diplomatic (linguistic-cultural, religious, social-ethnic) contributions Charlemagne made to medieval European society." -Kevin Teo Kia-Choong, H-German

"this book is a mile-stone in Carolingian scholarship, a critically significant reappraisal of the celebrated emperor and of the impact of his rule, and an achievement which cannot fail to stimulate further work on a number of fronts." -English Historical Review

"In this important book, Rosamond McKitterick undertakes both a historiographical synthesis and, in part, a major reassessment of the era 768-814, the period during which Charlemagne was king of the Franks and emperor of the West." -David S, Bachrach, The International History Review

"This is a laudable book by a leading and prolific scholar of Carolingian Europe." -Timothy P. Newfield, Canadian Journal of History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521716451
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 4/30/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 478
  • Sales rank: 1,016,931
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Rosamond McKitterick is Professor of Medieval History at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Sidney Sussex College. Her previous publications include Atlas of the Medieval World (2003), History and Memory in the Carolingian World (2004), and Perceptions of the Past in the Early Middle Ages (2006).

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Table of Contents

List of maps     ix
List of tables     x
Preface     xi
List of abbreviations     xv
Representations of Charlemagne     1
Introduction     1
Ninth-century narrative images of Charlemagne: Einhard, the Astronomer and the Poeta Saxo     7
The Revised Version of the Annales regni francorum     27
The Annales regni francorum     31
Charlemagne's later years     49
Conclusion     54
Pippinids, Arnulfings and Agilolfings: the creation of a dynasty     57
Introduction: perceptions of the eighth century and the rise of the Carolingians     57
The Pippinids and their rise to political prominence     63
Preparation for kingship: Pippin III and Charlemagne     71
Charlemagne and Carloman 768-771: joint rule     75
Sole rule and its consequences: Charlemagne's family, legitimacy and the succession     88
The succession: the Divisio regnorum (806) and Charlemagne's will (811)     96
The growth of the kingdom     103
Exteriores gentes     127
Conclusion: the limits of expansion     135
The royal court     137
Introduction     137
The royal household: poetic images     139
The royal household: the De ordine palatii of Hincmar of Reims     142
The Capitulare de villis and the De ordine palatii     149
The royal household in later narrative accounts     155
Charlemagne's palaces and the status of Aachen     157
An itinerant court or an itinerant king?     171
Charlemagne's travels     178
Political and diplomatic space     186
Charters and the royal itinerary     188
Charter survival     197
Charter redaction     199
The royal writing office and the palace notaries     204
Conclusion: court and kingdom     212
The king and the kingdom: communications and identities     214
Introduction     214
Communications     215
Assemblies     222
The capitularies     233
Charlemagne's programmatic capitularies, 769-797     237
The regional capitularies and the benefits of Carolingian rule     243
The administrative capitularies for the missi dominici, 802-813     256
The missi dominici and their books     263
Multiple loyalties and their obligations     266
Communications beyond the empire     278
Diplomacy and political identities     279
Conclusion: the mastering of space     288
Correctio, knowledge and power     292
Introduction     292
The sacred topography of the Frankish kingdom     295
The bishops     299
Correctio: ecclesiastical reform     306
Orthodoxy     311
Correctio: language and control     315
Charlemagne's sacred itinerary: Christian space and time     321
Relics and saints     326
Royal piety     330
The palace chapel and the liturgy     340
Royal books     345
Conclusion: space, time and the geography of learning     372
Bibliography     381
Index of manuscripts     443
General index     445
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