A key theme in this collection of thirteen essays is the creative tension between the Carolingian dynasty and its aristocratic followers across 250 years. The first section explores the rising dynasty's attempts to consolidate its power through war and rewards. The second section focuses on the exercise of authority through a complex system of governance and representation, and the pivotal role played by the courts of Charlemagne and his successors. In the third section, we see the Carolingian system undergoing a crisis of legitimacy, challenged by civil war, royal divorce, and aristocratic encroachment on dynastic exclusivity. These essays anatomise the dynamics of power relations in the greatest empire of the early medieval west.
Stuart Airlie is Senior Lecturer in the Department of History at the University of Glasgow, UK.
Contents: Introduction; Part 1 The Rise of the Carolingians: The Frankish aristocracy as supporters and opponents of Boniface; Towards a Carolingian aristocracy; Narratives of triumph and rituals of submission: Charlemagne's mastering of Bavaria; Charlemagne and the aristocracy: captains and kings. Part 2 Carolingian Authority: The aristocracy in the service of the state in the Carolingian period; Bonds of power and bonds of association in the court circle of Louis the Pious; The palace of memory: the Carolingian court as political centre; Semper Fideles? Loyaute envers les Carolingiens comme constituant de l'identite aristocratique. Part 3 Crises in the Carolingian World: The world, the text and the Carolingian: royal, aristocratic and masculine identities in Nithard's Histories; Private bodies and the body politic in the divorce case of Lothar II; The nearly men: Boso of Vienne and Arnulf of Bavaria; 'Sad stories of the death of kings': narrative patterns and structures of authority in Regino of PrA1/4m's Chronicle; The anxiety of sanctity: St Gerald of Aurillac and his Maker; Index.