Praying for kings and bishops in late tenth-century northern France

There is a tendency amongst medieval scholars to leave the evidence of liturgical books to liturgical specialists, and scholars of the post-Carolingian world are no different in this respect. There are good reasons for this: surviving medieval liturgical manuscripts are not simply service books, compiled to support the minister in the delivery of rites, but…

Embodying Dynasties II: cults, politics, and genealogies

As my earlier blog post laid out, my research project as part of After Empire looks at royal mausolea as sites of historical memory in the tenth and early eleventh centuries. As we are already almost one year into the project I thought I’d give an update on how my own research is going. Over…

The Conservative Coins of Adalbero of Laon: Kings and Bishops in the Post-Carolingian World

Ah, a king’s life! Deposition and imprisonment, destitution, murder, getting backtalk from lippy counts… It’s not like there’s ever a bad time to be king, but the tenth century definitely doesn’t have much of a good reputation when it comes to kingship. Medieval historians tend to like their government big and preferably royal, whether that…

The Long Arms of Saint Eucharius of Trier?

The religious landscape of the tenth century is usually described as consisting of a hotchpotch of localities. Defining what was ‘local’ in the Middle Ages, however, is rather difficult for modern scholars. It could comprise a diocese, a town, a monastery, or a community of canons – all entities that were not necessarily separate from…

The Ottonian queen as ‘consors regni’

Uses of the past, or responses to it, are not only to be found in historical narratives, but are also necessarily reflected in a society’s political institutions. The history of Ottonian queenship provides an interesting case in point, since we cannot begin to analyse it without taking a position on the debt it owed to…

The Circulation of Saints’ Feasts (and Texts) in the Post-Carolingian World

In any historical period, the expansion of new cults and the new texts accompanying them, serve for the commemoration of the past. But such expansion also reflects – whether consciously or unconsciously – the needs of the society at that time. Thus the apparition of new feasts and new saints’ lives and the more active…

Pocket Change: the Transformation of Money in the Tenth Century

At the heart of After Empire is a view of the tenth century as an era of change. New dynasties, sometimes even new kingdoms, had to reshape the tools available to them – or craft fresh ones – in order to rule effectively. One of these tools was coined money. The Carolingians had laid a…

The Quedlinburg Annals: writing the Ottonian past in the 11th century

Shortly after the turn of the first millennium CE, a new history of the Ottonian empire was written. The Quedlinburg Annals, a chronicle of world history created at the imperial Saxon convent of Quedlinburg, is one of the most important contemporary historiographical works we have for Ottonian Empire. The Annals track the history of the…

After Empire Inaugural Conference Report

On 17th May 2017, in the leafy environs of Topoi Haus Dahlem, the Freie Universität Berlin hosted the inaugural conference of our project, ‘After Empire: Using and Not Using the Past’, funded by HERA and bolstered by a selfless donation from Professor Patrick Geary’s Annelise Meier Fund. bolstered by a selfless donation from Professor Patrick…

Notions of belonging in the tenth century: the example of Abbo of Saint-Germain and the ‘natio Tungrorum’

In the long tenth century various horizontal and vertical bonds as well as social and political boundaries were changed due to the fragmentation of the Carolingian empire which produced a variety of power relationships. These offered multiple possibilities of adherence to social entities which their contemporaries could align themselves with, or be assigned to. New…