The Liber iudicum popularis and the blending of Visigothic and Frankish legal culture in Catalonia in the early 11th century

When it formed the heart of the Carolingian marca Hispania just after 800, Catalonia had spent over 200 years under Visigothic rule, followed by 80 years under Arab dominion. With Catalonia’s new position as a frontier region, the counts of Barcelona attained a higher degree of political independence from France in the process of the Carolingian…

Good King Wenceslas? Royal Justice in the Tenth Century (Part I)

The Bohemian Duke Wenceslas has been closely associated with Christmas ever since 1853, when John Mason Neale set his ‘Good King Wenceslas’ to the tune of a medieval spring carol. Despite Neale’s effort being described as ‘ridiculous’, ‘doggerel’ and ‘poor’ by critics of the time, it has become a ubiquitous part of December for many,…

Liturgy Matters

Last week I made my first visit to the current British Library exhibition, Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: Art, Word, War. My first, but I hope not my last: it brings together such a wealth of written material, alongside other artefacts, that it’s hard to maintain proper scholarly decorum when faced with so many manuscripts, familiar from scholarship,…

Conference Report: Oliba de Vic. Un bisbe de mil anys enrere/ Oliba of Vic. A Bishop One Thousand Years Ago

Organisers: Prof. Dr. Matthias M. Tischler (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona/ICREA), Mn. Robert Baró Cabrera (Ateneu Universitati Sant Pacià) and Dr. Marc Sureda i Jubany (Museu Episcopal de Vic) Date, Place: 8.–10. 11. 2018, Barcelona, Bellaterra and Vic Report by Ekaterina Novokhatko, Institut d’Estudis Medievals, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, e-mail: Ekaterina.Novokhatko@uab.cat Questions on European identity and…

Decretum Hadriani: A Translation

This blog post is a translation of a text from the 1080s. It’s a little late for the After Empire project, but an important witness to the changes which mark the end of its remit, and to the transformation of the Carolingian and classical Roman pasts in central-medieval memory. It’s a follow-up to my previous…

Carolingian ecclesiology in the 10th century: the example of St. Gerald of Aurillac

The Carolingian period generated two new different orientations of lay spirituality: (1) radical conversion that imitated the monastic spirituality while remaining in the world; and (2) the valorisation of some aspects of the laity (marriage, juridic and military functions, use of the power to serve the Church and the poor etc.). These phenomena were developed…

A Memory in Between: Using or Not Using the Carolingian Past in 10th-Century Nonantola Abbey

From its Lombard origins, the Abbey of Nonantola was a political powerhouse in the Kingdom of Italy. Its foundation in 752 profoundly shaped that sector of eastern Emilia located between the Apennines and the River Po. King Aistulf granted Anselm extensive stretches of public land. Under Charlemagne, the abbey become the one place that best…

Using the Merovingian past in the eleventh century: Odorannus of Sens

It’s no surprise that monks and nuns in the high middle ages used the Merovingian past when they were retelling their foundation legends. From the tenth century onwards, we see an increasing number of monasteries claiming that they had Merovingian founders, usually opting for big-name figures such as Clovis or Dagobert. This creation of a…

Liturgical innovation in tenth-century hagiography

In the Carolingian period, many attempts were made to consolidate the practice of liturgy in order to prevent Mass and the offices from being celebrated incorrectly: the Admonitio Generalis and the bulk of liturgical commentaries testify to this. Nevertheless, variety and innovation remained the norm through the ninth and tenth centuries, and manuscript material from…