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 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…

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…

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…

Uses of Carolingian law under early Salian rule: An example from Speyer

In most accounts of modern German historiography, the period of the Ottonian and Salian rulers is featured as a period of national origins. The perspective adopted by the HERA project, however, is different. Since it focuses on the uses of the past, it allows us to look at this period from a different perspective. The…

Liturgy and authority in the post-Carolingian world

The characterisation of the tenth century as a dark age for historical written sources has deep roots. But the liturgy constitutes one area where manuscripts survive in increasing quantities from the years 900 to 1050 compared to those copied in the previous century and a half. Moreover, such records exist for communities for which we…

Dusty Parchments and Curious Peoples: Carolingian Manuscript Studies and Public History in 21st-Century Catalonia

The central aim of our Barcelona research project “From Carolingian Periphery to European Central Region: The Written Genesis of Catalonia” in the framework of the HERA-project “After Empire: Using and Not Using the Past in the Crisis of the Carolingian World, c.900‒c.1050 (UNUP)” is to show that it is indispensable for 21st-century Europe and its…

The paradox of the past in the crisis of the Carolingian Empire

Any casual reader of the relevant modern historiography would rightly come away with the impression that the legacy of the Carolingian Empire was pervasive across centuries of European history. The figure of Charlemagne was particularly attractive to posterity: idolised by French rulers from the Capetians to Napoleon, and canonised by Frederick Barbarossa in 1165. How,…